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Back in the Lucky Country after a lovely long weekend in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Four days in my home town of Auckland and, for the most part, the weather was kind to us.

One of the highlights of the trip was a Sunday lunch with old friends – lots of great food and wine, and even better company (complete with happy kids running around and the inevitable stubbed toe).

Hanging on the wall in the dining room was a most fabulous Russell Jackson painting of the Orakei Boat-sheds – a little Auckland landmark, so very familiar to me from my childhood.

Arguably, one of New Zealand’s most important naturalist painters, Jackson says, “My landscapes are affirmative and pleasurable, rather than revolutionary. I speak directly to my audience, confirming the fact of place and living things in the World.” Russell Jackson, you spoke to me on Sunday… I love this piece.

Russell Jackson Orakei Basin Shag painting

Orakei Basin Shag‘ by Russell Jackson

Orakei Boat-sheds in a photograph (source unknown)

I also love this piece, but then I have a soft spot for this part of New Zealand, too – as seen in a earlier post, here.

Image of Russell Jackson's Tomtit & Kingfisher O'Neils

‘Tomtit and Kingfisher – O’Neill Bay’ by Russell Jackson
(Available from NKB Gallery in Auckland)

Our hostess is known for her culinary cleverness, and she definitely delivered, this time including a couple of wonderful salads from Angela Redfern’s theRipe Recipescookbook. I just happen to have this fabulous cookbook on my shelf and thought you may like to know a little more…

Image of the Ripe Recipes Cookbook cover

In the nine (or ten?) years since Ripe first opened its doors, it has established a reputation amongst Auckland food lovers for creating fresh, home-made style, seasonal food. There is a focus on free range products and using seasonal ingredients (so you guys up in the Northern Hemisphere would have to swap the months around to match your seasons!) The book showcases more than 130 recipes regular Ripe Deli customers have come to love.

This is one cookbook from down under that you guys up in the Northern Hemisphere should definitely consider. I particularly love the salads that are crammed full of herbs and some wonderful dressings.

The following recipe is one of the salads we had on Sunday. I’m giving you the recipe straight from the Ripe Recipes cookbook (Page 191).  In ours, the buckwheat was substituted for Israeli Cous Cous, and the green cabbage for red. It was superb!

Buckwheat & Broad Bean Salad
(Serves 6 – 8)

Ingredients

1/2 cup (100g) Buckwheat
500g Broad Beans, fresh or frozen
1/4 green cabbage, finely sliced
2 large raw courgettes (zucchini), freshly sliced
1 cup fresh mint leaves
5 artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
250g cottage cheese

Dressing

Juice of 2 – 3 lemons, & zest of 1
1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
1/2 cup (125ml) white wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook the buckwheat

To prepare the dressing: place all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well

To prepare the salad: blanch broad beans for 2 – 3 minutes in a large saucepan of boiling water. Drain and refresh in cold water. Drain. Remove and discard the skins.

In a large bowl combine the cabbage, broad beans, courgette, mint, artichoke and buckwheat.

Add the cottage cheese and the dressing and toss to serve. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Enjoy!

The Ripe Recipes book ain’t that easy to come by. I found some copies available here if you’re interested.

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