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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

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The lovely green spears were in Realmont market today at reasonable prices.

I bought a kilo of straight ones for Friday dinner with our guests, arriving from the USA.

A second of less than perfect (less expensive too) specimens–asperges tordues (twisted)–to make this very simple frittata for lunch.

I have five eggs left in the pantry and a red onion. Add some cheese and seasoning–and there you have the ingredients!

Something different to do with this vegetable with a relatively short-lived season and a use for the cheaper spears with the less than perfect appearance.

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  • 450gms/80z asparagus spears–prepared weight–ie tough ends removed and sliced on the diagonal into smallish pieces
  • 1 red onion–peeled and halved and sliced
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 5 eggs–beaten

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  • 2oz grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Serves 2 to 4 people 

Soften the onion in the olive oil until it begins to caramelize a little–10 to 15 minutes

Add the asparagus pieces and mix in adding some salt and a twist or two of pepper.

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Cook the mix over a gentle heat until the asparagus begins to soften. I like them to retain a little bite–about 10 minutes.

Let this cool.

Then ease into the beaten egg mix.

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Fold in the cheese and check the seasoning.

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Heat a tablespoon of oil in a 10 inch pan to hot–and fold in the egg mix and spread it evenly.

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Immediately turn the heat down to the lowest and cook for 30 minutes.

There should be just a small pool of liquid left on top.

Finish it under a grill for 30 seconds.

 

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Be careful taking the pan out of the oven–it is very hot, as I was reminded when the pan touched the side of my hand by accident–ouch!

Loosen the frittata round the edges of the pan with a fish slice or spatula and ease it out onto a favorite platter.

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“High on the DING scale!” said Meredith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bought a cauliflower this morning. There wasn’t a lot of choice–it’s freezing cold and the local growers’ produce is limited.

What to do with it?

I flick through this cook book and that–then suddenly remember comfort lentils from Delicious Dishes for Diabetics.

COMFORT is the key word.

Outside it’s damp and cold–so comfort food that acts as an interior blanket is just what I need.

I search the index for “cauliflower“.

Aha! Cauliflower with mustard seeds and fennel seeds–inspired by Madhur Jaffrey.

YES!

Double comfort!!

A fire in the grate and the evening holds promise!

COMFORT LENTIL DAL

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Rinse thoroughly a pound of red lentils–until the water runs clear.

Add two vegetable stock cubes to a litre of water and bring to the simmer.

Add the lentils.

Cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked–about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile chop a medium onion and in a separate pan color it gently in four tablespoons of olive oil .

Then stir in these spices:

One and half teaspoons cumin powder; one teaspoon coriander powder; half teaspoon cayenne powder; and (if you have it) one teaspoon garam masala.

Cook the onion in the spices for a couple of minutes and then stir this mix into the lentils.

Gently reheat the dal.

Check for salt.

Comforting…

CAULIFLOWER with FENNEL and MUSTARD SEEDS

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Deconstruct a large cauliflower into bite size pieces.

Heat six tablespoons of olive oil in a pan (large enough to hold the cauliflower in a single layer–more or less–but don’t add the cauliflower yet!).

Add a tablespoon of black mustard seeds and two teaspoons of fennel seeds.

When they start to pop–add three garlic cloves chopped fine.

When they start to color add a quarter teaspoon each of turmeric and cayenne powder.

Cook these briefly to release their aroma–and then stir in the cauliflower pieces.

Turn these thoroughly in the spicy oil and add four tablespoons of warm water.

Add a decent pinch of salt and cook covered until the cauliflower is tender–about 20 minutes.

These two comforting friends make good partners for a chilly winter night.

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Meredith, who used to think that cauliflower was a pointless vegetable, had seconds!

 

 

 

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This got the “ding” from Meredith at lunch today.

Spotted in “Jamie’s Italy“–Jamie Oliver’s lively and loving tour of the peninsula–it offers a twist on roasted pumpkin by including fresh sage, cinnamon and a hint of heat in the mix.

