Buckwheat Flatbread with Avocado, Peas, Courgette and Goat’s Cheese

This is the ultimate in mid week, super tired, just need something quick, easy and most importantly filling suppers. You know the feeling. Get home after a long, let’s say,  Thursday, at work, you’re tired, a little bit grumpy, it’s nearly the weekend but not quite. The bus was really busy, you’ve got a bit of a headache. You don’t want to have to use your oven. Or put in any real effort.

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Perfect! This is just the meal for you. And better yet, it’s light and nutrient rich, so it won’t leave you feeling yucky on top of everything else. Despite its slightly misleading name, buckwheat is a gluten free flour alternative that has a really unique nutty flavour. The texture of these flatbreads is slightly denser than with a conventional flour, however it works perfectly with the lightness of the toppings.

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(ps. it doesn’t only have to be eaten on Thursday evenings- it would make a great weekend lunch (or even brunch) too!)

Buckwheat Flatbread with Avocado, Peas, Courgette and Goat’s Cheese

makes one large flatbread (enough for two people)

For the flatbread:

7og buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt and pepper
6oml water

For the toppings:

1 large and ripe avocado
1 small courgette
olive oil
handful of cherry tomatoes
handful of peas
about 5og soft goats’ cheese (I prefer the logs without a rind for this, but it’s up to you!)
salt and pepper
chilli flakes (optional)

In a bowl mix the flour, oil, baking powder, salt & pepper and then add the water. Mix to form a dough and knead a little so that it comes together as a dough. Roll it out into a large, flat, pizza base sort of thing. Put it into the griddle pan, and cook for about 3-4 minutes on one side before flipping it.

After a few minutes on each side, the flatbread should be starting to colour and char, and have risen a little bit. Remove it from the heat and put it to the side. m

Now make the toppings. In a bowl, mash the avocado with a pinch of salt and pepper. Preheat a griddle pan, or large frying pan, over a medium heat. Cut the courgette into thin strips. Drizzle some olive oil into the frying pan, and fry the courgette for a few minutes on each side until they have softened and started to char. Remove them from the heat and put them to the side. Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters. Meanwhile, cook the peas as per the cooking instructions.

Spread the avocado onto the flatbread, then pile on the courgette, peas and tomatoes. Break chunks of the goats and place on top, followed by a good pinch of salt and pepper, and the chilli flakes if you’re using them.

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Perfect!

xxR

 

Low Carb Thai Noodle Salad

When I was in Thailand, I developed a mild pad thai obsession. I must have eaten it on nearly every day I was there, for either lunch or supper, slurping up long sticky noodles with chopsticks on a Bangkok street corner or sitting on a sun-drenched beach. I’ve been trying to both find the perfect pad thai back in England, and figure out a way to make my own comparable plate. This is the closest I’ve been able to come. I know I know, it’s not the most of traditional pad thais, but this recipe is so delicious, so easy to whip up and doesn’t require you to make a specific trip to source any special ingredients that you wouldn’t already have.

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Better yet, this is a totally low carb version- instead of noodles, I used spiralised courgettes and carrots- which aren’t wholly alien to a normal pad thai anyway. Beansprouts and peanuts add extra crunch, and a sauce that is the perfect combination of sweet and salty is pad thai perfection. (ps. look how beautiful these spiralised veg are- how can you resist?! I use a spiraliser that is basically like a giant pencil sharpener- super easy to use and gives you the perfect veggies.)

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You can add any protein you like to this recipe- tofu, chicken, prawns- depending on your preferences, or just make a big ol’ batch and enjoy devouring a whole plate of veggies!

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Low Carb Thai Noodle Salad

Serves 2

2 tablespoons sesame oil (or vegetable oil if you don’t have any)

2 ½ tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

juice of half a lime (use the other half as a garnish when to squeeze over when you serve)

½ a red chili

3 cloves of garlic

small piece of ginger, about an inch long

1 teaspoon coconut oil

6-8 spring onions

2 large courgettes

2 large carrots

1 handful beansprouts

1 handful coriander

1 handful peanuts

Begin by making the sauce. In a jam jar, mix together the sesame oil, tamari, honey and lime juice. Chop up the chilli and 1 clove of garlic, and finely grate the ginger. Add those to the sauce. Taste it and see if it needs a bit more of anything.

Then, spiralise your veggies.

