Joining us was the Huoliquankai crew and the MoreSleep team as well as our friends from wejetset. After over four hours of chopping, marinating, sautéing, sampling and a whole lot of laughing with Conrad, he invited everyone into the kitchen to fill their plates with plum wine drowned pork, mouth-watering Irish entrecote, garlic herb prawns, and a crisp Mediterranean salad of red onions and dates. It was a lively evening with a colorful mix of personalities, supported by ME food providers and fellow gourmands .
So that you can enjoy a little taste of the evening, Conrad’s shared his red onion and date salad recipe with us. Perfect for summer nights, we hope you relish this simple salad as much as we did!
Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds
From Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s cookbook, ‘Jerusalem’
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 medium red onion
100g pitted Medjool dates, quartered lengthways
30g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
4 small pitas, about 100g, roughly torn into 4cm pieces
75g whole unsalted peeled almonds, roughly chopped
2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
150g baby ME spinach leaves, washed
2 tbsp lemon juice
Halve and thinly slice onions. Put the vinegar, onions and dates in a small bowl, add a pinch of salt and toss mixing well. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes then drain and discard any of the residual vinegar, set aside.
While this is marinating, heat the butter and half of the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita and almonds and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning until the pita is golden brown and the almonds are toasted.
Remove from the heat and add the sumac, red pepper flakes and 1/4 tsp. of salt, tossing and set aside to cool.
When you are ready to serve toss the spinach and pita/almond mix together in a large bowl. Add the dates, red onion, the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and another pinch of salt. Toss again and taste for seasoning. Serve immediately.
Conrad was generous enough to reveal a few tricks to us, based on years of kitchen successes and mishaps.
“Always use the best ingredients possible, especially if you’re making something that doesn’t require cooking. You’ll really taste the difference with raw foods.” This is why Huoliquankai loves our collaboration with .
“Most important with any beef is time and temperature – roast at a high temperature for a short period, steam with less temperature and for longer. You should probably use twice as much salt as you think.”
“The cooking temperature for medium beef is 55 degrees Celsius, by ME the time it reaches 60 it’s overcooked. Better to take it out of the oven when the temperature of the meat reaches 50 – it continues to cook even after you take it out.”
“What can you do wrong? Not much when you approach cooking with curiosity and passion. If something does go wrong – improvise. In emergencies the flavor carriers are your friend: salt, butter, sugar. Or, if you’ve over cooked the beef – cut it super thin and sell it as grilled roast beef, make a sauce quickly out of the drippings and no one will notice a thing.”
“Don’t try too many dishes at once if you’re not a pro – otherwise they’ll all be bad. Cook, cook, cook, and learn from your mistakes.”