January 5, 2016

Julie Sullivan, our local food guru shares her thoughts on the great summer spread and shares her recipes for a quick and easy tabbouleh salad.

Summer produce
Tropical fruits, stone fruits and grapes make a welcome return in summer. Mango salsa, peach relish and grape jam are all condiments that I have made to preserve their awesome flavours.

My garden
My garden has an abundance of herbs, I use so many in my cooking that I really need to know that they have been grown organically. My favourite herbs are basil and parsley. Parsley in particular is a powerhouse of nutrients so I sneak it into everything.

Easy entertaining
Make summer outdoor entertaining a breeze with marinated meats, cheese, barbecues and salads. Locally grown pumpkins, broccoli and corn are abundant, so a quick soup with some crusty bread rolls will also make an ideal summer meal.

My pumpkin tip
Cube and microwave pumpkin instead of roasting it for a salad. Roasting pumpkin gives a lovely caramelisation, however during summer it’s all about reducing the heat in the kitchen.

My favourite summer memory…
Water-skiing and picnicking with friends and family on the river’s edge.

My favourite picnic spots
Cattai National Park and Mitchell Park are ideal picnic spots; there are amenities, bush walks, tables, shade and plenty of room for the kids to run around or ride their bikes. You will need to book a ‘picnic space’ in Cattai National Park as it can get very popular during summer.

In my picnic basket
A good picnic basket will have plenty of fresh fruit sliced up, raw mixed vegetables that can be used in dips and fresh pita bread so that everyone can create their own wrap.

Tabbouleh salad
Serves 4

½ cup wholemeal couscous
¾ cup boiling water (slightly less water is better)
½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp each salt and cracked pepper
1 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
1 cucumber diced
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes cut in halves

Dressing
¼ cup lemon juice or cider vinegar
TIP: substitute balsamic vinegar to make a delicious dressing for a pumpkin, spinach and feta salad.
¼ cup brown sugar¼ cup olive oil

Method
1. Place couscous in a bowl, pour over the boiling water, cover bowl with cling wrap and allow to sit for three minutes only. Quickly spread the couscous onto a tray so that it cools and remains light and fluffy.
2. Add all ingredients to the couscous, stir and refrigerate.
3. Combine dressing ingredients and pour over the salad just before serving.
4. Serve with grilled lamb, chicken or haloumi cheese skewers that have been marinating in garlic, lemon zest, cracked pepper and olive oil.

Find Julie selling her jams and pickles at the Windsor Mall Markets on the second, fourth and fifth Sunday of each month. Find her on Facebook at Julie’s Kitchen Made With Love.

Expect more at Vermont

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