Recipes: Bin shop-bought coleslaw and embrace the tang and flavour of homemade

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BANISH all thoughts of commercially made coleslaw, with its harsh vinegary overtones and the undertones of rank sweat from the raw onions amongst the raw shredded cabbage.

No, coleslaw can be delicious, and provides a practical way to eat raw vegetables during the winter months, accompanying hot or cold dishes.

A good texture contrast is worth bearing in mind, with the crunch of the vegetables, the smooth dressing, and nuts or seeds in the mix. I found inspiration last April on a marvellous three-day cruise up the Caledonian Canal, during which we ate extremely well. The idea for one of the recipes today comes from this holiday – a coleslaw made from kale and fresh pineapple. I have given it a slightly mustardy dressing, which complements the taste of the sliced kale as well as the pineapple.

Broccoli, roasted peanut and banana coleslaw with slightly curried dressing

Serves 6

This may sound an unlikely combination, but it is delicious. Try it!

1 and a half lb/675g broccoli, the florets trimmed off for steaming and eating separately, the stalks trimmed at the end and then sliced into fine matchsticks – this doesn’t take any time providing you have a sharp knife. The stalks contain the flavour.

3oz/85g roasted salted peanuts

3 bananas

2 tablespoons lemon juice

For the dressing

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 fat clove of garlic, skinned and diced finely

1 teaspoon medium strength curry powder

about 10 grinds of black pepper – the peanuts contribute sufficient saltiness

1 tub (200g) crème frâiche, reduced fat if you prefer

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Start by making the dressing; heat the olive oil in a small pan over only moderate heat and add the diced garlic, and the curry powder and black pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then take the pan off the heat and cool. When cold, mix the contents of the pan into the crème frâiche, in a large serving bowl, and at this time add the finely chopped parsley.

Put the matchsticks of broccoli stalks into the bowl containing the dressing, and add the roasted salted peanuts.

Skin the bananas, and slice evenly on the diagonal – it looks better – and mix the lemon juice through the sliced bananas. Add the sliced bananas and lemon juice to the contents of the bowl and carefully – so as not to break up the banana slices – combine with the broccoli matchsticks and peanuts in the dressing.

Kale and pineapple coleslaw with mustard dressing

Serves 6

8oz/225g finely shredded kale

1 pineapple, the skin sliced off with a sharp serrated knife, the pineapple trimmed, quartered lengthways and the core sliced from each quarter, and the quarters then sliced finely

For the dressing

1 tub (200g) crème frâiche, reduced fat if you prefer

1 teaspoon salt, 10 grinds of black pepper

2 teaspoons grain mustard

Mix the crème frâiche, salt and black pepper and the grain mustard together thoroughly in a large serving bowl. Add the shredded kale and the pineapple slices to the dressing and thoroughly combine everything together. No need for a garnish with this coleslaw, it is colourful enough.

Savoy cabbage and apple coleslaw with orange and chive dressing

Serves 6

1 and half lb/675g Savoy cabbage, trimmed of outer leaves and tough stalk end, and the cabbage leaves then sliced in half and finely shredded

4 good eating apples, such as Russet or Cox’s, and you can leave on the skins if you like. Quartered, cored and sliced thinly

2 tablespoons lemon juice

For the dressing

1 tub of crème frâiche (200g) reduced fat if you prefer

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

1 teaspoon salt, 10 grinds of black pepper

finely grated rind of 1 orange

Start by mixing together the ingredients for the dressing in a large serving bowl.

Add the finely shredded Savoy cabbage to the dressing in the bowl, and the sliced apples, and combine all thoroughly.