pasta con baccalà in rosso

This delicious traditional Italian pasta recipe is made with salt cod in a tomato sauce: the salt cod needs a couple of days prep in advance but it’s really easy and really worth it. It’s the most delicious combination of textures and the salt cod has a divine flavour. Salt cod is an excellent store cupboard ingredient too. 


Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 200g of salt cod/fish (prepared, see below)
  • 300g tin of chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 tbs of aged balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tsp of maple syrup 
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • A pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 4  tbsp of olive oil
  • A small bunch of fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic peeled and finely slice.
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 200g of any long pasta (I made mine with linguine)

How:

To prepare the salt cod it needs to be soaked for 2 days, changing the water three times a day. I store it in the fridge. Drain it thoroughly. The skin, if it has any, can then be removed and any bones too. Cut into chunks.

In a frying pan, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil till soft, put in the tomatoes, the lemon zest, a little pinch of the chilli, the maple syrup, the balsamic and the cod and gently simmer for 30 minutes with a lid on. If it starts to dry out add a splash of water.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet and mix with the sauce in the pan. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the top and sprinkle with the parsley. Check the seasoning, I add a good grinding of pepper as it might not need salt, or very little. 

I shop at:
Waitrose
Sainsbury’s
Tesco
Lidl

baccalà alla Napoletana

This Italian recipe is made on Christmas Eve and holidays but I like to eat it anytime and it’s made with the unbelievably delicious dried salted cod which is rehydrated in the fridge for 3 days before you cook it (salted dried cod is a brilliant store cupboard ingredient and it’s available in most supermarkets in the world food section or a Spanish or Italian deli). It’s a complete meal with the potatoes, just add a crisp green salad and that’s lunch or dinner sorted… if you are extra hungry you could add some roasted sourdough with olive oil and a scraping of fresh garlic. It’s even delicious served at room temperature. 


Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 400g of dried salted cod which is rehydrated in the fridge in water for 3 days, refreshing the water about two to three times a day. If it tastes pleasantly salty it’s ready, if not repeat for another day.
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 finely diced celery stalks
  • 2 large peeled potatoes 
  • Half a red pepper chopped 
  • 1 large red onion finely chopped 
  • 1 cup of fish stock (I always use Knorr stock pots, they are brilliant)
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • A handful of black olives (stoned)
  • A small pinch of chilli flakes, or to taste
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes 
  • 2 tablespoons of capers
  • A small bunch of chopped parsley 
  • Pepper and salt to taste

How:

Firstly prepare the potatoes by cutting them into small chunks and blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain them and set aside.

prepare the fish by draining it thoroughly, pat dry with a clean tea towel and then remove any of the skin. Cut into medium sized chunks, about the size of your thumb.

Put the olive oil into a large pan and on a medium heat fry the cod pieces till they cooked through.Take out and set aside.

Put the chopped pepper, celery and onion in the pan and sauté till soft, about six minutes. Add the fish stock, tomatoes, olives, chilli flakes and capers and bring to a simmer. 

Add the potatoes and gently cook for another six minutes. Add the cod, some pepper and some of the parsley and cook on a low heat for a further twenty minutes. Check the seasoning. Serve straight away with a sprinkle of the remaining parsley. 

I shop at:
Waitrose
Sainsbury’s
Tesco
Lidl

Vietnamese(ish) noodle salad

A colourful refreshing salad that is really tasty and healthy and full of fresh veg, herbs and noodles. You can add hot fried prawns to it if you fancy 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.


Ingredients

Serves 3-4

Dressing 

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce(you can also get vegetarian fish sauce in Asian supermarkets or online)
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsps maple syrup 
  • Juice 1-2 limes
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped

The Salad

  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 large carrot, julienned (cut into matchsticks) or grated
  • 200g rice noodles 
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil 
  • 1 small or half a cucumber sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler 
  • A handful of radishes very finely sliced
  • A bunch of fresh Thai basil or basil leaves picked off of stems
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked off stems
  • Small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked off stems
  • Large handful salted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
  • Ready-made crispy fried onions, from a tub, to sprinkle (check for gluten, otherwise fry a shallot or onion till crispy)

How:

Firstly mix the fish sauce, vinegar and maple syrup from the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and pour half the dressing into a big bowl. Add the onion and carrots and stir to coat in the liquid making sure everything is covered in the liquid. Set aside, moving it around now and then, so the veg absorbs the flavours. Stir the juice of 1 lime, a minced garlic and the chopped chilli into the remaining dressing in the other bowl.

Cook the noodles according to the  instructions on the packet, removing them a slightly before you’re supposed to. Rinse thoroughly in a colander with warm water to wash off the starch, then drain again, shake dry and generously drizzle over the sesame oil to coat the noodles evenly. 

Put the cucumber, radishes and herbs in a large bowl with half the peanuts. Once the onion and carrot have taken on the dressing flavours, drain and add to the bowl (discard the liquid they were in) 

Scatter with the remaining peanuts, herbs, plenty of the crispy onions and wedges of lime and serve.

I shop at:
Waitrose
Sainsbury’s
Tesco
Lidl

spaghetti con la bottarga

I have been meaning to put this Sicilian recipe on the blog for a long time as I adore it and love bottarga. Bottarga is a dried, salted fish roe which is a condiment that adds the unique flavour of the sea to the pasta. You can buy it in most Italian delis or online and a little goes a long way, as you only use a small amount. The breadcrumbs add a bit of texture and you can add some lemon zest too like I do. It’s perfect for dinner for two with a salad.

Continue reading

cherry sorbet

I love cherries in anything, and this delicious sorbet is all raw. I buy a bag of frozen stoned dark cherries from the freezer department in my local Sainsbury’s (they are only £2.00 for 500g which is a bargain) 

The sorbet is beyond easy to make, no churn and I like to serve it with biscotti and or some shaved dark chocolate on top… or just garnished with fresh cherries.

Continue reading

easy imam bayildi

This aubergine recipe is absolutely one of my favourite things ever. It’s an ancient Middle Eastern recipe that is so delicious I could eat it every day. I serve it with warm flat breads, Greek yogurt (or Oatly crème fraîche if you are dairy free) and salad and it’s the perfect lunch or starter. It’s brilliant with my Baked Falafel too. Sometimes I add toasted pine nuts on top with the mint and parsley leaves. My friend Giada and I had it for lunch on toast with hummus and it was delicious.

Continue reading

pasta alla norma

This is the classic delicious Sicilian aubergine Pasta Alla Norma recipe, which from everything I have read, was first created in the 1700’s in Catania in Sicily and was so delicious that it was compared to the beautiful opera Norma and thus named. Its a good store cupboard supper, and I’ve also served it up at dinner parties with a crisp green salad.

Continue reading