Nigella’s Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad

WATERMELON SALAD I love fresh mint. I love fresh mint so much that when I buy it at the market, I walk around carrying it in front of my face so I can sniff the tantalizing, minty aroma while I shop. Instant aromatherapy.

And, usually when I buy a big bunch of fresh mint, I either make mojtos with it or keep it in a mason jar, filled with water, on my kitchen counter, so the entire room smells minty fresh. But, oddly enough I don’t use it in many food recipes; my raw, vegan pea soup that I made a few weeks ago was the first.

So, I was perusing bad-girl chef, Nigella Lawson’s website the other day when I found this amazing, minty watermelon salad recipe and decided that it was time to do something with mint other than smelling it, drinking it and decorating my kitchen with it. 

Nigella’s Minty Watermelon Salad

  • 4 limes
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1.5 kilograms watermelon (sweet and ripe)
  • 250 grams feta cheese
  • 1 bunch fresh flatleaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh mint (chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 grams pitted black olives
  • black pepper
  1. Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp. Two limes’ worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.
  2. Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 4cm / 1½ inch triangular chunks, if that makes sense (maths is not my strong point). Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.
  3. Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don’t lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime. Hava Negila! The taste of Tel Aviv sunshine!

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but close enough, and it was melt in your mouth, refreshingly delicious. A perfect light, summer dinner.

WATERMELON SALAD 017

Oh, and the health and beauty benefits of mint:

  •  Juice from fresh mint can soothe and calm skin that’s itchy or infected. You can also use it to help heal bites from mosquitoes, wasps and bees.
  • Mint contains vitamin A and helps to strengthen skin tissue, reduce oily skin and clear acne outbreaks.
  • Mint also helps upset or inflamed stomachs. When you feel sick to your stomach, drinking a cup of mint tea can soothe your tummy.

And watermelon:

  • Fights dehydration. Made up of 92% water and full of important electrolytes, watermelon is perfect to munch on during hot summer months.
  • Watermelon is also great for your skin because it contains vitamin A, and a high water content to keep skin soft and hydrated.
  • Watermelon and watermelon juice have been shown to reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery time following exercise in athletes.
  • Contains a ton of health giving vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but is incredibly low in calories.

 Mint and watermelon. Tastes amazing together and has a ton of health and beauty benefits too! What’s not to love?

 

A Life That Feels Good: Step One

 

Create a life that feels good on the inside not one that just looks good on the outside. – Unknown

Step One: Unplug

Ever since I started my Online Marketing studies last fall, I’ve been hyper-plugged into the internet and spend hours and hours online every day. On top of working on a computer most of the day at the office, I go home, walk the dog, eat dinner and then turn on my laptop and TV around 7:30 or 8pm (with my iphone resting right beside me, beeping periodically with notifications). I try to turn both off at 11pm but, more often than not, it’s midnight by the time I shut everything down. I usually plan on being online for maybe an hour or so and then I get sucked into Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and, of course, our wonderful WordPress. Before I know it, it’s 11pm and I haven’t even started my homework, so I do an hour of work online and then finally off to bed, with my eyes burning and brain racing.

Since I’ve started this routine, I’ve noticed my sleep has become, well, let’s say not restful at best and often I wake up exhausted. So, what do I do then? I make a ridiculously strong pot of coffee that gives me a quick, jarring boost of energy (with some jittery anxiety added in) and, boom, I’m stuck in a vicious, energy-draining cycle.

And, maybe even worse than my tired, bleery-eyed mornings, I’m worried that with all of my social media activity, I might eventually become one of those people who put more effort into their online image than their real, honest to goodness, life. You know, the ones who post constantly, usually about the fabulous places they’re going and amazing things they’re doing with hourly selfies to chronicle their adventures. Do we really even enjoy those amazing experiences if we’re almost compulsively concentrating on facebooking and tweeting and instagramming our every move?

I know it’s been scientifically proven that we all get a big hit of feel-good dopamine with all of those social media “likes” on our posts but we also get that hit of dopamine by connecting with the flesh and blood people we’re hanging out with too. But that only happens if we actually stop checking our smartphones and give ourselves a chance to connect with them (I’m really guilty of this bad behaviour too).

Anywayyy, I’ve decided it’s high time to take a step back and tackle this internet dependency of mine.

How will I do it, you ask? Like this:

  1. One hour of laptop time in the evening.  No matter how enticing Pinterest and Facebook are, one hour only. No excuses. I’ll remind myself that social media sites will continue to thrive without my constant input.
  2. Put my iPhone in a kitchen drawer. No social media/internet surfing allowed after 8pm. The phone will only be taken out of the drawer if someone calls and then put right back in again.
  3. For the moment, no TV. I binge watched three hours of the Kardashians last Sunday and then watched a new show about horrific plastic surgery mistakes and addicts (the people who just won’t quit no matter how big their lips/breasts/cheeks get) called Botched and, by the end of the evening, I think I felt my IQ drop a couple of points. No more reality TV for me. My goal is to keep the television unplugged for the summer and, in the fall, decide if I plug it back in or not.

And what will I fill all of my “unplugged” spare time with? Music, reading, daydreaming and much, much more, of this:

dog at beach

couple at beach

heron

beach sunset

vancouver twilight

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt