beetroot salad with pistachios

Apart from being very pretty, this beetroot salad tastes amazing. It’s from the fab cookbook Many Greek Kitchens by Tessa Kiros which is stuffed with brilliant recipes and pictures. I served this at a dinner party with other salads, fries and roast fish, but you could also serve it as part of a mezze. It’s fresh creamy sweet and crunchy, my favourite things.

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chicory salad with anchovy sauce and breadcrumbs

OMG this salad is so delicious, the recipe is a traditional Italian salad from the Rome area of Italy and its usually served with bread on the side but I’ve made a crunchy sourdough crumb to go on top of it instead. Chicory is a tad bitter, which Italians love hence our love of the aperitif Campari, so you can add a teaspoon of maple syrup or sugar to the sauce if you prefer it a little sweeter. This salad is fantastic with fish or cheese or if you eat meat it would work really well with roast chicken or lamb.

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spanish orange glazed squid

I have a oldish Spanish cookbook with fantastic recipes in it that are great as tapas. I’m working my way through it pretending I’m in Barcelona. This recipe from that book has the sweetness of oranges which work really well with squid and the smokiness of the smoked paprika giving it a real Spanish vibe. I’ve tweaked it slightly and replaced the sugar with maple syrup so it’s low glycemic. You can eat it as tapas with other small plates or combine it with pasta as I did. I bought my black pasta from my Italian deli but it works equally well with plain old standard spaghetti or Linguine. It’s perfect for a dinner party or a date night. My friend Timna says it’s up there with my crab Linguine as one of the best things she’s ever tasted.

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chocolate truffle brownies (I can’t believe they are vegan)

These brownies are squidgy and very chocolatey… but not too sweet, add more of the coconut sugar if you prefer them sweeter, and the prunes add that extra squidge factor. I tried them at a dinner party with fresh raspberries and they were a big hit. My friend Vicki thought they were very truffley, so I changed the name.

They are also great with vegan vanilla ice cream or just as a dessert with coffee. You could also press a half walnut or pecan into the top if you fancy instead of the chocolate drops before you bake them. They are perfect if you are following a dairy free diet and fancy a bit of the old chocolate cake.

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sardine salad with tomatoes and capers

This is a delicious Spanish salad incorporates all the flavours I love. The caper dressing cuts through the oiliness of the sardines as do the tomatoes and onions. The sardines can be barbecued for extra flavour too. I serve it as a starter or a side dish with toasted sourdough bread drizzled in olive oil. It’s perfect summer food and very easy to prepare as I buy ready filleted butterflied sardines from my supermarket.

It’s also perfect with my healthy fries.

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vegan coconut shortbread

These shortbreads are coconutty and taste really buttery even though they are dairy free. I love them with a coffee or crunched up on ice cream. No one will ever know they are vegan unless you tell them, and toasting the coconut makes the flavour even more delicious.

Try making them with kids, as they are easy to make and good fun to stamp out into shapes.

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roasted cauliflower with chilli and anchovies

This recipe is Spanish and it’s a really tasty way to cook cauliflower. It’s got lots of garlic and chilli so it’s a fantastic side dish to cook with baked fish or with other salads. It’s also got healthy lemon and parsley so it’s packed with vitamins and also very low carb. It can be served hot or at room temperature.

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crab and mango salad with lime

This salad is my go-to when I want something less carby and light, zingy and refreshing. It’s pretty effortless and there no cooking involved. It’s also my store cupboard supermarket staple and takes minutes to make. It was a big hit when I posted it on Instagram so I’ve written it up for the blog.

It is also a perfect starter for a dinner party, just bear in mind that it would serve two as a starter and multiply the ingredients accordingly. I eat the whole bowl to myself for dinner because it’s super healthy and a delicious combo.

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pickled watermelon

Pickled watermelon sounds a bit quirky, but try it. It’s got the lovely flavours of fennel, star anise and chilli (which gives it a little bit of a kick). It is a delicious addition to salads and on any of my curries, particularly the coconutty ones. I also like to serve it on top of grilled halloumi or on toasted sourdough with feta, because it’s a brilliant marriage with cheese.

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