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Foodie pharmacist savours healthy recipes

A local pharmacist and foodie, Maureen Pilcher (pictured) uses a mortar and pestle to create things to make the community well again but at home its her culinary skills that wow her family and friends. Children away from home call regularly for treasured recipes always at Maureen's fingertips. It is not unusual to see Maureen re-planning the evening meal after finding a new recipe or re-discovering an old one during some quiet time at lunch. One of her favourite cookbooks is Lighten Up (a new healthier way to cook) by Jill Dupleix. She said it was full of tempting healthy but still delicious recipes. Here is a Panzanella (Italian bread salad) recipe to try and don't forget resting time for the salad (and the chef!)

Serves 4,
450g good sourdough bread (a day old),
4 ripe tomatoes,
2 garlic cloves, crushed,
1tbsp salted capers, rinsed,
4 anchovy fillets, rinsed,
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper,
5tbsp extra-virgin olive oil,
1tbsp red wine vinegar,
1 sweet red pepper,
2tbsp black olives,
Good handful of torn basil leaves.

Slice the sourdough bread thickly and cut off the crusts. Grill the bread until brown on both sides, then tear into chunky cubes and set aside. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze the seeds and juice into a strainer set above a bowl. Discard the seeds, keep the juice and cut the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks. Add the garlic, capers, anchovies, salt and pepper to the tomato juice and mash well. Add the olive oil and red wine vinegar, and pour this dressing over the bread and set aside.
Grill or roast the sweet red pepper until the skin is blackened and blistered. Peel off the skin, cut the pepper in half and discard the core and seeds. Cut the pepper into strips. Combine the soaked bread, tomatoes and sweet pepper in a large bowl. Add the dressing, the olives and torn basil leaves, and lightly toss. Leave for an hour before serving. The bread will absorb the dressing, so you may need to drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil over the top before serving. Yummo!

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