these are a lower carb version of the little mock duck pancakes that I get from Feng Sushi in London. They are absolutely delicious and moreish and I love a canapé, I’d live on them if I could as they are tiny and tasty. You can serve them on Chinese pancakes if you prefer.
makes about 15
1 block of very firm tofu ( I use Tofoo co but Sainsbury’s are making it too now)
a jar of good quality hoisin sauce (check for gluten if you are gluten free)
a bunch of spring/green onions
1 large cucumber
a cup of cornflour in a bowl
quarter of a cup of oil (I use mild coconut)
black sesame seeds
Lime wedges (optional)
firstly slice the onions lengthwise as fine as possible and put them into iced water to curl up, this takes about an hour.
Next chop the tofu into very small cubes and stick into the cornflour bowl, then remove and gently shake the excess flour off (this can be a bit messy, wear an apron to be on the safe side) Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the tofu till crispy and golden then drain on a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle with salt.
Cut the cucumber into thin discs that are thick enough to be rigid to hold the rest of the ingredients and place on a serving plate.
Put one or two pieces of tofu on to the cucumber discs with a splodge of the hoisin sauce. Drain the onions on a tea towel and garnish the tofu with as much as you fancy. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and add an optional squeeze of lime and serve.
If using Chinese pancakes (available from Chinese supermarkets, Waitrose and Tesco) cut them in half and add the crispy tofu, onions, and hoisin sauce with some slivers of cucumber and roll them up.
my mum used to make this traditional English apple dessert on special occasions and according to what I’ve read about it’s history the recipe dates back to the 17th century and was called apple fluff amongst other things. I remember big bowls of it in the larder where I would stick my finger in and scoop up a delicious morsel. It’s light as a feather and you can add a teaspoon of your favourite spice to it if you fancy, to make it more Christmassy. It’s a great alternative to all the rich festive food and works as a light pud all year round.
serves 3-4 or multiply it for more people
1lb of Bramley apples, peeled cored and diced
3/4 cup of sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 egg whites
1 optional teaspoon of spice, I added allspice
Stew the apples with 1/2 cup approx of the sugar with the lemon juice and zest (and mixed spice if using) until tender, this takes about ten to twenty minutes. They should be quite dry at the end, so continue to cook till all the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool and blend in a blender or with a stick blender till smooth.
With a hand blender, whisk up the egg whites with the remaining sugar until stiff. Then gently fold the egg whites into the apple mixture until mixed through.
Spoon into serving glasses and serve with a small biscuit or shortbread.
NB it’s not advisable for pregnant women or people suffering with a compromised immune system to eat raw egg.
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.
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
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.
These soft nutty lemony Sicilian biscuits are served at breakfast in Italy with an espresso and are really popular at special holidays like Christmas and Easter. I like them all year round for breakfast with my coffee or after dinner when I fancy something sweet.
This cake is a version of my apple cake only made with cherries and almonds. It’s a very moist puddingy cake and it goes marzipany in the centre and has a pie like crust on the outside. The cherries I use are hassle free frozen ones from the supermarket which have been stoned and are cheap and easy.
This recipe is a dairy free take on Black Forest gateau which is a favourite pudding of mine. It’s really silky smooth, rich and chocolatey and is great on its own or with whipped cream if you are not dairy free or with dairy free vanilla ice cream. The decorations are optional, or you can customise it with whatever you fancy like fresh berries.
This dairy free recipe for pannacotta is really silky and creamy and it has the delicious flavours of lemon zest and bourbon vanilla. It’s easier to make than you think and you can make it the day before and store it in the fridge till you want to serve it. Perfect as a refreshing light pudding at the end of a heavy meal. You can serve it on its own with my cranberry sauce or with fresh berries or whatever you fancy.
These chocolatey Italian biscuits are traditionally very crunchy on the outside and chewy and a bit marzipany in the middle. They are really easy to make and are gluten and dairy free. I serve them with coffee at the end of a meal instead of making a dessert, or after dessert. They are dense dark and rich and you only need a couple.
Gravadlax is really easy to make and much much cheaper than buying it ready made. This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Esquire Magazine that I found online.
It’s brilliant if you want the gravadlax that or the next day. Instead of putting the salmon into dry ingredients, you make a sweet brine first and place it in that and it does its job much faster, and more efficiently. I have included my favourite recipe for the dill sauce too if you fancy making that too, or it’s fine with a squeeze of lemon and it’s great on canapés with pink pickled onions, capers or on rye bread with sliced boiled eggs and any of my pickled vegetables on the blog.
These Italian amaretti biscuits are traditionally very crunchy on the outside and chewy and a bit marzipany in the middle. They are really easy to make and are gluten and dairy free. I love adore pistachios and I serve them with coffee at the end of a meal instead of making a dessert, or after dessert. They are dense and rich and you only need a couple. Perfect at Christmas and you can give them as gifts in little bags tied with a ribbon.