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Nuts

Romesco Sauce

This flavorsome Spanish sauce (or dip) is tremendously versatile. It’s wonderful served with boiled baby potatoes served warm or at room temp, that you dip into the sauce and eat. It’s great with grilled prawns or chicken too.
Whole 30 compliant, vegan, non dairy and grain free, it’s a winner. It also lasts for up to 1 week in the fridge and the whole thing is done in the food processor.

 

MAKES 3 CUPS

1 x 16oz jar of roasted bell peppers
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted lightly
1/3 cup tomato purée
4 heaped tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 tbsp Sherry vinegar
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pulse the first 8 ingredients in a food processor until very finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the oil; process until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD: Romesco can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

Absurdly addictive asparagus

This recipe is really special as it combines the most wonderful melange of flavors that complement asparagus so beautifully

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Serves 4

4 oz pancetta or prosciutto cut into 3/8 inch to 1/4 inch dice
1 tbsp butter, ghee or clarified
1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed and sliced into 2 inch pieces on the bias
1 1/4 cups leeks, thinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts or almonds
1-2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large non-stick pan, sauté the pancetta, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until crisp and lightly golden.
Add 1 tbsp of butter to pan. Add the asparagus pieces and leeks and sauté until the asparagus is tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the garlic, lemon and orange zest, toasted pine nuts and parsley and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and salt and serve immediately.

Bruce’s beautiful broccoli dish

You may not have known but I am married to not only a wonderful composer, but a wonderful cook. Because he’s such a brilliant orchestrator of his own music, that attention to detail works wonders with his food preparations too. He just knows how to combine flavors, textures, tweak, and make all his food look and taste stunning.
This recipe he makes up, so I have had to stand over him and catch the ingredients as he throws them into the bowl, then measure them and give them back to him to re-throw. It has taken several times to get it right and he continues to tweak the recipe but to me, there is no better dish using broccoli out there.

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Serves 2, but can easily be augmented

4 Cipollini onions
1 large head of broccoli
1/2 cup whole cashews or slivered blanched almonds
3 cloves garlic or granulated garlic to taste
Dried chili pepper flakes
1/3 cup smoked sun-dried tomatoes (the smoked ones are preferable if you can find them)
1/2 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper

First, fill a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. This is for the broccoli and onions.
Peel and quarter the onions. Chop the garlic if using real garlic. Cut the broccoli into florets and cut the stems into 1/4 inch slices.

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Lightly toast the nuts, then put these into a large bowl. Add the chopped garlic or 4 to 5 shakes of granulated garlic, 4 big pinches of salt and 2 good pinches of dried chili pepper.
Julienne the sun dried tomatoes and add them to the bowl.

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When the water is boiling, add the broccoli and onions and cook for 3 minutes only. (Please use a timer for this) Drain and add to the bowl with the nuts and sun dried tomatoes. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, toss together and season very well. It can take a good whack of salt but taste as you season to check.

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Bruce’s beautiful broccoli dish

Serves 2, but can easily be augmented

4 Cipollini onions
1 large head of broccoli
1/2 cup whole cashews or slivered blanched almonds
3 cloves garlic or granulated garlic to taste
Dried chili pepper flakes
1/3 cup smoked sun-dried tomatoes (the smoked ones are preferable if you can find them)
1/2 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper

First, fill a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. This is for the broccoli and onions.

Peel and quarter the onions. Chop the garlic if using real garlic. Cut the broccoli into florets and cut the stems into 1/4 inch slices.
Lightly toast the nuts, then put these into a large bowl. Add the chopped garlic or 4 to 5 shakes of granulated garlic, 4 big pinches of salt and 2 good pinches of dried chili pepper.
Julienne the sun dried tomatoes and add them to the bowl.

When the water is boiling, add the broccoli and onions and cook for 3 minutes only. (Please use a timer for this) Drain and add to the bowl with the nuts and sun dried tomatoes. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, toss together and season very well. It can take a good whack of salt but taste as you season to check.

