roasted aubergine and chick pea shawarma with forbidden rice

Belazu sent me a jar of their spicy shawarma paste and I immediately thought of roasting aubergines and chick peas with it. To that I added their forbidden black rice and a little salad and garlicky yogurt it became a shawarma bowl. You can also serve this in a warm flatbread wrap with tahini or humus instead of the rice. It’s Middle Eastern and spicy, creamy, salty and super healthy.

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beetroot caviar

I had this delicious beetroot dip in the restaurant Le Pain Quotidien in Marylebone with warm sourdough bread an avocado dip and humus. It was so delicious I had to put it on the blog. Its called caviar because the beetroot looks a bit like caviar when you blitz it in the food processor. It’s super easy and can be serve on roasted rye bread or sourdough with chopped eggs, slices of avocado, swirls of sour cream, capers, chives or whatever you fancy. It’s brilliant for canapés and in sandwiches or as a dip for crudité.

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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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spinach and ricotta gnocchi

These gnocchi are much lighter than potato gnocchi, although I’m a still big fan of potato gnocchi. I’ve made this recipe with gluten free flour which works really well, but you can use normal flour if you prefer. They take a day to make because you need to strain the ricotta overnight in a sieve, but after that the are easy and worth making because they are clouds of deliciousness. You can also serve them with my sugo instead of the butter and olive oil with fried sage, and then grate lots of parmesan on top. They make a great starter or main meal with a salad.

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socca with mushrooms, parmesan and truffle oil

On holiday in the South of France we tried the traditional Niçoise socca for the first time and couldn’t believe how delicious it was. It’s crispy and pancakey like a pizza and it really lends itself to all the flavours of a pizza or a sandwich, because like bread it’s a blank canvas. It’s also gluten free and made with chick pea flour so it’s high is protein. If you make small ones they could be fantastic as gluten free canapé bases… just sayin’. They are really easy to make, too… and my new store cupboard staple.
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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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