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Chicken with bacon, sage and onions

Sage

I’m not quite sure how I came upon this method for cooking chicken pieces, but I’m very glad I did. It’s not particularly quick — though much faster than roasting a whole bird — but it is easy and delicious.

You will need a pan that can go into the oven, or a casserole dish that can sit on the hob.

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An Easter salad

Easter salad

Belgians do like their vegetables on the pale side. Whether it’s the ubiquitous, all-year-round chicon, witloof in Flemish, or, in spring, white asparagus.

With a more delicate flavour than its green cousin, white asparagus does not stand up well to prolonged cooking. Better to blanche it in boiling water until just tender, then cool rapidly in a bowl of iced water, before seasoning with lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt crystals.

Otherwise this salad is as you see it, the skinned tomatoes dressed with torn basil, the eggs boiled until the yolk has just set (six minutes, using Delia’s method), torn San Daniele ham and a few watercress sprigs, all finished with sea salt and olive oil.

Bon appetit.

Baked mushrooms

Portabello

Pour a good couple of tablespoons of oil onto each mushroom, followed by finely chopped shallots, sliced garlic (one clove is enough for two large mushrooms such as these), pepper and a sprig or two of thyme. Then drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a little more oil — you do not want the mushrooms to dry out in the oven — and sprinkle some sea salt.

Bake at 180°C for about 20-30 mins, until the mushrooms are tender. Check every five minutes or so and add more oil if the mushrooms start to dry and shrivel.

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Trofie with pesto

Trofie

Trofie, a Ligurian pasta made with just flour and water, is traditionally served with pesto, that heady mixture of basil, parmesan, garlic and pine nuts.

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Chicken with plums

Chicken with plums

Not the graphic novel but a very delicious recipe from Delicious magazine.

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A simple summer salad

Being an expat/economic migrant/immigrant has spoilt me. I can no longer bring myself to buy fruit and vegetables of international origin in a supermarket, when I know that nearby will be a market where I can buy fresher and cheaper local produce. Local markets are also by their nature seasonal (even if I did see some Kenyan beans this week), which at the moment means white asparagus, broad beans and fresh peas. Tossed with some bacon, olive oil, mint, basil and lemon juice and topped with fresh goat’s cheese they made a delicious salad.

Summer salad

Feta and pea salad

Feta and pea salad

You really need fresh peas for this, cooked until just tender, then cooled quickly. Mix with the diced feta (just as long as it’s not the cheapest supermarket rubbish), stoned olives, spring onions, mint and parsley and toss with olive oil, black pepper and smidgen of lemon juice, to taste. You could also throw in a few capers.

Mushrooms, peas, spinach and potatoes

Mushrooms, peas, spinach and potatoes

This was inspired by Winterthur’s wonderful twice-weekly market and the fresh peas, young spinach and clay-caked cyprus potatoes that are in season.

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Pork with sweet paprika, peppers, tomato and basil

Pork with sweet paprika, peppers, tomato and basil

I finally tired of root vegetables, which, with the occasional exception, are all that have been available from the farmers’ market in the past couple of months. So bearing in mind the cut-price supermarket pork chops that were in the fridge, I picked up some Spanish sweet paprika¹, red peppers, tinned tomatoes and fresh basil from Markthalle Trivisano, Winterthur’s excellent Italian delicatessen (and local home to The British Cheese Centre of Switzerland).

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Sardine, avocado and tomato salad

Sardine, avocado and tomato salad

One small (125g) tin of sardines in olive oil (drained unless you like it really fishy), one tomato, one avocado, a handful of leaves — winter purslane in this instance, a few capers, a drizzle of olive oil (if you drained the fish) and balsamic vinegar and a little black pepper — easy, quick, delicious and exceedingly healthy.

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smithsocksimon is a blog about music old and new, but mostly new. It occasionally uses 21st century file formats that may not be supported by 20th century web browsers. For best results use Safari or Chrome. And If you like the music posted here, please think of the effort and expense that has gone into making it and consider buying a copy of your own.

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All the music on this site is posted to encourage listeners to enjoy it and then rush out and buy as many songs by the artist as they possibly can. Any artist, record label boss, publisher or other rightsholder who doesn't want their works featured here only needs to get in touch and the offending file(s) will be removed at the earliest opportunity.