Spike's & Jamie's Recipe Collection & a Whole Lot More!

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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How to use these pages:  Below is a list of the recipes on this page.  You can either scroll down the page and look at all of the recipes, or look at the titles.  When you find one that seems interesting, use your web browsers FIND function to take you directly to that recipe (on my IE browser it's Edit/Find (on this page)   or Ctrl - F on your keyboard).








































































7-ounce roll almond paste, chilled and grated

1 cup sugar

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

2 egg yolks

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder


Melted semisweet chocolate, optional Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.


In a bowl, place grated almond paste, sugar and butter. Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix well until incorporated. Mix on high until light and fluffy.


Add egg yolks one at a time, beating until mixture is light and sugar is dissolved. Reduce speed to low and add the flour and baking powder. Mix only until all the ingredients are incorporated.


Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Press down gently so batter is the same level throughout, probably about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick. Using the back of a knife, score very shallow lines into batter to mark the sizes and shapes you want for your shortbread pieces, to make cutting easier after baking.


Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until the shortbread is a light golden color. Cool pan on a wire rack. If desired, drizzle thin lines of melted chocolate across the shortbread. Cut along score lines. Store in airtight tins.


SERVES 4 by Linda McCartney

When asparagus is in season, make the most of it and try this unusual way of serving it, with garlic-flavoured oil, lemon juice and freshly grated Parmesan.


2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

4 tbsp 60 ml olive oil

2 lb 1kg asparagus

4-6 tbsp 60-90 ml finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 tsp 10 ml fresh lemon juice

1. Mix crushed garlic to taste with the oil and set aside.

2. Stand the asparagus spears upright in a tall pan of boiling water (the tips should not be submerged), cover and cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender.

Lift the asparagus carefully into a colander to drain.


3. Arrange the asparagus on warm plates and spoon the garlic oil over the tips.

4. Sprinkle with Parmesan and lemon juice, and serve immediately with warm crusty bread to mop up all the juices.



1 pound eggplant, peeled and quartered lengthwise

1 large Spanish onion, peeled & cut in 1/4" slices

1/2 pound zucchini, sliced in 1/4" rounds

1/2 pound yellow squash, sliced in 1/4" rounds

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese


5 large eggs

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 pint cream

3 tablespoons parmesan cheese -- grated

salt and pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

Preheat oven to 325. Oil a deep 2 quart (8 cup) baking dish. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in large saute pan and cook onion slices very slowly until tender, but not brown. Remove from pan. Add the other 1/4 cup olive oil to the pan and saute

eggplant, zucchini and squash until tender. Combine with the onion and season with salt, pepper and oregano.

In the food processor, combine all ingredients for the batter. Place in a large bowl and combine with the cooked vegetables.

Pour into the prepared pan and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and top with 2 tablespoons Parmesan and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until set.


Serves 4

1/2 pound fresh goat cheese (one 2- by 5-inch log)

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped

1 small sprig rosemary, chopped

1/2 sour baguette, preferably a day old

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, walnut oil, or a combination

1/2 pound garden lettuces, washed and dried


Carefully slice the goat cheese into 8 disks about 1/2-inch thick. Pour 1 cup olive oil over the disks and sprinkle with the chopped herbs. Cover and store in a cool place for several hours or up to a week.


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut the baguette in half lengthwise and dry out in the oven for 20 minutes or so, until dry and lightly colored. Grate into fine crumbs on a box grater or in a food processor. The crumbs can be made in advance and stored until needed.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. (A toaster oven works well.) Remove the cheese disks from the marinade and roll them in the bread crumbs, coating them thoroughly. Place the cheeses on a small baking sheet and bake for about 6 minutes, until the cheese is warm.


Measure the vinegars in a small bowl and add a big pinch of salt. Whisk in the oil and a little freshly ground pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Toss the lettuces lightly with the vinaigrette and arrange on salad plates. With a metal spatula, carefully place 2 disks of the baked cheese on each plate and serve.


Serves 6

2 pounds new white potatoes

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

2 tablespoons milk

Salt, freshly ground pepper

6 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked, crumbled

1/2 cup chopped chives


Cover potatoes with cold water and heat to boil. Cook, uncovered, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Drain, set aside to cool slightly.


Quarter potatoes while still warm. Place in medium serving bowl. Toss with vinegar; set aside.


Blend sour cream, yogurt, milk and salt and pepper to taste in small bowl. Add to potatoes, toss to coat. Mix in bacon and chives. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Bring to room temperature before serving.



Serves 6

The base can be frozen for up to 1 month.



1 packet 285 g 101/2 oz firm silken tofu, drained

2 bananas, roughly chopped

juice and rind of 1 lemon

1 tbsp tahini

11/2 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla essence (extract)

Lemon Frosting:

12 g 1/2 oz margarine or butter

1 1/2 tsp milk or cream

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp lemon zest

225 g 8 oz icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)

1-2 drops yellow food colouring


1 Put all the ingredients for the base into a food processor or liquidizer (blender) and process until smooth.

2 Pour the mixture into an 1 8cm 7" greased spring mould or flan tin lined with foil and bake at 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 for 45 minutes until just set.

3 Leave in the tin to cool before removing.

4 To make the frosting, mix the margarine, milk, lemon juice and zest together before gradually adding the icing sugar.

5 Colour carefully with a little food colouring.

6 Roll into balls about 1.2 cm 1/2" in diameter, arrange over the base and fork down to make a pattern.

7 Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.


by Linda McCartney

1 1/2 oz 40 g butter or soya margarine

2 tbsp 30 ml plain flour

1/2 pint /300 ml skimmed or soya milk, warmed

pinch of grated nutmeg

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Gradually stir in the flour.

Add the warm milk slowly, stirring all the time until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper and simmer over a very low heat for 5-6 minutes.


Serves 4

4 large cooking apples

4 large bananas


For the apple filling:

4oz / 100g mixed dried fruit

2oz / 50g chopped walnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp brandy

1 tbsp soft light brown sugar


For the banana topping:

11/2oz / 40g butter

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

4 dessertspoon rum

whipped cream to serve

1 Wash and core the apples. Score around the middle with a sharp knife to prevent bursting during cooking.


2 Mix together or blend in a food processor the dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon and brandy.


3 Stuff the mixture into the apples. Place the apples in an ovenproof dish, add 1/4in of water and bake at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for 40 minutes or until golden, soft and fluffy.


4 Slice the bananas in half lengthwise. Melt the butter in a skillet or frying pan over a gentle heat. Add the sugar and cinnamon, stir well and add the bananas.

Cook gently on either side for 3-5 minutes.


