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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spaghetti with breadcrumbs and truffle oil

I cooked this recipe for an anniversary dinner with one vegan and two vegetarians. I thought I’d cook a truffle spaghetti that was primarily vegan, but had great tastes and textures. So I came up with this truffle spaghetti with breadcrumbs.

It’s mushroomy and truffley and has healthy lemon zest and parsley with crunchy sourdough bread crumbs on top… and if you eat Parmesan you can grate lots on top too.

Every one was happy and loved it so much I have put it on the blog. It’s the perfect dinner party recipe and if you half the quantities it’s perfect for a date night. Truffle oil is used sparingly so a bit goes a long way and in my local supermarket it’s £3.50 a bottle and will last you for ages, so it’s well within budget.

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italian mussels steamed in beer with gremolada and breadcrumbs

This recipe is inspired by my father’s range of beers called Paolozzi made by The Edinburgh Beer Factory.

It is really Italian in all its flavours and I’m sure he would have loved it. Beer and mussels go really well together and so does crusty bread so I combined them all together. Mussels are cheap and sustainable, plus they cook in minutes. This recipe is perfect as a starter or light supper. And of course it’s perfect with beer.

If you fancy it with chips there are a couple of recipes on my blog for for easy fries too: healthy matchstick fries and the perfect roasted fries.

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warm spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce

This spaghetti is a proper Tuscan summery delight and my Italian family favourite. It not only is fresh and simple but it has very few ingredients too. It reminds me of summer evenings sitting in our garden as children with a glass of fizzy apple juice pretending it was champagne. This spaghetti can be served with Parmesan, but it traditionally is served without. I love this with a plain salad with my vinaigrette.
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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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pear drop sorbet with pear guitars

This no churn boozy sorbet is based on the the delicious pear drop cocktail which is pear juice with vodka and vanilla. It’s such a brilliant combination of flavours I have made it into an easy gelato version which is perfect for valentine’s night or date night as it’s lighter than a traditional dessert, so you won’t feel like dozing off after dinner as you dim the lights and crank up the Barry White…
It can be made in advance and kept frozen till needed. It’s also very easy and quick to make, you just need a freezer and a food processor or a nutribullet. How to make the pear guitars is at the bottom of the page after the recipe instructions.

Happy date night!

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peperonata

Like the aubergine stew Caponata traditional Italian stew of sweet savoury peppers is a bit like a relish. It’s often served as antipasti with assorted cheeses, olives, breads and salad. This recipe reminds me of when I was a child, my Italian aunt Marie used to serve it in a bap, plain with no butter, just olive oil, I thought it was the most delicious thing I’d ever eaten and I still love it. Like a lot of stews, it gets better after a day or two in the fridge. It can be served hot or cold, as an anti-pasti, or with bread, pasta or meat. I love it with Parmesan on toasted sourdough with a sprinkling of shredded basil… do try it.

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David Beckham’s risotto

This risotto was put on Twitter by David Beckham when he cooked it for his family. I looked at the pictures of him proudly cooking it, and I checked out the ingredients and worked out it was a risotto Milanese. I have recreated it so you can try a bit of the Beckham. It’s a really rich, creamy risotto that would work well with a crisp lettuce salad dressed with my vinaigrette to counterbalance the richness of the risotto which would be a delicious dinner for two on a date night.

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caramelised roasted red onions

These onions are roasted until they are caramelised and sitting in an unctuous balsamic syrupy sauce. This recipe pays tribute to the humble onion as a vegetable in its own right. They are fab with a roast dinner or as a side dish and they are also great at room temperature along side salads and bread. But apart from being delicious, studies  have shown that rosemary has amazing anti ageing properties, ten percent of the population in the town of Acciaroli in Italy are over 100 years and scientists are putting it down to the rosemary in their diet and scientific studies have also shows that rosemary helps maintain and improve brain function and memory. So I’m adding Rosemary to my diet whenever I can, which is easy as I love the taste and smell.

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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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