French-style Starter with Escartgots

Ingredients

6 dozen canned snails
3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp chopped hazelnuts
1-1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp green Chartreuse (a French liqueur)
2 cups whipping cream
lemon juice
grated lemon zest
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt
black pepper

Method

  1. Drain the snails.
  2. Sweat the finely chopped shallots and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until tender, then add the hazelnuts, followed by the snails.
  3. Add the butter and continue to cook gently for 6-7 minutes.
  4. Pour in the Chartreuse, turn up the heat, and boil until the pan is almost dry.
  5. Add the cream and simmer until the mixture has the consistency of a sauce.
  6. Season well and finish with a few drops of lemon juice and a little finely grated zest. Serve in little pots with a sprinkling of parsley.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: The French Kitchen

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Moroccan-style Vegan Couscous

Ingredients

3 cups couscous
2-1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
pinch of saffron threads
3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp olive oil
4 oz ready-to-eat dried apricots, cut into slivers
3 oz dried dates, chopped
3 oz seedless raisins
4 oz blanched almonds, cut into slivers
3 oz pistachio nuts
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Put the couscous in a bowl. Mix together the water, salt and saffron and pour it over the couscous, stirring. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Add the sunflower oil and, using your fingers, rub it through the grains. Set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and stir in the apricots, dates, raisins, most of the almonds (reserve some for the garnish) and pistachio nuts.
  4. Cook until the raisins plump up, then transfer into the couscous and mix well. Spoon the couscous into an ovenproof dish and cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until heated through.
  5. Toast the reserved sliced almonds. Pile the couscous in a mound on a serving dish and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar in stripes down the mound. Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Vegan Cooking

A Mediterranean-Fusion of French and Middle Eastern Dessert

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups flour
6 tablespoons butter
1 egg

Filling

scant 1/2cup butter
7 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, beaten
scant 1 cup ground almonds
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons orange-flower water
12-13 fresh dates, halved and pitted
4 tablespoons apricot jam

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a baking sheet in the oven.
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl, add the butter and work with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
  3. Add the egg and a tablespoon of cold water, then work to a smooth dough.
  4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line an 8-inch tart pan. Prick the base with a fork, then chill until needed.
  5. To make the filling, cream the butter and sugar until light, then beat in the egg. Stir in the ground almonds, flour and 1 tablespoon of the orange-flower water, mixing well.
  6. Spread the mixture evenly over the base of the pastry shell. Arrange the dates, cut side down, on the almond mixture. Bake on the hot baking sheet for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat to 350°F. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until light golden and set.
  8. Transfer the tart to a rack to cool. Gently heat the apricot jam, then strain. Add the remaining orange-flower water.
  9. Brush the tart with the jam and serve at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Healthy Mediterranean Cookbook

Malaysian-style Fish Curry in Coconut Sauce

Ingredients

1-1/4 pounds monkfish or other firm-textured fish fillets, skinned and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shredded coconut
6 shallots or small onions, roughly chopped
6 blanched almonds
2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups canned coconut milk
1-3 fresh chilies, seeded and sliced
salt and ground white pepper
fresh chives, to garnish
boiled rice, to serve

Method

  1. Spread out the pieces of fish in a shallow dish and sprinkle them with the salt.
  2. Dry fry the coconut in a wok or large frying pan over medium to low heat, turning all the time until it is crisp and golden (see Cook’s Tip).
  3. Transfer the coconut to a food processor and process to an oily paste. Scrape into a bowl and reserve.
  4. Add the shallots or onions, almonds, garlic and ginger to the food processor. Cut off the lower 2 inches of the lemongrass stalks, chop them roughly and add to the processor. Process the mixture to a paste.
  5. Add the turmeric to the mixture in the processor and process briefly to mix. Bruise the remaining and set the stalks aside.
  6. Heat the oil in a wok. Add the onion mixture and cook for a few minutes without browning. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent curdling.
  7. Add the cubes of fish, most of the sliced chili and the bruised lemongrass stalks. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  8. Stir in the coconut paste (moistened with some of the sauce if necessary) and cook for a further 2-3 minutes only. Do not overcook the fish. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  9. Remove the lemongrass. Transfer to a hot serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining slices of chili. Garnish with chopped and whole chives and serve with boiled rice.

Cook’s Tip

Dry frying is a feature of Malay cooking. When dry frying do not be distracted. The coconut must be constantly on the move so that it becomes crisp and of a uniform golden colour.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Asian Cooking

Swiss-style Breakfast Muesli

Ingredients

1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and grated
1 cup favourite plant-based milk (almond, cashew, coconut, oat, rice)
1 cup favourite dairy-free yogurt (soy, almond, or coconut)
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp flaxseeds
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup chopped unsulphured dried apricots
1/4 cup sliced natural almonds
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup halved or quartered strawberries, for garnish
1 cup blueberries, for garnish
1/4 cup small mint leaves, for garnish
1/4 cup pistachios, for garnish

Method

  1. In large airtight container, stir together oats, apple, milk, yogurt, vanilla extract, flaxseeds, chia seeds, apricots, almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, coconut, cinnamon, and nutmeg until thoroughly combined.
  2. Cover container with lid and refrigerate overnight. Muesli may be stored, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  3. When ready to serve, divide among serving bowls and top with berries, mint, and pistachios.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Alive magazine