Aren’t holidays grand? Last month we managed to get away for a few days, and though it was only brief, it was refreshing. I could feel the stress dissolving as I soaked in the view; yellow post-harvest fields and wide red dirt plains up north. We drove nine hours to visit Alex’s grandmother, primarily so that she could meet her great-grandson. An incredibly resilient woman, Ona still lives in her own home at 93 years of age and took great delight in preparing a feast for us on Sunday after church.


The seaside town where we stayed was quiet after the craziness of the summer holidays, and we camped in a motel five minutes’ walk from the clear aqua blue of the ocean. As well as visiting Ona, we spent lots of time near the water, making sand castles, practising handstands and swimming. I treated myself to a foodie magazine, and enjoyed a few quiet moments alone while the boys were out walking. Chilling out with a magazine is a real treat, and those moments are precious.


Within the glossy pages, I found many drool-worthy recipes, but not many that were practical. Most of them were a bit out of my league; lots of meat, expensive ingredients and necessary equipment that I don’t have (e.g. ice cream churn). But I am always open to new ways with vegetables, and particularly salad on these hot summer days! We regularly buy broccoli, and I had half a packet of skinless hazelnuts already in the pantry, so with a bit of tweaking, we had this on the table in no time!


Broccoli and spring onion slaw with buttermilk dressing
The original included rocket and broccolini as well, but as hubby doesn’t enjoy eating rocket, and because broccolini is rather expensive, I’ve left them out. It suits us perfectly this way; but if you’re interested in the original recipe, it can be found here.

Serves 4-6 as a side

80g (approx ½ cup) hazelnuts
2 small head of broccoli (about 600g), cut into florets
3 spring onions, thinly sliced

Buttermilk dressing
125mL (½ cup) buttermilk*
1 tablespoon each lemon juice and white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, crushed

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Spread hazelnuts over a baking tray and roast until skins darken and nuts are fragrant (5-6 minutes). Tip into a tea towel, rub off skins (or buy the skinless version and save yourself the trouble!), coarsely chop and set aside.

Shave broccoli florets lengthways, using a mandolin (or if mandolins scare you silly, use a sharp knife instead). Place into a pot and pour over boiling water to blanch (broccoli will turn a bright green). Drain in a colander, rinsing with cold water to halt the cooking process. Once completely cool, add to a large bowl with spring onions and hazelnuts, reserving a few hazelnuts to serve.

For buttermilk dressing, shake ingredients in a jar until well combined. Season to taste and drizzle dressing over salad to taste, toss lightly to coat and serve slaw scattered with reserved hazelnuts.

*Here’s a tip: You can make your own buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup milk (dairy or other). Allow to sit until it clabbers, about 10 minutes.

Adapted from Gourmet Traveller

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