Moving On…and…Pear, Rocket and Blue Cheese Salad

Everything’s fine.

There’s no need to worry about Miss Arabella.

Recovering swiftly from her setback it was, ‘Don’t worry, mum; I’d gone off that course anyway.  I’m going to do Law instead and be a barrister’.

‘But you didn’t get enough marks for Law’.

‘Yeah, but I’ll start with Arts and if I get a credit average I can switch to Law’.

‘Oh, well that’s good.  I think you’ll be a great lawyer’.

‘I’m not going to be a lawyer; I’m going to be a barrister and specialise in Criminal Law and I’ll prosecute all the crims.  I’ll love it’.

‘You’ve never yet lost an argument – you’ll be very successful’.

‘Thanks, mum’.

So a sense of calm was restored to the house and I went to bed in a state of peace.

Pippa's Salad

Pippa’s Salad

But it didn’t last.  Because the next morning Arabella asked if we knew of a real estate office where she could get some work experience.  ‘Why do you want to work in a real estate office?’

‘Because I’m going to do Land Economics at Macquarie’.

‘I thought you were going to do Law; to be a barrister; to lock up all those criminals’.

‘Yeah, but you know how I love houses.  I’ve always loved houses.  I want to have my own real estate office’.

‘Oh, well that’s good too.  So you’re not going to be a barrister?’

‘I think I’d like to run my own real estate business.’

Pear, Blue Cheese and Crispy Prosciutto are a great combination

Pear, Blue Cheese and Crispy Prosciutto are a great combination

And then we got onto the boyfriend.  It’s not Special Friend and it’s not The Rock Star.  It’s someone new and I’m not allowed to tell you about him.

‘Can he come for dinner, mum?’


‘Well one night.  When he’s not working.  Will you be nice?  Because he’s nervous about coming here because he knows you don’t like him’.

‘Why would he think I don’t like him when I’ve never even met him’.

‘You have met him.

‘Only briefly so I didn’t even have time to form an opinion’.

Salad with Walnut Praline

Salad with Walnut Praline

‘Mum, he says I centre his universe?’

‘He doesn’t have a universe; we all share it’.

‘Mum, stop being so nasty; that’s not the point.  Don’t you think that’s a nice thing to say?’

‘What does he eat; in his universe?’

‘Don’t do too many carbs’.  And there was a refreshing moment of silence but then,  ‘I think I’m going to do Psychology’.


‘You know how I’ve always been interested in mental health?  When you do psychology you can specialise in mental health and I think I’d like to do that.  I’ve got enough marks.  I’d like to help people with mental health issues’.

I could be her first customer.

Thanks Pippa for a great recipe

Thanks Pippa for a great recipe

Pear, Rocket and Blue Cheese Salad with Walnut Praline

A few posts ago I showed you our family’s Boxing Day celebrations and how everyone brought a dish to share.  My cousin, Pippa, made this salad and after I posted an image of it, a few of you asked for the recipe.  I went back to Pippa and begged her for it and Pippa explained she’s an intuitive cook (aren’t they the best kind?) and so I’ve taken her notes of ‘a bit of this’ and ‘a bit of that’ and formulated a recipe for you.

Serves:  4 as an entree; 8 as a side dish

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  Fairly minimal as the ingredients are mostly standard.  Blue cheese can be up to $100/kg but a supermarket brand like Blue Costello will be just fine.

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 slices prosciutto (parma ham)
  • 2 bags rocket (about 100gms), washed
  • 2 pears, washed, cored and sliced finely
  • 200g blue cheese, room temperature, broken into bite-sized bits
  • lemon juice (to squeeze over pears to prevent from browning)


  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar (if using a cheaper balsamic, just add a tsp of brown sugar to cut the acidity)
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cover a tray in baking paper.  Scatter walnuts over tray.