Easy beet and goat cheese terrine with pistachios and basil

I saw this recipe by Amy Stafford on her blog, “A healthy life for me” and immediately loved the idea of it. We adore beets and goat cheese and it’s a fairly easy one to put together and impress your guests.

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Serves: 8

6 red beet
6 yellow beets
10 oz of goat cheese, room temperature
¼ cup of salted pistachios, shelled and finely crushed in food processor
Fresh basil leaves, cut into slivers (about 6 large leaves)
zest from ½ lemon
Pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup of olive oil + more for drizzling

In two separate pans boil water.
Add the yellow beets to one pan and the red to the other and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.
Take plastic wrap and line a loaf pan letting the plastic wrap overhang on both sides, enough so that you can grab wrap to lift out finished terrine.

In a bowl, add the goat cheese, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, pepper and pistachios and stir to blend.
When the beets have cooled, peel and slice thinly.
Line the pan with a layer of yellow beets, slightly overlapping.
Then add a ¼ cup of goat cheese mixture, spreading over the beets.
Add a sprinkle of basil slivers and a drizzle of olive oil.
Continue layering the yellow beets, goat cheese, basil and olive oil four times and then start with red, continuing the layering four times.

Make sure that you finish with a beet layer and drizzle of olive oil. (you will not reach the top of the pan.
Take the plastic wrap flaps and cover your last layer
Place heavy cans on top of the plastic to compress the terrine.
Place in the refrigerator for 2 or more hours.
When you remove, unwrap and use the plastic to lift the terrine out of the pan.
Slice and serve with a drizzle of olive oil

Orange-scented quinoa salad with pistachios and dates

Another beautiful healthy and tasty Summer salad. I can’t have enough of these and am always looking for more of these interesting recipes. We love eating them with a piece of marinated and barbequed fish or chicken.

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Serves 4

6 oz (175 g) quinoa or red quinoa, rinsed
1 oz (30g) shelled pistachios
5 tbsp 70ml) fresh orange juice, plus finely grated zest 1 orange
4 tbsp (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 scant tsp Dijon mustard
6 green onions, very finely sliced
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
3 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1 large bunch watercress, tough stalks removed
10 ready-to-eat dates, chopped
Optional- goat cheese or Greek feta cheese to toss through or sprinkle over it

Bring 3 cups (500 mls) water (or 1/2 water and 1/2 broth of your choice) to the boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook for 18-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork and spread over a large plate to cool.

Meanwhile, in a dry frying pan, toast the pistachios until fragrant and starting to brown. Cool, then coarsely chop.

To make the dressing, whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, mustard and vinegar and season well.

To assemble the salad, put the quinoa in a serving bowl and toss with half the dressing. Fork through the orange zest, green onions, herbs, watercress, dates, chopped pistachios and enough of the remaining dressing to coat. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or dressing if needed, then serve.

Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crispy Garbanzo Beans and Salted pistachios

I just love non-meat dishes these days especially with the temperature so warm. Although I’m not a vegetarian, I do fantasize about being one.
This is another beauty of a recipe and simple to make.

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Garbanzo beans
1 3/4 cups cooked Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Salad
1 lb carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Dressing
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp well-stirred tahini
2 tbsp water, plus more if needed
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Roast chickpeas: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the chickpeas with one tbsp olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated.
Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside until needed.

Make dressing: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning; don’t worry if it tastes a little sharp on the lemon, it will marry perfectly with the sweet grated carrots.

Assemble salad: Place the grated carrots in a large bowl and toss with the parsley. Mix in 2/3 of the dressing, adding more if desired. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a large handful of chickpeas (you’ll have extra and if you’re like us, won’t regret it) and the pistachios and dig in.