In a large frying pan, heat your coconut oil over a medium heat. Chop your spring onions into small rounds, and chop your remaining two garlic cloves. Add the garlic and spring onion to the pan, and fry for about a minute, or until they have started to soften. Add the beansprouts and fry for a further minute. Add a splash of the sauce and toss around.

In one side of the pan, crack in the egg. Keep moving it around with a spatula as it cooks, so you have a firm scrambled egg. Add in your courgettes and carrots, and the rest of the sauce. Toss it all around, so the ‘noodles’ are coated in the sauce, and the beansprouts and egg are mixed in. Cook for about a minute, or until the courgette and carrot have softened slightly, but still retain some of their bite.

Meanwhile, chop your coriander and peanuts. Dish the noodles onto a plate, and top with the coriander and peanuts. Finish with a final squeeze of lime juice and devour, picturing a busy Thai food market with every bite.

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xxR

Shakshuka

My sister has recently moved in with me. My flat is tiny- it’s just one bedroom, and there’s barely enough room for one person in the kitchen- but she’s working in London for the next six months and so we’ve turned half the living room into a bedroom, and after nearly two years of living alone, I now have a roommate again!

Of course, there are definite pros and cons to our new living situation, but one of the greatest pros has got to be the fact that we now cook and eat together almost every night. We take it in turn to come home laden with ingredients, and invent new and interesting things to eat. This is one of our favourites.

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Okay okay, so I know I’m not the first person to come up with shakshuka, and in fact, maybe I’m a little late to the shakshuka party. But it’s too good not to mention. In case you don’t know, shakshuka is basically eggs baked on top of a (normally tomato) base. It’s the perfect combination of protein, vegetables and, most importantly, flavour.

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We always have shakshuka for supper- it’s become a complete staple in the flat, we probably have a variation on it at least once a week- but you could also have it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even an afternoon snack, if you were that way inclined. It’s also super easy to make, and really adaptable. We put in whatever vegetables we have in the fridge- aubergine is a firm favourite- or chickpeas or beans. This is the classic recipe, but feel free to put your own little twist on it and add your own favourite veggies.

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Shakshuka 

(serves 4, or 2 if you’re really hungry!)

olive oil

4 cloves garlic

1/2 a red onion

1/2 a red chilli

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tin kidney beans

about 6 sundried tomatoes

4 eggs

about 100g of feta cheese

cherry tomatoes, to serve

avocado, to serve

handful of coriander, to serve

Begin by heating a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan. Finely dice your garlic cloves, onion and chilli. Toss these into the frying pan and cook until the onion is just starting to soften. Add in your chopped tomatoes, and mix well, then add the kidney beans. You may also need to add a splash of water at this stage. I normally fill up the tin about halfway with water and add that. Don’t worry if it seems too wet- the water will evaporate!

Cut your sundried tomatoes into thin slices and add these to the pan. (If you’re feeling extra extravagant, add in a tiny splash of the sundried tomato oil, just to boost the flavour!) Let everything simmer for about 7 minutes, until it has started to thicken up. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Crack your eggs onto the tomato mixture. They will partially submerge but also sort of stay on the top- that’s exactly what you want! Don’t panic if one disappears completely, it will just be poaching in the tomato sauce ready to be uncovered (and most importantly, eaten!) later! Crumble over the feta.

Put the whole thing in the oven and leave to bake for about 15 minutes. You want the feta to melt and the eggs to bake and get solid. Then, for the last few minutes, put it under the grill, to allow the feta to crisp up and get brown.

When it’s ready, top it with some cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado and chopped coriander leaves, and dig in! Build a bite with a bit of everything- tomato, egg, feta and avocado- bliss!

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xxR

Cauliflower, Chickpea and Sweet Potato Coconut Curry

One of my favourite things about travelling anywhere is the opportunity to eat something new. I love testing out my tastebuds in foreign lands, and discovering my new favourites (or maybe least favourites!) I have recently come back from travelling around Asia – please excuse my silence for the past few months – where I have been putting my tastebuds to the ultimate test, eating pad thai on the streets of Bangkok, vegetable kottu off a metal plate in a sri Lankan café and drowning in dahl in India.

