Lime Garlic Shrimp

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A treat of a dish as wild caught, domestic, raw, peeled and de-veined shrimp are costly.  I avoid eating farmed shrimp regardless of where they are farmed but especially if they are farmed in parts of Asia as the liberal use of medications and chemicals is extremely off-putting. A pound of shrimp will yield some 20 individual shrimp and I served them cold as an hors d’oeuvres on a cocktail stick lightly sprinkled with cayenne pepper.

1 pound of shrimp – as described above

Juice and pulp of 1 lime

Zest of half a lime – finely grated

2 large cloves of garlic – finely grated

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Place shrimp in a bowl

Whisk together juice and pulp of lime, lime zest,grated garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper until emulsified.

Pour over shrimp and stir so all the shrimp are covered in the lime mixture.

Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat a skillet on the stove top and when hot add the shrimp and liquid and cook until shrimp are firm and pinkish – about 5 – 10 minutes.

Set aside and leave to cool, then drain in a sieve and wipe dry with paper towel.

Sprinkle lightly with cayenne pepper.

 

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Egg and Bean Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette (4)

Originally this was an eat up what is in the fridge salad and I had no intention of writing about it but it tasted good – so nice in fact that it was gone before I thought about taking a photo! I had a head of romaine lettuce which needed using and some left over cannellini beans. There were a couple of hard-boiled eggs as there often are in the fridge and I had part of a red onion. My apple cider vinaigrette is a little softer and sweeter than a regular dressing and apple cider has health benefits and is now my go-to dressing.

I head of romaine lettuce – chopped

2 hard boiled eggs – sliced and chopped

1 can of cannellini beans – rinsed and drained

1/8 to 1/4 of a red onion (depending on how much you like raw onion) – finely chopped

Compose a salad with the above ingredients and toss with apple cider vinaigrette (below)

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Whisk together the mustard and vinegar until smooth.

Add oil and whisk until dressing is emulsified

Pour over salad and toss,

 

Sweet Potato ‘Lasagna’ (4)

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This recipe has only a passing resemblance to lasagna: the sheets of pasta have been replaced by thinly sliced sweet potato; the meat is a combination of lean, ground beef and ground turkey instead of the more usual ground beef and Italian sausage; there is no ricotta cheese or bechamel sauce. On the other hand there is a tomato sauce combining passata and tomato paste and the herbs are basil and parsley.

I layered the dish starting with the meat sauce followed by a layer of sweet potato slices and continued on finishing up with a top layer of sweet potato. I covered the dish with aluminum foil to enable the topping to cook without drying up.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

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

2 medium onions – finely chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 pound of lean, ground beef

1 pound of ground turkey

24 fl. oz. passata

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 cup of beef broth

2 tbsp. parsley – finely chopped

2 tsp. dried basil

2 sweet potatoes – finely sliced in a food processor or on a mandolin

Heat the oil in a cast iron casserole dish or large skillet and when sizzling add the on ion and garlic and let soften and brown.

Add the beef and turkey and let brown for a bit before adding the passata, tomato paste, beef broth, parsley and basil.

Stir well and when simmering place a layer of this mixture in an ovenproof dish followed by a layer of sliced sweet potato. Repeat once or twice more depending on the size of your dish, ending up with a top layer of sweet potato.

Cover the ‘lasagna’ with aluminum and place in the oven for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the ‘lasagna’ in there until the oven cools.

 

Jo’s Greek Meatballs (4)

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Meatballs to me are comfort food. These meatballs are very quick to make and combine what I think of as Greek flavors – lamb, oregano and feta cheese. I cook them in the oven on a metal rack over a roasting tin so that the grease drops into the tin and leaves you with moist but not greasy meatballs. They go nicely with a salad I serve them with a salad as I think a sauce would drown the taste. If you want a new idea for cocktail nibbles make them very small and serve on a toothpick.

1 pound of ground lamb seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 oz. feta cheese – crumbled

1 egg – beaten

Place the lamb, oregano and feta in a large bowl and mix well together.

Add beaten egg and mix again, then make into palm of hand size meat balls.

Cook in oven at 350 degrees for between 20 – 30 minutes depending on size of meatball (cut in half to see if cooked).

Leek, White Bean and Smoked Ham Hock Soup (4)

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Soup comes in an endless variety of flavors and textures. It can be hot or cold; it can be thick or thin; it is supposedly curative – think chicken noodle soup. Discovering that my butcher sold smoked ham hocks without the dreaded nitrites persuaded me to experiment with a new soup (no seasoning needed – hock provides just the right amount of saltiness) and this soup hits the spot – it is thick, full of nutritious veg. and then there is the lovely backdrop flavor that comes from the smoked ham hock and some of its meat.

Adding a smoked ham hock (a cut of meat from the leg just above the foot) to the veg. and broth makes a world of difference to the taste. This soup is best made in a slow cooker and cooked for some 6 hours. At the end of cooking the ham will be dropping off the bone. In fact you should pull it off using two forks and half of the ‘pulled’ meat can be added to the soup and processed in the food processor. The bone and skin can be discarded. Some of the rest of the meat can be used to garnish the soup and the remainder used for other purposes – for breakfast with eggs, for example.

1 x 1 1/2 pound smoked ham hock (uncured if possible)

3 leeks – sliced

2 large garlic cloves – grated

1 x 19 oz can of cannelini beans

2 cups veg. broth

2 tsp Dijon mustard

Place all ingredients, in the order listed above, in a slow cooker. Cook on ‘high’ for 6 hours.

Then, remove the ham hock from slow cooker, take the meat off the bone and remove the skin. Throw out the bone and skin.

Transfer contents of slow cooker to a food processor and process, adding half of the reserved ham in small pieces.

When serving, ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle a little of the ham, finely chopped, onto the soup.