Broccoli Salad with Bacon

 

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This is by far one of my favourite salads.  I could literally eat a bowl of this and not feel a pang of guilt.  Oh, and by the way, this salad is equally as nice without the bacon, so it can be vegetarian friendly too…just saying 🙂 .

Raw broccoli never excited me up until these last few years.  It was this very recipe that changed my perception of raw broccoli.

We were at a braai (barbecue) and a friend of a friend had made a Brocolli Salad. I think I fell in love that night with the salad …quite sad hey, but it happens. I got the basic recipe from her and have slightly adapted it with regards to ingredients and quantities. This recipe has become a family favourite.  It is just one of those salads that I could never tire from. It is just perfect on its own with nothing else.  It is THAT good !!! It is totally adaptable as well and can easily be increased for a bigger crowd, also if you want more crunch, you can add more toasted sunflower seeds, and basically just play with the flavours and quantities.

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I make this salad with my Homemade Mayonnaise but using a store-bought mayo is equally as good and tasty.  Although this is not a time-consuming salad, time can be cut down even further by toasting the sunflower seeds, prior to doing the salad and by storing them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. I am a sunflower seed freak and love them on my salads, or for a snack attack, so I permanently have a container of toasted sunflower seeds sitting in my refrigerator.  Also, the bacon can be cooked until crispy and kept in the refrigerator until needed. If the seeds and bacon are cooked and stored before-hand, this salad can be made in the blink of an eyelid.

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Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Refrigeration time:  2 hours

Total time:  2 hours 20 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients:

250 grams chopped bacon bits

150 grams sunflower seeds

1 head of fresh broccoli

1/4 cup chopped white onion

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1- 2 tablespoons white vinegar (or white wine vinegar)*

1 tablespoon sugar (I used brown sugar)

Instructions:

Cook bacon bits until crisp and set aside.

Toast sunflower seeds, by using a small pan on top of the stove on medium heat. Do not use any oil as the seeds have their own.  Constantly keep turning and moving the seeds around in the pan, to prevent burning.  Once done, set aside to cool.

Cut the broccoli florets into bite size pieces.

Chop and dice the onion into small pieces.

Combine the broccoli florets and the onion in a medium-sized bowl.

Then, in a separate small bowl, add the mayonnaise, vinegar and the sugar (this is where I use only half of the vinegar and half of the sugar, then I taste) and mix together with a tablespoon until it is of a smooth consistency and evenly combined. Taste again at this point, and if you feel you need a bit more vinegar or sugar, add a little extra).

Gradually and cautiously mix the mayonnaise mixture in with the broccoli and onion. The mixture must not be a mayonnaise, creamy, watery mess. It must rather be on the dry side, to play it safe, as remember, as this salad sits, natural juices will form. You may find you have too much mayonnaise for the broccoli (I usually always do), if so, don’t use the balance, rather set it aside and place it back in the fridge.  Once you have the consistency correct, and you are happy, toss the mixture together thoroughly.

If possible at this point, place the salad in the refrigerator for at least two hours.  This helps combine all the flavours together.

After two hours, or best just before serving, add the crisp bacon bits and the toasted sunflower seeds, just for some added crunch.

This salad is divine even a couple of days afterwards, so it is nice to know that this salad can be made in advance if necessary.

Enjoy 🙂

*  Decrease the white vinegar to 1 tablespoon if the mayonnaise you use has vinegar in it.  (I use my Homemade Mayo, where there is no vinegar, so feel it needs that extra)

 

 

 

 

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Bacon, Tomato and Halloumi Bake

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Lunch time always tends to baffle me over weekends.  I am so used to just having a good old salad for lunch during the week and often just feel like something different on a weekend.  Anyway, after a lot of pondering and wondering… I decided to do a dish with one of my favourite cheeses’…. Halloumi :-). Why not, it was the weekend ! …. Any excuse to have Halloumi ! Really, I can’t get enough of Halloumi, whether it is baked or fried, I will take it anyway !

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This dish is particularly easy.  I came across it in a cooking magazine several years ago, and with a few odd changes here and there it has become a firm favourite.  It is more of a throw all together quick dish, just my kind of dish and perfect for a lunch or brunch.

I did use a Gluten Free and Wheat Free Brown Bread in this dish, purely due to the fact that I have had my eldest daughter on a Gluten Free and Wheat Free way of eating for several years now, and I tend to be following suit….

This dish would be amazing though with a Ciabatta bread or even a sour dough bread, so if you are not Gluten and Wheat intolerant, try either of them, I am sure you won’t be disappointed.  Ciabatta bread crisps up so nicely once in the oven, and that added crunch just will take this dish to another level of perfection.

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Bacon, Tomato and Halloumi Bake

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  30 minutes

Total time:  45 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

500 grams diced bacon bits

500 grams Red Cherry Tomatoes *

300 grams Halloumi cheese *

1 Ciabatta Bread, broken into bite size pieces (approximately 2 cups) or a bread of your choice

3 tablespoons Avocado Oil or Olive Oil

bunch of fresh basil leaves

For the dressing

1 tablespoon of honey *

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C/ 525 degrees F

Start cooking bacon pieces till partially cooked just to give them a head start. (I started mine off in the microwave)

Slice the Halloumi into slices, about a few millilitres thick and set aside.

Crush the garlic clove and set aside for the dressing.

Once the bacon is slightly done (not crisp) as it will crisp up in the oven, it will be time to start assembling the ingredients.

In an oven proof dish (I used a square one, approximately  22 x 22 centimetres/8.5 x 8.5 inches in size) place the bacon, tomatoes, Halloumi cheese and bread.  Toss gently, and pour over the avocado oil or olive oil.

Place oven proof dish into the oven and allow to cook for about 30 minutes. Watch the bread, that it doesn’t crisp up too much and burn (this will depend on the actual bread you are using.)

Whilst everything is cooking, place all the dressing ingredients together and shake well.

Once the bacon is crisp, the tomatoes have wrinkled and cooked, and the Halloumi slightly golden brown on the edges and the bread perfect, take the oven proof dish out of the oven.

Serve immediately and place basil leaves on.  This is not great just for colour but adds a great flavour with the tomatoes.  Sprinkle with the dressing. *

Enjoy 🙂

*  Any red cherry tomatoes will do. The size may differ, but that will be fine.

*  I used Raw Honey for the dressing, runny honey will blend a lot easier.

*  You may have some extra dressing left, depending on how much each person likes on their meal.