Green Beans with Olives and Anchovies (4)

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If you can find the thin French, green beans I would use those – not that it makes a big difference, it’s just a question of preference. One way of introducing more vegetables into one’s diet is to make the vegetables more interesting and flavorsome. Olives and anchovies have strong flavors and I also added some garlic. Cook the beans first and while they are cooking saute the garlic, olives and anchovies. I served this dish alongside lemon poached chicken breast and wild rice.

8 oz. green beans (thin French variety, if possible)

1/2 tbsp olive oil seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large clove of garlic – grated

8 black olives – pitted and quartered

4 anchovy fillets – thinly sliced

Pour boiling water over green beans, bring to boil and simmer for about 3 minutes until cooked but still ‘al dente’. Drain.

Place oil in a frying pan and season. When hot add garlic and cook for literally a couple of minutes and don’t let it brown.

Turn down heat and add olives and anchovies. Cook till heated through.

Place contents of frying pan in with the beans and toss well together.

 

4 anchovy fillets – finely sliced

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Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup (4)

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What a comforting and hearty soup this is. Two ingredients make this soup stand out. First the addition of dried mushrooms – porcini or chanterelles – and secondly mushroom stock (Kallo brand, which is both gluten and lactose free can be bought online from Amazon US and is widely stocked in UK supermarkets and gourmet food shops). The wild rice is cooked separately from the soup because otherwise it soaks up too much of the broth and is only added in just before serving. The addition of the rice adds bulk so that this recipe makes a satisfying lunch or a lightish dinner.

1/2 oz dried chanterelle mushrooms or 1 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms – soaked in boiling water and let to cool for half an hour then drained and patted dry

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

1 large onion – roughly chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

8 oz baby bella mushrooms – sliced

4 cups of mushroom broth

1 cup of wild rice

1 1/2 cups water

1 tbsp parsley – finely chopped

Heat seasoned oil in a Dutch oven.

Pulse onion about 6 times in food processor till finely chopped then place in the Dutch oven when oil is sizzling and let brown and soften, then add the garlic and cook a few minutes more.

Place both the resuscitated mushrooms and baby bella mushrooms in a food processor and process until in very small pieces but not mushy. Add to softened onions and garlic.

Pour over the mushroom broth, bring mixture to a boil then simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.

Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil, add wild rice and cook for 15 minutes then drain and add to soup.

Stir in 1 tbsp. chopped parsley and stir then serve immediately.

 

 

 

Leek, Broccoli and Spinach Soup with a Hint of Mustard (4)

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Soup season, for me, runs from October to March or April. I like my soups to be thick and filling. This soup is a vibrant green color and looks especially good when served in a white soup bowl. The addition of some Colman’s Mustard adds a little piquancy to this very healthy dish.

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

1 large onion – roughly chopped

3 leeks – sliced

3 medium heads of broccoli – roughly chopped

10 oz baby spinach

3 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

1 1/2 tsp. Colman’s Mustard Powder mixed with an equal amount of cold water (it needs 10 minutes to stand before using)

Heat seasoned oil in a Dutch oven and, when sizzling, add the onion and let soften and brown.

Add the leeks and let soften a little before adding the broccoli, spinach and broth.

Bring to a boil the let simmer for 15 minutes.

Add mustard mixture and cook for 5 more minutes.

 

 

 

 

Exotic Fruit Salad (4)

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My local Farmer’s Market has a wonderful tropical fruit stand selling a wide variety of ripe, colorful exotic fruits – some I have never seen or heard of before. One of the women behind the stand is solely engaged in making up containers of their fruit salad and these fly off the shelf with some customers eating straight from the carton as they browse the rest of the market. I think quite a few supermarkets carry these fruit too nowadays.

My fruit salad consists of mango, papaya, yellow dragon fruit (a sweeter version of the bright pink dragon fruit) and kiwi fruit. The fruit should be cut into pieces of roughly equal size. Try and make sure that some of the good juices end up in the fruit salad too.

1 mango – cut into cubes

1/2 a papaya – de-seeded and cut into cubes

1 yellow dragon fruit – cut each half into cubes

2 kiwi fruit – peeled and cut into pieces.

 

Baked Beans (4)

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All you need is a slow-cooker into which you place cannellini beans, passata (strained tomatoes) and – secret ingredient – V8 spicy hot juice. Unlike most baked bean recipes or canned baked beans there is no sugar in mine.

2 cans of cannellini beans – rinsed and drained

1 cup of passata

1 cup of V8 spicy hot juice

Place the beans in the slow cooker and pour over the passata and V8 juice. Cook on high for 3 hours.

 

Sweet Potato Chutney Mash (4)

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Sweet potatoes offer greater nutritional benefits than regular potatoes and they can be used in many of the same ways – roasted, baked, mashed. Thanksgiving is a time for mashed or pureed sweet potatoes and they are often served with a topping of marshmallows (years ago, being new to America, I mistook this offering for a dessert!). In my version of mashed sweet potatoes the sweetness is toned down with the addition of mango chutney and, if you like, some Dijon mustard. It goes very well with pork and sausages and, I dare say,  might be an interesting addition to the Thanksgiving table.

2 large sweet potatoes – peeled and chopped

1/2 cup of chicken broth

1 bunch of scallions – finely chopped

3 tbsp. mango chutney

2 tsp. Dijon mustard (optional)

Boil sweet potatoes for 10 – 15 minutes until they are soft enough to mash.

Add chicken broth, scallions, chutney and mustard, if desired, and mash.

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Citrus Almond Cake (8)

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This is a cake full of surprises. It has no frosting or filling and looks rather understated except for the sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar over the top. But it is moist as can be and oozes with citrus flavor due to the orange, lemon, lime syrup which as been slowly poured over it. It can be served as a dessert but a slice would be wonderful for afternoon tea. Can be served warm or cold.

Tip – because top of cake is moist the confectioner’s sugar should be sprinkled over at last minute

Syrup
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
Juice of 1 lime, 1 lemon (Mayer type, if possible) and 1 orange

Bring water and sugar mixture to a boil.
Add juice.
Boil, stirring frequently, for around 15 minutes to reduce until it is slightly syrupy (it will not go thickly syrupy)

Cake
Canola oil for greasing a 9 inch cake tin and circle of parchment paper used to line the bottom of the cake tin.
4 x eggs – separated
Zest of 1 lime, 1 lemon (Mayer type, if possible) and 1 orange
1/2 cup of sugar – split into 2 x 1/4 cups as it is used for 2 different purposes
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt

Mix egg yolks, 1/4 cup of sugar and zest together in a food processor.
Add ground almonds, baking powder and salt to egg mixture.
Beat egg whites until stiff, then add 1/4 cup of sugar a little at a time.
Fold egg whites mixture into ground almond mixture a spoonful at a time.
Put mixture into cake tin and cook at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (check cake at 15 minutes and cover loosely with aluminum foil if it is going too brown).
Turn cake out onto a rack to cool a little bit.
When still warm place cake on a flat plate, prick all over with a fork to make holes for the syrup to enter the cake, then spoon the syrup over the cake until it is saturated taking care to moisten the sides too. Serve any leftover syrup as a sauce.