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The whole experience was absolutely amazing, of course, and so rich that it seems impossible to know where to start with any concise description. And it almost doesn’t feel like it really happened. I touched down in heathrow feeling slightly feverish, unused to and unprepared for the cold in the one jumper I had taken and a huge wool shawl I bought for the equivalent for £2.50, with my backpack absolutely stuffed full of dirty clothes, bags of tea and spices I’d bought and the presents I’d dutifully carried home for my family. And immediately it felt like a dream that I was groggily waking up from and could only half remember. (The grogginess was probably due to the fact I’d been travelling overnight for about fifteen hours!)

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Having now gotten over the initial shellshock, and reacclimatised myself to the cold, I can look back on the amazing experiences I had, and the incredible food I tasted, with nothing but fondness, nostalgia, and a serious desire to hop back on a plane tomorrow and jet off in search of more adventure.

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Last weekend I decided to put what I’d seen and tasted in Kerala, in southern India, to work with my take on a coconut curry. Despite attending a cooking class in Udaipur, Rajasthan, where I learnt how to char a chapatti directly on the flames of a gas grill, and how to fold a perfectly triangular samosa, this recipe is based on nothing more than things I ate- and my attempt to recreate the flavours in my own kitchen.

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Coconut is a huge ingredient in southern Indian cooking, particularly in curries, where it’s used to add both sweetness and creaminess to any veg or fish curry. It’s not only used in cooking however- the fibres are spun into rope and then used to make the silent long boats that patrol the backwaters of kerala. Turmeric is also used in Indian cooking for everything- and it’s also prescribed as a medicine. Seriously, a spoonful of honey mixed with turmeric swallowed right before bed will cure any sore throat or runny nose! This recipe combines these two ingredients that are so central to Indian cooking- as well as a few of my own favourite veg! Coconut curries are served on banana leaves in kerala, which, sadly, are difficult to source in London- so you’ll have to use your imagination for that!

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Cauliflower, Chickpea and Sweet Potato Coconut Curry

serves 4

tablespoon coconut oil
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam marsala
2 tins of coconut milk
2 large sweet potatoes
1 cauliflower
2 tins of chickpeas
coriander (to serve)
fresh chillies (to serve)

Finely chop the garlic. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into cubes.
In a large saucepan, heat the coconut oil until it has melted. Add the garlic, and cook for about a minute. Add in the turmeric, cumin and garam marsala and cook for about thirty seconds until they have formed a paste. Add the coconut milk and the sweet potatoes. bring the coconut milk to a gentle simmer.
Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes have started to soften.
Chop the cauliflower into small florets, and add those to the curry. After two minutes, add the chickpeas.
Allow to cook until the sweet potato is soft enough that it can be easily pierced with a fork.
Dish the curry into bowls, and top with some chopped coriander and finely diced chillies.

xxR

Thanksgiving Leftovers

After Thanksgiving, I was left with so much cheese. I had asked everyone to bring a bottle of wine and a piece of their favourite cheese, and, while the wine had been well and truly demolished on the night itself, I have to admit I overestimated just how much cheese there would be.

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I love cheese, but there was absolutely no way I could ever get through all that, so I roped in my dad to help. Admittedly, even with two people, we struggled to finish it all!

The best thing to do with leftover cheese, I’ve discovered, is simply to throw it all into a ramekin or small oven dish (depending on how many cheese eaters you have!) and bake it. Everyone loves a bit of baked camembert, but this is next level. I filled my ramekin with bits of camembert, as well as few pieces of various blue cheeses. Throw a few peeled garlic cloves on the top and bake for 10-15 minutes, and you’ll be left with the most incredible  dip. Definitely not the healthiest snack ever, but hey, it is Christmas!

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I also had about half a butternut squash left over, which I cubed and roasted at 180 degrees with a drizzle of olive oil, a good pinch of salt and pepper and a few cloves of garlic for about 45 minutes. 1o minutes from the end, when the butternut squash is just starting to feel really soft, throw in a few handfuls of kale, which will go crunchy in the heat of the oven. Crumble some blue cheese over the top, as well as the toasted butternut squash seeds, and you have the perfect winter salad that takes literally no effort to whip up!

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xxR

Red Lentil Dahl with Grilled Aubergines

Isn’t it depressing to look out of the window at 7 o’clock in the evening and see, well, nothing? Getting home in the dark is one of the worst things about the winter in London. Second only to leaving the house in the morning in the dark.

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At this time of year, all I really want to do is throw on my PJs and my slippers (I have some Ugg ones- pure bliss!) and snuggle down with a big bowl of something warm and comforting.

