spaghetti al pesto

Home made pesto is so infinitely superior to the store-bought jars, it’s a totally different beast. This authentic Italian recipe is one of the easiest, quickest, and most delicious sauces for pasta. All you do is stick the pasta on and put the pesto ingredients in a food processor, although pesto is traditionally made in a mortar and pestle. The first time I had this wasn’t with my Italian family, it was in an Italian restaurant in Hamburg when I was a teenager and I vividly remember thinking it was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten and it’s perfect for a 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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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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moroccan carrot salad

I love this recipe so much. I got it from the Moro cookbook and have tweaked it a little to make it easier. Every time I serve it everyone adores it and wants the recipe. The taste is sweetly delicious and very Moroccan because it’s really fresh and fragrant with the perfume of cumin and coriander. It’s great with meat, salads and couscous dishes or with my vegetable tajine. I don’t peel the carrots because I can’t be bothered and I assume most of the goodness and taste is in the skin and no one notices if you do or don’t.

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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

goat’s cheese and beetroot tartines

I love beetroot and goat’s cheese as a combo. I always order it as a starter at the amazing  Austrian Fischers restaurant in Marylebone High Street in London. I love the salty flavour of the goat’s cheese with the slightly sweet beetroot and sweet balsamic vinegar. My idea is to put this salad on crunchy bread to add more texture. It’s a really perfect starter or light meal or a snack. Continue reading

caprese salad tartines

Caprese salad is summer personified…the flavours and the white, greens and reds of the salad are not only the national flags colours, they are the Mediterranean on a plate. You get the crunchiness of the bread with caprese salad in a simple olive oil and balsamic dressing with lots of basil.
I love these tartines because they are not only delicious but I can imagine myself by the sea in Italy on a hot summer day with a glass of wine having a two hour lunch in a pair of espadrilles and a floaty caftan and dipping a toe in the pool. These are perfect for brunch, lunch or for a light supper.

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greek salad tartines

What could be nicer…an open salad sandwich always does it for me and my girlfriends. We love that combo of crunchy bread and salad. It’s healthy clean food and perfect for lunch or as a starter. This version of Greek salad is taken from all the most interesting recipes I could find for Greek salad and I mixed them up. I also cut the vegetables very small so it’s easier to stick the bread in your mouth if you want to eat them without a knife and fork, like I do.

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caesar salad tartines

Tartines are open sandwiches on bread, Tartine means open faced sandwich in French. They usually are a really delicious combo of crunchy bread and fresh salad. I decided to make a Caesar salad version, so the crunchy bread base is there instead of the croutons. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Caesar salad or toasted bread for that matter. When I mention Caesar salad to people as a snack or meal suggestion they always jump at it, more than any other recipe! These tartines could be a great starter for a dinner party, or fantastic for dinner with my matchstick fries.

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creamy bean hummus

Beans make a smoother paler paste than chick peas, and I sometimes like that. I know versions of humus are everywhere. And bean humus can be served as an alternative to hummus and is a great healthy store cupboard standby. It’s also perfect if you are dairy free and want an alternative to butter that is healthy. They are now saying that margarines and damaged fats are really bad for you, so things like hummus are a much better and tasty alternative. I like to serve it with bread drizzled in a little olive oil, see my scorched bread recipe in the index, and dry fried in a frying pan till it’s got a slightly overdone crunchy chargrilled flavour with a nice thick layer of the bean humus and with salad and pine nuts on top. Its great with roast veg on it too or its fab with crudités or tortilla chips as a dip.

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