Although this is called a salad book, I use the term ‘salad’ loosely, for as you will see, in my mind salads encompass so many types of dishes: vibrant side salads that often outshine their companions; breakfast salads, that keep us nourished all day long in body and spirit; appetite-whetting brunch or lunch salads; and then of course there is a huge range of main course salads – some pared-back and elegant, others a riot of colour jumping off the plate. This is the kind of food we can eat nearly every day of the year; delicious food, cooked and served with mindfulness and love.
I guess I should start at the beginning; and the beginning is our home. We feel incredibly blessed to live in a glorious part of rural Australia, and to have access all year round to beautiful local produce. We are just so lucky to have four farmers markets within spitting distance (well, in country terms!) of home, and each week I find myself at one, two, or depending what’s on, even three of those markets. I delight in everything about them – the just-picked beauty and vivid flavours of the produce; the growers and producers themselves, who are there every week, rain or shine, with a welcoming smile, a story, a recipe, a laugh to be had and, more often than not, a treat to be savoured. And it’s not just farmers bringing their cornucopia of vegetables, fruits and nuts – there are also producers of honey, coffee and olives; makers of cheese and tofu; picklers and fermenters of vegetables; butchers, bakers, and yes, you guessed it … there really is a candlestick maker too! We have known many of these hardworking people for over 15 years now, and it has been so special to have them in our lives and to see their farms and businesses flourish, so to write a book based on this edible bounty has been a real joy; a joy I hope you will share when cooking from The Salad Book.