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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Pilgrim Cake (6 – 8)

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This cake is traditionally found in the North Western region of Spain bordering on Portugal known as Galicia. Many European Catholics make a pilgrimage to this area to visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela where it is believed that the relics of the Apostle St. James, Patron Saint of Spain, are buried. This type of cake can be found in virtually every bakery in the town and has the Cross of St. James depicted on the top of it. It is so easy to make and is virtually foolproof. The template of the St. James’s cross can be found on the internet, otherwise just sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. The cake is  lovely and moist cake and can be eaten at any time of day with a cup of coffee or a cup of tea or a glass of dessert wine.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

1 x 8 – 9 inch round cake tin, oiled and lined with a circle of parchment paper (which should also be oiled on the top to prevent the cake sticking)

8 oz. caster sugar

8 oz. ground almonds

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Zest of half an unwaxed lemon

5 eggs – lightly beaten

Confectioner’s sugar for sifting over the top of the cake

Place the first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Slowly add the beaten eggs a little at a time while stirring with a spoon.

When mixture is smooth pour into the cake tin.

Cook in the oven for 50 around minutes until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch.

Turn cake out onto a cake rack and let cool before either placing the template on top of the cake (oil it lightly to stop it from moving around) and sift confectioner’s sugar over the cake. Carefully peel off the template and serve.

 

 

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.

 

 

Pork Chops and Honey Mustard Roasted Vegetables (4)

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The only roasted vegetable I ever remember eating as a child was a roast potato. Nowadays they appear in many guises on many menus – roasted Brussels sprouts seem particularly popular. I love the way you can mix so many vegetables together in one dish. You can keep it simple and just toss them in oil and pop them in the oven or you can add some herbs or, in this case, honey and mustard. Most Sundays I cook a roast of some sort and there is nothing better than surrounding the meat with a bunch of vegetables and potatoes and letting them all cook together. It is best if the vegetables are cut to approximately the same size and, depending on what you are roasting them with, to make them larger or smaller pieces (larger if roasting with a whole chicken, smaller if, as in this case when I cooked them with pork chops). Of course you could always roast the vegetables without any meat and they would make a perfect vegetarian dish.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

4 pork chops

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 large clove of garlic – grated

3 oz. carrots – peeled and diced

3 oz. parsnips – peeled and diced

3 oz. beetroot – peeled and diced

3 oz. butternut squash – peeled and diced

3 oz. new potatoes – cut into pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Honey Mustard Sauce

1 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. olive oil

Put the pork chops in a large roasting pan.

Place garlic and vegetables in a large bowl, pour over the oil, season with salt and pepper

and toss well together.

Arrange the veg. around the pork and cook for around 35 minutes until chops are cooked and veg. are tender.

Spoon the honey mustard mixture over the vegetables reserving a little to put on each chop. Stir the veg. so they are evenly coated with the sauce before serving.

 

 

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.