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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Chicken One-Pot with Mushrooms, Peas and Potatoes (4)

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As summer draws to a close I find the type of food I eats changes too – the same as pulling out of winter into Spring. This recipe is lighter and less intense than a stew but is equally as filling and using dark thigh meat gives it a good flavor.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

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

1 onion – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – finely grated

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

8 oz. new potatoes – cut into small chunks

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms – chopped into small chunks, if necessary

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

8 oz. frozen peas

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a frying pan and when sizzling add the onion, turn heat down a bit and let soften and brown. Then add the garlic and cook for another few minutes. Remove from pan and place in an ovenproof dish.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and when sizzling add the chicken thighs and sear on all sides until browned. Remove from pan and place alongside the onion mixture.

Add the potatoes and mushrooms, pour over the broth and cook in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked through.

Cook peas separately andn add to the dish at the last moment.

 

Oven-Cooked Vegetables and New Potatoes Dotted with Herbed Goat’s Cheese (4)

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The simpler the better but no compromise on flavor. For that a tray bake is the answer. Place everything on a metal tray, toss in olive oil and season – in this case baby asparagus, artichoke hearts and new potatoes. Peas and herby goat’s cheese are added afterwards as they wouldn’t do so well in the oven.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

12 oz. new potatoes – quartered

8 oz. baby asparagus – use the top two thirds of the stem and cut that in half

1 x 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts – drained and quartered

3 tbs. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4. oz. frozen peas

1 – 2 oz. herbed goat’s cheese – cut into little pieces

Place potatoes, asparagus and artichoke hearts on a metal baking tray. Pour over the olive oil, season and toss well.

Cook in oven for 30 minutes.

5 minutes before the veg. are cooked, boil the peas.

Remove tray from oven, sprinkle over the peas and dot with goat’s cheese.

 

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.

 

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.

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

 

Tomato-Based Salad (4)

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This is a no-lettuce salad and is literally a selection of green vegetables mixed with some cold, cooked chicken heaped on a base of slices of a ripe, beefsteak tomato.  If you buy a pre-cooked chicken this dish takes no time at all and if you omit the chicken you have a vegetarian/vegan meal. Very easy to transport either as a lunch or to assemble for a picnic.

1 large, ripe beefsteak tomato

4 oz. frozen peas

4 oz. edamame beans

4 oz. asparagus (take the tips and an equal amount of the asparagus stem)

1 cooked chicken breast

Cut the tomato into 4 slices and place on a serving dish.

Place peas, edamame beans and asparagus in a pan and pour over boiling water. Bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain veg. and place in a bowl of iced water to prevent further cooking.

Cut cooked chicken breast into small pieces.

Place veg. and chicken in a mixing bowl. Pour apple cider vinaigrette (see below) over and mix well together.

Place a good serving of veg/chicken mixture on each slice of tomato

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Whisk mustard and apple cider vinegar together until smooth.

Whisk in the olive oil until mixture is emulsified