leeks roasted with parmesan and breadcrumbs

This leek recipe is excellent as a side dish to a roast, or with fish. Although leeks can be a bit stringy it’s worth it as the flavours of the leeks roasted with the parmesan, garlic and bread crumbs is delicious and leeks and Parmesan according to anti ageing doctors I have been reading about claim they boost your bodies own collagen production which helps reduce wrinkles…

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chocolate and pistachio biscotti

These super crunchy Italian biscuits are much easier to make than you think… even though you bake them twice. The combination of pistachio and chocolate is always delicious and I add a touch of vanilla too. They are perfect as gifts wrapped up in cellophane bags (which you can get on Amazon) with a ribbon or for tea time and Christmas entertaining. My friends love them and are always offering to taste test them for me…

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italian courgette cake

This cake is Italian American in origin and it’s super moist thanks to the courgettes and the olive oil. Its packed with spices, is dairy free and has a tangy lemon icing. I tweaked it to be a bit healthier with whole meal spelt flour, and added poppy seeds to the icing. It’s perfect with a coffee for breakfast or at teatime… but would make a great birthday cake too.

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burrata salad with heirloom tomatoes and Thai basil

This is the easiest most delicious salad which is so fresh and summery and perfect with a bbq or any alfresco eating. The Thai basil give it a slightly aniseedy flavour which works really well. I eat it for lunch with roasted sourdough or for dinners with any of my pasta recipes and the tomatoes taste even nicer if you mix them up with the vinaigrette and onions in advance and leave them in the fridge for a few hours before assembling the salad.

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forbidden black rice risotto with prawns and Vermouth

I was sent a big bag of black Venus rice from one of my favourite companies Belazu who stock the best Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ingredients, check them out online. So I thought I’d make a recipe that works well with the rice, in Italy they usually serve black rice with seafood so I added giant prawns and I must say its a great combination of flavours. And now I prefer it to normal risotto rice.

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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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baby aubergine salad with parmesan and basil

These Italian aubergines are so creamy and delicious, I love them. This recipe is fantastic as a side dish to pasta for dinner or just with or on crusty bread for lunch. Its got all the Italian flavours of basil, pine nuts and parmesan with lots of garlic and olive oil. It’s also best served at room temperature like a salad so you can prepare it in advance and eat it at your leisure…

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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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spaghetti al nero with mushrooms and chilli

This spaghetti recipe is a traditional Italian recipe which is like a lot of Italian recipes, it’s really simple but nails it with its flavours. I bought my mushrooms at Morrison’s as they have a brilliant selection of veg, fruit and herbs. The spaghetti al nero I got from my local Italian deli, but it’s equally good with standard spaghetti. It’s essentially vegan except for the spaghetti al nero which is made with squid ink, so to get the same vibe you could use black rice noodles. For the Parmesan lovers like myself, you can add lots of freshly grated Parmesan. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you can find a vegan parmesan in your local supermarket or health food shop.

It’s perfect for a dinner party served with a salad and some crusty bread or for a date night as it looks really beautiful.

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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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