Roasted Cauliflower with Cannellini Bean Sauce (serves 4)

Roasted Cauliflower with Cannellini Bean Sauce (serves 4)

This should especially appeal to vegetarians. I served this cold (and roasted cauliflower is nice cold) so it could be a side dish or a salad even and the bean sauce could also double up as a dip. To serve I placed the cauliflower in an earthenware dish and laid a strip of the bean sauce over the cauliflower because it would have looked pale otherwise.

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 x cauliflower – cut into florets

Toss cauliflower florets in seasoned oil and roast in oven for 30 minutes

SAUCE

1 can cannellini bens

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp. parsley – finely chopped

2 garlic cloves – finely chopped

Place all ingredients and whizz in food processor

Mexican Black Beans (serves 4)

Mexican Black Beans (serves 4)

The other day I picked up a food magazine special just focusing on Mexican food, which I love but am confused about how to use and in what quantities the different kinds of peppers and spices. This magazine is so helpful and is encouraging me to experiment. Black beans crop up a lot in Mexican food and I spiced mine up with chipotles in adobo sauce and some ground chipotle spice (I used the Frontier brand http://www.frontiercoop.com as their spices appear to be non-irradiated i.e. they still have all the goodness). Serving my beans with poached chicken tenders and Mexican Sweet Potatoes (I mashed one sweet potato with a pinch of ground chipotle spice).

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 x onion – chopped

2 x garlic cloves – finely chopped

1/4 tsp. ground chipotle

1 can black beans – drained

1 x chipotle pepper in adobo sauce – chopped + 1 tbsp. of the sauce

1/2 cup passata (tomato sauce) or use Pomi crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup veg. broth/stock

Soften onion and garlic in olive oil seasoned.

Then add ground chipotle, stir and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add beans, chopped chipotle in sauce, passata and veg. broth/stock.

Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes (add more broth if you think it is too dry)

Avocado Tuna Salad (serves 4)

Avocado Tuna Salad (serves 4)

More of a girl’s lunch really – tuna served on avocado mashed with oil, lemon juice and sliced scallions/spring onions and the whole thing is on a bed of arugula/rocket.

1 x avocado – mashed

3 x scallions/spring onions – finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Zest of 1/4 of a lemon – finely grated

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 x can of tuna – drained

Arugula/rocket

Mash avocado, scallions/spring onions along with olive oil, lemon juice and zest and salt and pepper.

Place on bed of arugula.

Sprinkle tuna on top of avocado mash

Spring Lamb Stew with Peas (serves 4)

Spring Lamb Stew (serves 4)

Spring Lamb Stew is a lovely dish – half comfort food but with hints that better weather is round the corner. To the lamb, I added carrots, peas and snow peas (fresh, if possible) and served new potatoes with mint. The carrots were all different colors – orange, yellow and purple which I found at the Farmer’s Market and they livened up the color. When I saw something similar being served (on a cold, windy Spring day in the UK!) it came in a large soup plate with a large rim and that seemed a nice way to serve it.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 x onion – chopped

2 pounds of lamb – cut into bite size pieces

3 x carrots – sliced

6 oz. fresh peas

6 oz. fresh snowpeas/mangetout

2 cups veg. stock/broth

Place oil in cast iron casserole dish and season with salt and pepper.

When sizzling add onion and cook will just a bit brown.

Remove onion for casserole dish, add lamb and sear on all sides (add more oil if  you need, I didn’t)

Place onion back in dish when lamb is seared, then add carrots, peas, snowpeas/mangetout and veg. broth.

Place in oven at 350 degrees for 1/2 and hour, then turn down heat to 250 degrees and cook for a further hour.

Spring Green Soup (serves 4)

Spring Green Soup (serves 4)

Think asparagus, fresh peas, if possible, and leeks cooked in veg. broth/stock and pureed. Soup can be eaten hot or chilled. Looks lovely served in a white soup dish (I wish, mine are in storage!).

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 x large leeks – thinly sliced

1 x bunch of asparagus – cut into chunks

1 cup peas

3 cups veg. broth/stock

Heat tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When sizzling add leeks and cook for a few minutes.

Add asparagus, peas and stock.

Bring to boil then simmer for 15 minutes.

Puree in food processor.

Half-Roasted Potatoes with Paprika (serves 4)

Half-Roasted Potatoes with Paprika (serves 4)

When I make roast potatoes I parboil them first, drain them, shake them in the pan, and toss in oil in a metal oven-proof dish.

Half-roasted potatoes are different – take 8 or so large new potatoes, leave skin on and boil for 10 minutes or so until tender. Squish them with a potato masher, spoon a good tbsp. extra virgin olive oil into a metal oven-proof dish, place potatoes in dish and brush them with extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle them with smoked paprika (it must be smoked paprika). Cook in oven for 30 mins. They come out of the oven with a delicious smoky flavor. Good with roast chicken (and lots of other things – very moreish!).

Winter Red Cabbage (serves 4)

Winter Red Cabbage (serves 4)

A few days ago I had my mother’s red cabbage dish which was served with a ham. I have cooked her recipe many times over the years but this time I added beetroot. Everything was roughly chopped, spread in an oven proof dish, seasoned with salt and pepper and moistened with veg. broth/stock.

1 x onion – chopped

1/4 of a red cabbage – chopped

2 x beetroot – chopped

1 x Granny Smith apples – peeled and chopped

2 cups veg. broth/stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place onion, red cabbage, beetroot and apple in an oven-proof casserole dish.

Season.

Pour over veg. broth.

Cover dish with aluminum foil and cook in oven for 11/2 hours at 350 degrees.