I was at my book club’s end of year dinner a couple of weeks ago, and we were all looking ahead to Christmas Day.
Christmas Day for us is a getting together with family and enjoying nice food. I think we are like most New Zealand families, in that we like to spoil ourselves our Christmas Day. After all it is the day that we over indulge. When my grandmother was alive, the question of what to have for Christmas lunch/dinner was a decision that was not made lightly. It usually started with the woman of the extended family getting together for a “meeting” 6 weeks before hand. The meat was the most important part of the meal, then desserts. Our grandmother, being the matriarch of the family, usually got the final say with a little persuasion from some of us.
Salads were not really an important part of the meal, that we shared for Christmas. We usually had cooked vegetables. If we did have salad, it usually consisted of shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped tomato and cucumber, and sliced egg. It was topped with a mayonnaise made from “Highlanders” condensed milk. I also remember we would have “tomato and cucumber salad”. I have a feeling I was a big fan of this. The tomato and cucumber was “marinated” in malt vinegar and sugar. Maybe it’s time to have a retro Christmas! There is always next year!
It seems now, that salads are integral part of Christmas dinner. Easy as you can prepare ahead, and also easily transported. One of my friends at book club dinner, was looking for ideas of a new salad to try for Christmas lunch.The following recipe was my salad contribution. It is very is easy to make, and festive looking. The spinach and cranberries provide the colour, and the nuts the crunch. Thank you to my sister’n’law who made this one Christmas.
The recipe is adapted from the allrecipes.com website. I hope it becomes a favourite in your house.
SPINACH AND CRANBERRY SALAD
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds
250g baby spinach
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp minced onion
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Melt the butter, and toast the almonds on a low heat until golden. Allow to cool.
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jar.
Put the spinach, cranberries and toasted almonds in a large bowl for serving.
Just before serving toss through dressing.