1. Rice Salad with Seasonal Vegetables

    Rice Salad with Seasonal Vegetables

    Recipe from Chef John Coletta.

    For 8-10 people:


    11/4Cups Acquerello Carnaroli rice

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

    1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

    2 red bell peppers

    6 cups fresh fava bean pods, shelled, beans blanched and peeled to make 2 cups fava beans, or 2 cups fresh peeled and steamed refrigerated fava

    1 bunch asparagus spears, woody stems and papery scales cut into pieces to make 2 cups

    2 carrots, sliced to make 2 cups

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

    1 (7-inch) zucchini, sliced to make 2 cups

    5 sage leaves, finely snipped

    1 large bunch dandelion greens or arugula, leaves only, hand torn to make 2 lightly packed cups

    4 lemons, sliced into quarters

    Basil pesto

    Sea salt and black pepper in grinders, for the table


    In a medium heavy-gauge saucepan or pot over medium heat, combine 4 cups water, the rice, butter, and salt. Stir until the water comes to a boil.

    Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, stirring until the rice is tender but not mushy and has absorbed almost all of the liquid This should take 18 to 20 minutes from the simmering stage. Set aside.

    Meanwhile, using tongs, blister the skin of the bell peppers on all sides over a gas flame on the stovetop or under the broiler. When the roasted peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off and discard the skin. Chop the peppers and place in a small serving bowl.

    Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium heavy-gauge saucepan or pot, heat 4I2 cups water to boiling over medium beat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Blanch the fava beans until al dente; scoop them out into a small serving bowl. Blanch the asparagus pieces until al dente; scoop them out into another small serving bowl. Turn off the heat and discard the cooking water.

    Toss the carrots with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil; spread them out on a sheet pan. Roast in the oven until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a medium saute pan over medium heat. Saut the zucchini with the sage until tender. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Wipe out the saute pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Saute the dandelion greens until wilted but not soggy.

    Transfer to a small serving bowl.

    To serve, spoon the cooked rice into a serving dish. Surround the rice with the small bowls of different vegetables. Add a small pitcher of olive oil; place the lemon wedges on a plate, and put out salt and black pepper grinders. Spoon the pesto into a small bowl.

    Invite guests to build their own salads.

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  2. Trek China – 18 to 30 April 2018

    Trek China – 18 to 30 April 2018

    Trek China – 18 to 30 April 2018

    A big ‘thank you’ for all your support and words of encouragement to myself and the team throughout our Great Wall of China trek.

    Day 1. We arrive in China and complete our first day in glorious sunshine.

    This challenging trek takes in stretches both of well-restored wall, as well as ancient unrestored sections in quieter locations, to give a balanced experience of history and culture. The trekking will be tough, the ascents and descents are steep with lots of steps to climb as the wall follows the local topography. Our rewards will panoramic views over the hilly Chinese countryside, a mixture of rocky ridges, terraced farmland, dense forest and open rolling hills.

    Day 2. The first challenge was preparing a packed lunch with chopsticks and a spoon. It then became a lot more challenging as we trekked along a less tourist, unreconstructed route in constant rain. After drying off, the evening was spent having a lesson in mahjong.

    The Great Wall of China was first started in the C7th BC. Little of that remains, but the majority of what is there was built during the Ming Dynasty in the C14th. While you can’t actually see it from space, contrary to popular myth, it is none-the-less an astonishing feat of human engineering that stretches in total to 13,171 miles if you include all its branches.

    Day 3. We take on the very challenging 302 steps of the ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Evening activity was the popular Chinese pastime of paper cutting.

    Day 4. Trekking a remote part of the wall away from the tourist areas, hardly a soul in sight. Spectacular views and hairy moments. Laura tried to hitch a lift from a statue but no go there!

    Day 5. Trekking very steep terrain, non-stop steps, 30 watch towers, intense heat. This is certainly NOT a relaxing holiday. We’re so proud of our amazing team and they’re still smiling!

    Day 6 – WE DID IT!! 6 days, 98 km, 75 watch towers and a few sore feet. Thanks to Laura and her wonderful friends for making this happen and raising a huge amount of money in memory of John. There were parts today so steep some had to come down on their backsides but all in a good cause.

    The time now is for celebrations and a few days sightseeing before coming home.

    It's not too late to sponsor the team, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/johnkingbraintumourfoundation

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