Manoushe

I love Lebanese food and tasted manouche for the first time in Covent Garden the other day with my Lebanese friend Ralph at The Lebanese Bakery which is worth a visit if you want proper fresh Lebanese flatbreads. Manoushe is freshly baked flat bread with Za’atar on it and it’s a delicious combination of Middle Eastern flavours with thyme. The bakery put hummus and parsley, rocket and pine nuts on top, but you can have it as is or dipped into baba ganoush with salad. It tastes amazing with any mezze.

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quick pickled shallots

These pickled shallots go a pale rose colour from the pink outer bits of the shallot. They are ready in about half a day, so you can start using them fairly quickly. They are sweet savoury with a bit of acidity so they work really well with cheese, in sandwiches, salads, tacos, with burgers and delicious with barbecued food. The list is endless. They are super easy to make too and last in the fridge for several weeks.

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broad bean and artichoke salad with lemon and herbs

This fresh summery Greek salad is a great way to eat broad beans and the artichokes make it extra delicious. If you can’t be bothered to skin the broad beans you can use defrosted peas instead. I serve it with other salads, flatbreads and a block of feta for that alfresco summery feel. It is best served at room temperature with an extra sprinkle of herbs. It’s also great with roast fish or meat.

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asian fried rice with coconut, lime and eggs

I knocked up this store cupboard recipe when I had a cold and wanted to make something that was packed with garlic, chili, ginger and vitamins that would help me get better. A friend eventually came over and tried it and started to make it for her family; she loved it so much she wanted me to share it on the blog. It’s super tasty comfort food. So, here’s the recipe.

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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 a vegetarian dinner, Sunday lunch, Christmas or Halloween. If pumpkin isn’t in season you can use any large squash or vegetable that you can stuff. 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 traditional 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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