This dahl really is the ultimate comfort food. It is a big huge bowl of steaming hot, somewhat stodgy, super delicious goodness. Really what’s not to love?! Plus- it is simply excellent for you! Lentils are an amazing source of iron, and for a lifelong vegetarian, iron can sometimes be a little hard to come by. Whenever I’m feeling a big run down, I erve myself up a big ol’ helping of lentils, usually with some kale thrown in for good measure too. Practically as irony as a steak!

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I must confess, I am absolutely not an expert of Indian food. I mean, I am an expert of eating Indian food, but that is about as far as my expertise stretch. There is one secret weapon that I always use- garam marsala. A good tablespoon of that, along with some mustard seeds and turmeric, and it will taste like you really know your Indian stuff! Eat this dahl as a side to your favourite curry- I love sweet potato and chickpea- or just have a big bowl of it as the main event.

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Red Lentil Dahl with Grilled Aubergines

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 teaspoons garam marsala

4oog red lentils

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 aubergine

handful coriander, optional

In a large saucepan, heat a splash of olive oil. Add your onion to the pan, and turn the heat down to low. Cook the onion for a few minutes until it starts to soften, the add your garlic. Cook for about another minute, then add your mustard seeds and garam marsala. Cook for about 3o seconds- the mustard seeds should start to pop.

Add your lentils to the pan. Pour water into the pan until it is about two inches about the lentils. Bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave your lentils to simmer for about 2o minutes. They might absorb all the water, so keep an eye on them and add more if necessary. Stir in your ground turmeric.

Slice your aubergine into thin strips, and heat a splash of olive oil in a griddle pan. Fry the aubergine slices on each side for about 5 minutes, or until it is soft and starting to char.

When your lentils are about the consistency of porridge- they will sort of turn to mush (for want of a better word!), and you won’t be able to see individual lentils anymore- they are done! Season with salt and pepper to taste, then spoon a big dollop into a bowl, and top with a few strips of aubergine and a pinch of chopped coriander, if using.

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Enjoy!

xxR

Butternut Squash, Halloumi and Amaranth Salad with Kale and Almonds

I graduated from uni in July and since then (give or take a few holidays) I have been spending my unemployed days frantically searching for a job. I started out with high aspirations (and hopes), applying for jobs in prestigious art museums and magazines but, after a string of (rather painful) rejections, I have lowered my sights to babysitting and waitressing jobs. Welcome to the real world Rosie!

However, there is a positive side to this apparently chronic unemployment. It gives me the chance to do all the Londony things that I never got around to during my degree. I had a huge list of exhibitions I was desperate to see, which I am working my through.

I’ve also had the chance to do a lot of experimenting in the kitchen. I’ve bought a whole range of gluten-free flours and I’m working my way through my baking repertoire, attempting to remove gluten from all my favourite recipes.

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Okay, so this recipe never had gluten in it to begin with- but it was still a bit of an experiment. I was experimenting with a new grain- amaranth. Similarly to quinoa, to which it is closely related, amaranth is a naturally gluten-free whole grain. But, believe it or not, it might actually be better than quinoa. It has more protein than most other grains, and has also shown potential to lower cholesterol. Like quinoa, it has been a staple ingredient in Mexican and Central American food for thousands of years.

It’s smaller than quinoa, but cooks in the exact same way- simply boil it for about 15 minutes, and then serve with your favourite salad ingredients. If you need some salad inspiration, read on…

This salad is the perfect combination of everything you could want in a salad. The butternut squash is roasted in garam marsala (an Indian spice blend), so it is sweet and rich in flavours. The halloumi is salty, the kale is garlicky and the chopped almonds add just the right amount of bite. Just trust me, you want to try this!

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Butternut Squash, Halloumi and Amaranth Salad with Kale and Almonds

to serve 4

1 butternut squash

splash of olive oil

6 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 tablespoon garam marsala

1 cup amaranth (just use a regular sized mug if you don’t have a measuring jug that does cups)

1 block of halloumi

1oog kale

large handful almonds

salt and pepper, to serve

Preheat your oven to 18o degrees. Begin by peeling your butternut squash. Cut it in half and remove the seeds, then cut it into wedges. Place the wedges in an oven dish, and drizzle over the olive oil. Toss in the garam marsala and half the garlic cloves, then roast in the oven for about 45 minutes. The butternut squash should be soft all the way through.

