A salad with a bad reputation

I’m going to share one of my favourite quick & easy recipes. The Fancy Rice Salad. Is there any other kind you ask? The answer is yes. Now I’m not going to name names, recipes or small country towns but where I come from, when someone brings a rice salad to a BBQ it usually consists of white rice, tinned corn, diced red capsicum and little else (flavour, my dear friend – that means you).

In fact among the people I know, rice salad has such a bad reputation that when I say I’m bringing a rice salad there is an audible pause which is my cue to say oh don’t worry, it’s a fancy rice salad, you’ll love it!. And they usually do. More often than not they cannot actually mask the look of relief when they can see I was telling the truth. It is fancy, phew! And hey, some people like the white rice/corn situation, and that’s fine, but I prefer my rice salad with a little more oomph.

This recipe was given to me by Eleni, fellow lover of food and a kitchen whizz. It’s quick, it’s easy, you can make it a few days ahead and people will want seconds.

Salad ingredients

1 cup of cooked brown rice (I like mine al dente)

1 green capsicum, finely diced

1 red capsicum, finely diced

1 large handful of chopped coriander (or parsley if you prefer)

½ cup of smashed roasted cashews (I use salted, you can use unsalted if you like)

¼ sunflower seeds and pepitas (also known as pumpkin seeds)

1/3 cup currants

4 finely sliced spring onions (also known as scallions)

Dressing ingredients

3 tbsp of olive oil

5 tbsp of Japanese soy sauce (I use the Kikkoman brand)

1 crushed garlic clove

½ lemon juice

The recipe I got never actually said what half exactly, ½ a cup? ½ a lemon? Who knows? I start with about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and keep adding to taste. The dressing will taste quite strong and soy-saucy on its own but once it is mixed into the salad it will mellow and the garlic and oil will balance it out.

Method

Combine dressing ingredients, whisk well and set aside

Combine salad ingredients well. Add dressing and mix well again. Be thorough but gentle, you don’t want to squish all the rice.

And that’s it folks. You can eat it on the day, or it will be delicious the next day*. You can top it with diced avocado, tinned tuna or cooked chicken. It’s also great with lamb. It’s just great, ok? Trust me.

This rice salad is bringing fancy back.

* just a little note to remind you to take care when storing your rice salad. It seems innocent but cooked rice is considered a high-risk food and must be stored correctly. See here for more information.

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World in a fishbowl

Two of my girlfriends have been getting their craft on lately. Abbey wanted to tackle terrariums, Jade thought we should have a ‘crafternoon’ (love it!) and I couldn’t think of anything better than hanging out with the girls, drinking vino and making stuff so the first crafternoon was officially called to order. It’s the first time I’ve done something like that with friends and it just added a whole layer of fun to being creative.

After deciding to have a crafternoon it was a mad rush to try to source materials before the weekend. When I think of terrariums I immediately think of moss. Moss seems to be one of those things that you suppose might be everywhere, lurking under logs and growing in the back corner of your garden. Wrong. Unless you live in Pandora, moss is damn hard to find in an inner-city suburb, at short notice, even if you’re willing to pay for it. We were at a loss for moss. To compensate I ripped up some baby’s tears (or Helxine soleirolii) from the front garden although I’m not sure my method of just laying it on top of the soil is going to actually work (to be honest I’m not sure if my method of putting a dry-loving cactus next to a damp-loving plant like baby’s tears is going to work either). We also had a glass vessel each, stones, potting mix, small succulents and some jungle friends…

So, stones in first, potting mix and then plants and voila! A little world in a fishbowl.

Mine has a little giraffe called Frankie. I like Frankie the giraffe. He is a little tribute to Dave because Dave is South African and now I always get warm fuzzies when I see African animals. Except Hyenas. They give me the creeps.

For more lovely terrarium inspiration check out Apartment Therapy’s guide to 25 Terrariums to Try, Buy & DIY.

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Books & ladders

 

I have a list of things I am on the lookout for and that list has recently been reduced by one thanks to my Dad who has an uncanny knack for getting his hands on bargains just when you need them the most. The other week he hit the jackpot and found me a cordless drill with 2 batteries, 2 electric sanders and an old wooden ladder, all for $60! I originally wanted a wooden ladder to use outside to make some shelving for pot plants. I’ve actually since found an old church pew to serve as a pot plant stand but still, I wanted a ladder and Dad came up with the goods.

I’ve seen some great uses for wooden ladders on various blogs (see here for example) and before I commit to anything serious (i.e. something that requires drilling, sawing, mounting or otherwise) I have found the perfect place for it in my craft room to hold my growing collection of vintage books and other pretty bits and pieces that I like but that don’t really fit the décor in the rest of the house. Plus, because it isn’t fixed I can just move it around and change it as I please.

This particular ladder was made by my Dad’s neighbour’s father who became a carpenter when he returned from the war. The ladder was the first thing he had to make when he became an apprentice. The kind neighbour also threw in his father’s book The practical carpentry and joinery and I think there is something nice about both book and ladder still being together as they would have been in the beginning.

 

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