great food made easy

Cooking doesn’t have to be hard work. No one knows how long you’ve spent in the kitchen. All they are thinking is if they really liked the food or not.

Having already created two cooking apps for Apple, I have now created my own blog version which simplifies otherwise complicated recipes so anyone can feel confident in cooking them. The easy recipes and the way they are written are great for teaching kids to cook too, plus it’s all designed for a basic kitchen and the ingredients are available in most supermarkets. The cost of most of these healthy recipes is, per portion, less than the price of a commercial sandwich and predominantly pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan with an anti ageing and mostly healthy bias. There is an indulgent section too because no one’s perfect and life’s too short. So you can easily pimp up your repertoire on a budget.

You’re welcome.

“Since I starting cooking Anna’s truly delicious and easy recipes, I am throwing away most of my cookbooks as I use only one or two recipes from each book, whereas I’ll happily cook all of these recipes, over and over again. It has become my favourite cookbook, and I’m always recommending it to my friends who want really delicious food without the hassle.”

– Jenny, TV producer/director and mum.

my big fat greek baked beans (gigantes plaki)

I have always had a soft spot for these delicious Greek baked beans, they are easy to make, all plant based and excellent with warm flatbreads (check out my pizza dough recipe to make truly fresh flatbreads) and my creamy bean hummus (takes 5 minutes) with a crisp green salad. If you aren’t going down the vegan route then they are fantastic served with a big block of feta, some olives and warm flatbreads for a tasty mezze.

Recipe

450g of dried broad beans (butter beans) I get them from my local Middle Eastern supermarket or online

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 peeled clove of garlic

1/2 cup of good olive oil

1 large red onion finely chopped

a small bunch of parsley finely chopped

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1/2 a stick of celery finely chopped or a pinch of celery salt

1 teaspoon of maple syrup (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

How

Firstly put the beans in a container of water, making sure they are all submerged and leave overnight. I topped the water up as they swelled up quite a bit.

The next day

Drain the beans and stick in a pan and cover with cold water and add a big pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for an hour or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180c /350f

In a deep baking dish or pan, put in the chopped onion, garlic clove and olive oil, and bake for 10 mins.

Now add the drained beans, parsley, celery or celery salt, salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and stir in the tinned tomatoes, half a cup of water and the oregano, cover in tin foil tightly and cook for an hour or until the beans are really tender and the sauce is thick and unctuous, you might have to add more water if they get too dry, and stir them occasionally. Check the seasoning and serve warm or at room temperature. Stores in the fridge for a few days.

mock crispy duck canapés

these are a lower carb version of the little mock duck pancakes that I get from Feng Sushi in London. They are absolutely delicious and moreish and I love a canapé, I’d live on them if I could as they are tiny and tasty. You can serve them on Chinese pancakes if you prefer.

makes about 15

Ingredients

1 block of very firm tofu ( I use Tofoo co but Sainsbury’s are making it too now)

a jar of good quality hoisin sauce (check for gluten if you are gluten free)

a bunch of spring/green onions

1 large cucumber

a cup of cornflour in a bowl

quarter of a cup of oil (I use mild coconut)

black sesame seeds

Salt

Lime wedges (optional)

How

firstly slice the onions lengthwise as fine as possible and put them into iced water to curl up, this takes about an hour.

Next chop the tofu into very small cubes and stick into the cornflour bowl, then remove and gently shake the excess flour off (this can be a bit messy, wear an apron to be on the safe side) Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the tofu till crispy and golden then drain on a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle with salt.

Cut the cucumber into thin discs that are thick enough to be rigid to hold the rest of the ingredients and place on a serving plate.

Put one or two pieces of tofu on to the cucumber discs with a splodge of the hoisin sauce. Drain the onions on a tea towel and garnish the tofu with as much as you fancy. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and add an optional squeeze of lime and serve.

If using Chinese pancakes (available from Chinese supermarkets, Waitrose and Tesco) cut them in half and add the crispy tofu, onions, and hoisin sauce with some slivers of cucumber and roll them up.

apple snow

my mum used to make this traditional English apple dessert on special occasions and according to what I’ve read about it’s history the recipe dates back to the 17th century and was called apple fluff amongst other things. I remember big bowls of it in the larder where I would stick my finger in and scoop up a delicious morsel. It’s light as a feather and you can add a teaspoon of your favourite spice to it if you fancy, to make it more Christmassy. It’s a great alternative to all the rich festive food and works as a light pud all year round.

serves 3-4 or multiply it for more people

Ingredients

1lb of Bramley apples, peeled cored and diced

3/4 cup of sugar

1 lemon, zest and juice

2 egg whites

1 optional teaspoon of spice, I added allspice

How

Stew the apples with 1/2 cup approx of the sugar with the lemon juice and zest (and mixed spice if using) until tender, this takes about ten to twenty minutes. They should be quite dry at the end, so continue to cook till all the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool and blend in a blender or with a stick blender till smooth.

