Avocado on toast

A good breakfast doesn’t need to be complicated. With the right herbs and spices, a simple avocado smash with some fried mushrooms can be a cheap alternative to going out for breakfast. Here I’ve fried the mushrooms in olive oil, garlic, Italian spices, oregano and a good sprinkle of salt/pepper. Add a little water if the mushrooms are burning. For the avocado, add a little olive oil and salt/pepper for extra flavour.

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Tiramisu

Tiramisu, meaning ‘pick me up’ is one my favourite Italian desserts. When made well, the combination of coffee-soaked savoiardi and sweet mascarpone is unlike anything else and it simply melts in your mouth. The beauty of tiramisu is that it gets better the longer it sits in the fridge, however, you may find it hard to resist after day one.

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Garlic Prawn Pasta

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This pasta dish is a Donna Hay recipe and is super quick and simple. The best part is you cook with spaghetti and the prawns cook whilst the spaghetti cooks so it’s basically ready in about 10 minutes. The worst part is peeling the prawns but hopefully you have somebody to delegate that too. I’ve made this a couple of times and it can be dry if you cook too much spaghetti so have extra olive oil or lemon juice at the ready.

Veal osso buco

Osso buco is one of my favourite slow cooked dishes. This time I used veal shanks instead of beef. This is slow cooked in diced tomaotes and chicken stock for about 2 hours. The base of the sauce is onion, garlic, anchovies, celery, carrots and white wine. The longer you simmer the dish the better it will be. Don’t be impatient.

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Served with mash potatoes, garnished with chives.

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!

Bruschetta

This is a classic Italian dish and the best thing about it is the variations you can do. Tonight I used fresh tomatoes and fried mushrooms. Mix it up by warming the tomatoes or frying sliced eggplants for eggplant bruschetta. Traditionally prepare bruschetta on ciabatta bread however this time I used a soy & linseed sourdough, another variation.

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For a tip, rub garlic straight onto the toast rather than including it with the toppings. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter with parsley when ready to serve. Delicious.

Beetroot & pumpkin salad

Great dishes don’t have to difficult. Pick a few ingredients you love or have tasted recently and try recreating your own delicious meal. For me, beetroot and feta go well together and they are always in my kitchen. Tonight I added roasted pumpkin (in coconut oil) for something different. Kale is something I’ve been cooking with more and more lately. I prefer it to normal salad leaves because you control the texture when steaming (crunchy or softer).

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Finish this salad with olive oil and sprinkle with pine nuts. Simple and easy for those not too confident in the kitchen.

Mussels from Brussels

Change of scenery when Belgian flavours took over my kitchen and palate thanks to a special guest appearance from a wonderful Belgian chef. The beauty of this dish is that you have two meals in one. The mussels were delicious as always, however, they were cooked in a vegetable broth that compliments them very well. We simmered the broth for 45 minutes with a mixture of shallots, onions, celery, leeks and carrots. Use your imagination to create your own flavours.

mussels from brussels!

Belgium’s best kept secret is best served with “frites”. Homemade of course. Use different types of potatoes to mix things up.

Bon appetit!

Mushroom & gorgonzola risotto

The best risotto usually only has two key ingredients. Italian cooking is always simple and that’s why I love cooking it so much. This was my first time adding gorgonzola and it compliments the mushrooms nicely. The risotto also has a splash of thickened cream, another first ingredient for me. Topped with parsley and added parmesan if you like your risotto extra cheesy!

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