Am always looking for new items to serve with cocktails to liven up the cheese and crackers/shrimp with cocktail sauce, etc. I will be serving these at Thanksgiving as nibbles. Cooked in a small muffin sized tray, preferably non-stick silicone, these make great hors d’oeuvres/snacks or a light meal served with a salad. Best served warm. Can be frozen too and de-frosted ahead of a party.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper (plus extra oil for greasing muffin tray)
1 onion – finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic – grated
12 oz. portabella mushrooms – cut into small pieces
1 tbsp. parsley – finely chopped
6 eggs – beaten
Heat oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper in a frying pan and when sizzling add the onion and let soften a little but not brown before adding the garlic and stirring well.
Then add the mushrooms (may seem like a lot but they will shrink) and parsley.
Cook until the mushrooms are soft and any water has disappeared. Take off heat and leave to cool a bit.
Beat the eggs with a fork in a large mixing bowl and then add the cooled mushroom mixture.
Oil the muffin tray and then ladle in the egg mixture.
Cook in the oven for 15 minutes (for mini muffins). Remove muffins immediately and place on paper towel to absorb any moisture.
Serve while still warm.
Maybe you are someone who likes to introduce a few new twists on foods for the Thanksgiving/Christmas period. In which case this may appeal.
The Holidays wouldn’t be the same without cranberry sauce as a condiment and you can either buy it or make it yourself from a family recipe as it comes in all sorts of guises. I have tried many variations over the years but this is my favorite because it is not cloyingly sweet. In fact, the only sugar is contains comes from the marmalade, the orange and the honey (raw and organic) – so fairly pure sources of sweetness and the hint of marmalade is a nice surprise.
8 oz. frozen cranberries
Juice and zest of 1 orange (if there is pulp with the juice that is OK)
1 tbsp. marmalade
1 tsp. runny honey
Place cranberries, orange juice and zest in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and when cranberries are popping, add marmalade and honey and stir.
Simmer until sauce is thickish.
Puree in a food processor or leave it as is or mash slightly with a potato masher depending on how you like the consistency.
My local Farmer’s Market has a wonderful tropical fruit stand selling a wide variety of ripe, colorful exotic fruits – some I have never seen or heard of before. I bought a bright and varied selection of them and made a show stopping fruit salad – containing mango, papaya, kiwi fruit and the lesser know yellow dragon fruit (a sweeter version of the bright pink dragon fruit). Dragon fruits are, happily, becoming easier to find in supermarkets these days. The fruits should be cut into pieces of roughly equal size. Try and make sure that some of the good juices end up in the fruit salad too.
1 mango – cut into cubes
1/2 a papaya – de-seeded and cut into cubes
1 yellow dragon fruit – cut each half into cubes
2 kiwi fruit – peeled and cut into pieces
Place all in a serving dish. It is good for a breakfast too.
Smoked mackerel is full of Omega 3 and can be found in some, but not all, supermarkets. It usually comes in two varieties – peppered and un-peppered. Personally, I find the peppered variety too overpowering. This salad is substantial and packed with all sorts of goodness – hard-boiled eggs, roasted beetroot, baby spinach, and a sprinkling of a chopped shallot. Added to this is a delicious dressing made of raw egg yolks, oil and lemon juice with a little salt and lemon pepper for seasoning. Lemon pepper is a good addition to anything lemony and I rub it over chicken before roasting it. Consuming raw eggs make some people nervous so dilute some mayo with some lemon juice to get an approximate effect. Toss the spinach and a couple of tablespoons of the dressing together and leave for half an hour for the dressing to soak in before assembling the whole platter.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
2 egg yolks
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl, whisk in the oil followed by the lemon juice and season with salt and lemon pepper (I use Simply Organics brand).
2 medium beetroots – roasted
2 hard-boiled eggs – cut into quarters
5 oz. baby spinach
1 fillet of smoked mackerel – skin removed and cut into smallish pieces
1/2 a shallot – finely chopped
Roast the beetroots in their skins in aluminum foil in the oven for an hour or more until they are tender. Let cool, take the skin off and dice.