With a hand blender, whisk up the egg whites with the remaining sugar until stiff. Then gently fold the egg whites into the apple mixture until mixed through.

Spoon into serving glasses and serve with a small biscuit or shortbread.

NB it’s not advisable for pregnant women or people suffering with a compromised immune system to eat raw egg.

spaghetti al limone

if you love lemons this recipe is for you. It’s all store cupboard and really easy. The lemon makes it zingy and the almonds add a nutty crunch. It’s a popular primo in southern Italy and particularly in the summer. If you can get lemons from Sorrento even better, but it’s not essential at all.

Serves 2 but you can multiply it for more people

Ingredients

250g spaghetti

3/4 cup of finely chopped basil leaves plus some leaves for garnishing

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 cup of grated parmesan

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of toasted chopped almonds

a big spoon of toasted breadcrumbs

How

Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet. Reserve half a cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

in a big bowl mix the basil, lemon juice and zest, parmesan and olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the spaghetti through and add a bit of the cooking water if it’s a bit dry, but don’t make it soupy, so just a tad.

Serve with sprinkled with the almonds,toasted breadcrumbs, a few basil leaves and a big grating of more parmesan. Delicious with a crisp green salad my Perfect Vinaigrette.

italian broad bean salad with anchovies

I bought a big bag of frozen broad beans from a Middle Eastern grocers and was wondering what to make with them, then I remembered an old Italian recipe for a broad bean salad with an anchovy dressing. I’ve adapted it slightly to suit my tastes and make it easy and added lemon and basil instead of vinegar and marjoram and it tastes really fresh even though it’s all store cupboard. It’s perfect as a side dish with a main meal or I serve it on scorched toast.

Serves 2

Ingredients

200g of frozen broad beans or podded fresh if you can get them

2 anchovy fillets

2 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

4 tbs of olive oil

a bunch of basil

How

if you are using fresh broad beans boil them for about 3 minutes, drain, and refresh in cold water until cool, drain thoroughly and remove the outer skins.

if you are using frozen, thaw them, boil for a minute and refresh in cold water to cool and drain thoroughly.

make the dressing by putting the anchovy fillets, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and a small sprig of the basil into a small blender and blend till it’s creamy and mix through the beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more basil leaves and serve. As I said, I love it on toast.

celeriac remoulade with fresh mackerel

I have been meaning to put this recipe on the blog for ages, it’s just so delicious because the combination of the flavours of the mustardy, lemony dressing cuts through the oiliness of the mackerel and just tastes great. The celeriac remoulade recipe is from The Ivy cookbook and I added some chopped chives. It’s a really delicious lower carb meal or delicious with roasted sourdough if you prefer and mackerel is not only packed with omega3 oils which are really good for you but it’s also budget friendly.

recipe serves 2

Ingredients

1 small head of celeriac, peeled and finely shredded (I used the my larger grater attachment on my Magimix)

juice of half a lemon

2 tsps of English mustard

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbs of good quality mayonnaise (I use Stokes)

Vinaigrette

50ml olive oil

100ml vegetable oil ( I used more olive oil)

30ml white wine vinegar

70g Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp sugar (I used maple syrup)

salt and pepper

finely chopped chives(optional)

2 mackerel fillets

How

it says in the Ivy cookbook to soak the shredded celeriac in a bowl of water with the lemon juice for an hour, then dry it on a tea towel, I didn’t and it was fine and I added the lemon juice to the dressing instead. Make the vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients together, including the lemon juice, I whisked the mayonnaise in too, but the book says to serve it on the side. Season with salt and pepper, mix and set aside.

Fry the mackerel fillets in a little oil on a gentle heat for four minutes with the skin side up, then turn them over for another minute.

Place the fillets on plates with big spoonfuls of the remoulade and sprinkle with the chopped chives.

easy chocolate fondant torte

this cake looks more like a tart without the pastry than a cake, but because it’s so rich and chocolatey it’s perfect. It’s really fondanty and crisp on the outside. You can also make a dairy free and/or a gluten free version too if you prefer. It’s delicious with red berries and vanilla ice cream or with whatever you prefer and it’s all from store cupboard ingredients.

Serves up to six

Ingredients

3 medium size eggs( beaten)

a half cup plus a teaspoon of butter or Naturli vegan spread

1/2 a cup of unsweetened cocoa

1 cup of golden caster sugar

1 cup of plain flour or ground almonds( almond flour)

2 tsps of vanilla paste or extract

1/2 tsp of salt

How

Firstly heat the oven to 180c/350 f and prepare a 20 cm spring form baking tin by placing a circle of baking paper in the bottom and spraying all of the inside with cake release spray or brush with oil.

Melt the butter or vegan spread in a saucepan on a low heat and set to one side to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients together with a big spoon until the batter is smooth and there are no lumps.

