Spinach Roulade with a Tomato, Red Pepper Filling (4)

 

IMG_0073A roulade, savory or sweet, always seems impressive – actually it is very easy to make (but don’t tell your guests that!). The secret to the easy rolling of up a roulade is lining the baking tray with parchment paper brushed with oil. The filling is a mixture of  roasted baby tomatoes, red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. As the filling takes more time to prepare, start off making the tomato mixture. This dish is equally good hot or cold.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

1 baking tray with edges about 12 inches by 9 inches lined with oiled parchment paper

10 oz. baby spinach – cooked and chopped

4 large eggs – separated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the spinach in a small amount of water, drain, wrap in a clean T-towel and wring till spinach is dry. Then chop finely.

Take the 4 egg yolks, whisk and mix with the spinach in a large bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff then fold into the spinach mixture, taking a large spoonful at a time (there should be enough of the egg whites to make about four spoonfuls).

Spread mixture in a rectangle on the oiled parchment paper. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes check if roulade is firm to the touch, if not return to the oven but keep a close eye on it.

TOMATO AND RED PEPPER SAUCE

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

1 medium onion – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – chopped

1 dry pint baby tomatoes

4 oz. roasted red peppers from a jar – chopped

4 pieces of sun dried tomato

Place oil in an oven-proof dish, add onion, garlic and baby tomatoes. Toss well together. Cook in oven for 45 minutes.

Put tomato mixture, red peppers and sun-dried tomato pieces in a food processor and process until nice and smooth.

Spread mixture on the spinach base taking care not to go too near each end (otherwise sauce will leak out). Roll up carefully and serve immediately.

 

 

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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 Coleslaw Tossed in Orange Honey Mustard Dressing (serves 4)

Jo’s Coleslaw Tossed in Orange Honey Mustard Dressing (serves 4)

This cole slaw all came about because I had some left over cabbage and I thought it would be nice to make a different kind of slaw so I added red pepper and chopped peanuts to the usual cabbage, carrots and onion mixture. I had been thinking about making an orange honey mustard dressing and felt that it would go well with slaw (and it does). I put the pulp from the orange (where the goodness lies) into the dressing too. And I used my new Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil – First Cold Press (the reason I mention this is because many extra virgin olive oils are not what they purport to be, but the Kirkland brand is). I also used raw honey.

1/4 cabbage – finely shredded

1 red pepper – seeded and finely sliced

1 carrot – grated

1 bunch of scallions/spring onions – finely sliced

Handful of chopped peanuts (optional)

Orange, Honey, Mustard Dressing

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

Pulp of 1 orange

1 tsp. honey (raw if possible)

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. olive oil

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.

Pour over slaw and mix well.

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.

Okra Ratatouille (serves 4)

Okra Ratatouille (serves 4)

Have only cooked okra once or twice and not memorably! Have eaten it cooked by other people and it was delicious, so I had another go at it. The key is not to boil it as it will become very slimy. It is better with other ingredients as it is not very flavorsome by itself. This dish can be eaten hot or cold, as a sidedish, as a vegetarian meal by itself or in an omelette. I spiced it up with red pepper flakes and harissa paste. I used roasted red peppers from a jar.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion – finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic – finely chopped
1 x carton of Pomi crushed tomatoes (26.5 oz/750g)
2 cups vegetable broth/stock
1/2 pound of okra – topped, tailed and sliced
2 x red peppers (equivalent from a jar) – sliced
1 tbsp. harissa paste
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Heat oil in cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and garlic, turn down heat and cook till onion is softened.
Add crushed tomatoes and veg. broth/stock and stir.
Add sliced okra, red peppers, harissa paste and red pepper flakes, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Stew (serves 4)

Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Stew (serves 4)

This stew is one where you pop all the ingredients straight into a cast iron casserole dish – no cooking onions first, then browning the meat, etc., etc. The spiciness comes from a blend of ingredients – canned tomatoes and green chilies, harissa paste and Creole spices. Other than chicken the stew contains sweet potatoes, tomatoes and black beans.

1 pound of chicken tenders – cut into bite size pieces
2 x large cloves of garlic – finely chopped
2 x 15 oz cans of black beans – rinsed and drained
1 x sweet potato – peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 x red pepper – deseeded and cut into bite size pieces
1 cup of crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
3 cups of veg. broth/stock
1 tbsp. harissa paste
1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning

Place all ingredients in a cast-iron casserole dish, bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes.

Vegetable Curry (serves 4)

Vegetable Curry (serves 4)

Am trying to eat a couple of vegetarian/vegan meals every week and even when I am having meat or fish I try to have more veg. in the portion than the protein. My vegetable curry is a blend of Thai and Indian curry flavors. Coconut milk, lime juice, ginger and cilanto from Thai curries; Garam Masala and curry powder from Indian curries. It doesn’t really matter what vegetables you use it depends on what appeals. I love cauliflower and spinach in curries and then I thought out of the box and added sweet potato and red pepper. Chickpeas do well in a curry too. You could add okra or green beans or maybe subsitute lentils for the chickpeas. I am serving this with quinoa.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt
1 medium onion – sliced
2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
1 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 inch of fresh ginger – finely grated
1 can of lite coconut milk
1 sweet potato – peeled and diced
1 red pepper – de-seeded and diced
1/2 a cauliflower – cut into little florets
5 oz baby spinach
1 x 15 oz can of chickpeas – rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

Put olive oil seasoned with salt in a cast iron casserole dish
When sizzling, add onion, garlic, garam masala, curry powder and ginger and cook until onion is softened.
Then add the coconut milk, sweet potato, cauliflower, red pepper.
Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Next add spinach and chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes or until spinach is wilted.
Take off heat and throw in a tablespoon of chopped cilantro

**Little Known Food Fact**

Have you ever checked a label and found that the product you are considering buying lists ‘natural flavors’? If so, like me, you might have wondered why ‘natural flavors’ was listed as an ingredient (doesn’t flavor automatically come from the ingredients?). Apparently, ‘natural flavors’, which are conjured up by ‘flavorists’ are not naturally occurring.