Herby Bean Salad (4)

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Beans, particularly cannellini, beans, are a staple in my kitchen cupboard. They are so versatile, can be served in both cold and hot dishes, are filling and are also good for you. This recipe is just a simple cold dish and uses a great blend of fresh herbs – mint, parsley and cilantro – and a little red onion. It is best left for half an hour or so before serving to let the flavors develop.

1 can of cannellini beans – rinsed and drained

1 heaped tbsp. red onion – finely chopped

1 heaped tbsp. each of fresh parsley, cilantro, mint – finely chopped

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl place beans, red onion and herbs and mix together.

Then add the vinegar, oil and seasoning and mix again.

Leave to stand for some 30 minutes before serving.

 

 

Kate’s Parslied Potatoes (4)

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A new twist on new potatoes.

1 pound new potatoes

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. parsley – finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Boil the new potatoes for 10 minutes or so until tender, drain and crush slightly with a potato masher before placing in a serving dish.

Drizzle over the olive oil, sprinkle chopped parsley over the potatoes and season with slat and pepper and, finally, mix well together.

 

Greens and New Potatoes (4)

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Why serve one or two vegetables when you can a whole lot of veg. that complement each other nicely –  green vegetables with potatoes added into the mix and raw chopped shallot to add a bit of a bite with lemon butter mixed in. When I say butter I don’t mean the real thing as it contains lactose but there is a good vegan alternative – Earth Balance brand – which I have recently discovered. It is best to cook all the vegetables until just ‘al dente’. This dish goes equally well with meat or fish and would also be a good vegetarian/vegan meal.

8 oz. new potatoes – halved or quartered depending on size of potatoes

8 oz. thin asparagus – cut into 2″ pieces

8 oz. broccoli florets

8 oz. frozen edamame beans

8 oz. peas – fresh if possible, otherwise frozen

1 shallot – finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon – Meyer variety if possible (less acidic)

1 good tbsp. butter alternative

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook all vegetables individually in the order given, draining each one and placing in a warmed serving dish, then cooking the next vegetable in the retained water, etc, etc. until all the veg. are cooked.

Add the chopped shallot.

Pour over the lemon/butter alternative and mix well until butter alternative is melted.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Lime, Cilantro and Avocado Rice (4)

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Rice with lime and cilantro is a nice dish that goes really well with chicken and fish, especially if they are blackened. Adding in mashed avocado makes all the difference.

1 cup brown rice

1 3/4 cups boiling water

Zest of 1/2 lime

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

2 ripe avocados- mashed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place rice in a pan and pour over boiling water. Bring to boil them simmer for 30 minutes.

Rinse rice in a sieve and let cool.

Place rice in a serving dish and add lime zest and juice, cilantro and mashed avocado.

Season with salt and pepper.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (4)

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Growing up in the UK we always had sprouts as a side dish at Christmas –  usually picked  from the garden on a cold morning and our fingers went numb! Sprouts go well with turkey as does bacon (often wrapped around a sausage). Hence, sprouts and bacon make a good team.  The sprouts are tossed in olive oil before roasting. The bacon – thickly sliced and cut into small strips – is mixed with the sprouts and then put in the oven for an hour at 400 degrees.

2 pounds of sprouts – prepared by cutting the bottoms off and removing the outer leaves. Ideally the sprouts should be relatively small, so if not, cut them into halves or quarters.

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

6 rashers of thick bacon – cut into thin slices

Place sprouts in a bowl and toss well with seasoned oil, then place in a roasting dish.

Add the bacon and mix well.

Roast in oven for an hour and turn them over every 20 minutes.

Mediterranean Eggplant (4)

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Many countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea use eggplant (also known as aubergine) in their cuisines: ratatouille (France); eggplant parmesan (Italy); moussaka (Greece). My recipe borrows ingredients common to these countries and combines them with harissa paste which is found in many Tunisian dishes.  The topping is melted feta cheese.

Makes  a nice side dish or a good vegetarian meal.

To prepare the eggplant and get rid of any possible bitterness, I peeled, sliced and chopped it into small pieces. Then I liberally salted it in a colander and left it for an hour. After that I rinsed it well and dried the pieces in a dry T-towel.

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

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 medium eggplant (prepared as above)

1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup roasted red peppers from a jar – roughly cut

1 – 2 tbsp. harissa paste (depending on how fiery you like things)

3 oz. feta cheese

1 tbsp. vegetable broth

Start by heating oven to 350 degrees.

Heat seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish on the stove top and when sizzling add the grated garlic and turn down the heat.

Let garlic cook but not brown, for a few minutes then add the eggplant chunks and cook for 10 minutes, stirring fairly frequently. They should be lightly browned by then

Add tomato sauce, red peppers and harissa paste. Stir well together and place in oven (with lid on casserole dish) for 20 minutes.

Five minutes before eggplant mix is ready place 3 oz. feta cheese (crumbled) in a saucepan and add 1 tbsp. vegetable broth. Heat on stove top and whisk till mixture is smooth.

Take eggplant mixture from oven and top with feta sauce.

Herby Mushrooms and Apples (4)

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An interesting side dish using a mixture of mushrooms (cremini, baby bella and regular mushrooms, etc.) and apple. To add depth to the dish I added garlic and fresh oregano and thyme. Goes well with pork.

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

1 large clove of garlic – grated

4 oz. mixed mushrooms – sliced

1 medium sweet, crisp apple – sliced

1/2 tsp. each of oregano and thyme – finely chopped

Heat seasoned oil and a skillet/frying pan and when hot add the garlic and cook for a minute – so not let garlic brown.

Add mushrooms and apple and stir before adding the herbs.

Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring quite frequently, until mushrooms are browned and apples are translucent.