Meanwhile, cook your amaranth. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to the boil (again, just use a mug if you don’t have a measuring jug- but just make sure it’s the same size as the one you measured the amaranth in!), then add the amaranth. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.

To cook your kale, finely chop it and remove any of the really tough stalks that aren’t nice to eat. In a large griddle pan, heat up a splash of olive oil and the remaining garlic cloves, then add the kale. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is tender.

On a large serving dish, arrange your amaranth, then place the sautéed kale on top.

To cook the halloumi, cut it into thin slices. Using the same griddle pan that you cooked the kale in, fry the halloumi for 5-7 minutes on each side, until it is golden brown and soft.

Arrange the halloumi slices and butternut squash wedges on top of the kale.

Finally, roughly chop your almonds and sprinkle over the salad. Season the whole thing with a good pinch of salt and pepper and devour!

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xxR

Mexican Summertime Bowl

Mexican food has always been my favourite- I grew up eating black bean burritos and shoving salsa laden tortillas into my mouth.

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When we moved to England, we were shocked to discover that it was nearly impossible to find black beans anywhere. In America they are basically a food staple. We scoured every supermarket, occasionally managing to find them dried, which then involved soaking overnight and hours of cooking.

Luckily, for us and the rest of the UK population, black beans are more a thing in this country now. You can find them in a can or carton in nearly every supermarket, accompanied by salsa, tortillas and all the other ingredients you might need to make your own Mexican feast.

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I still live on beans. I’m never happier than when tucking into a whole bowl of BBs, dressed with lime, plenty of fresh coriander and a good dollop of salsa. Unfortunately, the burritos that I used to adore as a child are less easy now that I’m coeliac. Gluten free wraps are pretty hard to come by, so I’ve developed new ways to enjoy my favourite food.

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This is a light, summery way to get a taste of Mexico in your kitchen. A huge bowl, brimming with black beans, accompanied by a salty, fresh corn salad, guacamole (of course!) and crispy sweet potato wedges. Perfect!

Mexican Bowl

serves 4

for the beans:

1 small onion

1 red pepper

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 cans black beans

pinch of chilli powder

Heat a splash of oil in a large saucepan. Finely dice the onion, pepper and garlic. Add the onion to the saucepan and cook for about two minutes before adding  the pepper.

Cook for a further three minutes until the onion and pepper and soft but not burnt, then add the garlic. Sprinkle the ground cumin over the onion, pepper and garlic and allow to fry off for about one minute.

Open your cans of beans and pour off the liquid into a glass. It’s good to have this handy to add to your beans if they are looking dry. Tip your beans into the saucepan, and leave to cook until they are bubbling, then add a pinch of chilli powder. Let the beans bubble over a medium heat until they have started to thicken up, adding the juice from the can if they start to run out of liquid.

for the corn:

4 ears of corn

100g feta, crumbled

1/2 red onion, finely diced

handful of fresh coriander

1/2 lime

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, then add your corn and simmer for 1o minutes.

When they are cool, slice the kernels off the cob and place in a bowl with the feta, onion and coriander. Squeeze the lime juice over the mixture before serving.

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for the guacamole:

3 ripe avocados

1/2 red onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, finely diced

salt and pepper

juice of 1/2 lime

Begin by mashing your avocados. You want them fairly smooth but with some chunks. Then add in your onion and garlic and season to taste with salt, pepper and lime juice.

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for the sweet potato wedges:

2 sweet potatoes

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chilli power

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Peel your sweet potatoes and cut them into wedges.

Arrange the wedges on a well-oiled dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and the cumin and chilli powder.

Cook for 40-50 minutes, or until the wedges feel soft but with a crisp outside.

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To serve:

Place big dollop of beans in a bowl, followed by a generous serving of wedges, corn and guacamole. Squeeze a little lime juice over everything and top with a handful of chopped coriander.

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xxR

Veggie Moussaka

My mum makes the best moussaka. It’s a huge dish overflowing with cinnamony lentils and covered with the most luxurious cheese sauce. The recipes comes from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection, and is so well loved that the book falls open at the moussaka page, which is stiff from being touched one too many times with slightly sticky fingers. (By the way, I would highly recommend this book if you are vegetarian, have vegetarian friends or are even a fan of vegetables yourself. It is probably one of the oldest cookbooks on our kitchen shelf and one that we always refer to for new recipe inspiration and old favourites).

