This Italian classic has had a Spanish makeover with anchovy mayo and crisped garlic.
Quick and simple, yet sophisticated and utterly delicious, these scallops are the perfect way to start a dinner party. For hungry diners, add one or two extra scallops per person.
These delicious starters can be made in minutes using ready-made blinis.
Baking slices of chorizo in red wine tenderises the chorizo and also gives them a lovely winey kick. The heady rich sauce is just gorgeous sopped up with a chunk of crusty gluten-free bread.
Break the ice with this great dish to share. It looks impressive, but is so easy to make.
This is the absolute cornerstone of tapas, a simple but vital centrepiece. It can be easily presented on a wooden board (olive wood is wonderful) at the centre of the table to share.
This light and refreshing pear salad, with its raspberry vinaigrette dressing, makes a wonderfully simple yet sophisticated salad for a dinner party or special meal.
These sophisticated bites make an irresistible nibble with aperitifs or as a more formal appetizer. You can prepare everything ahead, then simply pop them in the oven when your guests arrive.
The easiest way to remove the seeds from a pomegranate is to cut the fruit in half, hold it over a bowl and bash the back with a wooden spoon. The seeds will simply pop out.
Oysters have a salty, satisfying flavour and add a touch of panache to any meal.
This easy casserole will be met with 'oohs' and 'aahs'. Serve as an appetiser with thin slices of toasted baguette.
This classic French dish is often made with wine or cider. This recipe reduces the quantities used, thereby losing calories without compromising on taste. It looks impressive, but it is so simple to put together.
This risotto with chicken is a typically Venetian risotto, very wet and runny, but also very rich and filling. Make sure the chicken stock is very flavoursome to ensure that the finished risotto tastes properly rich. Although traditionally the risotto is served without any added colour, you could stir a bit of parsley into the finished dish if you feel it needs a touch of green.
Everyone loves a creamy risotto, and this oven-baked method is very simple to cook.
Please do make sure the vongole are as clean as possible before you cook them to avoid an unpleasant muddy taste or a gritty sensation under your teeth. Rinse them in several changes of clean, fresh water until the water runs clear.
This classic pasta dish is traditionally served with either spaghetti or bucatini. It relies on the flavour of the pancetta and plenty of freshly ground black pepper for the best results.
These pumpkin gnocchi taste sweet and delicious and look gorgeous with their deep orange colour. They are especially delectable when served with sage butter.
In this new take on the classic recipe from Nice, all the star ingredients go on the plank, then they are served over fresh greens. Enjoy with a glass of chilled rosé and a crusty baguette.
This is a wonderful dish, perfect for a party as you can prepare the salmon in advance and pop it into the oven when needed; for simplicity, serve with a green salad instead of spinach. The recipe works well with other fish such as halibut, tilapia and cod.
A spice caravan of flavour infuses this dish as it bakes. Serve it with a flatbread, such as pita or naan, warmed in the oven, or couscous to soak up all the juices.
Serve this dish with crusty bread to mop up all the delicious juices. Colourful Romesco, a classic sauce from Catalonia, also functions as a vegetable in this dish.
This classic dish is normally made using milk-fed baby lambs. Most butchered lambs are around a year of age and on a solid diet, making their meat darker and richer. Milk-fed lamb is therefore hard to find. This recipe calls for half a lamb shoulder, making it the perfect size to bring to the table and tear apart.
Quail with a Middle Eastern influence, coated in five-spice powder and finished in piquant pomegranate molasses and seeds.
Aïoli, a rich and flavoursome garlic mayonnaise from Provence, is the perfect partner for steak.
Using a dry spice rub is the easiest way to impart full flavour to a piece of meat. Here a Middle Eastern spice mix is used with lamb, but it would work well with other meats or poultry, too. Serve with a couscous salad and a plate of sliced tomatoes drenched in olive oil and vinegar.
Melt-in-the-mouth venison steak is never better than when complemented with port.
A chocolate mille-feuille that, instead of layers of puff pastry, uses fine waves of marbled chocolate to sandwich the rich and creamy mousse.
The best lava cake recipe you will find. Serve with pistachio ice cream for a bit of Mediterranean flair.
This is a deliciously smooth, plain chocolate tart that can be served warm or cold.
A fruity variation on the Italian specialty that has become one of the world’s favourite desserts. If you prefer, you can make it in a larger dish to share.
This is the classic whisked sponge cake, and although the method sounds tricky, it’s actually very simple. To enjoy it at its best, serve it on the day you make it.
