remembering dad with this 'summer in a bowl' salad

Gluten Free. 

Dad's salad with mango and haloumi recipe by Eat Real Food NYC
Dad's salad with mango and haloumi by Eat Real Food NYC

photos by Luisa Brimble

"Those of you that have been following me for a while probably already know this story but for those that don't, this salad is a special one.

My dad passed away in 2013 after a 3 year battle with cancer. I had just moved back to New York when he initially found out so i spent those 3 years flying between NYC and Sydney, trying to spend as much time with him as i could while still maintaining a life in New York. My trips home could be very frustrating at times as sadly dad was of the old school mindset that 'doctors know best' and most attempts i made at steering him towards a plantbased, whole food recovery were shrugged off.

He did come around to a few things though. Like drinking pear juice when the drugs were messing up his stomach (as opposed to taking more drugs). He LOVED my Apple and Pear Crumble and this 'Summer in a bowl' salad was enjoyed on a regular basis.

This salad was the only thing he would eat when he was going through chemo as the mix of sweetness from the fruit, salty from the cheese and sour from the lime was the perfect balance of flavours to ignite even the most dead of taste buds. (Chemo generally leaves a horrible metallic taste in your mouth and takes the joy out of eating).

I spent many hours sitting in the hospital with dad over those years. Through many chemo treatments, doctors appointments and in the end months, weeks and hours, by his bedside. When he was lucid enough we would attempt the daily crossword in the newspaper together (well, dad would get most of the words and i would be happy just getting a few!) and i would give absolutely anything to be sitting back in that room, bonding over the crossword with my dad. 

We will be having our annual martini for him on his 3rd anniversary this Friday (he thought of himself as a bit of a James Bond) and things like making this salad help keep him in my heart forever.

I hope you enjoy it as much as he did."

 

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2)

FOR THE SALAD

1/2-1 nectarine or peach, chopped 

1/2-1 mango, chopped

1/2 packet haloumi (omit if you're vegan and perhaps add crushed pistachios instead)

2 big handfuls rocket (arugula)

1 corn cob's worth of kernels

handful fresh mint leaves, torn

veggie oil for frying

 

FOR THE DRESSING:

1/4 cup olive oil

juice and zest of 1 lime

tsp honey

salt and pepper

 

MAKE:

  1. Cover a dinner plate with 2 pieces of (non bleached) paper towel. Set aside.
  2. In a small frying pan over medium heat, warm a little veggie oil and lightly fry the haloumi on both sides. Be careful not to burn.
  3. Transfer to the dinner plate to soak up some of the oil and set aside to cool. 
  4. In a small bowl add the lime juice, zest, olive oil and honey. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Set aside. 
  5. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  6. When haloumi has cooled, cut into cubes and add to the salad. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.