Pickled herring, sour cream, apple and onion salad

This is a really super recipe from a neighbor in London many years ago. We used to adore it, and I only found it again recently.
Make sure you serve it very chilled.

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Serves 4 to 6

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup full fat plain yoghurt
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 tart apples, (Granny Smith) cut into thin slices
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill weed
2 x 8 oz jars pickled herring, drained and cut into bite-sized pieces

Combine the sour cream, yoghurt, lemon juice, sugar, sliced onions that have been separated into rings, apple and dill.
Alternate the herring and sour cream mixture in layers in a dish.
Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours at least.
Serve very chilled.


Best hot, baked Florentine artichoke dip

Here is another winner recipe after researching countless baked spinach-artichoke recipes for a family- friendly holiday appetizer. Hot and bubbling straight from the oven with a lovely crispy topping.

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makes 4 cups and is enough for 8 to 10 people

1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (12 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 heaped cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
3 large garlic cloves, squeezed
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 & 1/2 cups French breadcrumbs (homemade)
2 tbsp butter, melted

Drain the spinach, press between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture.
Combine the spinach, artichoke hearts and the next 5 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well.
Spoon into a lightly greased 11″ by 7″ baking dish.
Combine the breadcrumbs and butter, sprinkle over the spinach mixture.
Bake, uncovered at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve with assorted crackers or breadsticks.

Roasted shrimp with garlic and herb sauce

Mark Bittman’s recipes are terrific and often really light and simple. This one is so easy and tasty especially with great bread to mop up the sauce. You cannot put in too much garlic in this recipe.

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6 cloves garlic, peeled
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 cup parsley, leaves and thin stems
2 pounds shrimp, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
4 dried chilies or a few pinches of crushed red chili flakes, or to taste
⅓ cup stock (shrimp, fish or chicken) or white wine or water

Nutritional Information


Heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine garlic and oil in a small food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Add scallions and parsley and pulse until mixture is minced. Toss with shrimp, salt, pepper and chilies.
Put shrimp in a large roasting pan. Add liquid and place pan in oven. Roast, stirring once, until mixture is bubbly and hot, and shrimp all pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve.

“Bacon and eggs” truffle infused custards with crispy prosciutto

Most of Thomas Keller’s recipes (of French laundry fame) are too complicated for my short attention span but this one is not too hard and is absolutely life changing.

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8 large eggs (the fresher the better)
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup milk
1& 1/2 tbsp truffle oil
sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Finishing Touches
1 tbsp chives (finely diced)
1 oz (2-3 slices) prosciutto

1/3 c veal or chicken Stock
dash of fish Sauce (or dash of white wine vinegar)
1 tsp unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp truffle oil

A used egg carton


Prepare the egg shells
With an egg topper or serrated knife, cut off wider end of the egg (make sure cut is low enough that a spoon can fit in the opening.) If cutting with a serrated knife, lay the egg on a towel, and with a steady but gentle sawing motion, cut halfway through width of egg.
Remove knife, turn egg upright, and pop off the top of the egg. Pour 2 of the eggs into a bowl to reserve for the custard, and the others you can save for any other kitchen uses you might have for them. Reserve the paper egg carton. Reserve the shell bodies.
Under running water, using your fingers, carefully remove the membrane from inside the shell bodies. Clean up any loose shell pieces from the edges of the shell cavity, then set aside.

Prepare the Custards
Preheat oven to 275°F

In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream and milk. As soon as it reaches a boil, transfer to a blender. Carefully pulsing, slowly build speed of blender to prevent extreme splattering. While blending, add the 2 reserved eggs, truffle oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher that pours well. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then skim foam from top of custard.
Place the shell bodies upright into a reserved egg carton (cut away extra spaces to make carton smaller.) Carefully pour custards into shells, filling about 85% full. (If pitcher is pouring like a bitch, use a funnel to help aim the pours.)
Using a pan that is a least 3 1/2 – 4″ deep, fill about 1″ of hot water into the pan. Place custards (carton and all) into the water, and top off with more water (if necessary) to have water level reach 3/4 ths up the sides of the eggs. Place pan into oven, cover with a lid or baking sheet, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until custards are set. Remove from oven and set aside (They can stay in the warm water for about 2 hours if needed.)

Prepare the Finishing Touches and Ragout
Heat a saute pan over med-high heat, add a touch of oil, and crisp up prosciutto (just like cooking bacon.) Dab on paper towels to remove excess oils, then cut into 1/2″x 2″ pieces (there will be spare tidbits you’ll get to snack on.)
Dice the chives.
Put the stock and fish sauce into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes, or until it coats the back of a spoon. There should be about 3 tbsp of sauce.

Swirl the butter and truffle oil into the reduced stock. Season to taste. Place each egg in a cup, and spoon about 1 tsp of ragout on top of the custards. Add a sprinkling of diced chives, then place a prosciutto crisp in each egg.

Curried onion and cauliflower hummus

Cooking the dried garbanzo beans (chick peas) in baking soda, softens them and makes this hummus extra silky. The curried onion-cauliflower topping adds tons of wonderful flavor.

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1lb (2 1/2 cups) dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight and drained
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Canola oil, for frying
1/2lb cauliflower, cut into 1/2 inch florets
2 tsp curry powder
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp finely crushed pink peppercorns
Chopped parsley, for garnish

In a saucepan, cover the garbanzo beans, garlic and baking soda with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring every 15 minutes, until the garbanzo beans are tender, 50 mins, if necessary, add water to them to keep them covered.

Drain the garbanzo beans and garlic and transfer to a food processor. Puree until very smooth.
With the machine on, gradually add the tahini, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil and the cumin. Season the hummus with salt.

In a skillet, heat 1/4 inch of canola oil. Add the cauliflower florets and fry over moderately high heat, stirring, until tender and deeply browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined bowl to drain. Add 1 tsp of the curry powder and toss well. Season with salt and toss again.

Pour off all but 1/4 cup oil from the skillet. Add the onion and a big pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until just starting to soften and brown in spots, about 5 minutes.
Add the pink peppercorns and the remaining 1 tsp of curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Season with salt.

Spoon the hummus into a bowl and top with the onion and cauliflower. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with parsley and serve
Serve with warm pita bread.

Simple, stunning salmon tartare

On a hot day with a glass of champagne or Rose what could be more wonderful than this?

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Serves 4

8 oz fresh boneless wild salmon, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp good quality mayonnaise

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients. Refrigerate until very cold before serving.

Dried apricot-cured salmon

This recipe comes from “The Girl and the Fig” cookbook and it really stood out as something worth doing.

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Apricot-Cured Salmon
Yield depends on usage 

½ cup dried apricots
½ cup Pernod
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 fennel fronds
1 pound wild salmon, skin on

Place the apricots in a bowl with ½ cup hot water and the Pernod and rehydrate for 20 minutes. Purée the apricots in a food processor. Mix the purée with the salt, sugar, pepper, and fennel fronds.

Cut a piece of cheesecloth large enough to cover the salmon. Place the cheesecloth in a large baking dish and lay the salmon skin-side down on the cheesecloth. Cover the salmon evenly with the apricot-salt mixture and wrap it with the cheesecloth. Place another baking pan over the cheesecloth and weigh it down with at least 3 pounds of pressure (you can use water jugs, tomato cans, or even books). Refrigerate for 48 to 72 hours. Remove the weights and unwrap the salmon. Remove the excess salt mixture from the salmon and pat dry.

Slice very thin to serve.