Red cabbage and fennel slaw with apple dressing

Photographer: Emma
Serves 6-8 as a side

Growing up, I can remember Mum’s dinners often comprising of a side of coleslaw, rich and creamy from the condensed milk dressing.  I also remember my sister, Amy and I offering to make it and sneaking cheese into it…I think we had just discovered that everything tasted better with cheese.

We used to squabble about onion in the coleslaw (amongst many other things); I loved it and Amy utterly despised it.  I didn’t realise at the time but slicing the onion as thinly as possible to hide it from my sister was developing my knife skills.

This slaw is a little fancy so I dropped the ‘cole’.  I insist that you try this dressing – although it was a perfect match for the pork belly you could make a batch and keep it in the fridge to dress up any salad


Apple dressing
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 lemons, zested and squeezed
1 cup olive oil
Fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

½ red cabbage, finely sliced
4 apples, peeled, cored, halved and finely sliced
1 lemon, juiced
1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
2 large parsnips, grated
¼ – ½ celery, finely sliced
2 carrots, grated (optional – I did not add them as I wanted just purple, green and white vegetables)


Apple dressing
1. In a medium to large frying pan, heat the brown sugar and cider vinegar on a moderate heat until it starts to bubble and thicken.
2. Then add the garlic and chopped apple and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes until the apple softens and caramelises in the sugar and vinegar. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
3. Once cool, add the apple mixture to a food processor with the lemon juice and zest. Process the mixture and once smooth, slowly add the oil (while still blending) to make an emulsified dressing.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Slice and grate all ingredients and mix in a large bowl.

6. Pour over ¼ of the dressing and mix through the vegetables. Taste and add more dressing to suit. I used about ¾ of the dressing for the salad but you may only want to use ½ and store the remaining in the fridge for later use.