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Curried Lentil Soup

1 hour

Serves 4

Ingredients — This is an easy soup that tastes great with a wide range of ingredients. Not much in the way of quantities are listed below - make up your own.

cooking oil (e.g. canola, olive oil)
onions, peeled and chopped fine
dried red or orange lentils
large can of crushed tomatoes
garlic, peeled and crushed
root ginger, (½ inch / 1 cm piece, peeled, cut in 4 pieces)
piece of cinnamon stick (or powder)
carrots, sliced and chopped as fine as you like
Tandoori powder or paste (to taste)
Asian/Indian curry powder / paste (mild/medium, to taste)

recipe from Karin Blixt with thanks

Fry in oil as much garlic and onion as you want together with the red lentils, and the carrots (chopped as fine as you like). Add the Tandoori powder or paste and stir in well. At this point you can also add any other Asian or Indian curry spices, as well as salt, pepper, chili powder, etc. to taste.

After about 5 minutes add the crushed tomatoes and some water. This is meant to be a thick soup so don't add too much water — you can always make a soup thinner but it's not so easy to thicken it up...

Peel the ginger, cut in 4 pieces and toss in. Add the piece of cinnamon stick or cinnamon powder. Keep an eye on the cinnamon stick and ginger and take it away when you think there is enough cinnamon and ginger flavour.

Let everything simmer together until the lentils are soft and the spice flavours are well mixed in.

You can also purée this soup if you like it smooth, but it is best as is...

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Lentil Soup with Cumin and Coconut Milk

1 hour

Serves 4-6

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1 can (28oz/796ml) tomatoes, including juice
2 large carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 can lentils, rinsed
1 tbsp freshly squeezed (or bottled) lemon juice
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 can (14oz/398ml) coconut milk
pinch red pepper flakes
thin slices lemon, optional
finely chopped or dried cilantro, optional

recipe with thanks from Robin Dempsey

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onions and cook, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, turmeric, cumin, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil, breaking up with the back of a spoon. Stir in carrots, lentils, lemon juice and stock. Cover and bring back to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils and carrots are tender.

Stir in coconut milk and red pepper flakes and simmer until heated through. When serving top with lemon slices and cilantro if using.

Serves 8 to 10 as a starter or 4 to 6 as a main course.

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Roast Leg of Lamb
on a bed of Potatoes and Wilted Greens

45 min. active
2¾ hr total

Serves 8

6-8 lb (2.75-3.6 kg) leg of lamb (gigot d'agneau),
    aitchbone removed by butcher and leg left untied
3 large garlic cloves, 2 thinly sliced and 1 minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
4 lb (1.8 kg) yellow-fleshed potatoes
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1.25 lb (560 g) mixed tender greens (16 cups) such as
    arugula, mizuna, kale, or dandelion, tough stems or ribs removed

Preheat oven to 350°F. Trim all fat and silver skin from lamb. Cut small slits all over lamb with a sharp knife and put a slice of garlic and a pinch of thyme and rosemary into each slit.

Peel potatoes and thinly slice about 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) thick with a mandoline or other manual slicer, then toss with 4 tablespoons oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Spread potatoes evenly in a 17 x 12 x 2 inch (43 cm x 30 cm x 5 cm) casserole or roasting pan. Put lamb on top of potatoes, then rub with honey and sprinkle with remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Roast lamb in middle of oven 1 hour, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb (do not touch bone) registers 135°F (100°C) for medium-rare, 30 to 45 minutes more. Let lamb stand, covered loosely with foil, 15 minutes.

While lamb stands, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 4- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté minced garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add a handful of greens and sauté, tossing with tongs, then add more greens as preceding ones wilt and sauté until all greens are wilted and tender, 5 to 6 minutes total. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer lamb to a cutting board and carve, then serve with potatoes and greens.

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Elizabeth’s Chicken Soup


Serves 6

4 chicken thighs (without skin)
several bay leaves
olive oil
branch of rosemary, fresh if possible
garlic, chopped (to taste)
thyme or Herbes de Provence
salt and pepper to taste
extra chicken stock or miso if needed
selection of these vegetables in chunks:
    peas, etc.

Simmer about 4 chicken thighs in a pot of water (about three or four inches above the thighs) with a couple of bay leaves, till very tender, approx. a couple of hours. Take out the thighs, take all the meat off the bones and store to add to the soup at last minute. Put the resulting pot of broth in the fridge overnight till fat congeals on top, then spoon fat off, rescuing only the broth.

