Herb Risotto with Red Pepper Puree

This recipe is very colourful.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
400 ml 3/4 pt vegetable stock, heated
3 Tbsp watercress, Chopped
6 Tbsp basil or coriander, or both according to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp vegan margarine
1 yellow pepper, chopped
100 mg 6 oz Arborio rice
250 ml 1/2 pt white wine
2 red peppers, whole
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 180 C.
Bake the red peppers on a baking tray in the oven turning occasionally until the skin blackens. Allow to cool. Remove the skin and the core with the seeds. Puree with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Keep warm in the oven.
In a frying pan melt the margarine and olive oil. Cook the onion for 5 minutes until soft. Add the yellow pepper and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
Stir in the rice and allow to fry until opaque.
Ladle in the hot stock and allow to cook until creamy, about 15 minutes. Add the wine and sprinkle in the herbs and bring back to the boil.
This will serve 2 people. Place the risotto in the centre of the table and put the red pepper puree around the edge.

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Summer Fruit and Lavender Brulee

It is summer where my sister-in-law lives and she has given me this recipe, thanks Marina.
Mixed summer fruit ie. strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or your choice of fruit
1 tsp lavender
1 Tbsp demerara sugar
1 carton of soy yoghurt
Clean all the fruit.
Fill a shallow heatproof dish with the mixture of summer fruit.
Scatter over the top a good sprinkling of lavender.
Cover with a thick layer of soy yoghurt.
Sprinkle over the demerara sugar.
Put under a grill or use a blowtorch to melt the topping of sugar until it is a hard caramel crust.
Serve immediately. Serves 4 people.

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Banana Soup

Since breaking my shoulder I have found it difficult and dangerous to work in the kitchen. My husband has been a wonder and cooked up delicious meals. This was his offering last night as we had too many ripe bananas. I didn’t think I would like it but there was none left. 
3 ripe bananas
200 ml coconut cream
1 vegetable cube dissolved in 750 ml
5 tsp soy sauce
2 fresh chillies or 1 tsp chilli powder
3 Tbsp oil
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
6 – 12 spring onions depending on size
salt and pepper to taste
bread rolls
Chop the onions, garlic, spring onions and chillies.
Fry the onions for 2 minutes until soft. Add the remaining chopped vegetables and cook for further 2 minutes.
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into a pan and simmer gently until the soup thickens.
Serve immediately with warm bread rolls.
Serves 3 people.

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Lavender, Apple and Celeriac Soup

Another lavender recipe from my sister-in-law, Marina. Thank you.
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
25 g vegan margarine
1 celeriac, peeled and cubed
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 Tbsp dried lavender
500 ml vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
150 ml soy yoghurt
Melt the margarine in a large frying pan. Fry the onion and celeriac until lightly brown.
Add the apple and lavender and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the stock and cover the pan. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Liquidise or pass through a sieve.
Reheat. Serves 4 people.
Serve hot with a swirl of yoghurt in each bowl.

Celeriac is excellent served roasted, boiled or mashed. It can be sliced and fried into chips.
Serve with a main meal or a salad.
It has a very aromatic flavour.

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Tomato, Mushroom and Olives Tart

A healthy and filling meal.
1 sheet of shortcrust pastry
1 Kg red onions, thinly sliced
1 punnet button mushrooms, sliced
4 large tomatoes, sliced
100g pitted black olives, halved
150 ml olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
baby spinach or rocket to serve
Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onions for 30 minutes. Drain.
Grease a large pan with a removable base.
Roll out the pastry to fit the pan coming up the sides. Line the pan with the pastry and trim off any excess. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F or Gas Mark 6.
Fry the mushrooms in the remaining fat for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Spread the onions over the base of the pastry. Add the mushrooms on top. Overlap the tomatoes on the top and sprinkle over salt and pepper to taste. Decorate with the olives.
Drizzle over the remaining olive oil.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until golden.
Serves 8 people.
Serve with a spinach or rocket salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

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Making Ginger Beer

A refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day served cool with ice and a sprig of mint.
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp dried yeast
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup caster sugar
1.25 L boiling water
sprigs of mint and ice cubes to serve
Combine the boiling water with the sugar, lemon juice, ginger and yeast in a large bowl.
Leave overnight at room temperature.
Pour into clean bottles. Leave the sediment at the bottom of the bowl. Leave an inch gap between the fluid and the bottle lid.
Seal and chill in the fridge.
Serve in individual glasses with a sprig of mint and ice or in a large jug with the mint and ice cubes floating on the top.
Makes 2 litres of ginger beer.

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Avocado and Tomato Salsa

Salsa can be used in a number of ways, served on Melba toast as an hors-d’oeuvre, served on a variety of special breads as a starter or served as an accompaniment to a meal. This recipe is colourful and can be made before hand and kept in the fridge. 
1 avocado, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 red onion, diced
1/2 Lebanese cucumber, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped mint
Combine all the ingredients together in a serving bowl.
Serves 4 people.
Variations, coriander can be used instead of mint, or pitted Kalamata olives cut into quarters instead of avocado.

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