From my yiayia's kitchen

Spring has sprung. As a kid, the changeover from winter to spring heralded the return of the ritual Sunday family excusion - a drive to the exotic Dandenongs. We piled into Baba's battered Toyota and set off for a meandering drive on twisty mountain roads, willing the car up steep hills. Our destination was a Bavarian inspired cafe for an indulgent afternoon tea of luscious black forest cake and crumbly apple streusel. 

On the journey, my yiayia kept an eagle-eyed watch for clumps of horta or wild greens that grew along the road side. 'Stamata to aftokinito (stop the car)' she'd command, pulling a pocket knife from her billowing skirts to harvest her booty.

Spring also meant broad beans which yiayia loved. I loved sitting at the kitchen table with her, helping to shell an enormous mound of beans until we had enough podded beans for the dish we were making. This salad was a favourite. 

Broad bean, feta and mint salad 

 
1kg broad beans, shelled
200g sheep's milk feta
2 handfuls of rocket
Handful of mint leaves, torn
Pinch of dried oregano
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the broad beans. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, drain and rinse under cold water. You can remove the thin skin that covers each individual bean by slitting the skin and popping out the bright green bean. Of course, you can obviate this fiddly process and use frozen beans instead :)

In a bowl combine the beans, rocket,  crumbled feta, mint leaves, oregano and red onion. Season with salt and pepper and toss with the vinegar and olive oil.

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