Aunty Moira’s Cabbage Salad
Imagine yourself back in the 60’s and 70’s in Ireland if you can. My Aunty and wee cousin would pop in for a visit from time to time. If there was a prize for who could talk and smoke the most in any given amount of minutes, it was my aunty Moira. It was hard for anyone else to have their say as she never stopped talking long enough to take a breath, let alone to listen to anyone else. My mother would roll her eyes up to heaven and hold her breath. “Ah! Moira,” she’d say, “never stops talking about herself.”
I loved her, regardless of her talkative tendencies and could listen to her all day long, watching her movie star lips move as she talked and smoked and laughed her great laugh. Her scent was a mixture of Chanel no. 5 and a dirty ashtray. My wee cousin would try to get her mama’s attention but was always shushed. Moira was a stunner. She wore scarlet lipstick on her full lips and lined her exquisite blue eyes in black kohl pencil. Her fine chestnut hair was either cropped short or grown long and tied up in a ponytail that showed off her high cheekbones.
She loved her fags and was a chain smoker. Cartons of cigarettes were stashed in her flashy red Alfa Romero convertible, which was a rare sight in rainy old Ireland. Her large leather handbag would hold the rest of her cigarette supply.
When she’d visit us the ashtray would be piled high with red cigarette filters from her lipstick and there would be an imprint of her bottom lip staining the china cups. Many years later she decided to quit smoking, and she did, just like that.
Her talents were many, from interior decorating to crochet design. She created fabulous tops, skirts, jackets and bikinis. When she lived in a Muse in Ballsbridge, she crocheted an exquisite white lace bedspread covered with tiny roses for her bed. She later ripped it apart and made it into a stunning fitted wedding dress with a hood for my sister. Then there was the year she made a fabulous maxi-coat of velvety blues and aqua greens, and a second coat knitted with pinks and purples with a crazy, shaggy collar. It was so 70s and totally hip!! All my aunties made one of those creations — aunty Peggy aunty Bella and aunty Eithne. Once I went to visit my grandparents in the city on a Saturday and all my aunties were wearing their coats looking like a muster of exotic peacocks. When I think of it now, they were all very creative and fabulous knitters.
Aunty Moira made spicy Indian curries and a crunchy cabbage salad to accompany it. My sisters and I still make that salad today with a curry. Sometimes I vary it up a bit if I serve it with bbq’d meat, by adding toasted almonds and finely chopped celery with green onions.
What you need:
- 1 small head of white or red cabbage finely shredded
- 4 carrots peeled and shredded
- 1 large onion sliced thin
- Bunch of chopped cilantro
- Dressing: whisk together the following
- 1 clove of garlic
- 6 Tbs walnut oil or oil of choice
- 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
- ½ Tbs tomato puree
- salt and pepper to taste
Toss the cabbage, carrots, onion and cilantro together in a large bowl.
Add the dressing and coat well.
Let it sit for a few hours before serving.
Leftovers are yummy the next day fried in the pan and served with a nice pork chop.