Thursday, 30 October 2014

Blueberry & Avocado Salad with Candied Walnuts

Living in Australia, trips to Europe are a big deal. It's the other side of the world - the flights are long, exhausting and expensive! But I was adamant to make it over there last year to visit a dear friend. I was thrilled to escape the Sydney winter and spend my time strolling around beautiful cobblestone streets in a European summer. I've already posted a few post from my travels, you can check them out here:

Sweets in Sweden - A Photographic Diary
Wild Blueberries on the Stockholm Archipelagoes
A Day in Riga - Buildings, Berries & Black Balsam

You might notice a recurring theme - loads of fresh berries! We were so spoilt for fresh berries throughout our trip. Check out these gorgeous berries piled high in stalls on the side of the streets in Riga (Latvia):

In Australia punnets of blueberries or raspberries are always an expensive treat - even when they're in season. So it's no wonder that I ate them to my hearts content and came home with a mind full of berry inspiration! Now, Northern Europe is heading into winter and sunny Sydney is almost in summer, which means blueberries here are about as cheap as they'll ever get. So I took my inspiration from these gorgeous pictures and the memories of all those yummy berries & picked up a couple of punnets of blueberries to experiment with. 

Blueberry & Avocado Salad with Candied Walnuts

4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp water
1/2 cup walnut halves
2 cups baby spinach
1 large ripe avocado
1 punnet blueberries
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Cracked black pepper

To Make
1. To make the candied walnuts - combine the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved to form a simmering syrup. Add the walnut halves and stir continusouly while the syrup simmers. Cook for at least 5 minutes, or until the liquid has all cooked away and you are left with the coated walnuts. Transfer the walnuts to a sheet of non stick baking paper, breaking up any clumps, and place in the fridge to harden.
2. Line a salad bowl with the baby spinach leaves. Top with cubes of the avocado and then the fresh blueberries.
3. Combine the olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice and vinegar and whisk well until combined. Drizzle over the avocado & blueberries.
4. Top with candied walnuts and a generous amount of cracked black pepper.

Serves 2-4 as a side salad or as part of a buffet.

Also featured in the Vegan Virtual Linky Potluck.