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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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 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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roasted cauliflower with creamy tahini dressing

This trad Lebanese cauliflower salad, which Ralph made recently, is so delicious that I had to get the recipe from him and put it on the blog. It’s got the great combo of flavours from the sweetness of the pomegranate seeds popping in your mouth, to the tangy sesame nutty dressing. It’s crunchy and creamy and totally dairy free and vegan. You will also love it if you love roasted cauliflower. If only all healthy eating was this divine.

Recipe 
Serves 2-3 as a side.
 

Ingredients:

1 cauliflower
1/4 cup of Tahini
Juice of 2 lemons
A handful pomegranate seeds
A handful of roasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons of olive oil
A sprig of chopped parsley
A few tablespoons of water
Salt and Pepper

venetian sardines

This recipe was discovered by two pescatarian friends of mine on visits to Venice, and they have cooked it ever since. It’s really delicious despite the ingredients being an unlikely combo of sweet and sour. It’s real name is Sarde in Saor and it is served in most eateries in Venice. Try it for yourself and you will be pleasantly surprised. It also works well with mackerel too.

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup raisins
800g of sardine fillets, also works well with mackerel too
3/4 cup olive oil
3 shallots very finely sliced (I use a mandolin)
1/3 cup of white wine vinegar
1/4 cup of pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
finely chopped parsley

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caponata

Like pesto, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I first tried caponata. It’s the most delicious Italian aubergine stew that’s served at room temperature. It’s great with antipasti, on bread or as part of a salad. You could even leave it hot and serve it on pasta with lots of Parmesan. Even nicer the next day after its cooked.

Serves 2-3.

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons maple syrup or sugar
5 tablespoons olive oil
A few aubergines cut into 1 inch chunks
1 medium onion finely cubed
4 garlic cloves minced
1 400g tin of chopped plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
2 tablespoons of baby capers
A handful of pine nuts
A handful of chopped basil

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