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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braised squid in red wine with olives

This recipe is Turkish in origin and from a cookbook by Ghillie Basan. It’s the perfect winter stew as it has lots of spicy flavours and the red wine turns the squid a lovely dark aubergine colour. I have replaced the sugar with maple syrup so it’s a bit healthier. You can cook it in advance and reheat it later, if you want to do hassle free entertaining. I serve mine with roasted sourdough bread or basmati rice and a salad and pretend I’m on holiday.

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savoury stuffed apples with rice pine nuts and currants

I adore sweet and savoury flavours together and this recipe from The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking nails this perfectly. I have tweaked it a bit because the first time I cooked them the cooking apples burst and so I had to start again even though they tasted amazing, so I went with Braeburn apples instead. I have also added more pine nuts and currants as I thought the recipe needed it and replaced the sugar with maple syrup as it’s low GI and used basmati rice. They are perfect as a side to a roast instead of stuffing or cold with a salad.

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chicory salad with anchovy sauce and breadcrumbs

OMG this salad is so delicious, the recipe is a traditional Italian salad from the Rome area of Italy and its usually served with bread on the side but I’ve made a crunchy sourdough crumb to go on top of it instead. Chicory is a tad bitter, which Italians love hence our love of the aperitif Campari, so you can add a teaspoon of maple syrup or sugar to the sauce if you prefer it a little sweeter. This salad is fantastic with fish or cheese or if you eat meat it would work really well with roast chicken or lamb.

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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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vegan chilli paneer

This recipe is really easy, dairy free, gluten free and vegan. Vegan food lends itself really well to the flavours of middle eastern and Indian ingredients because it peps up foods like tofu which has little flavour and adds va va voom. This recipe is converted from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe and I replaced the paneer cheese with a very firm tofu by The Tofoo Co, which is available in my supermarket. It’s the perfect paneer replacement. I serve this with hot chapatis, salad and pickles but you can serve it as a side with any of my other Indian recipes.
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nasi goreng

Like Gado Gado, this is another Indonesian street food recipe. It is a delicious mix of sweet and sour with a bit of crunch mixed with the creamy egg. Who’d have thought lime would go with a fried egg? Well it really does. You can soft poach the eggs if you prefer… It’s perfect Asian comfort food and its low budget and pretty healthy too. I love anything with a fried egg!

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fresh nectarine salad

This salad is simple and sweetly delicious and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. I really love salads that are using just one main ingredient. It’s the zen way. Also I have always secretly put vinaigrette on my fruit salad when it’s just for me. So this recipe, which could also use peaches, hits the sweet and savoury thing on the head, if you like that sort of thing. I love the sweetness of the nectarine with the zingy dressing. It’s particularly lovely with my winter slaw. A friend of mine makes it all the time…she’s completely hooked on it.

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the perfect vinaigrette

Well I thinks it’s perfect, and I was taught this version by a proper chef when I cooked in a restaurant in the King Road in Chelsea during my art school holidays. I have always made it the same way ever since as I think its bang on and my friend Babs thinks it’s the best vinaigrette she’s ever tasted and wanted the recipe, so here it is Babs….One of the reasons why I think it’s so delicious is because it’s got English mustard in it instead of French, and it’s the right balance of flavours, sweet and piquant. You can’t necessarily identify it, but English mustard gives it the best flavour. Great with sliced tomatoes, lightly steamed broccoli or any of your favourite salad ingredients. Continue reading