Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Rich Mineral Salad

Rich Mineral Salad

Dear readers, I have an important announcement to make. Wait, make that two. 

1. I am now officially a gardener (and have the dirty fingernails to prove it!) 
2. We are getting a new kitty to keep dearest Ellie company after JD's sad demise a few weeks ago. Come on, who doesn't love a baby kitten?*

But we're going to focus on the first announcement for now (watch this space for kitty spam over the next few weeks though). After a few years in a flat managing - barely, at times - to keep our cacti collection alive & happy and killing various herbs along the way, we have graduated to a *real* garden. On terra firma. I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.

Rich Mineral Salad

Now, I have to mention at this juncture that both TheHusband and I are complete and utter garden noobs. No, make that gardening retards (refer prior herb & fern massacres). So when we set off for the nursery on Saturday it was with a strange mixture of excitement and just a little trepidation. Luckily we had a super helpful nursery salesguy, who pointed us in the direction of the hardy flowers (gotta love those) and gave us some tips on the actual transplanting and care bit. You know, the part where we usually mess up. 

Back at home, TheHusband was instructed to do the manly thing and rip out the grass in the corner with his bare hands. Meanwhile I busied myself with layering draining chips, mixing soil (good old potting soil & kraal manure to be exact), digging holes and adding in a bit of bonemeal (super stinky stuff btw) into the holes for good measure. We might be garden 'tards, but we made damn sure to take down & follow ALL of garden guy's instructions.

Rich Mineral Salad

In went all the flowers and herbs and many hours minutes and a few cold glasses of iced tea later, we proudly surveyed our handiwork. Okay, so the flowers would still need a couple of weeks to settle in, but man did our herb garden look good! My mind started racing with twee thoughts of domesticity - of watering my herbs every morning, tending to the soil every so often and ultimately, using my very own herbs to cook with. 

Because let's face it - it just doesn't get better than fresh herbs from your own garden. Truly. Try and wrap your mind around this: soil, a few seeds and a sprinkling of water can produce a brilliant array of colours, textures, flavours and scents. Magical! And when you're so caught up in the wonders that Mother Nature brings, it seems only  natural to celebrate with a medley of seasonal ingredients - fragrant, sweet, velvet-y fleshed pawpaws, crisp greens and a handful of herbs.  Chewy quinoa and nutty pumpkin seeds adds the final layer of texture to this beautifully fresh and healthy early summer salad. Hey, something's gotta make up for all the festive season indulgences. *ahem*

And while you're waxing lyrical about the delights that your garden will bring over the next few months, spare a thought for the garden 'tards (i.e us), because trust me, we're going to need all the good vibes we can get if our plants want to make it to 2011!

Rich Mineral Salad

*I will be updating my flickr account with pics of the new kitty, stalk away if you're a cat lover.

Rich Mineral Salad
Adapted from Scandi Foodie
Serves 4 as main, or 6 - 8 as side

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups boiling water
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups (approx 150g) mixed greens (I used spinach, rocket/aragula & lettuce), finely sliced
1 small pawpaw (papino), peeled and cut up into chunks
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt, to taste
a handful (or two!) of pumpkin seeds

1. Add quinoa and boiling water to a medium sized pot and cook for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is soft, yet chewy. Allow to cool down while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
2. In a large salad bowl, toss together onion, mixed greens, mint and quinoa. Whisk olive oil and lemon juice together and pour over salad, then toss again to combine. Taste and adjust salt as needed. 
3. Sprinkle liberally with pumpkin seeds and serve. Will keep for up to a day in the fridge.

Do as I do and add a smattering of nasturtiums to your salad to get you into that festive mood.


TS (eatingclub) on December 08, 2010 3:03 am said...

Good luck! Our plants didn't fare so well.

Joanne on December 08, 2010 4:00 am said...

I have yet to successfully make anything grow. Ever. I've even killed one of my cousin's most hearty and foolproof fish. It lived through a week during which she went on vacation. And then it came to live with me. Oy.

Good luck with your garden! I'm sure you'll have a super green thumb! This salad sounds delicious! So healthy. Gotta love that.

Nina said...

Looks fresh and delicious!!!

Kulsum on December 08, 2010 9:55 am said...

How colorful and vibrant. Being a gardener is a dream for me, once I get back to India for good, I'll be growing everything, or so I wish :)

Claudz on December 08, 2010 9:56 am said...

Well done and congratulations on the green fingers! Such a rewarding feeling!

The salad looks yum!

(we are proud of our house plant that has last 9months!)

Juanita on December 08, 2010 10:35 am said...

Having your own herb garden is super rewarding. I can't think of a day I don't go out to our courtyard and cut fresh herbs for a meal or a tea infusion. Have fun with that!

Great use of quinoa too - it's still an undervalued ingredient in SA I think, which is sad considering it's amazing protein:carbohydrate ratio!

Sweet artichoke said...

Your salad looks beautiful, so colourful, and it sounds delicious!
Good luck with the gardening! I only have a balcony, but manage to grow many things and it is so much fun!!

Linda on December 08, 2010 1:24 pm said...

Hey for your garden!! Welcome to the wonderful world of watering, sowing, pruning, weeding and best of all, harvesting! I don't know how I got by without my herb garden - and its gorgeous smells waft into the kitchen in the evenings! This salad looks to-die-for and your photography is fantastic!

Marisa on December 08, 2010 1:34 pm said...

Thanks Linda! Definitely looking forward to the harvesting bit. Perhaps not so much the pruning & weeding bit though... :-)

Marisa on December 08, 2010 1:34 pm said...

I think I need to get some tips from you!

Marisa on December 08, 2010 1:35 pm said...

With you on the quinoa thing - not sure why it's so difficult to find over here. But I suppose, all good things come with time...

Marisa on December 08, 2010 1:35 pm said...

9 months is pretty good going! I've never managed to last that long (well not with anything but our cacti that is...).

Marisa on December 08, 2010 1:36 pm said...

:-) Would think that India's climate would be very conducive to a wide array of veggies - lucky you!

Marisa on December 08, 2010 1:36 pm said...

Thanks Nina!

Marisa on December 08, 2010 1:37 pm said...

Really really really hope I can turn away from my plant killing ways!

Polkadotcatering said...

Sjoe, ek het heeltemal vergeet hoe pragtig jou fotos is!!

Jamez Avenir said...

Nice Salad.I make different type of salad in home but your salad is really good in taste i want to try it home,,John Williams
Zubaida tariq totkay in Urdu

Marisa on December 15, 2010 8:57 am said...

Dankie man! Comments soos joune maak altyd my dag.

Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

Kappertjies!! This salad is too gorgeous - surely can't be that beautiful AND good for you?? ;o) Looking forward to the kitten spam - I'm sad that way...!

Marietjie on January 07, 2011 12:56 am said...

Pragtig - so 'n mooi kleurvolle slaai

ekself is mal oor kapppertjies eet

Soma said...

Yaay for your garden. As for this dish.. it is delish. I love quinoa for our quick lunches and the flavors here are so refreshing.

Cucee Sprouts on January 21, 2011 2:58 am said...

Another great Quinoa recipe. Here is a variation with Cheese and Spinach

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