Those who know me will know how important pasta is in my life. (Extremely). I eat it at least once a week, usually more, and have a few favourite pasta dishes in my repertoire that I’d like to share with the world. This is one of them.
The beauty of this dish is that the pasta gets coated in a sweet, silky sauce made from caramelised shallots, garlic and cherry tomatoes, but then that sweetness is nicely punctuated by salty, smoky discs of soft chorizo, while a splash of sherry vinegar serves to balance everything out with a bit of acidity. Delicious.
A friend of mine recently gave me a miso and white chocolate cookie and it was heavenly. The combination of intensely savoury miso and super sweet, creamy white chocolate is as much of a perfect match as salt & vinegar, fish & chips, or DOLCE & GOBBANA HUNNY. So, I just knew it needed to exist in a deliciously gooey blondie, ASAP.
This recipe really couldn’t be simpler – the faffiest part, in my opinion, is lining the tin!
This recipe was born when I had little else in my fridge other than a pack of mushrooms and some leftover tikka paste and I realised that it was a killer combo. So, say hello to your new fav midweek veggie biryani (I hope!) It’s super easy to make, nutritious, and a great way to use up any leftover tikka paste you might have kicking around
N.B. I really like the crispy onions as they add a bit of crunchy sweetness as well as a certain certain je ne sais quoi to the overall appearance of the dish, however, they’re not essential so if you’re feeling lazy midweek, you can totally skip step two and go straight to step three, cooking all the onions as normal (rather than crispy) and it’s just as delicious.
This is a firm favourite in our midweek repertoire. There are a few different elements but they’re all cheap to buy, simple to prepare and a real flavour sensation when combined. Slightly charred, soft, flour tortillas are filled with mildly spiced black beans, crispy, salty nuggets of chorizo and fresh, zingy salsa, plus crunchy slaw (and I also like to add a crumbling of salty feta cheese and drizzle of Valentina hot sauce).
My top tip for any Mexican-inspired meal that uses flour tortillas is to always char them a bit – it adds a whole new dimension of flavour that you really don’t get from just warming them. See step 4 in the recipe to find out how.
Here’s what you need to know about this recipe: it’s made in one dish (so less washing up – win), it uses just a few simple ingredients (so less shopping – also a win), it requires minimal prep (another win) and most importantly, it’s delicious. An ideal little number to add to your midweek repertoire, I’d say.
When I was eighteen, I spent my gap year travelling around south east Asia (cue eye roll) and came across larb – also spelt larp or laab – in Laos. I had never heard of it before but, as it was a regional speciality, I ordered it and absolutely ADORED it. Laab is a kind of meat salad usually made with minced pork, which is packed full of fresh, zingy flavour, thanks to lots of fresh lime juice, shallots, chilli and fresh mint. Those who know me will know that I’m a sucker for a bit of zing so I couldn’t wait to recreate it at home. My version of larb may or may not be 100% traditional – many recipes add toasted rice for extra nuttiness, some add lemon grass and many don’t use garlic – but this is how I make mine. It’s super acidic, fresh and delicious and, like all my recipes, really easy to make.
I always serve mine with white rice as that’s how it was served in Laos and it tastes best (in my opinion). But if you want to be healthier, it would also work with brown rice or some people like to go super healthy with it and serve it in little gem lettuce cups…but that’s a no from me hun.
Harissa is a magical ingredient and a very useful thing to always have in the cupboard because it’s such a quick and easy way to impart a load of flavour to meat, fish or veg without the need for lots of other ingredients.
I especially love harissa with salmon – just spread it over salmon fillets, drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and then either bake in the oven (for around 12-15 mins on 180) or put under the grill (for 10 mins on high), then squeeze over some lemon juice once cooked. It’s a really simple but very effective way to cook salmon, which I often serve with a tabbouleh or couscous salad in summer but this time I had the idea to have it in a bit of a kebab-style wrap.
This recipe was created for a very specific reason: to use up a jar of this delicious sweet almond paste, known in Italian as crema di mandorle. If you’ve never tried this kind of sweet Sicilian almond paste before (different brands available here and here and also available here) the best way I can describe it to you is a bit like an almond version of the inside of a Kinder Bueno – sweet, creamy and only mildly nutty, it tastes like melted white chocolate with a hint of natural almond nuttiness. In fact, it’s so good that I usually eat it straight from the jar with a spoon, but I felt it was time to try putting it to even better use by incorporating it into some brownies.
Since I was already using almond paste, I thought it might be nice to use almond in the brownie batter too, so I replaced flour with ground almonds and thus, a delicious gluten-free brownie recipe was born. SO whether you want to add the swirly almond topping or not, this is a great gluten-free brownie recipe, which makes super soft, delicate and rich brownies that taste like a good flourless chocolate cake. The swirly almond stuff just takes them up a notch further, if you so happen to have some knocking around.
A dish I’ll often order in Italian restaurants is pasta coated in a rich, meaty, fennel-seed studded sausage ragu, but at home, I generally try to cook without meat as much as possible. SO, I set out to see if it’s possible to recreate a good sausage ragu using vegetarian sausages. And the answer is yes it is.
The key is to find veggie/vegan sausages which mimic meat in their texture – in other words, soft and squishy enough to break up into ‘mincemeat’. I have specified this in the ingredients list too but I want to reiterate it here: DO NOT use a firm veggie sausage such as Linda Mcartney (no offence to Linda Mcartney veggie sausages – they definitely have their place!) For this recipe, you need soft sausages that you can squish into the pan and break up easily – I used Naked Glory vegan sausages, but Meatless Farm ones would work too.
First time I made this, it still lacked an umami depth that salty sausage meat usually provides, so I added a bit of marmite to rectify this and think it works nicely.
N.B – Sorry to be blasphemous to veggies out there but this is also very delicious as a non-veggie sausage ragu – just follow the recipe exactly but use pork sausages and omit the marmite!
I recently tested out a broccoli Caesar salad recipe that my friend (and v talented recipe writer and chef) Sophie wrote, and it was delicious – something about the pairing of the roasted broccoli with the rich, salty, umami Caesar dressing just really worked, so I’ve been thinking about doing something similar with Brussels sprouts ever since.
Think you don’t like sprouts? Let me change your mind. Seriously, I hate to toot my own horn, but these were genuinely the best sprouts I’ve ever eaten. Combining crispy-edged, tender roasted sprouts with a creamy, salty, Caesar dressing, crunchy croutons and parmesan is a real game changer. It makes a really great side for a roast chicken dinner, but I also discovered that it’s absolutely DELICIOUS re-worked into a pasta dish. So, scroll down to find a bonus recipe for my Ceasar sprout spaghetti! Two for the price of one guys, you’re welcome.