It was so lovely to see the B family after a couple of years. We’d not even met the youngest member of the family, all of two years old. He strode into the house in his little overalls and threw himself down at Alice and Paisley who were quite taken aback, roused from their doggie dreams. It has been a while since anyone paid them such close attention! Baby’s older brother, now bloomed into a charming (and good looking!) eleven year old, kept a tender eye on his new sibling.
We knew Mr. B as a young bachelor, tooling around in his black Beemer convertible, and he was a funny uncle to you girls, always laughing and making naughty jokes. It is so nice to see him with his own two children, and his beautiful wife who does a tremendous job taking her wild husband in her capable stride. I hope you have an opportunity to catch up with them while they are in Melbourne. They’d love to see you. I think the last time you saw them was in London, and that must be a while ago now.
I made a freekeh salad to accompany a slow cooked lamb dish when they were here, and a crunchy green bean and bell pepper salad. Tonight I’ve cooked some farro. Stirring in some pomegranate seeds, baby tomatoes, chopped parsley, garlic, lemon juice and lots of olive oil. About a week ago, it was some tabbouleh with bulgur to go with spicy lamb kebabs. I love using these different grains- they feel so healthy and the texture is so earthy after rice and pasta. The nutty flavour of farro is hard to beat for me, and I love the colour- a deep green-y brown; so rich and appealing.
With the freekeh and farro, just follow the cooking instructions on the box, and then add to salads using vegetables like green beans, chickpeas, chopped apricots, peppers, pomegranate, chopped celery, onion, spring onion, carrots, etc. On a wintery day, it makes for a more substantial salad. You can also add farro to soups, giving them texture and some heft. (add a handful to a minestrone ..)
Tabbouleh, with bulgur is so much more economical assembled at home. My jaw dropped at the market the other day when a lady picked up a tub of tabbouleh and the guy said cheerily: Nine dollars please! Ouch! You can make it for a fraction of that.
Definitely make a huge batch at home, and enjoy with some grilled sangers or chicken, or make hummus and grill some egg plant and capsicum for a vegetarian meal. Parsley is plentiful and beautifully fresh right now, so I’d encourage you to buy a pile and make some! No cooking involved, just chop up some favourite ingredients and toss together. Here’s how:
- 2 medium sized tomatoes diced fine
- 1 small onion chopped fine
- 1 large bunch mint leaves
- 2 to 3 large bunches of flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 30 grams bulgur
- Place the bulgur in a sieve, and wash under cold water. Drain well and put in the salad bowl.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and onions to the bowl with some of the lemon juice and stir to combine.
- Chop off the main parts of the parsley stems and discard. Gather the bunches of leaves together, and chop fine. Add to the bowl. Now the same with the mint leaves, but no stems at all.
- Add the spices, and olive oil and rest of the lemon juice, and toss all the ingredients thoroughly. You might need a little more olive oil.
Parsley is so good for you too! Full of anti-oxidants and high in Vitamin C, can you think of anything better during flu season? Sending you both hugs.