Here in Dorset (and probably most of England) it finally feels as if summer has landed. Even on this rather wet Tuesday, it is still warm outside and the air smells sweet and fresh. My feet are bare, my big, fluffy throw lies redundant across the sofa, and my vase of roses and wildflowers are in full, fragrant bloom. The light evening and brightening sky means an early evening beach walk beckons, before relaxing down with a crisp glass of white wine and a delicious supper. As much as I love the cosiness of autumn and winter, (autumn is, in fact, my favourite season) this time of year is to be savoured.
I have recently started ordering a weekly organic veg box from a Dorset farm (more on that later!) and have delighted yet again in the simple pleasure of eating wholesome, local food grown seasonally. It makes me feel in tune with the earth and with my body. At this very moment, I am slowly roasting some raw Dorset beetroot ready for a pearled barley risotto for tonight’s eating. It’s just…so…fresh. And it feels so right! I cannot begin describe how wonderful the deep, earthy, woody smell of the beetroot was as I sliced it into thick wedges. I can’t wait to blog about this risotto very soon!
Although strictly speaking we are still in May, (and thus not technically summer) this Summer Quinoa Salad was especially made for my lovely friend Nina’s Macmillan Summer Lights party – officially set in summer despite the very cold April day! I don’t want to let this spoil my romance over seasonal eating, though – this little cheat was definitely for a worthwhile cause.
The ingredients for this summer salad are so simple, so fresh and so quick to prepare. My new veg box supplier provide the most amazing spring onions; I have never seen them quite so huge anywhere else! They are fantastic – and a wonderful ingredient in this light and zingy summer salad. As the ingredients are fairly simple, try to buy the best quality of each that you can, especially the feta cheese. If you can grab a handful of parsley and mint from any herb growing friends (or even try growing some on your windowsill yourself!) then even better.
The colours of this dish are absolutely beautiful. I love the bright greens of the pistachios, herbs, spring onions and cucumber. I love the flashes of ruby red from the pomegranate seeds. I especially love it all thrown together in this gorgeous, pretty bowl!
This quinoa summer salad was especially designed for a summer garden party, buffet style. But please don’t limit yourself to this scenario. Make a huge batch and much your way through it for lunches all week – it’s so easy to pop into a box and take to work. Griddle some sumac or harissa lamb or dukkah-spiced chicken and serve this salad warm or cold alongside it. All are delicious!
- 200g quinoa
- 1 litre water
- sea salt and pepper
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- Seeds of 1 pomegranate
- ½ cucumber, diced
- 200g feta cheese, cubed
- Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Handful mint leaves, chopped
- ½ lemon, juice
- extra virgin olive oil
- 50g pistachios, chopped
- Rinse the quinoa well, then place in a pan with a litre of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes until cooked. Drain and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix the cooled quinoa with the spring onions, pomegranate seeds, cucumber, feta, chopped parsley and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon over the salad along with several generous glugs of extra virgin olive oil. Stir to combine, top with the chopped pistachios and serve.