Everybody knows too much cheese is bad for you and full of calories and saturated fat. Except that really this isn’t true at all – yes cheese is fairly high calorie but it’s also a good source of protein, calcium and above all JOY! Eating well sometimes involves taking a bit of a step back and seeing the wood for the trees. It’s actually fine to have a moderate portion of cheese now and again, especially if it helps you to eat more of the good stuff along side it. I’m a firm believer in the salad splurges philosophy of eating:
Not cool – a block of cheese gradually nibbled away until you realise that you’ve eaten half of it in one sitting, probably with slice of plastic bread on the side
Not cool – a huge bowl of just salad for lunch – unadorned and protein free except with nothing but a drizzle of fat-free salad dressing
Cool – a little bit of cheese as part of a well planned meal that also includes a huge portion of lovely veggies and some of those good fats too, like nuts and olive oil
This salad tastes best when made with some lovely smooth mature stilton, not the standard factory offering with its astringent, tongue-burning properties (great use for any Christmas leftovers).
Recipe for A warm winter salad of leaves, stilton, cherries and walnuts
Half a small savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (discard any overly tough parts)
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup seasonal salad leaves
60g stilton cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp dried sour cherries
For the dressing
2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp english mustard (hot!)
Juice of half a lemon
pinch each salt and pepper
Prep all of your ingredients before you start to cook, chopping them all as described in the ingredients list.
Make the dressing by mixing the ingredients together (I keep an old jar for shaking up dressings).
Heat a large frying pan or skillet and toast the walnuts in the pan until they start to give off a nutty fragrance. Take care not to burn them. Put the toasted walnuts aside for later.
Heat the 1 tsp olive oil in a pan and add the savory cabbage. Cook, stirring regularly, until the cabbage starts to soften slightly (about 3 or four minutes). Take care not to let the cabbage brown - reduce the heat if necessary.
Add the red cabbage to the pan and cook for a further minute to warm the red cabbage but retain all of its crunch and colour.
Tip the cabbages into a mixing dish and pour over the dressing.
Add the salad leaves to the mix.
Dish the dressed salad cabbage mixture onto two plates and top with the stilton, dried cherries and toasted walnuts. Serve immediately.