Homey delights and summery herb yogurt dressing
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…
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)