Tuesday, 22 September 2009
I love American cookbooks. I spend too many late night hours online searching Amazon.com for the latest cook books or reading the freshest, most vibrant new food writing in blogs from Texas, San Francisco and New York. What I love most about American food writers is how they do the littlest things so very differently than we do here in Britain.
During this week's (very) short spell of Indian summer weather, we broke out the barbecue one last time. In Scotland when we have a long barbecue summer, its easy to find the time to experiment with grilled leg of lamb in Indian spices and yogurt, paella on the griddle and whole baked fish. This year however, when we've only managed a scant few barbies - all I want is burgers, sausages, potato salad and coleslaw.
Once you eat this beetroot coleslaw, you'll never go back to the pallid traditional version. In America, confident cooks mess around with their food far more than we do here in Britain. They don't make plain or fruit scones, they have maple syrup and oatmeal, or dried strawberry and vanilla. Coleslaw isn't cabbage and carrot in mayonnaise, its could be made with celeriac, fennel, apple, horseradish, any crackling and crunchy food you can imagine will make it into a coleslaw somewhere. They don't stop at mayonnaise, instead jazzing it up with cider vinegar dressing, or sour cream, perhaps throwing in some golden raisins or chillis, curry powder or nuts.
Of the variations constantly being tried out in my kitchen, (in summer: to complement the usual grilled chicken and chargrilled burgers, in winter: to liven up our Scottish seasonal staples- root vegetables) the best and my favourite so far is this glossy barbie pink almost childish concoction.
1/2 head white cabbage
1/2 red onion
2 large carrots
3 small beetroot
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 small packet salted peanuts, chopped roughly
Grate the cabbage, carrot, onion and beetroot on a coarse grater.
Toss with mayonnaise.
The whole dish of coleslaw will turn a lurid but strangely appealing pink colour.
Scatter chopped peanuts over the top for seasoning and crunch.