chilli prawns with Vietnamese(ish) noodle salad

I thought I’d put this on the blog last year and I forgot. It’s my really colourful refreshing Vietnamese inspired salad that is really tasty and healthy and full of fresh veg, herbs and noodles with added hot fried chilli prawns which can be cooked on a bbq and If I want to make a lower carb version I use zero noodles (there are lots of makes…) which have no carbs and are available in most supermarkets, Asian shops and online.

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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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pasta allo scarpariello

This delicious pasta recipe is like a creamy, spicy, cheesy version of a classic sugo recipe.It’s a great meat free dinner or dinner party dish, with a salad. You can make it with any pasta you fancy but it works particularly well with a big ass chunky pasta. I made it with papadelle, but also look forward to making it with manicotti, calamarata or any large pasta.

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pasta alla checca with fennel

The flavours of this really sum up Italy for me, it’s a really fresh delicious pasta recipe which dates back to the sixties in Rome, the area where my Italian family come from. There’s lots of versions but my favourite has ground fennel in it which I love, I grind the seeds in my coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle so it’s super fresh. Its the perfect dinner for al fresco dining and you can add a burrata on top, or fried capers. I just serve it with a salad.

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killer spaghetti (spaghetti all’assassina)

This spaghetti recipe from Puglia looks simple from the ingredients, but it’s all about the technique. The trick is the spaghetti has to crisp up and scorch a bit because this is what gives it its unique flavour and texture. It’s cooked in a similar way to a risotto with the liquid added bit by bit till the pasta is cooked. It’s one of those recipes you wonder how you missed it, if you haven’t already tried it. The pasta goes red from the tomato and absorbs all the flavours from the chilli and garlic and it’s utterly delicious.

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sweet and sour crispy tofu

This recipe is brilliant if you fancy a bit of sweet and sour and don’t fancy meat. The tofu goes super crispy and the rich sauce is packed with the flavours of ginger, garlic, chilli and soy. My friend Steve made it with a small tin of pineapple chunks in juice and added a tablespoon of the juice. He said it tasted better than traditional sweet and sour sauce. You can serve it with rice if you prefer, and it’s the perfect vegan homemade takeaway .

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spaghetti al nero with mushrooms and chilli

This spaghetti recipe is a traditional Italian recipe which is like a lot of Italian recipes, it’s really simple but nails it with its flavours. I bought my mushrooms at Morrison’s as they have a brilliant selection of veg, fruit and herbs. The spaghetti al nero I got from my local Italian deli, but it’s equally good with standard spaghetti. It’s essentially vegan except for the spaghetti al nero which is made with squid ink, so to get the same vibe you could use black rice noodles. For the Parmesan lovers like myself, you can add lots of freshly grated Parmesan. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you can find a vegan parmesan in your local supermarket or health food shop.

It’s perfect for a dinner party served with a salad and some crusty bread or for a date night as it looks really beautiful.

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roasted cauliflower with chilli and anchovies

This recipe is Spanish and it’s a really tasty way to cook cauliflower. It’s got lots of garlic and chilli so it’s a fantastic side dish to cook with baked fish or with other salads. It’s also got healthy lemon and parsley so it’s packed with vitamins and also very low carb. It can be served hot or at room temperature.

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crab and mango salad with lime

This salad is my go-to when I want something less carby and light, zingy and refreshing. It’s pretty effortless and there no cooking involved. It’s also my store cupboard supermarket staple and takes minutes to make. It was a big hit when I posted it on Instagram so I’ve written it up for the blog.

It is also a perfect starter for a dinner party, just bear in mind that it would serve two as a starter and multiply the ingredients accordingly. I eat the whole bowl to myself for dinner because it’s super healthy and a delicious combo.

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