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Since being gluten-free, the cheese sauce is off limits (I suppose you COULD make it with gf flour…) so together we have invented this all new and improved Rosie friendly version, which, I think is actually better (believe it or not!) My family might disagree, but I think that feta works much better as a topping.

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I made this for a big supper I held a few weeks ago- served with a crunchy, rustic loaf (or not, if you too are gluten free!), a big salad and a large glass of wine, it makes for the perfect mid-week supper.

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Veggie Moussaka

serves 6

100g green-brown lentils

1 veggie, gluten free stock cube

1 aubergine

olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

1 large red pepper, deseeded and diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

100ml red wine

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

salt and pepper

1 block of feta

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Begin by cooking the lentils. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the lentils and stock cube and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the lentils are slightly soft but still have some bite. No one likes a mushy lentil.

Meanwhile, prepare the aubergines. Slice into fairly thin round disks and fry on a griddle pan with a splash of olive oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until they are soft and starting to brown. When they are cooked, put them on a plate and place to the side.

Then, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are just starting to go brown, then add the pepper and cook until that is soft and slightly brown. Then add the garlic and cook for a further 1 minute before adding the chopped tomatoes. Leave them to bubble for a few minutes, then add the wine, cinnamon and cooked lentils. Finally, stir in the parsley and season well. Transfer the lentil mixture to a ceramic dish.

Then, arrange the cooked aubergine in a layer over the top. Crumble the feta over the aubergine in an even layer. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, so that the feta on top is slightly melted and brown and crispy. Serve hot and enjoy a taste of the Mediterranean.

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xxR

Warm Buckwheat Salad with Roasted Beetroot and Cumin Cauliflower

I love entertaining. I enjoy cooking for my friends so much, I would probably have to classify it as one of my hobbies! I can get quite carried away though, spending hours pouring over cookbooks and food magazines deciding what to cook, and then yet more hours in the kitchen. I tend to go a bit overboard with candles and flowers- definitely a hazard, but it does make my flat look and smell beautiful! I am always determined to think up new things to cook when I have people over, and this buckwheat salad was a recent creation of mine.

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Buckwheat itself is a fairly new discovery for me, and something I have discovered as a gluten-free option. The name is misleading- it is in fact entirely gluten-free (unlike bulgar wheat, which is not! Confusing!) It has a nuttier flavour than quinoa, which enables it to balance out stronger tastes, like beetroot and cauliflower. It is also super easy and quick to cook, and is delicious hot or cold.

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I was so excited to finally see raw beetroot in a supermarket that I had to buy it. In America, roast beets is common- in fact, it is rare to find pre-cooked beetroots. Here, they always seem to be already cooked, which does make the whole thing a bit easier, but you also lose out on the deliciousness of a freshly roasted beet. They are delicious warm too!

Together with the cumin crunch of cauliflower and chickpeas and the nutty buckwheat, this is a delicious side dish or main course. Serve with a large helping of best friends and laughter.

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Warm Buckwheat Salad with Roasted Beetroot and Cumin Cauliflower

serves 6

4 large or 5 small beetroot

1 cauliflower

1 tin of chickpeas

3 tablespoons ground cumin

about 150g of buckwheat

handful of mint leaves, chopped

for the dressing:

juice of half a lemon

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. The first time I made this, I roasted the beetroot with their skins on, which seems like the sensible thing to do, but then they were extremely difficult to peel. I burned my fingers repeatedly and turned everything in my kitchen a deep shade of purple. So, new plan- peel the beetroot using a veg peeling while they are still raw, then wrap each one in tin foil, place in a roasting tray and bake in the oven for at least 45 minutes to an hour, or until they are soft all the way through.

Cut the cauliflower into smallish florets, and put in a roasting dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil and the cumin. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until they are browning and softish. Don’t overcook them or they will be a bit mushy and ruin the textures of the salad. About 5 minutes before they are finished, drain the chickpeas and add them to the roasting dish, giving it a bit of a toss to coat them in cumin.

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Meanwhile, cook your buckwheat. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the buckwheat and simmer for 8 minutes. Then, drain.

While the buckwheat is cooking, you can make your dressing. Simply mix the lemon juice, honey, olive oil and salt and pepper in an old jam jar.

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Now you are ready to assemble. Place the buckwheat on your favourite serving dish, then add the cauliflower and chickpeas. Cut the beetroot into small chunks and mix those in too. Finish with your dressing and mint leaves and give the whole thing a good toss before serving.

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xxR