Smoked Salmon and Prosciuitto Bites

photo - salmon bites

Smoked Salmon and Prosciutto Bites

I am always searching for new ideas for hors d’oeuvres either to serve at my house or take to other people’s homes so I have something to nibble on. I saw a recipe for smoked salmon and bacon and that got me thinking and I decided that smoked salmon and prosciutto might be nice together – but how to serve them? Cucumber slices seem to work well (and I serve a lot of nibbles on cucumber slices as I can’t have crackers or toast, etc).

Slice cucumber. Cut salmon and prosciutto into bite size pieces and place on top of cucumber, salmon first and then prosciutto.

Lamb, Apricot and Prune Stew (serves 4)

Lamb, Apricot and Prune Stew (serves 4)

Why on earth would I photo - lamb, prune and apricot stewmake a stew in August? It’s just that I had an idea and had to act on it (dog likes it as she has just licked my plate clean!). Had stewing lamb in freezer and thought that it might be nice with dried apricots and prunes and then I flung in a can of Great Northern Beans (small white beans). In other cuisines (Moroccan – tagine) lamb is combined with fruit and in the UK roast lamb is served with red currant jelly, so it goes well with sweet flavors. After bringing all the ingredients to a boil in a cast iron casserole dish, I placed it in the oven for 3 hours at a low heat. Then I brought it out and brought it back to boil to reduce the liquid a bit. And then I added 2 tbsp. of red pepper jelly (easily available in supermarkets in the US, not sure about elsewhere but red currant jelly could be a substitute and almost 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard and added it to the sauce. Mashed/baked sweet potato would complete the meal.

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

1 large onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – finely chopped

1 1/4 pounds of stewing lamb cut into cubes

3 cups veg. broth/stock

1 x 15.8 oz can of reduced sodium Great Northern Beans

8 x prunes – roughly chopped

10 x dried apricots – roughly chopped (managed to find some with no preservatives)

2 tbsp. red pepper jelly

Just less than 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

Heat 1 tbsp. seasoned olive oil in cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and garlic and cook until a little browned.

Remove from pan and place aside.

Heat the other 1 tbsp. of olive oil and when sizzling add lamb and sear on all sides.

Add veg. broth, prunes and apricots.

Bring to boil, then place in low oven for 3 hours.

Remove from oven, place on cooker, bring to boil and reduce liquid for about 5 minutes or so.

Add red pepper jelly and Dijon mustard and stir well.

Tuna, Cucumber, Fennel and Celery Salad with an Avocado Dressing (serves 4)

photo - tuna salad avocado dressing

Tuna, Cucumber, Fennel and Celery Salad with an Avocado Dressing (serves 4)

Dreamt this up last night – it’s a green salad for sure. Omit tuna and it’s vegetarian/vegan. Dressing has a tang some few drops of Green (jalapeno) tabasco (depends on number because I used a mild version – think there are 2 strengths). Always love trying new dressings as they really ring the changes to the taste of salad ingredients.

So, drain tuna, using best canned or jarred type. Chop veg. Spoon over dressing  et voila! Can use chicken too.

Avocado Dressing

Take one ripe avocado and roughly dice.

Place in food processor with juice of a lemon and 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Add a several drops of green tabasco sauce, taste and add more if needed, according to your taste. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

If dressing seems too thick add some water – a little at a time to desired consistency.

Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette (serves 4)

photo - tomatoesTomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette (serves 2)

This salad is a vegan/vegetarian take (minus Worcestershire Sauce in vinaigrette) on a tomato and mozzarella salad. When I could still eat cheese, this was a favorite appetizer/starter but was often tasteless other than for the balsamic vinaigrette if tomatoes were not is season or not ripe enough. Took small to medium size ripe tomatoes on the vine (about the same size in diameter as a slice of cucumber

Take 4 medium size, ripe tomatoes on the vine – topped, tailed and sliced

Take an English cucumber – slice about half of it into 1/2 inch slices (English cucumber has few seeds)

Take 1/2 an avocado – finely dice

Juice of half a lemon – add to avocado and toss

For tomato vinaigrette:

Take 2 medium size, ripe tomatoes on the vine and plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds or so.

Cut a line in tomato skin and it should begin to peel back and then you know it is ready to peel.

Once skin is off, de-seed tomatoes and cut into chunks.

Place in food processor and add vinaigrette ingredients one at a time (add olive oil quite slowly) – 1/2 teasp. Dijon mustard, 1 dessertsp. red wine vinegar,  3 dessertsp. extra virgin olive oil, several drops of Worcestershire sauce (taste and more Worcestershire sauce if needed).

Assemble as follows:

1 slice of tomato topped with 1 slice of cucumber topped with sprinkling of avocado tossed with lemon juice.

Place a small amount of dressing on top of the tomato stack.

Pour more dressing around the tomato stacks (I gave each person 3 tomato stacks as an appetizer)

Cannellini Beans with Bacon Sprinkles

Cannellini Beans with Bacon Sprinkles

This is more a suggestion than a recipe. I was hungry the other evening and there wasn’t much in the fridge or pantry. I spied a can of cannellini beans and then remembered I had some delicious, organic, no nitrates bacon in the freezer. So I popped 2 large rashers into the frying pan, heated up the beans and when bacon was cooked to my satisfaction I crumbled it over the beans – it was so good!

Zucchini/Courgette ‘Spaghetti’ with Curried Chicken (serves 4)

Zucchini/Courgette ‘Spaghetti’ with Curried Chicken (serves 4)

Out comes the spiralizer again to make zucchini ‘spaghetti – no spiralizer, just use food processor or grate. Decided to combine ground/minced chicken with some onion and Sharwood’s Tikka Paste. Easy to find in UK. Here in the US I found it in the UK food section and the ingredients list seemed fine to me.

2 x zucchini – spiralized/grated/processed

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 x medium onion – finely chopped

1 pound ground/minced chicken

2 tbsp. Sharwood’s Tikka Paste

1 cup veg. broth/stock

Place zucchini in a skillet/frying pan with 1/2 cup veg. broth. Cover with a lid and cook for several minutes until zucchini is cooked through, then drain.

In a separate skillet, place the olive oil and when sizzling add the onion, cook for a minute or two then lower heat a little.

Add ground chicken, tikka paste and 1/2 cup veg. broth.

Cook for 15 minutes.

Pop on top of zucchini spaghetti.