Ponita Salad

For breakfast this morning I had leftover pizza. Och, there's no shame in that. I'm a man. I've done much worse than that, trust me. Besides, there was one hefty slice left in the box, no porridge oats left in the cupboard, and it was a shame to waste it. Have you any idea how hard it is to find real porridge oats in Spain? People are suspicious of trying different foods in some countries, so Scottish porridge to a Spaniard is definitely different.

The culture in Spain has on occasion appeared very different to many. For instance, I took Siobhan along to see a bull fight during her very first holiday in Spain some years ago. I must admit that we thought it would be fun, but I can honestly say that we have never been so appalled and upset by such an event involving animals and weaponry in years.
It cost 18 euros to get in, a can of coke was another 6 euros, and our seats were so far at the back that we could hardly see the cows getting stabbed.

Okay. Seriously, if you have ever had a very angry Viking amazon poke you in the chest and reprimand you over your stance on dried herbs, you will recognise my sheer terror last night. I have had to come up with something tasty, but non fattening for my lovely Pony-doll as she doesn't have access to fresh herbs during the 11 month winters in the snowy wilds of Manitoba. Too busy skinning buffalo's and walking across frozen rivers with tennis rackets strapped to her feet if you ask me.

Here goes.

To create the perfect Ponita salad you will require:

50g blanched hazelnuts
1 tsp olive oil (extra virgin if possible)
8 rashers dry cured, smoked, streaky bacon
1 crisp eating apple
10g butter
70ml red wine vinegar
1 tsp clear honey
120g blackberries or red grapes if blackberries are not available
100g baby spinach

Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/gas mark 4. Scatter the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for around seven minutes, until just golden. Chop the hazelnuts roughly, swear if you have to.

Warm half a teaspoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the bacon, until just crisp. Be sure and drain off the excess fat.

Quarter the apple and core it; halve each quarter and lay length ways, they must face east to west, never north to south. Don't question me as to why, just do it, okay?

Remove all but two tablespoons of fat from the frying pan. Add the butter and sauté the apple slices over a medium-high heat for four minutes, until golden on both sides. Remove to a warm plate, not tepid, not cold, warm...

Put the vinegar and honey in the pan and allow it to bubble and scoosh for 30 seconds. Add the blackberries, stir and remove from the heat.

Dress the spinach in the remaining teaspoon of oil, divide between two plates or place on a large platter. Scatter over the bacon, apple slices and hazelnuts, then trickle over the blackberries (or grapes) and hot salad dressing. Serve immediately with a glass or two of chilled Pinot Grigio.
Next week, buffalo stew... (if she manages to lasso any)


  1. You say there's no shame in eating pizza for breakfast as though there were actually people out there who MIGHT be shamed by it. I don't understand? Is that true? More importantly, did you heat it up or eat it cold? Cold pizza + milk. You haven't lived.

    I suppose bullfights are a lot like boxing matches. You don't realize just how brutal they are until you attend one. At my first boxing match, I was taken aback at the sound of a glove slapping flesh. It's not the same when you watch it on TV.

    Buffalo burgers are a pretty common sight on menus nowadays out here. I'd gladly try the stew.

  2. sounds delish, sugarpie! i'm thinking a nice baguette on the side with the wine...xoxo

  3. UB, it was consumed cold, straight from the box, accompanied by the last remnants of a half finished bottle of Sol. Being seen eating fast food, let alone leftover fast food, is deemed in some parts of Scotland as the second coming of the anti-christ. A young woman in our small community had her children taken by the authorities and her animals shot on the front lawn by the Freemason society only last month. Her crime was reheating chicken legs left from the Colonels bucket before noon.

    Boxing will go the same way as bull fighting unless they immediately do something about the prices of beverages. No wonder they are fighting...

  4. Savvy, for extra crunch in your baguettes, sprinkle in a wee smidgen of bi-carb and open another bottle at the table of red.

    The biscuits were superb by the way... although it took me a few attempts to get it right.

  5. :)

    (What? I'm trying to be quiet while I do the dishes).

  6. A salad just for me?!? Sounds yummy! Will definitely try that one.

    However, I must educate you on mammals of North America. Buffalo reside in Africa and are fearsomely short tempered creature. I have no idea what they taste like. You'd have to ask the lions.

    "Bison", on the other hand, are one of the largest herbivores over here in The Americas and have had the misfortune to be called buffalo. Bison tastes wonderful, especially a hip roast done very slowly on a rotisserie. Bison burgers are so much better than beef!

    And I don't have to lasso one... I just buy it at the local grocery. Moose, on the other hand, is best shot dead with one bullet, as they get very cranky very quickly. No one wants to be flung about by a 6' wide antler rack attached to a pissed off moose. No one has figured out how to ranch raise them either. Bison were much easier in that regard.

    Thanks for the personalized salad. But you terrified of me? Ha! And I myself have eaten cold pizza for breakfast.

  7. Ahhh Hope, tis the quiet ones that are always the worst.

  8. Well now, Pony-doll, thank you for putting us right in regard to the many edible animals of the world. I have sampled bison meat and was actually impressed. I've taken a few moose's out for a drink in my time, but that is best left between us. The worst meat I have ever eaten was at the BBQ the little singing fella cooked last summer. He can sing, but he cannae cook...

  9. My daughter makes the same salad for me when she's in town! Except she uses strawberries instead of blackberries. And it's on a base of mixed greens instead of baby spinach. The hazelnuts? She uses toasted pecans. Raspberry vinagrette instead of the oil/red wine vinegar, too. But it has bacon...

  10. Ahhh, the delightful Daisy. Shake the sand from your feet hen and sit a while. I'll get us both something to eat. I was cooking a rotisserie chicken with salad yesterday evening till very late.

    I tossed and turned most of the night.

  11. An interesting thing with your blog, Chef... the names of most of the commentors do not show up until I pass the cursor over the blank space where it should be.

    I do thank you for dimming the bright white type to a more eye easing grey.

  12. C'mon pal, a BBQ? In Ireland?


  13. Pony-doll, a case of now you see me, now you cannae? Who knows?

    Map, true. There was that one time you set fire to your shed though, eh? Thank the lord that you rescued the still. The price of sugar an all...

  14. This comment box went walkabout yesterday in the middle of my comment. Was it something I said?


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