• Rice and Orzo Pilaf with hot summer salad
    Salads,  Side dishes

    Hot summer salad – zucchini features in a side treat

    Zucchini (courgette) features in this delicious hot salad. Fresh garden vegetables combine for a wonderful side dish or feature salad. This dish grew out of my need to use up a lot of garden vegetables at once. I had a large garden and the zucchini and tomatoes would all come in at the same time and I struggled using them up. So I decided to combine them and created something that soon became a hit with the entire family. With all the fresh vegetables this is health plus – zucchini is healthier than you may think! I show it here along with Rice and Orzo pilaf and roasted chicken. Serves…

  • Rice and Orzo Pilaf with hot summer salad
    Side dishes

    Rice and Orzo Pilaf – Delicious side dish

    Rice and Orzo Pilaf. A delightful side dish for virtually any meal Orzo is not as common as other forms of pasta but it is very versatile and easy to work with. What I like doing with it is combining it with rice for a lovely pilaf. Another name you may see instead of Orzo is Rosmarino. If you can’t find either you can break up any thin spaghetti such as Vermicelli. Browning the orzo in butter results in a creamy texture and taste and adds a nice color. 1/2 cup long grain rice 1/2 cup orzo 1 Tbl butter 1 cup chicken stock 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black…

  • Risotto
    Recipes,  Side dishes

    Risotto – a delicious rice dish and perfect as a side or a main

    Risotto – delicious rice dish with abundant options for flavor and ad-ins I have heard some people intimidated  by the idea of making Risotto. It’s quite simple and a nice alternative to plain rice or other sides. You can flavor it in many ways. The most popular (and what I featured in this post) is mushroom. I served it with a grilled pork chop and grilled courgette (zucchini). Risotto isn’t a recipe as much as it is a method. Once you follow the method it all falls into place very easily. Most importantly, you must use Arborio rice. Nothing else will do – it’s the nature of the short grain/high starch…

  • Hummus
    Side dishes,  Tips

    Homemade Hummus – delightful & with countless options

    Making your own Hummus is quite easy and there are countless ways you can flavor it. All you need is some Tahini,  Chickpeas (which have many nutritional benefits), neutral flavor oil (such as canola), lemon juice and seasonings. A food processor will also be required. The trick to making good hummus is the order you add the ingredients. Drain a 425 g (15 oz) can of chickpeas and rinse well. Add 1/4 cup tahini and 1/4 cup lemon juice along with salt and pepper to taste into your food processor (I recommend 1/2 to 1 tsp of All Purpose Seasoning). Puree for a minute. Then add your main flavorings (see ideas…

  • Tahini cooking the Sesame Seeds
    Side dishes,  Tips

    Homemade Tahini – easy, healthy and practical

    You can buy Tahini but doing it yourself is quite simple and more cost effective. Tahini is a necessary part of Hummus but can also be used to mix into salad, drizzled over vegetables (I find a mixture of olive oil and tahini poured over cauliflower especially nice) so it has multiple uses. Make as much as you want but remember it’s only good for a week or so in the fridge. For Tahini all you need is raw sesame seeds and some mild flavor oil (such as canola oil).   Brown the sesame seeds lightly in a pan over medium heat. Stir frequently. When they just begin to smoke…

  • Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
    Side dishes

    Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes – mashed potatoes plus

    I’m sure once you try this roasted garlic mashed potato recipe you won’t be satisfied with plain mashed potatoes again. There’s no fixed recipe for mashed potatoes, it’s simply a method best described. My normal quantities for 2-4 people is as follows: 4-5 medium sized potatoes cut into quarters (or whatever is necessary to get approximately the same size pieces so they cook evenly) Cook the potatoes in salted water until quite tender (you can do this ahead of time if desired and leave the potatoes in the water removed from heat until you are ready to serve. Nobody likes cold mashed potatoes. Drain all the water from the pan and…

  • Side dishes

    Green Beans with Almonds – green beans with a flare

    Adding toasted almonds to green beans give them a special flare. The precooking of the beans also helps timing a meal by reducing one thing that needs to be done simultaneously. Cook green beans in boiling water until just tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Toast sliced almonds in a skillet over medium heat stirring frequently. Watch for them to slightly brown and you will become aware of the roasted scent. Be careful – they will go from nicely brown to burned in seconds once they reach the browned state. When the rest of the meal is ready add the drained beans to the…

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