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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bellini sorbet

There’s nothing like a cocktail and dessert in one. Inspired by the Bellini cocktail, which was invented in around 1934 by Giuseppe Cipriani of Harry’s Bar in Venice, and still served there to this day. This sorbet is really refreshing and delicious. It’s also really easy to make and if you like Bellinis and you like sorbet, then you have hit the jackpot with this recipe. It is perfect on Valentine’s Day at the end of the meal. It’s light and a bit boozy, so your not too stuffed for your romantic shenanigans ahead. I would also serve this on a special occasion like Christmas Eve or New Years Eve.

Serves 2.

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creamy egg curry with a coconut sauce

This recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbook Simple Indian Cookery. I have made a few alterations to the recipe, like removing the dairy and chicken stock, and replacing them with coconut cream and coconut milk. I have also used an assortment of different eggs and put less oil in so it’s healthier. It is an excellent dinner party recipe and I would serve it with freshly made wholemeal chapatis from the Indian section of my supermarket in the freezer (Shana)as they are a great combination with this curry and super easy. I also would add a salad with wedges of lemon and my {okra} and or basmati rice. My friends think this is the most delicious curry ever, see what you think. I love it.

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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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spaghetti alle vongole

This is the food of the gods and needs no explaining as to how good it is. It’s perfect for  a stress-free Valentine’s dinner or a date night as it only take as long as the pasta takes to cook.

When I’ve been to Venice I practically live on it as it really is my favourite thing and I can’t get enough of it. It can be made in under 20 minutes and the ingredients can be bought days in advance. This recipe is an original Venetian recipe which I always love to cook, as it is like a lot of Italian recipes, very simple. There are two sorts of Vongole, in bianco, which is made like this recipe, or in rosso which is made with tomatoes. When I make it everyone goes mad for it… so try it, it’s not expensive and it is quick and easy.

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moqueca

Moqueca is a super easy traditional Brazilian fish stew which is creamy and tangy all at once because it has the brilliant combo of lime juice, coconut milk and chilli. It will warm your cockles even on an autumn evening and take you to somewhere a little bit more exotic if you are not there already. You can also use fresh squid, sea bream, haddock, clams, mussels, scallops,  crab or whatever is available or whatever you fancy in it. It’s up to you. Its really delicious with basmati rice or crusty bread if you are not low carbing it. Perfect for a dinner party or just a dinner for two.

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David Beckham’s risotto

This risotto was put on Twitter by David Beckham when he cooked it for his family. I looked at the pictures of him proudly cooking it, and I checked out the ingredients and worked out it was a risotto Milanese. I have recreated it so you can try a bit of the Beckham. It’s a really rich, creamy risotto that would work well with a crisp lettuce salad dressed with my vinaigrette to counterbalance the richness of the risotto which would be a delicious dinner for two on a date night.

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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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gado gado

This salad is inspired by the street food in Indonesia and this is my take on it. It’s a brilliant combo of crunchy and soft and sweet and sour, in fact I think it tastes pretty mind blowing. But, so it doesn’t end up looking like the contents of the bottom of a dustbin when you plate it up, it’s best to layer it with the sauce at the bottom. You can use other vegetables like cucumber or blanched carrot sticks or blanched cabbage, and fried tofu or tempeh too.
All work well, it’s up to you, it’s really great for using up vegetables in the fridge.

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