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.

 

 

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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.

 

Chicken, Blueberry and Avocado Salad (4)

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A lovely light salad – good for lunch – served on a bed of arugula with a lemon dressing. If you want to cheat you can buy a pre-cooked chicken.

1 chicken breast – poached or equivalent amount of pre-cooked chicken

Arugula – enough to use as a bed to put the chicken

Juice of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp.  olive oil – if poaching

1 avocado – diced

4 oz. blueberries

If poaching chicken, place chicken on a piece of aluminum foil and pour over juice of 1 lemon and the oil. Wrap chicken into a parcel and place in over at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or so until chicken is cooked through.

Line a serving dish with arugula.

Cut chicken breast into small pieces and arrange on  bed of arugula.

Scatter avocado over chicken pieces, then sprinkle with blueberries.

Toss with lemon dressing or serve dressing on the side.

Lemon Dressing

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp. olive oil

Whisk together the mustard and lemon juice until smooth then add the oil and continue whisking until amalgamated or shake mixture in a small screw top jar.

 

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.

Roasted Beetroot with Pickled Red Onions Sprinkled with Halloumi and Feta Cheese (4 as an appetizer)

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Have you noticed pickled red onions cropping up as a condiment these days? They are so easy to make and add a tangy crunch to a dish. Because I used apple cider vinegar there was no need for any sugar in this recipe. You will have more than enough pickled onions than needed for this dish and they can be used for other purposes. They go well with the other ingredients in this dish – diced beetroot and the diced cheeses (I can tolerate halloumi and feta cheese as they aren’t derived from cow’s milk).

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

PICKLED ONIONS

Boiling water

1 largish red onion – halved and cut into fine slices then separate the pieces

3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

Boil the water while chopping the onion then place onion pieces in a pan, pour over boiling water until pieces are covered, leave to stand for 3 minutes and drain.

Pour the apple cider vinegar into a bowl and add the salt.

Tip onions into this bowl and stir.

Leave to stand for a couple of hours before serving, stirring occasionally.

BEETROOT

3 medium beetroot

Place beetroot in a dish and roast in the oven for about an hour and a half until tender to the touch.

Let cook, then chop into cubes.

CHEESES

1 good ounce each of Halloumi and Feta cheese

Cut cheeses into small cubes

ASSEMBLY

Top beetroot with the cheeses and surround beetroot with pickled onions

 

 

 

 

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.