pistachio and chocolate meringue biscuits

These are my version of the traditional biscuits called “Brutti-ma-Buoni” in Italian… they are light, chewy, crispy and melt in the mouth and a bit macaron like and the chocolate and nuts magically end up in the centre. They are also gluten and dairy free. Pistachio and chocolate are a fantastic combination and they are perfect with a coffee at the end of a meal and they are super easy to make. I think they make fantastic home made gifts wrapped in cellophane with a ribbon. Perfect at Christmas or anytime.

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Venetian carrot and almond cake

This delicious traditional Italian cake was the precursor to the carrot cake we know now and love but this is kind of marzipany without the bitterness. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity as it’s fantastic with coffee, for breakfast or with a glass of vin santo after dinner. Like a lot of Italian recipes it’s dairy free and it also has no oil or butter. It is mostly carrots, egg and almond.

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panforte (Italian Christmas cake)

This delicious traditional Italian cake is very dense chewy and packed with dried fruits, nuts and spices, and can I just say, there are lot of ingredients but it’s really easy to make. This recipe is softer than the ones you buy which I prefer. It’s origins dates back to  the Italian crusaders who discovered it in Turkey. It kept them nourished during their sieges. Italians often cut it into pieces and wrap the morsels in parchment paper with ribbon and give the little parcels as gifts.

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vegan chocolate and coconut fudge cake

I love the combination of coconut and chocolate because I love Bounty bars and this cake is really easy to make and really chocolatey for a real dairy-free egg-free chocolate fix. You can’t taste the beetroot, but it’s the beetroot that makes it fudgey. This cake has been tested on non vegans and they loved it and thought it was one of the best cakes they had ever tasted. Perfect as a birthday cake.

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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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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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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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carrot cake

I make this carrot cake without sugar, it’s based on Ottolenghi’s carrot and walnut cake, but I’ve simplified it. You can make it with sugar or xylitol. You really can’t tell there’s no sugar in it, if you go down that route. It’s just as delicious with or without. Ralph took it to work and people couldn’t believe that there was no sugar in it because it was so delicious!

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pavlova ice cream pudding

This pudding can be assembled in 5 minutes max, so zero stress.  I’ve never met anybody who didn’t think it was really amazing. It has that great combo of creamy and crunchy mixed with sweet from the meringues and ice cream and tart from the berries. It’s a visual and sensual feast. The recipe uses any vanilla ice cream, but I use Swedish Glace or the newly launched coconut ice cream from Coconut Collaborative which are delicious if you are going down the dairy free route. None of your guests would guess it’s dairy free and it’s perfect if you are following kosher.

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