cioppino (Italian seafood stew with fennel)

This recipe for Cioppino actually originates from Italian emigrants in San Francisco in the late 1800s. They would put in whatever the catch of the day was, so feel free to put in what ever seafood you can get or prefer. It’s packed with the flavours of chilli, fennel, bay, orange zest and wine. There are lots of versions of it and I took the best bits of all the recipes I found. It’s traditionally served with toasted sourdough or a crusty baguette, but I think it’s delicious with a side order of fries and a salad too.

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Italian aubergine pasta pie (tamburello di melanzane)

This delicious Italian recipe is a proper dinner party or special occasion centre piece. It looks amazing as well as tasting fantastic. It’s not the quickest of my recipes but it’s really worth the effort. You can serve it after anti pasti with a salad and it’s a bit like a pie version of Pasta Alla Norma, so if you like that you will love this.

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apple snow

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.

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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.

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dark chocolate pannacotta

This self saucing 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.

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vanilla pannacotta

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.

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