Potatoes Boulangeres (serves 4)

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Potatoes Boulangeres are the poor relative to Potatoes Dauphinoises. They are made with broth instead of cream and cheese but are nonetheless a classic potato dish that pairs very well with lamb. Boulangere is French name for a baker and in the olden days, after the baker had made his bread it was traditional to let the local residents use his oven to cook their various homemade dishes.

You could use a mandolin to prepare the potatoes and onions but I used the slicer attachment to my food processor.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Olive oil for greasing ovenproof dish and for brushing the top layer of potatoes

2 large onions – peeled and sliced in food processor

2 large baking potatoes- peeled and sliced in food processor

1 cup veg/beef broth

Oil an ovenproof dish.

Place a layer of onion on the bottom of the dish and season with salt and pepper.

Next place a layer of potatoes on top of the onion and season.

Continue layering and seasoning finishing up with a layer of potatoes.

Pour over the broth.

Brush the potatoes with olive oil

Cook for some 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft when pricked with a fork – but not too soft else bottom layer will be soggy.

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Curried Parsnip and Carrot Soup (4)

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I can imagine being in a cosy British gastro pub with a log fire, where the specials of the day are written on blackboards, and ordering this warming soup as a starter. Carrots and parsnips go well together and I often include them in the mixed roast veg. I do when serving the weekly Sunday roast. I decided to use curry paste (Patak’s Original Concentrated Curry Paste – Hot) instead of curry powder for this soup and I think it gave a better flavor – you can taste the curry but not so much that it masks the vegetables. The carrots and parsnips should be cut into pieces of the same size.

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion – diced

1 large clove of garlic – grated

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1 tbsp. curry paste

4 oz. carrots – peeled and chopped into small pieces

8 oz. parsnips – peeled and cut into small pieces

4 cups broth – vegetable or chicken

Heat the oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when nice and hot add the onion and let brown before adding the garlic.

Cook for a minute or two then stir in the turmeric and curry paste and stir well.

Tip in the carrots and parsnips and cook for a few minutes stirring until they are covered with turmeric and the paste.

Pour over 4 cups of broth.

Bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Process the soup with a hand-held blender or in a food processor.

Taste and season with a little salt, if necessary.

 

 

Spicy Peanut Noodles (2)

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The local Chinese restaurant near me does a spicy noodle dish as a side which is served cold Now that we live far away I don’t seem to have come across it. So I experimented and have, I think, come up with a good approximation. Getting the correct balance of ingredients and consistency has been an interesting process – a little bit of this, a little bit of that, how salty do you want it – until it finally tastes right. I combined the sauce with rice noodles and ate it as a vegetarian meal with scallions scattered over the top, but it could also be a dipping sauce for crudites, if you don’t dilute it too much, or as a satay sauce for chicken.

Boiling water – both for cooking rice noodles and for diluting the peanut sauce

4 oz. rice noodles

Pour boiling water over the rice noodles in a pan and let stand for 10 minutes during which time you can make the sauce.

Spicy Peanut Sauce

2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter

2 large cloves of garlic – finely grated

Bunch of scallions – finely chopped (reserve some for sprinkling over the top)

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 1/2 – 2 tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce (depending on how salty you like things)

Juice of half a lime

Boiling water to dilute sauce to a coating consistency for the noodles.

Place the peanut butter, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and lime juice in a bowl and whisk together, adding boiling water to get the desired consistency.

Pour sauce over the noodles, mix together well and sprinkle chopped scallions over the top.

Serve immediately or you will find that the sauce tends to thicken up again.

 

 

Simple Lemon Herb Sauce (that goes with lots of things) (4)

Fantastic no-cook sauce that goes with so many things – I have drizzled it over fish and I have mixed it into rice; I intend to serve it with chicken and to use it with zucchini noodles. So easy to make and only a bit of chopping required (and less so if you freeze left over chopped parsley and lemon zest which I do when if I more than I need for a recipe).

1 tbsp. fresh parsley – finely chopped

1 tbsp. fresh oregano – finely chopped

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp. lemon zest – grated

1 large garlic clove – grated

3 tbsp. extra virgin oil oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lemon Vegetable Risotto (4)

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Lemons are so versatile whether you put the juice or the zest or both in a recipe.  Where would Greek cuisine be without them?  I use lemon juice to make a vinaigrette dressing. I grate lemon zest into my fishcakes and both zest and juice are used in this risotto and are what makes it a little different. Risotto – Italian comfort food – is endlessly versatile too. This one includes asparagus tips, portobello mushrooms, peas and spinach. With this dish the broth is added a little at a time – when the rice has almost absorbed the stock add a little more and stir frequently.

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

2 shallots – finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves – grated

1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice

4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

4 oz. portobello mushrooms – diced

4 oz. baby asparagus

4 oz. frozen peas

4 oz. baby spinach

Pour oil into a cast iron Dutch oven and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When sizzling add the shallots and let cook for a couple of minutes, then turn heat down a little and add the garlic.

After a few minutes tip the rice into the pot and stir before adding a cup of broth. Bring broth to a boil then turn down to a simmer and add the lemon zest and juice and all of the vegetables.

Simmer for some 20 minutes until rice is cooked and the broth is absorbed.

Serve immediately.

 

Red Fruit Salad with Creme de Cassis or Creme de Framboise (4)

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So simple and sophisticated. The addition of a couple of tablespoons of either of the liqueurs gives the fruit salad a delicious, richer flavor. I serve it in either a large glass bowl or individual glasses. Make the salad an hour or so ahead of serving and leave out of fridge so that the liqueur can permeate the fruit and stir it periodically. Creme de Cassis and Creme de Framboise are found fairly easily in a good drinks store and a little can be added to champagne. When I serve champagne like that I add either a blueberry or a raspberry to the glass for a nice effect.

6 oz strawberries – cut into quarters

6 oz raspberries

6 oz blueberries

2 tbsp. Crème de Cassis/Framboise

Combine all the fruits in a bowl.

Pour over the Crème de Cassis/Framboise, mix the fruits together and leave for an hour outside of the fridge before serving so that the liqueur permeates the fruit. Stir periodically.

Pea and Mint Soup (4)

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I was surprised to find this on a winter menu seeing it more as a summer item made with fresh peas and mint from the garden – maybe even served chilled. Frozen peas, an onion, garlic, a potato for thickening, some stock and mint from the supermarket made a really lovely, bright green soup – a change from the more hearty winter fare.

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

1 medium size onion – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – grated

2 cups – chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 a large baking potato – peeled and cut into small cubes

12 oz. frozen peas

1 tbsp. mint – finely chopped + a little extra for garnish if you wish

Heat the oil in a skillet and when sizzling add the onion and let brown a little, then add the garlic.

Pour the broth into the skillet, add the potatoes, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are just soft.

Add the peas and mint and cook for a further few minutes.

Place the contents of the skillet in a food processor and process until smooth.

Ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish with some chopped mint.