5 Add the rum to the pan, allow to heat up for a few minutes then flambe briefly by lighting the rum with a match. Serve immediately with the baked apples and whipped cream.




Offer pita bread alongside.

2 cups water

1 cup bulgur*

1 teaspoon salt

1 15 1/2-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed, drained

1 cup diced plum tomatoes

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/3 cup chopped fresh mint

1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel


Bring 2 cups water to boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat; add bulgur and salt and stir to blend. Cover and let stand until bulgur is just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well, pressing to extract excess water. Transfer bulgur to large bowl; cool. Mix in remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


*Also called cracked wheat; available at natural foods stores and supermarkets.

Makes 4 main-course servings.


Serves 4

1 frying chicken, about 3 pounds

2 heads garlic

1/2 bottle red wine

2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Cut chicken into serving pieces; peel 8 to 10 cloves of garlic and chop roughly. Marinate chicken in red wine with chopped garlic and thyme for 2 to 4 hours in refrigerator.


Spread remaining cloves of garlic, with skins on, in small baking dish in one layer and cover with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake in preheated 300 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours or until garlic is completely soft. Purée garlic through food mill when done. Discard skins and reserve purée.


About an hour before cooking chicken, remove it from refrigerator. Prepare a medium-low charcoal fire. When fire is ready, remove chicken from marinade. Pat pieces dry, and salt and pepper them. Cook chicken on grill slowly for about 35 minutes, turning frequently. Chicken should be nicely browned, but a bit rare and juicy.


Spread garlic purée over chicken and heat in a 375-degree oven for 5 minutes. Serve chicken on a platter with oven-roasted potatoes, garnished with watercress and lemon wedges.





What's for dinner tonight? There's a good chance it's chicken -- the No. 1 protein consumed by Americans. Judging by the thousands of calls that they receive each year, the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline reports that consumers have a great interest in safe handling and cooking of chicken.


The chicken is a descendant of the Southeast Asian red jungle fowl first domesticated in India around 2000 B.C. Most of the birds raised for meat in America today are from the Cornish (a British breed) and the White Rock (a breed developed in New England). Broiler-fryers, roasters, stewing-baking hens, capons, and Rock Cornish hens are all chickens.


All chickens found in retail stores are either inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or by state systems, which have standards equivalent to the federal government. Each chicken and its internal organs are inspected for signs of disease. The "Inspected for wholesomeness by the U.S. Department of Agriculture" seal insures the chicken is free from visible signs of disease.


Inspection is mandatory but grading is voluntary. Chickens are graded according to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service regulations and standards for meatiness, appearance, and freedom from defects. Grade A chickens have plump, meaty bodies and clean skin, free of bruises, broken bones, feathers, cuts and discoloration.


Some people worry about animal protein sources containing hormones or antibiotics. No hormones are used in the raising of chickens. Antibiotics may be given to prevent disease and increase feed efficiency. A "withdrawal" period is required from the time antibiotics are administered before the bird can be slaughtered. This ensures that no residues are present in the bird's system. The Food Safety Inspection Service randomly samples poultry at slaughter and tests for residues. Data from this monitoring program have shown a very low percentage of residue violations.


Additives are not allowed on fresh chicken. If chicken is processed, however, additives such as MSG, salt or sodium erythorbate may be added, and must be listed on the label.


How to handle chicken safely


Fresh Chicken: Chicken is kept cold during distribution to retail stores to prevent the growth of bacteria and to increase its shelf life. Chicken should feel cold to the touch when purchased. Select fresh chicken just before checking out at the register. Put packages of chicken in disposable plastic bags (if available) to contain any leakage which could cross-contaminate cooked foods or produce. Make the grocery store your last stop before going home.


At home, immediately place chicken in a refrigerator that maintains a temperature of 40 degrees, and use within one or two days, or freeze at 0 degrees. If kept frozen continuously, it will be safe indefinitely.


Chicken may be frozen in its original packaging or repackaged. If freezing longer than two months, overwrap the porous store plastic packages with airtight heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap or freezer paper, or place the package inside a freezer bag. Use these materials or airtight freezer containers to repackage family packs into smaller amounts or freeze the chicken from opened packages.


Proper wrapping prevents "freezer burn," which appears as grayish-brown leathery spots and is caused by air reaching the surface of food. Cut freezer-burned portions away either before or after cooking the chicken. Heavily freezer-burned products may have to be discarded because they might be too dry or tasteless.


Ready-prepared chicken: When purchasing fully cooked rotisserie or fast-food chicken, be sure it is hot at time of purchase. Use it within two hours or cut it into several pieces and refrigerate in shallow, covered containers. Eat within three to four days, either cold or reheated to 165 degrees (hot and steaming). It is safe to freeze ready-prepared chicken. For best quality, flavor and texture, use within four months.


Safe Defrosting


FSIS recommends three ways to defrost chicken: in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the microwave. Never defrost chicken on the counter or in other locations.


It's best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. Boneless chicken breasts will usually defrost overnight. Bone-in parts and whole chickens may take one to two days or longer. Once the raw chicken defrosts, it can be kept in the refrigerator an additional day or two before cooking. During this time, if chicken defrosted in the refrigerator is not used, it can safely be refrozen without cooking first.


Chicken may be defrosted in cold water in its airtight packaging or in a leakproof bag. Submerge the bird or cut-up parts in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes to be sure it stays cold. A whole (3- to 4-pound) broiler-fryer or package of parts should defrost in two to three hours. A 1-pound package of boneless breasts will defrost in an hour or less.


Chicken defrosted in the microwave should be cooked immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving. Holding partially cooked food is not recommended because any bacteria present wouldn't have been destroyed. Foods defrosted in the microwave or by the cold water method should be cooked before refreezing.


This delicious pizza has a generous amount of toppings and is almost a meal

in itself. It is best to eat this pizza with a fork.

4 cups cooked rice (short grain rice works best)

1/2 cup ground walnuts (optional)

1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese, divided

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

1 egg, beaten

2 T. olive oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves cut into bite size pieces

1 small onion sliced

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup sliced ripe olives

1 14 oz. jar pizza sauce

1 t. dried basil leaves, crushed

1 t. dried oregano leaves, crushed

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Combine rice, walnuts, 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese,

1/4 cup parmesan cheese and egg in large bowl.

Press cheese mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 in. up the side of a greased

14in. pizza pan. Bake 10 min. Let stand at room temp. until cool.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, onion, bell

peppers, mushrooms and olives. Cook and stir 7 min. or until chicken is no

longer pink in center; drain off excess liquid.

Spread pizza sauce over cooled rice crust. Spread remaining 1 cup Swiss

cheese over sauce. Spread chicken mixture over cheese. Sprinkle with


Top pizza with mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15 to 20 min. Remove from oven. Let stand at room temp. to cool slightly before serving.


1 medium Green Bell pepper, diced

1 medium Red Bell pepper, diced

1 medium Yellow Bell pepper, diced

4 stalks celery, diced

2 cucumbers, peeled and diced

28 oz. can plum tomatoes, chopped with liquid

6 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups cold water

1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon Pepper

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

Combine all ingredients; mix well. Adjust seasonings based upon your liking.

Serve chilled. Always good served with a small slice of French bread.


SERVES 8-10 by Linda McCartney

This sumptuous dessert of sherry-moistened sponge surrounding a rich chocolate mousse filling, all covered with whipped cream, is always a huge success. Everyone asks for the recipe, so here it is!


1/2 pint 300 ml milk

a dash of sherry

8 oz 250 g trifle sponges, split in half horizontally (or ladyfingers)

6 oz 175 g margarine

4 oz 125 g caster sugar (superfine granulated sugar)

pinch of salt

6 free-range eggs, separated

8 oz 250 g plain chocolate

1/2 pint 300 ml double cream, whipped (heavy whipping cream)

grated plain chocolate to decorate

1. Mix the milk with the sherry in a shallow dish. Dip the split trifle sponges in it briefly to moisten, then use to line a greased 8 inch (20cm) soufflé dish. Line the sides first and then cover the bottom.

2. Cream the margarine with the sugar and salt until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolks. Beat until the mixture is pale yellow.

3. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water, or in the microwave. Gradually beat the chocolate into the egg yolk mixture. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until very stiff and fold into the mixture.


4. Pour into the sponge-lined dish, cover and chill for at least 24 hours.


5. Turn out, cover with whipped cream and decorate with grated chocolate.


BY KRISTIN EDDY, Chicago Tribune

One of the great things about being an American is being able to reinvent yourself -- even if you're everyone's favorite picnic side dish, potato salad.


Not that we don't love the tried-and-true version, a giant scoop of mayonnaise-slathered potatoes, crunchy with bits of celery and frequently smoothed out with bits of hard-cooked eggs. Or that other classic, the German-style salad, glossy with oil and vinegar and flecked with never-enough bits of crisp bacon.


For chefs and home cooks alike, the potato salad you grew up with usually is what determines your preference.


``I totally grew up with the creamy thing,'' chef Susan Goss said of her salad days. ``No eggs, though. My mother was totally against eggs in potato salad, so that was a new thing when my friends pulled that on me.''


But everyone needs a makeover now and then. As a chef, Goss has turned to lighter approaches, dressing tubers with a citrus vinaigrette -- a blend of orange, lemon and lime juices -- seasoned with fresh mint, which she calls ``really light and refreshing, really summery.''


Experimenting is even more rewarding now that there are so many varieties of potato available.


There are purple potatoes, with a flavor that ranges from slightly sweet to nutty. And those short, knobby fingerlings. Or new potatoes, which are harvested before they reach maturity.


Whatever you use, choose potatoes with smooth, firm skin. Avoid potatoes with soft spots, greenish tints and punctured surfaces. Keep them in a cool, dark and dry storage area with good ventilation, not in the refrigerator. Potatoes stored below 40 degrees will begin converting starch to sugar, which makes them sweeter and causes them to darken when cooked. If yours develop sprouts or green patches, trim those off before cooking.


Potatoes are such versatile vegetables that there is no point in arguing over which dressing is best, whether to peel your potatoes when they're hot or cold or whether to use red skins or russets.


Just pick a salad and go. Stick with the old favorites if you like. But there are a few ways to play a new potato salad game.



lettuce, watercress, cucumber and orange segments.


4 frisse lettuce leaves

2.5cm / 1 inch piece of cucumber, sliced

4~5 orange segments


For the dressing:

mayonnaise (check it uses free range eggs or is egg free)

or a drizzle of sesame oil


1. Toss salad ingredients together and fill roll. Add dressing.



SERVES 4-6 by Linda McCartney

The joy of this pie is that you can make it across the seasons, choosing your favourite vegetables. Spring, Summer or Winter it makes a mouthwatering meal.


1 oz 250 g sweetcorn, fresh or canned

12 oz 350 g broccoli

12 oz 350 g courgettes

12 oz 350 g carrots

4 oz 125 g french beans

3 small leeks

1/2 pint 300 ml bechamel sauce

bunch of fresh summer herbs of your choice, e.g. tarragon, thyme, dill. chopped

8 oz 250 g frozen or homemade puff pastry

1. Steam all the vegetables separately until they are tender or slightly crisp.

2. Leave to cool, reserving cooking liquids, then chop if necessary into bite-size pieces.


3. Thin out the bechamel with about 1/4 pint 150 ml of the reserved liquids.


4. Stir in the vegetables and herbs and pour into a large ovenproof dish.


5. Roll out the pastry to a round or other shape that is 1 inch (2.5cm) larger than the diameter of the dish.

With the trimmings make a long thin strip of pastry. Moisten the rim of the dish and place this strip on it. Moisten the strip, then place the pastry lid on top and press down with a fork to seal the edge.


6. Bake at 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 for 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is risen and golden.




2 pounds medium-size raw shrimp in their shells

2 sliced gingerroot, smashed with the flat side of a cleaver

2 tablespoons rice wine (see cook's note)

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

8 cups peanut, safflower or corn oil

2 1/2 teaspoons salt (see cook's note)

3 tablespoons minced garlic


Cook's note: Rice wine is available in Asian markets and some supermarkets. Substitute roasted Szechwan pepper-salt, if desired, but use sparingly.


Cut away the legs and antennae of the shrimp, if remaining.


Rinse the shrimp thoroughly. Pat them dry and place them in a mixing bowl. Let the gingerroot steep in the rice wine for several minutes; add to the bowl, toss lightly and let the shrimp marinate for 20 minutes. Discard the gingerroot. Add the cornstarch to the shrimp and toss lightly.


Heat a wok, add the oil and heat the oil to 425 degrees. Add the shrimp and deep fry over high heat for about 21/2 minutes, turning constantly until golden brown and crisp. Remove with a strainer and drain. Remove the oil from the wok.


Reheat the wok until very hot. Add the fried shrimp and the salt and garlic. Toss lightly over high heat for about 20 seconds, until fragrant.


Transfer the mixture to a platter and serve immediately.


Serves 8

1 pound ground beef or ground sausage

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup chopped carrots

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes

1 15-ounce can red kidney beans with liquid

1 15-ounce can Great Northern beans with liquid

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1 12-ounce can V-8 juice

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

8 ounces small shaped pasta


Brown ground beef or sausage in large saucepan over medium heat. Drain off fat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté 10 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, place remaining ingredients, except for pasta, in crock pot. Add meat and vegetable mixture to crock pot. Simmer all day (if you're not using a crock pot, simmer 1 hour on stovetop.) Cook pasta according to directions, until it is al dente. Drain and add pasta to soup. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes and serve



Serves 6

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, diced

1/2 cup yogurt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger root, minced

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (see Note)

4 green onions, chopped

Salt, freshly ground pepper


Place potatoes in large pot and fill with cold water to cover. Heat to boil, then simmer potatoes until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain, set aside.


Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, curry powder, ginger root and brown sugar in medium bowl. Add potatoes, raisins, almonds, onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat.


Note: To toast almonds, place in small, dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 6 minutes.


Serves 4

5 oz / 150 g margarine

4 oz / 100 g malt

8 oz / 225 g oats

3 oz / 75 g dates, finely chopped

pinch of salt

1 Melt the margarine and malt in a saucepan.

Remove from the heat and add the oats dates and salt.


2 Grease a 7in square shallow tin, press the mixture evenly into it and bake for 20 minutes at 190°C/370°F/gas mark 5.


3 Cut into squares while still warm but leave until cool before removing from the tin.




By Pam Woolway, ucook.com contributor

The term "farming" connotes a palette of green and golden hues extending endlessly into a sea of blue sky. Unless, of course, what's being grown is a member of the fungus family.


Our footsteps echo in the empty chamber of the building that is a nursery to the 40,000 pounds of portobello mushrooms that are harvested weekly at the Arroyo Grande Mushroom Farm in Central California.


The rectangular barn stretches a city block in length. Its dimly lit corridor is wide enough to allow passage of a bulldozer. Sixteen growing rooms, eight on each side, line the stark hallway. Within each room are two columns of multilayered shelves. Millions of mushroom caps are nestled in the lengthy beds. Various sizes of beige spheres peek through the dark, rich moss.


There is not so much as a fly on a wall or a cow pie to be seen at this farm; the mushrooms grown here dine upon a sophisticated substitute for manure. The fungal entree served at the farm is a blend of straw and grape humus. Once the little aristocrats are well-fed, they are sweetly tucked into bed with a moist layer of peat moss.


There is a stillness. The kind of quiet that is reminiscent of an early spring morning after a rain. Two women are reaching into the long, fecund beds gently plucking the portobellos from the moss. They appear to be harvesting, but what they are really doing is thinning the crop.


The name, portabella is seen regularly in markets and books alike, but the true name is portobello. A portobello mushroom is actually a very large cremini, and a cremini is a brown version of the common white button mushroom. The portobello is more distinct in flavor than the cremini, simply because it is older and the flavor has been given time to develop.


The growing time of a portobello is approximately a week, from the time the spore-laden straw is lain in these long, shelved beds until the time they are harvested for shipping. In three days a portobello can go from the size of a grape to the size of a cantaloupe.


"You know the term, 'things are mushrooming'?" asks Art Lopez, operations manager of the farm. He is referring to the explosive growth of this innocuous-looking crop. "Things get very intense around here." he concludes, laughing.


Sixteen growing rooms, each one planted two days apart, keep employees working around the clock once harvest begins. From preparation of the compost to the placement of the crop into the growing room, a growing cycle averages 100 days.


The first stage in the three-month cycle begins with preparing the compost. The straw compost is cooked at 140°F, then pasteurized at 160°F. The straw becomes a moist, black mat that is blended with grape humus, and is eventually inoculated with the spawn (mushroom seeds the size of fairy dust). The spawn are mixed with rye berries, upon which they attach themselves. The mixture of straw and spawn-drenched grain are put to bed under a moss coverlet in the growing rooms to mature.


Tiny white pinheads peep through the moss, next to cream-colored crimini, next to portobello the size of an orange. Some of the incoming mushrooms have to be sacrificed for the good of the crop. Three thinnings are followed by three harvests throughout their stay in the growing room. And then the 100-day growing cycle begins again.


Some of the mystique surrounding the mushroom is the sheer lack of evidence that heralds its arrival; seemingly, they appear from nowhere. And this is why it is labor-intensive for the harvesters once the spawn are in the growing rooms. They must be constantly alert to new growth so there will be no over-crowding of the voluminous portobello.


The cultivation of mushrooms in captivity is a tricky business. However, shopping for and preparing the enigmatic mushroom is a simple pleasure.


Crimini are bought while the cap is still closed, while the portobello is reaching its prime when its gills are revealed. Once the gills flare open, the flavor becomes much more robust and earthy.


Generally, portobellos are found in the market with the cap open. In turn, they always have more flavor then their infantile brethren. Enjoy them in a rustic sauce, intense broth or as a toothsome meal. The versatility of the portobello is endless.



SERVES 4-5 by Linda McCartney

This healthy, crunchy salad of fennel, carrot, apple and radish is dressed in a lemony mayonnaise, which adds to its freshness.


12 radishes, trimmed

3 bulbs fennel, trimmed

2 medium carrots, peeled

1 green eating apple, cored

1 tbsp/15 ml fresh lemon juice

6 tbsp 90 ml mayonnaise


1. Make 4 vertical cuts, crossing in the centre, in each radish.

2. Soak in iced water for 2-3 hours or until the petals open. Drain.


3. Cut the fennel bulbs lengthwise in half and cut out the hard core.

Slice very finely.


4. Cut the carrots into matchsticks and dice the apple.


5. Mix the lemon juice into the vegetables, and then toss with the mayonnaise.

Pile into a salad bowl and garnish with the radishes.


Serves 6

2 pounds fingerling potatoes

3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar, divided use

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon each: salt, freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 minced shallot

1 minced clove garlic

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 tablespoon minced tarragon


Place potatoes in large pot and fill with cold water to cover. Heat to boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with thin end of knife, about 15 minutes. Drain; set aside to cool slightly. Slice.


Toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Whisk together remaining vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Add shallot and garlic; whisk to combine. Pour over potatoes and gently toss. Add parsley and tarragon. Toss. Serve at room temperature.


Serves 4

For goat cheese filling:

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels

2 fresh Anaheim chilies OR 1 poblano chili, seeded, chopped, OR 2 canned Anaheim green chilies, seeded, chopped

2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup crumbled mild goat cheese

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For enchiladas:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

8 corn tortillas

1 (20-ounce) can mild enchilada sauce (Rosarita brand preferred)

1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Sour cream

Chopped fresh cilantro


Saute onion in butter in a saucepan until translucent. Stir in corn, chilies, water and cumin. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove cover and simmer until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream, goat cheese and black pepper.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in skillet. Add tortillas, one at a time. Fry 10 seconds per side or just until limp. Blot excess oil off with paper towels.


Spread 1/3 cup enchilada sauce in bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup cheese filling and roll to enclose filling. Arrange seam side down in baking dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over top. Sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese. Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Top with sour cream and cilantro.


Serves 6

Marinated duck breast:

7 ounces skinless, boneless duck breast (one complete breast)

1/3 cup Grand Marnier

1 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

Pinch of salt

Roasted garlic:

One whole head garlic

Extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Duck pot stickers:

15 to 20 roasted garlic cloves

4 scallions, white and 2 inches of green part

1 stalk celery

1 medium-sized carrot, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup of cilantro

2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 2 pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese hot oil

5 tablespoons plum sauce

1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce, divided use


3 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided use

1/2 teaspoon Grand Marnier

Zest of one small orange

24 pot sticker wrappers

1/4 cup white vinegar


To marinate duck breast: Lightly score both sides of duck breast with a sharp knife. Place in a shallow dish or plastic bag. In a small bowl whisk together Grand Marnier, orange juice, cornstarch, garlic and salt. Pour over duck breast and marinate 1 hour.


To roast garlic: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice top off garlic head. Place in small baking dish or garlic roaster. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover tightly with foil and roast until garlic is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool and then squeeze the softened cloves into a small bowl and set aside.


To make pot stickers: In a food processor, place roasted garlic, scallions, celery, carrot, cilantro and ginger. Pulse until finely chopped. Place in medium-sized mixing bowl and add hot oil, plum sauce, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, a pinch of salt and sesame seeds. Set aside.


Coat the bottom of a medium-sized skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat until very hot. Remove duck breast from marinade. Add to skillet along with 1 to 2 tablespoons marinade. Lower heat to medium, cover and cook about 20 minutes, turning often, until cooked through and well glazed. Transfer to a cutting board. Allow to cool slightly. Mince cooked duck breast and return it to skillet, adding a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon Grand Marnier. Cook over high heat until browned. Remove from heat and add to reserved vegetable mixture. Add orange zest and stir until mixed well.


To fill pot stickers, place 1 heaping teaspoon filling on each wrapper. Avoid getting any filling on edges or wrapper will not seal properly. Wet edges with water, and fold wrapper to form a half-moon shape. Seal the top center of the wrapper by pressing between the fingers. Make two pleats, working toward bottom left corner. Repeat, working toward bottom right corner. Set aside.


Heat 1 cup of olive oil in deep frying pan. Add half the pot stickers to hot oil and cook until browned and crisp. Remove to a platter and keep hot until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining pot stickers.


Mix together 1/2 cup soy sauce and white vinegar to use as a dip for the warm pot stickers.


Serves 4

For the casserole:

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 carrot, scrubbed and chopped

1 medium parsnip, scrubbed and cubed

1 small swede (rutabaga), peeled and cubed

1 small turnip, peeled and cubed

4 oz / 100 g Jerusalem artichoke, well scrubbed and quartered (optional)

4 oz / 100 g chestnut mushrooms, halved

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 1/2 / 900 ml pints vegetable stock

1 tsp Marmite or other yeast extract

salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the dumplings:


4 oz / 175 g self-raising whole wheat flour

2 oz / 50 g vegetable suet

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried sage or 1 tsp fresh sage

1 tsp dried mustard

2 tbsp milk

1 Sauté over a medium heat the onion, garlic, carrots, parsnip, swede, turnip and artichoke (if using) with the herbs for 10 minutes, stirring at intervals to prevent the vegetables sticking.


2 Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.


3 Add the vegetable stock, Marmite and seasoning and simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.


4 Make the dumplings by mixing the flour, mustard powder, salt, herbs and vegetable suet in a bowl.

Add the milk and mix to make a soft dough.

Form into small dumplings and drop them into the casserole.


5 Simmer for another 15 minutes or until the dumplings are puffed up.



Serves 4

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves

2 teaspoons fresh lavender leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak


Start a charcoal or wood fire or heat a gas grill or broiler. Combine all ingredients except steak in a small food processor, and blend until minced or mince by hand. Do not puree. Rub all over the steak.


When the fire is hot, grill or broil meat about 4 minutes to a side, or until nicely browned, for medium rare, turning only once. Remove from fire and let rest about 5 minutes before slicing thin and serving, preferably over a bed of greens.



1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed

4 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

2 egg yolks

2 egg whites

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar, divided use

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar



2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Grease and lightly flour two 8-inch round cake pans. In a blender or food processor, puree chickpeas with lemon juice, oil and lemon zest. Add yolks and blend well. Turn mixture into a large bowl.


In a medium bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, baking powder and salt. Add to the pureed chickpea mixture. Mix well.


In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold the beaten egg whites into the chickpea puree.


Pour into prepared pans and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove cake from pans. Cool completely. Frost with lemon glaze.


For glaze: Mix all glaze ingredients in a medium bowl. Makes 11/2 cups.




1 1/2 pounds salmon fillet

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed olives, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon orange zest

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Lay the salmon, skin side down in a baking dish that has been sprayed

lightly with light olive oil, combine the tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes,

olives, orange juice and orange zest in a bowl, stir thoroughly and pour

over the salmon.

Roast the salmon for 10 minutes, or until cooked through to desired degree

of doneness. Cut into 4 pieces. Serves 4

Cook unpeeled, scrubbed new potatoes in lightly salted boiling water until

tender. Toss with salt.


8 servings

1 pound ground round

1 c. onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 pkg (8oz.) mushrooms, pre-sliced

6 T. tomato paste

1 t. sugar

1 t. dried thyme

1 t. dried oregano

1/4 t. pepper

1 can (28oz.) whole tomatoes un-drained & chopped (or crushed tomatoes)

1/3 c. all-purpose flour

2 1/2 c. milk

1 c. (4oz.) crumbled feta cheese

3/4 c. (3oz.) part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

4 c. penne (tubular-shaped pasta), uncooked

1 T. fresh parsley chopped (optional)

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet; cook over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain any grease. Add mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add tomato paste and next 5 ingredients (tomato paste through whole tomatoes); stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer,

uncovered, 20 minutes. Set aside. Place flour in a medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Place over medium heat; cook 10 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses; cook 3 minutes or until cheeses melt, stirring constantly. Reserve 1/2 cup cheese sauce. Pour

remaining cheese sauce, beef mixture, and pasta into a 13x9-inch baking dish, and stir gently. Drizzle reserved cheese sauce over pasta mixture. Cover and

refrigerate 24 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake at 350, covered, for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated and pasta is tender; sprinkle with

parsley, if desired.

Tips: The penne doesn't have to be cooked beforehand because it absorbs the liquid when refrigerated overnight. If you want to make it the same day, cook

the pasta before combining with all the ingredients. For convenience, use pre-crumbled feta and pre-shredded mozzarella


Serves 8-10

1 yellow onion, cut into halves, thinly sliced

3 Anaheim chilies, finely chopped OR 3 cans diced mild green chilies

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

10 flour tortillas

1 pound Brie cheese, rind removed, softened

2 ripe mangoes, chopped

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, melted

1 cup sour cream

Grated zest of 1 lime

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Sauté onion and chilies in 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium heat until onion is translucent. If using canned chilies, add to skillet after onion is translucent and cook 3 minutes longer. Remove mixture to a bowl.


Soften tortillas by placing them in a heated nonstick skillet for about 15 seconds per side. Spread half of each tortilla with a thin layer of Brie. Spread a thin layer of onion mixture over cheese and sprinkle lightly with mango. Fold other half of each tortilla over the top.


Combine melted butter and 1/4 cup oil in a bowl. Heat skillet over medium heat. Brush quesadillas with butter mixture and lightly brown on both sides. Place on a baking sheet in a warm oven while browning remaining quesadillas.


Mix sour cream, lime zest and juice in a bowl. Cut quesadillas into wedges and arrange on platter. Drizzle with sour cream mixture and sprinkle with cilantro.


Balsamic vinegar is an Italian vinegar that adds an exquisite flavor to this salad.


1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves


4 tomatoes

2 ripe avocados

1/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

1/3 cup diced prosciutto


1 To make the dressing, pour the balsamic vinegar into a bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Once the oil has been incorporated, mix in the finely chopped garlic and basil leaves and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

2 Using a sharp knife, remove the stem ends from the tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes into wedges and place in a large salad bowl. Dice the avocados into large cubes and add to the tomatoes. Add the mozzarella cheese slices and sprinkle with the diced prosciutto.

3 Add the dressing and gently mix together. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve at once with crusty bread. Serves 4


By WILLIAM RICE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Wednesday, August 1, 2001


Why do most of us shake salt and pepper over our food, frequently before we have tasted it?


Why do we bite into a chili pepper, knowing it will cause pain?


Why do we put heaping spoonfuls of sugar into iced tea, then add sour lemon juice?


Because eating merely for subsistence -- eating to live, if you will -- is not pleasing or even satisfying for very long.


Scientists recognize four taste sensations -- sweet, salty, bitter and sour -- and we crave them all in varying combinations and intensities.


Almost forever, cooks have factored flavor contrasts into their cooking. The most highly developed expression of this comes in Chinese cooking, with the philosophy of yin and yang. Great cooking, whatever the cook's nationality, begins with this search for complementary pairs. Or, as Barbara Tropp calls it in her landmark book, "The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking," "a purposeful pairing of opposites."


She cites, among other examples, sugar and vinegar (sweet and sour), soy sauce and rice wine, ginger and scallion ...


An easily prepared and timely experiment is to make Tropp's salt and Szechwan pepper mix and use it to season buttered steamed corn.


The contrasts include salt and sweet, salt and bitter. At the same meal, consider making crisp fried shrimp with garlic from Nina Simonds' "Classic Chinese Cuisine." Here you will contrast bitter and sweet, salt and sweet, crisp

and soft.


Serves 4

4 oz / 100 g plain whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground ginger

4 oz / 100 g medium oatmeal

4 tbsp Muscovado sugar

4 oz / 100 g black treacle

4 oz / 100 g clear honey or golden syrup

4 oz / 100 g butter or vegetarian margarine

6 fl oz / 175 ml milk

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line an 8in square cake tin with greased greaseproof paper.


2 Mix the flour, baking powder, ginger and oatmeal in a bowl.


3 Gently melt the sugar, treacle, honey or golden syrup and butter or margarine in a saucepan.

Leave it to cool down slightly then stir in the milk.


4 Add the mixture to the dry ingredients, mix thoroughly, then pour into the cake tin.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until it feels firm on top.


5 Remove from the tin and put on a wire tray to cool.

Remove the lining paper and store wrapped in foil until served.





Serves 6

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled fresh peaches (2 to 3 peaches)

1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided use

1 teaspoon lemon juice

4 to 5 cups milk

1/3 cup rum

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter, divided use

5 or 6 dry (day-old) croissants, cut crosswise into halves


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine peaches, 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl. Set aside. Pour milk into a mixing bowl, using 4 cups for soft croissants, more if they are very dry. Mix in 3/4 cup sugar, rum, vanilla, eggs and salt.


Coat a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Arrange 1/4 of croissants in bottom, tearing them as needed to fit. Layer with 1/3 of peach mixture. Pour 1/4 of milk mixture over top. Let stand briefly. Repeat process, pressing down between each layer. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar and dot with remaining butter. Bake 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.



3/4 pound lean ground beef

1 1/4 cup favorite picante sauce, divided

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, or 1 teaspoon chili powder

8 six-inch flour tortillas

Nonstick cooking spray

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain well and return the meat to the skillet. Stir in 3/4 cup of the picante sauce and the cumin or chili powder. Cook 1 to 2 minutes more.


Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 10 seconds or until they are soft.


Spoon the beef mixture near the edge of each tortilla and roll it up jelly-roll fashion. Place the rolls in a dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon the remaining 1/2 cup of picante sauce evenly over the tortillas and sprinkle with the cheese.


Cover the dish with foil. Place it in the oven and bake until the cheese melts, about 15 minutes. Serve with a salad.



Serves 6

2 pounds new red potatoes

4 ounces thin green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 can (6 ounces) albacore, drained

1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, diced

1 anchovy fillet, minced

1/2 cup pitted, sliced black Kalamata olives

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced parsley

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 shallot, minced

Salt, freshly ground pepper

2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced


Place potatoes and salt in large pot, fill with cold water to cover. Heat to boil, then simmer potatoes until tender, about 18 minutes. Add green beans, cook 2 minutes. Drain, set aside to cool slightly. Cut potatoes into quarters. Place potatoes, beans, tuna, tomato, anchovy and olives in large bowl; toss to combine. Set aside.


Whisk together vinegar, parsley and mustard in small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil. Add shallot, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over potato mixture and gently toss to coat. Garnish with eggs.



1/2 cup skinless red lentils, rinsed

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can French-style green beans, drained

1 (15-ounce) can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, diced

1 small green bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup onion, chopped

Cook lentils in water for 5 minutes. Drain. Mix sugar, vinegar, oil, salt and celery salt together. Add all ingredients to the vinegar-oil mixture. Refrigerate for 2 hours to blend flavors. This salad will keep for several weeks.


Serves 4


225 g 10 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen

1 packet firm silken tofu

1/2 tsp vanilla essence (extract)

2 tbsp honey

1 If using frozen raspberries, allow to thaw completely, retaining a few for garnishing.

2 Combine all the ingredients and press through a sieve to remove the raspberry seeds. (This is made easier if first processed in a liquidiser or food processor).

3 Divide the mixture between four dessert dishes and chill for up to 2 hours.

4 Garnish with reserved raspberries and serve.


3/4 lb. of asparagus

1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Toss and place in a shallow baking dish or pan. Roast at 450 degrees,

tossing occasionally, until tender (about 10-15 minutes).


makes 1/2 cup

1/2 cup coarse kosher salt

1/4 cup Szechwan brown peppercorns, available in Chinese markets and

gourmet food shops

1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, Tellicherry recommended, optional


Combine the salt and peppercorns in a dry, heavy skillet. Stir over moderate heat until the salt turns off-white and the peppercorns are fragrant, about 5 minutes. The peppercorns will smoke. Do not let them scorch.


Scrape the hot mixture into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, then process for 1 minute until fine.


Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the peppercorn husks, then store in an airtight bottle away from light, heat and moisture.


Use sparingly. A mere pinch or sprinkle is the right approach, as the mixture is very pungent. Sprinkle on foods just before serving them or pass a dip dish at the table. Use with deep-fried foods, vegetables, salads.


SERVES 2-5 by Linda McCartney

Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta carotene. Boil them in the same way as ordinary potatoes, as in this recipe. You can also bake them in their jackets (they don't take as long as ordinary potatoes), roast them, or make them into chips to serve with soured cream.


4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled

11/2 oz 40 g margarine

Grated rind and juice of 1 orange

4 oz 125 g brown sugar

2 tbsp 30 ml chopped fresh parsley or chives

1. Cook the sweet potatoes in boiling water for 10-15 minutes or until they are tender. Drain well. Slice them or cut into cubes.

2. Heat the margarine in a frying pan and add the sweet potatoes. Toss over a moderate heat until the potatoes are covered with margarine, then add the orange rind and juice, the sugar and herbs.


3. Heat, stirring and tossing, and serve immediately.




2 split chicken breasts without skin

Salt to taste

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup red currant jelly

1/2 cup sour cream


Sprinkle chicken with salt. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add chicken and

cook until golden brown. Reduce heat to low; add wine. Cover and cook 30



Remove chicken; add jelly to pan drippings, stirring until blended. Return

chicken to skillet, meaty side down; cover and cook 15 minutes or until

done, basting frequently. Remove chicken to serving platter. Stir sour cream

into sauce, and cook just until heated. Pour sauce over chicken. SERVES 4




1 cup quick cooking oatmeal

2 cups water

2 medium Granny Smith apples

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger nuts


Cook oatmeal in boiling water. When it is nearly cooked, stir in sugar and spices. Add chopped apple and cook for one minute until apples are hot.


Mixed herb salad with sprouted fenugreek and alfalfa seeds.


25 g / 1 oz mixed salad leaves

12.5 g / 1/2 oz sprouted beans (alfalfa seeds, fenugreek)

for the dressing a drizzle of chili oil

Place a selection of leaves on the roll, add the sprouted beans and then drizzle with chili oil. Serve.


Serves 4

4 large baking potatoes

1 onion, finely chopped

4 oz / 100 g sliced mushrooms

1 small tin sweet corn, drained

1 red pepper, finely diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 oz / 50 g butter or vegetarian margarine

4 oz / 100 g vegetarian cheese, grated

1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

1 Scrub and prick the potatoes then bake at 230°C/450°F/gas mark 8 for 1 to 11/2 hours or until soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little. Halve the potatoes, scoop out the insides and mash until soft and fluffy.


2 Saute the onion, mushrooms, sweet corn, red pepper and garlic in the butter for a few minutes.


3 Place the potato skins on a baking sheet. Mix together the mashed potato the vegetable mixture, half the cheese and all the chopped tarragon. Season to taste.


4 Pile the mixture back into the potato skins and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Return the potatoes to the oven, turned down to 190°C/ 375°F / gas mark 5 and cook for about 20 minutes until crisp and golden-brown.





Grilled steak is one of the original convenience foods, and in many ways it remains the champion. What else offers so much flavor and satisfaction with so little work? The best cuts of the best beef are so delicious that most attempts to improve them are pointless.


But not all steaks are in that class. And as great as a steak right off the grill can be, it is also somewhat predictable.


The easiest way to reckon with boredom -- or the quality of the steak -- is to use a spice rub. The possibilities include mild chili- or curry-based rubs and those using a little sugar, which helps the meat to brown. Even a rub of nothing more than good olive oil will do the trick.


But my favorite is a variation on a summertime herb mix I often use on lamb, a combination of what might be called Provencal seasonings, though in fact they are equally common throughout much of the Mediterranean, in California and, indeed, wherever there is decent weather and a good gardener.


The basic triumvirate is lavender, thyme and rosemary, and I augment that with fennel seeds, garlic and plenty of black pepper. The whole thing is held together with olive oil, and if you have a small food processor, it can be produced in little more than a minute.


The rub can be prepared while the grill is heating. Then spread it on the meat just before cooking. Extra marinating time does nothing for the flavor.


I like a relatively thin cut of meat, but one that can be sliced. Flank steak is ideal -- first because it is best to keep the cooking time fairly short so the spices don't burn. And second, because I like to serve a well-flavored sliced steak like this over a pile of mixed salad greens sprinkled with a little lemon juice.


Fresh lavender can be hard to find if you don't know a gardener, but more and more stores, even supermarkets, stock it at this time of year. If you cannot find it, use a little bit of dried lavender.


Butter bean pâté.


1/2 425 g / 15 oz can of butter beans, drained

1/2 lemon, grated rind and juice

1/2 clove garlic, crushed

15 ml / 1 tbsp fresh mint finely chopped

15 ml / 1 tbsp olive oil

15 ml / 1 tbsp water (approx)

salt and black pepper to taste

sprigs of mint to garnish

Place the butter beans and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until smooth.


Add the rest of the ingredients, adjusting the amount of water to give a smooth pâté. Season and spread onto your chosen bread. Add the mint to garnish. Also delicious with salad.


Halloumi cheese, mint and sun dried tomatoes.


1/4 250 g / 9 oz packet of halloumi, cut into 2 slices

12.5 g / 1/2 oz seasoned flour

2 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped

small handful fresh mint

Dip the halloumi in the seasoned flour. Fry on a high heat until golden brown.


Place 2 slices of halloumi in each roll, followed by 2 sun-dried tomatoes and a few springs of fresh mint. Serve.



Sandwich hummus with watercress

Serves four this one. Make lots and save in the fridge.


225 g / 8 oz chickpeas, cooked weight

90 ml / 3 fl oz chickpea stock, from cooking or water

30~60 ml / 2~4 tbsp light tahini

11/2 lemons, juice only

30 ml / 2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2.5 ml / 1/2 tsp salt freshly ground black pepper


handful watercress, chopped

Drain the chickpeas and rinse them thoroughly Grind them in a food processor - to give a smooth paste. Add stock, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and paprika.


Mix well, check seasoning and then spread on your favourite bread.


Add watercress as desired - great in half a ciabatta!


Makes 8 burgers

Once cooked, these tasty burgers freeze well.


1 block 285 g 101/2 oz firm tofu

50 g 2 oz bulgur or 100 g 4 oz cooked millet or rice

2 fl oz 50 ml hot water

1 small onion, very finely chopped

50 g 2 oz mushrooms, very finely chopped

50g 2oz carrot, grated

1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp dried mixed herbs or 2 tsp any fresh herb; coriander, dill etc.

2 tbsp whole wheat flour plus a little extra for coating.

1 Break up the tofu with your fingers into very small pieces.

2 Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and squeeze well to shape into burgers. (As the mixture is very sticky it will help if you dip your hands and utensils in cold water).

3 Refrigerate for an hour or two.

4 For a crisp coating, toss the burgers in a little whole wheat flour before frying.

5 Deep fry the burgers in oil, a few at a time.

6 Drain well and serve hot or cold.

Note: it is most important to fry the burgers in very hot oil to avoid disintegration.



Serves 2

A delightful intimate dinner for two.


1 block 285 g 10 1/2 oz firm tofu

little flour, for dusting

1 onion, very finely diced

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp Marigold bouillon powder (1 veggie bouillon cube), crumbled

1 fresh peach, skinned and halved or 2 tinned peach halves

1 tbsp brandy

5floz / 150ml single cream (half & half)


1 Wash the tofu in cold water and dry carefully.

2 Slice through horizontally and dust with a little flour.

3 Fry the tofu carefully in the oil until golden, turning once.

Remove from the pan and keep warm in the oven.

4 Add the peach halves to the pan and cook until just browned on the top. Remove and keep warm.

5 Add the onion and bouillon powder and fry until golden.

6 Return the tofu to the pan, pour over the brandy and flame.

7 Douse the flames with the cream, top with the peach halves and serve at once.


Tomatoes (about 2 per serving)

Fresh basil

Salt and pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make a bed of basil leaves in bottom of an ovenproof dish that will hold tomatoes snugly in one layer. Peel and core tomatoes and place them core side down on basil. Lightly salt and pepper. Pour in enough extra-virgin olive oil to come halfway up sides of tomatoes. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until tomatoes are soft and lightly caramelized and have infused the oil with their perfume. Season to taste and serve spooned over cooked and drained fresh noodles.





1/2 cup freeze dried peanuts

1/2 cup jerked/dried chicken

1/2 cup peas

1 1/2 cup cooked, dried basmati rice

1 tablespoon dried, chopped sweet onion

1 tablespoon dried, chopped red/yellow peppers

1 teaspoon curry power

3 3/4 cups water


Place onions, peas and peppers in a plastic bag and cover with cup of water. Set aside. Place rice, chicken and peanuts in 3 cups water, cover and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir in curry powder. Add vegetables/water to pot. Lower to minimal heat and cover, stirring occasionally. When water is almost gone, remove from heat and let sit until rice is moist.




3 cups finely shredded green cabbage

1/2 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts

3 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 chopped green chili (optional)

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped cilantro salt to taste


In a salad bowl lightly mix shredded cabbage, peanuts and chili. Pack it to go. When ready to serve, heat olive oil in small pan over medium heat. When hot, put in mustard seeds.


As they being to pop, put in cumin seeds. Let them crackle for 3 to 4 seconds. Turn heat off, and immediately add oil-seed seasoning to salad mix. Add salt and lime juice. Mix well, garnish with cilantro.


SERVES: 3 or 4


8 ounces spaghetti

1 1/2 pounds broccoli

1 pound frozen shrimp (freeze the night before)

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 to 1/2 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup cashews (unsalted)


Mix soy sauce, vinegar and garlic and store in container for trip. Freeze shrimp in plastic bag and store in insulated lunch bag; it should be thawed by evening.


Boil water. Add spaghetti and cook until almost done. Add shrimp to pasta and boiling water. Cook about ten minutes, add broccoli. Cook for about three minutes, then drain. Mix peanut butter and soy sauce mixture and then add to spaghetti. Stir and serve hot with cashews on the side.




2 cups rotini, uncooked

1 cup split peas, rinsed

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 to 3 dashes salt

7 ounces fresh turkey breast

1/4 cup bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup carrot, grated

2 tablespoons sliced black olives

2 tablespoons green onion, sliced

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup fresh parsley, snipped



8 ounces nonfat plain yogurt

1 tablespoon sour cream

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons tarragon white wine vinegar

3/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon crushed basil

1 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt


Cook rotini according to package directions. Drain and cool. Add split peas to 3 cups boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, cool and set aside.


Heat oil, brown garlic and add salt. Add turkey and brown quickly on all sides. Lower heat, cover and cook a few minutes or until all traces of pink are gone. Add drained split peas and mix well, coating with oil and pan juices. Remove from heat. Slice turkey. Combine turkey, peas, and rotini with remaining salad ingredients.


For dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients. Toss with salad. Chill several hours before serving.



-- aubergine, courgette and tomato


7 cm / 3inch piece of courgette, sliced

7 cm / 3 inch piece of aubergine, cubed

2 cherry tomatoes, halved

olive oil Place the vegetables in a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil.


Bake until tender, at 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.Once cooked, place a large spoonful in a toasted roll and serve.



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