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Homey delights and summery herb yogurt dressing

January 11, 2012

There’s nothing like seven weeks away to make you appreciate home! While I had a truly fantastic time filling up on delicious foreign specialties, the whole experience also highlighted what makes Canterbury such a great place to live as a foodie.

While Canterbury is not particularly publicised as a foodie destination, I like to think this is due to our fairly shy, no-nonsense approach to life. No one really talks about how amazing our raw fresh produce is, and you don’t really find very many advertisements for our butter – the flavour speaks for itself. Almost everyone who visits Canterbury (and I guess the entire South Island) is generally pretty impressed with the kind of lifestyle we get away with, while also being incredibly willing to work hard (including our students!). On top of all this, we’re actually pretty spoilt for choice if we want something international. We can boast one of the friendliest and most awesome cheesemongers this side of the equator, macarons that I reckon rival those abroad, and foodie hotspots…just without the annoying queues and tourists.

What has made me so gushy all of a sudden? It could be that I’ve moved back to my parents for a few months while I finish off my thesis and start planning my future. Their garden boasts considerably more than the one at my flat, so I thought I’d share one of the yummiest and simplest things I’ve been eating so far. I realise it’d not exactly original, but here’s my super simple way of doing it…

There’s no recipe, it’s just a formula for what is basically:

Herb and yogurt dressing over summery things

Cut up a few summery salad things. In a small bowl or cup, add fresh, finely chopped summer herbs (using at least a few chives, or spring onion, or garlic greens, or onionweed or freshly minced garlic, preferably young – these are all “alliums”). Make sure they’re alive when picking as you want the flavours to be really bright. Add salt and pepper (lemon zest could also be good here!). You can bruise them a little by mushing a little with your fingers. Stir through plain yogurt. Taste – it should be quite salty, almost like feta cheese in dressing form! Drizzle/blob over your salady things. Sprinkle over herb flowers or any other edible garden flowers.

What I used specifically:

Summery salad things: thickly sliced tomatoes and cucumber. Would have loved to use radishes if I had them…

Herbs: flat parsley, mint and chives. If I had basil though that would definitely have featured!

Yogurt: Karikaas (all natural, no thickeners, produced locally, and very tangy). If you’re using a mild yogurt, some lemon juice will help.

Flowers: chive flowers. There are also a few brassicas flowering this time of year, with the little yellow flowers, that would look pretty too.

A few side notes for variation:

If you want to make this into a dip, use a thick, tangy yogurt (like Cyclops).

Try cutting your salad thing a little differently – it does actually sometimes change the way you experience it. For the above salad I sliced my tomatoes and cucumbers and just laid out a bit like a caprese, eating each pair a bit like a cracker. For some reason this was a lot tastier than when I had just chopped into large chunks.

Add some pantry goodies like olives, or roast up some red peppers to drape over the top.

Drizzle over any extra-fancy olive oil you have for a sparkly summery finish (this is rich enough without though).

Serve with crusty bread. Omnom.

Change the herbs depending on what you serve the salad with. If serving with lamb for instance, mint could be a good idea.

EDIT: Jeez, have I been away from the blog too long. Here is…

Currently clickalicious

Quince frangipane tartlets @ Mushitza

Cucumber mint sorbet @ Millie Mirepoix

Raspberry curd @ Toast

Salted chocolate peanut butter @ The KitchenMaid

Oatmeal walnut cocoa nib cookies @ Joy the Baker (made these with macadamias, minus the dark chocolate…parents swooned. Personally would have included the chocolate, but was too lazy)

Chestnut truffles @ Cucina Libera

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. peasepudding permalink
    January 11, 2012 9:38 pm

    Lovely and refreshing Zo. It must be nice to spend time with your parents though and enjoy there garden ;0)

  2. January 11, 2012 9:44 pm

    P: Thanks Ali :) I am definitely enjoying the abundance of fresh chives at the moment, worth moving from the flat! Have yet to convert my parents with parsley though, they still hate the stuff haha.

  3. January 11, 2012 10:04 pm

    I hear you on the parents’ garden being that ocean of abundance ;-) Hehe! I had a lovely chat with some people from the Canterbury region at Taste of NZ and I remember the food I ate in Chch/Lyttelton when I was last down, it’s definitely a place of hidden treasures :-)

  4. January 12, 2012 5:25 am

    I’m not quite ready for summer yet, but this may make me reconsider.

  5. January 13, 2012 9:28 am

    I like yogurt dressings, especially with herbs, and as you know I appreciate the use of flowers :-)

  6. January 13, 2012 11:13 am

    M: Yes, I think if you’re a local then you’re “in the know” :D

    R: Hehe, how can anyone not be ready for summer?! Although I am from Christchurch where summers are mid twenties in temperature (Celsius that is)

    A: The flowers were totally a nod to you! I guess in the back of my mind I always knew they were edible but only actually started using them until I saw your pretty salads! Chive flowers are so delicious too.

  7. January 13, 2012 2:57 pm

    I am in a wee house in the middle of the prairie in the middle of the midwest in the middle of a blizzard and I am drooling over that salad. I come from NZ and I am desperate to taste our tastiness again! c

  8. January 14, 2012 9:21 am

    Canterbury is a bit of a well-kept secret isn’t it when it comes to good food isn’t it. Your salad looks beautiful and fresh – I’m loving picking things straight out of my garden for salads right now too. Can’t wait till my tomatoes are ready.
    Sue xo

  9. January 15, 2012 10:22 am

    Ce: That sounds pretty cool too, although I can see why you might be missing salad :D Beautiful blog by the way! Thanks for stopping by.

    Co: Yes, I hear Nelson is too a bit? Our tomato plant if giving me the impression its bounty is going to arrive quite late, so I have been getting them at the markets instead hehe…hopefully they’ll come sooner in sunny Nelson though!

  10. January 16, 2012 11:13 pm

    Yay, summery things! And yay Canterbury :) Nice to see you back here.

  11. January 17, 2012 9:02 pm

    Ah, the chive flowers look so pretty. I’d totally make this as a dip too. Looks so refreshing and cooling. And how nice to have access to a garden… good luck with the rest of your thesis! How exciting!

    and thanks for the link as well :)

  12. March 8, 2012 3:38 am

    Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this website needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the info!

  13. August 7, 2012 9:08 pm

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you need to write more on this subject matter, it might not be a taboo matter but generally people do not discuss these subjects. To the next! All the best!!

  14. August 8, 2012 1:55 am

    Hello there! I simply wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for your excellent info you’ve got right here on this post. I am coming back to your website for more soon.

  15. March 22, 2014 9:39 am

    Delicious and healthy, I am interrested in these salads, so easy to prepare! Thank you for these inspiring recipes!

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