Turkey Burgers (serves 4)
Turkey burgers can be a bit bland which is why I serve mine with a good dollop of homemade guacamole on top (see my recipe ‘My Kinda Guacamole’). To add some extra taste I mix some very finely chopped red onion and some chopped cilantro to the ground turkey mix. As a binder I used cooked quinoa and it worked perfectly but doesn’t alter the taste. No.1 son told me that quinoa by itself was too nutty for his taste, but he did not detect it in his burger! You can grill these or cook them in a frying pan. Just make sure they are cooked right through as they are quite thick burgers.
1 pound ground turkey
3 oz cooked quinoa
3/4 tbsp. very finely chopped red onion
1/2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Mix all ingredients together well.
Shape into 4 burgers.
Whatever method you use to cook them, make sure they are cooked right through.
My Kinda Guacamole (serves 4)
Guacamole and turkey burgers go well together, which is what we are having for dinner tonight (me without the bun of course). Guacamole got the ‘thumbs up’ from No. 1 son. My guacamole is very clean and fresh tasting, consisting of mushed avocado, finely chopped red onion, finely chopped cilantro and lime juice. It can be made ahead as the lime juice prevents the avocado from going brown. Can also be eaten as a dip.
1 x ripe, medium size avocado
1/2 of a medium size red onion – finely chopped
1/2 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Mash avocado in a bowl.
Add rest of ingredients and mix well together.
P.S. Turkey burger recipe will follow.
Not everyone is fond of anchovies, but if you are this is one to try. My grandfather loved nothing more than to put anchovy paste (Patum Pepperum, which came in a lovely painted glass dish with a lid on it) on his toast for afternoon tea. We used to go and visit my grandparents after school sometimes and my grandmother would have a stack of crustless bread by the side of a roaring fire. She would place the slice of bread on a toasting fork and toast it in the fire and then butter it liberally and transfer it to a stack of toast. The toast would keep warm because of the fire and the butter would melt through. Sometimes we were allowed to help toast the bread. Digression again, but a lovely memory. This dressing works particularly well with a chopped salad as the flavors get right in, especially if you let the salad wait a while. The salad I used with this dressing was a mixture of baby arugula, chopped scallions/green onions and avocado and I served it with a chicken breast.
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
6 anchovies – drained and finely chopped
Mix the ingredients together (preferably shake in a jar with a lid on sol it emulsifies).
Thai Chicken Soup with Baby Spinach and Lemongrass (serves 4)
Man (woman) cannot live by bread alone (especially if gluten intolerant!) but I could live by soup alone. This soup has a depth of Thai flavors without being too spicy. It is worth going the extra mile to find lemongrass as you can’t get the same taste from mere lemon juice. I minced the lemongrass in a food processor and added some of the soup liquid to make it easier to mince (lemongrass can be quite tough). To prepare the lemongrass, take off the outer layer and top and tail the stalk, then thinly slice (I looked up how to prepare lemongrass on the Internet). I used a mixture of Thai Green Curry Paste and curry powder for the spices. You could also serve this with rice as a main course and maybe thicken the soup a bit first.
3 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 x can lite coconut milk
3/4 cup chopped scallions/spring onions
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 1/2 tbsp. Thai Green Curry Paste
4 stalks lemongrass – minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger – finely grated
4 x chicken thighs – fat removed
6 oz baby spinach
Juice of 1 1/2 limes
Chopped cilantro for sprinkling on top of soup
Place chicken broth, coconut milk, chopped scallions, curry powder, Thai Green Curry paste, grated ginger and chicken thighs in a cast iron casserole dish and bring to a boil.
Turn heat down and simmer for 25 minutes.
Remove chicken and cut into small pieces.
Add spinach to casserole dish and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
Add lime juice.
Add back the chopped chicken.
Serve imediately with chopped cilantro sprinkled on top of the soup.
Toto’s Beef Loaf (serves 4)
Never did my grandmother from Lancashire, UK imagine in her wildest dreams that her beef loaf would be served gluten and dairy free in sunny Florida! Toto’s beef loaf is not the same as meat loaf. We eat it cold in the summer with a salad and new potatoes. It has no tomato sauce/ketchup in it. Instead it has a nice hint of garlic. I made a breakthrough with this beef loaf (and think it will work well with other recipes that require bread as a filler). I replaced the breadcrumbs with cooked brown rice. I ignored the need for melted butter altogether, thinking that the ground beef had enough fat in it. The resulting beef loaf tasted pretty much the same as Toto’s recipe and once it was cooked I turned it out onto a metal rack over a metal baking tray to let any fat from the loaf drain out.
1 pound of ground/minced beef – the leanest and most organic you can find
4 oz ham – minced in food processor
1/2 cup of cooked brown rice
1 medium onion – finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic – minced
Handful of parsley – minced in food processor
1 egg – whisked with a fork
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Put ground/minced beef in a large bowl.
Add all the other ingredients and mix together well by hand.
Oil a glass loaf dish.
Place meat mixture in loaf dish and cook for 30 – 40 minutes until beef loaf is cooked through in the middle.
Turn loaf out onto a rack to let any fat run off.
Let cool, slice and serve.
Raft of Asparagus and Spinach Topped with a Poached Egg (serves 4)
This recipe is ideal for brunch (though could also do for a light lunch or supper) as it is a healthy take on Eggs Florentine with Hollandaise Sauce. Poached eggs go well with spinach and they go well with asparagus too, so I combined the veggies into one recipe and it was a great combo. I used thin asparagus as it is tenderer. I rinsed the spinach and didn’t need to add any more water in order to cook it in a covered pan. I cut the asparagus in half (so I had one half with the tip on it and the other half had no tip) and started with a layer of asparagus, then I added a layer of spinach, and finally, another layer of asparagus with the tips on and topped the vegetables with a poached egg.
My method for poaching eggs is to boil a (wide) pan of water and add some white wine vinegar. Crack egg onto a plate as it is easier that way to slide it into the boiling water. When the water has boiled swirl it with a slotted spoon and create a whirlpool. Slide the egg in and use the slotted spoon to push the white bits back toward the egg. Then you can add another egg, repeat process with up to 4 eggs into a wide pan at one time. Turn the heat down a little and cook for around 3 minutes (if you like a firm white and a soft yolk). Dry on paper towel, then plop onto asparagus mixture.
1 pound of thin asparagus – cut in half
10 oz. baby spinach – rinsed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cook asparagus in boiling water in a covered pan until just tender (only a couple of minutes)
Cook spinach until just tender (again a couple of minutes) and place on paper towel top and bottom.
Start with a layer of asparagus on a plate and season with salt and pepper.
Add a layer of spinach and season.
Finish with a layer of asparagus with the tips on.
Top with a poached egg and serve.
Cherry Tomato and Black Olive Bites
I get a lot of my ideas when I’m out walking our dog and this just popped into my head from nowhere yesterday afternoon and it couldn’t be simpler. Take a cherry tomato and cut it in half, put a pitted black olive on top and skewer with a toothpick.
Amount of tomatoes and olives depends on how many you want to make. Think this will be my early evening nibble.