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Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Words to yesterday’s pictures!

This is a classic Mediterranean dish and everyone has a way to do it– as is clear from the comments left after yesterday’s Wordless Blog.

(I want to try a courgette parmegiagno this week–where the courgettes/zucchini are griddled as aubergines/eggplants are in the classic dish and then as here mixed with tomato and cheese).

Italian style because it’s inspired by a Marcella Hazan version and is a little different to the Elizabeth David’s French gratin in Delicious Dishes for Diabetics.

  • Prepare 3 good size courgettes/zucchinitop and tail them and slice them thin–a food mixer appliance does this nicely.
  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan and add the sliced courgettes, a chopped garlic clove and half a teaspoon of salt. 

  • Turn everything over several times to coat the vegetables lightly in the oil.
  • Cook on a low heat until the courgettes are wilted.

  • Set the courgettes/zucchini aside.
  • Make a quick tomato sauce with
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1k/2lbs fresh tomatoes–cored and roughly chopped or 2 large tins of tomatoes–drained of their juice and roughly chopped.
  • 2 garlic cloves–peeled and thinly sliced.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • A few basil leaves–chopped.

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and add the garlic.
  • Soften it briefly–being careful not to let it brown too much or burn.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook over a high heat–stirring often–until the loose liquid has evaporated and little pock marks appear on the surface.
  • If you can part the Red Searunning a spoon through it–it’s done.
  • Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil.
  • Grate 3 to 4 tablespoons (about 40gms) parmesan cheese.
  • Heat the oven to 200C/450F.
  • Smear the base of an oven proof baking dish of suitable size with some of the tomato sauce.

  • Then cover this with a layer of courgettes/zucchini.

  • Season lightly with salt and pepper and sprinkle a layer of parmesan.

  • And repeat the layering, starting with a layer of tomatoes.
  • (Not forgetting to season lightly at each layer.)

  • Topping it off with the last of the parmesan.
  • Put the dish high in the oven for about 20 minutes or until it displays an inviting crispy brown top.

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Our neighbor Alice came round yesterday afternoon with a small plastic bag of mushrooms–a present for me, she said.

Mousserons she called them–I asked her to write it down, I had never heard of them.

They were delicate looking–white on top and underneath.

If I’d seen them in a field I would have avoided them; I’m wary of wild mushrooms.

Merci beaucoup, Alice–on les cuisine comment? [How do you cook them?]

With a bechamel sauce or a sauce made from veal bones.

“Ah,” I said,  thinking, “Not quite my style!”

Then sprinkled with parmesan and browned in the oven.

“Ah–oui?” I was surprised that Alice–French countrywoman that she is– would think of using Italian cheese in her cooking.

Mousserons have a short season, Alice said, and grow in (fairy) circles.

She knows where to look for mushrooms. Last year she brought us some delicious morels–pretty, brown and conically shaped.

We had the mousserons last night, cooked less ambitiously: sautéed in olive oil and served on a piece of toast brushed with garlic.

Alice then suggested to Meredith it was time to check on the bees.

The colza crop in the fields nearby is coming to an end and the acacia trees are about to bloom.

The honeycombs are full in our hive and need clearing to make room for the new harvest.

Alice had brought her togs and the two of them got ready to go to work.

Meredith asked me to take photos of the scene.

Untogged so to speak, I followed them out to the edge of the garden where our single hive sits.

The worker bees were busy coming and going with their gatherings.

Meredith  pumped the smoke gun to calm them and Alice lifted the first comb.

I was standing with the camera at a safe distance–I thought. (In any case, I’m not scared of bees, wasps or even hornets–ho hum!)

As I leant towards the hive, struggling to get a better angle on what was happening, I suddenly sensed one of the worker bees buzzing round my head.

“Get away! get away!” I spluttered–trying to shoo it off with my free hand while the camera-holding hand graphically recorded the moment of panic.

Unlike a fly or mosquito or any other self-respecting insect that would have taken the hint, this bee was clearly on a mission and having none of it. It continued to harass  me.

Inelegantly climbing over the just-bloomed iris, I whipped off my glasses, bending down to put them and the camera on the ground, while trying to fend off  the determined bee.

On your fleece!–on your fleece!” cried Alice.

Expecting to feel a sharp pain at any moment I pulled the blue fleece over my head, catching sight of the bee clinging to the collar.

I ignominiously exited the garden on the run, pursued by a bee not a bear,

Triumphant bee!

as the much quoted stage direction in Shakespeare’s A Winters Tale has it!

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Some people don’t like the idea of eating rabbit–memories of treasured pets linger in the mind. Meredith tells me she had a white rabbit called Honey Bunny growing up in suburban Chicago–which produced little honey bunnies every five weeks after the first batch–born one Easter (clever bunny!).

She is still in two minds about eating rabbit, which she claims is not eaten much in the USA.

Rabbit is tasty, lean meat and makes for a change.

You could try this with chicken.

Serves 4

1 large jar of white beans–cannellini, haricot or other white beans, drained

4 tablespoons  of olive oil

rabbit pieces or more

salt and pepper

1/2 teaspoon of coriander seeds–dry roasted in a small frying pan and crushed

8 cloves of garlic–peeled

bay leaves

100ml/31/2fl oz white wine

300ml/10fl oz water

2 tablespoons of parsley–chopped

heat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas2.

  • Heat the olive oil in a lidded pan or casserole that can go into the oven.
  • Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper and brown them gently. (These hind quarter pieces were enough for us)
  • Add the coriander seeds and garlic and turn them over in the oil until the garlic colours a little.
  • Add the bay, the wine, the water and the beans.
  • Cover the pan and cook in a  low oven–(cooking it slowly helps to keep it moist)–for about 30–40 minutes.
  • Check the doneness of the rabbit–the juices should run clear.
  • Sprinkle over the parsley before serving.

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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

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

salt

  • 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.
Next time–red cabbage with a slow cooked fillet of salmon.

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Serves 2

2 small pots no/low-fat organic yogurt*

2 teaspoons of olive oil

half a clove of garlic – pulped in a mortar with a little salt

half a teaspoon of cumin powder

[*For a thicker sauce--which is how we like it--empty the yogurt into a piece of muslin drapped over a sieve and leave it to drain into a bowl for half an hour in the fridge.

Discard the liquid and carefully empty the yogurt into the bowl.

Or use the yogurt as it comes out of the pot--emptying it into a bowl.]

  • Pulp the garlic in a pinch of salt in a mortar.
  • Whisk in the cumin and the oil.
  • Fold this into the yogurt and whisk it well together.
  • Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve it.

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Our friend Romaine arrives today and I know she likes houmous.

the ingredients

I do too–and this version has a bit of a kick to it.

ready to whizz...

There’s garlic, cumin and cayenne in this mix–with olive oil and lemon juice to loosen it.

whizzed and ready to spread!

8 oz cooked chickpeas–I prefer the kind in jars

3 cloves of garlic–peeled and chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons tahini

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

2 tablespoons olive oil

juice of 2 lemons

Put all the ingredients except the lemon in a food mixer and whizz smooth.

Add half the lemon juice  and taste.

Add the rest of the lemon juice as you like.

I just made it with all the juice of 2 lemons and it tastes right –it depends on the size and juiciness of the lemons.

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