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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

A Greek Way with Lamb Chops (4)

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Imagine gathering the flavors that to me conjure up Greek food – lamb, black olives, tomatoes, potatoes, lemon, oregano, feta cheese – and tossing them all together then cooking them in the oven in a large baking dish until the meat is tender and juicy, the potatoes a little crisp, the tomatoes bursting with juice. Dinner party worthy.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

4 x loin lamb chops

1 large onion – sliced

2 large cloves garlic – roughly chopped

8 oz. baby tomatoes – halved

2 oz. black olives – pitted and cut in half

12 oz. new potatoes – cut into 1 inch chunks

1 tbsp. each of fresh oregano, thyme, parsley – finely chopped

Juice of half a lemon

3 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 oz. feta cheese – cut into small cubes (optional – I can eat this as it is made from sheep’s milk. I can’t tolerate cow’s milk)

Place the lamb chops in a large baking tray.

Put the tomatoes, olives, potatoes and herbs in a large bowl.

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the vegetables. Stir well, cover and leave to marinate for half and hour.

Place vegetables around the lamb chops and cook for an hour – check every so often and give veg.  astir.

Add feta cheese (optional) and serve.

Good Ol’ Chicken Stew (4)

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Love stews served with mashed potatoes to soak up the juices. Browning the onions and searing the meat makes all the difference to the end product by providing a depth of flavor to the sauce. I mashed half of the cannellini beans to thicken the gravy. Perfect autumn dish.

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

2 medium onions – finely chopped

2 chicken breasts – cut into bite sized pieces

2 cups of chicken broth

8 oz. carrots – cut into 1 inch chunks

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms – sliced

1 x 15 oz can of canellini beans – crush half of them with a potato masher

Heat 1 tbsp. of the seasoned oil in a Dutch oven and when sizzling add the onions and let soften and brown. Then remove them to a plate.

Add the second tbsp. of oil to the Dutch oven and when sizzling add the chicken pieces and sear on all sides.

Place onion back with the chicken and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil, then simmer for an hour.