Sunday, June 15, 2014

Pear, walnut and blue cheese salad


We are getting chilly here in Dunedin!! I suppose that it is now June and we are nearing the shortest day of the year but I think I forget just how bitter Southern winter days can be. It also doesn't help that my best friend is currently sunbathing in the Greek Islands, so I keep seeing pictures of clear blue skies and picturesque white-washed walls. Oh that and my grandparents have just jetted off to Rarotonga. I suppose all a girl can do in these sorts of situations is dream of beautiful warm weather and eat some delicious warming food.

Oh and keep warm by going shopping. I do love winter fashions.

I am still on a bit of a break from uni at the moment working on my dissertation so it is easy to snuggle up on the sofa with a cup of tea and do some research. Today Mum had the day off work so we went out for lunch up to Coffee Culture in Roslyn. For anyone who lives in Dunedin or is visiting you should definitely check it out! They have converted an old fire station which has some amazing views out over the city, the food was tasty and importantly the coffee was excellent.

Speaking of warming foods, winter isn't exactly what I would consider salad time of year, but in my opinion it just means that you need to change up the type of salads you have. Pear, walnut and blue cheese isn't exactly a ground breaking combination, but they go so well together that I thought I would share my version of this winter favourite. The delicious pan-fried pears help to warm it up a little, while the raspberry vinaigrette adds a lovely tang.

I'll add a wee note that I used Raspberry Vinegar in my dressing. This is a little bit of an investment type vinegar as it is more difficult to find and a little more expensive, but I absolutely love it!! It really does make a great alternative to apple cider vinegar. I haven't tried it, but if you don't want to go out and find raspberry vinegar, apple cider vinegar should work in the dressing.

Ingredients
2 pears, cored and slice thinly
Approx. 1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup shelled walnuts, roughly chopped (or put in a snaplock bag and give them a bash with a rolling pin Jamie Oliver style)
Approx. 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (just use however much you like really)
Couple big handfuls mixed salad greens

3 Tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
Grinding of salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a pan and lay the pear slices flat. Pan fry for around 4-5 minutes or until golden and then flip over. Fry the other side for a following 3-4 minutes adding a little more butter if needed. You may need to do this in 2 batches.

In a jar, shake together the dressing ingredients (vinegar, honey, oil and salt and pepper) until well combined.

On a large serving plate (or bowl if you prefer), spread out the salad greens. Drizzle with some of the dressing and toss a little to coat. Sprinkle over the blue cheese, add the cooked pear and then sprinkle over the walnuts.

Voila!

Store the remaining dressing to enjoy over the rest of the week. Just give it a bit of a shake up before you use it.

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