Chickpea, Spinach and Harissa Stew (4)

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Harissa paste is a staple of Tunisian cooking and is their equivalent of tomato ketchup. It is made from a combination of chilis, roasted red peppers, spices, herbs and garlic. It adds a zing to soups and stews. My recipe can either be served as a vegetarian or vegan main course or as a side dish.

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

1 medium sized onion – finely chopped

1 large garlic clove – grated

1 tbsp. harissa paste

1 and 1/2 cups passata

1 cup chicken/vegetable broth (add more broth at the end of cooking if you want a thinner sauce)

4 oz. baby tomatoes

1 x 15 oz can of chickpeas

5 oz baby spinach

Heat seasoned olive oil in a cast iron casserole dish with a lid and when sizzling add onion and let soften and brown, then add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add harissa paste, passata, broth, tomatoes, chickpeas and spinach. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer with the lid on for some 20 minutes until tomatoes are bursting their skins.

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Lightly Curried Chicken, Spinach and Quinoa (4)

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A healthy dinner on the table in a short space of time and any leftovers are great cold and would work well as a packed lunch. The curry flavor is mild –  just a hint really – though you could alter that to your taste and comes in the form of a dressing. The chicken and onion are poached together in aluminum foil. Peanuts and raisins in added to the mix. All in all, a nicely different dish.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2 x chicken breasts – cut into 1 inch slices

1/2 a medium onion – cut into slices, then halve the slices and separate into individual pieces

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup quinoa

2 cups of boiling water

10 oz. baby spinach

Handful of unsalted peanuts – chopped

1/2 oz raisins

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 dessertspoon mango chutney

Put a piece of aluminum foil in an oven-proof dish and place chicken and onion slices on top. Pour the 2 tbsp. of oil over, season with salt and pepper and mix together. Make a little parcel with the aluminum foil and cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. After cooking, cut chicken into bite size pieces.

Meanwhile, place quinoa in a saucepan, add boiling water, bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Place spinach in a large lidded pan,  add a little boiling water and cook for just a few minutes until spinach is wilted. Drain, then wrap spinach in a clean T-towel. When it is cool enough to touch, wring the T-towel to get rid of excess water, then chop the spinach.

Mix curry powder, apple cider vinegar and mango chutney together, add oil whisk well together.

To assemble, place quinoa in a large bowl, add the chicken, onion and their juices, chopped spinach peanuts and raisins. Pour over the curry dressing and mix well together.

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Turkey and Spinach Curry (4)

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This is a loosely termed curry borrowing from both Asian and Indian dishes. From the Asian I took coconut milk and ginger and from the Indian I used various spices – garam masala, cumin, curry powder and turmeric – and I stir in a touch of mango chutney and a pinch of white pepper (enough so that you can taste it) just before serving. The addition of spinach and lentils and using ground turkey as the meat makes for a light and healthy curry.

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

1 medium onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 tsp. each of cumin, curry powder and garam masala

Pinch of turmeric

2 inch piece of ginger – peeled and grated (makes 1 tbsp.

1 pound of ground turkey

1 can (15 oz.) lite coconut milk

1 can (15oz.) lentils – rinsed

1/2 cup turkey/chicken broth

10 oz. baby spinach

1 – 2 tbsp. mango chutney

Good pinch of white pepper

Chopped cilantro (to sprinkle over top of curry before serving)

Put 1 tbsp. of seasoned olive oil in a Dutch oven. When it is sizzling add onion. Let it soften and brown a little then add garlic and spices and stir. When you can smell the spices, add the ginger.

Cook for a couple of minutes then add the turkey and brown.

Pour in coconut milk, turkey/chicken broth and lentils. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add spinach and let wilt, stirring a little.

Stir in a mango chutney and white pepper.

Sprinkle with chopped cilantro

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Jo’s Chinese Chicken (4)

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I have played with the flavors here and they are less salty as there is no soy sauce. Good both hot and cold. I have introduced rice noodles (Annie Chun’s brand) into my diet and used the very fine ones – even better if you can find a brown rice variety. Love the ‘A Taste of Thai’ brand as the products mainly seem gluten and diary free (but I always check). Incorporated water chestnuts and baby sweetcorn as well as spinach. There is ginger too and garlic – healthy.

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 shallot – finely chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 large tbsp. ginger – grated

Kettle full of boiling water

4oz. rice noodles

2 x chicken breast – sliced thinly and halved into bite-size pieces

10 oz. baby spinach

1 x 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts

1 x 15 oz. baby sweetcorn  (pre-cut into chunks)

Juice of 1/2 lime – freshly squeezed

Handful of unsalted peanuts – bashed with a rolling pin

Place oil in cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add shallot and garlic, turn down heat and let soften. Then add ginger and cook for a few minutes.

Add chicken and let brown a little, then add 1 cup of sauce (see below) and cook, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes.

Add water chestnuts, baby sweetcorn, 5 oz. spinach and rest of sauce.

Cover with lid and let spinach wilt for 5 minutes or so and then add 5oz more of spinach and the lime juice

Cook for 5 more minutes.

During this time bring kettle full of water to boil then pour over rice noodles and let noodles sit for about 6 minutes. Drain, wrap in tea-towel and when water has been removed chop rice noodles into 2 or so inch pieces. Add to chicken mixture. Mix together and sprinkle peanuts over the top

SAUCE

2 tbsp. tamarind concentrate

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. A Taste of Thai Garlic Chilli Pepper Sauce (aka sriracha)

Mix all ingredients into a bowl and it will make just about 1 cup of sauce.