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Archive: Nov 2014

Chicken, green olive and lemon tagine with ginger and coriander

This is a beautiful tagine, especially as it also has ginger and coriander which complements the chicken so well.

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3 tbsp. olive oil
6 whole chicken legs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large yellow onions, sliced
2 tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground white pepper
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. crushed saffron threads
1½ cups chicken stock
6 oz. green olives, cracked
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, ghee or clarified butter
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tsp. finely chopped cilantro
2 jarred preserved lemons, cut into slices

Heat the oven to 350° F

Heat the oil in an 8–qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the pot and cook, turning, until browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Add the onions to the pot, cook until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the spices, cook for 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot with the stock and boil.
Bake the chicken, covered, until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in the olives, butter, parsley, cilantro and lemons into the pot, and cook for 6 minutes.
Serve with rice or flatbread.

White chocolate-cardamon panna cotta

The scent of cardamon gives this gorgeous panna cotta an exotic flavor.

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Serves 6

6 green cardamom pods
1½ cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved
2 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
12 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
Zest of 1 orange
⅓ cup orange marmalade
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
1 orange, peeled of pith and segmented

Place the cardamom pods in an 8″ skillet over high heat, and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until charred and blistered in spots, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and using a wooden spoon, crush to expose seeds; then transfer to a 2-qt. saucepan along with cream, ¾ cup milk, ¼ tsp. salt, and vanilla bean with seeds; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat, and let steep for 10 minutes. Combine the remaining milk and gelatin in a small bowl; let sit to soften gelatin, about 5 minutes.

Place the white chocolate in a bowl, and pour the steeped cream mixture and gelatin mixture over the chocolate; let sit for 1 minute. Using a small rubber spatula, slowly stir the chocolate from the center until the gelatin dissolves, and the mixture emulsifies and is smooth.Pour through a fine strainer into a large glass measuring cup; discard the solids. Divide the mixture among six 6–8-oz. shallow ramekins or custard molds, and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a 2-qt. saucepan; add the juice, liqueur, and zest. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring often, until thick, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the marmalade and butter until smooth; let cool to room temperature. Add the orange segments, and stir gently to combine with the sauce; set aside.

To serve, run a paring knife around the edge of each ramekin, invert the panna cotta onto a small plate, and spoon the orange sauce on the side.

Rosemary and pine nut brittle

Lovely crunchy, salty, rosemary scented pine nut brittle. Your guests will adore it as it’s so different, great for the holidays and easy to make.

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2 cups sugar
2 ½ cups pine nuts, toasted until light golden
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. finely ground sea salt

Heat the sugar in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it becomes a liquid, golden caramel.
Add the pine nuts and then the butter and stir until the butter is fully absorbed by the caramel

Stir in half each of the rosemary and salt, and then pour onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spreading to create an even layer; sprinkle with the remaining rosemary and salt while warm. Let cool completely and then break into bite-size pieces.
Store in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper.

Easy orange, rosemary and polenta cake

I love making cakes when you don’t have to “cream the butter and sugar” As soon as I see a recipe that asks for that, I’m out of there. This one is so easy and uses the whole orange, which gives it a very intense flavor that the fresh rosemary positively flirts with! And a great added bonus is that it is also gluten free.

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Serves 8

Butter, for greasing
2 large oranges
6 extra large free-range eggs
6 oz polenta
6 oz ground almonds
9 oz golden caster sugar
1 heaped tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp demerara sugar

For the orange drizzle
4 oz caster sugar
3 tbsp orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Grated or shredded zest of 1 orange

Grease and base-line a 9 inch springform cake tin. Put the whole oranges in a large pan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour, until soft. Remove, cool, then halve and remove the pips.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Whizz the orange halves (with the skin) to a purée in a food processor. Beat in the eggs, polenta, almonds, sugar and rosemary.
Pour into the tin and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake for 1 hour, until the cake is risen and golden.
For the drizzle, dissolve the sugar in 100ml hot water in a pan. Boil for 5 minutes but don’t let it color. Remove from the heat and cool briefly. Add the liqueur, rosemary and zest.
Cool the cake in the tin, then turn out and drizzle with the syrup.

Asian broccoli salad with peanut sauce

As you probably know by now, I love all Asian food, and this salad is a lovely combination of crunchy broccoli, edamame beans and peanuts and the creamy peanut sauce.

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Serves 4 to 6

1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 cup shelled cooked edamame beans
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup salted peanuts
1 batch peanut sauce (recipe below)
black sesame seeds, for garnish

Peanut sauce
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
‘1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1/4 to 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 to 2 tbsp hot water, as needed to thin out the sauce

For the peanut sauce
Whisk all the ingredients together until well combined. if the sauce is too thick, whisk in 1 tbsp of hot water, and if it’s still too thick, whisk in another until it’s the consistency you like for pouring over the salad.

