Apple Radish Salad with a Ginger Lime dressing

Apple Radish Salad

Although we are into spring for the last week or so, it has still been quite cold in Ontario. It is almost as if the weatherman’s memo did not reach whoever it had to. We have been dawdling with the change with no glimmer of warm sunny days in sight. This time last spring, we had stowed away all our winter gear and were busting out the shorts.  Patios were teaming with people sipping heady concoction and eating all sorts of mouthwatering food that spring had to offer.

Every year I look forward to start off spring. The sudden change in vibe amazed me in my FOB (Fresh off the Boat) years in Toronto. A spring date was picked and like a beautifully synchronized orchestra, the sun would shine benevolently, birds would chirp, trees that had been barren through the dread of cold would begin to sprout greens, grocery stores stock a new selection of veggies and fruits, menus in restaurants would be updated, racing season would begin.  Even after 4 years, this rather dramatic overhaul in weather still excites me.

salad3This year however, it has been a tad bit disappointing with the delayed start we are experiencing. At these uncertain times of varying temperatures, I have been looking for something fresh and bright but also warm and soothing. This apple radish salad with a ginger lime dressing offered me that balance. The crisp apple, peppery notes of the radish is offset by the freshness of the lime and warmth of the ginger. It makes a nice slaw or it can be used as toppings for burgers or tacos.

Apple Radish Salad with a Ginger Lime dressing

Serves 2-3

  • A small bunch of radish sliced thinly into strips (I used 4 large sized ones)
  • 1 apple sliced thinly into strips (granny smith would be the best, I used honey crisp at the time when I was photographing it)
  • Handful of cilantro or parsley chopped
  • 1 green chilly (optional)
  • 1 spring onion finely chopped (The salad is perfectly fine without it, but I used in some other versions and loved it)
  • ½ inch ginger grated
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1-teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Assemble the Salad

In a bowl mix the thinly sliced apple, radish, cilantro, green chilly and spring onion

Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, ginger salt and pepper

Pour in the dressing over the apple radish mixture when you are about to serve

Capsicum Rice

Capsicum Rice

When my mom and I meet we almost always discuss food and exchange new recipes we have tried, although I think it is more of a crash course in cooking for me (I barely ever see her take any notes). My mom on her part is always pushing and prodding me to cook at home more often. She always has a recipe for my ‘dinner parties’ or ‘quick fix after a long day at work’ or a ‘Lazy Sunday brunch affair’. I am quite impressed with the tricks she’s got up her sleeves. Her sleeves know no dry spells and more importantly, the recipes always come at a time when they are most wanted. This capsicum rice is one such recipe that I learnt from her.  I have made it several times for lunch, dinner and on those I-do-not-want-to-cook-days. Each time I would tell her that it is a wonderful inclusion to my recipe book. One day, on our one hour long international call, she admitted that this recipe was from vahrehvah.com, but that doesn’t stop me from claiming it as hers.

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You can make a bigger batch of the dry masala and store it in an airtight container in your freezer. My mom had made a big batch of it before she left, I was very grateful to that. I have also used other vegetables like eggplant and zucchini, but my favourite is peppers.dry masala

Capsicum Rice

Serves about 3-4 people

Dry Masala

  • 5-6 dried red chillies (you can reduce it if you do not like the heat, but mine were quite mild)
  • I teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • I teaspoon coriander seeds
  • I teaspoon cumin seeds
  • I teaspoon urad dal
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder or garam masala
  • A big bunch of curry leaves
  • 3 tablespoons raw peanuts (I used a little more because I love the flavour and the crunch)

Bell Pepper rice

  • 3 cups cooked basmati rice (1 1/2 cup basmati rice cooked with 3 cups of water)
  • 3 coloured peppers (for this recipe I used, orange, yellow and green peppers)
  • 2 teaspoon ghee or oil
  • 1 lime
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander leaves chopped
  • Salt to taste

For the dry masala

In a small skillet dry roast all the ingredients except the cinnamon over medium-low heat, till fragrant and the urad dal turns golden, this should take 6-8 minutes.

Cool the roasted spices. Then using a spice grinder or food processor, grind into a semi fine powder. I like it a little course, adds a nice crunch to the rice.

You can even grind the mixture using a mortar and pestle, although it tends to be a lot coarser.

Now add the cinnamon powder to the spice mix, alternatively you can even add half teaspoon garam masala. This would also be a good time to salt the dish.

For the rice

Chop the peppers into 1 inch squares

In a pan, heat a little oil or ghee and saute the peppers for 3-4 minutes or till it just begins to soften. I like the peppers to have a bite in my rice.

To this add the spice mixture and 3 cups of cooked rice, mix till evenly coated. Turn off the heat when the rice is heated through.

Squeeze a whole lime and garnish with coriander leaves.

I like to eat it with a little plain yogurt or cool cucumber and mint raita.

Note: The rice needs to be clump free. For this the cooked rice needs to be cooled on a plate before adding to the peppers and spice mixture.

Spiced Nut & Cranberry Mix

For a long time now I have been experimenting with all kinds of spiced nut mix recipes and I stow away any good recipe I can get my hands on. They are perfect with a hot cup of chai or a cold glass of beer and also a great snack to refuel after a workout. This time around I wanted to make some for a 4 day road trip that Vivek and me are planning on taking over the Christmas weekend, although I am not sure it’ll last that long.

While I was rummaging through my recipe book, I found this – the cover of a spiced nut and cranberry mix that I had bought at the Muskoka store. They were wonderfully sweet, tart and spicy and I had stashed away the cover thinking I would try it later.

I guess it was about time I whip up a batch. It was super easy to make and you can substitute the spices as you like. All you need is about 5 cups of assorted nuts and cranberries, an egg and a bunch of spices and about 15-20 minutes in the oven.

In the past I have also tried some other wonderful combinations inspired by some of my favourite Food Network hosts.

Spiced Nuts by Chef at Home, Michael Smith; The Union Cafe’s Bar Nuts by Nigella Lawson and I also love Ina Garten’s Chipotle and Rosemary roasted nuts in the December issue of the Food Network Magazine.

This addictive and wonderfully delicious Spiced Nut and Cranberry mix will be definite feature in the edible gift basket that I have been working on for a few of my friends this holiday season. More on that later.

We polished off more than half of this even before we got to packing it for our trip.

Spiced Nut & Cranberry Mix

Makes about 5 cups

Spiced Nut Cranberry Mix recipe

    • 1 cup dried sweet cranberries
    • 1 cup almonds
    • 1 cup cashews
    • 1 cup pecans
    • 1 cup walnuts
    • 2-4 tablespoon brown sugar (you need enough sugar to cramelize in the oven)
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
    • 1 egg white
    • salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Grease and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl, lightly whisk the egg white along with all the other spices.Add the nuts and cranberries and toss till all the nuts are uniformly coated in the spice mixture.
Spread the nuts in one layer on the lined sheet pan.
Roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing once or twice, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown.
Sprinkle the warm nuts with a little more salt and set aside to cool.
Serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight containers.