Valentine’s Day Breakfast

photo 24Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Absolute ‘piece de resistance’! Scrambled eggs served in a bacon ‘cup’. I am posting this ahead of time as you may want a practice run first. Would also be very impressive if you have guests staying. The idea of a bacon ‘cup’ was inspired by a dish I tasted at a wine and food pairing dinner prepared by Masterchef Michael Ober ( here in West Palm Beach, FL – pork belly with bacon baskets containing different kinds of pureed vegetables. I thought they would taste delicious for breakfast with eggs and they are to die for!

You need 2 1/2 strips of bacon per bacon ‘cup’.
You also need a muffin tray (I use a silicone one) and a roasting dish (as bacon fat runs off the muffin tray).
Turn muffin tray upside down.
Lay a 1/2 piece of bacon across a muffin holder, then lay another piece across it (so you have a + shape) then lay another piece across and you will have virtually no gaps.
Take a full piece of bacon and wrap it around the muffin holder and this will keep everything in shape.
Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes until nicely browned.
Remove from oven and place individual bacon ‘cups’ on a plate and place back in oven to crisp.
Meanwhile make scrambled eggs.
Remove bacon ‘cups’ from oven and fill with scrambled eggs.


Roasted Cauliflower with Anchovies (serves 4)

Roasted Cauliflower with Anchovies (serves 4)

Anchovies and cauliflower are a great pairing – only thought of it because I had half a tin of anchovies left over (funny how recipes seem to only require a few anchovies and you are left wondering what on earth to do with the rest – other than repeat the recipe!).
I also had half a left over cauliflower. So I roasted the florets (which had been tossed in extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper) in the over for half an hour or so until just tender. I chopped the anchovies finely and sprinkled them over the cauliflower. So simple and so delicious. Can imagine it with roast lamb.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Tuna, Celery and Red Onion (serves 4)

Tomatoes Stuffed with Tuna, Celery and Red Onion (serves 4)

Quick, easy, healthy, portable. Take insides out of tomatoes and reserve for another occasion. Cut celery and red onion in to very small pieces. Break up tuna (I use the kind of tuna that comes in a glass jar and is packed in spring water). Mix all together with juice of half a lemon and 2 tbsp. olive oil. A bit more fiddly but could be done with cherry tomatoes.

4 x medium tomatoes – take out the middle of tomatoes and set aside to use for something else. Keep the tomato tops to put back on later.
3 x sticks of celery – finely diced
1/8 of a red onion – finely diced
1 x 6.7 oz jar of tuna (use canned if you can’t find it)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place celery, red onion and tuna in a bowl.
Pour over the lemon juice and olive oil, season and mix together well.
Divide mixture among the tomatoes and place tomato tops back on.

Trio of Pureed Vegetables (serves 4)

Trio of Pureed Vegetables (serves 4)

Haven’t had pureed vegetables for a while but love the soft, comfort food texture and they seem wintery. These are a great accompaniment to a roast (in my case pork tenderloin but I think they would go with any meat). For more of an impact I chose 3 different colored veg – cauliflower, spinach and sweet potato. The secret ingredient to the puree was olive oil. Stock would have been too watery. To the cauliflower I added horseradish, to the spinach I added garlic.

1 x sweet potato – peeled and chopped into chunks

2 large cloves of garlic – finely chopped

10 oz baby spinach (maybe more if you have hearty eaters)

1/2 a large cauliflower

1 tbsp. horseradish (I used Gold’s Prepared Horseradish)

3 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Cook sweet potato until just soft, puree in food processor with salt and freshly ground black pepper and 1 tbsp. olive oil.

Place 1/2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper in a cast iron skillet and when sizzling add garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, then add spinach and 1/2 cup or so of boiling water and cook till spinach is tender and water has evaporated (take care not to burn). If spinach is still watery, pat dry with kitchen towel. Puree spinach/garlic mixture in food processor, add salt and freshly ground black pepper and 1 tbsp. olive oil.

Cook cauliflower until just tender. Puree in food processor with salt, ground black pepper, 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. horseradish.


Jo’s Baked Beans (serves 4)

Jo’s Baked Beans (serves 4)

Most baked beans contain a lot of sugar – in a can or homemade. Unaware of this, in the past I would have them on toast or in a full English Breakfast (even, to be honest, straight out of the can!). Have experimented with making them myself and the first time they were good but not good enough. But I now have a recipe that I can share!

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 x good size onion – chopped
2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
1 x 26.46 oz carton strained tomatoes (Pomi brand)
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 x 15.8 oz cans of cannellini beans
4 sun-dried tomato pieces – finely chopped
1 tbsp. harissa paste

Heat oil in cast iron and when sizzling, add onion and garlic.
When softened and a little browned, add the remaining ingredients.
Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Roasted Cauliflower ‘Steak’ with Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Topping (serves 4)

Roasted Cauliflower ‘Steak’ with Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Topping (serves 4)

Was having lunch with a friend and I ordered Cauliflower ‘Steak’ with other veg and quinoa. When it came, my friend, said ‘Why have I never cooked it that way – usually I cut it into florets?’ Me, the same. So, off I went to get a cauliflower, slice it, roast it and them come up with a tasty idea meantime to make the cauliflower into a meal/side dish. I thought olive tapenade would give it a good flavor and then how about adding some sun-dried tomatoes mixed with Harissa paste? It is deeelicious! Bonus – there will be enough cauliflower and tapenade left over for hors d’oeuvres. My tapenade recipe is listed in this blog.

1 x large cauliflower – trimmed and cut into slices
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes in oil cut into small pieces + 1/2 tbsp. harissa paste – mixed together

Drizzle cauliflower with seasoned oil and roast for 20 – 30 mins. depending on size of cauliflower.
Let cool.
Spread each ‘steak’ with a layer of tapenade and top with the tomato harissa paste mixture.

Turkey and Spinach Soup (serves 4)

Turkey and Spinach Soup (serves 4)

Have not been able to cook for almost a week due to back issue (thought it better not to take a director’s chair into the kitchen, as I might end up with a worse problem!). Turkey + spinach + cannellini beans = bland. Add harissa paste (tracked down in Whole Foods) = delicious. This is a hearty soup – really a meal in itself. Could do well in a container for lunch.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 x onion – finely chopped
2 x garlic cloves – finely chopped
1 pound ground/minced turkey (Whole Foods ground turkey has no added ‘natural flavorings’)
6 oz baby spinach
3 cups vegetable broth/stock
1 x can of cannellini beans
1 tbsp. harissa paste

Heat seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and leg soften for a few minutes.
Then add garlic and let cook for a few minutes.
Then add turkey and separate with a spatula so it is not in large chunks.
When turkey is a little browned, add spinach and broth.
Bring to boil and simmer with lid on for 10 minutes.
Then add cannellini beans and harissa paste and cook for a further 5 minutes.