Success, enthusiasm and green

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Churchill said something about success being the enthusiasm you maintain for something despite all the failures you have in between. In which case I’m a pretty enthusiastic baker this week. I wanted to do a celebratory post about being provisionally accepted to the National College of Art and Design (my portfolio was was good enough… just….). So I am going back to university in September to study fine arts which is massively exciting. To celebrate I thought I would bake a vanilla cake with cream cheese icing and colour each of the layers of the cake a slightly different shade of green (because you know luck of the Irish and all that) for an ombre effect. I had success a few weeks ago with a layered banana cake. I should learn now that one success does not a master make. The green cake tasted ok, but did not look so good.

So I thought, well why not try to do some ombre macarons. Because hey, I’ve never had success with macarons before, so of course they are going to work now and of course I can master colouring them perfectly. Two batches later and 10 left over egg yolks, all I produced were 40 flat puddles of sticky almond mess.

Soooooo, I decided to stick with the green theme and do something that I knew I could actually make and tasted delicious – Broccoli Slaw. I’m actually not a big fan of broccoli at all, but this salad just works so well. The original version included dried cranberries, but I’ve never been a big fan of dried fruit in salads, so I omitted those. If you like the sound of this, chuck in a handful before pouring dressing over the broccoli.

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Broccoli Slaw (from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook with a few tweaks)

2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

Trim broccoli and chop it into smaller pieces. I used the stem and the flowerets, but if you have a broccoli stem aversion you can just use the tops. (Deb says the best way to prep the stems is to peel them — the tough skin is why most people think they don’t like broccoli stems; the broccoli underneath is juicy and crisp)

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Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds and red onion in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller one, with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and toss it well. Season well with salt and pepper to taste