In another pot—the final soup pot—sauté the branch of rosemary in olive oil, till it gets brownish and the "leaves" start to fall off the branch, as many as you want, and then toss the branch away. Add onions, chopped garlic and one or two parsnips cut up into smallish cubes. Also add any thyme or Herbes de Provence here. Let this slowly become caramelized a bit, for added flavour. Yum!

Now add the broth, along with chunks of potatoes, carrots, maybe bits of tomato for colour, and anything else you want or have around. Simmer till done.  If it is too thick, add more store-bought chicken broth (cheating!), or water, or maybe even a bit of miso at the very end, but don't thin it too much or the vegetables get lonely floating around in space.  We like it more on the stewy side.  Salt, pepper etc. to taste.

Then add the cut up chicken, however much you want, along with maybe some frozen peas for colour, or fresh chopped Italian parsley, AND whatever noodles you have already cooked in another pan of water, but not too many noodles as they can really thicken the soup and soak up the broth even if they are already cooked. 

Sometimes I add a squeeze of lime juice to perk up the flavour at the end. 

Serve with crusty garlic bread, a bowl of grated parmesan, and salad maybe… and wine.

From Elizabeth Garren

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Celeriac Soup with Saffron


Serves 4

1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
One large onion, diced ¼ inch (½ cm)
One large or two small celery root, peeled and cut into 2 inch (5 cm) cubes
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch (5 cm) cubes
4 to 5 cups chicken stock
½ tsp. saffron, ground w/ mortar & pestle and soaked in 1 tbsp. hot water
1 tbsp. orange zest
¼ cup fresh orange juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
CCrème fraîche or sour cream for garnish
Parsley pesto for garnish (recipe follows)/p>

Heat butter and olive oil in soup pot. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add celery root, potato, cover and cook for 8-10 min. Add remaining ingredients, simmer for 30 minutes, or until celery root and potato are soft. Puree with immersion blender till smooth and creamy.
Taste for salt and pepper

Parsley Pesto

1 cup parsley, stems removed, washed and dried
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¾ cups olive oil

Put parsley in food processor along with garlic, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Add ¼ cup olive oil and pulse a few times. With the motor running, slowly add the remaining olive oil to form a creamy sauce, scraping down the sides as necessary.

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Black Bean and Espresso Chilli


Serves 8

1/2 cup olive oil
5 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup instant espresso powder (or finely ground
1/4 cup chilli powder
1/4 cup ground cumin
1/4 cup dried oregano leaves
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/3 cup honey
6 large garlic cloves, minced
7 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
2 cups water (or chicken broth, or 1 cup beer,
   1 cup water)
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chilli powder (or adobe sauce - can use chilli powder if chipotle not available)
Large pinch of ground cinnamon

Assorted toppings:
    sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped green
    onions, shredded cheese, sliced jalapeños, etc.

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Mix in espresso powder, 1/4 cup chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook 1 minute. Mix in tomatoes, honey, and garlic. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.

Add beans, 2 cups water, salt, chipotle chili powder, and cinnamon. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until mixture thickens slightly, stirring often, about 30 minutes. Season with salt.

Place toppings in individual condiment bowls. Ladle chili into bowl and serve toppings alongside.

Serve this over the Baked White Polenta with Two Cheeses or Basmati rice, and season with any — or all — of the suggested toppings./p>

(Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Reheat well before serving.)

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Flank Steak, Marinated in Ginger

Time: 1hr 20

Serves 3-4

1.5 lb./700g. Flank steak

2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. minced ginger root
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup / 60 ml. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2+ cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tsp. brown sugar

In a large non-metallic bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Add steak, coating well with marinade. Cover (or put into tightly sealed zip-lock baggie) and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare BBQ (or grill/broiler) for relatively high heat. Grill the steak 4-10 minutes on each side (depending on heat of grill) or to taste. To serve, slice diagonally. (Good with BBQ’d vegetables (mushrooms, onions, peppers, potatoes, etc.)

…from Maria Caruso / Bill Durkee

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Flank Steak, Spice Rubbed

Time: 1hr 20

Serves 6

2 large garlic cloves, minced
1½ teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger, minced
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
1½ lb / 680g flank steak, trimmed
                                                      from "Blue Kitchen"

Mix all ingredients except for flank steak in a small bowl to form paste. Pat steak dry, then rub paste all over both sides and marinate steak, covered (or in zip-loc baggie) and chilled, at least 7 to 8 hours. I often marinate it for up to 2 days.

