Lemon Curd and Raspberry Pavlova with Raspberry Puree (6 – 8)

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Divine is how one person described this dessert! I created this after mentioning to a friend that I had made a pavlova filled with whipped cream and covered in mixed berries for guests but that I hadn’t been able to eat it. She suggested substituting lemon curd for the cream and an idea began to form – lemon and raspberries go well together so how about topping the lemon curd with fresh raspberries? And then, the final piece of the puzzle, how about drizzling raspberry puree over the top?

Before starting to cook place a dinner plate on parchment paper and draw a circle around the plate and then cut out the circle. Oil a cookie sheet, place parchment circle on top and brush with oil to prevent sticking.

Place a packet of frozen raspberries to thaw in a bowl of tepid water.

Meringues are easy enough to make. The cooking process is around 2 hours (1 hour cooking on a low heat of 160 degrees fahrenheit and 1 hour still in the oven but with the heat turned off) and should not be rushed but once the meringue is in the oven you can make the lemon curd as, once made, it needs to cool and then spend an hour in the fridge.

Normally lemon curd is made with butter but I have come across a vegan butter – Earth Balance brand – and this butter has opened up all sorts of new possibilities for recipes and from reading the label it seems healthy enough too. If you want a less tart lemon curd use Meyer lemons.

MERINGUE

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F

4 egg whites (save 3 egg yolks for lemon curd recipe)

8 oz caster sugar

1 tsp. vanilla essence

1 tsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. cornstarch

Whisk egg whites until stiff (a good test to see if they are stiff enough is to turn the bowl over in the air and they should not fall out!).

Add the sugar a little at a time and then add the next 3 ingredients one after the other.

Spoon meringue mixture onto parchment paper, then shape it with your fingers until the edges of the circle are higher than the middle (like a pie shape).

Place in the pre-heated oven for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave meringue in there for another hour.

LEMON CURD

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup caster sugar

Juice of 2 large lemons

2 tsp. lemon zest

3 oz vegan butter – cut into small pieces

Whisk the egg yolks before adding the lemon juice and zest, then place in a pan over low to medium heat (you do not want scrambled eggs!).

Add the butter bit by bit, stirring all the time. You will notice the mixture gradually thickening and you want it to get to the point where you can see the trace of where the spoon has been and at the same time you will see that the mixture is just beginning to form little bubbles. At this point remove the pan from the heat and pour lemon curd into a glass bowl set over a bowl of iced water so the curd doesn’t continue cooking. When cool, place in the fridge for an hour or so to thicken some more.

RASPBERRIES AND RASPBERRY PUREE

1 punnet of raspberries

1 x 10 oz bag of frozen raspberries

1 – 2 tsp. confectioner’s sugar, if needed

Once the lemon curd is spooned into the meringue, sprinkle fresh raspberries over the curd then drizzle with the raspberry puree. This can be done an hour ahead of serving.

Place the thawed raspberries in a sieve and drain. Then put a bowl under the sieve and  stir with a spoon until only raspberry seeds are left in the sieve and the puree is on the bowl.

Taste the puree and if needed add confectioner’s sugar

Drizzle puree over the dessert.

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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.

Salmon Poached with Garlic, Shallot, Lemon, Parsley and White Wine (4)

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Very simple to prepare and very tasty to eat served alongside roasted asparagus and new potatoes. It is a light healthy dish and dinner party worthy.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

4 x salmon fillets

1 cloves of garlic – grated

1 shallot – finely chopped

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup dry white wine

Juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp. parsley – finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place a piece of aluminum foil (large enough to wrap the pieces of salmon in) in a roasting tin  and pop the salmon fillets on top.

Share the garlic and shallot equally between the salmon pieces.

Slowly drizzle the salmon slices with the oil and, again slowly, pour over the white wine and lemon juice.

Finally, sprinkle with parsley and salt and pepper.

Cook in oven for 20 minutes or so, depending on how you like your salmon cooked.

 

 

 

Turkey Pie (4)

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The turkey version of Shepherd’s Pie is a lighter, leaner version and at this time of year may be a good way to use up leftovers from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner – turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy or turkey broth (all presuming there are any).

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

3 tbsp. olive oil – of which 1 tbsp. is seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 oz. onion – chopped

2 lbs. ground turkey

8 oz. carrots – cut into slices and the slices cut into quarters

8 fl. oz. turkey or chicken broth + 5 tbsp for the mashed potatoes

8 oz. frozen peas

1 1/2 lbs. mashing potatoes – peeled and cut into chunks

Heat 1 tbsp. oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper in a skillet and when sizzling add the onion and let soften and brown then remove to a large bowl.

Add ground turkey to the skillet and sear it then add to the onions along with the carrots and peas.

Pour over 8 fl. oz. broth and mix well before placing mixture in an ovenproof dish.

Cook potatoes in boiling water until soft enough to mash, drain and mash with 3 tbsp. oil and 5 tbsp. broth.

Spread mashed potato over the turkey mixture and cook in oven for 40 minutes.

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.

Crock Pot Chicken Chili (4)

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Finally, the perfect blend of spices – not so mild that you don’t know you are eating chili and not too spicy that your mouth feels on fire. Exchanging the traditional beef for chicken makes the dish lighter. To get the best flavor I softened and browned the onions and garlic and also seared the chicken pieces on all sides before putting them in the crock pot. If you can find a good quality chicken broth that makes a difference too.

 

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

1 medium onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

2  chicken breasts – cut into bite-size pieces

1 x 15 oz. can of cannellini beans – drained and rinsed

1 x 15 oz. can of black beans – drained and rinsed

1 scant tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. turmeric

3.5 oz. canned mild green chiles (they come roasted, peeled and diced and the brand was ‘La Preferida’)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Heat the seasoned oil in a skillet and when sizzling add the onion and let cook for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Continue cooking until nicely browned, stirring frequently. Then tip into the crock pot.

Place chicken pieces in the same skillet and sear until browned on all sides. Then place in the crock pot.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the crock pot and place on ‘high’ for 6 hours, stirring occasionally.

Broccoli with a Twist (4)

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Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables and is in the same family as cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts. The combination of ingredients in this recipe make for an interesting side dish.

8 oz broccoli – cut in to smallish florets

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4  tsp. red pepper flakes

1 shallot – finely chopped

4 salted anchovy fillets finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp. olive oil

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss together well, then transfer to a roasting dish and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.