Tomato-Based Salad (4)

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This is a no-lettuce salad and is literally a selection of green vegetables mixed with some cold, cooked chicken heaped on a base of slices of a ripe, beefsteak tomato.  If you buy a pre-cooked chicken this dish takes no time at all and if you omit the chicken you have a vegetarian/vegan meal. Very easy to transport either as a lunch or to assemble for a picnic.

1 large, ripe beefsteak tomato

4 oz. frozen peas

4 oz. edamame beans

4 oz. asparagus (take the tips and an equal amount of the asparagus stem)

1 cooked chicken breast

Cut the tomato into 4 slices and place on a serving dish.

Place peas, edamame beans and asparagus in a pan and pour over boiling water. Bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain veg. and place in a bowl of iced water to prevent further cooking.

Cut cooked chicken breast into small pieces.

Place veg. and chicken in a mixing bowl. Pour apple cider vinaigrette (see below) over and mix well together.

Place a good serving of veg/chicken mixture on each slice of tomato

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Whisk mustard and apple cider vinegar together until smooth.

Whisk in the olive oil until mixture is emulsified

 

 

 

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Asparagus with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Prosciutto (4)

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Perfect for an appetizer, light lunch or quickly assembled for a picnic this is a bit of a riff on ‘Asparagus Mimosa’, where hard boiled eggs are pushed through a sieve and placed atop spears of asparagus.  I took thin, baby asparagus spears in season, cooked them until just ‘al dente’ and sprinkled chopped, hard-boiled eggs and thin, crispy strips of prosciutto over the asparagus. I served it with an apple cider vinaigrette.

8 oz baby asparagus spears

2 eggs – hard boiled

3 slices of prosciutto – cut into fine strips and fried till crispish

Place asparagus spears in a skillet and cover with boiling water. Bring to boil and simmer for only a couple of minutes (prick with a fork to see if they are just nicely tender) then drain and run cold water over them till they are cool to prevent any more cooking or, if you prefer cover with cold water and add some ice cubes.

When spears are cool put them in a clean, dry T-towel, pat dry and place on a serving dish. Sprinkle over the chopped boiled egg and the crispy prosciutto.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Mix mustard and vinegar together until smooth. Add oil and whisk until emulsified.

 

Catharine’s Brunch (per serving)

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Staying with friends and lingering over a late breakfast is a rare treat. Catharine served us this versatile dish – can be a healthy dish for brunch if you add scrambled eggs, a dinner party appetizer or a light lunch. The dressing is a kind of mayonnaise but so easy to make unlike real mayonnaise where the oil has to be dripped in slowly and there is the possibility of curdling.

I am giving the ingredients per person:

Handful of arugula

2 slices of smoked salmon – cut into small pieces

1/2 an avocado – diced

Compose the ingredients on a plate

Dressing (makes more than needed)

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. coarse mustard

2 pinches sugar

5 fl. oz olive oil

Whisk egg yolk, vinegar, mustard and sugar together then add the oil a little at a time and continue whisking all the while.

Put little blobs of dressing around the plate.

Italian Flag Salad (4 as appetizer)

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This is an alternative to the traditional Italian mozzarella and tomato appetizer or salad. My recipe replaces the mozzarella with feta cheese and then I added diced avocado . No dressing is needed. Lovely summer dish and the feta prevents it being bland. Use a nicely ripe beefsteak or other large tomato.

1 large beefsteak tomato – cut in thin slices

Pinch of salt

Slices of feta cheese – halved so they fit on the tomato, and 2 pieces of feta per slice of tomato

1 avocado – diced

Place slices of tomato on a large plate and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Place 2 pieces of feta cheese on each slice of tomato.

Top with diced avocado.

 

 

Fried Chickpeas on Bed of Spinach (2)

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A vegetarian/vegan delight full of goodness and iron with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Couldn’t be simpler.

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

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 can chickpeas – drained and rinsed

10 oz. baby spinach – rinsed

Pinch of two of cayenne pepper

Heat oil in skillet/frying pan and when sizzling add garlic – let cook for a few seconds, then add chickpeas and cook until golden brown.

Remove chickpeas from pan and add rinsed spinach (there should be enough water left on leaves to wilt the spinach). When spinach is cooked wrap in a clean T-towel to get rid of excess water.

Place spinach in a serving dish, top with chickpeas and sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

 

 

Jo’s Fiery Mushrooms (4)

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Harissa paste adds the fiery taste – a tablespoon is all you need (or more or less depending on how spicy you like things). Great as an appetizer/starter, side dish, to take on a picnic or to work as lunch. Can be eaten hot or cold, is vegetarian and if you are able to eat bread it would good for mopping up the juices.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 an onion – chopped

2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

8 oz. small mushrooms – sliced

1 cup crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp. harissa paste

1 cup veg. broth/stock (add more if needed but in the end you want a thickish sauce)

 

Place oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and garlic.

When softened, add mushrooms and stir for a moment.

Add crushed tomatoes, harissa paste and veg broth.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce is thickish.

 

 

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

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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.