overnight gravadlax

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.

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clementine amaretti

These clementine 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. They are perfect at Christmas for your guests or as gifts in little bags tied with a ribbon. I serve them with coffee at the end of a meal instead of making a dessert, or after dessert.

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whole roast pumpkin stuffed with rice pistachios apricots and cranberries

This really delicious stuffed pumpkin tastes and looks amazing, it makes a fantastic center piece on the table for a vegetarian dinner, Sunday lunch, Christmas or Halloween. If pumpkin isn’t in season you can use any large squash or vegetable that you can stuff. It’s packed with nuts and fruit, is perfumed with saffron and based on a traditional Turkish recipe from a cookbook by Ghillie Basan but I’ve made it a bit easier. It’s great with roast potatoes and all the trimmings of a traditional roast dinner instead of turkey or even with turkey or you can stay traditional and serve it with other middle eastern dishes and salads, it’s also perfect with labneh with garlic in it.

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panforte (Italian Christmas cake)

This delicious traditional Italian cake is very dense chewy and packed with dried fruits, nuts and spices, and can I just say, there are lot of ingredients but it’s really easy to make. This recipe is softer than the ones you buy which I prefer. It’s origins dates back to  the Italian crusaders who discovered it in Turkey. It kept them nourished during their sieges. Italians often cut it into pieces and wrap the morsels in parchment paper with ribbon and give the little parcels as gifts.

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bellini sorbet

There’s nothing like a cocktail and dessert in one. Inspired by the Bellini cocktail, which was invented in around 1934 by Giuseppe Cipriani of Harry’s Bar in Venice, and still served there to this day. This sorbet is really refreshing and delicious. It’s also really easy to make and if you like Bellinis and you like sorbet, then you have hit the jackpot with this recipe. It is perfect on Valentine’s Day at the end of the meal. It’s light and a bit boozy, so your not too stuffed for your romantic shenanigans ahead. I would also serve this on a special occasion like Christmas Eve or New Years Eve or just because you fancy it.

Serves 2.

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chocolate dipped ginger shortbread

These shortcakes are really fun easy and vegan. Anyone can make them. All you do is mix the ingredients, bake them, dip in warm chocolate and leave to cool. They taste amazingly buttery even though there’s no butter in them. They are perfect as tree decorations if you make a little hole in them before baking so you can thread a ribbon or piece of string through to hang them up.  I’ve tried these out on friends who can’t tell they are dairy free, so give them a go…

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chocolate dipped spiced cookies

As I’ve said before, its challenging converting a tasty recipe to vegan as the flavours and textures can be very different from the standard ingredients that are usually used. I think vegan recipes also need to be more fun, so I am trying to come up with fun recipes on this blog that are not only vegan but look and taste as good if not better than the original with animal products in them. I’m trying these cookies out at a dinner party and will get back to you with their verdict.
Result! They wanted the recipe and they think they’re perfect for Christmas and as a homemade Christmas gifts!

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honey cake

Honey cake is, of course, a cake sweetened with honey, it’s deliciously packed with spices and it’s dairy free. It’s a tradition to serve it on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah in the hopes of ensuring a sweet New Year. The first time I tried it I really loved it..it’s totally perfect with coffee or after dinner. My version is a healthier version using lots of grated apples, wholemeal spelt flour and olive oil… and I promise you it’s a big hit. I sometimes make this as a birthday cake too and it’s perfect at Christmas with all its amazing flavours.

Recipe

Serves about 10.

Ingredients:
½ cup of golden caster sugar or white sugar
¼ cup of dark brown sugar
¾ cup of runny honey
3 large eggs (or egg replacer from health food shops or online)
1 ¼ cup of mild olive oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
4 eating apples grated
3 cups of wholemeal spelt flour
1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of allspice
a pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
¼ teaspoons of salt
a little icing sugar for decoration
9 inch bundt tin

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sweet glazed carrots

Carrots but not as you know them. These are subtlety sweet and particularly delicious. The roots of this recipe are French and Danish and that’s why they are so tasty. The French often serve their carrots like this and the chief chefs in our house when I was growing up were Danish. Once I’d cooked them this way as a side dish, I always cook them this way when I have carrots especially when I cook a roast. They are perfect at Thanksgiving and with the Christmas feast.
Recipe
Serves 6.
Ingredients:
1kg of carrots
30g of butter or a tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of maple syrup or sugar
1 big squeeze of lemon juice
A handful of finely chopped  parsley
Salt and pepper
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