In another life, or at least long enough ago that it feels like another life, I was vegetarian. I kind of wish I still was but what with young children and a heavily carnivore partner its easier to just eat the occasional bit of meat (not usually red meat but meat nonetheless). Prior to falling off the wagon (who knew that saying “No carne” in appalling French to a Tunisian wouldn’t rule out Tuna?) I was a good little non-meat eating gourmet. As a result I have quite a lot of vegetarian cook books, and not all of them have “healthy” or “whole” in the title. Incidentally, why is it that Op shop selves are littered with Wholefood cookbooks? Actually you probably don’t need to answer that question – the question should probably be why do Op Shops still accept copies of Wholefood cookbooks (or Julie Stafford’s Taste of Life for that matter – I challenge anyone to enter a Melbourne Op Shop and not find a cookbook by Julie Stafford – its remarkably difficult)?
“Wholefood” cookbooks aside (and I do admit that even they have their place – I am particularly partial to the occasional lentil and nut loaf with piquant dressing) there are some absolutely fabulous vegetarian cookbooks out there. One of these is a paperback I own called Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookery by David Scott. Its a really nice little book – no pictures but lots of nice recipes using the sort of produce I usually eat & grow. One of these recipes I adapted for lunch today – Cucumber with a feta cheese dressing which in my house became Cucumber & Radish salad with feta cheese dressing as I had some lovely radishes ready for harvest.
This recipe should really serve more than one person (particularly if served with a selection of salads) but I’d been swimming and was hungry so I scoffed the lot.
Cucumber & Radish Salad with a Feta Dressing
- 1 cucumber – finely sliced
- 3 smallish radishes – finely sliced
- 1/2 onion – finely sliced
- a handful of lettuce leaves
- 100g feta (I usually use a mild Tasmanian or Danish style feta for this dressing)
- 2 tblspns extra virgin olive oil
- juice of a lemon (I used a Meyer lemon today with great results)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp dried oregano – crushed*
Arrange the cucumber, radish and onion on top of the lettuce leaves. Mash the remaining ingredients together with a fork to make the dressing. I do find the dressing does split a bit but that this doesn’t detract from the flavour. Serve.
* I find store bought oregano stronger than the stuff I dry myself. I’m not sure whether this is because its a different variety or that mine is growing in the shade and needs a bit more sun to really develop its flavour. With store bought oregano I would use 1/2 tsp but with my oregano I usually add a bit more. If you don’t have oregano, mint – either dried or fresh would make a lovely alternative.