Thursday 20 July 2017

Sweetness and a little crunch – a salad with a twist

I discovered a small café in Muswell Hill, about three years ago, called Chriskitch. I fell in love with the place and its food. The chocolate cake and the coffee alone are worth my travel there. The salads are stunning, the breads are a must, and the presentation of the plates is very fun and creative. I always find an excuse to go back to try something different each time.

Chris Honor, the chef and owner, loves giving a twist to his recipes. You would never think of putting together some of the ingredients and dressings he mixes in his salads, but they work beautifully. His café has even got the blessing of the fiercest food critic of the capital, Jay Rayner. If it is good enough for Mr. Rayner…  

And if it works, why try and change it, right? Except that, like Chris, I like to put a twist on recipes. One of his recipes that inspired me to add a little touch of mine is the grape and black olive salad. My family loves it. I like to think that even Jay Rayner would approve it… (wink).

Spread the blended kalamata and miso mix evenly on a lined baking sheet.
Let it cook until dehydrated and wait until it cools...
...then blend into a powder.
Cook both grains as per packet instructions. Let them cool... all the ingredients in a bowl and mix gently.
Green grapes, grains and dried black olives

Back in my Kitchen

Green grapes, grains and dried black olives salad (inspired by Chriskitch recipe)
Serves 4-6

A good source of fibre, this salad can be a great accompaniment to a fish, chicken or lamb dish, if you are not a vegan or vegetarian.


200g organic green grapes, chopped
200g organic pearled spelt
150g organic black rice
2 celery stalks, chopped
60g almonds, chopped
20g black olive powder (see how to make it below)
Juice of 2 lemons
Sea salt and black pepper

For the black olive powder – you will need to start this a day before or at least 6 hours before you are planning to make the salad.


160g black olive (I use Kalamata)
20g white miso paste


Preheat the oven to 100°C. In a food processor, combine the olives and the white miso. Pulse them until they turn into a rough paste. Transfer this paste to a lined baking sheet and spread the mixture evenly. Place it in the oven and cook until the mixture looks dehydrated (about 2-4 hours). When ready, turn the oven off but leave the mixture inside the oven with the door left ajar until completely cool. Place the mixture in a food processor and pulse until a powder is formed.

Cook the rice and spelt as per packet instructions, set aside and let them cool. Put all ingredients in a bowl, mixing gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning. 

A healthy note: green grapes (Viti vinifera) contain vitamins such as vitamin C, that prevents infections; and vitamin K, that supports bone health and prevents excessive bleeding. Green grapes are also rich in iron, which plays a very important role in the formation of red blood cells; and potassium, which aids cell and heart functions, tissue and muscle.
Almonds (Prunus dulcis): like any other nut eaten raw, almonds are much easier to digest when they are soaked overnight. They are a great source of complete protein and good fats. They contain insoluble fibre, which is beneficial for regular bowel movements. Almonds are rich in magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. Besides tasting great, almond milk can be taken for constipation and inflammation of the gut (e.g. colitis, IBS and Crohn’s disease).
Black rice (Oryza sativa) and pearled spelt (Triticum spelta) are both great sources of fibre which improves digestive health. Black rice contains an antioxidant called Anthocyanin (its deep purple colour is an indication of high antioxidant properties). Studies have shown that Anthocyanin helps reduce inflammation, improves cardiovascular disease. Black rice also contains vitamin E.

Till next week!

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