Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Apple and Celery Salad with Walnuts and Mustard Dressing

I don't know what has happened to summer, one minute it is warm and sunny, the next we're in the middle of a monsoon. As I walked to work this morning it even felt a bit frosty, it was lovely and sunny but there was definitely a hint of autumn in the air...

This autumn will see the start of an exciting project for me, I am organising a seasonal market for small North East producers, growers and makers. 'Autumn Graze' will be taking place at Northumberland Tennis Club, Jesmond, on Sunday 2nd October.

I have had a brilliant response and have lots of exciting people lined up to take part. The list is building, full of cakes, bread, flowers, wine, local breweries, cheese, pies, charcuterie, pickles, jams, tea, coffee, cookware, handmade chocolates. It will be a beautiful feast of a day, full of talented local people and lots of things to eat and buy, I'm looking forward to it a lot.

I will keep the blog updated with all the details, and please do get in touch if you are interested in taking part. Hopefully it will be the start of many more events to come.

In between planning markets, weeding and the day job I have still found time to slot in some time in my little kitchen. I made this salad last week for some friends and I. It is quick, fresh, healthy and delicious, a healthy take on a Waldorf Salad. The Waldorf Salad was first created in the Waldorf Hotel, New York, so perhaps this could become known as the Maybury Salad, after my little house... Or is that delusions of grandeur? I'll perhaps just stick to Apple and Celery Salad with Walnuts and Mustard Dressing.

Firstly chop 4 celery sticks into 1cm wide slices, make sure you keep all of the leaves and put both to one side. In a dry pan toast two handfuls of walnuts until they are toasty and browning, then add these to a bowl to cool down.

In a large salad bowl start to make the dressing. Start with the juice of half a lemon and add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a teaspoon of English mustard. In a pestle and mortar crush a clove of garlic with half a teaspoon of salt until it is a smooth paste and add this to the dressing. Finally add 2 teaspoons of honey and some black pepper, and whisk everything together with about 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. It will thicken and emulsify as you do so.

Peel and core 3 Granny Smith apples and cut them into bite sized chunks. Add them to the dressing, at the same time adding the celery, roughly chopped celery leaves and toasted walnuts. At this stage I also added some crumbled Manchego cheese. I have made it with and without the cheese and like both versions, so it is up to you at this stage.

The dressing is delicious, sweet, zingy, garlicky and works very well with the sweet apple, toasty nuts, fresh celery and creamy cheese. I will make this again and again I know already.

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Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x