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Monday, 6 August 2012

It's just that kind of day

Back from the last of the summer holidays and it's the usual bitter-sweet emotions...home, my sweet, sweet home on the one side. But on the other? Unpacking, washing, drying, ironing, putting away, settling, defrosting, never quite seems to end and as I take a deep breath (or many) and wonder if I am ever going to get done (no, never), I thank god, on more than one occasion, for creating the man (or woman) who created the establishment called school.

And I look at my photos from my holiday just done. I look at them sitting on my own chair in front of my own computer, dressed in whatever I like, with a cup of tea made just the way I like it. I stare at a hundred pictures of myself in a foreign land, smiling widely into the lens. And I smile widely into my screen.

It's just that kind of day.

And though I'm glad to be home, a part of my heart still lies in the cold, clear blue waters of Lake Annecy, glittering golden in the mid-morning sun. My ears still ring with the happy shrieks of little French children with their blue eyes and fair curls and multi-coloured bathing suits and my little dark-haired, brown-eyed, olive-skinned  boy playing among them, splashing around in the knee-deep water. My mind, still fresh from the memories, yearns in part to return to the lush conifer-covered mountains, their grey, scraggy peaks towering high above voice reverberating through the mountains as I sing with the birds into the deep, wide valley, to nobody in particular.

With these thoughts I snuggle into my bed - the most comfortable bed in the world...and I wonder - am I happy or sad? Or both? Is that possible? To be both? And then, as I often do when I ask these questions that can't possibly have any answer, I stop wondering. And instead, I think - what should I make for dinner? What is the appropriate first meal for the first day back from holiday?

And I decide on a pink grapefruit salad topped with strips of seared steak.

Here's what you need:
- 2 pink grapefruit
- ½ red onion, sliced thin

- ½ cucumber, sliced, skin on
- 5-6 handfuls of mixed salad leaves (Romaine, Boston, Arugula, Watercress, Raddiccio etc) washed and dried
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 1 tbsp sesame seed oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- Handful of roasted, salted cashews
- 2 x 100-140g Rib-eye or strip steaks, extra fat trimmed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Here’s how you do it:
Using a sharp knife, peel the grapefruits, removing all of the bitter white pith. Work over a bowl, and cut in between the membranes to release the sections; squeeze the juice from the membranes into the bowl. The juice forms the heart and soul of this salad.

Separately whisk together the oils, brown sugar, red wine vinegar and lemon juice and keep aside - this is your dressing.

Cooking the steak is easy. Simply pan fry the meat, for 4-5 minutes each side with a little oil. Let the steak sit for a few minutes to rest, then slice thinly against the grain.

Arrange the lettuce leaves in a large salad bowl, toss in the coriander, cucumber, grapefruit sections and onion. Add the dressing and toss well. Finally pour in the lovely-sweetly-sourly-wonderfully refreshing pink grapefruit juice. Season the salad with salt and fresh pepper. Scatter the cashews and toss well. Finally, top with the seared steak.

This is a beautiful dish guys - succulent and juicy, cleansing and invigorating, yet light and lovely and fresh.

And bitter-sweet.
Poetically so.

It's just that kind of day.


  1. what a gorgeous recipe! I rather brilliantly managed to delete your lovely email instead of replying (can you tell i have total baby brain?!) pls do get in touch again, wld love to meet for that coffee x

    1. Thanks Rej :) I was after pomelo actually but they were out of it at the store and couldn't be bothered to go hunting for it. Pink grapefruit worked just as well though...thanks for stopping by! And look fwd to that coffee! x