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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Escape To Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island

Last month our partnerships manager, Alice Johnson, escaped Melbourne for a dreamy getaway to Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia.

Here, she shares her experience staying at Southern Ocean Lodge, where luxury relaxation meets the rugged wilderness of the South Australian coastline.

Fortuitously, one of our fave travel photographers, Kara Rosenlund, was there too! Today, Alice shares highlights of this incredible trip, accompanied by Kara’s spectacular photos.

Roast Eggplant with Crunchy Coleslaw and Tahini Dressing – The Design Files | Australia's most popular design blog.

OK so this isn’t strictly a salad.  More of a substantial side dish really… but it’s one of my favourites, especially as the weather cools down – and so stupidly easy, I felt it was a nice way to conclude my Tasty Tuesday contribution this month!

I’ve been eating a lot of eggplant lately. When roasted with a generous splash of olive oil, its velvety texture just feels so decadent. There’s no other vegetable quite like it. And one of my FAVOURITE flavour combinations ever is eggplant and tahini. SO good.

However, eggplant does soak up olive oil like a sponge, making it quite a rich meal. That’s why it pairs so perfectly with this crunchy coleslaw – the tart, lemony tahini dressing cuts the grease in this dish, and balances out the richness of the eggplant.

This really is a satisfying meal in itself, but if you are keen to pair it with protein of some description, try roasting a small rack of lamb in the oven alongside the eggplant. So easy – it only takes 20 minutes.

Yes, Technically, Drinking Cold Water Burns More Calories—But There’s A Catch

Hello again, and welcome to another installment of SELF.com’s weight-loss myth busters. Previous topics have ranged from whether strength training or cardio burns more calories to the sad-but-tr

European Coleslaw with watercress & baby peas – The Design Files | Australia's most popular design blog.

FOODEuropean Coleslaw with watercress & baby peas - The Design Files | Australia's most popular design blog.

SO this month I hope you’ll humour me, as I share four more simple salads I love to make at home. We’re kicking off the series with this new-ish one I have recently concocted, inspired by a classic meal I love at one of my fave Melbourne restaurants – City Wine Shop (you know, on Spring st, next to The European). The Wine Shop serve a green coleslaw style salad with baby peas, quite similar to this. I love it so much, I invented my own version.

I’m quite partial to a salad with a bit of crunch. This one presents an unexpectedly brilliant flavour combination – peppery watercress and sweet baby peas. The inclusion of peas may seem odd in a cold salad, but in fact these are the star ingredient! Their bright sweetness is the ideal complement to the bitter watercress leaves, they just work so well together. The parmesan really rounds the dish off perfectly – make sure you stir it right through the dish, rather than just sprinkling on top.

Please note, I’m no food stylist (although I do try!), and in shooting this series we learned quite quickly that there really is nothing photogenic about creamy salad dressing, no matter how delicious it is! For this reason, our photograph above shows the dressing served on the side – for aesthetic reasons only! Before you serve your own version, do stir the dressing right through… and don’t waste a drop!

This salad is super versatile, it’s great served with crumbled chicken schnitzel (just as they do at The Wine Shop), or with a juicy lamb cutlet, or a fillet of fresh fish. Oh Gawwwdd, I’m making myself hungry.

Ingredients (serves 4 as a side dish)

For the salad

¼ red cabbage

¼ green cabbage (a slightly softer leaved, ‘frilly’ edged green cabbage works better than a very hard white-ish one, if you can find one.)

5 small pink radishes

1 generous bunch watercress

75g strong flavoured Italian parmesan / reggiano cheese

Half a cup of sweet baby peas (either fresh or frozen is fine!)

For the dressing

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons mayonnaise (Best Foods is best!)

1 teaspoon tahini

2 pinches of ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste


Firstly, cook your peas. Whilst fresh peas are delicious, let’s face it, shelling peas is not exactly a weeknight activity, so if you’re pressed for time it is perfectly fine to use frozen baby peas. (baby peas, along with broad beans, seem to be the only vegetables that truly taste just as good after freezing as they do fresh!). Boil a small saucepan of water, and once it’s bubbling add the peas. They’ll be cooked when they’re vibrant green and float to the surface – frozen peas will be done in a flash, fresh peas will take a little longer. When cooked, immediately drain and run under a cold tap to stop them cooking.

Slice up both cabbages very finely.

Wash the watercress thoroughly, then spin / dry as best you can to avoid adding too much water to the salad. The watercress takes a little bit of ‘weeding’ before you add it to the salad – try and pluck out the very thick stems and any ratty leaves by hand, but you can leave the finer stems in.

Scrub and slice your radishes as thinly as you can into little discs. Grate your parmesan very finely.

For the dressing, simply combine all dressing ingredients, tasting as you go. I am quite generous with the nutmeg as I feel it adds a fantastic depth to this dressing. If you have one, use a bar mix (I think other people call it a ‘stick blender’!?) to whizz up the salad dressing. If not, chuck it all in a screw-top jar and shake vigorously!

Pop all your vegetables in your serving bowl, add dressing, mix and serve immediately. Being quite leafy, this salad doesn’t keep well once dressed, so if it looks like you’ll have a lot leftover, pop some aside before you add the dressing, and save some dressing too. It’ll make a great lunch the next day.

Prepping the peas, the star ingredient in this coleslaw! White bowl hired from The Establishment Studios , timber plate from  The Woodsfolk. Photo Eve Wilson, recipe and styling Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

European Coleslaw ingredients ready to go! Plate hired from The Establishment Studios. Photo Eve Wilson, recipe and styling Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

European Coleslaw with red and green cabbage, watercress, pink radishes, parmesan and baby peas. Props by The Establishment Studios. Photo Eve Wilson, recipe and styling Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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