Martha Stewart’s Pea Salad

Serves: 4

We had an amazing Bill Granger Pea Salad last week and inspired, I was looking up pea salads we could serve this week along with some spicy lamb meatballs we we’re having for dinner.

This recipe came up a lot.

I used Parmesan rather than Cheddar and I cooked and then refreshed the peas rather then letting them de-thaw in the salad in the fridge for 4 hours… something you are most welcome to do if you wish.

The reason I’ve typed it up of course is that is a fantastic salad.

So much so that the next day, I did a double batch for a BBQ pool party and everyone loved it. Even kids.

Get onto this!

(Note: we cook our greens in the microwave; a dash of water in a microwave dish and you have crunchy, crisp greens without the need to boil or broil… In typing up this recipe, I haven’t prescribed how to cook the peas and however you do it, enjoy.)


1/4 cup (low fat) egg mayonnaise
1/4 cup (low fat) sour cream
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
500gm frozen baby peas
1/4 cup, packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
60gm, Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated
120gm smoked bacon


  1. Cook the bacon in a large frypan over a medium heat until browned and becoming crispy: around 10 minutes. Drain well on paper towel and then julienne.
  2. Cook the peas until warmed through; refresh in cold water.
  3. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream and vinegar in a large bowl; season generously with salt and pepper. Fold in the peas, onion and parsley.
  4. Refrigerate until needed and gently fold in the Parmesan and bacon just before serving.

Almond and Broccolini Salad

Serves: 6


Our eldest boys, Oliver and Tom made us dinner the other night.

Meatballs with halloumi and pine nuts… and this dish on the side, found by Oliver after some very diligent online research.

It’s really good and definitely something for a summer BBQ.

Well done boys.


2 bunches broccolini, ends trimmed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup currants (or raisins)
2 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
1 tsp grated lemon zest


  1. Blanch the broccolini in boiling water until the stems are tender-crisp; 2 minutes or so. Refresh in ice water and set aside.
  2. Transfer broccolini to a serving platter. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice; sprinkle with currants, Parmesan cheese, almonds and lemon zest.

Roast Salmon, Bean and Potato Salad

Serves: 4

Salmon, green beans and potatoes pair beautifully and this classic and particularly simple Jamie Oliver number is yet another great example of why.

And it is even better cold the next day for lunch.

Pencil this in for next Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night.

(Note: I have changed the name of the original recipe – it was just a bit too ‘Jamie’ – as well as adapting the ingredients and method slightly.)


4 x 200gm salmon fillets
Extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons, juiced and zested
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 clove of garlic, crushed
250ml fat-free natural yoghurt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
450gm baby potatoes, boiled, quartered and let to cool slightly
250gm green beans, cooked and left to cool slightly
1 bunch watercress
1 sprig fresh mint
1 sprig fresh basil


  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. Rub the salmon pieces with a little oil, lemon juice and zest (saving some for the dressings), salt and pepper. Place them on a piece of baking paper and bake on a baking tray in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Combine the crushed garlic and the yoghurt and season with salt and pepper, a little lemon juice and the cayenne pepper.
  4. Dress the potatoes and green beans in a little salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest and olive oil. Toss together with the watercress and herbs and divide among four bowls.
  5. Break the cooked salmon up and place on the dressed beans and potatoes. Serve with a spoonful of the yoghurt on-top.

Parmesan Dressing

Serves: 4

Salad is one of our favourite fall-back meals.

And the boys love nothing more than homemade sausages, some chargrilled eye fillet and a green salad… with one of the rotating salad dressings we like to make.

The rotation gets a little bigger with this one from Curtis Stone and its simplicity – and the parmesan – are what make it such a no-brainer for a throw-together grilled chicken salad.

I recommend adding this little number to your repertoire.


2 tbsp red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 eschalot, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped thyme
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Season and drizzled over your next salad.

Deb’s Layered Salad

Deb’s Layered Salad

Serves: Hundreds

Christmas – specifically the catering of it – is a truly unique time.

Exciting, once-a-year, stressful, often unidirectional and lonesome (at least from the cook’s perspective), always worth it. We over-cater, we stress about dry turkeys, we snap when asked why we do or do not serve cranberry with our turkey/ham/chicken/whatever.

