Happy New Year! The festivities have come to an end and now we make way for a new year and a new decade. I wish that the coming year brings everyone real happiness and sets you off into this fresh decade on the right path.
For many of us, the delicious celebrations that we merrily welcome are also jubilantly welcomed by our waistlines. It’s no secret that many of us start the new year with mighty resolutions, swearing that we will finally put the gym memberships to use in an ever growing attempt to loose weight. I’ll be honest; I am totally and utterly incapable of following a diet. Can you imagine how much self control I would have to possess in my line of work? “No Beth, that foie gras does not taste good… foie gras is bad…foie gras is good. I mean bad. Dammmnit!”
I learned early on that fad diets are a load of C.R.A.P… literally! And that fat free/light products should just be banned. They are useless and counterproductive. I prefer to have real cheese and in moderation rather than triple the servings of some light version and the craving still left insatiated. No, I’m not an expert on dieting and nor am I a size zero. I’m a person happy with an hourglass figure and for the most part feel good in my own skin. I eat whatever I want in moderation. But, when the holidays roll around and everything revolves around the dinner table, it’s only normal that I gain a few extra pounds. So, when I need to shed a couple of pounds, I continue to eat whatever I want for breakfast and lunch and then polish off my day with a substantive salad, soup or grilled fish with some vegetables. Obviously, engaging in some cardiovascular activity, whether it’s just brisk walks or a yoga class is indispensable, if only for your general well being.
So, the next couple of posts will bring you dishes, that I feel, you can truly enjoy in the evening as part of a re-balancing eating plan. They are wholesome and won’t torture your stomach or mind.
The idea for this salad came a while back from my friend Bashar who is a visual artist and blogger. He sent me the ingredients list to a salad he had recently enjoyed telling me I must try it. So, with the ingredients list at hand, I hit the shops. I decided to caramelize the pears, walnuts and shallots as I wanted to create more depth of flavor and sweetness to balance out the saltiness of the prosciutto and stilton cheese. He was right, it’s absolutely delicious as I had imagined when he listed the ingredients. It’s perfect with a glass of red wine on a cold winter night. If you’re vegetarian you can omit the prosciutto.
- Mixed greens- I like to use peppery rocket (E.U) or arugula (U.S)
- 80g or 6 slices of prosciutto
- 45g or about ½ cup of walnuts- halved
- 40g or about 2oz Blue cheese like Roquefort, Gorgonzola or Stilton
- 2 small shallots, sliced into thin rings
- 2 pears- cored and cut into wedges (peeling optional)
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 23g of light brown sugar or 2 tablespoons
- 30ml of balsamic vinegar or 3 tablespoons
- 15ml olive oil or 1 tablespoon
- In a sauté pan on medium flame, melt the butter then add the sugar and shallots. Stir well and cook for about 1-2 minutes till the shallots are soft.
- Then add the pears and walnuts stir well and cook for a further 2-3 minutes till soft and caramelized.
- Remove the pears, walnuts and shallots and set aside. Return the pan to the heat and then deglaze with the balsamic vinegar, stirring well so all is mixed for about 1 minute. Remove and mix in with a little olive oil. On a plate add the greens, the caramelized pears, shallots and walnuts, slices of prosciutto and cheese. Drizzle with the warm dressing and enjoy!