spaghetti al nero with mushrooms and chilli

This spaghetti recipe is a traditional Italian recipe which is like a lot of Italian recipes, it’s really simple but nails it with its flavours. I bought my mushrooms at Morrison’s as they have a brilliant selection of veg, fruit and herbs. The spaghetti al nero I got from my local Italian deli, but it’s equally good with standard spaghetti. It’s essentially vegan except for the spaghetti al nero which is made with squid ink, so to get the same vibe you could use black rice noodles. For the Parmesan lovers like myself, you can add lots of freshly grated Parmesan. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you can find a vegan parmesan in your local supermarket or health food shop.

It’s perfect for a dinner party served with a salad and some crusty bread or for a date night as it looks really beautiful.

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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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mushroom risotto with truffle

I cooked this for a friend of mine the other day and she loved it so much she told me I had to put it on the blog. The combination of flavours is fab with the mushrooms, parmesan and truffle oil… they are a marriage made in heaven.

It’s also really easy as most of the work is in the prep, so once you have done that it’s a doddle. You can get little bottles of truffle oil in supermarkets or online and of course in Italian delis, and before you think it’s too expensive, you can get them from as little as £3.50 and remember a little goes a long way, so it will last you for ages.

This is a perfect dinner party or date night supper and works really well with a crispy salad with my vinaigrette recipe which is also on the blog.

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spaghetti with breadcrumbs and truffle oil

I cooked this recipe for an anniversary dinner with one vegan and two vegetarians. I thought I’d cook a truffle spaghetti that was primarily vegan, but had great tastes and textures. So I came up with this truffle spaghetti with breadcrumbs.

It’s mushroomy and truffley and has healthy lemon zest and parsley with crunchy sourdough bread crumbs on top… and if you eat Parmesan you can grate lots on top too.

Every one was happy and loved it so much I have put it on the blog. It’s the perfect dinner party recipe and if you half the quantities it’s perfect for a date night. Truffle oil is used sparingly so a bit goes a long way and in my local supermarket it’s £3.50 a bottle and will last you for ages, so it’s well within budget.

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italian mussels steamed in beer with gremolada and breadcrumbs

This recipe is inspired by my father’s range of beers called Paolozzi made by The Edinburgh Beer Factory.

It is really Italian in all its flavours and I’m sure he would have loved it. Beer and mussels go really well together and so does crusty bread so I combined them all together. Mussels are cheap and sustainable, plus they cook in minutes. This recipe is perfect as a starter or light supper. And of course it’s perfect with beer.

If you fancy it with chips there are a couple of recipes on my blog for for easy fries too: healthy matchstick fries and the perfect roasted fries.

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warm spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce

This spaghetti is a proper Tuscan summery delight and my Italian family favourite. It not only is fresh and simple but it has very few ingredients too. It reminds me of summer evenings sitting in our garden as children with a glass of fizzy apple juice pretending it was champagne. This spaghetti can be served with Parmesan, but it traditionally is served without. I love this with a plain salad with my vinaigrette.
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quick pear sorbet

This really smooth and easy sorbet is a really refreshing end to a meal. You don’t need an ice cream maker to make it, as the technique I use makes it silky smooth. It tastes very french and delicately peary which reminds me of my holidays in France. You can eat it straight away or it freezes really well and stays soft enough to scoop. Like all ice creams and sorbets, it is better if you take it out of the freezer about 10 minutes before serving. Brilliant for using up a glut of ripe pears too.

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bellini sorbet

There’s nothing like a cocktail and dessert in one. Inspired by the Bellini cocktail, which was invented in around 1934 by Giuseppe Cipriani of Harry’s Bar in Venice, and still served there to this day. This sorbet is really refreshing and delicious. It’s also really easy to make and if you like Bellinis and you like sorbet, then you have hit the jackpot with this recipe. It is perfect on Valentine’s Day at the end of the meal. It’s light and a bit boozy, so your not too stuffed for your romantic shenanigans ahead. I would also serve this on a special occasion like Christmas Eve or New Years Eve.

Serves 2.

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spaghetti al pesto

Home made pesto is so infinitely superior to the store-bought jars, it’s a totally different beast. This authentic Italian recipe is one of the easiest, quickest, and most delicious sauces for pasta. All you do is stick the pasta on and put the pesto ingredients in a food processor, although pesto is traditionally made in a mortar and pestle. The first time I had this wasn’t with my Italian family, it was in an Italian restaurant in Hamburg when I was a teenager and I vividly remember thinking it was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten and it’s perfect for a date night.

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spaghetti alle vongole

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.

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