Aussie Salad

One of my childhood best friends live in Australia, and she prepared this wholesome, refreshing salad when we visited her. The bright, zippy lemon-honey vinaigrette wakes up the palate and complements the fruits quite well.

Why hello there! I've been running around these past few days, trying to reorganize home and work life as I had just arrived from Australia. But I'm thrilled to be back in our cozy, quirky home, cooking new and exciting dishes for my loved ones and for my dear readers out there.

I was blown away by the wonderful sights and sounds of down under, and truly, deeply inspired by the vibrant food culture. The trip was short but sweet, and I'll definitely be back. If only for a cuppa flat white!

When people think of Aussie food, they usually think of Vegemite. But there's so much more to outback cuisine than meets the eye.

Ever the adventurous eater, Mr. Flintstone had suckered me into trying out exotic food, such as kangaroo meat (tastes like venison) and crocodile meat (tastes like chicken). I drew the line at koalas, because the kids might cry!

It's definitely a paleo wonderland down under. Every day of our stay, Mr. Flintstone ordered organic, grass-fed Aussie lamb, whether it's served as a breakfast sausage, grilled burger, or roasted with root vegetables.

The holidays also allowed Mr. Flintstone and I to relax, unwind, and savor every meal with fantastic wines from Australian vineyards. Mr. Flintstone takes a few sips because he has read somewhere that wine aids digestion and is good for the heart. As for me, I drink it because it tastes good with food, period.

My kids, on the other hand, loved devouring meat pies, especially when they're swathed in gravy and mushrooms. And TimTams. They ate it for dessert after each meal, and I may have turned a bit jealous when my eldest said it's her "favoritest dessert ever".

I must say, one of my favorite dishes from our Oz trip is crumbed barramundi, Australia's take on the quintessential British nosh, fish and chips. Barramundi is creamy, flaky, and just plain wonderful.

This month's recipes are inspired by the bounty from Aussie's deep-blue oceans, free-range lamb from its grassy hills, and amazing wines from its world-class vineyards. Luckily I ran into Rustan's Supermarket's wine specialist last weekend. She told me that Flametree Chardonnay complements the buttery, nutty flavor of barramundi, while Flametree Cabernet Merlot goes well with the subdued earthiness of Aussie lamb.

I'm bent on starting 2015 on a right note. Marketplace is teeming with fresh vegetables and seasonal fruits from Australia, and I intend to make a crunchy, tangy salad with fresh fruits from down under.

The sinful holiday feast has forced me go easy on deep-fried, sinful food. But, I have to admit. I love me some crunch, so instead of deep-frying fish, I'll be making baked fish and crisped chips.

For my meat-loving man, it's definitely roast lamb with caramelized market vegetables.

And because I love me a good challenge, I'll be serving up a batch of homemade TimTams. Thankfully, it won my eldest child's approval.

Oh, and for those who have been askin' and askin' for an Easy-as-Pie pie recipe, I got you covered. Sundays with family, after all, are made for minced meat pies with onion, cheese, and all the fixins'.

Aussie Salad

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette:

¼ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Strawberries, sliced
Grapefruit, peeled and sectioned (pith and membrane removed)
Cherry tomatoes, sliced
Romaine lettuce
Arugula
Sliced almond, lightly toasted

Procedure

1.    Mix honey and lemon juice in a large bowl. To emulsify lemon-honey mixture and oil, slowly drizzle extra virgin olive oil into the honey-lemon mixture and whisk vigorously until the vinaigrette is homogenous. Set aside. (If emulsification breaks, simply whisk again).
2.    Drizzle honey lemon vinaigrette over arugula, and romaine lettuce. Top with sliced strawberries, grapefruit, cherry tomatoes, and toasted almond slices.
3.    Serve!

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