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.

 

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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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Mushroom Risotto (4)

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A ‘basis’ recipe – a recipe that can be the base of a meal for a group of people with different dietary requirements – is very useful to have in your repertoire. My family members have between them gluten and lactose intolerances and another person is vegetarian. To the basic mushroom risotto you can add/omit cheese, add/omit meat on the side and everyone is happy and you have only had to cook one meal.

To get the best flavor the addition of dried porcini mushrooms and a mushroom broth (Kallo brand can be ordered from Amazon if not if not readily available; a veg. broth will do otherwise) makes a better risotto.

I served this risotto with slices of pan-fried chicken breast.

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

1 large onion – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – grated

1 tbsp. dried porcini mushrooms – soaked in boiling water fro 20 minutes and then dried with paper towel and then finely chopped

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms – finely choppped

1 cup of Pinot Grigio white wine

12 oz. Arborio rice

2 cups mushroom/veg. broth (and more if necessary)

Parsley – finely chopped, as a garnish

 

Heat seasoned oil in a skillet/frying pan and when sizzling add onion and let brown.

Add garlic and cook a little more.

Add both types of mushrooms, wine, rice and some of the broth and bring to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down.

Keep stirring and add more broth a little at a time. When almost absorbed add a bit more.

Keep cooking over low heat until rice is tender (though it will never be as tender as regular rice). And you may want to keep adding a bit more broth – I needed to.

Garnish with parsley and serve.

 

 

 

Brussels Sprouts with Leeks and a Hint of Ginger and Citrus (4)

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Vegetables are so versatile. Why just have sprouts on their own when they can be teamed with leeks and ginger, for instance?. The sprouts are pan fried with the ginger then leeks, lime juice, lime zest, a few drops of yuzu and vegetable broth are added.

Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit with an intense flavor, so only a few drops are needed. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes and also salad dressings. It is becoming more popular on menus. I buy my yuzu juice online as I haven’t found it locally.

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

1 tbsp. ginger – peeled and grated

1 pound of Brussels sprouts – halved or quartered depending on size of sprout

3 medium size leeks – use only the whiteish parts, wash thoroughly and slice thinly

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Zest of 1/2 a lime

A few drops of Yuzu juice

2 tbsp. vegetable broth

Place the seasoned olive oil in a skillet and when oil is sizzling add the ginger, turn the heat down and cook for a minute or so until you can smell the ginger.

Add sprouts and cook until they are nicely browned. This will take 10 minutes or so. Turning them over frequently.

Add leeks, lime zest, lime juice, yuzu juice and vegetable broth and cook until leeks are softish – 3 to 5 minutes.

Chickpea, Spinach and Harissa Stew (4)

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Harissa paste is a staple of Tunisian cooking and and adds a zing to soups and stews.  This is a vegetarian/vegan dish but can also be served alongside roast chicken or other meats.

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

1 medium sized onion – finely chopped

1 large garlic clove – grated

1 tbsp. harissa paste

1 and 1/2 cups passata

1 cup vegetable broth

4 oz. baby/grape tomatoes

1 x 15 oz can of chickpeas

5 oz baby spinach

Heat seasoned olive oil in a skillet and when sizzling add onion and let soften and brown, then add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add passata, chicken broth, tomatoes, chickpeas and spinach and cook for some 20 minutes until tomatoes are bursting their skins.