A simple dessert that’s easy to make but stylish enough to serve for a special lunch or dinner party. Soft amaretti would make a good accompaniment.
This elegant, healthy dessert is very beautiful to look at, with a sensational taste that matches. Pomegranate seeds can be frozen and kept for several months in the freezer; they can be used from frozen in this dessert.
This is a simple cake to make but absolutely stunning and incredibly delicious.
Many large supermarkets now carry frozen tropical fruit pulp, which makes it easy to get the flavour of Mexico in a frozen treat. Make a simple syrup of water and sugar, then blend in the frozen pulp and flavourings and freeze in an ice cream maker. Passion fruit, known as parcha in Mexico, are small, seedy fruits with a sweet-tart flavour.
A granita is similar to a sorbet, but while a sorbet has a smooth, silky texture, a granita is rougher and formed of large ice crystals made by breaking up the frozen mixture with a fork. Two contrasting coloured granitas made with different fruits make a pretty and eye-catching dessert when layered in glasses.
Tender figs and juicy nectarines make a fabulous combination in this cinnamony, decadent, rum-spiked salad.
These truffles are delicious at the end of a meal or can be boxed, wrapped and given as a delightful gift.
Dusted with icing sugar, these festive cookies are tender, buttery and delicious. Grind the almonds in a food processor or a nut grinder before using.
You will need a traditional madeleine tray with seashell-shape indentations for these pretty treats.
These wonderful Italian cookies are great with coffee, or use them as a base to make Italian-style desserts.
The marriage of lavender and honey is truly wonderful. If you can find lavender honey, it will enhance the flavour even more.
Simple and easy to prepare, a seasonal fruit tart looks and tastes wonderful. Leftover pastry can be made into jam tarts, which are surprisingly popular with young-at-heart adults and children alike.
A food processor or liquidiser with a powerful motor is needed to crush ice, so if you’re unsure whether your machine is strong enough, break up the ice cubes first by placing them in a plastic bag and hitting them with a rolling pin or hammer. If you can’t get fresh summer fruits, buy a package of mixed frozen berries and currants and blend them with the fruit juices while they are still solid, omitting the ice cubes.
Try using different oval or rectangular-shaped friand pans. They are available from speciality cookware shops. If you can't find a friand pan, a regular muffin tin works fine.
This Spanish and much finer version of the classic liver with bacon and onions is enriched with sweet sherry, which makes it the most delicious way to serve calve's liver.
Couscous is often thought of as a grain, but it is in fact a tiny pasta. It's often used in northern Africa as a foil to spicy dishes.
Thinly sliced marinated beef makes a great addition to this spicy and fragrant tomato and herb salad.
This classic seafood salad is good served just warm, or it can be made a few hours ahead and served cold. Vary the choice of seafood according to personal taste.
These pretty, light, refreshing salads served wrapped in a slice of cucumber are stunning. They make a lovely starter for a posh dinner party or are fun to make with kids and so pretty they won't be able to resist them.
This tasty but light dish is made all the more special when drizzled with a little truffle oil. Celeriac brings an unusual freshness of flavour to the gratin, cutting through the richness of the cream.
Edible flowers make a stunning and delicious addition to salads. They are particularly suitable for meals for special occasions.
Sweet, juicy figs and salty, wafer-thin slices of prosciutto are a classic combination – and nowhere better than in this simple, luscious salad.
This classic Middle Eastern dish is known as 'djedjad' in Arabic. It is a wonderfully aromatic way to cook chicken, delicately scented, and very elegant.
Large, clean scallop shells – available at better delicatessens – make perfect ‘plates’ for this appetiser or first course.
Pedro Ximénez is a really thick, syrupy sweet sherry. Chicken livers are balanced perfectly by this sweetness and this finished dish is all pulled together by the crisp saltiness of the Iberico ham (dry-cured Spanish ham).
This exquisite risotto uses a courgette purée to add a delicate flavour that perfectly complements the scallops.
This dramatic dish is a very special way to serve fresh fish. The crust is very thick, and it must be cracked open like a shell to reveal the perfectly cooked white fish within. It is important to protect the fish from becoming too salty – the skin of the fish will protect it all over, but use foil or waxed parchment paper along the belly slit to prevent the salt from seeping inside the fish. Use a large fish if you're cooking for a dinner party or special family meal or if there are just two of you, you can use a smaller fish and cook for a slightly shorter time.
Slow-roasted pork belly with crisp crackling skin and meat that melts in your mouth has to be one of life’s little food gifts, but paired with fennel it is simply divine.