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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Lasagne

Lasagne has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. It was always prepared by my Nonna for Easter and Christmas lunch and in my eyes is her signature dish. Although my cousin has mastered her version, I am still working on it, so this is combination of her recipe and Guy Grossi’s from Italian Food Safari. A good mix.

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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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Gnocchi

I’ll be honest, homemade gnocchi is a little time consuming and messy, however, making your own will always be better than packaged gnocchi from a supermarket. There isn’t much to gnocchi, potatoes, flour and an egg. Simple. This dish is served with homemade passata with mozzarella melted into the sauce for extra flavour. Serve with parmesan and enjoy!

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Creamy cauliflower mash

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My new fortnightly cooking challenge is to use an ingredient I have never (or rarely) cooked with. This week I saw cauliflower and thought it would be a great start seeing I can’t remember the last time I had it any where. Apparently this mash has less carbs that potato mash so it’s great for your health and surprisingly tasty.

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For a smoother texture, place the steamed cauliflower in a food processor. I only had a traditional masher.

Pad See Ew

The best part of this dish is the fresh rice noodles. They are by far my favourite type of noodle. I came across this recipe years ago and have memorised it.

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Substitute chicken for beef or firm tofu for vegetarians. I like to keep the vegetables to a minimum. On this occasion I have a carrot, onion and of course Chinese broccoli, including the stems, which in turn can be swapped for spinach or another leafy green vegetable.

Salmon, kale & feta frittata

Salmon and eggs go so well together. Usually for a cooked breakfast I will go out but this morning it was raining, miserable and my flatmate and her friend were terribly hungover and in need of food. The key to a frittata is to be patient. Simmer the eggs on the stove top and then transfer under the grill for a few minutes to brown the top. There are so many variations you can do for a frittata. Be inventive and try something different yourself. This one also had mushrooms. Substitute the salmon for salami, chorizo or remove all together and add beetroot or potatoes for vegetarians. Guaranteed to please hungover friends and family.

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Spaghetti alla puttanesca

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A traditional Italian pasta dish from the south where my family is from. You don’t need a lot of ingredients to make a delicious sauce. This one has garlic, tomatoes, olives, capers and a little chilli for extra bite. No matter how many Italian dishes I make, I am always amazed at how a few simple ingredients can taste so amazing. And only the italians could create a dish that translates in English to ‘whore’s spaghetti’.

Mixed meat stew

This stew is relatively quick to make compared to your normal slow-cooked dishes that can take hours. This one cooks in just over an hour and gives you a dish that is rich in flavour when your are time-poor. The stew itself is a mix of beef, pork and lamb, slowly simmered in homemade passata. Serve with polenta or have on its own with crusty bread.

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