Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup

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Serves four:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin powder
750 ml/3 cups water
1 cube vegetable stock
1 tsp curry powder
1 medium cauliflower, raw, broken into florets
400 g chickpeas, cooked or canned, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp cilantro, fresh

Gently sauté the onion in olive oil for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, turmeric and cumin powder and cook, stirring, for another minute or two.

Add the vegetable stock and curry powder and bring up to the boil. Add the cauliflower and chickpeas. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Transfer half the soup to a bowl and blend the rest until smooth. Return what has not been blended to the pan and add the cilantro. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the soup is piping hot. Season to taste.

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Lentil and Smoked Trout Salad

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An easy and lovely salad – very suitable for a summer evening.

Ingredients for two:

120 gr green or Le Puy lentils
1 shallot
100-120 gr smoked trout, cut into small pieces

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp strawberry vinegar
1 tsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the lentils with the chopped shallot according to package instructions – usually 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile mix the olive oil, vinegar and mustard in a salad bowl.

Drain the cooked lentils and allow to cool a little. Add them to the bowl and mix. Add the trout and mix again. Season to taste and chill for at least an hour.

The warm lentils and vinegar will ‘cook’ the trout so that it will turn pink.

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

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My recipe is a variation on chef Marcus Samuelsson’s pickled cucumbers. I have used his recipe as a basis and have added several ingredients (suggested here and there online).

Ingredients for one small garden cucumber:
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dry dill or 1 tbsp fresh dill
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp black peppercorns and Jamaican peppercorns

Slice the cucumber as thin as possible. Put the slices in a colander, toss them with the salt, and let stand for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, bay leaf, herbs and spices in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Rinse the salt off the cucumbers, and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Put the cucumbers in a clean jar and add the pickling solution; they should be completely covered by the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours before serving.

Mango and Citrus Fruit Salad

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Citrus sauce:
Juice of one grapefruit, orange and lemon (or lime)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
½ of a vanilla bean, split and scraped

2-3 mangoes

fresh mint for garnish

Put fruit juice, honey, cinnamon and vanilla in a bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

Peel and chop the fruit into bite size pieces. Pour over the citrus sauce and leave in the fridge at least for a couple of hours.

Serve with a sprig of mint for garnish.

Spicy Rice and Kidney Beans

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1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
120 g of basmati or jasmine rice
25 cl of vegetable stock
200 g canned diced tomatoes
200 g canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
fresh coriander, finely chopped

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil in a large pan or pot for 5 minutes or until soft. Add spices. Add rice and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.

Add stock and tomatoes. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender. Add red kidney beans and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Season to taste and serve and sprinkle with coriander.

Ginger-Glazed Halibut

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Ingredients for 400g of fish:
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
salt (optional if the soy sauce is already quite salty) and pepper

Mix the honey, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and garlic and add 1 tbsp of cilantro. Lay the fish in a dish and cover with the marinade. Season with salt and pepper. Turn over the fish after 20 minutes and leave aside for another 20 minutes.

Carefully lift up the fish and cook in a frying pan with a little olive oil until it is no longer translucent. Set aside the fish and keep warm. Warm up the pan again and pour the marinade into the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the marinade has reduced.

Pour over the fish, add the remaining cilantro and serve immediately.

Fruity Red Lentil Curry

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Serves two:

1 glass red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp curry powder or paste
5 dried apricots, cubed
1/2 cup of frozen spinach
1/2 glass of coconut milk
fresh coriander, chopped

Put together in a saucepan the lentils, onion, curry and apricots. Cover with two glasses of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and add the spinach and coconut milk. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with coriander.

Serve with Basmati rice or naan bread.

Thai-Style Dressings

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Dressing 1:
2 tbsp soy sauce
5cl fish sauce
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
10cl sweet chili sauce

Put all the ingredients together in a shaker or small airtight container. Shake well. Nice on fresh cucumber, steamed vegetable or grilled fish. Keeps for a week in the fridge.

Dressing 2:
2 tsp sugar
4 tbsp low-salt soy sauce
3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 spring onions, sliced
2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped
1 large handful fresh coriander, roughly sliced
1 large handful fresh basil, roughly sliced
1 large handful fresh mint, roughly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together. Pour over steamed aubergines.

Fish Stew with Couscous

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1 onion
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ras el hanout
2 small to medium courgettes, thinly sliced
15oz / 425g tin of chickpeas, drained
400g white fish
cilantro

Sauté the onion in olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the spices. Add the sliced courgettes and sauté until they begin to cook. Add the chickpeas and barely cover with water or vegetable broth.

Simmer until the courgettes are almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add the fish and season to taste. Simmer until the fish is just done. Add fresh cilantro and serve with fine or medium grain couscous.

Red Lentil Cream Soup

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Easy and lovely soup for cold evenings.

Serves four people

400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
150 g red lentils
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp curry powder
200 ml organic rice cream

Pour the tomatoes into a saucepan, add the lentils and onion. Add with water until the lentils are fully covered. Season with curry powder and salt.

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the organic rice cream and blend the soup using a hand blender until smooth. Warm up and serve immediately.

More lentil soups:
Carrot and Red Lentil Soup
Spicy Lentil & Tomato Soup
Curried Winter Squash Soup with Red Lentil and Coconut Milk