spanish style clams

I have taken the flavours of a classic Spanish clam stew and rejigged it so it tastes great even though there is no meat in it. Normally it would have Chorizo in it, so I used smoked paprika which is the flavor of Chorizo instead and it tastes just as good. It’s a really easy recipe and great for a date night. Also, the frozen Clams were a bargain £3.59 for 500g in the freezer section of Waitrose. I always buy a few boxes and keep them in the freezer just in case.

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, finely sliced
Pinch of hot smoked paprika
Pinch of saffron threads
500g of clams (thawed if using frozen)
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
A bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sherry
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of sourdough bread (optional)

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potato tagine

While I was in Morocco recently I was hoping to learn to cook new amazing dishes but our food was cooked for us by a cook who didn’t speak any English so I didn’t learn much. Since I got back I wanted to put more Moroccan and moorish dishes on the blog, so along with my Moro cookbooks which I adore and a new book I bought, Orange Blossom and Honey by John Gregory-Smith from which I am learning new recipes that he bought back from Morocco I hope to enthuse you as much as possible with the fragrant flavours from the souks.
This potato tagine is delicious with couscous ,salad and roast meat if you eat meat.
I also like a dollop of garlic infused Greek yogurt on top, but you could use soya yogurt if you prefer.

Recipe

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
1 kg of Maris Piper potatoes peeled and halved or quartered depending on size
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 red onion finely sliced
Two red peppers deseeded and cut into strips
3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
4 tomatoes finely chopped
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of paprika (I used sweet smoked paprika)
500 ml of vegetable stock (I used Kallø organic French onion stock cubes)
1 red chilli
2 teaspoons of harissa (I buy a ready-made pot from Sainsbury’s)
Juice of half a lemon
Small handful of finely chopped coriander leaves
10 g of flaked almonds
Salt and pepper to taste

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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.

Recipe

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
One loaf of sourdough bread sliced into 8 slices and cooked using my scorched bread recipe
A handful of baby tomatoes
Half a small red onion
quarter of a cucumber
A handful of black olives stoned and chopped (they taste better if they have had he stone in)
6 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Half a red pepper
A sprig of chopped fresh oregano or a teaspoon of dried
A sprig of chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of capers plus another tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of orzo or pasties
150 g of feta cut into thin slices
Salt and pepper to taste

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italian beans on toast with poached eggs

Beans on toast with a fried or poached egg is up there as a great tasting breakfast or light meal. I have taken a traditional Italian recipe that ramps up the taste and textures and added my own tweaks, but mainly a poached egg, which you can leave out if you want the vegan version it’s still delicious.

Recipe

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
4 thin slices of sourdough bread
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 peeled garlic clove
Salt

Beans
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small red onion very finely sliced
A large handful of small tomatoes quartered
A tablespoon of finely chopped parsley
1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans drained and rinsed
4 eggs

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vegan laksa bowl

I love this bowl of coconutty deliciousness. Laksa is a comforting Thai coconut broth with vegetables and noodles. It’s spicy, creamy and noodley. I find a lot of vegan recipes are trying to emulate meat dishes, which is not great because vegan ingredients can be fantastic and with imagination don’t need to pretend they are something they are not. There are a lot of sumptuous vegan dishes that don’t shout deprivation of any kind. Hopefully you will try my vegan recipes and agree that they are just as good as any recipe using animal products, I try to make them look delicious too, and full of colour and not just a load of beige-ness.
This recipe is my take on a Laksa I hope you like it. It’s healthy and delicious.

Recipe

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
A handful of mushrooms, I used oyster mushrooms
A handful of baby pak choy or chopped regular size pak choy
Half a small butternut squash cut into tiny cubes
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
400ml tin of coconut milk
3 tablespoons of the laksa paste (method below)
A cup of peas
400ml of hot vegetable stock
Cucumber for garnishing cut into strips
2 limes juiced
A coriander sprig
100g of uncooked brown rice noodles (follow the instructions on the packet) you can use standard noodles too

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Laksa paste
2 red chillies
2 cloves of garlic
Half a thumb of ginger root or galangal
4 small chopped shallots
1 stick of lemon grass
1 tablespoon of tamarind
2 tablespoons of cashew butter or 50g of raw cashews

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Put all the ingredients into a small blender and whizz up till smooth. I used my stick blender to do this and it worked really well. Put paste into a container and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks or much longer in the freezer. Continue reading

midnight spaghetti

You can never have enough pasta in your life. When I was very young my father used to take me to a smart Italian restaurant in Chelsea called The Meridiana owned by his friend Enzo Apicella.  Enzo sometimes sat with us while we ate and we would discuss our love of pasta. This is a simple recipe, which is incredibly delicious. It’s also called Aglio E Olio in Italian. There are a lot of versions of it, and you can customise it with whatever you have in the cupboard. It’s called midnight spaghetti because it’s a recipe used by tired, busy chefs after they come home late after long day at work. It’s also called ‘after the party’, so you get the drift…it’s quick, easy and very tasty, particularly after one too many drinks and you are ravenous. Check out midnight spaghetti 2 on here, if you fancy trying another version. It would also be a perfect for a vegetarian dinner party with a salad if you wanted to cook something that is economical and very doable.

Recipe

Serves 2 but you can double or triple the quantities.

Ingredients:
250g dried spaghetti (half a regular packet)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves garlic cut into slivers
¼ teaspoon of chilli flakes
A sprig of parsley finely chopped
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
1-2 tablespoons of vermouth (optional)
a large handful of cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

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fattoush

This really delicious Lebanese salad is made with toasted pitas and a mix of salad vegetables and herbs and has the most delicious fragrant sweet dressing. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and sour and crunchy and soft combined. You can add radishes, carrots, olives, peppers, shredded red cabbage, feta or what ever you fancy, it’s perfect for using up vegetables in the fridge. It’s a sort of Middle Eastern version of panzanella and its really gorgeous. You can serve it as a starter, or with meat or fish and it’s perfect picnic food and pretty healthy too. I like it as a healthy lunch made with wholemeal pitas and a side order of humus and more pita bread. Over to Ralph…

Ralph here……It tasted amazing! Took me right back to my mum’s Lebanese kitchen.

Serves 2-3

Recipe

Ingredients:
Dressing:
2 teaspoons of sumac, soaked in 2 teaspoons of warm water for 10 minutes
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
1 clove of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of wine vinegar
1/3 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:
A couple of pita breads, lightly coated in olive oil and roasted in the oven till crispy then broken into smallish pieces
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
Half a cucumber, skinned and diced
Half a red onion finely sliced
1 little Gem or baby romaine lettuce, shredded
A sprig of finely chopped parsley
A sprig of finely chopped mint

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