I use the word testing with a bit of poetic license, however, because the only thing that's actually been tested (read: extended) is my waistline. Between reviewing restaurants, devising recipes for features (then eating them) and relaxing by... you guessed it, eating out; I feel as if I've overdosed on carbohydrates, cheese and red meat of late - not that I'm complaining, of course.
Being a full-time glutton takes it out of you. It's a tough title to bear, but someone has to do it.
I've been craving fruit and vegetables to try and get back on the right track, but the Glasgow Cookery book doesn't offer a huge selection of virtuous meals. Lots of the soups have cheese or cream in them. There's a big emphasis on pork and offal, which make for comforting winter dinnesr but don't exactly constitute healthy eating.
The vegetable section of the book is interesting - the salad part even more so. In Glasgow, we're lucky to have a plethora of restaurant offering genuinely innovative vegetarian salads - Mono, the CCA and Stereo are some of my favourites - but I'm interested to see a 100-year-old take on the dish.
Raw winter salad seems simple enough. It is specified in the opening line that any green and root vegetables may be combined, and I like the freedom of choice this affords. But later on in the instructions, the reader is presented with restrictions of a selection of specified vegetables that can be only be used.
Brussels sprouts feature. Let me repeat: Brussels sprouts feature. I'm all for being creative with cooking, but a Brussels sprouts salad? Oh boy. At the conclusion of the recipe there are two lists of ingredients to use that cannot be interchanged. What's with the militant restrictions?
There's more strangeness to come. The brief recipe stipulates that the vegetables, once grated or shredded, should be arranged on the plate in sections according to kind. Basically this is a segregated salad that allows no mixing of vegetable kinds of any kind - and in terms of it looking visually appealing, I'm struggling to see how it's going to work.
At the end of the recipe I'm instructed to make a cooked salad dressing. Unsure whether the syntax implies that the dressing itself is cooked, or if it's for cooked veg, I choose a vinaigrette. You couldn't make it up - this is a salad dressing that has chopped gherkins in it, as well as tarragon vinegar (adding dried tarragon to malt vinegar is fine, right?) and chopped shallot. It looks like pond-water -murky, foreboding and capable of supporting aquatic life.
As for the taste... I got heartburn from eating vegetables thanks to that dressing. Not ideal.
You'll also see that I deviated from the strict lists and mixed my veggies on the plate - well. You only live once.
Here is this week's forgotten recipe - segregated salad with pond-water dressing and a side of heartburn.
Raw winter salad
For the salad
Any green and root vegetables may be combined: the green vegetable is usually winter cabbage or Brussels sprouts.
1. Prepare the vegetables according to kind.
2. Arrange in sections on a salad dish.
3. Serve with a cooked salad dressing - the dressing separate from the salad
The following combinations of vegetables may be used:
1. Shredded cabbage or Brussels sprouts, grated carrot, turnip and beetroot sprinkled with chopped parsley.
2. Shredded cabbage, celery, tomatoes, onions, cauliflower sprigs.
For the dressing
2 tablespoons salad oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1/2 teaspoonful chopped parsley
1 small teaspoonful chopped shallot
1 teaspoonful chopped gherkin
1. Put the oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix, then gradually add the vinegar, stirring with a wooden spoon.
2. Lastly stir in chopped parsley, shallot and gherkin.