burrata salad with heirloom tomatoes and Thai basil

This is the easiest most delicious salad which is so fresh and summery and perfect with a bbq or any alfresco eating. The Thai basil give it a slightly aniseedy flavour which works really well. I eat it for lunch with roasted sourdough or for dinners with any of my pasta recipes and the tomatoes taste even nicer if you mix them up with the vinaigrette and onions in advance and leave them in the fridge for a few hours before assembling the salad.

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sri lankan prawn curry with coconut and lime

This creamy curry in a fragrant sauce is fresh and delicious, you can substitute the prawns for any fish, boiled eggs or roasted aubergines pieces. I added my own touch with nigella seeds and lime at the end as they are really good for you. It works well with black rice or basmati rice and it’s dairy and gluten free and makes a tasty dinner or a dinner party, just multiply the ingredients according to how many people are coming.

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forbidden black rice risotto with mushrooms and truffle oil

This recipe uses black Venus rice and truffle oil from Belazu who kindly sent me lots of ingredients to try. I hadn’t cooked black rice before and now I’m a total convert. It’s got a fantastic flavour and texture and looks amazing and combined with the truffle oil it’s a winning combo. You can add parmesan too if you want to. My recipe is Italian comfort food and perfect for dinner with a salad.

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forbidden black rice risotto with prawns and Vermouth

I was sent a big bag of black Venus rice from one of my favourite companies Belazu who stock the best Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ingredients, check them out online. So I thought I’d make a recipe that works well with the rice, in Italy they usually serve black rice with seafood so I added giant prawns and I must say its a great combination of flavours. And now I prefer it to normal risotto rice.

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spinach and ricotta gnocchi

These gnocchi are much lighter than potato gnocchi, although I’m a still big fan of potato gnocchi. I’ve made this recipe with gluten free flour which works really well, but you can use normal flour if you prefer. They take a day to make because you need to strain the ricotta overnight in a sieve, but after that the are easy and worth making because they are clouds of deliciousness. You can also serve them with my sugo instead of the butter and olive oil with fried sage, and then grate lots of parmesan on top. They make a great starter or main meal with a salad.

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Gothenburg sandwich

This is a big open sandwich which is a traditionally Swedish and famously supposed to be one of the most delicious sandwiches in the world. It really is a tasty prawn salad on a small slice of rye bread with mayonnaise but it’s got lots of fresh flavours from the dill, lemon and pickled onions and cucumber. If you are low carbing, you can omit the bread. It can also be topped with a spoon of lumpfish.

It’s delicious and just an assembly job after you have made the pickled onion and cucumber the day before.

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baby aubergine salad with parmesan and basil

This Italian aubergines are so creamy and delicious, I love them. This recipe is fantastic as a side dish to pasta for dinner or just with or on crusty bread for lunch. Its got all the Italian flavours of basil, pine nuts and parmesan with lots of garlic and olive oil. It’s also best served at room temperature like a salad so you can prepare it in advance.

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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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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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