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 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 recipes is, per portion, less than the price of a commercial sandwich and predominantly pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan and with an anti ageing and healthy bias. So you can 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.

rose and pistachio chewy cookies

The delicious flavours of these cookies are based on the traditional middle eastern flavours of pistachio and rose water which are used a lot in their sweets and baking. I have made these vegan but you can replace the coconut oil with butter if you prefer. I have always loved these flavours and so does Ralph (as a little girl I was given little boxes of rose and violet creams by my mummy) his review of this recipe is as follows..
These are a great balance between crunchy and chewy…and the pistachio and rose are the perfect combination. They taste like Lebanon in the Spring time… and who doesn’t want to see what that tastes like..

Recipe

Makes 24 cookies.

Ingredients:
200g self raising flour (I use self raising spelt from Whole Foods Market)
150g mild coconut oil
150g of golden caster sugar
3 tablespoons of golden syrup
2 teaspoons of rose water
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of salt
A couple of handfuls of pistachios, raw no skin
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
3 heaped tablespoons of powdered sugar
Some edible rose petals (optional)

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goat’s cheese and beetroot tartines

I love beetroot and goat’s cheese as a combo. I always order it as a starter at the amazing  Austrian Fischers restaurant in Marylebone High Street in London. I love the salty flavour of the goat’s cheese with the slightly sweet beetroot and sweet balsamic vinegar. My idea is to put this salad on crunchy bread to add more texture. It’s a really perfect starter or light meal or a snack.

Recipe

Serves 2 as a lunch or light meal or 4 as a starter.

Ingredients:
Four slices of bread roasted sourdough or toasted and drizzled with olive oil
200g creamy goat’s cheese log or goats cheese in a tub
A handful of baby salad leaves
Some pea shoots (optional)
A few beetroot balls (I buy the pre-cooked beetroot in natural juices in a vacuum pack)
A clove of garlic
A pea-sized speck of mustard, I use English
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of syrupy balsamic vinegar (I use Belazu balsamic vinegar di Modena) if not, use normal and add half a teaspoon of maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste

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chocolate dipped vanilla shortbread

These vanilla cookies are very melt in the mouth and very buttery tasting and shortbread is one of the easiest biscuits to make as it has very few ingredients and doesn’t spread out during baking like other biscuits. I’ve tested these shortbreads out on friends who said they couldn’t tell they were vegan and they really love them and were surprised there was no butter in them at all.
I think if there were more vegan recipes that were really delicious and looked very appealing more people would happily opt for them. I hope to change that with my vegan recipes and I think that food should be delicious and look lovely and that includes vegan. I don’t believe in being obsessively saintly as that’s too extreme, my recipes are healthy and delicious with a bit of an indulgent bias both visually and taste wise.  If you prefer to make them with butter you can, I just tend to be as dairy free as much as possible.

Recipe

Makes about 20.

Ingredients:
1 cup of warm mild coconut oil
1 vanilla pod or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 of caster sugar (I use golden)
1/2 cup of plain flour (I use spelt)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
150g of dark chocolate

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vegan strawberry shortcake cookies

It’s challenging converting a tasty recipe to vegan as the flavours and textures can be very different from the original recipes. I always think vegan recipes need to be more fun, so I am trying to come up with fun recipes on this blog that are not only vegan but look and taste as good if not better than the original. I’m trying these cookies out on three foodie friends in a minute who love dairy, and they don’t hold back in telling me what they think about my new recipes.
Ok, I’m back…they loved them and they thought they were very pretty and tasted delicious and wanted the recipe before I publish it. We all decided they would be very nice with vegan vanilla ice cream, I love Swedish Glace and fresh strawberries or they would be perfect for making an ice cream sandwich with…or simply with just a slice of strawberry on top.

Recipe

Makes  20 cookies.

Ingredients:
1 cup of warmed mild coconut oil, you can use ordinary coconut oil too
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 cup golden caster sugar
2 and a half cups of plain flour (I use white organic spelt flour)
1 cup of freeze dried strawberries Sainsbury’s baking section
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
4 tablespoons of icing sugar

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crab tartines with avocado and lime

This recipe is a great way of making a fairly expensive ingredient go a long way, and anyway, what could be nicer than crab with chilli and lime on crunchy bread with avocado and pickled cucumber? The perfect combo of flavours and textures. The lime is the perfect match for crab and is slightly more subtle than if I used a lemon, which you can do if you prefer. It’s a great starter to any dinner, just multiply it by the number of guests.

Recipe

For two as a light meal or four as a starter.

Ingredients:

1/2 red chilli very finely chopped
One tin of crab meat drained or 120g of fresh crab
Four slices of scorched sourdough bread
One lime, zest and juice plus another for squeezing later
3 tablespoons of olive oil plus more for drizzling on the bread
1/2 a clove of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup
1 ripe avocado cut into tiny cubes
2 pickled cucumber spears finely chopped
1/2 a small red onion very finely chopped
A small sprig of parsley
A sprinkling of nigella seeds
Salt and pepper

Dressing
In a small bowl mix the olive oil with the chilli, lime juice and zest,  maple syrup, pickled cucumber, garlic and salt and pepper to taste, then gently mix in the avocado to coat it in the dressing.

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caprese salad tartines

Caprese salad is summer personified…the flavours and the white, greens and reds of the salad are not only the national flags colours, they are the Mediterranean on a plate. You get the crunchiness of the bread with caprese salad in a simple olive oil and balsamic dressing with lots of basil.
I love these tartines because they are not only delicious but I can imagine myself by the sea in Italy on a hot summer day with a glass of wine having a two hour lunch in a pair of espadrilles and a floaty caftan and dipping a toe in the pool. These are perfect for brunch, lunch or for a light supper.

Recipe

For two or four as a starter but you can multiply it by how many to feed.

Ingredients:
1 large mozzarella ball
A chargrilled pepper, I buy these in a bottle form Sainsbury’s, they are called chargrilled peppers antipasto, but you can roast one in the oven too (optional)
A few tomatoes, I used red green and yellow for colour
A small bunch of basil
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling, I love Belazu balsamic of Modena
Four slices of roasted sourdough 
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

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red onion bahji

A freshly made onion bhaji is one of the finest things in life and surprisingly easy to make. The perfect bhaji is crispy on the outside and waffley on the inside with the perfume of Indian spices and fried onions, making this a fantastic snack or accompaniment to an Indian meal. I cooked them in healthier coconut oil and my friends that tried them loved the coconutty flavour the oil gave them. I serve them with wedges of lemon or lime and a sprinkle of fresh coriander, but they are equally good with mango or lime chutney, tamarind sauce or a cucumber raita.

Recipe

Makes about 8.

Ingredients:
2 medium red onions
A pinch of salt
2 minced garlic cloves
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon of tumeric
5 tablespoons of gram flour
Water, as needed
Coconut oil for frying
Salt and pepper

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