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


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)


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)


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)


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

Asian Chicken and Vegetables with Jo’s Brown Sauce (serves 4)

Asian Chicken and Vegetables with Jo’s Brown Sauce (serves 4)

How many times do you go to an Asian Restaurant and the menus says ‘Chicken/pork/beef and mixed vegetables with Brown Sauce and your choice of rice – white or brown’? and you have no real idea of what the ingredients are except that it is tasty and probably everyone has their own recipe and throws in a bit of this and a bit of that. So this is what I threw into the mix (and I literally placed everything in the food processor which cut out a bit of washing up!). I believe that often a thickener is used for the sauce but I decided not to. The resulting meal was really authentic tasting (except that you don’t usually find new potatoes in Asian cooking).

P.S. think this would make a great dressing for a salad

2 inches of fresh ginger – peeled and finely grated

2 cloves of garlic – peeled and finely grated

4 scallions/spring onions – finely chopped

2 tbsp. gluten free soy sauce

2 tbsp. seasoned rice wine vinegar

4 tbsp. sesame oil

1/2 cup veg. broth/stock

Literally, place everything in the food processor.

8 oz. chicken tenders – cut into small pieces

1 large carrot – cut into thinnish slices and then halve the slices

4 oz. snowpeas/mangetout – cut into thirds

4 oz. broccoli – cut into small florets

6 oz. baby sweetcorn – cut into bite sized pieces (found in a can in Asian section of supermarket)

4 oz. new potatoes – pre-cooked and cut into quarters

Place chicken and carrots in a skillet and pour over the sauce.

Bring to boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Add rest of ingredients and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Jo’s Pad Thai (serves 4)

Jo’s Pad Thai (serves 4)

My Pad Thai may not be truly authentic but it tastes good. Chopping takes a little time and would be a great thing to do with another person – husband, son or daughter or a friend (I often cook with a friend of mine when she makes dinner). The added ingredient here is my newly discovered Tamarind Paste – Neera’s Tamarind Paste, found in Whole Foods; a different brand can be found in Waitrose in the UK. I used a gluten-free soy sauce, but it does contain soy, so may not be appropriate for some of you. On top of that I added fish sauce, lime juice, ginger and extra virgin olive oil. I purposely only used one chicken breast as am trying to reduce the amount of meat we eat and increase the veg. Ideal pan is a skillet with a glass lid. Cooking time is around 15 minutes.

A 1 inch piece of ginger – peeled and finely grated

1 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp. tamarind paste (not concentrate) – dissolved in 1 tbsp. of hot water

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Place all of the above in a bowl and mix together.

1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 large bunch of scallions/spring onions – finely sliced

2 large garlic cloves – finely chopped

1 chicken breast – finely sliced and cut into small pieces (so they cook quickly)

1/2 a red pepper – cut into fine strips

1 large carrot – cut into matchsticks

4 oz. thin French green beans – cut in two

4 good size broccoli florets – cut into smaller florets

4 oz. baby bella mushrooms – sliced

Heat oil in skillet and when sizzling add scallions/spring onions and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add chicken and sear.

Add all veg. and pour over the sauce.

Cook for 10 minutes or until chicken pieces are cooked through.

Sweet and Sour Broccoli Salad (serves 4)

Sweet and Sour Broccoli Salad (serves 4)

Took lightly cooked broccoli florets and added chopped celery, cucumber and unsalted peanuts (seem to be putting nuts in everything at the moment!) and made a simple dressing of Sriracha sauce, a few drops of Tabasco sauce and Seasoned Rice Vinegar (Kame brand). Simple and tasty. Would be good in a lunch box or on a picnic.

1 head of broccoli – cut into small florets
1/2 an English cucumber – diced
2 sticks of celery – chopped
2 tbsp. Sriracha sauce
A few drops of Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp. Seasoned Rice Vinegar

Cook broccoli florets until al dente (won’t take long), drain and cool (run under cold water so florets don’t keep on cooking).
Place florets, cucumber and celery in a bowl.
Mix Sriracha sauce, Tabasco sauce and Seasoned Rice Vinegar together, pour over salad and toss.