dark chocolate pannacotta

This 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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spaghetti with broccoli anchovies and pine nuts

This traditional Italian recipe for spaghetti with broccoli is deceptively delicious. It’s got a great combination of flavours with saffron, onions and wine. There is also a sweetness from the currants which makes it taste all the more delicious. Its got really typical Italian flavours and is normally made with Bucatini. I think it’s perfect for a dinner party or dinner date, (you can halve the ingredients) just serve it with a salad and a glass of wine. Job done.

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sri lankan prawn curry with coconut and lime

This creamy curry in a fragrant sauce is fresh and delicious, you can substitute the prawns for any fish, boiled eggs or roasted aubergines pieces. I added my own touch with nigella seeds and lime at the end as they are really good for you. It works well with black rice or basmati rice and it’s dairy and gluten free and makes a tasty dinner or a dinner party, just multiply the ingredients according to how many people are coming.

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forbidden black rice risotto with mushrooms and truffle oil

This recipe uses black Venus rice and truffle oil from Belazu who kindly sent me lots of ingredients to try. I hadn’t cooked black rice before and now I’m a total convert. It’s got a fantastic flavour and texture and looks amazing and combined with the truffle oil it’s a winning combo. You can add parmesan too if you want to. My recipe is Italian comfort food and perfect for dinner with a salad.

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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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spanish orange glazed squid

I have a oldish Spanish cookbook with fantastic recipes in it that are great as tapas. I’m working my way through it pretending I’m in Barcelona. This recipe from that book has the sweetness of oranges which work really well with squid and the smokiness of the smoked paprika giving it a real Spanish vibe. I’ve tweaked it slightly and replaced the sugar with maple syrup so it’s low glycemic. You can eat it as tapas with other small plates or combine it with pasta as I did. I bought my black pasta from my Italian deli but it works equally well with plain old standard spaghetti or Linguine. It’s perfect for a dinner party or a date night. My friend Timna says it’s up there with my crab Linguine as one of the best things she’s ever tasted.

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moroccan carrot salad

I love this recipe so much. I got it from the Moro cookbook and have tweaked it a little to make it easier. Every time I serve it everyone adores it and wants the recipe. The taste is sweetly delicious and very Moroccan because it’s really fresh and fragrant with the perfume of cumin and coriander. It’s great with meat, salads and couscous dishes or with my vegetable tajine. I don’t peel the carrots because I can’t be bothered and I assume most of the goodness and taste is in the skin and no one notices if you do or don’t.

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fennel salad with pistachios and feta

I had a salad similar to this with my friend Amanda this week in a restaurant. We really liked it and thought it was a great idea, but thought the dressing needed a bit more oomph. Roasted fennel is a fantastic ingredient in a salad, it loses its liquoricey flavour and has a delicious delicate flavour and texture. I’ve also added a few extra ingredients to make it more tasty. This recipe has all the right components for our tastes plus there’s the crunchy and creamy thing going on which we love.

Recipe

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
2 fennel bulbs sliced fairly thinly
100g Feta
A lemon cut into wedges
Some baby salad leaves
A sprinkling of Sumac
A handful of pistachios
2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil plus a bit more for roasting the fennel
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
Salt and pepper to taste

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aloo gobi

This is my own version of the Leon Aloo Gobi. Even though it’s got a lot of ingredients, it’s worth making as a stand alone veggie dish. It’s perfect for a vegan or vegetarian dinner party served with basmati rice or a paratha. It has all the righ flavours and textures. Sweet and savoury and  very creamy. Everyone loves it, including die hard carnivores. It has been wheeled out for many a dinner party and vegetarian dinner à deux.

Recipe

Serves 3-4.

Ingredients:
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 carrots thickly sliced
2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 red chilli
2 thumb sized pieces of fresh ginger
5 cloves peeled garlic
1 heaped teaspoon madras curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon black onion seeds
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 a cauliflower broken into florets
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
1 cup frozen peas (thawed)
Juice of half a lemon
A handful of sultanas
Finely chopped parsley or coriander
A handful of desiccated coconut (and some optional coconut chips to sprinkle on top)

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