Heat a large pot of water until it is boiling. Add in the broccoli florets and boil for 30 seconds. use a strainer to transfer them into a bowl of iced water, which will immediately halt the cooking process.
Now add the remaining ingredients, including the peanut sauce and toss until combined.
Serve immediately, garnished with the sesame seeds, if desired

Wild rice salad with cranberries and roasted nuts

We had this salad for Thanksgiving as a side, and it was definitely everyone’s favorite dish. Not only is it healthy, it tastes clean, fresh and divine and only gets better with sitting in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. I adapted this from a recipe from the great food blog, View from a Great Island.

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Serves 6-8

1 cup wild rice, rinsed
1/3 cup raw pecan halves
1/3 cup whole raw cashews
1/3 cup pistachios
1/3 small red onion
several small inner stalks of celery, peeled and chopped (I used 5 good sized stalks)
5 to 6 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp of your favorite vinegar, I used Sherry
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
1 heaped tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

This first soaking step is optional, but will help keep your wild rice from splitting as much, which I think makes a prettier salad. If you have the time, soak the rice in plenty of water for 8 hours or overnight. Then drain and continue the recipe.

Bring a quart of water and a teaspoon of salt to boil in a saucepan and add the rice. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and cook for about 30-40 minutes, or just until the rice is tender. Wild rice will always have a little bite to it, so don’t try to cook it until completely soft.

While the rice is cooking, put the pecans and cashews in a large skillet and toast, over medium heat, until you smell them and they start to turn slightly brown. Take them off the heat and let them cool before giving them a rough chop.
Drain the rice and put in a bowl.
Toss the warm rice with the rest of the ingredients.

Whisk together the dressing in a small jar. If you put the top on and shake it vigorously, it should emulsify. Taste it to adjust the amount of vinegar or seasonings. Toss the salad with half of the dressing, and then refrigerate until completely chilled.
When ready to serve, add more dressing and toss well.

Pumpkin banana mousse tart

This is delectable and well worth trying, especially for Thanksgiving. Thanks to Ina Garten for this gorgeous and easy recipePumpkin banana mousse tart

For the crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 crackers)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 extra-large egg yolks
1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 ripe banana, finely mashed
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
For the decoration:
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Orange zest, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl and mix well. Pour into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press evenly into the sides and then the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.

For the filling, heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. You don’t want the eggs to scramble. Remove from the heat.

Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour it into the cooled tart shell. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.

For the decoration, whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Pipe or spoon the whipped cream decoratively on the tart and sprinkle, if desired, with orange zest. Serve chilled.

Maple mustard slow roasted pork

Here’s a recipe from BBC Good Food that you won’t forget in a hurry. This meat just falls off the bone, is so succulent and tasty. Served with a winter coleslaw, that’s all you need.

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Serves 6 with leftovers
Takes 8 hours minimum and must be started the night before for the marinading.

7oz sea salt
11 oz dark brown sugar, or light Muscovado sugar
4lb 8oz piece of pork shoulder
4 fl oz pure maple syrup
4 oz wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp English mustard powder, like Colmans

Mix the sea salt and 7 oz of the sugar in a large food bag, add the pork and coat it well. (If you don’t have a bag, rub over the pork in a dish and cover with plastic wrap) Leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.

The next day, remove the pork and wipe down the meat with kitchen towel.
Heat the oven to 275 F (140C/120C)
Mix the remaining sugar, the maple syrup, mustards and some ground pepper. Rub half the mixture over the pork and sit it on a rack in a roasting tin. Roast for 6 hours.

Spoon the remaining maple mixture over the pork and roast for 1 hour more.

Remove from the oven and rest the meat for 30 mins on a platter loosely covered with foil. To serve, tear the pork into big chunks and after skimming the surface for fat, spoon over any juices from the roasting tin.

Roasted carrots with cumin yoghurt

This is a gorgeous dish and the little “stubby” carrots roast so well with a really deep flavor. The cumin yoghurt lends a “Middle Eastern” quality and all in all, it’s a must.

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Serves 8

3 lbs Thumbelina or other small carrots, scrubbed and cut into 2″ pieces
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup plus tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro (coriander) leaves with tender stems, plus more for garnish
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Toss the carrots with the orange juice, thyme, bay leaves and 1/4 cup olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper.
Roast,tossing halfway through until golden brown and soft, 30 – 35 minutes; remove bay leaves

Meanwhile, toast the coriander seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, tossing, until fragrant, about 1 minute; transfer to a plate. Repeat with the cumin. Let cool and coarsely chop.

Puree the coriander seeds, cumin, yoghurt,lime juice, 1/4 cup cilantro and remaining 2 tbsp oil in a food processor until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Serve the carrots topped with the cumin yoghurt, cilantro and sesame seeds

Bubbling cheese, crab, spinach and artichoke dip

All my favorite things rolled into a hot, gooey dip, great for dunking bread, crackers or tortilla chips


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1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup baby spinach,packed
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
chili sauce to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano,freshly grated
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup good quality mature cheddar, freshly grated
1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup crabmeat, chopped
3 green onions, chopped

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the white wine and spinach and heat until the spinach wilts, about 1-2 minutes.
Process the spinach, cream cheese, sour cream, chili sauce, salt and pepper in a food processor until nice and mixed.
Mix everything, place the mixture into a baking dish bake in a preheated 350F oven until bubbling and golden brown on top, about 20-30 minutes.