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

kale curry

This Kale curry is really creamy and it’s got pine nuts, sultanas and coconut milk in it so it’s quite rich. I wasn’t sure if it was too rich, but once you put it with plain basmati rice it’s perfect. You could also serve it with roast chicken. It’s also a more complicated recipe than my usual recipes, but bear with it as it’s worth it and it’s a tasty way to eat kale. My friend Babs tried it when she popped round and she loved it and she normally loathes curries… So if you fancy a healthy, creamy curry this recipe is made for you.

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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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rhubarb and fennel salad

Raw rhubarb can be used as a colourful and tasty salad ingredient and is fantastic very thinly shaved and ‘cooked’ in the dressing you are going to serve with the salad. The dressing goes a bit pink from the rhubarb which I think is delightful and the rhubarb looks divine. You can leave out the Pecorino if you are dairy free or vegan and the salad would still be delicious. I would happily serve this as a starter with some crusty bread.

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beetroot pachadi

I think beetroot rocks and this is my take on beetroot pachadi, a creamy Indian curry dish which is normally served puréed. I prefer it chunky but with the same great flavours, I also love the popping texture of the mustard seeds in your mouth when you eat it. I have added crunchy coconut chips as a garnish, to add even more texture. It’s a great Indian sweet and sour dish which can be a stand alone dish, but is delicious with other curries too, including meat ones, and perfect served with basmati rice and a salad or a paratha. My friends have tested this recipe out for me and they all think it’s brilliant. Thanks friends.

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pear slaw

Hurrah…it’s pear season. I think pears are fairly underrated, partly because they sit rock hard in fruit bowls and no one knows if and when they will ripen, and when they do ripen they start to become over ripe really quickly. Well now here’s an answer, so they don’t go to waste, I use them raw while they are still hard in salads or I roast them with vanilla, spices and honey and serve them as a dessert.
Most people opt for apples over pears but I kind of prefer pears. Like my pear salad, I sometimes like to use them as I would a vegetable and pay homage to the humble pear.
You can use soft or hard pears for this salad, either will do. Apart from tasting delicious, it also looks beautiful with the colour of the red cabbage.

Recipe

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
1 firm pear cored and sliced into small frite sized sticks (I leave the skin on) the harder the pear the smaller the pieces should be
A sprig of parsley finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons of maple syrup
¼ teaspoon of English mustard
1 lime, zest and juice
1 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup of sour cream (or coconut yogurt or dairy free yogurt)
½ a small red onion finely sliced
1 cup of finely shredded red cabbage

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pear salad

I wanted to create a recipe that uses hard pears for salads as they are perfect in the same way as carrots and celeriac are. So I created this healthy, tasty salad and tested it on friends at dinner and they really loved it and wanted the recipe, and they are still talking about how delicious it is. The dressing is an unusual combination of flavours, like mustard and lime juice, but trust me, it works. You can use ripe pears if your pears are ripe, it’s still delicious, and it’s also amazing with shavings of pecorino. Pecorino and lime, who’d have thought? Perfect, too, if you want to try new flavours salad-wise.

Recipe

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon Poppy seeds
3 firm pears cored and very thinly sliced (I leave the skin on but its up to you)
A round radicchio roughly shredded or chopped chicory
A sprig of parsley finely chopped
A sprig of chives finely chopped
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
¼ teaspoon of English mustard
1 lime, zest and juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

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heavenly nut loaf

I know a nut loaf sounds retro, but this nut loaf is a bit more sophisticated than the nut loaves of old, it’s really scrumptious and hasn’t got a single lentil in it. It’s packed with the amazing flavours of porcini mushrooms, parmesan and cashew nuts and it’s got a great texture which comes from the shiitake mushrooms. It’s perfect for vegetarians at Thanksgiving and Christmas or any time there is a roast (It’s even delicious sliced cold from the fridge and put in a sandwich, with cranberry sauce and mayo)

Serve it with my vegetarian gravy, cranberry sauce and the rest of the trimmings.

Recipe

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients:
150g of dryish white bread crumbs
150ml of milk (or dairy free milk)
1 medium egg
30g of butter or olive oil plus a bit more for greasing the loaf tin
20g of dried porcini mushrooms (I get the cheaper porcini pieces in the supermarket) steeped in boiling water for 15 mins, drained and chopped
100g mushrooms chopped into small pieces (I use shiitake)
1 teaspoon of English mustard
1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
2-3 teaspoons of Tabasco
1 egg white
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh thyme
1 medium onion very finely chopped
2 medium celery sticks very finely chopped
Zest of one lemon
200g of chopped raw cashew nuts
100g chopped raw walnuts
1 large carrot finely grated
75g of Parmesan or vegan parmesan
A handful of polenta
Salt and pepper
1 large loaf tin

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panzanella

This traditional Tuscan salad really tastes of the summer. It’s really tomatoey because the juices of the tomatoes go into the dressing. Combine it with my aubergine spaghetti and you have a perfect dinner combo.

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:
1 kilo of tomatoes chopped into smallish pieces
2 teaspoons salt
1 large sourdough loaf cut in half and chunks of the middle ripped out and put on a baking sheet (leave the crust)
10 tablespoons of olive oil
1 red onion very finely diced
2 cloves of minced garlic
½ a teaspoon of Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
A sprig of basil
A sprig of parsley

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