Heat a medium sized saucepan over low heat.  Add sugar and agitate the frying pan, without stirring, until sugar has melted and turned golden brown.  Pour over walnuts.  Be careful not to touch the toffee as Pippa can tell you this leads to a very painful burn.

Clean frying pan.  Return to medium-high heat and add prosciutto.  Cook until crisp then drain on paper towel.

Take a large platter and scatter rocked over the dish.  Add pear slices that have been sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent from browning.  Scatter blue cheese and prosciutto.  Break up praline with a knife into bite sized pieces (or gently whizz in a food processor) and scatter over the salad.  Pour over dressing.


Combine ingredients in a jar; shake well and pour over salad.

Pear, Blue Cheese and Rocket Salad with Walnut Praline

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  1. Oh, man, that salad sounds incredible!!! A must make!!!

    And at least Arabella HAS interests…my oldest needs to channel the energy he puts into witty Twitter comments into figuring out his career path :/ Good luck with the bf dinner…can’t wait to hear how that goes!!! xo

  2. Awesome looking salad! Ah, Arabella makes me giggle, it’s the right of the young to change their minds as often as they change their style!

  3. Fantastic looking salad! I just looove caramelised nuts especially 🙂 I’m sure Arabella will be able to find a course that suits her – but I know the feeling.. it was definitely tough picking just one degree to go with !

  4. “I could be her first customer.” You make me laugh! I would hope that she would at least give you a family discount. Love the salad. And after getting on the scale this morning, I think I’ll be eating a lot more salad.

  5. The kids of today! Were we like that? At least she has interests and is motivated which is more than I can say for my eldest.
    Love the candied walnut pieces in the salad, great bit of sweetness and crunch. I love nuts on a salad. Looks great!

    Nazneen xx

  6. Wouldn’t it be lovely to center someone’s universe? I have known people who occasionally think they are the center of the universe, so it’s quite nice that the boyfriend has focused on another center. Just like Romeo and Juliet, “It is is east, and Arabella is the sun.” I actually think it’s sweet.

  7. Oh, dear Charlie, these growing up years of indecisiveness and young love can be so challenging for a parent. Hang in there. Someday will come and then you will wonder where yesterday went.

    As for that recipe, we have some fabulous cave-aged blue cheese made right here in Faribault that would work perfectly for this salad.

  8. Hahahahahahahahaaa!!!!!

    The last line cracked me up. It is SO……I don’t know……Mom like, hahahaha!!!

    You are beyond adorable Charlie. And I LOVE reading what you write. Btw I didn’t get to read your recipe, I had to write the comment………going back to read it.

  9. LOL

    Forget the interest of the week, it’s the interest of the hour. 🙂 Sounds like nothing much gets Arabella down for long.

    Yummy salad.

  10. Ha! Love this post. I love seeing certain things from the mother’s perspective, although in truth I think I was the polar opposite of Arabella as a teen. Where does she find all of these boyfriends?!

  11. Never a dull moment in your house lol

  12. Ah, Arabella! She’s young and this is the time to view all careers as viable options. With every post you write, Charlie, I respect my parents more and more. 🙂
    This salad sounds quite good. Love that the walnuts are used to make a praline. A little crunch and sweet to go along with the salt of the prosciutto. Very nice.

  13. Oh Charlie, I do commend your strength – not sure I would be cut out to be a wonderful mother as what you are.
    Lovely salad although I would have to swap the blue cheese out for something milder.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  14. Arabella’s ever changing nature makes me giggles because I’m just like that, though I think I’ve finally chosen psychology 🙂
    And pooh mysterious new romantic man? Wow!
    Loving the sound of this salad it is definitely very flavoursome and texturally sound 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  15. One of my favourite salads ever! And good for Arabella – life certainly isn’t going to hold her back! Can’t wait to hear how dinner with the new BF went.. 🙂

  16. Perhaps some acting as it seems like a bit of a drama. If she goes back to law why not suggest SAB. Now known as LPAB. I think. She could be a paralegal by day to see if she likes it. But law is a lot of hard work and I don’t know many happy lawyers.

