"Curds and Whey" is the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). It's a week for yoghurt and cheeses. I've made one of Diana Henry's salad with Feta cheese, though it does not look at all like her gorgeous salad (here), since I've made some changes.
Firstly, one of the ingredients is fennel bulb and I did not use it, as the supermarket near my house do not carry any fennel bulb. I need to go to another supermarket which is a little distance away and I was rushing for time, so I've used a lovely radish which I bought days earlier (meant for a pickle!). Simply halved the radish and slice into thin slices.
And I cheated on the homemade honeyed almonds! I used store-bought ones! Diana Henry's homemade honeyed almonds sounds so good with paprika and cumin, but I was really rushing for time, so I used a small pack of store-bought honeyed almonds instead.
I did not have any watercress, but used what I had, fresh lettuce salad leaves from my garden pot.
One of my Lettuce Salad plants growing in a pot.
As for the dressing, I've only used 2 tablespoons of olive oil, instead of the original 5 tablespoons calls for in the recipe. I've also added a little more honey to balance off the sourness from the white wine vinegar. Some orange juice, thyme leaves, and a seasoning of salt and black pepper to taste, to complete the dressing.
Feta and Orange Salad With Honeyed Almonds
(adapted from "A Change of Appetite", Diana Henry, or can be found here)
Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a light meal
For the dressing :
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp orange juice
salt and pepper
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I use 2 tbsp)
about 1/2 tsp runny honey (I use 1 tsp)
leaves from 1 sprig of thyme
For the almonds :
1/2 tbsp olive oil
50gm (1-3/4 oz) blanched almonds
1 tbsp runny honey
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp ground cumin
For the salad :
1 small or 1/2 large fennel bulb (I use radish)
60gm (2oz) watercress (I use lettuce salad leaves)
100gm (3-1/2 oz) feta (preferably barrel-aged), broken into chunks
10gm (1/4 oz) mint leaves, torn
Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together. Taste to check the seasoning, then pour into a broad shallow bowl.
To make the almonds, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and add the almonds. Fry them over a medium heat until they are toasted - keep an eye on them to make sure they don't burn - then add the honey and spices and cook until the honey is bubbling and almost caramelized. Spoon the hot honeyed almonds on to a non-stick baking sheet or some baking parchment. Leave to cool a little. You can chop these very roughly or leave them whole.
Cut a slice off the bottom and top of each orange so they have a flat base on which to sit. Using a very sharp knife, cut the peel and pith off each orange, working around the fruit and cutting the peel away in broad strips from top to bottom. Slice the oranges into rounds and flick out any seeds you see. Set aside.
Trim the fennel, reserving any feathery bits, and remove the tough outer leaves. Quater the bulb lengthways (or cut the half bulb in half) and cut out the core. Slice very finely (a mandoline is best) and throw into the dressing. Finely chop any feathery bits you pulled off and add them, too. Discard any coarse watercress stalks.
Put the oranges, watercress, feta and mint into the bowl as well and toss gently. Add the almonds and serve immediately.
I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week "Curds and Whey"
and sharing with Salad Days @ Couscous & Consciousness