my big fat greek baked beans (gigantes plaki)

I have always had a soft spot for these delicious Greek baked beans, they are easy to make, all plant based and excellent with warm flatbreads (check out my pizza dough recipe to make truly fresh flatbreads) and my creamy bean hummus (takes 5 minutes) with a crisp green salad. If you aren’t going down the vegan route then they are fantastic served with a big block of feta, some olives and warm flatbreads for a tasty mezze.

Recipe

450g of dried broad beans (butter beans) I get them from my local Middle Eastern supermarket or online

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 peeled clove of garlic

1/2 cup of good olive oil

1 large red onion finely chopped

a small bunch of parsley finely chopped

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1/2 a stick of celery finely chopped or a pinch of celery salt

1 teaspoon of maple syrup (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

How

Firstly put the beans in a container of water, making sure they are all submerged and leave overnight. I topped the water up as they swelled up quite a bit.

The next day

Drain the beans and stick in a pan and cover with cold water and add a big pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for an hour or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180c /350f

In a deep baking dish or pan, put in the chopped onion, garlic clove and olive oil, and bake for 10 mins.

Now add the drained beans, parsley, celery or celery salt, salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and stir in the tinned tomatoes, half a cup of water and the oregano, cover in tin foil tightly and cook for an hour or until the beans are really tender and the sauce is thick and unctuous, you might have to add more water if they get too dry, and stir them occasionally. Check the seasoning and serve warm or at room temperature. Stores in the fridge for a few days.

spaghetti al limone

if you love lemons this recipe is for you. It’s all store cupboard and really easy. The lemon makes it zingy and the almonds add a nutty crunch. It’s a popular primo in southern Italy and particularly in the summer. If you can get lemons from Sorrento even better, but it’s not essential at all.

Serves 2 but you can multiply it for more people

Ingredients

250g spaghetti

3/4 cup of finely chopped basil leaves plus some leaves for garnishing

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 cup of grated parmesan

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of toasted chopped almonds

a big spoon of toasted breadcrumbs

How

Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet. Reserve half a cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

in a big bowl mix the basil, lemon juice and zest, parmesan and olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the spaghetti through and add a bit of the cooking water if it’s a bit dry, but don’t make it soupy, so just a tad.

Serve with sprinkled with the almonds,toasted breadcrumbs, a few basil leaves and a big grating of more parmesan. Delicious with a crisp green salad my Perfect Vinaigrette.

caramelised pumpkin salad with beetroot and goats cheese

I love warm salads and this one is particularly autumny but I could eat it all year round. It’s got the creamy goats cheese with the beetroot and pumpkin which are a marriage made in heaven, then you have the crunchy almonds with pea shoots. It’s perfect as a light supper with some crusty bread to mop up the vinaigrette, with my Manoushe or any of my Middle Eastern recipes on here. If you press on the word vinaigrette in the ingredients bit it takes you to the recipe.

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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 claims that they boost your bodies own collagen production which helps reduce wrinkles…who knows but it’s delicious anyway.

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asian rice bowl, steamed vegetables with crunchy ginger fries

This recipe is super healthy. It’s a bowl of  rice with steamed vegetables and crunchy fried ginger with spring onions and cucumber with a very tasty sauce made with vegetarian oyster sauce. Its vegan, but you could serve it with roast salmon or sashimi if you prefer. I use black rice, as it’s low glycemic and I love the taste and look of it. It’s perfect for dinner for two but you can multiply it for a dinner party.

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