Red Cabbage with Pears and Dried Cranberries (4)

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Probably not a combination you have thought of but it works well and is naturally a little sweet because of the pears and dried cranberries. I layered this dish starting with cabbage then onions then I sandwiched the pear slices and cranberries in the middle before adding another layer of onions and finishing with cabbage on the top. The addition of apple cider vinegar keeps the cabbage looking red and a little broth provides enough moisture for the mixture to braise in the oven either in a lidded dish or an ovenproof dish covered with aluminum foil.  Goes well with pork.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

1 smallish red cabbage – sliced quite thinly

1 large onion – finely sliced and then the rings separated

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of chicken/vegetable broth

2 pears – peeled, quartered and sliced

A good handful of dried cranberries

Place half the cabbage on the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Cover with half the onion.

Pour over 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup of broth.

Add a layer of pears and sprinkle with the cranberries.

Follow this  with the rest of the onion, top with cabbage and pour over the remaining vinegar and broth.

Cover the dish and cook in oven for 45 minutes

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Black Beans and Quinoa (4)

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Just as I substitute rice noodles for pasta, I do the same thing with quinoa for rice. It is like a blank canvas and soaks up flavors whilst at the same time providing protein. Tomatoes, black beans, garlic and some spices (depending on how spicy you like your dishes you can use less than I do) round out this recipe.

2 cups of boiling water

1 cup quinoa

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

1 medium onion – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – grated

2 cups of canned chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp. harissa paste (or less)

1 tsp. cumin (or less)

1 x 15oz. can of black beans

1 1/2 cups chicken or veg. broth

Pour the boiling water into a saucepan, add the quinoa, bring to a boil and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff through with a fork and leave to stand for 15 minutes.

Place oil in a frying pan and when sizzling add the onion and let soften and brown slightly, then add the garlic and cook for another few minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes, mix in the harissa paste and cumin , add the beans and broth and bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the cooked quinoa and serve immediately

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary (4)

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I once stayed in a farmhouse in Italy and the garden was planted with huge borders of rosemary and each bedroom had, instead of a flower arrangement, a little bouquet of fresh herbs. It was quite charming and gave a great aroma to the room. Rosemary, along with sage was used frequently in their recipes and these little roasted new potatoes are just perfect with roast meats or grilled steaks and with many other things too – I can imagine them with eggs or a selection of roasted vegetables. Easy to make – really all you need is a good hot oven. I would only use fresh rosemary for this recipe.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes – rinsed, skin left on, cut into quarters

2 tbsp. fresh rosemary – finely chopped

3tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss well together.

Transfer to a metal baking tray or dish and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, turning once or twice to make ensure they are evenly browned.

Serve potatoes straight away.

Melon with Mango Sauce and Lime (4)

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Summer is peak season for mangoes in Florida. They drop off the trees and scatter over the ground and sidewalks. People literally can’t give them away and squirrels can’t get enough of them. Cantaloupe melons are also at their best and this really is a seasonal recipe to be enjoyed in the moment and put away for next year. The sweetness of the two ingredients is cut by the addition of lime juice and zest. For the melon I use a melon baller but if you don’t have one then cut the cantaloupe into chunks. Puree the mango to make a sauce which you can either pour over the melon balls or serve on the side so people can help themselves. Makes a quite decadent breakfast or a simple, thirst-quenching dessert.

1 x cantaloupe melon – de-seeded and cut into melon balls

1 x mango – peeled and cut into chunks

Juice and zest of 1/2 a lime

Place the melon balls in a serving dish

Puree the mango in a food processor along with the lime juice, then either drizzle over the melon or pour into a sauce bowl.

Grate lime zest over the melon.

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup (4)

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I am excited about this soup as it really has a deep tomato flavor. It is made with canned fire roasted tomatoes (so often it is difficult to find really ripe, juicy and tasty tomatoes otherwise I would have used them) and sun-dried tomatoes. I substituted roast garlic instead of the usual chopped garlic. Roasted garlic is much less intense and sweeter. Each clove turns to a paste in the roasting process.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

TO ROAST THE GARLIC

1 head of garlic

1 tsp. of olive oil

Cut the top of the garlic head off so that you can see the individual cloves. If there are some cloves that are smaller and clustered towards the bottom of the head you can cut their tops off individually.

Remove the outer layer(s) of skin.

Place garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and slowly pour 1 tsp.  of oil over the cloves making sure each one is covered or brush them with a basting  brush.

Wrap up the foil and place in oven for 1 hour.

Remove from the oven, let cook slightly then remove the garlic from the clove with the end of a teaspoon and set aside until needed.

FOR THE SOUP (MINUS ROASTED GARLIC)

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

1 onion – finely chopped

2 x 14.5 oz. cans diced and fire roasted tomatoes

2 pieces of sun-dried tomatoes – cut into little pieces

2 tbsp. tomato paste

2 tbsp. fresh basil plus a little extra for garnish – cut into fine strips

4 cups chicken/veg. broth

Heat the seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add the onion and let soften and slightly brown.

Then add the roasted garlic, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, canned tomatoes, basil and broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Puree soup in a food processor or use a hand held blender.

Serve in individual soup bowls garnished with fresh basil.

Chickpea, Spinach and Harissa Stew (4)

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Harissa paste is a staple of Tunisian cooking and is their equivalent of tomato ketchup. It is made from a combination of chilis, roasted red peppers, spices, herbs and garlic. It adds a zing to soups and stews. My recipe can either be served as a vegetarian or vegan main course or as a side dish.

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 chicken/vegetable broth (add more broth at the end of cooking if you want a thinner sauce)

4 oz. baby tomatoes

1 x 15 oz can of chickpeas

5 oz baby spinach

Heat seasoned olive oil in a cast iron casserole dish with a lid and when sizzling add onion and let soften and brown, then add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add harissa paste, passata, broth, tomatoes, chickpeas and spinach. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer with the lid on for some 20 minutes until tomatoes are bursting their skins.

Summer Potatoes (4)

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Simply take new potatoes, onion, garlic and cayenne pepper and cook wrapped in aluminum foil. The great thing with this recipe is that the foil wrapped potatoes can be cooked in the oven or on top of the barbecue grill (timing will vary on the grill depending on the temperature so best to keep and eye on them).

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

12 oz new potatoes – cut into quarters

1/2 a medium onion – cut into thin slices and then halve those slices

2 cloves of garlic – finely sliced

Good pinch of cayenne pepper (or more depending how hot you like your food)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

Place potatoes, onion slices and garlic on a large piece of aluminum foil.

Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, salt and a little black pepper.

Pour over the olive oil, mix well together and make the aluminum foil into a little parcel.

Cook in oven for 30 minutes.