Displaying items by tag: grains and legumes

Serve this rustic dish of tender lamb shanks and lentils with hunks of crusty baguette to mop up the flavourful juices. Use the beautiful slate-green, tiny du Puy lentils from France if you can find them.


6 lamb shanks

1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2¼ cups beef stock

2 cups red wine

¼ cup tomato paste

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

1½ cups du Puy or regular green lentils, rinsed and drained

Rosemary sprigs for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Pat lamb shanks dry with paper towels, then sprinkle both sides with half of the salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook lamb shanks in batches for 3 to 5 minutes, turning often, until browned on all sides. Remove shanks to a roasting pan and arranging in a single layer.

Reduce heat to medium and add onion to oil remaining in skillet. Cook, stirring often, for 4 to 6 minutes, until onion is golden brown. Stir in 2 cups stock, the wine, tomato paste, garlic, rosemary, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to scrape any brown bits from bottom of skillet.

Pour contents of skillet over lamb shanks. Cover roasting pan tightly with foil. Transfer roasting pan to oven and cook for 30 minutes.

Turn lamb shanks over. Stir lentils into cooking juices in roasting pan.

Cover roasting pan with foil, and return to oven for 1 hour, until lamb shanks and lentils are very tender. (Recipe can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours and reheated, covered, in a 350 F. oven for 45 to 55 minutes, stirring occasionally.) If the lentil mixture seems too thick, add a little of the remaining beef stock, heating it before adding to roasting pan. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Spoon lamb shanks, lentils and cooking juices into a shallow serving dish, garnish with fresh rosemary and serve. Serves 6.

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This casserole makes a palate-pleasing and filling main course.


3 cups water

1 cup pearl barley, rinsed

6 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded and chopped

5 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup black olives, pitted and chopped

2 yellow zucchini, coarsely chopped

2 green zucchini, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, or 2 teaspoons dried

1 dried red chili, chopped

1/2 cup sour cream

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Herb Garnish:

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped coriander


Bring the water to a boil in a heavy pot. Sprinkle in barley, cover and turn heat to low. Cook for 35 to 45 minutes, or until barley is tender. Drain off any excess water.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Combine half of tomatoes with green onions, olives, zucchini, dill, chili and sour cream. Stir into the barley and season well with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into a greased 6-cup ovenproof casserole. Spread remaining tomatoes on top of casserole and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until casserole is bubbling and cheese is browned. Sprinkle with herbs before serving. Serves 4

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Chipotle peppers have a smoky taste making them perfect to served with corn.  The contrast of the hot smokiness with the smoother taste of the barley makes a great combination.  Chipotles are available canned in tomato sauce.


4 ears corn

½ cup soft butter

1 teaspoon chopped chipotle pepper

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons grated lemon rind


Preheat barbecue to high. Remove husk and silk from corn. Combine softened butter, chipotle, salt and grated lemon rind in a small bowl. Spread seasoned butter on corn and wrap each ear individually in foil.

Place on grill and close lid. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or until corn is tender. Carefully remove foil and serve. Serves 4

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Lentils de Puy have the best texture, but other green lentils work too. Pre-cooked duck confit is available at quality butchers and some supermarkets. All you have to do is put it in the oven to crisp. Serve with a small frisée salad on the side.


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped celery

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1½ cups green lentils

1 bay leaf

4 thyme sprigs

4 cups chicken stock or water

4 pieces duck confit legs

6 cups baby spinach

3 tablespoons orange juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Place oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and garlic and sauté until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add lentils and sauté for 1 minute. Add bay leaf, thyme and stock and bring to boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are cooked, about 35 to 40 minutes. Uncover pot for last 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain off any excess liquid. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf and reserve lentils.

Heat a large non-stick, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat while lentils are cooking. Add duck legs, skin-side down, and cook for 2 minutes or until brown and starting to crisp. Turn legs over, place skillet in oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until duck is hot and skin is crisp.

Remove duck from pan. Cover skillet handle with an oven glove while finishing lentils so as not to burn yourself on the hot handle. Add spinach into any duck fat in pan and toss for 1 minute or until wilted. Add reserved lentils and orange juice and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until hot. Season well with salt and pepper.

Place lentils on a plate and top with duck confit. Sprinkle with parsley. Serves 4.

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Barack Obama has said chili is his favourite meal to cook at home. Instead of using beef in this unusual version, we opted for venison (or veal if you cannot get venison) for a healthier, more interesting chili for Obama. You can use ground meat if preferred.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 pounds venison stewing meat diced in small pieces

2 cups chopped onions

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups beef or chicken stock

1 cup puréed tomatoes

2 tablespoons grated orange rind

2 cups black beans, cooked or canned and drained

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Sour cream, grated orange rind, chopped fresh coriander


Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add venison and brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Lower heat to medium-low, add onions and cook for 10 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer.

Return meat to pot and stir together with onions. Stir in chili, cumin, coriander, oregano and cayenne and cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes or until you can smell the spices. Add beef stock, tomatoes and orange rind and bring to boil, stirring occasionally.

Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add beans and simmer 20 minutes longer or until meat is tender. Season well with salt and pepper.

Serve each portion garnished with sour cream, a sprinkle of orange rind and coriander. Serves 6 to 8.

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This is a great one dish dinner perfect for families and entertaining.


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 chorizo sausage either mild or hot, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)

2 pounds (1 kilogram) chicken thighs on the bone, skin on

½ teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika

Salt and pepper

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup chopped fennel

1 tablespoon chopped garlic       

½ cup white wine

1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped

1 19 oz (540 mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Heat olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add sausage and fry for 3 minutes or until browned and slightly crisp. Remove sausage and reserve.

Season chicken with paprika and salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan and fry for 3 minutes a side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken. Drain all but 2 tbsp of fat from pan. Add onions, fennel and garlic to pan and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened.

Add wine, bring to a boil, add tomatoes and chicken. Cover pan, turn heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add chickpeas and stir to combine. Raise heat so that mixture simmers gently and cook for 10-15 minutes longer, uncovered, or until chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley.  Serves 4

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A big hit with my tasters, this recipe features succulent black cod on top of a chick pea and spinach curry. Use a mild or medium curry paste. Serve with rice.



4 6 oz black cod fillets

1 tablespoon Indian curry paste

1 tsp grated ginger

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Salt to taste

Chickpea Curry:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons grated ginger root

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon Indian curry paste or 2 teaspoons curry powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin powder

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon turmeric

½ cup coconut milk

1 19 oz (540 mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

4 cups baby spinach


Preheat oven to 450 F.

Combine curry paste, ginger and oil. Brush over cod, season with salt.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add ginger root, garlic, and curry paste and sauté for 1 minute or until softened. Add cumin, coriander and turmeric and sauté for 30 seconds. Add coconut milk and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add chickpeas and spinach and cook together for 5 minutes or until spinach is wilted and chickpeas are heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place chickpea mixture in oven proof baking dish and nestle cod on top. Bake for 12 minutes or until fish has white juices and is just cooked through. Serves 4

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Combining a healthy mixture and deep frying it does make it seem more acceptable. Make ahead and reheat in 350 F oven for 5 minutes. These can be served as a side dish or with a salsa or dip for a nibble.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 ¾ cup water

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup chickpea flour

Vegetable oil for frying


Oil an 8 x 8-inch baking pan and reserve.

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add water and salt and whisk in chickpea flour. Cook, whisking until mixture has begun to bubble gently. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes longer or until mixture is thick. Scrape into prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth top. Chill for 2 hours in fridge or until cold and very firm.

Run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen chickpea mixture then turn out onto a cutting board. Cut into batons about ½ inch thick, ½ inch wide, and 3 inches long.

Heat about ½" of vegetable oil in a wok or other deep pot over medium heat.  Add "fries" in batches being careful not to crowd pan and fry for 3 minutes, turning occasionally, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season with salt to taste. Makes about 16 sticks.

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The chickpeas are not spicy but you can spice them up with more chilli if you prefer.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 cups canned crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Pinch chilli flakes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup whole parsley leaves

1 tablespoon white vinegar

8 eggs


Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add chickpeas and cook together for another 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and chilli flakes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in parsley.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add white vinegar. Reduce heat to low. Quickly break all 8 eggs into simmering water and poach for 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove eggs to cold water to sit until needed. To rewarm eggs when drop into a skillet of simmering water and simmer for 2 minutes or until heated through.

Place chickpea mixture on 4 plates and top with 2 poached eggs per plate. Serves 4

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Taking three elements that many kids love - melon, cucumber and edamame - I have invented this beautiful and fresh-tasting salad that appeals to everyone. You also could add watermelon if you wish.

½ cantaloupe, peeled and cubed
½ a small honeydew, peeled and cubed
½ English cucumber, unpeeled and cut in cubes
1 cup defrosted edamame beans
4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons orange juice

Combine mint, sugar, lime juice and orange juice and reserve. Place a base of romaine lettuce on a platter. Toss together cantaloupe, honeydew, cucumber and edamame beans. Stir in dressing and pile onto romaine. Serves 4 to 6.

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