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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Gluten Free Pancakes with Cinnamon Honey Butter

Gluten Free Pancakes

I love the way that every country has its own take on pancakes. In America it’s all about fluffy buttermilk pancakes, piled high with blueberries, syrup and bacon. In France they’ve got the delicate crêpe, and India they’ve got the delicious savoury dosa. But while all of these pancake incarnations have place in my heart, for me there’s nothing quite like the glorious taste of a classic English pancake.

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Gluten Free Pita Bread

Gluten Free Pita Bread

It’s funny how some recipes come about. This one was born of blinding, ravenous hunger. Admittedly not the real, haven’t-eaten-for-days type hunger. But the sort of hunger that makes you want to weep when you wake up in the morning and realise your fridge is empty. The sort of hunger that won’t even let you contemplate going to the corner shop to buy supplies (how can you afford to waste minutes going to the shop when you absolutely must eat now?!). And the worst thing about this particular episode was that there was food in the house. There was a giant loaf of delicious crusty white bread just begging to be eaten. But it wasn’t gluten free and so while K was salivating over it, I was experiencing escalating levels of panic about my breakfast options.

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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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Persian Love Cake

Persian Love Cake

Sometimes food is more than just food. One forkful of cod in parsley sauce and I’m back at my grandmother’s table aged five, watching her unleash great plumes of white pepper onto her plate while Home and Away plays in the background. The merest whiff of a batch of hot, freshly baked chocolate cookies takes me back to secondary school, where the aroma of the cook’s legendary dark and white chocolate cookies would waft through the classrooms every morning, and drive us all mad with hunger while they cooked.

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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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