Orzo and tomatoes salad

A nice summer dish, Perfect for a potluck, for a pic-nic or to make easily carried lunches for the office.

500g orzo pasta
1 cup green peas (frozen)
3 bell peppers (varied colors)
1 bundle of green onions
1lb heirloom tomatoes (varied)
1/2 a bundle of parsley
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup + 2 table spoon olive oil
2 table spoon red wine vinegar
1 table spoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Pour the pasta into the water, stirring to avoid clumping. Cook for 15 minutes or so.

2. In the last 2-3 minutes add the frozen peas.

3. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

4. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the 2 table spoon of olive oil and allow to cool fully.

5. While the pasta is cooling, cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Grill until softened and nicely charred.
I kept the skin on for a bit of the smokiness, but you can remove it at this stage.

6. Combine the grape seed oil, olive oil, red wine vinegar and dijon mustard.

7. Shake well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

8. Thinly slice the green onions, both white and green parts and add to the pasta.

9. Cut the peppers into a large dice. Add to the orzo.

10. Chop the parsley and throw it in with the rest.

11. Cut the tomatoes into quarters (or into eighth if they are on the larger side). Remove the core and add to the bowl.

12. Mix in the dressing in two times to coat evenly.

13. Plate and eat up.
As a side dish would probably feed 10.
As a main meal made for 6 large meals.

Barley salad with red grapes and marinated bavette

Delicious and light enough to be a summer meal. Modified from this as my roommate isn’t a fan of allspice. Also, bavette might be a favored cut.

This is a two step recipe. The marinade, then the rest of the salad.

Marinade Ingredients :
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tea spoon berberé
1/2 tea spoon peppercorn
1 kg of bavette or so

Salad Ingredients:
Marinated bavette
2/3 cup barley
4 cups red grapes


1. Combine the berberé and peppercorns.

2. Roughly grind and break down.

3. Combine the oil, vinegar and ground spices.

4. Shake well.

5. Put the meat in a freezer ziploc bag.

6. Add the marinate and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours up to overnight.

7. When the meat is marinated bring 4 or 5 cups of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add the barley.

8. Cook until the barley is softer but still a bit toothsome, about 30 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.

9. Remove the meat from the bag and discard the marinade. Salt on both sides and sear. Depending on how thick the meat is you might need to finish cooking it in a 375 degree oven. You want to meat rare or medium rare.

10. Slice the grapes in half and mix in with the barley.

11. Cut the meat into bite sizes and add to the grapes and barley.

12. Chop a good handful of parsley and add to the rest.

13. Serve while the meat is warm, but any left overs will be delicious cold.

Red Wine beets

I like pickled beets. I like them on their own. With pâté chinois. With sweet potatoes and goat cheese. But the ones available in store tend to be heavy on the vinegar. These are just perfect. And so easy to make! 1 pound of beet gives roughly 1 pint, so scale accordingly.

3 lb of beets
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
Olive oil
black peppercorns
salt and pepper


1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Brush and peel the beets. Put on a baking tray line with foil and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Roll the beets around a bit to coat them well.

2. Cover with foil.

3. Roast for 1h or until tender. Remove foil and allow to cool until they can be handled.

4. Combine the red wine vinegar, water, honey, brown sugar and red wine in a pot. Bring to a boil. Sterilize 3 jars. Add a few springs of thyme, 1 of rosemary and 1/2 teapoon of black peppercorns to each jar.

5. Slice the beets and stuff into the jars. Ladle the hot brine over the beets. Leave 1/4″ of headspace. Wipe the rims, add the covers and process for 10 minutes.

6. Allow to cool fully and check the seal of the jars.

Pepper jelly Marinated Pork Loin

I have several jars of pepper jelly left from the last holiday season, when I had made several for my mother. This is, so far, my favorite way of getting through it.

2 pork tenderloins
1/2 cup pepper jelly
1/2 cup red wine
1 orange, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
olive oil



1. Combine the jelly, wine, orange juice and zest, red wine vinegar, rosemary and red pepper flakes.

2. Pour into a freezer bag along with the pork tenderloins. Stick in the fridge over night, turning over one or twice.

3. Heat the oven to 425.
Pour some oil and pan. Take the meat out of the marinade and add a good pinch of salt and pepper on both sides. Sear the meat on all sides. The sugar from the jelly will make it smoke a lot as it caramelizes. Once seared on all sides, put in the oven for 30 minutes.

4. Pour the marinade in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to reduce while the meat cooks.

5. Take the meat out of the oven. The internal temp should be around 160F. Brush with the reduced marinade and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.

6. Slice the tenderloins.

7. Assemble your plate and enjoy!

Peri-Peri Chicken

This is a lot better grilled, over coals if you can. But I don’t currently own a grill and it is freezing outside in all cases. So I oven baked the chicken. Next time I need to up the heat a bit so the skin gets crispy.

I buy the chicken at the butcher’s so I can ask them to break it into parts for me (2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 thigh, 2 legs). You can make this with any chicken from the store too, off course.

Ingredients :
1 small chicken, broken into 8 parts.
Peri-Peri Marinade


1. Make the marinade according to the recipe here (lemon missing from my picture) : http://spicetrekkers.com/portuguese-style-grilled-chicken/

2. Put the chicken parts and the marinade in a large ziplock bag and put in the fridge overnight.

3. Heat the oven to 375F. Lay the chicken on a cookie sheet and cook for 25 minutes.

All done! so extra recipe for the side salad.

Ingredients :
1/2 Cucumber
1 tomato, sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
About equal quantities of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper


1. Shake together the oil and vinegar in a sealed container to create an emulsion.

2. Mix all the vegetables together.

3. Spoon dressing over salad, add salt and pepper.