Thai- ish Watercress, Grapefruit and Peanut Salad

Oops, what happened to June? I’ll try to make up for my negligence this month.

The last few weeks were pretty bonkers as I was involved with The Bristol Good Food Awards, meaning that I had the desperately difficult job of eating my way around the city’s best breakfast joints. It’s pretty good news for anyone who likes to eat out of a mornin’ – the five nominees were all fabulous. So, just in case you feel like a great start to the day Rosemarino, The Boston Tea Party, The Souk Kitchen (North St- breakfast’sa Sunday affair only), Brew Coffee Company and Bakers and Co were all really outstanding. Bakers and Co won by a slim margin, I was just bowled over by my plate of sour dough with flat peach, cured ham, fresh ricotta and tomatoes.  So get down to The Gloucester rd if you happen to be in Bristol.

The down side of all this eating out (I was judging “family friendly” with Imi too – but more on that next time) is my ever expanding waistline. It’s particularly worrying as my wedding is fast approaching (in September); it’s one thing getting married at fifty, it’s quite another looking like a whale.

I tried on a potential dress in London the other day, but then did find myself hot-footing it to the lingerie department at Peter Jones in search of some serious corsetry to vacuum-pack the wobbly bits into. So there I was, crouched over the Spanx pant stand, grappling for my reading glasses because the size label was just a bit too small, when an old friend from university tapped me on the shoulder. I hadn’t seen Kitty in at least twenty years and there we were, both looking at reinforced underwear, both squinting at the labels. Life moves on. Ho hum.

I could have a quick fling with the 5:2 diet but I just know that it would make me miserable. I do love to eat salads during the summer any way so I’ve decided to make myself something interesting and quite possibly healthy for lunch every day. Today’s salad is seriously assertive and very light too. It was enough for lunch for me (Peter had some too) but I don’t have a big appetite when the weather’s  warm. This would be very good indeed with some spiced pork ribs off the barbie too.

Thai-ish Watercress, Grapefruit and Peanut Salad  (serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side)

Thai style salad

The salad is “Thai -ish” as I think it’s doubtful that you’d find watercress out there ( I may be wrong?) and the citrus choice would be a pomelo rather than a pink grapefruit. The dressing is, however, very authentic and not the thing to be cooking up if you’re trying to sell your house (read exceedingly pongy) so get the extractor fan on. Fish sauce smells vile as you cook it but tastes divine!

4 grapefruit, cut into segments, juice set aside
1 large bunch watercress, washed and trimmed
50 g lightly roasted peanuts
About 20 mint leaves

Dressing
4 tbsp thai fish sauce
Juice of 1/2 a lime
2 tbsp palm sugar (light muscovado works well)
1/2 – 1 clove garlic, crushed
1 – 2 Thai red chillis

Prepare the salad ingredients and place in individual bowls or on a large platter.

To make the dressing: warm about 1/2 of the fish sauce in a small saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of the grapefruit juice ( you will have gathered plenty as you prepared the grapefruit).

Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.

Tip into a small bowl and add the remaining fish sauce and the lime juice.

Now add the garlic, chilli and grapefruit juice a little at a time, balancing the flavours as you go. You are looking for the perfect equilibrium between sweet, sour, salty, umami and heat.

Tip over the salad to serve.

You could also try : adding prawns, white crab meat or poached chicken to this recipe for a fabulous light lunch.

Sour, salty, umami, sweet, bitter – this ticks all the taste boxes.

Shopping for watercress:
There are lots of things I love about Spanish food; the supermarket bags of tiny-leaved, pale green watercress are not one of them. You want the peppery punch of good, fresh English watercress here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s