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» star anise organic wholefoods

traditional wholefoods for a modern world

Moroccan fennel and orange salad and dinner party 'formulas'

soullachamberlain

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This recipe is inspired from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian with my own twists and variations. This salad is always a crowd pleaser at dinner parties because it's so different and refreshing. With naturally sweet oranges and cinnamon, you could even serve this at the end of the meal almost in lieu of dessert. For those who are a little more intimate with the way that I rock, you might have observed that my meals can be quite formulaic, even though the ingredients are diverse and varied. Why? Firstly, formulas take time and stress out of meal preparation  (because as much as I love cooking and crafting recipes, we all have better things to do than be in the kitchen for hours on end). And secondly, formulas ensure that you've got a good balance of macronutrients (fats, protein and carbs) in each and every meal and of course I'm assuming that within each macronutrient family the ingredients are micronutrient-rich, grown/reared the way nature intended with due regard to their source and processing e.g. pastured versus confined meats and dairy, wild versus farmed seafood, pastured versus battery hens, traditional fats versus industrial seed oils, chemical-free fresh seasonal produce versus conventional, etc etc.

A typical summers dinner party 'formula' might look something like this:

  • Pastured meat: typically long slow roasted. Casseroles, soups, and curries I tend to do more in colder months while roasts, BBQs and raw meats are favoured in warmer months
  • A couple of salads: if you can throw together one salad that's a little more interesting or different than your garden-type variety salad (excuse the pun), then all the more power to you
  • A root veggie dish: For some of my other favourite root veggie dishes click here.
  • A cup of home-made broth: I try to match the broth with the meat that I am cooking i.e. either chicken, fish, pork or beef broth. Matching is by no means essential.
  • All finished off with some light dessert.

You might like to read one of my earlier posts on Entertaining Made Easy.

For last night's dinner party the menu was:

  • 9HR slow-cooked (90 degrees) pork shoulder with crispy crackling (to make crackling place heavily salted shoulder towards bottom of oven under heated grill element for 5 minutes or until the skin blisters and browns). To understand why I marinate the pork for 24 hours in apple cider vinegar then discard the vinegar before roasting read this
  • Garden salad with activated pepitas and avocado kindly brought by the gorgeous Sylvia- don't be afraid to ask a guest to bring a garden salad (and wine) when they ask "What can I bring?" as a green salad is pretty easy to throw together for most people and one less thing you need to worry about
  • Moroccan fennel and orange salad
  • potato gratin
  • Jellies for dessert (chocolate coconut panacotta plus a mint and ginger jelly. I will be writing up a separate blog post on jellies soon. One dessert would have been sufficient but I had a second jelly left over from a birthday party the night before).

It was more than enough food. So here's the recipe for the Moroccan salad:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large fennel bulbs, cut into paper thin rounds
  • 2 oranges, peeling and cut into segments
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
  • 1 tsp unrefined salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • Handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped (optional)

 Directions:

Place all ingredients (other than mint) in a bowl and toss well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add mint leaves just before serving.

I make this several hours before serving. This salad keeps in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours and in fact its flavours improve with time.

Serves 8

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What are some of your favourite dinner-party salads? Please share.