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.
“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.
These slightly sweet falafels are soft and moist. They are perfect with humus, pita bread and salad, but I also like them warm with Apple sauce which I first had as a starter at the restaurant Caravan in Exmouth market and still remember it as a surprisingly brilliant combo. You can double or triple the amounts from the recipe and bake them in batches if you want to make more. My friends who I’ve tested this recipe on said that they’re the best falafels they’ve ever had!
Makes about 15 falafel.
1 400g tin or a 380g carton of chick peas, drained completely
1/2 a small red onion finely chopped
2 cloves of roughly chop garlic
a small sprig of parsley
a small sprig of coriander
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 cup of sultanas
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 heaped tablespoon of wholemeal spelt flour , or plain flour
more olive oil for cooking, I use spray olive oil
This is the food of the gods and needs no explaining as to how good it is. It’s perfect for a stress-free Valentine’s dinner or a date night as it only take as long as the pasta takes to cook.
When I’ve been to Venice I practically live on it as it really is my favourite thing and I can’t get enough of it. It can be made in under 20 minutes and the ingredients can be bought days in advance. This recipe is an original Venetian recipe which I always love to cook, as it is like a lot of Italian recipes, very simple. There are two sorts of Vongole, in bianco, which is made like this recipe, or in rosso which is made with tomatoes. When I make it everyone goes mad for it… so try it, it’s not expensive and it is quick and easy.
500g box of frozen clams (I get them from Waitrose for £3.59) or use fresh from the fishmonger if you prefer
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
a bunch of flat leaf parsley finely chopped
half a red chilli very finely chopped
1 lemon zest and juice
three tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter (optional)
500g spaghetti or linguine
1 cup of white wine or two tablespoons of vermouth
Salt and pepper
These shortcakes are very chocolatey, fun and vegan. Anyone can make them. All you do is mix the ingredients, bake them, dip in warm chocolate and leave to cool. They taste amazingly buttery even though there’s no butter in them and are perfect as a gift for your loved ones (…or loved ones), in a cellophane bag or a small box with a red ribbon because I think a homemade present is really thoughtful. I’ve tried these out on friends who can’t tell they are dairy free, in fact they even preferred them to normal biscuits made with butter!
Makes around 20 cookies depending on the size of your cookie cutter
1 cup of mild coconut oil
3/4 cup golden caster sugar
2 1/2 cups of plain flour (I use white organic spelt flour)
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder plus more for rolling out the dough
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of salt
200g of dark chocolate or white dairy free chocolate (now available from my Sainsbury’s)
This no churn boozy sorbet is based on the the delicious pear drop cocktail which is pear juice with vodka and vanilla. It’s such a brilliant combination of flavours I have made it into an easy gelato version which is perfect for valentine’s night or date night as it’s lighter than a traditional dessert, so you won’t feel like dozing off after dinner as you dim the lights and crank up the Barry White…
It can be made in advance and kept frozen till needed. It’s also very easy and quick to make, you just need a freezer and a food processor or a nutribullet.
Happy date night!
Makes about half a litre
4 ripe pears
1 cup of vodka (or pear juice if you are teetotal)
150g of sugar or maple syrup
1 lemon juiced
1 tsp of vanilla bean paste
A perfect romantic Valentine’s dinner for two or more if it’s a dinner party, just double or triple the quantities for the amount of people you are feeding. This easy risotto tastes delicious and before you think it’s too expensive to cook, I got a frozen lobster for £5.00 from Lidl. It’s a bit of work getting the meat out, but after that it’s easy. For the stock, I can’t praise Knorr fish stock pots highly enough. You would be hard pushed to make a better stock and they are a store cupboard essential round in my kitchen.
1 lobster, thawed if frozen
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 shallots finely chopped
200g risotto rice
Pinch of saffron
450ml rich fish stock
2 garlic cloves minced
A bunch parsley finely chopped
1/4 cup of rosé wine
Lemon wedges and zest to serve (optional)
Double cream or butter (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Moqueca is a super easy traditional Brazilian fish stew which is creamy and tangy all at once because it has the brilliant combo of lime juice, coconut milk and chilli. It will warm your cockles even on an autumn evening and take you to somewhere a little bit more exotic if you are not there already. You can also use fresh squid, sea bream, haddock, clams, mussels, scallops, crab or whatever is available or whatever you fancy in it. It’s up to you. Its really delicious with basmati rice or crusty bread if you are not low carbing it. Perfect for a dinner party or just a dinner for two.
Serves 2-3 (double ingredients for 6).
500g boned and skinned white fish cut into chunks (I use cod here)
Juice and zest of one lime
1/2 red onion finely sliced
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 red pepper cut into small cubes
2 cloves garlic minced
1 red chilli finely chopped
1 cup of rich fish stock using a bit less hot water to make it than it says on the box or make your own stock (I use a Knorr fish stock pot, they are brilliant)
200g tin of chopped tomatoes (half a regular tin)
1 cup from a can of coconut milk (only the thick cream bit)
6 big raw prawns or 200 g of smaller ones
A sprig of coriander finely chopped
Toasted coconut chips (optional)
Wedges of lime to serve
Like the aubergine stew Caponata this divine traditional Italian stew of sweet savoury peppers is a bit like a relish. It’s often served as antipasti with assorted cheeses, olives, breads and salad. This recipe reminds me of when I was a child, my Italian aunt Marie used to serve it in a bap, plain with no butter, just olive oil, I thought it was the most delicious thing I’d ever eaten and I still love it. Like a lot of stews, it gets better after a day or two in the fridge. It can be served hot or cold, as an anti-pasti, or with bread, pasta or meat. I love it with Parmesan on toasted sourdough with a sprinkling of shredded basil….do try it.
Serves 4, as a side dish.
500 g red, yellow or orange peppers (I use the wonky cheap ones)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
200 g (half a standard tin) of chopped tomatoes
½ tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste