The key to a coleslaw which I will enjoy eating lies in the dressing. I knew I didn't want plain mayonnaise, so I experimented with various other dressings - some with mayonnaise and some without. I eventually settled on a blend of yogurt and mayonnaise, sharpened with cider vinegar and spiced up with a great deal of black pepper.
I love mayonnaise made by the French brand, Maille. I particularly like this one, flavoured with a subtle hint of mustard. I bring back several jars of it whenever I go to France, but they sell it in Waitrose too.
I don't like raw onion in coleslaw either - its flavour overwhelms everything else. A finely sliced spring onion can be a nice addition, although is not essential. The two key ingredients you need are cabbage and carrots. I like coleslaw made with any cabbage - red, green or white are all good, although red cabbage does tend to bleed its colour a little and make the coleslaw a pale shade of pinky-purple. This is not really a bad thing, mind you.
In its simplest form the coleslaw I make is a quarter of a cabbage, sliced very finely, two fat carrots, peeled and grated, and a spoonful of dressing. This can be put together for supper or lunch at very short notice - I usually have all the ingredients I need in my fridge.
But coleslaw can be fancified too. Today I made a cheese and grape version, which was wildly successful.
The List Writer's Crunchy Cheese & Grape Coleslaw
For enough to feed a family of four, you will need:
- a quarter of a large green cabbage, cored and finely sliced
- 2 fat carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
- 50g mature cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
- a small bunch of seedless green grapes, sliced into quarters
- dressing to taste
- 1 tablespoon of good mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons of natural yogurt
- 1/2 a tablespoon of cider vinegar
- lots of freshly ground black pepper
Put all the coleslaw ingredients together in a large bowl and mix together with the dressing - a spoonful at a time until it looks right to you. Use your judgement here - you may like your coleslaw more or less creamy than I do. Any leftover dressing, or coleslaw, will keep in the fridge for several days.
Good things to add to simple coleslaw (in place of the grated cheese and grapes above):
- cheddar cheese and diced apple (I find if you grate the apple into the coleslaw the whole thing becomes watery and sour - dicing the apple is a much better idea)
- toasted sunflower seeds and sultanas
- sliced radishes and chopped roasted peanuts
- chopped walnuts (serve this walnut coleslaw with sourdough bread and slices of parma ham - completely delicious)
- a finely sliced spring onion
- cheese on toast
- jacket potatoes
- peppery cumberland sausages
- a good pork pie from the local butcher