Thai Beef Curry (4)

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The word curry is used as a blanket term for spicy food when, in reality, there are many differences in ingredients and flavors. Indian curries tend to use blends of dry spices as a basis for their taste, whereas in Thailand a paste is used. There are many other countries that have curried dishes as part of their diet – the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, South Africa to name a few.
Red curry paste, as opposed to green or the harder to find and creamier yellow, is used in this recipe and the finished dish is fairly mild with the coconut milk offsetting some of the heat. This Thai Beef Curry is quickly prepared and there are lots of nice juices to soak up the rice, quinoa, noodles or whatever you wish to serve with it.

8 oz. flat iron steak – thinly sliced
1 shallot – thinly sliced and separated
1 red pepper – thinly sliced
2 large cloves of garlic – grated
4 oz. frozen peas
1 can of lite coconut milk
2 tbsp. Thai red curry paste
2 tbsp. peanut butter
1 tbsp. fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped, plus more for garnish

Prepare the first 4 ingredients on a chopping board.
In a mixing bowl pour in the coconut milk and whisk it together with the curry paste, peanut butter and fish sauce, then pour into a frying pan and bring to a boil.
When boiling add the steak, shallot, red pepper and garlic to the curry sauce, turn down to a simmer,let ingredients cook for about 7 minutes then add the peas, lime juice and cilantro and cook for a further 3 minutes or until meat is cooked through.
Sprinkle with a little cilantro for garnish and serve.

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Lentils and Beans with Lime and Cilantro (4)

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Pulses in all guises are some of my most favorite foods and the bonus is that they are good for you. This really is so quick to make and would be perfect to take to work for lunch. I served it alongside chicken (poached in lemon juice and olive oil) but it stands alone too for a satisfying vegan/vegetarian dish.

1 can of lentils (approx. 15 oz.) – drained and rinsed

1 can of cannellini beans (approx. 15 oz.) – drained and rinsed

1 heaped tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

Juice of half a lime

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Herby Bean Salad (4)

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Beans, particularly cannellini, beans, are a staple in my kitchen cupboard. They are so versatile, can be served in both cold and hot dishes, are filling and are also good for you. This recipe is just a simple cold dish and uses a great blend of fresh herbs – mint, parsley and cilantro – and a little red onion. It is best left for half an hour or so before serving to let the flavors develop.

1 can of cannellini beans – rinsed and drained

1 heaped tbsp. red onion – finely chopped

1 heaped tbsp. each of fresh parsley, cilantro, mint – finely chopped

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl place beans, red onion and herbs and mix together.

Then add the vinegar, oil and seasoning and mix again.

Leave to stand for some 30 minutes before serving.

 

 

Lime, Cilantro and Avocado Rice (4)

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Rice with lime and cilantro is a nice dish that goes really well with chicken and fish, especially if they are blackened. Adding in mashed avocado makes all the difference.

1 cup brown rice

1 3/4 cups boiling water

Zest of 1/2 lime

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

2 ripe avocados- mashed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place rice in a pan and pour over boiling water. Bring to boil them simmer for 30 minutes.

Rinse rice in a sieve and let cool.

Place rice in a serving dish and add lime zest and juice, cilantro and mashed avocado.

Season with salt and pepper.

North African Salad (serves 4)

North African Salad (serves 4)

Probably not at all North African but has bits and pieces that remind me of those kinds of dishes. I remember my first couscous dish, actually eaten in France with an Algerian colleague who, when I said I had never heard of such a dish, took me to a really authentic traditional restaurant where customers sat on low seats or the floor and I think some people ate with their hands. It was quite an eye-opener! The dish was delicious but I never cooked it for years because couscous was not readily available in the UK back in the day. The base of this salad is quinoa to which I added dried apricots, chickpeas, red onion, cilantro/coriander, chopped cashew nuts and orange juice. All chopping can be done in the 10 minutes it takes the quinoa to cook.

1 cup of quinoa cooked in 2 cups of water

2 tbsp. dried apricots – chopped into little pieces

2 tbsp. red onion – finely chopped

2 tbsp. cilantro/coriander – finely chopped

2 tbsp. chopped cashew nuts

Juice and pulp of 1 orange

Salt and freshly ground black pepper