italian octopus and white bean salad

This salad is very simple and takes moments to prepare…it’s got all the classic Italian flavours of fresh lemon, parsley, olive oil and balsamic vinegar with tender octopus, which I buy ready cooked from my Spanish deli in Portobello Road or my local fish monger in Primrose Hill but you can also use the jars of it in olive oil that some supermarkets and delis stock. It’s a perfect starter to a pescatarian dinner, or just as a light supper with crusty bread to mop up the dressing.

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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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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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japanese radish and cucumber salad

I love the salads in Japanese restaurants and this salad is super healthy and refreshing and works well with fish and sushi. I’ve even eaten it on a Ryvita with a sliced boiled egg. It’s crunchy, creamy, very tasty and looks gorgeous and I also sometimes eat it with avocados as it’s another great combo. If you prepare it in advance, keep it in the fridge and put the dressing and sesame seeds on just before you serve it.

Perfect combo with my previous recipe for japanese aubergines.

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gado gado

This salad is inspired by the street food in Indonesia and this is my take on it. It’s a brilliant combo of crunchy and soft and sweet and sour, in fact I think it tastes pretty mind blowing. But, so it doesn’t end up looking like the contents of the bottom of a dustbin when you plate it up, it’s best to layer it with the sauce at the bottom. You can use other vegetables like cucumber or blanched carrot sticks or blanched cabbage, and fried tofu or tempeh too.
All work well, it’s up to you, it’s really great for using up vegetables in the fridge.

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creamy pineapple pachardi

This is the ultimate Indian sweet and sour dish and I like the idea of fruit being used as if they were vegetables. This quick and easy recipe would be fab served with other Indian dishes, like tandoori chicken or any meat dish or just with basmati rice and a salad. I converted it to vegan, by replacing the curd in the traditional recipe with creamy coconut milk and I think it tastes just as good. About to get my friends Louise and Nicola to test try it for dinner tonight and will get back to you with their verdict.
They loved it and couldn’t get enough of it. I served it with plain boiled basmati rice, poppadums, garlicky raita, homemade onion bhajis (recipe coming soon) and salad.

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Georgia O’Keeffe’s potato curry

I went to the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at the Tate last year which was great but I am fascinated by her lifestyle more than I am by her paintings. I would love to go to her house Ghost Ranch in Mexico and I pore through the book I have about it. I love her style, aesthetic and of course her kitchen and larder. A few weeks ago some friends took me to an amazing book shop in Piccadilly called Assouline, and there I got a cookbook with her favourite recipes in it called Dinner with Georgia O’Keeffe. It’s a lovely book with great pictures and lots of recipes that she cooked at Ghost Ranch. I feel theres something that brings you closer to people through recipes. You can almost feel them there with you. So I thought I’d share my favourites from that book with you, because it’s evocative of her history and lifestyle. Apparently she kept a stack of cookbooks as bedside reading. A woman after my own heart.

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guacamole

Guac is the perfect tasty health food and this recipe is bursting with vitamins. Everyone  has their version of it and this is my version , it is silky smooth, except for the chopped red onion and tomatoes on top. It’s got all the authentic Mexican flavours of lime, chilli, oregano and cumin and it has a bit of a kick. You can put in half the chilli if you prefer it milder. I have eaten this ever since I went on the Fit for Life diet years ago. I’d have it on toasted rye bread with butter, but now I’d just make it with bread brushed with olive oil, roasted and sprinkled with a pinch of salt. It’s a lovely combo of crunchy, creamy and spicy and it’s super delicious. Perfect for lunch as it takes minutes to make.

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date paste

I have been wanting to use dates to sweeten cakes and other foods for a long time. Sugar is something I try and cut out as much as possible and I tend to use maple syrup instead, except in cake baking as it’s a bit more complicated as the ingredients are integral to the recipe working. So I have been reading up about the best way to use dates as a sweetener and it seems that making your own date paste is deffo the best way to incorporate them into a recipe. So far I have also read that if a recipe uses a cup of sugar, you can then add two cups of date paste but you have to bear in mind there’s more water content in the date paste and it’s not as sweet as sugar. It also keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks and let’s not forget that dates are one of the major ingredients in sticky toffee pudding. So what could go wrong flavour wise…? I will try it out in my recipes, and am really interested which flavour cakes and even biscuits it will work with…plus it will sweeten things like oatmeal for breakfast.

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