Crunchy wild rice salad
Lucy is my dear friend and number one dog walking, coffee drinking, doughnut devouring comrade. She is a poet. Co-editor of so long bulletin, a mother and a wife. Strikingly beautiful, perceptive, quick witted. She is the eye behind this inspired Brunswick home and the force behind this winning salad.

Since her wee man, Tad, was born Lucy has turned to dishes that have low energy input and high energy output, which means mainly proteiny salads or cauldron-cooking (tossing disparates into the slow-cooker in the morning, then investigating the results in the evening). She has learnt not to try recipes that require normal attentiveness or two hands. (Lucy's secret tip for harried mothers: To chop herbs with one hand, upturn a marble mortar onto the stalks to hold the bunch steady.)

When Lucy first brought this salad to my place for dinner it proved to be a perfect accompaniment to a butterflied barbecue chook rubbed with lots of smashed rosemary, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper (shout-out to Raph for that recipe!). I suspect it would work well with lamb or cold roast chicken. In a sea of BYO salads this one is sure to stand out at any barbecue and is worth adding to your repertoire.

Wild rice
The crunch factor in this salad comes from both pomegranate seeds and the crisp, elongated stems of wild rice. Wild rice, contrary to the name, is not truly a rice but the seed of an aquatic grass called Zizania Acquatica mostly found in the fresh lakes of Canada and North America. The grains are usually about one-half inch in length and colours can vary from medium brown to nearly pure black. Wild rice has a nutty or smoky flavour and is high in protein, the amino acid lysine and dietary fiber and does not contain gluten. When buying wild rice look out for hand harvested and organic.

Puy (or french green) lentils
Puy lentils with their unmistakable shade of slate green and peppery flavour were originally grown in the volcanic soils of Puy in France, but are now grown here in Victoria. They're especially good in salads since they hold their shape and remain firm after cooking. They cook a bit slower than other lentils. Like other legumes, lentils are low in fat and high in protein and fibre.

Pomegranate molasses
A thick, fragrant, tangy and the colour- of- garnet reduction of pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses is a key ingredient of Middle Eastern-Mediterranean cooking. The flavour is sweetly tart and brings astringency and sourness to dishes in a similar manner to lemon juice or tamarind. There are several ways to make pomegranate molasses. One is to squeeze the juice from a large pomegranate then boil the liquid until it has reduced to just two tablespoons. Alternatively, take 750ml pomegranate juice, 100g sugar and 125ml lemon juice and simmer until reduced to 250ml. Alternatively pomegranate molasses can be found at A1 Lebanese Bakery on Sydney Road and Middle Eastern grocery stores. A pantry staple that will lasts indefinitely.

SERVES 4-6 as a side

100g wild rice
1 cup cooked puy lentils
handful mint, finely chopped
handful parsley, roughtly chopped
handful walnuts
¼ cup dried cherries, chopped (unsweetened it possible)
2 Tbsp dried pomegranate seeds
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 Tbsp macadamia or walnut oil
soft goats chèvre

1. Rinse the rice thoroughly then cook in 3 times the dry volume at a quiet boil, covered, stirring occasionally. Average cooking time ranges from 30 to 45 minutes. Grains will begin to curl when ready - don't wait until all of them have curled or it will be overcooked! Rinse cooked rice in cold water, set aside and cool.
2. Carefully wash lentils in several changes of water. Add to a separate saucepan and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Rinse cooked lentils and cool. Both your rice and lentils should retain chewiness without being too crunchy.
3. Toast walnuts on a dry pan then chop roughly.
4. Chop herbs.
5. Add rice, lentils, herbs, pomegranate seeds, cherries to a large mixing bowl.
6. In a jar shake together pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, salt and oil. Pour over salad and very gently combine.
7. Transfer salad to a wide shallow serving bowl and plonk sizable chunks of goats chèvre on top. drizzle with extra oil. Serve salad immediately after it is dressed to avoid sogginess.

Info source: The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander, Vegetarians in Paradise, Good Food Channel and Wise Geek.