Broccoli, White Bean and Bacon Soup (4)

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Another soup – different ingredients. I really like using white beans as a thickener, better for you than potatoes. Bacon adds a nice saltiness. I used back bacon (in the supermarket you may find it names ‘Irish bacon’) which is leaner cut. Dilute with extra broth after cooking if you prefer a thinner soup.

2 rashers of back bacon – halved and sliced

1 onion – diced

1 head of broccoli – cut into florets and I used the stem also

1 can of cannellini beans – drained

2 cups chicken broth (or more if you like a thinner soup)

Heat a frying pan until nice and hot and then add the bacon.

Once bacon is a little browned and giving off juices, add the onion.

Cook stirring occasionally until bacon and onion and nicely browned.

Add the broccoli, beans and broth, bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.

Process in a food processor or use a hand held blender.

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Leek, Broccoli and Spinach Soup with a Hint of Mustard (4)

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Soup season, for me, runs from October to March or April. I like my soups to be thick and filling. This soup is a vibrant green color and looks especially good when served in a white soup bowl. The addition of some Colman’s Mustard adds a little piquancy to this very healthy dish.

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

1 large onion – roughly chopped

3 leeks – sliced

3 medium heads of broccoli – roughly chopped

10 oz baby spinach

3 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

1 1/2 tsp. Colman’s Mustard Powder mixed with an equal amount of cold water (it needs 10 minutes to stand before using)

Heat seasoned oil in a Dutch oven and, when sizzling, add the onion and let soften and brown.

Add the leeks and let soften a little before adding the broccoli, spinach and broth.

Bring to a boil the let simmer for 15 minutes.

Add mustard mixture and cook for 5 more minutes.

 

 

 

 

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.

Broccoli with a Twist (4)

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Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables and is in the same family as cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts. The combination of ingredients in this recipe make for an interesting side dish.

8 oz broccoli – cut in to smallish florets

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4  tsp. red pepper flakes

1 shallot – finely chopped

4 salted anchovy fillets finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp. olive oil

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss together well, then transfer to a roasting dish and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Jo’s Thai Beef (4)

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A mild dish inspired by Thai flavors. Because the flank steak is cut into thin strips it doesn’t take long to cook.

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

1 medium onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 x 13.66 fl. oz. can of lite coconut milk

2 tbsp. Thai Red Curry Paste

4 tsp. Thai fish sauce

2 tbsp. crunchy peanut butter

1 tsp. Five Spice powder

8 oz. flank steak – cut into thin strips

1 red pepper – diced

4 oz. broccoli florets

1 cup of peas

1 cup of beef broth
Heat seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add the onion and let soften and brown a little bit, then add the garlic.

In a small mixing bowl mix together a little coconut milk, the red curry paste, fish sauce, peanut butter and five spice powder and set aside.

Add the flank steak to the casserole dish and quickly sear.

Toss in the red pepper, broccoli florets and peas.

Add the sauce mixture, rest of the coconut milk and the beef broth.

Stir well, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes depending on size of the flank steak strips

Jo’s Stir Fried Vegetables (serves 4)

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At the weekend I was visiting the Morikami Gardens and Museum in Delray Beach, FL. The Japanese Gardens and setting are very authentic and very peaceful. The restaurant there overlooks a lake and serves a variety of Japanese food. I so enjoyed my duck with stir fried vegetables in a ginger sauce that I decided to try and re-create the dish. I don’t have a wok so used a large metal bottomed frying pan. For the Japanese flavor I used garlic, scallions,  fish sauce and ginger. For the veg. I used carrots, broccoli florets, green beans and baby bella mushrooms. You could serve duck, chicken, pork or beef on top of the veg. with  quinoa on the side. For vegetarians/vegans probably soy sauce would be a substitute for the fish sauce.

1 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with freshly ground black pepper (no salt needed because of salt in the Fish Sauce)

2 large cloves garlic – grated

1 bunch of scallions – finely chopped (only used white ends)

1 tbsp. Fish Sauce (Thai Kitchen brand Premium Fish Sauce)

1 piece of ginger (size of thumb from first joint to finger nail) – finely grated

4 tbsp. vegetable broth

2 medium size heads of broccoli – torn into smallish florets

2 medium carrots – very thinly sliced

Handful of thin green beans (amount you can get between thumb and forefinger) – topped and tailed and cut into thirds

6 oz. baby Bella mushrooms – washed and cut into 1/4’s or 1/6ths, depending on size

Heat the oil in frying pan and when sizzling add garlic and scallions and cook for a few minutes.
Add grated ginger and Fish Sauce and stir.
Add the vegetables and veg. broth/stock and cook until ‘al dente’ (about 5 minutes) stirring frequently.