Coleslaw with Kale (4)

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There is something about coleslaw that is so appealing whether it is store bought, homemade, or a side in a restaurant alongside a burger. If eating out with friends I often trade sides – one gets French fries, the other coleslaw – and we share. So I have tasted my fair share of coleslaw. It can be too vinegary or heavy on the mayo. My sauce is made of a mixture of mayonnaise (store bought is fine), freshly squeezed lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. To cabbage and carrots I add scallions, raisins and kale (only the frilly edges of kale and then finely chopped).

1/2 a smallish cabbage – shredded using a food processor

4 medium carrots – grated in a food processor

2 stems of kale – use only the frilly outer edges of the leaves and chop finely

1 bunch of scallions – just the white bits, outer skin removed and finely chopped

1 x 1 oz. packet of raisins

3 tbsp. mayonnaise

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Place the first five ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, then pour over the vegetables and toss well together.

 

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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.

Oven-Cooked Vegetables and New Potatoes Dotted with Herbed Goat’s Cheese (4)

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The simpler the better but no compromise on flavor. For that a tray bake is the answer. Place everything on a metal tray, toss in olive oil and season – in this case baby asparagus, artichoke hearts and new potatoes. Peas and herby goat’s cheese are added afterwards as they wouldn’t do so well in the oven.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

12 oz. new potatoes – quartered

8 oz. baby asparagus – use the top two thirds of the stem and cut that in half

1 x 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts – drained and quartered

3 tbs. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4. oz. frozen peas

1 – 2 oz. herbed goat’s cheese – cut into little pieces

Place potatoes, asparagus and artichoke hearts on a metal baking tray. Pour over the olive oil, season and toss well.

Cook in oven for 30 minutes.

5 minutes before the veg. are cooked, boil the peas.

Remove tray from oven, sprinkle over the peas and dot with goat’s cheese.

 

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.

 

Spicy Chickpea and Avocado Dip (at least 4)

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Healthy, healthy – mashed chickpeas and avocado with some cayenne pepper and a little lemon juice (to stop the avocado from discoloring).

1 avocado

1/2 can chickpeas

1/4 lemon

Salt, freshly, ground black pepper and cayenne pepper

Mash avocado and chickpeas together in a large bowl, then add the juice of a 1/4 of a lemon along with salt, pepper and two pinches of cayenne pepper (adding less or more depending on how spicy you like things.