    I was like her and chopped and changed and was really never happy working because I didn’t follow my passions. As an ex teacher I always tell kids to follow their passion as you are working for such a long time.

    Good luck with it all. It’s all quite perplexing and hope it all works out.

  17. Oh, so nice of her to go back and put something together for us 🙂

  18. Oh, such a lovely salad – I love anything with nuts. And as for Miss Arabella – there’s a lot to said for having a gap year. It helps them grow up a bit.

  19. Will you be nice Mum? LOL. I died laughing at that. You sound like my sister and her daughter. I would worry if he was from another Universe. I have a degree in Psychology and I turned out just fine……….lol Lovely recipe. Serve the boy something nice but not too nice or he will keep coming back.

  20. Well I am pleased Arabella is okay, something tells me she will be fine whatever she does!
    Mum on the other hand is probably always going to need a good bottle of wine at the ready 😉
    I am pleased I am not the only one with teenagers 😉
    Looks like a delicious salad, I love blue cheese in my salads.

  21. ‘He doesn’t have a universe; we all share it’ oh how you make me laugh Charlie! My mum is an intuitive cook too. I hate it because she can never give me a recipe!
    Good luck Arabella. It’s a pretty tough decision to make!

  22. Began reading the ‘Arts>Law’ version and said ‘yes’!!!!! That had been at the back of my mind when Arabella needed that extra mark , , , , well, and then and then, it is an exciting time, Mother, and as you said, she’ll come out right in the end 😀 ! Oh, the salad is one of my faves!!!!

  23. Hahaha.. make me her second customer, there just might be a line-up of moms waiting outside her door:) Love this salad.. I’m eating lots of salads since Christmas, so I’ll add this to the lineup! xx

  24. I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that consultation- most people blame their mother, you could lie there on the couch and blame your children 🙂
    Great salad, you could serve this to new bf, he could pick the carb covered nuts out of it if he likes!

  25. The salad looks amazing and real estate or barrister? Either way, it will be fine.

  26. I would love to be a fly on the wall for one of these conversations 🙂 Although, it must be said, I don’t think I’d cope well if I was *in* one of these conversations. Thanks for sharing them with us, you’ve given my morning a giggle!

    This salad looks like just the thing to serve to a new boyfriend, or to anyone, in this weather.

  27. LOL Charlie, you are so hilariously cynical. I almost spat out my drink at your response ‘He doesn’t have a universe; we all share it’.

  28. Oh dear, the trials and tribulations of motherhood and the fickleness of maidenhood. I hope she decides before the new university year starts.

  29. Ha, she’s is going to do well her mind is on overdrive and she has a lot of confidence. I think you better be prepared for a lot of changes. The salad looks great charlie

  30. “I could be her first customer.” 😉 Really funny.

    I was pretty changeable at that age, too – I think most of us are. Anyway, nice healthy recipe. I love rocket, and it pairs well with pears. And blue cheese. Good stuff – thanks.

  31. Here’s hoping you keep your sanity while your daughter decides on what she finally wants to do! =D

  32. “He doesn’t have a Universe, we all share it.” Ha!! From your mouth to all men’s ears. 😉

  33. It’ll be fun to see where Arabella ends up later in life, with the “indecisive years” chronicled for future reference — sometimes the hardest part is narrowing down the possibilities! (More power to her — she sounds like a multi-gifted young lady.) In the mean time, this salad is destined to become a “go to” recipe. You can always count on food for stability. 🙂

  34. the salad sounds so lovely. something you’d get at a restuarant and I would gladly polish it all off.

    Oh Arabella. I have to say I was so entertained by the conversation you had with her. It sounds like she can’t make up her mind but at least there are things out there that she wants to do! Explore options and don’t limit yourself is all I’ll say 🙂 (wish I could have taken my own medicine though….)

