Stuffed baby eggplants

These bite-sized baby eggplants are a great idea for starters when entertaining friends. The stuffing is garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, parmesan cheese and an egg plus the insides of the eggplants that have been lightly fried in olive oil. Top with extra parmesan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

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Pasta with chicken & pesto

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This dish combines 3 of my favourites… pasta, chicken and basil pesto (homemade of course). There is something therapeutic about making pesto in a mortar & pestle. It takes longer than a blender but you have better control over the outcome. Cook the pasta till al dente, add the warm chicken then coat with plenty of pesto and top with parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil. I love parmesan cheese so find myself always going back for extra toppings mid-way through!

Celeriac

This strange looking root vegetable caught my eye on the weekend. It can be eaten raw or roasted, stewed, blanched or mashed. Once the skin is removed, I diced it into small cubes, following a Jamie Oliver recipe (again). Fry for 5 minutes to give some colour and then cover and simmer with some water or stock for 25 minutes. Once soft it’s ready to eat. You can combine with potato mash or smash it up on it’s own. I served it with salmon and forgot the greens!

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Roast Chicken

It has taken a while but I finally got round to roasting a chicken and why hadn’t I done this earlier!? This is a Jamie Oliver inspired recipe. The chicken sits on a combination of potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, onion and garlic, cooking the entire time with the chicken. The beauty of this dish is it’s pretty simple. No fancy marinades, just olive oil and seasoning. Add water to the bottom of the dish to stop the vegetables from burning too much (I didn’t really add enough but they still tasted great!).

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Mangoes

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Mangoes are one of my favourite summer fruits. They go so well in fresh salads as well as smoothies or as a side with breakfast. They are also perfect on their own. I picked up a small box on Saturday and they are pretty much gone. Enjoy them while they last!

Kohlrabi

Cooking for me is about learning and experimenting with new ingredients, flavours and combinations. Sometimes this means getting inspiration from others, following recipes or sometimes going with my own ideas. When I saw this vegetable I didn’t even know what it but was curious as to what was underneath it’s purple and funny looking skin. It is actually a German turnip or cabbage and can be eaten raw or cooked. I baked it with truffle oil like any other hard vegetable. Without giving away the taste, I can say I will be buying this again.

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Take a chance in the kitchen and buy something you’ve never had before. You’ll be surprised at what you can find in your local fresh food shops. Happy 2015 everyone!