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Bulgur Wheat Salad with Cashews and MandarinsUm, hello… do you remember me? Yes, it’s me, Eleni. I bet you thought I’d never be back! Well, here I am. Gosh, it’s weird writing in English… my fingers can’t seem to find the right keys!

So, my news. Busy busy with little brother blog The Foodie Corner. It’s funny how I think of blogs as being boys… wonder why… Anyway, lots going on over there as I recently launched my new pages from which I am selling slow cookers in Greece! Yay! It’s something I’ve been obsessing about for a couple of years now. It’s an almost unknown cooking device here, goodness knows why. So for a long time I knew I wanted to bring them over and introduce the wonders of slow cooking to Greek people. Many of course already know how brilliant they are, since the internet is a major educator on all things trendy and popular. But now they can easily purchase one by ordering it from my blog! Yay again! Now I just need to somehow tell everyone in the country about this. Yeah, that’s not so easy/cheap to do (if it’s one it’s not the other). But I will get there. I will. I will. Won’t I?

The past few days have been a bit strange. Apart from the above question that keeps popping up in my mind a-l-l-t-h-e-t-i-m-e, I am also having trouble switching my mind off work. The combination of working for yourself and working from home is, I’m sure, a fool-proof recipe for this condition. One of the two is bad enough, but put both in the mix and there you go. Business and life become one gooey mixture which oozes into every single corner of your mind. Can I just say here that I’m not complaining. I love what I’m doing and I have absolutely no regrets about the decision I made. I’m just putting my thoughts into html and what better place to do it than my hobby-blog? So back to the oozing mess of work/life. What do I mean? Well, say I’m on Facebook and I’ve posted my newest recipe link (pure business), and I’ve then clicked on “home” to see what everyone else is up to. I’m sitting there liking stuff, and adding new friends, and catching up with old ones. Am I wasting time? It’s not pure business, but surely as a blogger I need to keep up and be seen out there? That colleague I haven’t seen in years might want to buy a slow cooker! Business/life = blurred. I’m in the kitchen and I’m cooking. It’s dinner but it’s also my next post. Does the time I spend chopping and prepping count as work? Blur. Does the time I spend washing up count as work, since the dishes held my next post? Blur (ha). Do I deserve an extra hour in bed tomorrow because I was writing this post till ten o’clock at night? No so blurred (I do). Anyway, you get the picture. And I’m sure lots of you know exactly what it feels like; I haven’t just discovered America. The worst thing about it all is that I can’t stop thinking about recipes, food and the blog. If I’m left for one minute to just sit quietly without any distractions, my mind will automatically go to that recipe I saw on tv, that photo I saw on Pinterest or that idea I had for a good brownie. Food will not get out of my mind. At all. It’s driving me just a little bit nuts. Yesterday I resorted to 2 hours of ironing while watching Scandal, just to get rid of the cheeseballs that were in my head (don’t ask). Ok, I’m done now. That feels better already. No it doesn’t, now I’ve remembered the cheeseballs…

Moving on (if any of you are still here) I’m going to share one of the most amazing salads I’ve ever tried, let alone made myself. This was a dish I prepared for a charity event last December, and –if I may say so myself- it went down preeeetty well! As soon as I had mixed the dressing ingredients I was already in love with it just from the smell. You have to try it. I’ll leave you in peace now, I’m going to watch House of Cards. That’s one I really have to concentrate for, I haven’t a clue what’s going on even on the best of days…

Recipe adapted from Power Hungry

Lenten Bulgur Wheat Salad with Cashews and Mandarins

Makes a big bowlful (approx. 10 side servings)

Ingredients

1 box (500gr) bulgur wheat, soaked overnight in lots of water and drained well
2 spring onions, the white and a little bit of the green part, chopped (you can use more if you like it)
6 Tbs parsley, finely chopped (measured after chopping)
3/4 Tbs orange zest (from 1-2 oranges)
3/4 cup sultanas
1/2 cup cashews, roasted and salted
1/2 kg sweet mandarins, peeled, segmented, with each segment chopped in half

For the dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
3 Tbs lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3 Tbs honey (or vegan friendly substitute)
1 1/2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs cumin
2 1/4 tsp cinammon
2 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Drain the bulgur wheat very well. Use some cheesecloth over a colander, fill it with the wheat, grab the corners creating a pouch and squeeze it dry. (Note: we do not boil the wheat)
2. Put the wheat in a large bowl with the onions, parsley and orange zest. Mix well.
3. Put all the dressing ingredients in a clean jam jar and shake till well incorporated. It will be thick and yummy.
4. Add the sultanas, cashews and dressing to the wheat and mix well but gently. To be sure, add the dressing in stages and mix as you go along, that way you can stop when you feel it’s enough.
5. Finally add the mandarin pieces and mix again, being careful not to break them up too much.
Note: The salad is best made in advance so the flavours have the chance to mingle and get to know each other. Just make sure to take it out of the fridge about half an hour to an hour before serving so it’s at room temperature. If you do this, keep the mandarins out till just before serving.

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