socca with mushrooms, parmesan and truffle oil

On holiday in the South of France we tried the traditional Niçoise socca for the first time and couldn’t believe how delicious it was. It’s crispy and pancakey like a pizza and it really lends itself to all the flavours of a pizza or a sandwich, because like bread it’s a blank canvas. It’s also gluten free and made with chick pea flour so it’s high is protein. If you make small ones they could be fantastic as gluten free canapé bases… just sayin’. They are really easy to make, too… and my new store cupboard staple.
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savoury stuffed apples with rice pine nuts and currants

I adore sweet and savoury flavours together and this recipe from The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking nails this perfectly. I have tweaked it a bit because the first time I cooked them the cooking apples burst and so I had to start again even though they tasted amazing, so I went with Braeburn apples instead. I have also added more pine nuts and currants as I thought the recipe needed it and replaced the sugar with maple syrup as it’s low GI and used basmati rice. They are perfect as a side to a roast instead of stuffing or cold with a salad.

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whole roast pumpkin stuffed with rice pistachios apricots and cranberries

This really delicious stuffed pumpkin tastes and looks amazing, it makes a fantastic center piece on the table for Christmas or Halloween. It’s packed with nuts and fruit, is perfumed with saffron and based on a traditional Turkish recipe from a cookbook by Ghillie Basan but I’ve made it a bit easier. It’s great with roast potatoes and all the trimmings of a traditional roast dinner instead of turkey or even with turkey or you can stay trad and serve it with other middle eastern dishes and salads, it’s also perfect with labneh with garlic in it.

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freekeh salad with roasted vegetables

Freekah is fast becoming the new superfood. It’s a baby green wheat which has been roasted which gives it a slightly smoky flavour and it’s much higher in protein and fibre than quinoa and has a much better texture and flavour. It can be added to stir fries and salads. If you google its health benefits they are endless. You can use it as you would quinoa and I buy it ready cooked from the supermarket in a bag made by Merchant Gourmet(or you can cook it from scratch) This healthy salad recipe is middle eastern in its style of flavours with cinnamon and smoked paprika. It’s perfect with other salads, roasts or humus and bread. It’s also a perfect lunch with a dollop of garlicky yogurt.

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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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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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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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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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pea curry with cumin

I don’t need an excuse to use peas in anything, as I’ve always been a massive pea fan. My mum and sister always kept petit pois peas in the freezer in case they had to cook for me. So I have been looking at recipes that are predominantly pea based.

This recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey’s easy vegetarian books but I’ve tweaked it a bit to suit my taste, and added olive oil, a bit of lemon juice and parsley so it’s even healthier and tastier. Peas are a fantastic super food and are one of the highest fibre vegetables.

This recipe is perfect as an accompaniment to baked fish, basmati rice and salad. It’s got all the sweet and savoury flavours that work well with the fragrance of the spices. It’s also dairy and gluten free. I drizzle a bit of dairy free kefir on mine to add even more good things. And it’s delicious cold in a warm chapati for lunch.

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