We went out to the bush last Sunday. It turned out to be the kind of winter’s day you wish all winter’s days were like; cold and crisp, bright and just warm enough in the sunshine. W waded into the shallows – shoes and all – so that she could set leaves afloat into the current like miniature boats and T took the greatest of pleasures throwing handfuls of pebbles into the water.
We feasted on coffee cooked over the trangia, thick slices of homemade kale & potato pie that our friends brought, humus and rice crackers, crunchy apples, and sticky fruit buns that we picked up on the drive over from Sourdough Bakery in Seddon. We strolled through the bush (alternately carrying or chasing after small people), and ended the morning lying on the banks of the creek in the midday sunshine as the kids splashed in the stream.
I’ve been resisting this first winter back in Melbourne, but maybe I’m finally starting to see the silver lining.
And the winter produce is, of course, part of that silver lining. Summer fruit & veg get all of the glory. And they sure deserve it – juicy peaches, plump tomatoes, crisp watermelon. So much to love. But what about the winter jewels? The farmers market this weekend past was gorgeous – glossy kale leaves, autumn-orange carrots, pink-streaked beetroot, moss-green brussels sprouts, ruby-red blood oranges, apples so round and perfectly sweet.
This Beautiful Winter Coleslaw is the best showcase of winter’s finest. Crisp veges sliced thin so that each mouthful gets a sliver of everything, sunflower seeds for toasty-crunch, and a lemon-y tahini dressing that complements rather than overwhelms. I’ve been eating it on its own for lunch with some crusty rye bread on the side or a poached egg on top, but it makes a beautiful side dish if you’re a meat eater, or is perfect atop a grilled tofu burger. Shine on, winter, shine on.
A Beautiful Winter Coleslaw
This is a lovely low-key coleslaw. Feel free to play around with the ingredients a little – replace the purple cabbage with sugar loaf cabbage, the apple with crisp pear, the sunflower seeds with pumpkin seeds. This salad will keep well covered in the fridge for a couple of days but may need a spoon or two of extra dressing after to loosen it up before eating.
1/4 head purple cabbage
6 brussels sprouts
5 kale leaves, lacinto
2 small/medium carrots
1 small apple
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp tahini
2 tsps dijon mustard
1 tso apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground pepper & sea salt, to taste
In a pan over a medium-high heat dry toast the sunflower seeds, tossing continually, until they start to colour and smell toasty, 4 – 5 minutes.
In a small jar combine all of the dressing ingredients and shake/stir until fully combined. It should be thick but easily pour-able – if it’s too thick add some water a teaspoon at a time until you achieve the desired consistency.
De-stem the kale leaves and thinly slice.
Using a mandoline (or a sharp knife and a steady hand), core and then thinly slice the purple cabbage and the brussels sprouts.
Add the julienne setting to your mandoline and slice the carrots (lengthways), the beetroot, and the apple.
In a large bowl combine all of the sliced veges along with the toasted sunflower seeds, and the sesame seeds. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine.