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Roasted Tomato Salad

1¼ hrs

serves 4-6

12 large tomatoes
12 large fresh basil leaves
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt, freshly milled black pepper
For the dressing:

Equal parts of:
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
To garnish:
12 large basil leaves
24 black olives (kalamata are best)

Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Skin the tomatoes by pouring boiling water over them and leaving for 1 minute, then drain and slip off the skins (you can also leave the skins on). Cut each tomato in half and put them in the oiled roasting pan (cut side up); season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the chopped garlic. Follow this with a few drops of olive oil on each and top each with a basil leaf, coating each leaf with oil.

Roast in the top half of the oven for 50 minutes or until edges are slightly blackened. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Transfer tomatoes to serving plates, place a basil leaf on top and two olives. Whisk the oil/vinegar mix and drizzle over the tomatoes. Serve with lots of crusty French bread to mop up the juices.

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Tomato, Basil and Olive Tart

1 hour

serves 4

450g./1lb. puff pastry
pesto sauce
8 tomatoes
10 chopped black olives
For the dressing:
1 tbsp. pesto sauce
6 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
For the salad:
2 rashers back bacon
yellow curly endive
or other mixed leaves

Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Roll the pastry to a thickness of 1/8 inch (3mm.) then prick it all over with a fork and rest it for about 20 minutes in the fridge.

Using a plate as a guide, cut a 6" (15cm.) disc of pastry using a sharp knife. Place the pastry on a baking tray and brush with as much pesto as you like. Slice the tomatoes /8 inch (3mm.) thick and lay on the pastry overlapping slices around the edge. Place a slice in the centre and top the whole with chopped olives. Season with salt and pepper. Place the tart in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Meanwhile make the dressing by mixing the pesto, olive oil and seasoning. Remove the rind from the bacon and cut in thin strips. Pan fry in a little oil until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. Mix all the salad leaves together. When the tart is cooked, remove from oven and place on a warm serving tray. Surround with some the pesto dressing and top with the bacon and a few salad leaves. Serve the rest of the salad leaves in a separate dish with remaining dressing.


Making Pesto Sauce

Blend together:
50g./2oz. fresh basil leaves,
75g./3oz. pine nuts,
3 cloves of garlic,
85-120ml./3-4fl.oz. olive oil
and freshly ground black pepper.
Put it in a glass jar and it will keep in the fridge indefinitely

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Hot and Sour Pickled Prawns

2 days +

serves 4

16 large Mediterranean prawns
½ medium yellow pepper, very thinly sliced
½ medium red pepper, very thinly sliced
50g./2oz. red onion, thinly sliced
½ lemon, thinly sliced
150ml./5 fl.oz. light olive oil
55ml./2 fl.oz. cider vinegar
juice of two limes
1 level tsp. mustard powder
1 dessertspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 dessertspoon Tabasco sauce
½ level tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
level tsp. white sugar
To garnish:
sprigs of coriander
½ lime, thinly sliced
1 litre/1½ pint non-metallic dish

Prepare the prawns by removing the shells and heads, but leave on the tails. Use a small sharp knife to slit along the back of each prawn and remove the black thread that sometimes runs from head to tail. Then place the prawns in the dish together with the sliced peppers, onion and lemon.

Now in a bowl, whisk the oil, mustard powder, vinegar, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce, adding salt, a little freshly ground black pepper and the sugar. Pour this mixture all over the prawns; cover and place it in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours, giving the contents a shake or stir from time to time.

Serve the prawns garnished with sprigs of coriander and slices of lime with plenty of the marinade poured over and lots of bread to mop up the juices.

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Prawn Jambalaya

30-40 min.

serves 6

50ml./2fl.oz. vegetable oil
100g./4oz. cabanos, sliced
(smoked Spanish sausage)
2 tsp. paprika
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 green peppers, seeded, chopped
4 sticks celery, sliced
2 red chillies, seeded, finely chopped

1 sprig thyme, chopped
450g./1lb. boneless, skinless chicken in 1 inch cubes
450g./1lb. raw prawns, headless, shelled
2 bay leaves, thinly sliced or crushed if dried
1 tsp. oregano, or ½ tsp. if dried
450g./1lb. long grain rice
1.2 litres/2 pints chicken stock
1 tsp. salt
3 spring onions, sliced
chilli powder to taste

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the cabanos. Add the paprika and stir around to colour the oil. Put in the garlic and sweat a little, then add the onions, green peppers, celery and red chillies. Cook over a medium heat till the moisture has been driven off and the vegetables are beginning to take on colour. Add the chicken, prawns, bay leaves, thyme and oregano and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.

[For extra flavour fry the prawn shells in 50ml./2oz. oil then pass the oil through a sieve into the dish just before adding the rice.]

Add the rice and stir round for 2 minutes, then pour on the chicken stock and add the salt. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 15 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Stir in the chopped spring onions and check the heat. If you like things hot add some chilli powder.

Serve with a green salad and plenty of cold white wine or cold bottles of beer.

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Blueberry Muffins

45 min.

makes 12

250g./9oz. plain flour
½ tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
75g./3oz. light muscavado sugar
2 eggs, beaten
75g./3oz. butter, melted
150ml./¼ pint milk
250g./9oz. fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 220C/400F/Gas 7. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or place 12 paper muffin cases in the holes. Mix flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl.

