Greens and New Potatoes (4)

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Why serve one or two vegetables when you can a whole lot of veg. that complement each other nicely –  green vegetables with potatoes added into the mix and raw chopped shallot to add a bit of a bite with lemon butter mixed in. When I say butter I don’t mean the real thing as it contains lactose but there is a good vegan alternative – Earth Balance brand – which I have recently discovered. It is best to cook all the vegetables until just ‘al dente’. This dish goes equally well with meat or fish and would also be a good vegetarian/vegan meal.

8 oz. new potatoes – halved or quartered depending on size of potatoes

8 oz. thin asparagus – cut into 2″ pieces

8 oz. broccoli florets

8 oz. frozen edamame beans

8 oz. peas – fresh if possible, otherwise frozen

1 shallot – finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon – Meyer variety if possible (less acidic)

1 good tbsp. butter alternative

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook all vegetables individually in the order given, draining each one and placing in a warmed serving dish, then cooking the next vegetable in the retained water, etc, etc. until all the veg. are cooked.

Add the chopped shallot.

Pour over the lemon/butter alternative and mix well until butter alternative is melted.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Pavlova with Raspberry Puree (6 – 8)

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Divine is how one person described this dessert! I created this after mentioning to a friend that I had made a pavlova filled with whipped cream and covered in mixed berries for guests but that I hadn’t been able to eat it. She suggested substituting lemon curd for the cream and an idea began to form – lemon and raspberries go well together so how about topping the lemon curd with fresh raspberries? And then, the final piece of the puzzle, how about drizzling raspberry puree over the top?

Before starting to cook place a dinner plate on parchment paper and draw a circle around the plate and then cut out the circle. Oil a cookie sheet, place parchment circle on top and brush with oil to prevent sticking.

Place a packet of frozen raspberries to thaw in a bowl of tepid water.

Meringues are easy enough to make. The cooking process is around 2 hours (1 hour cooking on a low heat of 160 degrees fahrenheit and 1 hour still in the oven but with the heat turned off) and should not be rushed but once the meringue is in the oven you can make the lemon curd as, once made, it needs to cool and then spend an hour in the fridge.

Normally lemon curd is made with butter but I have come across a vegan butter – Earth Balance brand – and this butter has opened up all sorts of new possibilities for recipes and from reading the label it seems healthy enough too. If you want a less tart lemon curd use Meyer lemons.

MERINGUE

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F

4 egg whites (save 3 egg yolks for lemon curd recipe)

8 oz caster sugar

1 tsp. vanilla essence

1 tsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. cornstarch

Whisk egg whites until stiff (a good test to see if they are stiff enough is to turn the bowl over in the air and they should not fall out!).

Add the sugar a little at a time and then add the next 3 ingredients one after the other.

Spoon meringue mixture onto parchment paper, then shape it with your fingers until the edges of the circle are higher than the middle (like a pie shape).

Place in the pre-heated oven for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave meringue in there for another hour.

LEMON CURD

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup caster sugar

Juice of 2 large lemons

2 tsp. lemon zest

3 oz vegan butter – cut into small pieces

Whisk the egg yolks before adding the lemon juice and zest, then place in a pan over low to medium heat (you do not want scrambled eggs!).

Add the butter bit by bit, stirring all the time. You will notice the mixture gradually thickening and you want it to get to the point where you can see the trace of where the spoon has been and at the same time you will see that the mixture is just beginning to form little bubbles. At this point remove the pan from the heat and pour lemon curd into a glass bowl set over a bowl of iced water so the curd doesn’t continue cooking. When cool, place in the fridge for an hour or so to thicken some more.

RASPBERRIES AND RASPBERRY PUREE

1 punnet of raspberries

1 x 10 oz bag of frozen raspberries

1 – 2 tsp. confectioner’s sugar, if needed

Once the lemon curd is spooned into the meringue, sprinkle fresh raspberries over the curd then drizzle with the raspberry puree. This can be done an hour ahead of serving.

Place the thawed raspberries in a sieve and drain. Then put a bowl under the sieve and  stir with a spoon until only raspberry seeds are left in the sieve and the puree is on the bowl.

Taste the puree and if needed add confectioner’s sugar

Drizzle puree over the dessert.

