A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe

Thomas Keller

This page is for the recipes collected on my travels which capture a moment, a meal, a friendship or otherwise make my heart sing. Some have been shared with me, others I’ve found and adapted. I’m not someone who weighs or measures anything and often I don’t have exactly the right things to hand and need to improvise. But in my experience when you use fresh locally sourced ingredients and add soul you can’t really go wrong!

Cooking requires confident guesswork and improvisation– experimentation and substitution, dealing with failure and uncertainty in a creative way.     

Paul Theroux


Squash, red lentil and coconut dahl – I love dahl and this one makes use of my current abundance of squash and some delicious cavolo nero currently in season. The whole thing is cooked in coconut milk without using any oil at all so its both low fat and vegan.

Homemade paneer with spiced garden vegetables – I adore paneer cheese in a curry dish but it’s impossible to get hold of in this part of Italy where, unlike the UK, there isn’t a long history of inward migration from India and Bangladesh. So this week between Zoom meetings I had a go at making my own!

Sinigang na hipon – the freshness of this simple sour broth, so typical of Filipino cuisine, allows the shrimps to be the star of the dish

Creamy chickpea, spinach and sweet potato curry – a quick and easy lunch or supper, entirely vegan with the emphasis on taste rather than heat

Roasted pumpkin, coconut and ginger soup – A Thai-inspired winter warmer made with locally grown organic pumpkin, perfect for a wet and windy day


Tray-baked sea bream with lentils and salsa verde – There’s nothing like drizzling homemade salsa verde over a perfectly cooked piece of tray-baked fish that you have filleted yourself to make you feel ‘chefy’!

Apricot, plum and lavender cake – This year’s apricot harvest was very limited, most likely due to the unseasonally cold and wet conditions during May. So the only option was to make them into a cake! I added a handful of the the plums that were just starting to ripen on the tree next door and some beautifully scented lavender.

Baked green pea fritters – Peas are normally regarded as a side dish or end up in a pea and mint soup, of which I’m not a fan. So after a quick search online I found this recipe for green pea fritters and decided to give it a try.

Gorgonzola risotto with mushrooms and asparagus – People often assume that it’s complicated and time consuming to make Italian risotto but it really isn’t – at least not the way I do it!

Pizza ortolana con pesto – Two months into the Italian lockdown my need for pizza has taken over so this is my take on the ortolana, which in Italian means “from the vegetable patch”, with added pesto for extra flavour

Cinzia’s tiramisu – This tiramisu with layers of sponge soaked in coffee and rum, chunks of dark chocolate and a rich marscapone cream is one of the most delicious desserts I’ve ever eaten!

Ravioli with zucchini and garlic sauce – Although I live in Italy and have eaten (and loved) Italian food almost all my adult life, I’ve never actually tried to make my own pasta. Today I put that right with thanks to an online cooking lesson with Cinzia in Florence…

Lockdown cauliflower cake – This is somewhere between a savory cake and a quiche made with both eggs and flour, great for quick and easy (bread free) weekday lunches

Cauliflower, leek and Gorgonzola cheese – More comfort food in these COVID-19 lockdown days…

Polenta with pumpkin, mushrooms and sage – A comforting dish made with fresh sage which has anti microbial properties, builds immunity and helps keeps viruses at bay

Tagliatelle con trota e ricotta – a simple and quick pasta dish made with smoked trout sourced from a nature reserve in Piedmont

Torta de mela – a delicious, moist Italian apple cake made with organic apples grown on the sloping hills of Piedmont

Middle East

Lebanese mezze – It’s three years since I went to the Lebanon but the country blew me away with its beauty, resilience and of course its food, which I’ve always loved but rarely cooked. I thoroughly enjoyed my online cooking lesson with Tania and her mother during which I was taught to make the most delicious Lebanese mezze consisting of hummus, baba ghanouj and tabbouleh

Lebanese flatbread – These Lebanese flatbread are simple to make and can be eaten with any dish from the Middle East – or indeed anything! Serve soft filed with mezze or falafel, or bake until crisp and serve with dips or soups

One roasted cauliflower, two delicious dishes – The humble cauliflower makes yet another appearance, this time roasted and turned into two completely different dishes to provide quick and easy meals on a weekday evening

South America

Spicy tomato salsa – Made from fresh tomatoes, chillis and coriander grown in my vegetable garden, perfect for tacos, burritos or as an accompaniment for my chill sensa carne

Veggie enchiladas – One of the most delicious things I’ve cooked and eaten in a long time – and, as you know, I’ve cooked and eaten a lot during lockdown! So if you love Mexican food you really should give this a try. And if you think veggie Mexican food won’t do it for you, think again!

Chilli sensa carne – A simple, easy-to-made chilli without meat (sensa carne) which can be served with a baked potato, rice, sweet potato fries, nachos or topped with eggs for a delicious carb free breakfast