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Summer days are best spent having a braai with close friends and family. We’ve got the perfect salads and sides to accompany any meal.

It’s summer and we’ve got you covered with these salads and sides for that family braai at home, or a lazy lunch by the pool.

Beetroot, fennel & fig salad
Serves 8

I love the sweet “meaty” bite of the dried figs in this salad, and how the fragrant fennel connects with the beetroot.

  • 1kg beetroot
  • 120g sliced dried figs
  • 30g dill, roughly chopped
  • 30g coriander, roughly chopped
  • 2 fennel bulbs, very finely sliced, some leaves reserved for garnish
  • 2½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan
  • ¼ cup of your favourite vinaigrette
  • 1 tsp ground sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • splash of flavoured vinegar (optional)
  • juice of 1 lemon and zest for garnishing
  • ¼ cup Greek yoghurt (optional)
  • good pinch of sumac (optional)

1. Boil the beetroot in plenty of water until tender, about 40–50 minutes. Once cooked, drain and slip off the skins. Once cool enough to handle, grate the beetroot.
2. Combine the beetroot, half of the sliced figs, herbs, cumin seeds and one of the sliced fennel bulbs in a bowl together with the vinaigrette and lemon juice, and mix together gently with two wooden spoons. Season with salt and black pepper. You might want to add a little splash of flavoured vinegar at this point or a teaspoon of honey.
3. Pile on a platter and scatter over the remaining sliced fennel bulb. If using, drizzle or blob the Greek yoghurt on top.
4. Garnish with sumac, lemon rind, a few tendrilous fennel leaves and the remaining fig slices. If you can find beetroot sprouts, or micro leaves, these would be another fantastic garnish.

Black-eyed beans with Swiss chard & tahini
Serves 8

This warm dish is an excellent way to eat both Swiss chard and black-eyed beans. It can be served with flat bread or fragrant rice and makes a great accompaniment to simple roast chicken or lamb.

  • 300g black-eyed beans, soaked overnight
  • 1kg Swiss chard, thoroughly washed
  • 1¾ cups vegetable stock
  • ½–¾ cup tahini
  • 4 leeks, washed, trimmed and chopped
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 large bunch coriander (about 40g), chopped
  • salt and black pepper
  • lemon wedges, as garnish

1. Cook the beans in plenty of boiling water for about 40 minutes or until tender, then drain them in a colander.
2. While the beans are cooking, prepare the chard: separate the leaves and the stalks. Then chop the leaves roughly and the stalks more finely.
3. Pour a little hot stock onto the tahini in a bowl, whisk thoroughly and tip it back into the rest of the stock, and whisk again.
4. Fry the leeks in olive oil for 3–4 minutes and add the garlic. Stir fry for a minute and then add the chard stalks. Cook for another 2 minutes and then add the chard leaves, spices and coriander. Stir well for a few moments and then add the cooked beans.
5. Pour the tahini stock mixture over the beans and chard, season to taste and allow to bubble gently for about 4–5 minutes. If you find the sauce has thickened too much, you could add another ½ cup of boiling water to thin it to your liking. Serve with lemon wedges.

Shepherd’s salad
Serves 8

In the back yard of the house in Genadendal where my father grew up, grows a pomegranate tree. I stood wide-eyed the first time my father opened a pomegranate and I saw its jewels and outrageous coloured juice spilling onto the dusty ground. And as for the vegetables! My father uses his hands to demonstrate the monster size of vegetables from Genadendal: King Edward potatoes and Australian browns (onions). He and his father would bring them to market in Cape Town. My favourite of the stories my father tells is how, when he would come home for lunch, his mother would give each of his brothers and sisters a packet of salt and send them back to school through the gardens to eat tomatoes on the way. Here is a salad using simple vegetable ingredients and pomegranates.

  • 2 yellow peppers, deseeded and diced
  • 2 cucumbers, cut into chunks
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1½ red onions, peeled and diced
  • 8 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups Italian parsley
  • 5 tbsp dill, chopped
  • 1 cos lettuce, shredded
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses (or moskonfyt)
  • 1½ cups cooked barley (optional)

Toss together all ingredients, along with the dressing, and adjust the seasoning. Serve on a deep platter.

Spinach & cheddar gözleme
Serves 8

I stared, slack-jawed, at the sheets of filled savoury börek and gözleme pastries that sell by the kilo from shops in Istanbul. The shop assistant seemed appalled at the small amount I wanted to buy for our breakfast. Clearly, these are pastries that demand to be eaten in large amounts.

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 500g Swiss chard leaves, chopped
  • ½ bunch coriander, chopped
  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 200g cheddar, grated
  • 2–3 sheets filo pastry
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted

1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the chard, coriander, chilli, onion, and garlic for 2–3 minutes until the leaves have wilted.
2. Remove from the heat, drain and discard the cooking fluids. Cool in a bowl, then add the grated cheese.
3. You will need to cover the filo with a damp cloth while you’re not working with it. Butter one sheet of filo thoroughly. Lay another layer of filo over the first. Cut the large sheet into 3 rectangles.
4. Working with one piece at a time, spoon some of the chard-and-cheese filling into the middle of one half of the large rectangle. Brush the sides with melted butter. Fold the rectangle in half to enclose the filling. Fold over the sides to seal and brush with more butter. Brush the outside of the rectangles with melted butter and arrange the “envelopes” on a platter. Repeat until you have 6 filled pastry envelopes.
5. Heat the remaining butter in a non-stick pan and sauté the gözleme for 2–3 minutes on each side, until brown.
6. You can either keep the pastries well covered with a damp cloth until your guests arrive and fry them on the spot while they watch, wide-eyed, or you can fry them ahead of time and pop them into the oven on a roasting rack over a baking sheet to warm up briefly (3–5 minutes) in a hot oven. Slice into rough rectangles or triangles and serve immediately. These certainly do not last long.

Find more delicious recipes for summer Sunday lunches and meals using freshly picked vegetables.

about the book

She’s done it again. After the success of A Week in the Kitchen, Karen Dudley has authored yet another book offering a number of delectable recipes to enjoy with family and friends. Whether you’re cooking at home or bringing a dish somewhere to share, you’ll find something nice, that’s sure to be a hit, in here. Another Week in the Kitchen is published by Jacana Media and can be found at all good bookstores.

Karen Dudley