Summer has well and truly arrived in The Cotswolds. Our Daffodils and Apple Blossom have given way to Roses and Rhododendrons, the Swifts have returned from Africa swooping overhead catching flies on the wing, and our little birdhouse is occupied by some rather busy Blue Tits. If Spring is time for awakening after a slumber, we’re marching well into the brightest midday of the year now!
Signs of life and the abundance that warm weather brings is undeniable, and as the flora and fauna emerge, we also will begin to gather at much longed for reunions, parties, and beanfeasts. It’ll be so nice to spend time with family again, break bread, and bask in the additional warmth of each other’s friendship and love. Winter is usually a wonderful time for this, with big hearty dishes so easy to share and enjoy…
noun Informal ~ British
1. a celebratory party with plentiful food and drink.
“Cheerful music for beanfeasts”.
However, with all this new hot weather and party spirit brings a little conundrum to the housewife, as noted lately in our community. What to cook and eat when the mercury rises?
So today I am sharing with you a fail proof recipe that works as a salad all on its own, a delicious side to a BBQ, or perfect addition to a Church Potluck/Bring & Share. Introducing Aunt Carolyn’s delicious Broccoli Salad…
How to make Broccoli Salad
I first tried this delicious dish on a family trip to Canada to see our Father in Law when our little one was a babe in arms. We had a large family gathering at my husband’s cousin’s house and his Aunt Carolyn had made this broccoli salad.
To the bowl I kept returning, adding more to my plate by the spoonful. You see, I’m a vegetable nut, and this salad recipe hits every right note, and aside from a little sugar the dressing - there’s not much to complain about in the nutrition department. Carolyn is a whiz in the kitchen, and though there are sweet dishes, she balances health and happiness for tastebuds just right.
Fresh raw broccoli, deliciously sweet red peppers and raisins, plus the sharp note of red onion and a little white wine vinegar. I urge you to give this one a try! It has been an instant hit at every party I have taken this to since, and I cannot recall the amount of times I have had to write the recipe down for those who have asked.
I have kept the recipe true to how it was written down for me, in “cups and tbsp’s”, see here for a rather pretty conversion chart and kitchen tips manual which will convert these measurements in an instant for you.
Housewife Tip 1: Make the dressing at least 2 hours ahead, or preferably the night before for optimum flavour. We have eaten this recipe immediately, and it is just as lovely - but allowing for extra time helps the sugar to mellow and dissolve further so there is no “grain” feeling in the dressing.
Housewife Tip 2: Chop the broccoli as small as possible into “tiny” florets. See main article picture for illustration.
This quantity will feed a family of six as a small side salad, or a family of four as a large side (as illustrated in the picture). Double, or triple quantities to make for larger crowds.
Ingredients for Broccoli Salad
- 1 large head of Broccoli (chopped small, stalk included if desired)
- ¾ cup Raisins
- 1 small Red Pepper (deseeded and chopped into small dice)
- 1 medium Red Onion (chopped fine)
- ¾ cup Toasted Slivered Almonds
For the dressing
- ½ cup White Sugar (or swap for ¼ cup of Honey/Maple Syrup if you prefer)
- ½ cup Mayonnaise (you can sub for vegan mayonnaise to make this recipe vegan friendly)
- 1½ tbsp White Wine Vinegar
- Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl or jug, cover and set aside in the fridge for 2 hours (or preferably overnight).
- Add your chopped vegetables into a large bowl and mix thoroughly, then pour over the dressing and stir to combine.
- Add the slivered almonds a few moments before serving. You can leave these on top like a “topping”, or toss the salad again to combine them in*.
*Obviously, leave the almonds out for anyone with nut allergies. If going to a party with people you don’t know well and are unsure if there will be people with allergies, you can swap the almonds for pumpkin seeds to keep the salad allergy friendly.
Making this recipe always brings back memories of that lovely summer trip to Canada. We went on a road trip with Mr Darling’s father across the border into New England (my favourite place on earth), where I saw The Amish for the first time with my own eyes. Other notable moments were baby’s first time in the sand and sea (Lincolnville Beach, ME), and eating a lobster roll from the iconic Red’s Eats in Maine.
However the Amish settlements and presence at the farmer’s markets is what sticks in my mind the most, I have no pictures out of respect, but their example of simple, honest living started my own journey into adjusting and considering my own family and lifestyle choices. I have read quite a few books on The Amish over the years and really appreciate how they prioritise family and community gatherings above all. I’m not quite sure I’m set up for the ‘plain life’ myself, but how wonderful to take a leaf out of their book and put family first.
How fleeting time is with family, I hope we never take it for granted. How lovely it is to reminisce with those you love, and pass stories down to the next generation too. Lately I have been thinking about how we take pictures by the thousands on our phones, but do not display them. It’s the same with family recipes, do you have a place you have written them down? Have you taken the time to collect them from the minds and hearts of those you love in order to pass on to your own children, or nieces and nephews?
What family story will you write this year?
Keeping family values and traditions alive.
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For all things “Kitchen” have you seen our new Kitchen Management Manual? There is a beautiful printable recipe card for just this occasion!
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