Hard boil 2 eggs
Toss the spinach together with 2 tbsp. of the lemon dressing and place in the fridge for half an hour.
Compose salad by first arranging the dressed spinach on a salad platter.
Add the other ingredients and drizzle over the rest of the dressing.
Another soup – different ingredients. I really like using white beans as a thickener, better for you than potatoes. Bacon adds a nice saltiness. I used back bacon (in the supermarket you may find it names ‘Irish bacon’) which is leaner cut. Dilute with extra broth after cooking if you prefer a thinner soup.
2 rashers of back bacon – halved and sliced
1 onion – diced
1 head of broccoli – cut into florets and I used the stem also
1 can of cannellini beans – drained
2 cups chicken broth (or more if you like a thinner soup)
Heat a frying pan until nice and hot and then add the bacon.
Once bacon is a little browned and giving off juices, add the onion.
Cook stirring occasionally until bacon and onion and nicely browned.
Add the broccoli, beans and broth, bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
Process in a food processor or use a hand held blender.
I have had such a lovely afternoon pottering in my mother’s kitchen trying to make this sauce which I tasted last week in the depths of North Yorkshire at the Stapylton Arms at Wass. This sauce was served with lamb chops and was on both the ‘Specials’ board and on the gluten and dairy free menu. It was a refreshing combination and beautifully presented with a few whole blueberries and slices of apple that had been cooked in the sauce. The smooth sauce made a lovely puddle around the chops.
The blueberries were ripe and I used an eating apple so that I didn’t need to add sugar. The mint came straight from my mother’s garden. So that the sauce had a zing to it, I ‘muddled’ the mint (as one would do for a cocktail) with balsamic vinegar. It can be served hot or cold. I am so looking forward to having it tonight with organic roast lamb – bread and reared in the area de-boned in front of my eyes in the fantastic local butcher, The Fabulous Meat and Fish Shop in Helmsley, North Yorkshire.
2 tbsp. mint – finely chopped
1 tbsp. aged 12 year old balsamic vinegar
4 oz. blueberries
1 green eating apple – peeled and thinly sliced with a potato peeler
1/4 cup of water
Place the mint in a small glass and pour over the balsamic vinegar, ‘muddle’ it and leave for 10 minutes or so to infuse.
In a small lidded saucepan put the blueberries, apple slices, mint, balsamic vinegar and water.
Bring the pan to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes on a low heat.
Process sauce in a food processor or hand held blender then push through a sieve.
Really easy but quite sophisticated tray bake – love these all-in-one meals. The key to getting everything cooked to the right degree of tenderness is in the sizing of the ingredients. So, four wild salmon steaks of roughly the same size – not too thick if possible (a thicker salmon steak will mean larger pieces of potato and longer bits of asparagus), a bunch of asparagus with the tough ends cut off and then cut into thirds, new potatoes cut into quarters or smaller depending on size and compared with the thickness of the asparagus and half a good size onion. Toss all except for salmon in a lemon juice/olive oil mixture with the remains poured over the salmon steaks. About 25 minutes later all is ready (and if you cook the dinner on unbleached waxed paper there will be little clean-up!).
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook for 20 minutes and check for doneness.
Line a baking tray with unbleached waxed paper
4 wild salmon steaks
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 oz. thin asparagus spears – hard ends cut off and then cut into thirds
10 oz. new potatoes – quartered at least, if not cut into sixth’s or eighth’s
1/2 a good size onion – sliced and then the slices separated
Place salmon steaks on parchment paper – evenly spaced apart.
Whisk together lemon juice and seasoned oil.
Toss asparagus, potatoes and onion in a bowl with the lemon juice/oil mixture.
Arrange around the salmon and pour remains of juices over salmon.
Check for doneness after 20 minutes and cook a little longer if necessary until salmon is cooked through, asparagus is not too soft and potatoes and are not too hard.