This past week has been quite a relaxing one for me as it will only get busier now we’re heading into the ‘silly season’ – my favourite time of year! Over the past few weeks I have been enjoying the Melbourne racing season, something I haven’t experienced before growing up in Queensland – I went to Derby Day and had a blast, absolutely love all the racing fashion! As it was my first Melbourne Cup actually in Melbourne, I hosted a family lunch for my uncle, aunty, cousin and cousin-in-law. It was a memorable afternoon and no doubt there will be many more family lunches now the weather is warming up!
As it was an amazing morning on Melbourne Cup, a morning beach walk was in order. This was actually my first time going to the beach since moving down in April, living so close to it on the Gold Coast was something I definitely took for granted.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with my Melbourne extended family and I’m absolutely loving it – growing up in Cairns we didn’t have any extended family living close by so I’m really relishing being able to pop over for coffee unannounced and spend some quality with them.
This photo shows just part of our lunch spread – we enjoyed an Aussie BBQ along with the zucchini, fennel and mint salad, roasted vegetable quinoa salad and roasted pumpkin with cumin tahini dressing.
Thought I’d include a close up photo of lunch, really delicious food (even if I do say so myself)!
What’s a family lunch without a little dessert, and a healthy one at that? I whipped up some of my Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice in the morning – it’s one of my favourites as the only equipment you need is a bowl and spoon. I actually put the salted caramel layer in the middle this time with the chocolate on top, it was still scrumptious and I can assure you there weren’t any leftovers either!
Zucchini, fennel and mint salad
You may have heard of ‘zoodles’ AKA zucchini noodles before – these are a healthy alternative to pasta and can be used in salads. I’ve been enjoying them in all types of meals about 3-4 times a week – such a fun way to boost your green vegetable intake.
Lately I’ve become a little addicted to fennel, I think it’s because of its distinct liquorice flavour and I LOVE liquorice – must be the Dutch coming out in me! This fabulous vegetable can be eaten raw or cooked, and is a great addition to summer salads as it brings a delicious crunch.
This really is such a simple salad and only requires three main ingredients – which is what summer cooking should be all about to allow you to spend more time soaking up the sun and enjoying the outdoors!
I added mint to this salad as it provides a freshness that balances out the other flavours. It also increases your greens intake!. The chia seeds, which are optional, lend the salad extra nutritional value in the form of omega-3’s and fibre, among other benefits.
There really are three different yet complementing elements to this salad – the varying shades of green, the different textures from the vegetables and herb, and the variety of flavours that all come together. This fresh summer salad is perfect served with wild fish, chicken, beef, lamb or even some beans.
As you can see it was quite sunny on Melbourne Cup day, so we made the most of it by dining outdoors in the courtyard – I’ve realised that you have to make the most of the blue skies when they are out, something I also took for granted in Queensland!
This summer salad will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for one day.
Zucchini, fennel and mint salad
- 4 zucchinis, washed and cut into noodles using a vegetable spiraliser tool or vegetable peeler*
- 2 fennel bulbs, washed and finely sliced
- 1/2 bunch fresh mint, washed and finely sliced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 TBSP chia seeds (optional)
- Add zucchini noodles, sliced fennel and fresh mint to a large bowl, mix together until well combined.
- Coat salad in lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and chia seeds.
- Serve in a large bowl and enjoy!
Note: if using a vegetable peeler, cut the ends off the zucchini and slice into thin strips, stopping and turning the zucchini when the seeds are visible. Discard the seeds and finely slice the zucchini strips to resemble ‘zoodles’.
Melbourne really turned on the weather today, so after another morning walk to St Kilda I picked up the paper and an almond milk latte then whipped up some Paleo pancakes (added some maca powder and cacao powder for a chocolately flavour).
A last-minute decision to drive down to the Mornington Peninsula today turned out to be a worthwhile trip. I found a secluded beach and enjoyed a picnic whilst reading a book. As they say, “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content” – looking forward to a fulfilling week ahead!