You are what you eat & drink

Recipes – KISS

How often do you see recipes that go into so much detail that it’s confusing. Yesterday I saw a recipe for a salad; now really a salad doesn’t need a recipe. What you really need for a salad is a list of ingredients if you don’t have enough imagination.

Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

20ml red-wine vinegar
½ tsp dijon mustard
100ml olive oil
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cauliflower
3 large oranges
1 pomegranate
50g raisins
1 tbsp chopped mint
Salt and pepper

This was the list for a Pomegranate, orange and cauliflower salad in The Guardian. Now if the list had been divided like so…

Vinaigrette:

20ml red-wine vinegar
½ tsp dijon mustard
100ml olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Salad:
1 cauliflower
3 large oranges
1 pomegranate
50g raisins
1 tbsp chopped mint
Salt and pepper

That should be sufficient, omitting the onion needs to be ‘peeled’ everybody knows that you peel an onion. Quite frankly, if you don’t then perhaps you shouldn’t be let near a kitchen.

What followed then was this….

Mix the red-wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil in a large bowl, season and mix well and leave to one side. Add the red onion to the vinaigrette – this will allow the vinegar to slightly “cook” the red onion.

Put a pan of salted water on to boil, and prepare the cauliflower by removing the stalk and root, and cutting into florets. Add the florets to the boiling water and simmer until just cooked. When ready, drain well and immediately, while still warm, add it to the vinaigrette. Mix well.

Using a sharp knife, cut away the peel of the orange and slice into segments (or if easier, peel and segment by hand). If the oranges are lovely and ripe, don’t worry too much about removing any of the pith. Prepare the pomegranate (it’s not the easiest but it’s well worth the hassle). Cut the fruit in half, then carefully scoop out the seeds. Add the orange and pomegranate to the cauliflower, mix well, and add the raisins and mint. Check the seasoning and serve.

Wow, so many words!

Mix the vinaigrette ingredients and add sliced onion.

Cook off cauliflower florets until tender. Cool and mix well into vinaigrette.

Add peeled orange segments and pomegranate pulp to cauliflower, mix well and add raisins and mint, season and serve.

That’s all that is needed. Recipes should be simple instructions, you’re not writing a novel. Even if you are writing for the average housewife, she’s not an idiot, she’ll understand. To me the original instructions were so pretentious and patronising; and they don’t make the salad taste any better.

A principle to be adhered to is one that I learned in the military – KISS = Keep it simple stupid.

I am not criticising the salad itself, the combination sounds just great.

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2 responses

  1. I think this is a tendency in Britain now – be over-explicit. ‘This basin is not in use. Please use an alternative basin’. NO! NO! I wanted to use THIS ONE!!! ‘Place fish on a serving dish’ Ah, good job you told me! I was about to sling it into the washing machine.

    Like

    January 13, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    • @Vilges, strange, I used to sling paua (abalone) in the washing machine to tenderise them. But as an ELT teacher you get what I am meaning, verbosity is an enemy.

      AV

      Like

      January 13, 2012 at 8:54 pm

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