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 and vegan. 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.

italian beans on toast with poached eggs

Beans on toast with a fried or poached egg is up there as a great tasting breakfast or light meal. I have taken a traditional Italian recipe that ramps up the taste and textures and added my own tweaks, but mainly a poached egg, which you can leave out if you want the vegan version it’s still delicious.

Recipe

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
4 thin slices of sourdough bread
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 peeled garlic clove
Salt

Beans
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small red onion very finely sliced
A large handful of small tomatoes quartered
A tablespoon of finely chopped parsley
1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans drained and rinsed
4 eggs

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caramelised roasted red onions

These onions are roasted until they are caramelised and sitting in an unctuous balsamic syrupy sauce. This recipe pays tribute to the humble onion as a vegetable in its own right. They are fab with a roast dinner or as a side dish and they are also great at room temperature along side salads and bread. But apart from being delicious, studies  have shown that rosemary has amazing anti ageing properties, ten percent of the population in the town of Acciaroli in Italy are over 100 years and scientists are putting it down to the rosemary in their diet and scientific studies have also shows that rosemary helps maintain and improve brain function and memory. So I’m adding Rosemary to my diet whenever I can, which is easy as I love the taste and smell.

Recipe

Ingredients:
4-5 largish red onions
A couple tablespoons of olive oil
A couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
A tablespoon of maple syrup
A sprig of fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

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guacamole

Guac is the perfect tasty health food and this recipe is bursting with vitamins. Everyone  has their version of it and this is my version , it is silky smooth, except for the chopped red onion and tomatoes on top. It’s got all the authentic Mexican flavours of lime, chilli, oregano and cumin and it has a bit of a kick. You can put in half the chilli if you prefer it milder. I have eaten this ever since I went on the Fit for Life diet years ago. I’d have it on toasted rye bread with butter, but now I’d just make it with bread brushed with olive oil, roasted and sprinkled with a pinch of salt. It’s a lovely combo of crunchy, creamy and spicy and it’s super delicious. Perfect for lunch as it takes minutes to make.

Recipe

Ingredients:
3 ripe avocados
½ a red onion very finely chopped
2 Limes
Tomatoes, a small handful, very finely chopped into tiny pieces
¼ clove of peeled garlic
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper ( you can add as much as little as you like)
¼ teaspoon of dried oregano
¼ teaspoon of ground cumin
Salt to taste (optional)

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scorched or roasted sourdough toast

Toast is one of the best things ever. And this is one of the tastiest way of cooking bread and is so fantastic and crammed with flavour that when I gave it to Ralph to try he was as bowled over as I was. I like it even more than normal toast, which is, of course, a brilliant invention, but if you are going down the non-dairy route and you want your bread to be just as scrumptious as toast with butter, slices of bread roasted or scorched in a dry pan with a light spray of oil and a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt are ruddy marvellous.  If you roast it, it becomes like a giant crunchy crouton, which can be the basis for a tartine or any breakfast where you have toast. (I have also put fried mushrooms on it as a starter) This is also a great way to make bread tasty without adding butter or margarine. So it’s perfect for dairy free and vegan diets. Go on try it, you will still like toast, but not as much.

Recipe

Ingredients:
Sourdough bread slices
A spritz of oil (I use mild coconut oil which has no taste or flavour and doesn’t become toxic when heated to high temperatures but you can use olive oil, if you prefer) I sometimes use the olive oil that comes in a spray
Salt, I use Maldon flakes

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chewy vegan florentines

I took a Mary Berry recipe for Florentines and converted it to a vegan recipe, so they are dairy free. What is missing in some vegan baking is the luxurious taste of fine ingredients and interesting textures. These Florentines are chewy, tasty and very lux, perfect for a special occasion or just with coffee as a treat.
I’m testing them out later on friends, and I won’t tell them they are vegan then I’ll get back to you…..yay they loved them and couldn’t tell they were vegan.

Recipe

Makes 18.

Ingredients:
50g of coconut oil (I use mild)
50g of golden caster sugar
50g of golden syrup
50g of plain flour (I used white spelt)
25g of glacé cherries finely chopped
50g of candied peel finely chopped
50g of flaked almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g of plain chocolate ( I use green and blacks plain cooking chocolate)

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rhubarb and fennel salad

Raw rhubarb can be used as a colourful and tasty salad ingredient and is fantastic very thinly shaved and ‘cooked’ in the dressing you are going to serve with the salad. The dressing goes a bit pink from the rhubarb which I think is delightful and the rhubarb looks divine. You can leave out the Pecorino if you are dairy free or vegan and the salad would still be delicious. I would happily serve this as a starter with some crusty bread.

Recipe

Serves 2-3.

Ingredients:
Rhubarb, a small fat stick
1 teaspoon of nigella or poppy seed
A little sprig of chives very very finely chopped
A small fennel bulb
Pecorino shavings

Dressing
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 limes, zest and juice
5 teaspoons of maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon of English mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

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Michelle Obama’s pea salad

It looks like Michelle is a pea fan like me. She is a great advocate for healthy living and really looks amazing so she’s doing something right. This recipe is from her cookbook called American Grown which is geared around cooking fresh and healthy food and most of which was grown in the White House gardens. I have tweaked the recipe slightly to suit my tastes but you don’t have to, I have put an optional beside the ingredients I have added. I also used frozen petit pois as they are readily available and are sweeter and much more tender than standard peas. This is the perfect Spring salad and perfect for eating at Easter time with other salads, roast meat or fish or with my nut loaf.

Recipe

Serves 2-3.

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups of frozen petit pois thawed overnight in the fridge (they don’t need cooking, so they retain all the vitamins)
1 small shallot very finely sliced
1 small leek, cleaned and very finely sliced, white part only
Zest and juice of a medium sized lemon
¼ cup of olive oil
½ cup shredded mint leaves
1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup (optional but I prefer it sweeter)
Pea shoots (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

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