Beat together the eggs and sugar, then add the butter and milk; mix well. Quickly stir in the dry mixture; do not overmix.

Sprinkle the remaining flour over the blueberries to coat, then fold into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the cups and bake for 2-25 minutes or until the muffins are well risen and a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Serve warm

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Baked Bananas

45 min.

serves 4

brown sugar
orange and lemon juice
nutmeg (optional)
1 tbsp. honey
glass of rum (not for the cook)
Strips of lemon peel

Peel and split bananas and cut in half. Place in baking dish with butter, brown sugar, orange and lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon, one tablespoon honey and a glass of rum.

Place strips of lemon peel on top and bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes. Sauce should be thick and syrupy.

See BBQ'd Bananas below...

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BBQ'd Bananas

20-30 min.

serves 4

4 bananas
assorted additions: (liqueurs, nutella, chocolate, etc.)

from Åsa Öhlin

Place the unpeeled bananas in the BBQ. The ideal times is after the main meal has cooked and the coals are still hot. Leave for 20-30 minutes turning at least once. They will become quite black and probably split in one or more places, bubbling and oozing some juice. They are done when this happens.

Split the banana open with a sharp knife along its length on the inside of the curve and open up. You can eat plain or add whatever goodies your heart desires...

See Baked Bananas above...

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Chicken Stuffed with Spinach and Feta


serves 4

2 tsp. olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
100g./4oz. baby spinach, chopped
100g./4oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
4 X 100g./4oz. skinless chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 190C./375F./Gas 5. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the shallots and spinach for about 3-4 minutes or until softened. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the feta and oregano; season to taste. Make a horizontal incision into each breast and spoon in the stuffing . Place in an ovenproof dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Five minutes before the chicken is ready, pour off half the juices into a pan and heat until bubbling. Lower the heat and stir in the mustard and yoghurt. Slice each chicken breasts into 4-5 pieces. Arrange on serving plates, spoon over a little sauce and sprinkle with paprika. serve with the potatoes and sugar snap peas or broccoli.

2 tsp. wholegrain mustard
100g./4oz. low fat Greek yoghurt
paprika, for sprinkling
450g./1lb. boiled red-skinned potatoes, cut into chunks
steamed sugar snap peas or broccoli, to serve

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Gingered Pork w/ Orange and Egg Noodles

45 min.

serves 4

1 orange
4 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 onion, sliced into rings
450g./1lb. lean pork, cubed
5cm./2in. piece fresh root ginger, cut in thin strips

150g./5oz.. Chinese egg noodles
2 tsp. sesame seeds
2 tsp. sesame oil
225g./8oz. can bamboo shoots, drained
100g./4oz. mange-tout

Remove orange peel in wide strips using a potato peeler, then squeeze the juice. Pour 300ml./½ pint water into a pan, add the orange juice and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then add the onion and simmer until it is softened, about 5 minutes. Add pork, orange rind and ginger strips; simmer, covered for 30-35 minutes or until meat is tender. Cook the noodles in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, according to packet instructions. Meanwhile toast the sesame seeds in a small frypan until golden brown , set aside. Drain egg noodles, then return to pan and add sesame oil. Using a slotted spoon, remove the orange rind strips from pan and set aside. Add the bamboo shoots and mange-tout to pan and heat through. Serve on a bed of noodles, sprinkled with sesame seeds and garnished with the orange strips.

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10-15 min.

serves 4

2 loaves of clabatta bread
or 1 loaf sourdough bread
300g./12oz. mozzarella
cheese, chopped
6 large tomatoes, peeled
and chopped
olive oil to drizzle
12-24 black olives
1-2 cloves garlic,
2 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper

Peel tomatoes by pouring boiling water over them, letting sit for 1-2 minutes. Cut the bread into thick slices, place on a baking try and drizzle a little olive oil on each slice. Put them under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes, turn over and repeat with other side. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, spoon it over the toast, dividing evenly, drizzle over a little more olive oil and put back under grill until bubbling. Serve hot or cold

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Prawn Cocktail

30 min.

serves 6

900g./2lb. large prawns in their shells
1 crisp heart lettuce (e.g. cos)
1 x 30g./1oz. pack rocket leaves
1 ripe but firm avocado pear
1 whole lime, in 6 wedges
cayenne pepper
For the sauce:
1 quantity mayonnaise
1 dessertspoon Worcestershire sauce
a few drops Tabasco sauce
1 dessertspoon lime juice
2 tbsp. tomato ketchup
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Heat a large frypan and dry-fry the prawns for 4-5 minutes until the grey turns a vibrant pink; when cool reserve 6 in their shells for a garnish and shell the rest. Take a small sharp knife and remove the black thread along the back, if any. Place in a bowl, cover with cling-film and refrigerate until needed.

Combine sauce ingredients and season to taste. Refrigerate until needed. To serve, shred lettuce and rocket finely and divide between 6 long stemmed glasses. Peel and chop the avocado into small dice and scatter in each glass among the lettuce. Top with the prawns and sauce, sprinkling a dusting of cayenne on top and garnish with 1 section of lime and 1 unpeeled prawn per glass.

Serve with brown bread and butter

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