Healthy holiday dishes
At first glance, these quinoa cakes and rhubard and lentil salad might look a bit worthy, but they are also tasty
Quinoa, raisin and feta cakes. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Rhubarb and lentil salad. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
It’s off to Brittas bay this week for my annual summer holiday and I feel obliged to point out that Brittas is really a rustic version of the Cote d’Azur. Granted, the days here are often punctuated by failed barbecues – and subsequent charcoal tribunals – as well as swimming in icy seas, neither of which you’d probably be faced with a little further south. But nowhere else can children – fizzing with the excitement of being able to eat seemingly endless bags of crisps – run wild for days on end without antagonising locals, thus risking family deportation.
My gorgeous sister-in-law, New York chef, raw food enthusiast and food writer, Doris Choi and I will be locked into the tiny kitchen to cook for masses of hungry parents and children for the next week or two.
During this time, other family members bestow fake pity on us, feebly offering up help, but are secretly delighted to leave the cooking to us chefs.
Arguably, we get the better end of the stick, as they in turn have to do the washing up and battle with the temperamental dishwasher, as well as do most of the food shopping. When you have 20 folk in a house, trips to the local supermarket become a daily chore, which I’m happy to delegate to others and instead pass the time chopping, gossiping and prepping for dinner.
I intend on cooking both these recipes this week and am happy to see rhubarb is still widely available, so please do make this salad and start using raw rhubarb in salads. It’s best described as a kind of juicy celery and really adds an interesting crunch to most salads. It’s also a way of making Puy lentils into something a bit more summery.
The quinoa cakes are fab and I’ve been making slap-dash versions of these ever since writing this recipe. I often cook too much quinoa for salads and am left with a random bowl of it, which I force into an arranged marriage with a beaten egg and any other leftovers I can find. Junior thinks she’s eating burgers and I find they are a great snack to have – even straight from the fridge. You really can throw most bits of leftover veg into them: especially good are chopped up bits of sweet potato or broccoli. The olive salsa is not obligatory, but it is good.