It is simplicity itself.

a small pumpkin–sliced in half and seeds removed

1 small cinnamon stick–split into smaller–not too small–lengths

1 small chili–chopped

a good handful of fresh sage–chopped roughly

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

  • Heat the oven to 220C/430F
  • Slice the pumpkin carefully into smallish crescents
  • Add them to a large bowl
  • Add the sage, chili and olive oil to a mortar and pound gently to release the flavors
  • Add the cinnamon pieces and mix them in thoroughly without allowing them to break up too much
  • Add this mix to the large bowl and season well with salt and pepper

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  • Turn it all over to coat the pumpkin boats
  • Arrange the boats in a shallow, oven-proof pan

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  •  Roast in the upper part of the hot oven for about 20-30 minutes–the time it takes to cook them to tender depends on the thickness of the pumpkin pieces
  • Check after 15 minutes for doneness
  • They should develop a pleasing seared look

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We ate them with magret de canard (duck breast) to welcome in the New Year on a spectacularly beautiful winter’s day.

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Also spectacular is the walnut and garlic sauce, nestling in there.

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(The recipe for this sauce is in Delicious Dishes for Diabetics.)

All good wishes to everyone everywhere for a healthy, happy New Year!

Bonne Année!

Bonne Année!

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A couple of days ago I announced that I was thinking of making fennel soup for supper (we need a photograph of it for the new book).

“You should use all those veggies in the crisper,” said Meredith, in practical mood.

After years of taking a moment to understand what “crisper” meant, I now know it’s the bottom drawer of the fridge where salad and (forgotten) vegetables are stored.

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It still sounds odd to me–crisp and vegetable?

“Any road”–as Aunt Mary used to say–I found a treasure trove of useable vegetables.

MINESTRONE!

So…

I chopped into small dice:

2 carrots

2 small celery sticks

1 onion

3 garlic cloves

and sweated these over a low heat for a good half hour or longer in

3 tbsp olive oil

I then added:

2 fennel bulbs–outer casings removed and chopped into larger dice

more celery–similarly chopped

more carrots–similarly chopped

a handful of mini onions–peeled and halved

some cauliflower florets

Then I spooned in 3 tbsp cooked white beans, from a jar preferably (I prefer them to tinned/canned),

tucked in a small bouquet of parsley and bay and a piece of parmesan rind (I happened to have one to hand!)

I poured in 1 1/2 pints of stock–in this case made from organic vegetable cubes,

and seasoned well with freshly ground black pepper and a teaspoon of salt.

Brought this up to the boil, turned down the heat to low and simmered it for an hour.

Then I added a handful of green beans–escapees that were loitering in the crisper–snapped in half–and 2 medium courgettes–the last from the garden, sliced.

Cooked all this on until these last were tender.

Served it with a swirl of best olive oil and grated parmesan.

(The crisper promoter showed her approval by having thirds.)

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I like radishes–the fresher the better and we had them coming out of our ears after everyone bought them at the market on Saturday–about five bunches of munchies.

However there is a limit to how many sharp little explosions in the mouth one can take–even if, as it’s said, they are good for the digestion.

Our guests took a fortifying bunch with them on their travels on Sunday morning, but there was still a pile left in the fridge yesterday.

What to do with them..?

I consulted  Nancy Harmon Jenkins’ book–The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook (a gift from our friend Helen in Tuscany, after we’d helped with the olive harvest last November )

and found the perfect lunch for a sunny Bank Holiday (May 1st):

Radish, spring onion and tuna salad

1lb of radishes–washed, trimmed and sliced any-which-way that suits (grating some into the bowl makes for a pretty picture)

juice of 1/2 a lemon 

1 teaspoon of salt

2/3 tablespoons parsley–chopped fine

2 sticks of celery–diced fine

2/3 spring onions/scallions, mainly the white part–chopped fine

4oz jar of good tuna in olive oil–forked into flakes

10/12 juicy black olives–stoned and halved

3 tablespoons of the best olive oil you have

salt

  • Mix the radishes with the lemon juice and salt in a bowl.
  • Add the parsley, diced celery and spring onions.
  • Add the tuna flakes.
  • Sprinkle over the olives and the olive oil.
  • Admire it’s beauty for a moment-
  • before turning it over carefully but thoroughly.

A  green salad,  some soft local goats cheese and a spoonful of the tapinade I’d made on Saturday, went well with it at lunch.

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