Prepare grill for cooking at medium heat.

Bring steak to room temperature  — do not leave out longer than ½ hour. When fire is hot, grill steak on lightly oiled grill rack 5 minutes on first side, then turn and grill for 3 minutes on second side for medium-rare.

Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. You can cover it with foil or not, but it needs this time for the juices to resettle back into the steak, making the meat nice and juicy.

Holding knife at a 45-degree angle, cut steak across the grain into thin slices. Serve.

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Timbale  (Egg Custard with Vegetables)


Serves 6

3 cups grated fresh corn (or other finely chopped vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower,
     onions, carrot)
6 large eggs
2/3 cup lightly pressed down crumbs from fresh crustless homemade type
     white bread
3 tbsp. grated onion
A kettle of boiling water
1/4 cup lightly pressed down, minced fresh parsley
2/3 cup lightly pressed down, grated Swiss and/or Cheddar and/or mozzarella
2/3 cup heavy cream or milk (I use demi-écrimé)
Seasoning: 1 tsp. salt, 8 grinds of fresh white peppercorns, 8 drops of hot
     pepper sauce

Special equipment suggested: 12 very well-buttered custard cups (ramekins) 2/3 to ¾ cup size; a roasting pan to hold the cups. (I’ve used all sorts of sizes, even one very large charlotte mould, but, of course, that takes longer to cook.)

The timbale mixture. Scrape, grate or finely chop the corn/vegetables into a big mixing bowl, then beat in the eggs and the rest of the ingredients listed. Taste for seasoning. Pour into the custard cups, filling them by no more than just over half (5/8). Arrange them in the roasting pan. (I usually fill the moulds almost full. When using other vegetables, they must be cut up very small and cooked and seasoned before adding to the custard mixture. I always add the vegetables last, making it easier to mix the other ingredients and not break up the vegetables.)

Baking: about 30 minutes at 350°F and 325°F. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set the pan in the middle level of the preheated oven, and pour enough boiling water around the cups to come halfway up their outsides. Bake 5 minutes at 350°F, lower the thermostat to 325°F, and bake 25 minutes more, regulating oven heat so the water in the pan barely bubbles, never actually boils.

When are they done? When a skewer plunged down through the centre comes out almost clean. Remove the pan from the oven and let the timbales settle for 10 minutes. (I keep testing by touching the centre of the custards to see if there is any liquid. They certainly don't want to be over cooked! I never leave them in the pan for 10 minutes, but I suppose you could. I take them out almost right away with a spatula or something like that, let them cool slightly, and then unmould them very rapidly.)

*Ahead-of-time note: You may leave them in the pan of water in the turned-off oven, its door ajar, for a good 30 minutes before serving.

(I usually serve them with the Lemon Butter Sauce (to the left). Of course, you can use other sauces—or none at all—but this is easy and good.)

Lemon-Butter Sauce       Serves 6

the grated zest of ½ lemon (or more)
the juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper
5 oz. unsalted butter, in 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) slices
Minced fresh green herbs such as parsley, dill, and/or chives
A kettle of boiling water

Bring the lemon zest, lemon juice, and the broth to the boil in a 6-cup saucepan with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Boil slowly for several minutes, until reduced to a syrup (you should have about 3 tablespoons). The sauce may be completed to this point in advance.

Shortly before serving, bring the flavour base to the boil over moderately high heat. While boiling slowly, start whisking in the butter piece by piece, adding a new piece as each previous one is almost absorbed. Remove from heat as soon as the last piece of butter is almost incorporated, and whisk in the herbs. Correct seasoning and serve at once, since the sauce risks thinning out when you attempt to reheat it.

GOOD LUCK! This is really very easy and always good. Just watch the custards to be sure they don't overcook, and don't try to get the sauce really hot. It will turn to a thin liquid if you do that. I keep the heat low and just barely melt the butter. You'll see when it's the right consistency.

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Bananas Au Jon

Time: 20 min

Serves 6

2 oranges
½ cup sugar
85 g / 3 oz. unsalted butter
5 tbsp. orange liqueur
5 tbsp. white rum, dark Jamaica rum, or bourbon
1 lemon
6 bananas

Grate the peel of one orange (I use both oranges). Squeeze juice from 1½ oranges (sometimes I use both). Squeeze juice from lemon. Combine orange juice, lemon juice, orange peel, and sugar (I usually put all this in a large glass). Heat butter in a large skillet, let it bubble up, then stir juices, peel, and sugar. Add orange liqueur. Bring all this to the boil.

Arrange the bananas in the pan. Baste them with the liquid almost continuously as it cooks and bubbles and gradually turns into a thick syrup. Be careful not to cook the bananas too much or they will be too limp to transfer to serving plates, BUT they must be cooked all the way through. (I keep testing with a fork, just to be sure that they not hard in the centre.) As soon as you decide the bananas are done remove to serving plate. Pour the rum or bourbon into the cooking sauce and continue cooking until it is as thick as you want it to be. Spoon the sauce around the bananas. They are very good served with fresh strawberries.

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Braised Lamb Shanks with Middle Eastern Spices

Time: 3 hrs.

Serves 6

1. Preheat oven to 300°F / 150°C. Combine cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne. Toss lamb shanks with 2 tsp. / 10 ml. spice mixture, reserve remainder.

2. Heat 2 tbps. / 25 ml. oil in skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Brown lamb shanks in batches on all sides, about 2 mins. Per side. Season with salt and pepper, reserve. Wipe out pan and add remaining oil.

3. Add onion, carrot and celery. Sauté until onion is browned slightly, about 5 minutes. Add reserved spice mixture and sauté for 30 seconds. Add beer, stock, thyme and bay leaf and bring to boil. Return meat to pan.

Lamb shanks are full of flavour and very tender when cooked slowly.

2 tsp. / 10 ml. ground cumin
2 tsp. / 10 ml. ground ginger
2 tsp. / 10 ml. ground coriander
2 tsp. / 10 ml. paprika
½ tsp. / 2 ml. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. / 2 ml. ground cayenne
6 lamb shanks
3 tbsp. / 45 ml. olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion, coarsely chopped
½ cup / 125 ml/ carrots, coarsely chopped
½ cup / 125 ml/ celery, coarsely chopped
1 bottle / 341 ml. beer, preferably ale
2 cups / 500 ml. beef stock
1 tsp. / 5 ml. thyme
1 bay leaf
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled

Vegetable garnish:
1 tbsp / 15 ml. olive oil
3 zucchini, cut in ¾ in. / 2 cm. dice
1 red pepper, cut in ¾ in. / 2 cm. dice
1 yellow pepper, cut in ¾ in. / 2 cm. dice



4. Bake for one hour, add garlic cloves and bake for one hour more or until meat is tender and nearly falling off the bone.

5. Remove meat, skim fat, remove vegetables with a slotted spoon. Discard bay leaf. Purée vegetables in a food processor, then stir back into sauce and reduce until stock lightly coats a spoon, about 10 minutes.

6. To make vegetable garnish, add oil into skillet on medium-high heat. Add vegetables and sauté until they are crisp-tender, about 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Stir vegetable garnish and lamb back into sauce. Simmer together for 15 minutes or until lamb and vegetables are reheated. Serve with wild rice, couscous or potatoes (Rosemary Roasted Potatoes).

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Stuffed Artichokes


Serves 4

4 garlic cloves
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup / 50 ml. olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
4 large artichokes
1 lemon, halved

1 cup / 250 ml. fresh breadcrumbs
1 large tomato, peeled seeded and diced
½ cup / 125 ml. chopped parsley
¼ cup / 60 ml. dried currants, or craisons (dried cranberries)
¼ cup / 60 ml. dry white wine
¼ cup / 60 ml. chopped niçoise olives
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C.

Peel and thinly slice three of the garlic cloves. Place the garlic and onion into a Dutch oven that will just holds the artichokes, add the oil, bay leaf and thyme (but not the artichokes). Bake for 30 minutes covered.

Meanwhile prepare the artichokes—wash well, remove stems at the base and peel. Cut off top half of artichoke and remove the choke (indicated by small purple leaves and hairy fibres). A melon baler or teaspoon is a good tool for this. Rub all cut surfaces with lemon. Squeeze lemon juice into water and drop in the artichokes.

To make stuffing, mince remaining garlic clove and mix with remaining ingredients. Drain artichokes and push open leaves. Divide the stuffing equally between the artichokes, placing it between the leaves and in the centre.

Place the artichokes and stems on top of onion-garlic mixture in Dutch oven. Drizzle with extra olive oil and ¼ cup / 125 ml. water.  Cover and bake 1 hour or until cooked. Cool and serve at room temperature.

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