Super Food Salad

Another salad that rocks, this one inspired by a salad eaten in a Giraffe restaurant. Sweet balsamic roasted squash, beetroot, leaves and seeds, all with a herby, mustardy dressing. Green beans were a nice addition, and I’d have liked to include a scattering of sprouted beans but didn’t have any in.

A fab super food, relatively seasonal healthy salad to enjoy after too much stodgy comfort food in the dark, cold winter months.

Super Food Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Serves 2

  • 1 small squash
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • A good grating of nutmeg
  • 2 cooked beetroot, quartered
  • 1 handful green beans, briefly cooked
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 bag rocket leves
  • 1 handful sunflower seeds/pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small bunch basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade/Gas mark 6
– Peel and deseed the squash. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
– Toss in the balsamic and 2 tbsps olive oil. Grate on the nutmeg.
– Roast for 20-30 minutes, until soft and golden
– Next make the dressing. Whisk together the red wine vinegar, oil, mustard, herbs (fresh and dried) and seasoning. Set aside.
– Compose the plate with the leaves, squash, beetroot, green beans and spring onions.
– Drizzle over the dressing
– Scatter with seeds/pine nuts

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Eating Out

I’m kinda hoping that this section gives us an excuse to eat out more and be more adventurous when we do dine away from home. Brief reviews will follow…

I’m sure eating out has its difficulties for all families, but for the family with allergies it can be a stressful nightmare. There are certainly not many of those ‘oh we just happen to be out, let’s grab some lunch’ occasions. Any meal out has to be pre-vetted via the internet or simplest, most allergy friendly fare must be available. Even so, we spend the whole meal time vigilantly checking for possible signs of hives, wheezyness and other symptoms, hardly taking a moment off to eat our food, let alone relax!

Some chains have always been excellent with providing for our needs, notably Nando’s (and surely everyone loves Nando’s), Giraffe and Pizza Express. But you don’t always want to eat in a chain restaurant

Ironically, while hardly gourmet, most pubs seem to be able to offer something – ham, chips and peas are normally available and usually safe (although always check for possible coatings on chips, butter on the peas and allergens present on the ham!) – although this is hardly exciting or particularly nutritional. Throw a pesky veggie (me) into the mix and pubs really aren’t the best place to eat unless you fancy yet another frozen veggie lasagne or goats cheese and red onion tart!

Vegetarian/Vegan cafes would certainly appeal to me but fail as a family destination due to the presence of nuts and seeds. Besides, its very important to be aware that vegan isn’t necessarily suitable for a completely dairy-free diet – it seems that ‘may contain traces of milk’ are acceptable in a vegan diet but certainly not for the dairy allergic (in my experience).

Anyway, we’re off on holiday to Cornwall for a few days. The weather looks like it’ll be shockingly bad, but we’re looking forward to some family fun. Hopefully we’ll  eat out at least once – I am hoping for a Rick Stein establishment in Padstow – I’ll report back with a review.

Giraffe Salad

No, not made of Giraffes, just from the restaurant chain! We had an unusual Easter Sunday… A very early morning Easter egg hunt (luckily the Easter Bunny had visited) followed by a day out with some friends, and luckily enough, lunch at Giraffe. We’ve always managed to eat well at Giraffe, with all of us catered for by some excellent service…. every time (and we’ve eaten at a lot of Giraffes). A review will follow when I get round to the review section of this blog.

Anyway, I was rather boring and went for my ‘usual’ salad, the Super Healthy Veggie and Feta Salad. It was nice, but since I’ve recently been doing my own version at home I maybe prefer this one!

Giraffe Salad (egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, vegetarian, can be vegan and dairy-free if you leave out the feta)

serves 2

  • 2/3 bag of salad leaves
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 small head of broccoli, cut into florets and blanched for 2 minutes
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 tin of borlotti beans
  • 1/2 pack of feta, cubed (optional)
  • big handful of toasted sunflower seeds (plus pine nuts if you can tolerate them)

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • seasoning

– Whisk together the dressing

– Dress and mix together the ingredients

– Top with the toasted seeds