My Favourite Avoca Salad




I will be the first to admit ordinarily I cannot stand salads and I am not the biggest fan of vegetables. It is 100% my dad's fault I am like this, he used to hide cauliflower under my mashed potatoes as a kid and force me to eat it... I still despise cauliflower, even its smell. I was never one even as a child to eat fruit either, the odd apple or orange and if it was an apple it would be drowned in sugar, that was delicious. As I have grown older, I do eat more vegetables, more or less primarily for meal bulking especially when on a diet. On Weight Watchers you need to eat every vegetable under the sun so that is why you need to bulk out your meals with them.  I am on WW right now, for 4th time in as many years. I have a purpose for it this year, I am my brother's best man in August so I have plenty of time to get trim and eat all of the vegetables.

At the moment I am obsessed with Avoca's salads, it is probably because I have been to their shop in Kilmacanogue twice over the past 2 weeks. I generally get the same plate of salads like below, it is a mixture of broccoli, Feta and Tomato salad, Shredded Carrot and what I think is shaved broccoli stalk salad. Yup I said broccoli stalk, if you don't know by now that is the nicest part of the vegetable, trim it up and using a peeler make shavings.


The real deal Avoca Salad


The salads taste bloody incredible, although I did nearly lose a crown on one of my teeth crunching down on the blanched broccoli last weekend. I have learned to love broccoli, Joanne will tell you she changed my opinion on it since she met me and she is probably right, she loves hearing she is right..eugh! Only joking Joanne.. I do have good reason not to like broccoli like cauliflower, one time I was prepping it for dinner and it was covered in bugs, I would do no good on "I'm a Celebrity".  My favorite of the above trio of salads is the broccoli and feta which is my lead picture above. The recipe I found in the Avoca Cafe Cookbook,  you can buy it here, I love that book.


Ingredients
  • 110 g hazelnuts toasted, I bought them in Avoca.
  • 1 pack of tender stem broccoli
  • 110g feta cheese, cut into cubes ( I used Aldi's own brand, it's really good!)
  • 225g cherry tomatoes halved ( I am weird with tomatoes, spend the extra quid if you can and get the decent tomatoes, I got Aldi's organic ones.)
  • French Dressing - I made my own 
    • 2 tsp honey
    • 4 tsp good olive oil
    • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard or dijon
    • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
    • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Blanch the broccoli. To do this I boiled a kettle and covered the broccoli with the boiling water for one minute. Drain and rinse with cold water, voila blanched.
  2. For the French dressing all you need to do is whisk it all up, easy!
  3. In a big bowl add the nuts, broccoli, feta and tomatoes. 
  4. Add the dressing and toss all the ingredients.
  5. Gobble up! I guess you could keep some in the fridge but I devoured it, oops, lucky Joanne is not a fan, it was all mine!


Today's blog was written whilst listening to Noah and the Whale's album "The First Days of Spring". What an appropriate song for the first of February.



Will

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