Red Capsicum Dip

4 red capsicums
400g tin chickpeas, drained
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp water
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ground paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup of fresh basil, finely chopped
fresh basil flower to garnish
serve with crackers, carrot and cucumber sticks and radishes.
Cut the capsicums into quarters. Remove the seeds and membranes. Place skin side up on a greased oven tray.
Cook under a hot grill for 15 minutes until the skin blisters and blackens. Place in a large zip-lock bag. Seal and leave to cool.
Peel away the skin and discard. Place the flesh in a food processor with the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, oil, water, garlic, paprika and cumin. Season with the pepper to taste. Process until smooth. Stir in the chopped basil.
Pour into a serving bowl. Garnish with the basil flower.
Place the bowl on a large serving plate and surround with the crackers, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks and radishes.

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Cold Tomato and Basil Soup

This recipe came from our friend Peat in Spain. He had successfully served it to guests. Our weather is warming up 31C today so we may be enjoying cold meals soon.
8 ripe tomatoes, quartered
small bunch of basil, freshly picked
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 Tbs brown sugar
3 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp sea salt, to taste
1 tsp paprika
4 ice cubes
Crispy Pitta Bread
2 pitta breads
2 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, halved
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
pinch of salt
Start the day before!
Mix all the ingredients well, apart from the ice. Place in a container and put in the fridge overnight or for at least 6 hours.
Next day add the ice cubes and mix in a blender until smooth. Add salt to taste.
Crispy Pitta Bread
Heat the oven to 170C.
Halve the pittas. Brush them with olive oil and then rub them all over with the garlic halves.
Use a serrated knife to cut the pitta bread into long strips.
Place on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with the remaining ingredients and return to the oven for 5 minutes, until golden and crisp.
Allow to cool.
Serves 4 people.
Serve the cold tomato soup with the crispy pitta on the side.


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Sesame Crumbed Tofu

Tofu is a healthy food high in protein and containing iron, magnesium and calcium but low in calories and no cholesterol.
300g firm tofu, patted dry with kitchen paper
420g pkt vegan noodles
75 gm plain flour
35 gm sesame seeds
vegetable oil to shallow fry
1 red capsicum, deseeded and finely chopped
1 Tbs grated ginger
1 bunch choy sum, or other Asian greens, chopped, retain stems seperately
200 gm bean sprouts
1 Tbs sesame oil
60 ml soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the noodles and stand for 30 seconds. Drain, then refresh under cold water and drain again.
Combine the flour and sesame seeds and add salt and pepper. Spread half the mixture on a plate. Cut the tofu into 16 squares. Place the tofu in the mixture and sprinkle the remaining mixture over the top. Press the mixture gently into the tofu to coat.
Heat 2cm depth of vegetable oil in a frying pan or wok. Shallow fry the tofu in batches for 2 minutes each side until golden all over. Drain on kitchen paper.
Heat a further Tablespoon of oil in the frying pan or wok. Add the capsicum, ginger and choy sum stems and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the choy sum leaves and stir-fry for a further minute. Add the bean sprouts, noodles, sesame oil and soy sauce. Stir-fry for a further two minutes.
Serve the sesame crumbed tofu on a bed of noodles.
Serves 4 people.

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Heaven on a Stick

We have just had a children’s party but these fruit kebabs can be adapted for adults. They are health and can be served at any time.
1 dozen mini kebab skewers
1 pear, cubed
1 banana, thick sliced
6 strawberries, halved
2 oranges
1 small tin coconut cream or small container of soy yoghurt
Peel one of the oranges and cut into chunks removing any pips and segment membrane.
Thread chunks of pear, banana, strawberry and orange onto the kebab sticks.
Grater 1 tsp orange zest and squeeze 1 Tbsp orange juice. Stir them into the coconut cream or the yoghurt. Pour into a small serving bowl.
Serves 4 people.
For adults substitute the orange juice for a fruit liqueur such as Cointreau.

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Lovely to drink in the early evening as the sun goes down on a hot day.
1 bottle dry white wine, chilled
400 ml apple juice, chilled
400 ml peach juice, chilled
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 orange, thinly sliced
1/2 lime, thinly sliced
10 leaves of mint, lightly crushed
Place all the ingredients in a 2 Lt jug.
Add ice and stir to combine.
Serve in cold glasses.

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Chickpea Soup

Thank you Mavis for this quick, easy and filling soup. Nice and warming on these cold winter nights.
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
250 ml vegetable stock
410g can of tomatoes, chopped with their juice
2 400g cans chickpeas, drained
5 sprigs of rosemary, 10 cm long, washed
In a large pan heat the olive oil and fry the onions for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 4 sprigs of rosemary. Simmer for 1 minute.
Add the stock, tomatoes and chickpeas and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the sprigs of rosemary.
Serve hot. Garnish with the leaves from the 5th sprig of rosemary, a drizzle of olive oil and a grinding of black pepper.
Serves 4 people.
Serve with hot bread rolls.

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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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