Best stuffings are argued and yet, when the time comes, it all tastes pretty bloody good, it is all greatly appreciated and the stress of the morning is forgotten in the malaise of the afternoon.

One of the greater stresses is changing your tradition or having it changed for you. We each have a vision of Christmas and if you don’t do prawns or BBQ, you don’t do prawns or BBQ.

Last year, we had a big family Christmas at Nat’s parent’s place. The kids, kid’s of kids, dogs, the whole shebang. The Ashes are a pretty relaxed bunch and they serve up some pretty awesome dinners; and yet it was with trepidation that I tried to merge what I could of my Christmas lunch with their tradition.

Top of my worries was this salad.

How could it go with my stuffed turkey breast, truffle mash or famous stuffing? I don’t do the simple, salad and meat Christmas and there was no way this salad could make sense to me.

Well, last year, my tradition changed!

To include this salad.

BOOM! It is awesome. Christmas awesome.

It is exactly what is great about Christmas. It tastes like Christmas.

It is utterly outrageous and that is the point.

Deb – Nat’s mum – throws some interesting culinary curve-balls and I should have known from her potato bake and cauliflower mash that she had it sorted.

I am a doubter no more.

My only worry is trying to convince you yo try it. Hopefully my admission of wrongful doubt will help.



Iceberg lettuce, shredded
Baby peas, blanched
Button mushrooms, sliced thinly
Eggs, boiled, grated
Spring onions, thinly sliced
Cheddar cheese, grated
Sour cream and whole egg mayonnaise, equal parts combined
Bacon, julienned and fried
Flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Baby tomatoes, chopped


  1. In the biggest bowl you can find, layer it all. Again and again.

Creamy Tarragon Chicken Salad

Creamy Tarragon Chicken Salad

Serves: 8

You want a healthy, tasty chicken salad right?

Who doesn’t?

It is one of my top searches for a weeknight meal or a Saturday lunch.

You want your back covered?

Nat’s got it!

With this awesome, super healthy, utterly moorish number: something I would make en-masse and ready to serve as a lunch or a snack all week.

240 calories per serve. 240!

Nat and this salad are genius.


1kg chicken breast
1 cup chicken stock
⅓ cup walnuts, chopped
⅔ cup reduced-fat sour cream
½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 tbsp dried tarragon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 ½ cups celery, diced
1 ½ cups, red seedless grapes, halved


    1. Preheat the oven to 230c.
    2. Arrange the chicken in a baking dish in a single layer and pour the stock around the chicken. Bake until cooked through, around 30 – 35 minutes. Allow to cool enough to handle and then cube the meat.
    3. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts on a baking sheet until slightly golden; around 6 minutes. Allow to cool.
    4. Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, tarragon, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the celery, grapes and the cooled chicken and walnuts. Stir to coat and refrigerate until chilled.
  • Serve on a bed of salad: lettuce, tomato, avocado, diced red onion, cucumber, whatever!

Italian Coleslaw

FullSizeRender (7).jpg
Just wonderful; creamy thanks to the parmesan; hot thanks to the chilli oil.

Italian Coleslaw

Serves: 4 – 6

This is a really sophisticated little number I pulled from Gourmet Traveller.

It speaks of the thinly sliced, super-fresh vegetables and herbs you throw in and with the parmesan, chilli oil and some seasoning, wow.

We had it with a glazed pork chop and some braised beans it was wonderful; it is hot, fresh, soaked up the rest of the plate and stood its own as a side. The next lunch served with a rare BBQed eye fillet and some hand-cut chips, it got even better.

Slaw is always good and this is a wonderful version of it.


180gm peas (de-thawed peas are fine or if using podded peas, start with 500gm )
¼ white cabbage, thinly sliced
Fennel bulb, thinly sliced
½ Spanish Onion, thinly sliced
3 radishes, thinly sliced
½ cup each (loosely packed) basil, mint and flat-leaf parsley, coarsely torn
¼ cup (firmly packed) watercress sprigs
1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed
40gm parmesan, finely grated
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp chilli oil
2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. If using podded peas, blanch peas in boiling salted water until tender (1 – 2 minutes), fresh and drain. If using frozen, de-thaw completely.
  2. Combine in a large bowl with cabbage, fennel, onion, radish, herbs, watercress, capers and parmesan and toss to combine.
  3. Just before serving, add oils and juice, season to taste and toss lightly to combine.