Your go-to summer side
A quick note from the edge today as I'm writing this at home with a string of repairmen going in and out of the house.
The washer is on the blink, the bath taps are leaking and the air conditioning has given up the ghost. Everything happens in threes, yes? This had better be it!
It's all first-world problems I know. There was a moment in April when I thought we could make it through the summer without AC but I'm holding up a white flag and waving it frantically. I give up! It's not OK. Last night I slept with the girls in my room with three fans blowing down onto the bed. Anyone who has kids will know that sleeping with small humans who do gymnastics in their sleep is a little torturous.
Prior to the actual sleeping part, there was a good half-hour where I had to make sure the fans were blowing on the kids exactly evenly:
“She has more air than me!”
“No! She has more air than me!”….
For the love of God, pass the wine! They're good, amazing, well-tempered kids normally I promise. But Bermuda heat will do that to you!
Anyway, in the meantime, I've been trying to keep the house cool by using the oven as little as possible. On the upside, the girls have got so much better at salad lately.
For the longest time they had zero interest but finally their palates are growing up.
This one was a big hit with Chloe, 11, although a miss with Belle, 8, but she just has all the veggies without the dressing. It's simple enough to adapt for her.
Meanwhile we're loving it and have rolled it out for guests too. Incredibly crisp and full of flavour, it's definitely my go-to side for this summer.
Great with anything from the grill or even a roast if you're brave enough to have the oven on for that long. For vegetarians you could serve this on a bed of quinoa and sprinkle some toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds on top for extra protein. Add a little goats' cheese (or avocado/hummus for vegans) and away you go. So easy!
Before I leave you, a quick thing: if you have teens who would benefit from better nutrition, if they don't really listen to you but just might listen to me, then send them along to Teen Nutrifit this summer.
The idea is to help them understand the principles of optimum nutrition from a really young age so we can prevent health issues from occurring rather than dealing with them later.
It's an evening intensive that we bang out in one week. It's all set within a teen context and they'll see how their nutrition impacts their mood, focus, energy and sports performance. The full syllabus is online on my website. Have a look. I'd love your kids to join me!
Triple green salad with fresh herbs, garlic, lemon and chilli
1.5 cups fine green beans, trimmed
3 spring onions, peeled and chopped (use both the white and green parts)
2.5 cups snow peas or mange tout (trimmed)
1 small fresh red chilli, mild, seeded and finely diced
1.5 cups frozen peas
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 tsp cilantro seeds, crushed with pestle and mortar
1 tsp mustard seeds, not crushed
Zest of one large lemon, finely grated and half-juiced
Small handful tarragon, torn or chopped
1 large handful green leaves — arugula, spinach, lambs lettuce, any will do!
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Dash of maple syrup (optional)
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add in the green beans and set a timer for five minutes. Three minutes in, add the snow peas or mange tout.
With one minute left, add the frozen peas. Then drain and drop the veggies into a bowl of iced water until they are completely cold. This shocks them and helps retain the colour.
Drain again and pat very dry. You don't want retained water to dilute the dressing! Set to one side.
Add the crushed cilantro seeds, whole mustard seeds and oil to a small pan and heat. When the mustard seeds begin to jump, pour the contents of the pan over the veggies. Then add the chopped onions, chilli, garlic, lemon zest/juice and tarragon.
Toss well together with a sprinkle of sea salt too. Add in your large handful of leaves and serve immediately. If making ahead, then only add the leaves just before serving.
• Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. For details: www.natural.bm, 236-7511 or, on Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda