Roasted butternut squash, quinoa, kale, cranberries, walnuts and goat cheese salad

A stunning array of flavors from the toasty walnuts to the sweet cranberries added to the very flavorful quinoa and goat cheese… Need I go on?
This recipe is from a blog called “Stuck on Sweet”

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Serves: 4

1 small to medium butternut squash, diced fairly small
2 large leaves of kale, stems removed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (or feta if you prefer)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
olive oil
salt and pepper

Prepare the quinoa according to package directions. Use chicken stock instead of water to add flavor. Cool completely.
While the quinoa is cooking, add a few drizzles of olive oil to a saute pan and place over medium heat. Add the diced butternut squash and saute until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool.
In the same saute pan add a little more olive oil and the kale. Wilt slightly, 1-2 minutes, you want the kale to still be slightly crunchy. Remove from pan and roughly chop. Set aside to also cool.
Again, in the same pan add the walnut pieces, no olive oil is necessary. Toast for a few minutes on low heat – careful not to burn! Remove from pan and let cool.
Add all of the cooled ingredients along with the cranberries, goat cheese, a little salt and pepper, and gently mix.
If you want to add a little more olive oil you can, but I don;t think it needs it.

Easy beet and goat cheese terrine with pistachios and basil

I saw this recipe by Amy Stafford on her blog, “A healthy life for me” and immediately loved the idea of it. We adore beets and goat cheese and it’s a fairly easy one to put together and impress your guests.

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Serves: 8

6 red beet
6 yellow beets
10 oz of goat cheese, room temperature
¼ cup of salted pistachios, shelled and finely crushed in food processor
Fresh basil leaves, cut into slivers (about 6 large leaves)
zest from ½ lemon
Pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup of olive oil + more for drizzling

In two separate pans boil water.
Add the yellow beets to one pan and the red to the other and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.
Take plastic wrap and line a loaf pan letting the plastic wrap overhang on both sides, enough so that you can grab wrap to lift out finished terrine.

In a bowl, add the goat cheese, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, pepper and pistachios and stir to blend.
When the beets have cooled, peel and slice thinly.
Line the pan with a layer of yellow beets, slightly overlapping.
Then add a ¼ cup of goat cheese mixture, spreading over the beets.
Add a sprinkle of basil slivers and a drizzle of olive oil.
Continue layering the yellow beets, goat cheese, basil and olive oil four times and then start with red, continuing the layering four times.

Make sure that you finish with a beet layer and drizzle of olive oil. (you will not reach the top of the pan.
Take the plastic wrap flaps and cover your last layer
Place heavy cans on top of the plastic to compress the terrine.
Place in the refrigerator for 2 or more hours.
When you remove, unwrap and use the plastic to lift the terrine out of the pan.
Slice and serve with a drizzle of olive oil

Orange-scented quinoa salad with pistachios and dates

Another beautiful healthy and tasty Summer salad. I can’t have enough of these and am always looking for more of these interesting recipes. We love eating them with a piece of marinated and barbequed fish or chicken.

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Serves 4

6 oz (175 g) quinoa or red quinoa, rinsed
1 oz (30g) shelled pistachios
5 tbsp 70ml) fresh orange juice, plus finely grated zest 1 orange
4 tbsp (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 scant tsp Dijon mustard
6 green onions, very finely sliced
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
3 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1 large bunch watercress, tough stalks removed
10 ready-to-eat dates, chopped
Optional- goat cheese or Greek feta cheese to toss through or sprinkle over it

Bring 3 cups (500 mls) water (or 1/2 water and 1/2 broth of your choice) to the boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook for 18-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork and spread over a large plate to cool.

Meanwhile, in a dry frying pan, toast the pistachios until fragrant and starting to brown. Cool, then coarsely chop.

To make the dressing, whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, mustard and vinegar and season well.

To assemble the salad, put the quinoa in a serving bowl and toss with half the dressing. Fork through the orange zest, green onions, herbs, watercress, dates, chopped pistachios and enough of the remaining dressing to coat. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or dressing if needed, then serve.

Stuffed roast peppers with goat cheese, chorizo, rice, tomato, zucchini and orange

This started out as a vegetarian recipe and still can, if you eliminate the chorizo. I happen to think it adds a layer of flavor  that raises the bar. If you don’t like goat cheese they work really well with feta cheese too.

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This recipe serves 2 but can easily be doubled

1¾oz wholegrain long-grain rice
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
8oz Spanish chorizo, diced very small or crumbled.
1 courgette, diced
2½oz cherry tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin ( roast my cumin before grinding it)
1 tsp ground coriander
¾oz toasted flaked almonds
½ orange, zest only, finely grated
3 heaped tbsp roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley (or cilantro)
3½oz mild goats’ cheese, rind removed and cheese cut into chunks (or feta cheese, but make it the Greek one)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F
Cook the rice in a pan of boiling water for 25 minutes, or until just tender, then drain.
Meanwhile, cut the peppers in half from top to bottom and discard the seeds. Place, open-side up, on a baking tray (cut a sliver from the base if necessary to help them sit flat). Bake for 15 minutes.

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a frying pan and over medium heat, fry the chorizo for 5 minutes, then add the onion and courgette over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for 4-5 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, cumin and coriander and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Tip into a large heatproof bowl and stir in the almonds and orange zest.

Add the rice and parsley and season with a little salt and lots of pepper. Mix together.

Fill the peppers with the rice mixture. Dot with the cheese and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the peppers are softened and the filling is piping hot.

Prosciutto wrapped chicken stuffed with goat cheese and figs

This is a very simple but highly effective dish from Marcus Bean, that is as good at a dinner party as it is for a casual get-together with friends. You can also make them as small bites.

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Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 strips of Parma ham or prosciutto
8 fresh figs, sliced
4 oz soft goats cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Make a horizontal slit down each chicken breast, making sure you don’t cut all the way through. Open up the chicken breasts as flat as possible and place each one on 2 strips of Parma ham or prosciutto.

Mix together the figs and goat’s cheese, season the chicken breasts, then put 1/4 of the stuffing mixture on each chicken breast, seasoning again with a little more salt and pepper. Fold the chicken over the filling, then wrap the ham around the outside and secure with cocktail sticks, if necessary.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chicken breasts and cook on medium high until browned, then transfer to a roasting tin and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the breast is pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Serve hot with a fresh green salad and boiled, buttered baby potatoes.

Stuffed roasted peppers with caramelized rutabaga (swede), capers and goat cheese

Well, this knocked our socks off! Yotam Ottolenghi’s new book, “Plenty More” stuffed full of more spectacular vegetarian recipes is a winner.
What a combination of flavors this recipe has, with the caramelized rutabaga, capers, parmesan cheese and goat cheese.

These are just as good at room temp (or as leftovers the next day) as they are hot. Rutabaga gets a whole new “wardrobe’ with this dish!

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Serves 6
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 3/8″ dice (about 7 cups)
1/3 cup thyme leaves, stripped from the stalk
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 large cloves garlic,crushed
5 tbsp capers, drained and coarsely chopped
3 small yellow bell peppers
3 small red bell peppers
1 tbsp olive oil, approx
6 oz chevre log, (goat cheese) broken into 3/8″ pieces
1/3 cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.Add the rutabaga, thyme leaves, 1 1/2 tsp salt and a good grind of black pepper. Turn down the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for about 50 minutes, spooning the butter over the rutabaga from time to time, until the rutabaga is completely soft and caramelized. Use a slotted spoon to remove the rutabaga from the butter and add it to a large bowl along with the parmesan cheese, garlic and capers and mix well. Set aside until needed. (The leftover butter can be used for cooking carrots or zucchini)

Preheat the oven to 500 F

Cut the peppers in half lengthways, keeping the stalks intact. Remove the seeds and white flesh and place, cut side up, on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Drizzle the oil over the top, sprinkle with a little salt and place in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the peppers are slightly charred and the flesh is completely soft.


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Remove the peppers from the oven and turn down the oven to 425 F

Spoon the rutabaga mixture into each pepper half and dot with the goat cheese on top.
Return to the oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes so that the cheese gets some color.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving warm, or serve at room temperature
Top each stuffed pepper with a sprinkle of parsley

Simple roast chicken traybake with spiced potatoes and olives

I love roasted tray bakes, they are easy to make and are so versatile. Here is another version, and the flavors are beautifully intense.

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Serves 4
1 bay leaf, crushed
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 lb fingerling potatoes, halved
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 whole chicken legs (leg and thigh attached) about 3lbs
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves with stems
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

* You will need a small spice mill, like a coffee grinder. It’s worth buying a second one and devoting it to grinding spices.

Preheat the oven to 450 F
Pulse the bay leaf, fennel seeds and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes in a spice mill until finely ground.
Toss the halved potatoes, olives, 2 tbsp oil and half of the spice mixture in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Place the chicken mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with remaining 2 tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper and rub with the remaining spice mixture.
Arrange potato mixture around the chicken. Roast until the potatoes are fork-tender, chicken is cooked through, and the skin is crisp, 35 – 45 minutes.
Serve chicken and potato mixture topped with parsley, lemon zest and more red pepper flakes, if desired.
Spoon the pan juices around and serve.

Marinated goat cheese with ginger, basil, garlic and orange zest

Here is a spectacular appetizer  I have done countless times and always to a “wow” when people first try it. It’s simple but really raises the bar.

Serves 6 to 10.

Serve at room temperature with crackers or can be served in Belgium endive cups. Also great with crusty bread as the oil marinade is wonderful to mop up.

1 (12 oz approx) log soft goat cheese, or 3 smaller logs, chilled. (I bought regular plain supermarket goat cheese, 11oz log size)
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp whole peppercorns, preferably a mixture of white, pink and black
1 tsp whole allspice berries
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (I used the garlic crusher)
2 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger (I grated the ginger)
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil
1 full tsp grated orange zest
(crackers or Belgium endive)

Using a thin-bladed vegetable knife, cut the goat cheese into  ½ inch slices. (Dip the blade into hot tap water after each cut or the slices with split)
Arrange the slices in a pretty, heat -resistant dish that you can serve.
In a small saucepan combine the olive oil, peppercorns and allspice berries.
In a small bowl combine the garlic, ginger, basil and orange zest.
Place the saucepan over medium high heat and cook until the peppercorns begin to pop, about 2-3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the garlic mixture. Stand back a bit as you do this as it really bubbles up!!
After 5 seconds of stirring, pour the hot olive oil mixture over the goat cheese evenly, covering all the slices with the mixture well.
Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, covered with plastic wrap.
(This recipe can be completed to this point up to 1 week before serving!)