pasta con baccalà in rosso

This delicious traditional Italian pasta recipe is made with salt cod in a tomato sauce: the salt cod needs a couple of days prep in advance but it’s really easy and really worth it. It’s the most delicious combination of textures and the salt cod has a divine flavour. Salt cod is an excellent store cupboard ingredient too. 


Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 200g of salt cod/fish (prepared, see below)
  • 300g tin of chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 tbs of aged balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tsp of maple syrup 
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • A pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 4  tbsp of olive oil
  • A small bunch of fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic peeled and finely slice.
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 200g of any long pasta (I made mine with linguine)

How:

To prepare the salt cod it needs to be soaked for 2 days, changing the water three times a day. I store it in the fridge. Drain it thoroughly. The skin, if it has any, can then be removed and any bones too. Cut into chunks.

In a frying pan, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil till soft, put in the tomatoes, the lemon zest, a little pinch of the chilli, the maple syrup, the balsamic and the cod and gently simmer for 30 minutes with a lid on. If it starts to dry out add a splash of water.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet and mix with the sauce in the pan. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the top and sprinkle with the parsley. Check the seasoning, I add a good grinding of pepper as it might not need salt, or very little. 

I shop at:
Waitrose
Sainsbury’s
Tesco
Lidl

marinated tomato salad with pickled shallots

I was inspired to make this simple salad after I had a similar tomato salad at the excellent Turnips restaurant in Borough Market. It’s really delicious on its own or with burrata, as a side to a main meal or with or on toasted sourdough bread. You can add chopped herbs like basil and parsley to it too if you fancy. 


Ingredients

Serves 2-3

Dressing 

  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tbs balsamic (I always use Belazu aged balsamic)
  • 1/2 tsp Maldon salt
  • 1-2 tsp of maple syrup 
  • A big grinding of black pepper

How:

Whisk all the dressing ingredients in a big bowl.

Place the tomatoes and half a cup of the pickled shallots into the dressing, gently stir through and refrigerate for at least two hours or up to eight.

Before serving, bring the salad up to room temperature for half an hour and add more pepper. 

I shop at:
Waitrose
Sainsbury’s
Tesco
Lidl

burrata salad with heirloom tomatoes and Thai basil

This is the easiest most delicious salad which is so fresh and summery and perfect with a bbq or any alfresco eating. The Thai basil give it a slightly aniseedy flavour which works really well. I eat it for lunch with roasted sourdough or for dinners with any of my pasta recipes and the tomatoes taste even nicer if you mix them up with the vinaigrette and onions in advance and leave them in the fridge for a few hours before assembling the salad. If you press on the word vinaigrette in the list of ingredients below it will take you straight to the recipe.

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sardine salad with tomatoes and capers

This is a delicious Spanish salad incorporates all the flavours I love. The caper dressing cuts through the oiliness of the sardines as do the tomatoes and onions. The sardines can be barbecued for extra flavour too. I serve it as a starter or a side dish with toasted sourdough bread drizzled in olive oil. It’s perfect summer food and very easy to prepare as I buy ready filleted butterflied sardines from my supermarket.

It’s also perfect with my healthy fries.

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warm spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce

This spaghetti is a proper Tuscan summery delight and my Italian family favourite. It not only is fresh and simple but it has very few ingredients too. It reminds me of summer evenings sitting in our garden as children with a glass of fizzy apple juice pretending it was champagne. This spaghetti can be served with Parmesan, but it traditionally is served without. I love this with a plain salad with my vinaigrette.
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caprese salad tartines

Caprese salad is summer personified, although I eat these all year round to remind me of summer…the flavours and the white, greens and reds of the salad are not only the national Italian flag colours, they are also 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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tomato bruschetta with garlic paste

This bruschetta is Italian meets Lebanese (like us). A traditional tomato bruschetta perked up with a Lebanese garlic paste called Toum. This is a fantastic starter or snack for garlic fans.

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
4 thick slices of sourdough bread
2 heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup of light olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
Pepper to taste
Micro leeks or cress for decoration (optional)

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