  35. Oh to be young again, and so undecided:-) She is picking some great career choices though! That salad sounds so light, healthy, and delicious! I love love walnuts, fruit, and cheese in my salad, it is sooooo full of wonderful flavors together! Hugs, Terra

  36. Has Miss A considered a gap year to decide? John wishes he’d done the same thing. He had the glange in his last year at Wesley but he was given huge consideration for it. He got into anything he wanted and he credits the glange for that. He said he’d appeal. She’ll be great at whatever she (finally) decides.

    What a great salad. Tart, green, sweet and crunchy… perfect.

  37. Has Miss A considered a gap year to decide? John wishes he’d done that. He didn’t know what he wanted to do. He had the glange in his last year at Wesley but he was given huge consideration for it. He got into anything he wanted and he credits the glange for that. He said if he were Arabella he’d appeal. She’ll be great at whatever she (finally) decides.

    What a great salad. Tart, green, sweet and crunchy… perfect.

  38. What a great looking salad! I’ve been know to just eat pears and blue cheese so this salad would definitely disappear quickly at my table.

  39. hehehe, I’m sure she’ll be great at what ever she chooses.

  40. Oh this was rich. I laughed aloud more than once. And you might already know that I adore the combination of pears and cheese…just love it.

  41. Of course I love your ending with “I could be her first customer.” – you are such a great writer. I wish I’m young again like her… see so many possibilities! Lovely salad, and please, keep us updated. We’re all nosy about what’s going on in your family and the kitchen. 😉

  42. You know, I just love that daughter of yours! I love her openness and the whole idea that life stretches in front of her with no barriers. None that she recognizes anyway! Isn’t that just lovely. Well, I certainly look forward to some new boyfriend stories. I’m curious. 🙂 And this salad is great. All my favorite tastes on one fork! 🙂

  43. What a delectable and healthy salad to start the New Year. And by the way, can I be the 2nd customer for your daughter? LOL… but seriously, I’m sure she’ll be good in whatever she picks at the end. 😉

  44. I always love reading your exchanges with Arabella. This one had me cracking up. I love the comment on “what does he eat in his universe.” LOL! I can completely relate to how Arabella feels about her career though. There are so many days I want to start over as something entirely different. Wish her the best! And this salad looks delicious! I love all the flavors here.

  45. You are not over yet worrying about your darling daughter, I think! 😉

    This salad is very seasonal obver here. My mother-in-law makes the same recipe as yours! 🙂

  46. I actually LOL’d at the universe bit haha. Thats gold! Ah to be young again!

  47. My kind of salad. Love blue cheese, parma ham and balsamic vinegar.
    I don’t think you need to worry about Arabella, she will succeed in whatever career path she chooses.

  48. Haha, I’m so curious to know what Arabella will end up choosing! It certainly is hard to decide what you want to do with your life…I still don’t really know. How was dinner with the bf??

  49. Nice to see you are keeping your sense of humour through all this! Love the punch line.

  50. This salad looks very tasty! You sound a very good mother, I´m sure Arabella will have the right choice in the end with your help….have a great weekend!

  51. If someone would have told me earlier the things you go through with your kids. I have two boys and one of them in college. I know exactly what you are going through. I’m sure later in life you’ll remember these times with a smile. They’ll be OK.
    The salad looks really delicious. I love candied walnuts, pears and blue cheese in my salads. That’s a perfect combination of ingredients. Great post.

  52. Thaks for the recipe, Charlie! This salad looks amazing. As for the post, a very enjoyable reading, as usual. I hope that Arabella finds her true call very soon 😉

  53. I really love pears and blue cheese together so this salad looks quite yummy to me. I’ve stuffed chicken breasts with pear, blue cheese, and arugula before and they were a hit.

  54. Oh dear, weren’t we all in your shoes one time or another?! That is so cute when kids make their decision and each time they have a perfect argument why this suits them better (just this time). 🙂

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