spaghetti alle vongole

This is the food of the gods and needs no explaining as to how good it is. It’s perfect for  a stress-free Valentine’s dinner or a date night as it only take as long as the pasta takes to cook.

When I’ve been to Venice I practically live on it as it really is my favourite thing and I can’t get enough of it. It can be made in under 20 minutes and the ingredients can be bought days in advance. This recipe is an original Venetian recipe which I always love to cook, as it is like a lot of Italian recipes, very simple. There are two sorts of Vongole, in bianco, which is made like this recipe, or in rosso which is made with tomatoes. When I make it everyone goes mad for it… so try it, it’s not expensive and it is quick and easy.

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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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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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the perfect roasted fries

It’s the simple things that are the best and I love fries as much as the next person. No carb free living for me, and I don’t care if I have a muffin top, life’s too short to be eating just ‘clean food’. Food should be delicious, beautiful and sensual and a bit of what you fancy. I eat mostly healthy food which is unprocessed with lots of vegetables, fish and of course cake. I don’t have a microwave and am still mistaken for someone at least fifteen years younger so I must be doing something right.

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jamaica ginger cake

Jamaica ginger cake is very nostalgic for me as it was a very occasional treat when I was growing up and I loved everything about it. I loved that it was a dark, dense, slightly sticky on the outside sponge cake made with lots of black treacle and fragrant with spices. They still make it today but I wanted to do a dairy free version that could also be vegan so I have created this recipe around the original recipe but omitted the butter and milk. It has a great texture as well as a great taste, and you don’t miss the dairy at all. The cake gets nicer over the next few days after baking and gets slightly sticky on the outside as the flavours mature. I tested it out on my friend’s teenage kids and they really loved it even though they had never had Jamaican ginger cake before. It’s dairy free heaven… but shhh, you don’t have to tell anyone it is because they won’t notice!

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pear cake

This pear cake has a lot of pear in it, so it’s healthier and moist. If you read this blog you will already know I love pears, I love both the taste and the texture and this cake is made with whole meal spelt flour and olive oil so it’s dairy free.
I think the thing about most cakes, is they can be lacking in the flavour department but this one is spicy and has the subtle fragrance that comes from the pears. It’s perfect as a birthday cake or as a tea time treat or simply just because you fancy some cake.

Recipe

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients:
2 ripe pears
1/4 cup of golden caster sugar
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
3/4 cup of mild olive oil
1/3 cup of runny honey or maple syrup
1 egg and one egg yolk (or if you want to make it egg free, use egg replacer for 1 1/2 eggs (from health food store))
1 1/2 cups of whole meal spelt flour
A pinch of allspice
A pinch of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Plus icing sugar for dusting
And a lemon if making icing
A deep 7 inch cake tin sprayed with cake release spray or lightly greased with cooking oil

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midnight spaghetti

You can never have enough pasta in your life. When I was very young my father used to take me to a smart Italian restaurant in Chelsea called The Meridiana owned by his friend Enzo Apicella.  Enzo sometimes sat with us while we ate and we would discuss our love of pasta. This is a simple recipe, which is incredibly delicious. It’s also called Aglio E Olio in Italian. There are a lot of versions of it, and you can customise it with whatever you have in the cupboard. It’s called midnight spaghetti because it’s a recipe used by tired, busy chefs after they come home late after long day at work. It’s also called ‘after the party’, so you get the drift…it’s quick, easy and very tasty, particularly after one too many drinks and you are ravenous. Check out midnight spaghetti 2 on here, if you fancy trying another version. It would also be a perfect for a vegetarian dinner party with a salad if you wanted to cook something that is economical and very doable.

Recipe

Serves 2 but you can double or triple the quantities.

Ingredients:
250g dried spaghetti (half a regular packet)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves garlic cut into slivers
¼ teaspoon of chilli flakes
A sprig of parsley finely chopped
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
1-2 tablespoons of vermouth (optional)
a large handful of cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

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gnocchi

Little pillows of gorgeousness, these are much nicer than shop bought gnocchi. I put them with my sugo recipe with lots of Parmesan and basil and you have a brilliant vegetarian dinner.

Makes enough for a starter for 6 or a main for 4 people.

recipe

Ingredients:

350g of plain flour or potato flour
1kg of large floury potatoes (i.e. Desiree or Maris Piper)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
2 small beaten eggs

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