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Bean, Avocado and Radish Salad (4)

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I love this so much I have eaten it for lunch 3 days in a row! It is simple and quick to make and quite substantial. I toss it in an apple cider vinaigrette and sprinkle microgreens over the top.

1 X 15 oz can of cannellini beans

1 avocado – diced

1 largish red radish

1 tbsp. red onion – finely chopped (or more, if you like)

Small handful of microgreens

Place first four ingredients in a bowl, toss with apple cider vinaigrette (1 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar – dissolve mustard in the vinegar – and 3 tbsp. olive oil).

Sprinkle microgreens over the top.

Asparagus with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Prosciutto (4)

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Perfect for an appetizer, light lunch or quickly assembled for a picnic this is a bit of a riff on ‘Asparagus Mimosa’, where hard boiled eggs are pushed through a sieve and placed atop spears of asparagus.  I took thin, baby asparagus spears in season, cooked them until just ‘al dente’ and sprinkled chopped, hard-boiled eggs and thin, crispy strips of prosciutto over the asparagus. I served it with an apple cider vinaigrette.

8 oz baby asparagus spears

2 eggs – hard boiled

3 slices of prosciutto – cut into fine strips and fried till crispish

Place asparagus spears in a skillet and cover with boiling water. Bring to boil and simmer for only a couple of minutes (prick with a fork to see if they are just nicely tender) then drain and run cold water over them till they are cool to prevent any more cooking or, if you prefer cover with cold water and add some ice cubes.

When spears are cool put them in a clean, dry T-towel, pat dry and place on a serving dish. Sprinkle over the chopped boiled egg and the crispy prosciutto.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Mix mustard and vinegar together until smooth. Add oil and whisk until emulsified.

 

Chicken with a Rub (4)

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Have you ever wondered what the spices are in a rub? You can buy various pre-prepared spice mixes in the supermarket and just sprinkle them over the meat of your choice but I wanted to come up with a combination of spices of my own and I did and the blend uses fairly basic spice cupboard ingredients – cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic salt, paprika and salt and pepper.

Good hot or cold – I sliced the chicken breasts and had with a salad. Would be good with black beans and rice too.

4 x chicken breasts

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

For the spice rub

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place chicken breasts in a roasting tin and coat with oil on both sides.

Put all the spice rub ingredients in a bowl with a lid on and give it a good shake.

Sprinkle over the chicken breasts and cook for 1/2 hour at 350 degrees

Lime Garlic Shrimp

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A treat of a dish as wild caught, domestic, raw, peeled and de-veined shrimp are costly.  I avoid eating farmed shrimp regardless of where they are farmed but especially if they are farmed in parts of Asia as the liberal use of medications and chemicals is extremely off-putting. A pound of shrimp will yield some 20 individual shrimp and I served them cold as an hors d’oeuvres on a cocktail stick lightly sprinkled with cayenne pepper.

1 pound of shrimp – as described above

Juice and pulp of 1 lime

Zest of half a lime – finely grated

2 large cloves of garlic – finely grated

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Place shrimp in a bowl

Whisk together juice and pulp of lime, lime zest,grated garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper until emulsified.

Pour over shrimp and stir so all the shrimp are covered in the lime mixture.

Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat a skillet on the stove top and when hot add the shrimp and liquid and cook until shrimp are firm and pinkish – about 5 – 10 minutes.

Set aside and leave to cool, then drain in a sieve and wipe dry with paper towel.

Sprinkle lightly with cayenne pepper.

 

Egg and Bean Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette (4)

Originally this was an eat up what is in the fridge salad and I had no intention of writing about it but it tasted good – so nice in fact that it was gone before I thought about taking a photo! I had a head of romaine lettuce which needed using and some left over cannellini beans. There were a couple of hard-boiled eggs as there often are in the fridge and I had part of a red onion. My apple cider vinaigrette is a little softer and sweeter than a regular dressing and apple cider has health benefits and is now my go-to dressing.

I head of romaine lettuce – chopped

2 hard boiled eggs – sliced and chopped

1 can of cannellini beans – rinsed and drained

1/8 to 1/4 of a red onion (depending on how much you like raw onion) – finely chopped

Compose a salad with the above ingredients and toss with apple cider vinaigrette (below)

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Whisk together the mustard and vinegar until smooth.

Add oil and whisk until dressing is emulsified

Pour over salad and toss,