Welcome to my tales of cookery school, food and travel

The first 30+ posts of this blog describe my experiences as I complete a nine month cooking course - the City and Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Culinary Art. I did this after I moved out of full time employment and it was purely selfish - I love food, cooking, eating and drinking. Subsequent posts are about, food, travel and adventures.

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Sunday, 5 May 2013

Slaw-ful or phwoar slaw?

Hands up all the cabbage fans. Go on, reveal yourselves.  Hmmm, not so many of you.  Perhaps you went to boarding school and/or grew up in the '50s and '60s when your mother started cooking the cabbage at  3.00 for dinner at 6.00pm..  
the basic raw material growing in my garden

Ok then, hands up the 'slaw fans.  A few more, but still not so many.  

Do you know the word coleslaw is an  Anglicisation of the Dutch word koolsla?  which is, in turn short for koolsalade, meaning cool salad.  Acutally that's not true, it means cabbage salad, but a cabbage salad should be a cool salad - really cool - groovy even....

I am willing to bet those of you who don't like coleslaw have been put off by the travesty of mass produced tasteless sogginess - I'm looking at you Colonel Sanders and your seedy cohorts in the bulk food industries, Mr-supermarket-made-mix and Ms-deli-counter-sweetly-over-dressed-harlot of a coleslaw. 

For the evils of coleslaw are these:
1.  pieces of vegetable that are too chunky or have hard stems
2.  anaemia, or 50 shades of pale: white cabbage, or at best pale green and not much else
3.  a saturation of sweet, but oddly flavourless, mayonnaise 

But a well made coleslaw can be a thing of deliciousness and beauty.  All it takes is knife skills or a mandolin or food processor with a slicer attachment) and a little imagination - just a tiny bit.

It is an unwritten rule of the universe that when you buy a "mixed punnet" of brassicas, inevitably it comprises two cauliflower, two broccoli and two cabbages.  It is another well know rule of the universe that it is exceptionally difficult to give a cabbage away (see first paragraph of this blog!), so I am exercising my knife skills and imagination as I refuse to waste produce I grow.

Here's a damn good cool salad made of cabbage and other stuff - vary the quantities according to what you have available.  Really thinly slice the vegetables, and only add the dressing shortly before you are ready to serve and eat - and enjoy.  If you are the sort of person who enjoys adding sultanas or other fruity bits to your salads - and you just know I'm not - you should feel free.


Cabbage, carrot, red onion, and lots of fresh coriander, dressed with half and half plain yoghurt and mayonnaise, a kick of Dijon mustard, a splash of white wine vinegar, salt and ground black pepper, then topped with chopped toasted peanuts and fried shallots.  How good is that?  Phwoar, it's good - that's what I call a cool salad.
Phwoar slaw