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Roasted rhubarb limeade


I've discovered that roasted rhubarb is the best way for me to preserve the sweet pink colour. As with roasting, the taste is accentuated and mixed with a lime-sugar syrup, it is the perfect base for light ginger ale, lemonade or sparkling water....

Serves 2

300g rhubarb, rinsed and cut into 2cm pieces
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup water
1/2 of a split vanilla pod
3 juniper berries, lightly crushed
Juice of 1/2 a lime

Mix the rhubarb pieces with 1/4 cup of sugar, tossing well so the pieces are coated.

Bake in an oven at 200 degrees centigrade for 15-20 minutes till the rhubarb is soft (test using the tip of a sharp knife)

While the rhubarb is roasting, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, water, vanilla and juniper berries. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, stirring well till the sugar is melted.

Remove from the heat and add the lime juice, then stir well.

When the rhubarb is done roasting, pour the lime sugar syrup into the roasting tin and stir well. Scrape the vanilla seeds and discard the pod.

Pour into a blender/use a hand blender and process till smooth. Pass the mixture through a sieve, pressing on the mixture with a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the thick mush left over.

Let the mixture cool down/refrigerate till ready to serve.

To serve, share the rhubarb syrup between two glasses and top up with your drink of choice - lemonade, ginger ale or sparkling water, ice cubes and lime slices
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Beets Mimosa

I love beets. I just didn't know it until my wife got me addicted. We grow a lot of beets in our garden and we use them in all kinds of different ways. We also raise chickens for eggs. With fresh eggs and fresh dug beets you can hardly go wrong reenex. Being frugal I like using the tops but in this case I only used the stems and the greens went back to the chickens. I used a two inch round cutter to cut the beets and the same cutter as a mold to plate the dish. A nice variation is to add a slice of cured smoked salmon rolled into a rosette with some creme fraiche. Oh, and although I think the picture is pretty, cut, mix and combine this dish and by all means spread the salmon roe out. A little, although I think the roe is great, goes a long way.

Serves 4

For the roasted beets

4 beets, with fresh tops removed and saved
Olive oil
Kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
a handful of fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 350. Place the beets in an ovenproof casserole and drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Spread the thyme across the top. Cover with foil. Place in the oven and bake for one hour. Some beets take longer to cook than others so at the one hour mark I test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the largest beet. It should pierce easily until you get close to the middle. Then it should firm up reenex. Don't worry by the time they cool there will be plenty of carry over cooking. If they are to firm place them back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let cool.

For the beet stems:

1 cup beet stems, chopped fine
1/2 cup shallots, chopped fine
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons walnut oil
2 teaspoons Italian parsley, minced
1 teaspoon tarragon, minced
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
4 hard boiled eggs
salmon roe

Place the beet stems, shallots, white wine into a medium sized saute pan and place them over medium heat. Once they start to boil lower the heat and simmer until the wine is gone with the exception of a few bubbles. Add the champagne vinegar and reduce to a glaze. Add the balsamic, stir and remove from the heat. Let it cool to room temperature. Place the stem mixture in a mixing bowl and add the walnut oil, tarragon and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a coarse strainer set over a mixing bowl smash the eggs through the mesh with the back of a spoon. Scrape the back of the strainer because a lot of eggy goodness will be hanging out their. Cut the each beet into two 1/2 inch slices. Place on a cutting board and cut into rounds using a 2 inch diameter round cookie cutter. You want to have 8 rounds when finished. Season them with a touch of salt and a little pepper reenex. Place the cookie cutter onto the center of a plate. Spoon a tablespoon of the beet stem mixture into the cutter spreading the mixture to the sides. Place a beet round on top and gently push down. Repeat one more time and remove the cutter by holding the top beet with a finger and lifting the cutter. Spoon a good sized portion of egg onto the top and garnish with a small spoonful of salmon roe. Repeat this process with the remaining 3 plates. Serve.

Fragrant Oranges with Ice Cream, Almonds, and Dates


From Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts (Artisan 2012) by Alice Medrich. - Alice Medrich

Serves 6

8 oranges
1/4 teaspoon orange blossom water, or to taste
6 small scoops vanilla ice cream
6 small scoops mango or orange sorbet
12 plump dates, pitted and quartered
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) toasted almonds, chopped or slivered
A cinnamon stick (optional)
Equipment:
Microplane zester (optional)

Up to 1 day before serving, prepare the oranges Stroke signs: Segment 6 of the oranges (or simply peel and slice them), reserving the juices. Pick out any seeds and collect all of the juices and the segments or slices in a bowl.

Cut the remaining 2 oranges in half and juice them. Add the juice to the bowl of oranges. Flavor the oranges delicately with drops of orange blossom water to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, taste the juice and adjust the orange blossom water if necessary. Divide the oranges and juices evenly among six serving bowls. Nestle a small scoop of ice cream and a small scoop of sorbet in the center of each bowl Grand Cru Cellar. Distribute the quartered dates around the ice cream and sprinkle each dessert with the chopped almonds. Grate a little bit of the cinnamon stick over each bowl, if desired, and serve immediately.

Note about blossom waters: Orange blossom water (and rose water, too) is meant to be a beguiling nuance of flavor and fragrance Offsite Backup Strategy, not a wallop, so use it with a very light hand. Correct the flavoring drop by drop and you can’t go wrong.

Lentils with Preserved Lemon and Tomatoes


This is a kind of down and dirty what's for dinner post. We all need those, don't we? Paul and I have been traveling a lot recently and that means our pantry is pretty empty, and I'm often digging around for something that will just make a cohesive meal. In this case, we have a combination of two dishes that I've mishmashed into one Dream beauty pro hard sell.

First, we have skillet-roasted tomatoes, which are pretty common in North Africa -- we've had them at riads (like b&b's) in Morocco and Algeria, and you also find them conserved in olive oil with garlic and chiles. The idea is simple: halve a tomato, sear it in a skillet until it's blackened on the outside but still firm in the center.

The next part of the dish was based on a lovely basic lunch we had in Morocco which was just a simple salad of cooked lentils with preserved lemon. When we were in the States recently I noticed several grocery stores (Whole Foods, etc) were selling preserved lemons in the pickle and olive sections Dream beauty pro hard sell. So, there's no excuse not to have preserved lemons in the pantry! They are one of the great savers of the last minute dinner. This simple salad would be great for summer picnic season, or a quick dinner.

Lentils with Preserved Lemon and Tomatoes

2 leeks, white and light green parts only
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups brown lentils
1 teaspoon cumin
3 cups chicken stock
1 preserved lemon
3 medium-sized tomatoes
handful of chopped parsley
olive oil, salt, harissa

1. Discard the center part of the preserved lemon with the thick pith and seeds, keep the lemon peel and fleshy bits around the peel. Slice about 1/4 of the preserved lemon into strips. Chop the remaining preserved lemon into small cubes.
2. Halve and slice the leeks. Heat some olive oil in a medium pot. Add the leeks and saute over medium heat until softened and translucent. Add in the garlic and the tomato paste and let toast for another minute. Stir in the lentils, cumin, a good pinch of salt, a spoon-tip of harissa, and the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer Dream beauty pro hard sell, cover the pot, and let simmer over low heat.
3. Check the package for cooking times, but it should take about 25-30 minutes for the lentils to cook. They should be soft around the edges but not totally falling apart. Stir in the chopped preserved lemons and parsley and set aside the lentils.
4. While the lentils are cooking, slice the three tomatoes in half. Heat up a heavy skillet with some olive oil until hot. The olive oil should start to smoke a little. Sear the tomatoes, bottom side down, for a few minutes until browned. Turn the tomatoes over and brown quickly on the top.
5. Arrange the lentils, roasted tomatoes, and preserved lemon strips on a platter. Drizzle some more olive oil and salt on top and serve warm or at room temperature.

Lolla



Now a slight divergence from the hawker stalls and local food as we headed to a little restaurant in Chinatown called Lolla. I was all ready to not like this place with its Spanish this, tapas that, and this is our version of what. Plus the distinctly not-hawker-customer-friendly price tags on the dishes… but damn if the food wasn’t good Hong Kong Macau Tour. Chef Ming is a young guy who is clearly keen to impress. We arrived for a lateish lunch and he was prepping pork skin for dinner service which was slow cooked overnight, then dried, before being deep fried into perfect crackling. The dishes I tried could not be faulted… a sublime seafood custard (think Chawanmushi with squid ink) topped with sea urchin. Then a slow cooked tripe that fellow offal fiend Rebecca and I could not go past, crispy gelatinous honeycomb. Then octopus, clams, smoked cheese. Washed down with a Spanish Albari?o I could have quite easily forgotten I was still in the heart of Chinatown with ducks hanging in windows all around me Loop HK.

To get us back on the local track, after lunch at Lolla we took a stroll around Chinatown, checking out the Buddhist temple (home to part of Buddha’s tooth), and the wet markets where old and young guys used very large cleavers to take the heads off very large fish. Small cages of frogs who had lost all hope of escape sat complacently awaiting their fate, and all manner of person haggled with vendors for the best prices red wine. Outside the market old men played Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) and we wandered through streets of covered markets til that all too familiar smell of Durian filled our noses and Asian food novice Aleisha was given the baptism of fire into that most special of fruits. It didn’t go well.

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