Baby Asparagus with Peas and Leeks (4)

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Why eat one vegetable when you can have three together? Lovely blend and the flavors and textures complement each other. Even better if you can find fresh peas. They are simmered in either vegetable or chicken broth.

1 cup broth

8 oz baby asparagus cut into smallish pieces

8 oz peas

8 oz leeks – sliced thinly

Bring the broth to a boil, then turn down to simmer.

Add all the vegetables and cook for around 3 minutes until asparagus is ‘al dente’.

Serve the vegetables with the broth

 

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Salmon Fillets with a Mustard Dill Sauce (4)

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Salmon, mustard and dill go very well together – think gravlax, a Swedish delicacy. The salmon in this recipe is poached in lemon juice and olive oil in a parcel of aluminum foil and as a result is very moist. The mustard dill sauce is incredibly easy to make and apart from being a sauce in this recipe I think it would make a good spread on bread or wraps for sandwiches.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

4 salmon fillets

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. fresh dill – finely chopped

Place salmon fillets on a large piece of aluminum foil in a baking dish, pour over lemon juice and oil and season, then make a parcel and place in oven for 20 minutes or so until salmon is cooked.

In a bowl whisk together the mustard and apple cider vinegar and then add the oil and chopped dill.

When fish is cooked place on a serving platter and spoon a little mustard sauce over each fillet.

 

Red Peppers Stuffed with a Tomato Mixture and Topped with Griddled Halloumi Cheese (4)

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Rather a mouthful of a title but an apt description of the recipe. The red peppers are roasted in the oven and during that time the tomato mixture is cooked on the top of the stove in a skillet and the halloumi cheese is prepared, if possible, on a ridged frying pan which gives the cheese a nice striped look. When all three components are ready it is time to assemble the dish. Spoon the tomato sauce into the red pepper half and top with the griddled halloumi cheese (I can tolerate sheep’s halloumi cheese, if you can’t then omit). Can be a side dish or a vegetarian main.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2 red peppers – halved lengthways, de-seeded and de-membraned, brushed inside and out with olive oil and seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound of ripe tomatoes – skinned

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

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 tbsp. fresh basil – finely chopped

1 tbsp. fresh oregano – finely chopped

4 slices of Halloumi cheese

Place the red peppers in the oven on a baking tray for 3/4 hour until tender .

While peppers are cooking, boil kettle of water and pour over the tomatoes. Leave for a minute and slit skin with a knife (it should curl up and then you know it is ready to peel).

When peeled, dice the tomatoes.

Ten minutes before the peppers are done place seasoned oil in a skillet and when nicely hot add the garlic and cook just until you can smell the garlic.

Add tomatoes and herbs and let simmer until peppers come out of the oven.

At the same time place the slices of halloumi cheese on a hot griddled pan and cook for a short time on each side until you have nice brown griddle marks.

Divide tomato mixture up between the four pepper halves and top with a slice of halloumi.

Serve immediately.

Edamame Beans with Roasted Tomatoes, Olives and Anchovies (4)

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Restaurants have been serving edamame beans still in their pod as an appetizer. This recipe combines them with a variety of flavors and they can be served hot or cold as a side dish or salad. Edamame beans are healthy and a good source of protein. If you aren’t familiar with them they are actually young soybeans and you will most likely find them in the freezer section of your supermarket – buy the shelled variety if possible as they are less tough.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 dry pint of cherry tomatoes

12 oz. shelled edamame beans

2 large cloves of garlic – finely grated

2 tbsp. chives – finely chopped

12  pitted black olives – cut into quarters

4 anchovies – finely chopped

Place tomatoes in a roasting tin and toss in 1 tbsp. of seasoned olive oil (reserve the other 1/2 tbsp. for later) then place in the oven for 45 minutes giving them a good shake every 15 minutes by which time the skins should be bursting. Remove from oven and squash gently with a potato masher so that juices are released.

Pour boiling water over the edamame beans, bring to boil and simmer to 3 minutes or so until cooked, then drain.

Heat 1/2 tbsp of seasoned oil in a skillet and when sizzling add the garlic and cook for a minute or two before adding the chives, olives and anchovies. Saute for a few more minutes until mixture is cooked through.

Into a serving dish, place the tomatoes and their juices, the edamame beans and the rest of the ingredients. Stir well together and serve.

 

 

Butternut Squash and Cranberries (4)

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Great side for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I love the color of this dish – all nice and warm and wintery and so easy to make.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

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

1 onion – chopped quite finely

12 oz. butternut squash – cut  into 1″ cubes

2 handfuls of dried cranberries

1 tbsp. each of sage and thyme – finely chopped

Place onion, squash, cranberries and herbs in a large bowl. Pour over the seasoned oil and toss well before placing on a baking tray.

Cook in oven for 45 minutes.

 

Green Beans with Olives and Anchovies (4)

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If you can find the thin French, green beans I would use those – not that it makes a big difference, it’s just a question of preference. One way of introducing more vegetables into one’s diet is to make the vegetables more interesting and flavorsome. Olives and anchovies have strong flavors and I also added some garlic. Cook the beans first and while they are cooking saute the garlic, olives and anchovies. I served this dish alongside lemon poached chicken breast and wild rice.

8 oz. green beans (thin French variety, if possible)

1/2 tbsp olive oil seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large clove of garlic – grated

8 black olives – pitted and quartered

4 anchovy fillets – thinly sliced

Pour boiling water over green beans, bring to boil and simmer for about 3 minutes until cooked but still ‘al dente’. Drain.

Place oil in a frying pan and season. When hot add garlic and cook for literally a couple of minutes and don’t let it brown.

Turn down heat and add olives and anchovies. Cook till heated through.

Place contents of frying pan in with the beans and toss well together.

 

4 anchovy fillets – finely sliced

Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup (4)

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What a comforting and hearty soup this is. Two ingredients make this soup stand out. First the addition of dried mushrooms – porcini or chanterelles – and secondly mushroom stock (Kallo brand, which is both gluten and lactose free can be bought online from Amazon US and is widely stocked in UK supermarkets and gourmet food shops). The wild rice is cooked separately from the soup because otherwise it soaks up too much of the broth and is only added in just before serving. The addition of the rice adds bulk so that this recipe makes a satisfying lunch or a lightish dinner.

1/2 oz dried chanterelle mushrooms or 1 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms – soaked in boiling water and let to cool for half an hour then drained and patted dry

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

1 large onion – roughly chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

8 oz baby bella mushrooms – sliced

4 cups of mushroom broth

1 cup of wild rice

1 1/2 cups water

1 tbsp parsley – finely chopped

Heat seasoned oil in a Dutch oven.

Pulse onion about 6 times in food processor till finely chopped then place in the Dutch oven when oil is sizzling and let brown and soften, then add the garlic and cook a few minutes more.

Place both the resuscitated mushrooms and baby bella mushrooms in a food processor and process until in very small pieces but not mushy. Add to softened onions and garlic.

Pour over the mushroom broth, bring mixture to a boil then simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.

Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil, add wild rice and cook for 15 minutes then drain and add to soup.

Stir in 1 tbsp. chopped parsley and stir then serve immediately.