Posted in Food, other sides to this life, Recipes, tagged celery, fennel, fennel salad, olive oil, orange, parmesan, parsley, recipes, red onion, winter salad on February 7, 2012 |
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My first posting on this blog was a year ago today–7th of February 2011!
Poaching Eggs–was a homage to one of my food heroines, the formidable Elizabeth David.
I can’t remember exactly the weather that day but it may not have been so different to today’s–which is nose-endangeringly cold.
So a long nod of thanks to everyone that has visited and those that continue to visit and thanks too for the comments–they are all read and much appreciated.
AND special thanks to my in-house photographer and editor with whom discussion is always lively and from whom I learn a lot!
Here’s a salad to celebrate.
Seasonally crunchy (not much choice from the locals this morning)–with a juicy orange and some sunflower seeds, to put one in mind of seasons to come.
It got the nod at lunch today from Meredith–(though not the mackerel fillet that it accompanied–next time I’ll use less smoked sweet paprika!).
1 large fennel bulb–outer leaves removed, stood upright and halved through the middle, each cut half laid flat and halved again, then sliced very thinly
1 celery stalk–sliced thinly
half a small sweet red onion–sliced thinly
1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds–dry roasted in a frying pan on the stove top
1 tablespoon of parsley–chopped
a few shavings of parmesan
1 juicy orange–carefully peeled (lifting off the white pith), halved and sliced thinly
salt for sprinkling
1 tablespoon best quality olive oil for dressing
- Mix the first seven ingredients together with care in a favorite bowl.
- Sprinkle with salt and the oil–add more oil if you like.
- Lightly turn everything over.
- Check the seasoning and serve.
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Posted in Food, Recipes, tagged apple, cabbage, cabbage and orange juice, celery, cider vinegar, juice of a lemon, juice of orange, juniper berries, onion, recipe, red cabbage on February 1, 2012 |
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I found this in my old paste-in foolscap notebook and have been meaning to try it for a while.
Cabbage has been on my mind since leaving Strasbourg–and pork for that matter!
An example of this brightly colored variety of red cabbage was waiting patiently in the fridge for my return.
So lunch yesterday was a pork chop on a bed of red cabbage.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion–sliced fine
I red cabbage–shredded not too fine
2 sticks of celery–sliced fine
1 apple–peeled, quartered, cored and chopped into chunks
10 juniper berries–crushed
Juice of a lemon
Juice of an orange
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- In a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients, sauté the onion gently in the oil until it is soft–about 5 minutes.
- Add the shredded cabbage, the celery and apple and turn these over with the onion and oil.
- Cook this mix for another 5 minutes until the cabbage begins to wilt.
- Pour over the two juices, the vinegar and the juniper berries.
- Add a good pinch of salt.
- Turn it all over carefully to distribute the liquids.
- Cover the pan and continue cooking for about 20 minutes–the time depends on the toughness of the cabbage–it should be nicely tender to the bite.
The cabbage and apple married well with the pork.
I’ll write up the simple pork recipe tomorrow.
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Posted in Food, Recipes, tagged bean soup, celery, garlic, olive oil, onions, parsley, smoked bacon, white beans on January 5, 2012 |
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Another bean soup–can’t have too many in my opinion!
Interior insulation for the post prandial walk on a chilly winter day.
This satisfying soup is based on one in Elizabeth Romer’s lovely book, The Tuscan Year: Life and Food in an Italian Family.
Her account of the Cerroti family’s daily existence is a good read and full of authentic seasonal recipes.
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions – chopped small
2 sticks of celery – chopped small
3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
100 g/4 oz smoked bacon/pancetta – use unsmoked if you prefer – chopped small
4 tbsp parsley – chopped
1 x 450 g/16 oz can tomatoes – drained and chopped
350 g/12 oz tinned/jarred white beans – drained, rinsed and puréed–use the best quality beans you can find–it makes a difference
570 ml/1 pint/ vegetable stock – more if you like (I use organic veg. stock cubes)
150 g/6 oz “short” wholewheat pasta – (i.e. penne or farfalle, not spaghetti)
salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
- Add the onions, celery, garlic, bacon and parsley, and turn them in the oil.
- Cook them over a gentle heat until the vegetables are tender and the bacon is colouring up – this is the “taste engine” of the soup and needs some time – at least 20 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and mix them in and allow to meld for a good 10 minutes.
- Add the beans and mix in.
- Cook gently for 10 minutes.
- These stages are important for a good depth of flavour and shouldn’t be rushed.
- The soup should look beautiful now – with a warm glow.
- Add half the stock and let it meld in.
- Add the pasta and the rest of the stock and cook the pasta in the soup.
- It may take a little longer than pasta normally does (I put a lid on at this point to help).
- Be careful that this thick and unctuous soup does not stick and burn.
- If you prefer it looser, add more stock and cook on a little to incorporate it.
- Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste –remembering that the bacon and stock can be salty.
- Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and swirls of olive oil.
(This nourishing soup is included in my cookbook–Delicious Dishes for Diabetics–a Mediterranean Way of Eating.)
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Posted in Food, other sides to this life, Recipes, tagged a table in tuscany, cabbage, carrots, celery, leeks, montalcino, olive oil, stock, tuscan bean soup, white beans on December 4, 2011 |
10 Comments »
An autumn/winter soup this–with a big presence.
Adapted from Leslie Forbes’ lovely book A Table in Tuscany.
In the early eighties she had the bright idea of eating her way round Tuscany’s restaurants and watering holes–an arduous task to set oneself.
This soup–one of the best bean soups in Tuscany–she credits to the restaurant of the Fattoria dei Barbi near Montalcino and the unnamed English cook, married to an Italian, thus providing the important advantage of a Tuscan mother-in-law! This is 25 years ago mind–things have a habit of changing.
The book remains a gem (used copies available on Amazon for a penny!).
2 carrots--chopped small
2 sticks of celery–chopped small
2 leeks–cleaned and chopped small
6 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 tinned tomatoes–chopped up with their liquid
A sprig of fresh thyme
1 large garlic clove–pulped
Half a green cabbage–stem removed and shredded
The other half of the cabbage shredded thinly–this for a topping (see below)
1 tablespoon olive oil
About 800 gms/24 oz of cooked white beans [canned or bottled or dried, soaked and cooked]–drained but their liquid retained
1 pint/500ml stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sweat the celery, leeks and carrots until they are tender–about twenty minutes.
- Mix in the tomatoes, garlic and thyme and let them cook on for five minutes.
- Add the cabbage, season with salt & pepper and cook on for ten minutes.
- Purée three-quarters of the beans in a mixer with a little of their liquid.
- Add the bean water and the bean purée and stir it all together.
- Cook this thick mix for an hour–stirring it regularly to stop it sticking and burning.
- Add a little of the stock each time you stir it.
- This is meant to be a thick soup–up to you how loose to make it–just be careful not to dilute the depth of taste.
- While the soup cooks on sauté the rest of the cabbage to serve as a topping when you present the soup.
- Keep tasting the soup as you go (you may find yourself doing that anyway!).
- Serve with a drizzle of good quality olive oil.
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