Oh my lordy be….how good is the stone fruit at the moment ? Certainly not as plentiful as has been in other years but they are utterly delicious am I am personally loving their versatility. Right now I am making plum cakes, I am grilling peaches on the barbecue and serving them charred & warm alongside orange blossom honey and crème fraiche. We are preserving them with Caroline Gray in our pickling & preserving classes at Relish Mama as well as making salsa’s and roasting them to enjoy alongside some wonderful cheeses or enjoying on top of my morning granola. I am adoring adding stone fruit to my salads and allowing them to take centre stage. With a lovely run of great weather in Melbourne now and for the days ahead, I hope you too can enjoy the beautiful bowl of sunshine in your own salad bowl to share with those you love.
A handful of small sweet plums
30g butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
1 teaspoon brown sugar + ½ teaspoon additional
2 cups quinoa, washed very well
Watercress, washed and torn
A handful of Italian parsley leaves, washed and roughly chopped
A bunch of dill, roughly chopped
Mixed nuts, toasted and roughly chopped (I used shelled and unsalted pistachios, almonds, pepitas)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
Preheat oven to 180oC fan forced.
Place the nectarines on a lined baking tray. Add the vanilla to the melted butter and drizzle most of the vanilla butter over the fruit, saving some for the plums that will go in later. Scatter the 1 teaspoon of brown sugar over the nectarines and bake for approx. 15 minutes. Place nectarines on the same tray and pour over the remaining vanilla butter and additional brown sugar and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Rinse the quinoa really well before you begin and then cook, according to your chosen brands directions. Once cooked, spread on a lined tray or plate to air dry.
Make the dressing by placing all of the ingredients in a jar and shaking it really well. Set aside.
Place the cooled quinoa in a large bowl along with the watercress, herbs and nuts. Add the warm stoned fruit and mix gently with your hands. Add only as much dressing as is required to coat everything evenly but without excess. Toss again gently to combine. Pile the salad into your favourite salad bowl. This is mine right now and place some ruby red grapes on top.
You could add some more dill, labne or goats cheese on top. It is also sensational splashed ever so gently with my beetroot & balsamic relish.