Do ahead: Salad keeps well in the fridge for two days, however, I’d add the chickpeas and pistachios right before serving, so they don’t get soft

Avocado toast with cilantro-lime-cashew cream

A wonderful light meal. Avocado on toast is one of my favorite things and this Cilantro-Lime-Cashew cream is perfect to drizzle over it.

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Serves 4

4 pieces of bread
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup Cilantro Lime Cashew Cream (see below for recipe)
freshly squeezed lime juice
sea salt & coarse ground pepper
crushed red pepper {optional}

Toast your bread.
Slice your avocado in half, lengthwise and remove the pit. Scoop out the avocado flesh and spread it or slice it onto the toast. Each piece of toast takes roughly 1/4 of the avocado. Squeeze some fresh lime juice on top of the avocado to prevent it from browning.
Drizzle the cilantro-lime-cashew cream generously over the avocado and top with a pinch of sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.

Cilantro Lime Cashew Cream

This creaminess literally takes 5 minutes to whiz up and you’re going to want to put it on everything. It makes about 1 cup, so make extra you’ll want it.

1 packed cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lime, all the juice + zest

Blend everything together on high until smooth. Store it in an air-tight container, refrigerated, for up to a week.

Chinese chicken salad

Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients in the dressing. It is well worth it and you will mostly have them in the pantry if you like Asian-style cooking. This is one of my favorite salads.

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Serves 6

For the Sesame-ginger dressing
3 tbsp Chinese mustard
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 medium piece of ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp hoisin sauce (available in most supermarkets)
1/2 tbsp sweet chilli paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the dressing;

Put the mustard in a blender and then add the sesame oil, olive oil, honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, hoisin sauce, sweet chilli sauce and salt and pepper (go lightly on the salt because of the soy sauce).
Give it a quick blend and check for seasoning.

For the chicken salad

1 medium Napa cabbage, washed and shredded
1 medium iceberg lettuce, washed and thinly sliced
1 medium romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 cup snow peas, sliced
4 green onions, chopped
3/4 to 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 cup carrots, peeled and shredded
1 cup bean sprouts
6 chicken breasts, (6 oz each) cooked and diced
Garnishes for the salad
crispy wontons (available in supermarkets)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted

To make the salad

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lettuces, peppers, snow peas, peanuts, green onions, carrots, beansprouts and diced chicken.
Toss together with the sesame-ginger dressing until well combined.
Divide the salad among 6 plates and garnish with the crispy wontons, cilantro and toasted sesame seeds.

Salad of fresh figs, candied walnuts and mountain Gorgonzola cheese

Such an exquisite combination. Mountain Gorgonzola is the perfect creaminess for a blue cheese for this dish, but don’t worry if you can’t find it. Plain Gorgonzola will be fine.

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Serves 6

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
6 cups mesclun greens, such as arugula, oak leaf, mache or radicchio
1/2 cup crumbled mountain Gorgonzola
12 fresh figs, halved
1/3 cup candied walnuts

Mix together the balsamic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
In a separate large bowl, combine the greens, Gorgonzola, figs and walnuts.
Toss well with the dressing and season with salt and pepper.

Serve

Roasted dates with pancetta, almonds and chile

A gorgeous recipe from chef, Michael Symon. Simple, but so addictive.
Sliced almonds and red pepper flakes are added to sauteing pancetta and then spooned over roasted dates. The intensity of the flavors from the sweetness of the dates through the saltiness of the pancetta, the nuttiness of the almonds and the spicy heat from the chile is such a great combination on the tongue.

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Serves 4 to 6

2 cups pitted dates
3 oz pancetta, finely diced (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

 Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Put the dates on a small rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven until heated through, about 5 minutes. Turn off the oven but leave the dates in there while you cook the pancetta.

In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, cook the pancetta until it is three-quarters crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the almonds and continue cooking until they brown, a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the red pepper flakes and stock and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter, stirring continuously until the butter is melted. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley.
Add the dates to the pan and swirl and toss them in the sauce. Divide the cooked dates among four to six plates and spoon the sauce over them.