Tip the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is cooked and the middle is still soft, if you press it with your finger it gives a little. All ovens vary so the cooking time is approximate, however, mine took precisely 20 minutes.

Cool the cake in the tin. When it’s cool, run a knife around the outside edge of the cake and open the spring form and either place on a cake stand or plate with the cake pan bottom underneath or gently remove it, I didn’t as it was too gooey. Dust with cocoa or icing sugar and serve with whatever you fancy, red berries, vanilla ice cream or clotted cream go really well with it.

Store in fridge.

pasta con baccalà in rosso

This delicious traditional Italian pasta recipe is made with salt cod in a tomato sauce: the salt cod needs a couple of days prep in advance but it’s really easy and really worth it. It’s the most delicious combination of textures and the salt cod has a divine flavour. Salt cod is an excellent store cupboard ingredient too. 


Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 200g of salt cod/fish (prepared, see below)
  • 300g tin of chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 tbs of aged balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tsp of maple syrup 
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • A pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 4  tbsp of olive oil
  • A small bunch of fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic peeled and finely slice.
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 200g of any long pasta (I made mine with linguine)

How:

To prepare the salt cod it needs to be soaked for 2 days, changing the water three times a day. I store it in the fridge. Drain it thoroughly. The skin, if it has any, can then be removed and any bones too. Cut into chunks.

In a frying pan, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil till soft, put in the tomatoes, the lemon zest, a little pinch of the chilli, the maple syrup, the balsamic and the cod and gently simmer for 30 minutes with a lid on. If it starts to dry out add a splash of water.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet and mix with the sauce in the pan. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the top and sprinkle with the parsley. Check the seasoning, I add a good grinding of pepper as it might not need salt, or very little. 

I shop at:
Waitrose
Sainsbury’s
Tesco
Lidl

baccalà alla Napoletana

This Italian recipe is made on Christmas Eve and holidays but I like to eat it anytime and it’s made with the unbelievably delicious dried salted cod which is rehydrated in the fridge for 3 days before you cook it (salted dried cod is a brilliant store cupboard ingredient and it’s available in most supermarkets in the world food section or a Spanish or Italian deli). It’s a complete meal with the potatoes, just add a crisp green salad and that’s lunch or dinner sorted… if you are extra hungry you could add some roasted sourdough with olive oil and a scraping of fresh garlic. It’s even delicious served at room temperature. if you haven’t got time to soak the salt cod, you can use fresh cod cut into chunks and put it in the stew to poach for the last ten minutes of cooking or till cooked through.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 400g of dried salted cod which is rehydrated in the fridge in water for 3 days, refreshing the water about two to three times a day. If it tastes pleasantly salty it’s ready, if not repeat for another day, or 500g of fresh cod.
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 finely diced celery stalks
  • 2 large peeled potatoes
  • Half a red pepper chopped
  • 1 large red onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup of fish stock (I always use Knorr stock pots, they are brilliant)
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • A handful of black olives (stoned)
  • A small pinch of chilli flakes, or to taste
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of capers
  • A small bunch of chopped parsley
  • Pepper and salt to taste

How:

Firstly prepare the potatoes by cutting them into small chunks and blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain them and set aside.

prepare the fish by draining it thoroughly, pat dry with a clean tea towel and then remove any of the skin. Cut into medium sized chunks, about the size of your thumb.

Put the olive oil into a large pan and on a medium heat fry the cod pieces till they cooked through.Take out and set aside.

Put the chopped pepper, celery and onion in the pan and sauté till soft, about six minutes. Add the fish stock, tomatoes, olives, white wine, chilli flakes and capers and bring to a simmer.

Add the potatoes and gently cook for another six minutes. Add the cod, some pepper and some of the parsley and cook on a low heat for a further twenty minutes. Check the seasoning. Serve straight away with a sprinkle of the remaining parsley. 

I shop at:
Waitrose
Sainsbury’s
Tesco
Lidl

marinated tomato salad with pickled shallots

I was inspired to make this simple salad after I had a similar tomato salad at the excellent Turnips restaurant in Borough Market. It’s really delicious on its own or with burrata, as a side to a main meal or with or on toasted sourdough bread. You can add chopped herbs like basil and parsley to it too if you fancy. 


Ingredients

Serves 2-3

Dressing 

  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tbs balsamic (I always use Belazu aged balsamic)
  • 1/2 tsp Maldon salt
  • 1-2 tsp of maple syrup 
  • A big grinding of black pepper

How:

Whisk all the dressing ingredients in a big bowl.

Place the tomatoes and half a cup of the pickled shallots into the dressing, gently stir through and refrigerate for at least two hours or up to eight.

Before serving, bring the salad up to room temperature for half an hour and add more pepper. 

I shop at:
Waitrose
Sainsbury’s
Tesco
Lidl