mince pie cake

A dairy free alternative to a traditional Christmas Cake which can be made last minute, just make the mincemeat the day before as it needs to marinate and ruminate for 24 hours before you use it. You can use a jar of shop bought mincemeat if you want to save time, the cake is full of spices a bit of brandy and all the Christmassy flavours and is perfect if you are a mince pie fan, but fancy a lighter cake version and it’s perfect with dairy free vanilla ice cream.

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beetroot caviar

I had this delicious beetroot dip in the restaurant Le Pain Quotidien in Marylebone with warm sourdough bread an avocado dip and humus. It was so delicious I had to put it on the blog. Its called caviar because the beetroot looks a bit like caviar when you blitz it in the food processor. It’s super easy and can be serve on roasted rye bread or sourdough with chopped eggs, slices of avocado, swirls of sour cream, capers, chives or whatever you fancy. It’s brilliant for canapés and in sandwiches or as a dip for crudité.

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sabich

I saw this traditional Israeli sandwich being made on “Somebody Feed Phil” on Netflix and I had to recreate it as it looked so delicious. It’s got fried aubergines, boiled eggs, pickled vegetables, salad and a tahini dressing. What’s not to like? After the Gothenburg (also on this blog), this is my other favourite sandwich – and it’s not called the best sandwich in the world for nothing… It’s usually folded over or the filling is tucked into the pocket of a flat bread, but I’ve made it like an open sandwich so you can see the gorgeous ingredients. I have left Amba out (which is a mango pickle which you can buy online or make yourself) as it’s full of sugar, but you can add it if you prefer it and I used Sriracha instead of making chili sauce from scratch.

It’s a vegetarian dream.

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Gothenburg sandwich

This is a big open sandwich which is a traditionally Swedish and famously supposed to be one of the most delicious sandwiches in the world. It really is a tasty prawn salad on a small slice of rye bread with mayonnaise but it’s got lots of fresh flavours from the dill, lemon and pickled onions and cucumber. If you are low carbing, you can omit the bread. It can also be topped with a spoon of lumpfish.

It’s delicious and just an assembly job after you have made the pickled onion and cucumber the day before.

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socca with mushrooms, parmesan and truffle oil

On holiday in the South of France we tried the traditional Niçoise socca for the first time and couldn’t believe how delicious it was. It’s crispy and pancakey like a pizza and it really lends itself to all the flavours of a pizza or a sandwich, because like bread it’s a blank canvas. It’s also gluten free and made with chick pea flour so it’s high is protein. If you make small ones they could be fantastic as gluten free canapé bases… just sayin’. They are really easy to make, too… and my new store cupboard staple.
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chocolate truffle brownies (I can’t believe they are vegan)

These brownies are squidgy and very chocolatey… but not too sweet, add more of the coconut sugar if you prefer them sweeter, and the prunes add that extra squidge factor. I tried them at a dinner party with fresh raspberries and they were a big hit. My friend Vicki thought they were very truffley, so I changed the name.

They are also great with vegan vanilla ice cream or just as a dessert with coffee. You could also press a half walnut or pecan into the top if you fancy instead of the chocolate drops before you bake them. They are perfect if you are following a dairy free diet and fancy a bit of the old chocolate cake.

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pickled watermelon

Pickled watermelon sounds a bit quirky, but try it. It’s got the lovely flavours of fennel, star anise and chilli (which gives it a little bit of a kick). It is a delicious addition to salads and on any of my curries, particularly the coconutty ones. I also like to serve it on top of grilled halloumi or on toasted sourdough with feta, because it’s a brilliant marriage with cheese.

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quick pear sorbet

This really smooth and easy sorbet is a really refreshing end to a meal. You don’t need an ice cream maker to make it, as the technique I use makes it silky smooth. It tastes very french and delicately peary which reminds me of my holidays in France. You can eat it straight away or it freezes really well and stays soft enough to scoop. Like all ice creams and sorbets, it is better if you take it out of the freezer about 10 minutes before serving. Brilliant for using up a glut of ripe pears too.

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smoked salmon tartines with pickled cucumber and wasabi cream

If you like smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels, this tartine recipe is based on that but really ramped up flavour and texture wise. I made these last night for a dinner party, and they went down really well. They are a great combo of tangy sweet savoury crunchy and creamy. I replaced the smoked salmon with slices of avocado for one of my veggie friends who doesn’t eat fish and she really loved it. You need to make the pickled cucumber and pink pickled onions in advance, the methods are below and in my recipe archive, and they are beyond easy. I really can’t wait to make them again, I really love them and they are perfect for a date night.
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