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Cheese Souflé

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 94

A fluffy souflé with a lovely cheesy flavour- great served with a green salad or steamed greens.

With this recipe it seems that I have gone full circle: it was the first recipe I ever tried from this book when I bought it in 1992. Do not ask me why a teenager who does not have much experience with cooking would choose a souflé of all recipes as a first, but I remember that it did work well and that my family enjoyed it very much. Perhaps it helped that Linda wrote in her book that you need not be afraid of making souflés and that her children would make great souflés… who knows?

Anyway, I did make a cheese souflé today and it really was quite easy. As there was some Dutch pesto cheese (green!) in my fridge that needed using up, I made a green souflé which also looked very unusual but pretty. The pesto flavour was really nice in the souflé and worked well with the green veg we had to go with it.
I baked the souflé in a 2 pint souflé dish (Linda suggests a 1 pint dish) and it did rise way above the top of the dish. Luckily, it did not collapse or run down at the sides.

A delicious and quite impressive dish that is easy enough to make. Great to use up any leftover cheese.

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Hearts of Artichoke with Mushroom Sauce

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 101

Boiled artichoke hearts, served with a creamy mushroom and tarragon sauce.

This recipe has been on my list to try out for quite some time, but I was a little afraid of preparing artichokes as I have never done this before. However, when I spotted nice-looking artichokes in a small vegetable store in town, I decided to give it a go.
With the help of the internet and Linda’s description, I managed to cook the artichokes sucessfully and my family and I enjoyed dipping the leaves into the sauce and eating the tender artichoke at the bottom of the leaves. The artichoke hearts are very small, so I would recommend to serve this dish as a starter and I would certainly also serve the leaves along with the hearts (in Linda’s recipe, the leaves are not used). Dipping and eating the leaves is a very social and nice start for a meal with friends or family!

Alternatively, you could serve the hearts of artichoke and the leaves with a mustard and honey vinaigrette- great for a summer dinner party.

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Tomato Pie

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 128

A pie filled with cooked tomato and courgette, topped with a crust of beaten egg and cheese.

This pie is another one of the surprises in this book that is not easy to spot. Only when making it did I realize that there is no pie crust on top but instead a layer of beaten egg and cheese. This is not only really tasty but also very quick to make and saves you the trouble of rolling out some pastry to put on top. My parents (it was my Dad’s birthday!) and brother who came around for dinner loved the pie and named it “Ratatouille Pie”…. I think you could in fact add other ratatouille ingredients such as peppers, aubergine or even mushrooms to this recipe, depending on what you have in your fridge. Delicious!

Serve warm with a green salad- and be sure to make enough as this is so tasty 🙂

For a gluten-free pie, see my shortcrust pastry recipe.

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Watercress and Lettuce Salad

From: Linda McCartney’s Home cooking, p. 78

A fresh salad with sharp watercress and lettuce, with a mustard vinaigrette.

I had never actually tried watercress and it has been on my mental shopping list since I started my “cook all of Linda’s recipes project”. Yesterday, I visited a huge farmer’s market in central Hamburg with my daughter and found- watercress! I loved its sharpness and crunch and will certainly keep it on my mental shopping list 🙂

I thought that the onion and garlic were too dominant in the dressing and I would recommend using a very simple vinaigrette with mustard, olive oil and white wine vinegar for this salad.

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Pecan Cake

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 163

A light and fluffy cake that rises very well and is just perfect in the afternoon with a cup of tea.

As I do not like cakes too sweet, I reduced the sugar to 120g- and it still was quite sweet. I also made one cake with chocolate chips instead of pecans as my son is allergic to nuts.
The batter is very fluffy and light and rises very well- the only problem is that the pecans or chocolate chips sink to the bottom of the cake tin during baking. My daughter thought this was great- she asked me to share a slice with her. She chose the bottom half (with the chocolate!) and gave me the top…

Gluten-Free: I tried a flour mix from Austria, called “Biskuit& Kuchen Mix” from Mantler Mühle. It contains mainly corn-, potato- and rice flour plus some stabilizers with threatening E-numbers. It worked well for the cake, but seeing the list of ingredients I think I will not buy it again. You can use any gluten-free all-purpose flour for this recipe (e.g. Doves farm).

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Mexican Corn Bread

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 64

A moist corn bread with sweetcorn and cheddar cheese.

This corn bread recipe is my personal favourite from all corn bread recipes described in Linda’s book (see Cheese and Green Chilli Corn Bread on p. 93, Corn Bread on p. 61, and Corn Bread Mexiacan Style p. 63). It is moist and has a great crumbly consistency. It has a lot of flavour but is not too rich, and it is easy to make and to adapt as vegan or gluten-free. Another favourite! Great served with a big salad, soup or Chilli Non Carne.
The bread keeps well for 2-3 days. If you pop it in the microwave for a few seconds it tastes like fresh.

I wonder why Linda chose to add 85g of honey to the bread. I had reduced this to less than half and found the sweetish taste very unpleasant in this bread. I would suggest omitting the honey. Butter or margarine can also be reduced to 2 tbsp.

Variations: If you like a less spicy bread, use chopped red and green pepper instead of chillies. This also adds some colour to the bread.

Vegan: I used 25g of pureed silken tofu instead of the egg and omit the cheese. Add 2 tbps. of nutritional yeast and 80g of plant-based yoghurt if you like.

Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free flour instead of pastry flour (I used Plain Flour from Doves Farm).

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Bisque of Mushroom

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 52

A creamy soup with an intense mushroom flavour and nice texture. It can be served as a starter or with bread and a salad as a light lunch. Serves 6-8 as a starter and 4 as a main course.

I reduced the butter to 25g for the white sauce and 15g for the mushrooms, and took 100g of cream.

Vegan: Both milk and cream can be substituted for plant-based alternatives. I used oat milk and oat cream and the taste was very balanced. The non-vegans at the table did not notice they were not eating dairy and enjoyed the soup very much.

Gluten-Free: For best results, use rice flour.

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Cottage Cheese Pie

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 96

A great pie with a potato filling that is light but very tasty. Definitely a favourite!

I was surprised to find that this Cottage Cheese Pie does not use any egg for the filling and that the amount of cottage cheese and sour cream used is quite small. For a pie, it is quite light but still very satisfying and just delicious! I used my own recipe for gluten-free shortcrust pastry and pre-baked the pastry for 15 minutes. I think this pie is best served warm, but cold leftovers also disappeared quickly!

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Aubergine Caponata

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 81

A cold dish with sautéd aubergine, celery, onion, capers, and olives, stewed in tomato sauce.

This is a great dish for a warm day. It needs to be prepared in advance, which means there is no work on the day it is served 🙂 .
We had my brother-in-law and his family around and enjoyed our lunch in the garden in lovely spring sunshine. I had also prepared a Cottage Cheese Pie (p. 96) which went very well with the Caponata. Serve with a salad or steamed vegetables (we had some crisp asparagus salad- yummy!).

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Sweetcorn Noodle Soup

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 58

An unusual combination of fresh sweetcorn, noodle and egg – and really delicious and quick to make. A new family favourite!

If you do not have fresh sweetcorn, try to use frozen and not tinned. The frozen sweetcorn tastes nearly as good as the fresh sweetcorn and does not have this “tinned” flavour.

Gluten-free: Make sure the noodles you use are gluten-free. I find it best here to use noodles that do not have a strong taste of their own, as do noodles made from beans, chickpeas or lentils. Rice or corn noodles work really well (not surprising, given that it is a sweetcorn soup 🙂 ).