Salmon and Kiwi Verrine

A fresh starter for summer meals

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Serves four:
4 smoked salmon slices
2-3 kiwi fruit
1-2 avocado

For the sauce:
4 tbsp creme fraiche
2 tbsp mayonaise
fresh or frozen dill
salt and pepper to taste

lime juice

Cut the salmon in small pieces. Dice the kiwi fruit.

Divide the kiwi fruit at the bottom of the verrines, add the salmon and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Mix the ingredients for the sauce and chill too.

Just before serving, dice the avocado, sprinkle with lime and place over the salmon.

Serve the sauce separately.

Lean Baked Falafels

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Serves 4 people:

For the falafels:
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small onion
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped, parsley can be used instead
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/4 cup plain flour
salt

For the dressing:
1/2 cup low-fat natural yoghurt
1 tbs tahini
2 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Place chickpeas, onion, garlic, salt and spices in a food processor and process until combined. Add bicarbonate of soda and flour and pulse again until combined. Shape mixture into 12 patties and let stand for 15 minutes.

Place the falafels on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake turning occasionally for 25 minutes or until golden.

Meanwhile whisk yoghurt, tahini and lemon in a small bowl.

Serve with cubed tomatoes and cucumber as well as pita bread.

This WW recipe eliminates deep-frying. Thus you end up with a healthier dish while retaining the lovely flavours of more traditional falafels.

Homemade Ice Cream

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I am reposting an old favourite of mine this week as I have had little time for new recipes recently. When I spotted cheap local strawberries the other day, this recipe came to mind and I made it for Shabbat. It is easy, quick and lovely and requires no ice cream maker. The amount of sugar can be cut down by a third.

1 can (12 fl oz. (354 ml)) of semi-skimmed evaporated/unsweetened condensed milk
250 g / 1 cup sugar
500 g / 1 pound fruit (one of the following: strawberries, peaches, blackcurrant, mango) washed, peeled if necessary and pureed

Put the can in the fridge one or two hours before you start the recipe.
Pour the milk in a glass bowl and whisk it until it is quite foamy. Fold in the sugar and the fruit. Mix carefully.
Pour into a mold and put in the freezer for at least four hours hours.

Making Paneer

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Having yet another long weekend (Whitsun Monday is a national holiday over here) is wonderful, except when it pours. The weather was so dismal yesterday that walking was out of the question – and believe me I have walked in the rain before.

One way for me to keep busy, when I am not reading, is cooking. So I made Paneer, for the first time.

To be honest, I had no intention of making Paneer when I set out to cook. During my holiday in Hong Kong I had eaten a lovely Paneer Curry based on an Indian recipe. Since I had been given a recipe that looked authentic as it came from an Indian family, I had been tempted to make it again at home. Except that it is impossible to find Paneer on this side of the English Channel so I had used tofu instead.

I can’t possibly be the only one who is not overtly fond of the bland and chewy stuff – if you like it and know how to hide both the taste and the texture, feel free to add suggestions and links in the comment section. Therefore I decided to try the curry again but without tofu. I searched the Internet for an acceptable substitute for paneer but to no avail. What I found though were numerous posts where different people mentioned how easy it is to make homemade Paneer.

Who doesn’t like a little challenge on a rainy Sunday? I then resolved to try, using the wikihow link. I just followed the various steps with only minor changes and it worked.

I used half a litre of semi-skimmed milk instead of the recommended one litre. I had just opened a bottle to top up a cup of tea and always find that small failure are less damaging for the ego than big ones! I then played it by ear, or rather by eye, to bring the milk to boiling point since I do not have a food thermometer and then added lemon juice.

Since I did not have cheesecloth and still have no idea where I can find it – here again suggestions are welcomed – I used two layers of gauze sponges to strain the mixture and was glad I only had half a litre of curdled milk to strain.

I then put it in the fridge for the night and since it had only yielded 100 g of Paneer (weight was something the website had not mentioned), I added it to egg curry and ate it with homemade Indian flatbread. In the end, it proved to be much better than tofu and yes, making Paneer is easy!

Yoghurt Scones

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Ingredients for 8 scones:

– 250 g plain flour (or 1/2 white, 1/2 whole meal)
– 1 tbsp butter, softened
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 pkt baking powder
– 125 g pot yogurt
– 1 pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add the other ingredients and mix them until the dough forms a ball. Handle the dough as lightly as you can. Avoid overmixing, or the scones won’t be as tender.

Pat the dough into a flattish round, about 3 cm (a little over an inch) in thickness, and cut into eight wedges with a knife or a pastry cutter.

Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet and glaze them with milk. Bake for 15 minutes, until the top of the scones is set and lightly golden.

Vegetable Cakes

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Being away from home is a good opportunity to eat new dishes. Here is a lovely and healthy recipe for vegetable cakes we ate last night.

500g courgettes
2 red peppers
4 tomatoes
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 eggs
100g grated cheese
4 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chives
salt and pepper

Dice the courgettes and the peppers. Peel, seed and dice the tomatoes.

Sauté all the vegetables in a frying pan in the olive oil for 20 minutes. Season to taste. Drain if necessary.

Beat the eggs, add the milk and grated cheese. Season too. Add the vegetable mixture.

Pour into a muffin tray and bake at 200C for 20 minutes.

NY Style Italian Cheesecake

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I had planned to write about bullying, tax fraud and Margaret Thatcher but in the end all I have managed to do was to take a photo of a cheesecake and post a recipe. At least it ought to be more digestible than the posts that are still in limbo form in my mind!

Marc Grossman is an American expat from Manhattan; his recipe for Italian Cheesecake can be found Un goûter à New-York – a book filled with lovely recipes for cheesecake, carrot cake, pancakes… Here is a slightly adapted recipe of the Italian Cheesecake featured in the book.

Ingredients for the crust:
125gr plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
50gr ricotta
50gr butter, softened
10gr icing sugar

For the filling:
450gr ricotta
100gr caster sugar
25gr plain flour
2 eggs
1 pinch of salt
6cl lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 pkt vanilla sugar

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Put all the ingredients for the crust in a mixing bowl and knead into a ball with your hands, place back in the bowl and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Then press the dough into a greased baking dish.

Whisk together the ingredients for the filling. Pour ricotta filling into the prepared dish.

Place cheesecake on a lower middle rack of your pre-heated oven and bake for 23 minutes. Leave to cool for at least one hour.

Serve with cherry sauce.

Leek Oatmeal Loaf

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Simple and quick veggie loaf for a lazy evening meal accompanied by a salad. Leftovers can be taken to work and eaten cold the next day.

3-4 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
100gr rolled oats
1 glass milk or oat milk
3 beaten eggs
50-100gr grated cheese, depending on taste – Cheddar or Gruyère are fine
nutmeg (optional)
salt and pepper

Sauté the leeks in olive oil. Cover the pan and cook for about 20 minutes. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile put the rolled oats in a bowl and cover with the milk. When the oats have absorbed the milk, add the beaten eggs and grated cheese. Add the leeks and nutmeg and season to taste.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C or 380°F for 30-35 minutes. Loosen sides and invert onto a plate to serve.

Serve on its own or with tomato sauce.

Pesach Post 6 – Last Minute Inspiration: Baked Apples

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Ingredients per person:
1 apple
1 tbsp light brown sugar cane
1 tbsp ground almonds (coarse is best)
1 tbsp sugarfree almond butter

lemon
(salted) butter

Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Wash and core apples. Peeling is optional.

Place apples in well-greased baking dish. Sprinkle with lemon.

Mix the sugar, ground almonds and almond butter. Push the almond mixture into each apple, using up all the mixture between them. Add a few tbsp water in the dish to make some sauce.

Put the dish in the oven for 20 mins or until the apples are cooked through.

Chag Sameach!

Pesach Post 4 – Recipe and Links

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Being the lucky owner of Jerusalem, chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook, I thought I’d try out some of the recipes from this lovely book with Pesach in mind. Here is a slightly adapted version of ‘Za’atar-Spiced Beet Dip with Goat Cheese:

6 medium beetroots (1 1/2 pounds), trimmed
1/2 small garlic clove, very thinly minced (the original recipe calls for more but I tend to be very careful with raw garlic)
1 small red chile, seeded and minced
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon za’atar
Salt
1/4 cup walnuts (next time I’ll try cashew nuts)
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled

Steam the beetroots for 30 minutes in the pressure cooker.

Peel the beetroots, cut into wedges and transfer to a glass bowl. Add the garlic, chile and yogurt and puree with a hand blender. Add the olive oil, honey and za’atar and puree again. Season with salt. Scrape into a shallow serving bowl. Scatter the nuts, goat cheese and on top and serve with matzah bread and sticks of raw vegetables (carrot, celery…)

Pesach links:
Pesach Is Coming – I’m So Happy!

Rabbi Leff’s Passover Guide – I like the passage about the Seder

25 Vegetarian Passover Recipes