Monday, 16 January 2012

Watermelon & Mint Salad

Happy New Year to the Simple, Green, Frugal community! I hope you were able to spend some relaxed time with friends and family.

We're now in the middle of the New Zealand summer and, apart from a few rotten days, we've been blessed with beautiful sunshiney weather here in Wellington. I've spent part of my summer potting up a new herb garden, and I have quite a nursery of mint, coriander, parsley, rosemary, thyme, lemongrass, and basil. I'm not much of a gardener, I have to admit, so I'm crossing fingers I can keep these herbs up. I'm looking forward to being able to just step outside onto the patio to pick lovely fresh additions to our meals.

Fresh herbs really can be the key to a delicious healthy meal. Instead of using butter, oils and other fats in my cooking, I try to add flavours with herbs, spices and seasonings. I find the flavours are fresher, more vibrant, more complex, and of course, so much better for us.

So I thought today I'd include a lovely summery dish which features fresh mint as its star ingredient. I make this a lot over summer, and people are always asking for the recipe. It's quite an unusual salad - sometimes people can't put their finger on what the interesting dressing is - but are usually delighted when told.

Watermelon & Mint Salad

Vary quantities according to how many you need to serve, and/or to taste:
Watermelon, deseeded and chopped into bite-sized chunks
Red onion, finely sliced
Red capsicum, finely sliced
Mint sauce*

The salad really is just combining the watermelon, red onion and red capsicum, and dressing in mint sauce! When I made this recipe to photograph for my blog a few weeks ago, I also had some pomegranate seeds on hand, so added them too. If you like, cubes of feta also make a welcome
variation on the recipe.

*If you're short on time, bottled/bought mint sauce will do the trick, but if you have mint growing in your garden, why not try making your own mint sauce? This recipe is from New Zealand's classic cooking bible, the Edmonds Cookery Book: Put 1/4 cup finely chopped mint
leaves into a jug or saucepan, and cover with boiling water. Add 1 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 cup malt vinegar, and add salt to taste. Leave to cool.

Wishing you all the best for a happy and successful, and not to mention simple, green and frugal 2012.