Quinoa Arancini (Stuffed Risotto Balls)

Quinoa Arancni

Yesterday our kitchen went from plasterdust-coated, totally-gutted hellhole to something that actually resembles a kitchen! I’d love to say that we got some professionals in to work their magic while we sat back and poured ourselves G&Ts, but the reality is that K and I slogged long hours into the night to do it ourselves. And I can honestly say that there was only one thing that kept us going, kept our spirits high and prevented us from throttling each other after 12 hours of shared hard labour, and it was these beautiful balls of joy – quinoa arancini!

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Broad Beans with Pancetta

Broad Bean with Pancetta Recipe

There was a time, not so long ago, that I would have rather gone hungry than eat a plateful of broad beans. I viewed them with the dark suspicion usually reserved for foods like tripe or aspic – those strange oddities of yesteryear that you truly had to grow up with to appreciate. My mum on the other hand loved broad beans, and I remember seeing them bobbing around ominously in opened tins in the fridge, and thanking my lucky stars that she kept her broad bean habit to herself and never tried to sneak them into our dinners.

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Cauliflower Olivieh Salad

Cauliflower Salad Olivieh

Last weekend was D-day for our kitchen. Ever since we moved in I’d been itching to get rid of the miserable oak units and battered and tired old appliances. But almost as soon as we started taking the old units down, it became obvious that whoever had originally fitted them must have been the only non-cowboy in town! With almost tear-inducing levels of fastidiousness, they’d carefully concealed every screw in the most inaccessible of places. Where one screw would suffice, they had used two. And just to be on the safe side, they’d slathered on some glue too.

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Gluten Free Tabbouleh

Gluten Free Tabbouleh

In the run up to Christmas, the arrival of winter seems like an utterly magical thing to me. I love the frosty winter haze that creeps over the autumnal sky, and the low winter sun which illuminates everything in shades of tangerine. I love the way the evening darkness is punctuated by the warm glow of inviting pubs, beckoning and promising warmth and good company. And most of all I love the statuesque beauty of trees stripped of their leaves, crisscrossing the blue sky with their dark, inky branches.

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Leili’s Slipper

Leili's Slipper

Just before Christmas, I moved into my first new home. But after years of subliminal exposure to aspirational John Lewis / Dulux adverts, I’d ended up with a slightly unrealistic view of what to expect. I imagined myself gliding around gaily with boxes; glancing coquettishly at my other half as our hands met over a curtain rail; or maybe suffering a few agonising moments deciding where to put a bouquet of flowers for maximum ‘home-sweet-home’ effect…

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