Okra Ratatouille (serves 4)

Okra Ratatouille (serves 4)

Have only cooked okra once or twice and not memorably! Have eaten it cooked by other people and it was delicious, so I had another go at it. The key is not to boil it as it will become very slimy. It is better with other ingredients as it is not very flavorsome by itself. This dish can be eaten hot or cold, as a sidedish, as a vegetarian meal by itself or in an omelette. I spiced it up with red pepper flakes and harissa paste. I used roasted red peppers from a jar.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion – finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic – finely chopped
1 x carton of Pomi crushed tomatoes (26.5 oz/750g)
2 cups vegetable broth/stock
1/2 pound of okra – topped, tailed and sliced
2 x red peppers (equivalent from a jar) – sliced
1 tbsp. harissa paste
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Heat oil in cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and garlic, turn down heat and cook till onion is softened.
Add crushed tomatoes and veg. broth/stock and stir.
Add sliced okra, red peppers, harissa paste and red pepper flakes, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Tuna-free Salad Nicoise (serves 4)

Tuna-free Salad Nicoise (serves 4)

Basically, Salad Nicoise without any tuna and served with a lemon anchovy dressing (leave out the anchovies and this is a great vegetarian dish). The fresher the ingredients, the better the taste. I swapped out the green beans and replaced them with baby asparagus. I am trying to eat more vegetarian/vegan dishes and, when I do eat meat, to have a smaller portion of it replacing it with more vegetables and this recipe fits the bill exactly!

16 x baby potatoes – cooked and cut into quarters
16 x baby tomatoes – halved
4 x eggs – hard boiled, cut into quarters and then halved
Bunch of baby asparagus – cooked and cut into pieces
8 x black olives – chopped
Slice of red onion – finely chopped

Place all ingredients in a salad bowl and toss with dressing.

Dressing
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 anchovies – finely chopped

Place ingredients in an empty jar with a lid and shake.

Thai Coleslaw (serves 4)

Thai Coleslaw (serves 4)

The dressing on the coleslaw is full of the Thai flavors I love so much. The dressing could also double as a dip or for as satay sauce for chicken or beef. I added celery and chopped unsalted peanuts to the coleslaw mix of cabbage, carrots and scallions/spring onions and I think it might be nice if chunks of chicken or strips of beef were added too. You may find you have more than enough dressing so you could use it for other things – I guarantee it won’t last long!

1/2 a small cabbage – finely shredded
2 large carrots – grated or shredded in food processor
1 bunch of scallions – finely chopped
2 sticks of celery – chopped
Handful or 2 of unsalted peanuts – roughly chopped

Dressing/sauce
3 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp. water (add more at end if necessary)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp. Thai fish sauce
1 inch of ginger – freshly grated
1 large clove of garlic – finely chopped

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

Smoked Salmon Smeared with Taramosalata

Smoked Salmon Smeared with Taramosalata

This is a wicked appetizer! Taramosalata has 60 calories all from fat, but no trans fat, in 1 tbsp. It is SO delicious and I serve it on special occasions.
Calculate 2 pieces of smoked salmon per person, smear each slice with taramosalata and let everyone help themselves. Years ago I served the same thing in a ramekin dish, placed salmon in ramekin and scooped taramosalata into the middle.
Brand I used (stumbled upon it in my local Mediterranean Market and Deli, I was so happy!) is Krinos. It does contain lactic acid (jury seems to be out as to whether it is dairy) but I seem to be able to tolerate it.

Cucumber, Avocado and Red Onion Salad (serves 4)

Cucumber, Avocado and Red Onion Salad (serves 4)

Just a little side salad to serve alongside chicken or as one of a number of salads for a vegetarian/vegan option.
Cucumber and avocado are both bland so something needs to be added and/or a tasty dressing. I added finely chopped red onion (rather vague as to amount because it depends on how much you like onion in a salad). I dressed the salad with a simple lemon vinaigrette.

1 x English cucumber – diced
1 x avocado – diced
Little bit of a large red onion – finely diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Place cucumber, avocado and onion in a bowl.
Pour over lemon juice and oil.
Mix together and enjoy!

Jo’s Healthy Meatloaf (serve 4)

Jo’s Healthy Meatloaf (serves 4)

My meatloaf contains veggies (so hidden you wouldn’t know they were in it) and quinoa is the binding agent. Meat was leanest I could find (93% ground buffalo). Special thing about the meatloaf was the addition of various flavorings – Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, Celery Salt and Horseradish.
I served it with new potatoes and a salad (kale, cucumber, red onion and avocado with a lemon vinaigrette).

1 x large onion – cut into 1/8ths
2 x large cloves of garlic – roughly chopped
4 x sticks of celery – roughly diced
1 x large carrot – roughly diced
2 pounds ground/minced buffalo/beef
1 x cup of cooked quinoa
2 x eggs
2 x good pinches of celery salt
16 x drops of Tabasco sauce
2 x teasp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 x teasp. horseradish (Gold’s prepared horseradish)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oil for greasing rectangular meat loaf dish.

Place onion and garlic in food processor and process until in small pieces (don’t over process as the mixture will become watery). Place in large mixing bowl.
Repeat with celery and carrot. Place in mixing bowl.
Add rest of ingredients to bowl and mix together well with hands.
Season with salt and pepper.
Grease meat loaf dish with oil, fill with meat loaf mixture.
Cook for an hour.
Turn out onto a rack so any fat drips away.
Then, enjoy!!