Honey Mustard

Honey Mustard

This is so delicious I had to post it. It is to dip food in – sausages would be great. Can also be a condiment on the side of a plate – roast chicken, roast pork. Think it would make a tasty vinaigrette. So easy to make it can’t be classified as cooking.

2 tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

Put ingredients in a jar and whisk with a mini-whisk or even a fork.

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Pork, Apricot and Pistachio Muffins (makes approx. 12)

Pork, Apricot and Pistachio Muffins (makes approx. 12)

Am rather proud of this invention – tastes good, looks good, can be eaten hot as a main course or cold with a salad, fantastic for picnics and if made into mini muffins are perfect for hors d’oeuvres. Additionally, the meat and fruit component can be altered – think turkey and cranberries. To top it all, preparation is very easy, especially if you buy pre-shelled pistachios.

1 oz. shelled pistachio nuts
2 oz. dried apricots
8 oz. ground/minced pork
handful of parsley – finely chopped
1 x egg – beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oil for greasing muffin tin

Put shelled pistachios and apricots in food processor and process until they are in small chunks.
Place this mixture into a large bowl, add rest of ingredients and mix well together.
Make mixture into balls and place in greased muffin tin (I use a silicone muffin tin which is really non-stick).
Cook for 20 minutes and then turn oven off and leave for a further 10 minutes.
Turn out onto a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any fat and dab top of muffins too.

Crushed Potatoes with Pesto (serves 4)

Crushed Potatoes with Pesto (serves 4)

My kitchen has been a hive of activity today and the ‘thumbs up’ has been given to the various recipes I have produced which will all be coming your way day by day.

I had some left over vegan pesto (no cheese) and added it to crushed, rather than fully mashed boiled potatoes (and I left the skins on for extra goodness). Adding the pesto while the potatoes were still hot let the oily pesto really flavor the potatoes. I imagine these potatoes going well with a grilled fish (maybe lie the fish on top of the potatoes) or a roast.

4 medium size baking potatoes – cut into chunks
2 – 3 tbsp. vegan pesto

Cook potatoes in boiling water in a covered pan for 10 minutes or so until just tender.
Crush the potatoes with a potato masher.
Add pesto and mix well.

Spinach and Watercress Soup with Cannellini Beans and Pesto (4)

Spinach and Watercress Soup with Cannellini Beans and Pesto (serves 4)

There is so much goodness in this soup you will positively glow with good health. Spinach and watercress are excellent for you. I added cannellini beans for bulk and texture and added a bought spinach basil pesto for extra flavor (contained no cheese). I am going to experiment with making pesto as a dollop can be added to so many recipes. I remember the very first time I tasted pesto some 25 years ago. It was mixed with spaghetti and was so delicious I could have eaten it twice over. I was so worried I would never find it on a menu again not realizing it was an Italian staple!

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion (8 oz) – finely chopped
3 cups chicken/vegetable broth (add more if you like a thinner soup)
1 x 4oz bag/bunch of watercress
6 oz baby spinach
1 x 16 oz can cannellini beans – drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. pesto

Heat seasoned oil till sizzling in a cast iron casserole dish (I use Le Creuset) then add onion.
When softened add broth and bring to a boil.
Add watercress and spinach, turn down the heat and cook for 5 minutes.
Blend in a food processor, then tip soup back into casserole dish and add the cannellini beans and pesto.
Bring soup back to boil then turn down to simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes.

White Bean and Artichoke Heart Medley (serves 4)

photo - artichoke medley

White Bean and Artichoke Heart Medley (serves 4)

This mixture can be an accompaniment to lamb or chicken or eaten by itself as a vegetarian/vegan dish. Garlic, parsley, mustard and a little vegetable stock to moisten are the other ingredients.

1 x 14 oz can of cannellini beans – drained and rinsed

1 x 14 oz can or artichoke hearts – drained, rinsed and cut into quarters

2 x large cloves of garlic – finely chopped or grated

1 bunch of parsley (but you will only need 2 tbsp.) – finely chopped

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup veg. broth/stock

Place cannellini beans and artichoke hearts in an ovenproof dish.

Chop parsley in food processor and leave 2 tbsp. in the processor (freeze the rest)

Add garlic, oil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to parsley and process in food processor.

Place parsley mixture into ovenproof dish with beans and artichoke hearts, mix together well and pour over the veg. broth/stock

Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

German Dilled Cucumber Salad (serves 4)

German Dilled Cucumber Salad (serves 4)

This salad is very quick to make and the dill gives a distinctive flavor. The dressing is a white wine vinegar with a little added sugar to cut the vinegary flavor. The color comes from the addition of red onion. The salad is crisp, light and refreshing.

1/2 of a large English cucumber – sliced and with each slice cut in half or quarters
1/2 a small red onion – finely sliced and with each slice cut in half
1 tbsp. dill – chopped
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 teasp. sugar (taste and add more if necessary)
Pinch of salt

Put first three ingredients in a shallow dish.
Mix white wine vinegar, sugar and salt together, then pour over salad ingredients and mix well.
Let stand for about 1/2 an hour before serving to let vinegar mixture flavor the salad.

Macaroons (makes 12 single macaroons/12 sandwiched together)

Macaroons (makes 12 single macaroons/12 sandwiched together)

I was wandering along in Soho, NYC last week exploring the neighborhood and came across the macaroon mecca, Laduree. As I needed a present to take to a friend I went in and chose a selection of 8 different macaroons which were put in a very pretty little box. Their macaroons are gluten free and come in all sorts of colors. However, the filling may not be dairy free as I have read that many macaroons have a ganache filling. On researching the subject, a good dairy free filling is a fruit butter (that is just the name, there is no butter in it) or fruit conserve. I found a thick, smooth plum jam in a local store and used that as a filling. The filling has to be firm enough to stick the macaroons together without running outside the macaroon or dripping. The macaroons can also be eaten without a filling. I added some red food coloring to my macaroons and they looked a pretty strawberry color. However, I will avoid using coloring again because of the ‘E’ coloring ingredient (warning on the side of the bottle says that it could make children hyperactive). The color can instead come from the fruit filling.

You will also need enough waxed paper to line 2 baking trays, a piping bag with a round half inch nozzle and the oven should be set at 150 degrees Celsius/300 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a convection oven you should lower the temperature by 25 per cent.

4 oz ground almonds
6 oz confectioner’s sugar/icing sugar
3 x egg whites
3 oz caster sugar (if you don’t have caster sugar, put regular sugar in a food processor to make it finer)

Heat oven.
Place ground almonds in a food processor.
Add the confectioner’s sugar 1 tbsp. at a time.
Whisk the egg whites until they make peaks.
Add caster sugar 1 tbsp. at a time, whisking as you go.
Add a small amount of food coloring, if using.
Fold almond mixture into egg white mixture.
Leave macaroons to stand for about 10 minutes, then gently poke the top – they should be firm enough that you do not leave a finger indentation.
Pipe mixture onto waxed paper, making 2″ circles and leave a space between each macaroon as they spread a bit.
Place baking trays in oven, making sure they are on a shelf in the middle of the oven.
Cook for 15 minutes, then check for doneness by taking one macaroon off the waxed paper with a palate knife – they should neither be too hard or too chewy. Put back in oven if they need a few more minutes but keep an eye on them.
Transfer to a baking rack.