Buttermilk & Stamkoring Salad

Had my parents and their friends over for a relaxed Sunday night braai, I wanted to accompany the meat with a slightly more exciting side-dish than the usual bland salad and hot dog rolls. So I turned to 101 Cookbooks – which is an amazing online recipe journal created by Heidi Swanson. Heidi focuses primarily on natural and whole foods and ingredients that are healthy and nutritious. Have a look at her website to be inspired to create yummy vegetarian foods.

101 Cookbooks presented me with an abundance of choices of unusual salads to make; the one I went with was a Buttermilk Farro Salad. Farro is a pearled barley and is the equivalent of a grain called Stamkoring that we use in SA. Its delicious and this is what I used in place of the farro. The dressing is very unusual, a vinaigrette combined with buttermilk and loads of fresh herbs. I was not convinced at first, but believe me this works, the sharpness of the vinegar combined with the sweetness of the buttermilk and herbs is delicious and also blends well with the clean veggies and stamkoring. This salad comes highly recommended, everyone loved it (even my meat-eating boyfriend!) See below for the recipe and pics…

Buttermilk Farro Salad Recipe

I used semi-pearled farro here, but you can certainly substitute whole farro, wheat berries, barley, or other plump grains. I say to serve this at room temperature, but actually, I like this salad warm, room temperature, and chilled. It’s good the day after, and for a couple days after that. Just revive with a splash of the leftover dressing.

2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup / 240 ml buttermilk
1/2 cup / 120 ml good-quality white wine vinegar
1/2 cup / 120 ml extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped dill
1/2 cup chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped thyme

7 small radishes, sliced paper thin
3 small zucchini, sliced paper thin
1 medium head of fennel, trimmed and sliced paper thin

4 cups cooked farro, cooled to room temp
chopped chives for garnish

Combine the garlic and salt on a cutting board. Mash into a paste using the flat side of your knife. Place in a medium bowl or jar, then add the buttermilk and vinegar. Whisk together and let sit for 5 minutes or so. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, then the herbs.

In a large bowl gently toss the radishes, zucchini, and fennel with the farro grains. Add 1 cup / 240 ml of the dressing and toss again. Let sit for ten minutes, taste, and adjust with more dressing, if needed, and salt to taste. Serve sprinkled with chives.

Serves 8.

So delicious!! included one last pic below that I love. You can see my “bland” green salad in the forefront but this was a great accompaniment to the stamkoring salad. I also did Marge’s delicious, creamy potato bake as a substitute for hot-dog rolls. All went together beautifully! You have to love the onset of summer with this weather and braai’s, gets me so super excited for December holidays, woohoo!!


In true colonial style

Had the most exquisite dining experience at Wombles in Parktown North on Saturday night. Everything was truly splendid and executed without a foot being stepped wrong. The service was impeccable and possibly the best service I have ever experienced; slick and calculated with an engaging, friendly edge that made one feel at home and perfectly comfortable.

The setting is a colonial old house situated behind leafy bamboo stalks – giving it a secluded and intriguing first impression. On welcome one is greeted by a roaring outdoor fire and friendly waitrons. The verandah is the place to sit, with tables done up using candles, large wooden armchairs and heavy white tablecloths, all placed in a dark and intimate setting.

And to top it all off, the food is superb, all dishes are very traditional and there is nothing here that is going to leave you wondering what the hell it is that you just ate, the portions are generous and all dishes come with a delicious variety of side-dishes. Wombles is recognised as the best steak house in Joburg, so if you are a meat-eater I would recommend you stick to ordering this. I am not of the red-meat-eating calibre and thus had the duck, done in a mandarin and orange glazed sauce. It was outstanding and I will most definitely clock this restaurant into my top-rated restaurants for two reasons; namely the service and the food.

Mandarin & Orange glazed duck served with mash

LOCATION: 17 3rd Avenue, Parktown North, Joburg