Spiced Soba Noodle Salad with Thai Peanut Dressing

1-1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1-1/2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt
1 pound dried soba noodles
1 cup finely julienned carrots
1 cup finely julienned cucumber
Finely grated lime zest and chopped cilantro for garnish

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just Starting to brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the jalapeño, garlic and ginger and cook until Fragrant, 1 minute. Add the peanut butter and red curry paste and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the coconut milk, chicken stock, soy sauce and sugar and simmer until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the lime juice and season with salt; let it cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted
boiling water, cook the soba noodles
until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain
and rinse under cold running water until cooled. Shake out the excess water and blot the soba dry. Transfer the noodles to a largo bowl and toss with the remaining 12 tablespoon of oil. Add the spicy peanut dressing and toss well to coat thoroughly. Add the carrots and cucumber and toss again. Garnish the soba with the lime zest and cilantro and serve.

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Pomegranate, Orange & Cauliflower Salad

20ml red-wine vinegar
½ tsp dijon mustard
100ml olive oil
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cauliflower
3 large oranges
1 pomegranate
50g raisins
1 tbsp chopped mint
Salt and pepper

Mix the red-wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil in a large bowl, season and mix well and leave to one side. Add the red onion to the vinaigrette – this will allow the vinegar to slightly “cook” the red onion.

Put a pan of salted water on to boil, and prepare the cauliflower by removing the stalk and root, and cutting into florets. Add the florets to the boiling water and simmer until just cooked. When ready, drain well and immediately, while still warm, add it to the vinaigrette. Mix well.

Using a sharp knife, cut away the peel of the orange and slice into segments (or if easier, peel and segment by hand). If the oranges are lovely and ripe, don’t worry too much about removing any of the pith. Prepare the pomegranate (it’s not the easiest but it’s well worth the hassle). Cut the fruit in half, then carefully scoop out the seeds. Add the orange and pomegranate to the cauliflower, mix well, and add the raisins and mint. Check the seasoning and serve.

If making for later, leave in the fridge but remember to remove 15 minutes before serving so that it reaches room temperature.

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