24 Nov // Summer, cider, salad

Summer is so tantalisingly close (next week, officially!). It feels like it’s been slow to start, but December is almost here and Christmas is coming. It’s warming up, finally, and just this week there have been picnic dinners on the beach, walks in the evening sun, and some very excellent sunsets.

And so, salad weather. Barbecues, last-minute get-some-mates-over dinners and drinks, and lots of ciders in the sun. Lewis Road has again expanded, beyond the best butter and the chocolate milk of your dreams, to a crisp, summery, premium apple cider. There are three varieties, infused with apple blossom, peach blossom, and orange blossom, and they’re gooood. Made with Bostock’s organic apples from the Hawke’s Bay and brewed by a winery in Tauranga, it’s a refreshingly festive summer tipple.

I was tasked with a food match and for me summer equals salads. Salads, and barbecues, and beverages in the sun (I’m actually very easy to please, you see). Crispy skinned chicken works well alongside cider, but a salad here is the main event. It’s a basic assembly: a grainy base of freekah, my favourite food ever halloumi, a close second favourite in asparagus, a festive sprinkle of pomegranate seeds, some herbs, and the stickler: preserved lemon. Giving a requisite tang, the preserved lemon brings together all the elements - the earthy grain, the fresh green asparagus, the sweet pomegranate and the creamy halloumi. They’re salty and tangy, and if you’re really lucky, the jar in your fridge was made by your boyfriend using lemons from his Mum’s tree. Dreams do come true.

So with the sun out, I can highly recommend a barbecue, this salad, a bunch of mates, and some crispy cold ones in the form of cider. Tis the season, after all.    


Summer salad with halloumi, asparagus and preserved lemon

Summer salad with halloumi, asparagus and preserved lemon


200g freekah (it’s a grain, you could replace with rice, quinoa, or whatever floats your boat)

1 and a half bunches asparagus (one bunch just isn’t enough)

1-2 blocks halloumi (I used Zany Zeus. I went with two blocks, but I’m addicted, so….)

2-3 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon skin

Large bunch fresh mint

Large bunch fresh parsley

Seeds from one pomegranate

Generous glug of your best olive oil

Flaky sea salt

Optional: your favourite nuts or seeds

The beauty of this salad is in it’s simplicity. No fancy dressings, just great flavours and textures. It is the perfect take-to-a-barbecue salad, or as a meal in its own right served alongside your favourite meat. Cider pairs especially well with crispy skinned chicken, so for this one I took a packet of Bostock’s Chicken Drumsticks, added olive oil, sea salt, ground cumin, a splash of chardonnay vinegar, a drizzle of chilli oil with some chilli flakes, and cooked in a hot oven.


Cook the freekah as you would rice (bring to the boil in a pot filled with water to 1cm above the freekah. Reduce to low but keep the lid on and leave to absorb - about 20 minutes). Set aside.

Snap off the woody ends of your asparagus and cut stems into 4. Saute the pieces with a little water and a little olive oil until just cooked but still firm. Set aside.

Fry the halloumi until golden and crisp and cut into squares about 3cm x 3cm. Set aside.

In a bowl, add the freekah, asparagus, and halloumi. Add the preserved lemon, pomegranate seeds, and the herbs, chopped. Drizzle with a generous glug of good quality olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Toss to combine and serve with your favourite meat or enjoy as is.


This blog post and recipe was a collaboration with Lewis Road.