chilli prawns with a smashed cucumber salad

I have recently discovered Asian smashed cucumber salads and I’m hooked. It’s the combination of the cucumber with a creamy sesame dressing with coriander and ginger which is fantastic. I paired the salad with prawns fried in chilli and coconut oil and garnished it all with sesame seeds, fresh coriander and crispy onions… perfect for a summer dinner or date night, or in the winter when you miss the summer like me.

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freekeh salad with nuts and coriander

Freekeh has a fantastic flavour and texture and it’s even better for you than quinoa, although it’s not gluten free it’s packed with good things if you google it. I wanted to make a warm salad with it with a Middle Eastern vibe that was easy and delicious. I serve it on its own or as a side dish to a main meal and everyone loves it. It’s not gluten free but the freekeh grain is different in structure to standard wheat grain and is tolerated by some people who are gluten free.

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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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rose and pistachio chewy cookies

The delicious flavours of these cookies are based on the traditional middle eastern flavours of pistachio and rose water which are used a lot in their sweets and baking. I have made these vegan but you can replace the coconut oil with butter if you prefer. I have always loved these flavours and so does Ralph (as a little girl I was given little boxes of rose and violet creams by my mummy) his review of this recipe is as follows..
These are a great balance between crunchy and chewy…and the pistachio and rose are the perfect combination. They taste like Lebanon in the Spring time… and who doesn’t want to see what that tastes like.

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chocolate dipped vanilla shortbread

These vanilla cookies are very melt in the mouth and very buttery tasting and shortbread is one of the easiest biscuits to make as it has very few ingredients and doesn’t spread out during baking like other biscuits. I’ve tested these shortbreads out on friends who said they couldn’t tell they were vegan and they really love them and were surprised there was no butter in them at all.
I think if there were more vegan recipes that were really delicious and looked very appealing more people would happily opt for them. I hope to change that with my vegan recipes and I think that food should be delicious and look lovely and that includes vegan. I don’t believe in being obsessively saintly as that’s too extreme, my recipes are healthy and delicious with a bit of an indulgent bias both visually and taste wise.  If you prefer to make them with butter you can, I just tend to be as dairy free as much as possible.

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red onion bahji

A freshly made onion bhaji is one of the finest things in life and surprisingly easy to make. The perfect bhaji is crispy on the outside and waffley on the inside with the perfume of Indian spices and fried onions, making this a fantastic snack or accompaniment to an Indian meal. I cooked them in healthier coconut oil and my friends that tried them loved the coconutty flavour the oil gave them. I serve them with wedges of lemon or lime and a sprinkle of fresh coriander, but they are equally good with mango or lime chutney, tamarind sauce or a cucumber raita.

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chewy ginger cookies

Crunchy, chewy and spicy…these cookies tick all the boxes. I found a recipe in the Waitrose supermarket, converted it to vegan and reworked them with healthier coconut oil and spelt flour. They are really easy to make and would be fantastic dipped or drizzled in melted dark chocolate. They are also perfect for making an ice cream sandwich with, with dairy free ice cream stuffed between two cookies. My favourite dairy free ice cream is Swedish Glace,I’m testing them out on my friend Emily tonight and I’ll get back to you.
They passed the very ‘moorish’ test….hurrah!

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rhubarb cake with spelt

Rhubarb cake is really pretty and really delicious and I have made it really healthy.  It’s created so you can also do a vegan version with egg replacer from health stores or on-line. It has the great flavours of orange zest and honey in it so it tastes amazing and it’s made with healthier spelt flour. It’s also perfect if you follow an egg or dairy free diet. I love rhubarb and think it should have a renaissance if it’s not already.

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healthy matchstick fries

Fries are one of the best things in life. And these fries only take about five minutes to fry. They are healthier because they are fried in coconut oil, which doesn’t become toxic at high temperatures. I use mild coconut oil which has no taste or smell, so you get a proper chip flavour. You can use olive oil too and it’s still healthier than damaged fats, it’s really up to you, they will still taste fab. I usually serve mine with Maldon sea salt, but they are also perfect as a snack or with salads and as garnish on top of curries, tartines, in sandwiches or with whatever you fancy. My favourite kind of food.

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easy kale crisps

Kale crisps are really  crunchy and really tasty. My friend Amanda has been making these for years and I said I would do a version for her. Everyone is mad about Kale. I love peas, but kale is a another delicious  superfood that’s incredibly popular. I bake mine in coconut oil because coconut oil doesn’t become toxic when heated, unlike other oils. These kale chips are delicious as a low carb, high fibre snack that’s packed with vitamins and minerals. They are also perfect sprinkled on salads and other savoury dishes as a healthy garnish. I added truffle salt to mine to give them a bit more va va voom. Garlic salt will add a stronger flavour too as would a grating of Parmesan.

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