Sunday, 9 February 2014

Cafe Salads

I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned before but everyday at the catering kitchen myself and my co-chef come up with three salads or sides for our cafĂ© buffet lunch menu.  The scope is enormous but we are often limited by factors such as; what we have in our fridge at the time (depending on events and seasons), cost-effectiveness (a salad bowl is £4), whether it will go well with the main of the day etc etc. However they mainly have to be creative, delicious and full of health.

Friday’s main was our very popular pulled pork, red pepper and orzo bake with a rosemary crumb. With this I did a simple spinach, parmesan and pine nut salad and two others which you see here. One a take on the classic Waldorf: Brown rice, grilled chicken,apple, celery, gorgonzola and toasted hazelnuts with a cider-vinegar dressing. The other, my obsession at the minute, cumin-roasted cauliflower and chickpeas with humous and sumac.

Roasted cauliflower is so delicious, especially when combined with spices and garlic. I blanch the florets plus the chopped stalk and leaves for 2 minutes, drain and the mix with lots of oil, cumin, turmeric, chopped garlic and sea salt. Put this into a hot hot oven for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally until the edges go slightly crispy and golden. I add in cooked chickpeas halfway through which also go wonderfully crispy. On a bed of oozy humus with lemony sumac and plenty of extra virgin olive oil, this combination is so good.