feel-good pea soup

I recently came down with a bug, and couldn’t face eating anything heavy. This soup was the perfect remedy – no potato, no cream, nothing heavy when you’re suffering with a delicate stomach. This tastes fresh, light and healthy, and exactly what you need to bring you back to life! Play around with the recipe to suit you – sometimes I cook a ham and use the stock in the soup, then add the shredded pieces of ham, you could add mint for a sweet flavour, or spring onions and chives for a tangier taste. It’s really adaptable and celebrates one of Britain’s most treasured vegetables – the sweet yet simple garden pea.

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tahini and white chocolate cookies

I’ve been intrigued by tahini for a while now. Commonly used in Middle Eastern cookery, tahini is a paste made up of ground sesame seeds. It has an oily texture – as many ground seeds and nuts do – and resembles peanut butter. I spotted a jar of tahini at the supermarket and chucked it in the trolley, not really thinking twice about how I would use it! I had already planned a Middle Eastern feast for dinner tonight, and was looking around the kitchen to see what I could put together for dessert. I’m not generally a fan of ME desserts as they often use very sweet and fragrant flavours, e.g. rosewater. I noticed the tahini and came up with this recipe – hope you like it! I plan to serve them warmed up with some ice cream.

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lime and passion fruit semifreddo, with coconut meringues and passion fruit syrup

It can be really difficult to think of a light and refreshing dessert to serve after a rich and spicy meal. This worked brilliantly well after 2 Indian courses, as it incorporated exotic flavours without being too sweet. This would also be delicious to serve after Thai courses.

I’m not the greatest at piping, so if you’re anything like me, just use a tablespoon to portion out your meringues, and use the back of the spoon to smooth and swirl the top! At least you’re left with a neat shape that’s easy to plate up. This meringue recipe is really light and sweet, as I’ve used icing sugar instead of caster.

As semifreddo is a frozen dessert, you will need to ensure this is made at least a few hours ahead, or ideally the night before, for it to set in time.

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aloo tikki with tamarind chana masala

As much as I love good quality meat (ALWAYS from Southampton Butchers), I do also enjoy a lot of vegetarian food, mainly because I’m a potato fiend! Indian cuisine provides some of the best veggie dishes out there, using a variety of pulses and vegetables.

Aloo tikki is one of my favourite dishes, made up of spiced mashed potato cakes. Many versions come with different fillings inside, as well as the addition of semolina or sago to the outside to add extra crunch. With this recipe, I keep the aloo tikki simple, and let the tamarind and tomato chickpea curry do the work – the sweet and sour flavour adds a lot of depth to the dish. This makes a great starter for a homemade Indian feast.

I’m so excited for my trip to India next March, and hopefully I’ll get to taste the real deal. We’re visiting Mumbai, Jaipur, Delhi and Goa, so if you have any suggestions of places to visit or where to eat, please let me know!

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herb arancini topped with balsamic glaze

I wanted to make an easy Italian starter that I could prepare ahead of time. This was absolutely delicious and very easy!

This is also a brilliant idea if you ever have leftover risotto to use up. Just roll up in to balls and follow the breadcrumb and cooking steps!

You can add plenty to this recipe – prosciutto, peas, even a small chunk of mozzarella in the middle. I wanted to keep this simple though, to let the fresh herbs shine through.

I chose to serve the arancini with a quick tomato, artichoke and rocket salad.

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potato, tomato and chickpea balti

We always seem to find ourselves with leftover vegetables to use up, but the most popular is definitely potatoes. There are so many potato side dishes to  make, but in this curry it’s one of the stars of the show. Vegetarian, cheap and very tasty!

I served mine with pilau rice and shop-bought naan bread, but you can quickly and easily make chapatis to go with this. The recipe is coming soon….

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