Jo’s Feta Pesto

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Pesto has been off my menu for several years but since I have recently found I can eat sheep/goat cheese happily because no cow milk is involved, I have been experimenting. I made this pesto and spooned it over baby new potatoes accompanied by thin slices of flank steak and, honestly, it was delicious.

2 cups basil leaves

2 large cloves of garlic – roughly chopped

2 oz. feta cheese – roughly chopped

1 1/2 oz. pine nuts

1 1/2 oz. chopped walnuts

1/2 cup olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper (no salt needed because of saltiness of feta cheese)

Place basil, garlic, feta, pine nuts and walnuts in a food processor.

Turn on food processor and add the oil gradually. Process until mixture is smoothish.

Season with pepper.

 

Salad with Peanut Sauce (4)

This peanut sauce is totally delicious and takes quite basic salad ingredients to a whole other level. It could be used with all sorts of salads or could be served warm as a sauce for chicken (think satay). IMG_1294

1 head of Romaine lettuce – chopped

1/2 English cucumber – sliced and then each slice quartered

3 large scallions/spring onions – finely chopped (white part only)

1 large stick of celery – diced

4 hard boiled eggs – quartered

Unsalted peanuts – just a few to sprinkle over top of salad

Place lettuce, cucumber, scallions and celery in a salad bowl and toss with dressing.

Top with hard-boiled eggs and sprinkle with peanuts

PEANUT SAUCE – makes more than is needed for this amount of salad

1 clove of garlic – grated

1 cup smooth peanut butter

3/4 cup lite coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. fish sauce

Process all ingredients in a food processor

 

 

Cranberry Sauce with a Twist (6)

photo - cranberry sauceI always make cranberry sauce at Christmas, along with apple sauce and bread sauce. It is difficult to make cranberry sauce without using a lot of sugar (and I try to avoid using sugar). To get around the total tartness of cranberries I substituted freshly squeezed orange juice, marmalade and honey for the sugar.

12 oz. cranberries

Juice and pulp of 2 oranges

2 tbsp. marmalade (I used Bonne Maman brand)

2 tsp. runny honey

Place cranberries, orange juice and pulp in a saucepan.

When cranberries are popping, add marmalade and honey and stir.

Cook for a couple more minutes, then it’s done.

 

 

 

Prune, Lingonberry and Mustard Sauce

Prune, Lingonberry and Mustard Sauce

I use this as you would use cranberry sauce, mint sauce or redcurrant jelly – as a condiment. Good with pork chops but would go with other meats too. My supermarket stocks the Felix brand of wild lingonberries but think you can find something similar (like a jam) in Ikea’s food department, where I am sure there are lots of other interesting goodies (not near one unfortunately). Think redcurrant jelly may be a substitute.

Take 6 dried, pitted prunes (Newman’s brand) cut into small pieces, 2 tbsp. lingonberry jam, 1/2 cup veg. stock/broth and 1 teasp. Dijon mustard and place in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. If you want a smooth sauce pour it into a food processor, or else you could mash it a bit.

Rhubarb and Marmalade Compote

Rhubarb and Marmalade Compote

Rhubarb is not sweet by nature and needs quite a lot of sugar when it is used in desserts. I am not a big fan of sweet things but thought that rhubarb and marmalade might go well together as the marmalade would provide some sugar and some bitterness.

This compote would be good for breakfast (sure it would be lovely on toast too) and I am going to serve it as a sauce with pork.

I couldn’t find fresh rhubarb so used frozen and let it thaw out. It was therefore softer than fresh rhubarb so cooking times might vary.

1 cup chopped rhubarb

2 tbsp. bitter marmalade

1 tbsp. water.

Place all ingredients in a pan and let marmalade break down and the water start to bubble.

Turn heat down and cook for around 10 minutes until rhubarb is soft.

Mash with a potato masher.

Mother’s Mint Sauce

Mother’s Mint Sauce

Whenever my mother, the great cook, serves roast lamb it comes with homemade (and homegrown) mint sauce. So simple and quick and best made ahead of time and left so flavor can develop but essential to a Sunday joint and chops too (along with redcurrant jelly) I asked how she made it – fresh mint, sugar and red wine vinegar – but no quantities were given. She just goes by taste. Here are approximate amounts.

2 tbsp. fresh mint – finely chopped

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. sugar (and more if needed)

Combine chopped mint and red wine vinegar.

Add sugar, stir and taste (adding more sugar if needed)

Thai Coleslaw (serves 4)

Thai Coleslaw (serves 4)

The dressing on the coleslaw is full of the Thai flavors I love so much. The dressing could also double as a dip or for as satay sauce for chicken or beef. I added celery and chopped unsalted peanuts to the coleslaw mix of cabbage, carrots and scallions/spring onions and I think it might be nice if chunks of chicken or strips of beef were added too. You may find you have more than enough dressing so you could use it for other things – I guarantee it won’t last long!

1/2 a small cabbage – finely shredded
2 large carrots – grated or shredded in food processor
1 bunch of scallions – finely chopped
2 sticks of celery – chopped
Handful or 2 of unsalted peanuts – roughly chopped

Dressing/sauce
3 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp. water (add more at end if necessary)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp. Thai fish sauce
1 inch of ginger – freshly grated
1 large clove of garlic – finely chopped

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.