pistachio and chocolate meringue biscuits

These are my version of the traditional biscuits called “Brutti-ma-Buoni” in Italian… they are light, chewy, crispy and melt in the mouth and a bit macaron like and the chocolate and nuts magically end up in the centre. They are also gluten and dairy free. Pistachio and chocolate are a fantastic combination and they are perfect with a coffee at the end of a meal and they are super easy to make. I think they make fantastic home made gifts wrapped in cellophane with a ribbon. Perfect at Christmas or anytime.

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Venetian carrot and almond cake

This delicious traditional Italian cake was the precursor to the carrot cake we know now and love but this is kind of marzipany without the bitterness. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity as it’s fantastic with coffee, for breakfast or with a glass of vin santo after dinner. Like a lot of Italian recipes it’s dairy free and it also has no oil or butter. It is mostly carrots, egg and almond.

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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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sardine salad with tomatoes and capers

This is a delicious Spanish salad incorporates all the flavours I love. The caper dressing cuts through the oiliness of the sardines as do the tomatoes and onions. The sardines can be barbecued for extra flavour too. I serve it as a starter or a side dish with toasted sourdough bread drizzled in olive oil. It’s perfect summer food and very easy to prepare as I buy ready filleted butterflied sardines from my supermarket.

It’s also perfect with my healthy fries.

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roasted cauliflower with chilli and anchovies

This recipe is Spanish and it’s a really tasty way to cook cauliflower. It’s got lots of garlic and chilli so it’s a fantastic side dish to cook with baked fish or with other salads. It’s also got healthy lemon and parsley so it’s packed with vitamins and also very low carb. It can be served hot or at room temperature.

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crab and mango salad with lime

This salad is my go-to when I want something less carby and light, zingy and refreshing. It’s pretty effortless and there no cooking involved. It’s also my store cupboard supermarket staple and takes minutes to make. It was a big hit when I posted it on Instagram so I’ve written it up for the blog.

It is also a perfect starter for a dinner party, just bear in mind that it would serve two as a starter and multiply the ingredients accordingly. I eat the whole bowl to myself for dinner because it’s super healthy and a delicious combo.

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pickled watermelon

Pickled watermelon sounds a bit quirky, but try it. It’s got the lovely flavours of fennel, star anise and chilli (which gives it a little bit of a kick). It is a delicious addition to salads and on any of my curries, particularly the coconutty ones. I also like to serve it on top of grilled halloumi or on toasted sourdough with feta, because it’s a brilliant marriage with cheese.

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tuna ceviche with chilli mango and lime

This recipe by the chef Peter Gordon is quite simply one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. It’s the perfect food to eat in the summer as it’s a Polynesian style sweet savoury raw fish salad that requires no cooking and is fresh and light. I sometimes add crispy onions on top that you can get in a tub from the salad dressing aisle in the supermarket which add a bit more crunch and flavour. It’s perfect as a date night dinner for two or as a starter for a dinner party.

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mushroom risotto with truffle

I cooked this for a friend of mine the other day and she loved it so much she told me I had to put it on the blog. The combination of flavours is fab with the mushrooms, parmesan and truffle oil… they are a marriage made in heaven.

It’s also really easy as most of the work is in the prep, so once you have done that it’s a doddle. You can get little bottles of truffle oil in supermarkets or online and of course in Italian delis, and before you think it’s too expensive, you can get them from as little as £3.50 and remember a little goes a long way, so it will last you for ages.

This is a perfect dinner party or date night supper and works really well with a crispy salad with my vinaigrette recipe which is also on the blog.

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