italian octopus and white bean salad

This salad is very simple and takes moments to prepare…it’s got all the classic Italian flavours of fresh lemon, parsley, olive oil and balsamic vinegar with tender octopus, which I buy ready cooked from my Spanish deli in Portobello Road or my local fish monger in Primrose Hill but you can also use the jars of it in olive oil that some supermarkets and delis stock. It’s a perfect starter to a pescatarian dinner, or just as a light supper with crusty bread to mop up the dressing.

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broad bean and artichoke salad with lemon and herbs

This fresh summery Greek salad is a great way to eat broad beans and the artichokes make it extra delicious. If you can’t be bothered to skin the broad beans you can use defrosted peas instead. I serve it with other salads, flatbreads and a block of feta for that alfresco summery feel. It is best served at room temperature with an extra sprinkle of herbs. It’s also great with roast fish or meat.

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vegan burrito tortillas with avocado

I know… all the best bits of a burrito with the best bits of a tortilla. So you have crispy fried tortillas with charred corn and avocado with my pink pickled onions and Mexican refried beans. These are perfect as a canapé, a TV snack or a starter. I tried these out at a dinner party and no one noticed that they were vegan. You can buy a can of refried beans but my recipe for them is so much nicer and is on the blog in the vegan bit of the blog menu, just remember to start making them the day before as the beans need to be soaked overnight. The same goes for the pink pickled onions recipe as it also needs to made the day before. These are colourful, tasty crunchy and good for you.

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refried beans

Fancy a Mexican? I do… this recipe is really easy and delicious and perfect as a TV snack or a starter. I even like to serve it on tiny tortillas as a canapé. I like to serve refried beans (or Mexican hummus as I like to call it) on corn tortillas, or tacos with salad, but it also goes with anything you fancy…avocados, roasted veg, salsa, lettuce, sour cream, a squeeze of lime, cheddar or jalapeño peppers. You can pick n mix.
Perfect with a margarita or two.

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feijoada

I had a vegan version of this classic Brazilian bean stew from Leon restaurant the other day with my friend Soph. Soph and I are always on the look out for new vegan recipes that are really tasty and healthy because her son is vegan. Kefir provides the right flora for the gut which is now being linked to helping with moods too. We loved it so much I have adapted it for my blog and added the cooling kefir, and the mango salsa. So you get all your taste senses catered for…salt and sweet.

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gado gado

This salad is inspired by the street food in Indonesia and this is my take on it. It’s a brilliant combo of crunchy and soft and sweet and sour, in fact I think it tastes pretty mind blowing. But, so it doesn’t end up looking like the contents of the bottom of a dustbin when you plate it up, it’s best to layer it with the sauce at the bottom. You can use other vegetables like cucumber or blanched carrot sticks or blanched cabbage, and fried tofu or tempeh too.
All work well, it’s up to you, it’s really great for using up vegetables in the fridge.

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creamy bean hummus

Beans make a smoother paler paste than chick peas, and I sometimes like that. I know versions of humus are everywhere. And bean humus can be served as an alternative to hummus and is a great healthy store cupboard standby. It’s also perfect if you are dairy free and want an alternative to butter that is healthy. They are now saying that margarines and damaged fats are really bad for you, so things like hummus are a much better and tasty alternative. I like to serve it with bread drizzled in a little olive oil, see my scorched bread recipe in the index, and dry fried in a frying pan till it’s got a slightly overdone crunchy chargrilled flavour with a nice thick layer of the bean humus and with salad and pine nuts on top. Its great with roast veg on it too or its fab with crudités or tortilla chips as a dip.

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japanese fine beans

These delicious peanutty fine beans were part of a sushi meal I had at a Japanese restaurant in Spitalfields. They went so well with the sushi and were the highlight of the meal, so I have try to guess what the sauce was, and after a few attempts I think I’ve nailed it and think it’s just as delicious. It’s an easy recipe and the sweet and savoury sauce is sublime…and makes an excellent side dish..do try it.

Serves 2-3.

Ingredients:
200g approx of fine beans topped and tailed
1 heaped tablespoon of peanut butter
1 teaspoon of soya sauce
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
1/4 garlic clove chopped
1/4 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger

japanesefinebeans_ingredients
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