Italian Picnic Sandwich

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It looks like summer has finally arrived in England. Thank goodness. As I write I’m looking out the window at blue skies and sunshine; it would be a great day for a picnic. Thursday evening was forecast to be a good evening for a picnic, too. From 5pm onwards it was supposed to be glorious sunshine and a balmy 18ºC (64ºF) − yes, in England 64ºF is considered balmy. The pleasant forecast was very welcome for Thursday because we had tickets to an open air showing of Richard III at Dover Castle. It was a “Bring chairs and a picnic” kind of deal and we were really looking forward to enjoying a bit of evening sun and taking in some culture.

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Slow-cooked Pork with Spicy Coleslaw and Sweet Potatoes

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Father’s Day afforded me the perfect opportunity to flick through some of my old Olive magazines on the hunt for an easy but tasty recipe to serve up to the in-laws. An impulse buy pork shoulder was still in the freezer from before I left for California, no doubt because my husband thought it was too much for one person. Had it been me, I would not have had any hang ups about cooking and eating the whole thing – obviously not in one sitting, probably. I found a recipe for slow-cooked pork shoulder with coleslaw and sweet potato fries. It sounded good and southern to me, which is not a cuisine my British in-laws have enjoyed very often, so I decided to go with it.

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Herb-infused Olive Oil Dip

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Need something that you can throw together with store cupboard ingredients any time you have some unexpected guests? This is it. Serve it with drinks, as an appetizer before a meal or just as a snack while you catch up with some friends who decided on the spur of the moment to stop by for a quick hello. It takes less than five minutes to make and with a good loaf of bread it’ll satisfy even the most difficult of guests.

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Meatless Monday: Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

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On my way to California from New York, I bought a Food and Wine magazine at the airport and, flipping through, I landed on a delicious looking salad starring an ingredient I hadn’t eaten for a long time: hearts of palm. I only had a vague recollection of a slightly pickled, tender white tubular vegetable with a delicate flavor. A bit of research on Wikipedia − fountain of all knowledge that it is − revealed that South America supplies the majority of imported hearts of palm which are, as you might suspect, the heart of certain types of palm tree. The cans I bought were products of Bolivia and, for that reason, I decided to ignore the $3.99 price tag per can which I thought was pretty outrageous for a bit of fibrous white veg. However, the harvesting process is pretty labor intensive and must also be expensive so, in addition to import costs, I can understand the high price tag.

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Meatless Monday: A Vegetarian Grilling Feast

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A friend of mine, whose blog you can find here, suggested I start posting recipes for Meatless Monday, a phenomenon which seems to have taken hold in foodie circles on Twitter. The idea is that by cutting out meat once a week you will not only improve your health and well being, but you will also reduce your carbon footprint and take a big step towards creating a more sustainable lifestyle for yourself and your family. I think we can all agree that these are good things and there are few things that irritate me more than people who believe that a meal without meat is somehow incomplete − I’m a poet and I don’t know it! − because vegetables have so much more to offer than looking  sad and neglected on the side of the plate.

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