The secret to great salads is the dressing
In Nana's day, she went for something a little creamier, along the lines of a mayonnaise or the ever-present boiled dressing. This involved mixing together eggs, vinegar, milk and butter and heating gently in a double boiler or in a bowl placed in a pan of boiling water. I'm sure there are people reading this who have fond memories of this dressing, and may even still make it. By far the most interesting salad dressing I've found while researching my old cookery books is banana dressing, which is apparently "very good with cold roast beef and a nice crisp lettuce and gives the plainest salad an exotic flavour!" Salads in the old days tended to be plain affairs involving an iceberg lettuce some cucumber, tomato, a bit of grated carrot and, if you were lucky, cubes of cheese and a chopped up boiled egg. This would be served with cold meat - usually left over from the roast the night before - and mashed potato. I have fond memories of eating this at my grandparents' house. But by far the most popular Kiwi salad dressing ever is probably the one involving a tin of sweetened condensed milk, which is referred to in my books as "uncooked salad dressing" or "easy mayonnaise". I made a batch of this two weeks ago and the whole family can't get enough of it. It's delicious mixed through coleslaw and supreme in potato salad. I've managed to get kids who never touched salad before to munch through a whole bowl happily when it's topped with this dressing, and it's easy to make. It's low in fat as there are no oils, so it's better for us than some of our modern dressings, but it's high in sugar, which is possibly why kids like it. However, I think if you can get them to eat salad with a teaspoon of this on it, you're winning in the nutrition stakes. I also replaced the malt vinegar with apple cider vinegar, which has many health-giving qualities. This will keep in the fridge for two weeks, but will probably be gobbled up by the family well before then!
Uncooked Salad Dressing
|395 g||Sweetened condensed milk|
|1 cup||Apple cider vinegar, or malt vinegar|
|2 tsp||Mustard powder|
|1 to taste||Salt & freshly ground pepper|
To prepare Uncooked Salad Dressing:
- Tip everything into a jar or jug and whisk to combine. It will thicken as it sits. Store in the fridge.
- Drizzle over your salad but don't overdo it - a little goes a long way with this one. Brussels sprouts go perfectly with this.
To prepare Banana Mayonnaise:
- Mash the banana, then add the rest of the ingredients. I tossed it all into a blender to get a nice, creamy result.
- This special mayonnaise is great served with fish.
Tip: Condensed milk is a helpful addition to many baking recipes. Some people also like to pour a bit in their coffee