my big fat greek baked beans (gigantes plaki)

I have always had a soft spot for these delicious Greek baked beans, they are easy to make, all plant based and excellent with warm flatbreads (check out my pizza dough recipe to make truly fresh flatbreads) and my creamy bean hummus (takes 5 minutes) with a crisp green salad. If you aren’t going down the vegan route then they are fantastic served with a big block of feta, some olives and warm flatbreads for a tasty mezze.

Recipe

450g of dried broad beans (butter beans) I get them from my local Middle Eastern supermarket or online

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 peeled clove of garlic

1/2 cup of good olive oil

1 large red onion finely chopped

a small bunch of parsley finely chopped

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1/2 a stick of celery finely chopped or a pinch of celery salt

1 teaspoon of maple syrup (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

How

Firstly put the beans in a container of water, making sure they are all submerged and leave overnight. I topped the water up as they swelled up quite a bit.

The next day

Drain the beans and stick in a pan and cover with cold water and add a big pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for an hour or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180c /350f

In a deep baking dish or pan, put in the chopped onion, garlic clove and olive oil, and bake for 10 mins.

Now add the drained beans, parsley, celery or celery salt, salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and stir in the tinned tomatoes, half a cup of water and the oregano, cover in tin foil tightly and cook for an hour or until the beans are really tender and the sauce is thick and unctuous, you might have to add more water if they get too dry, and stir them occasionally. Check the seasoning and serve warm or at room temperature. Stores in the fridge for a few days.

spaghetti al limone

if you love lemons this recipe is for you. It’s all store cupboard and really easy. The lemon makes it zingy and the almonds add a nutty crunch. It’s a popular primo in southern Italy and particularly in the summer. If you can get lemons from Sorrento even better, but it’s not essential at all.

Serves 2 but you can multiply it for more people

Ingredients

250g spaghetti

3/4 cup of finely chopped basil leaves plus some leaves for garnishing

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 cup of grated parmesan

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of toasted chopped almonds

a big spoon of toasted breadcrumbs

How

Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet. Reserve half a cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

in a big bowl mix the basil, lemon juice and zest, parmesan and olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the spaghetti through and add a bit of the cooking water if it’s a bit dry, but don’t make it soupy, so just a tad.

Serve with sprinkled with the almonds,toasted breadcrumbs, a few basil leaves and a big grating of more parmesan. Delicious with a crisp green salad my Perfect Vinaigrette.

baccalà alla Napoletana

This Italian recipe is made on Christmas Eve and holidays but I like to eat it anytime and it’s made with the unbelievably delicious dried salted cod which is rehydrated in the fridge for 3 days before you cook it (salted dried cod is a brilliant store cupboard ingredient and it’s available in most supermarkets in the world food section or a Spanish or Italian deli). It’s a complete meal with the potatoes, just add a crisp green salad and that’s lunch or dinner sorted… if you are extra hungry you could add some roasted sourdough with olive oil and a scraping of fresh garlic. It’s even delicious served at room temperature. if you haven’t got time to soak the salt cod, you can use fresh cod cut into chunks and put it in the stew to poach for the last ten minutes of cooking or till cooked through.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 400g of dried salted cod which is rehydrated in the fridge in water for 3 days, refreshing the water about two to three times a day. If it tastes pleasantly salty it’s ready, if not repeat for another day, or 500g of fresh cod.
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 finely diced celery stalks
  • 2 large peeled potatoes
  • Half a red pepper chopped
  • 1 large red onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup of fish stock (I always use Knorr stock pots, they are brilliant)
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • A handful of black olives (stoned)
  • A small pinch of chilli flakes, or to taste
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of capers
  • A small bunch of chopped parsley
  • Pepper and salt to taste

How:

Firstly prepare the potatoes by cutting them into small chunks and blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain them and set aside.

prepare the fish by draining it thoroughly, pat dry with a clean tea towel and then remove any of the skin. Cut into medium sized chunks, about the size of your thumb.

Put the olive oil into a large pan and on a medium heat fry the cod pieces till they cooked through.Take out and set aside.

Put the chopped pepper, celery and onion in the pan and sauté till soft, about six minutes. Add the fish stock, tomatoes, olives, white wine, chilli flakes and capers and bring to a simmer.

Add the potatoes and gently cook for another six minutes. Add the cod, some pepper and some of the parsley and cook on a low heat for a further twenty minutes. Check the seasoning. Serve straight away with a sprinkle of the remaining parsley. 

I shop at:
Waitrose
Sainsbury’s
Tesco
Lidl

spaghetti con la bottarga

I have been meaning to put this Sicilian recipe on the blog for a long time as I adore it and love bottarga. Bottarga is a dried, salted fish roe which is a condiment that adds the unique flavour of the sea to the pasta. You can buy it in most Italian delis or online and a little goes a long way, as you only use a small amount. The breadcrumbs add a bit of texture and you can add some lemon zest too like I do. It’s perfect for dinner for two with a salad.

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cherry sorbet

I love cherries in anything, and this delicious sorbet is all raw. I buy a bag of frozen stoned dark cherries from the freezer department in my local Sainsbury’s (they are only £2.00 for 500g which is a bargain) 

The sorbet is beyond easy to make, no churn and I like to serve it with biscotti and or some shaved dark chocolate on top… or just garnished with fresh cherries.

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easy imam bayildi

This aubergine recipe is absolutely one of my favourite things ever. It’s an ancient Middle Eastern recipe that is so delicious I could eat it every day. I serve it with warm flat breads, Greek yogurt (or Oatly crème fraîche if you are dairy free) and salad and it’s the perfect lunch or starter. It’s brilliant with my Baked Falafel too. Sometimes I add toasted pine nuts on top with the mint and parsley leaves. My friend Giada and I had it for lunch on toast with hummus and it was delicious.

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pasta alla norma

This is the classic delicious Sicilian aubergine Pasta Alla Norma recipe, which from everything I have read, was first created in the 1700’s in Catania in Sicily and was so delicious that it was compared to the beautiful opera Norma and thus named. Its a good store cupboard supper, and I’ve also served it up at dinner parties with a crisp green salad.

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