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Recipes

Steamed vegetables with peanut dip

Steamed vegetables with peanut dip

This healthy snack combines the natural flavours of lightly steamed crisp vegetables with a deliciously tasty peanut sauce. It is a great way of using leftover vegetables and can be adapted to include any fresh produce that is in season.
Pleated seafood dumplings

Pleated seafood dumplings

With a bit of practice, these Chinese-style dumplings are simple and fun to prepare. Served warm with a dipping sauce, they make a wonderfully tasty snack or appetiser. And because they are steamed, they are light, low fat and healthy.
Hand rolled sushi

Hand-rolled sushi

This type of sushi (temaki zushi) is great fun as all the ingredients are prepared beforehand and guests make their own sushi, without the need for sushi mats. The sushi should be eaten as soon as it's made. Provide each guest with a finger bowl and hand towel.

Soup of leafy greens and herbs

Not only is this soup delicious, but you can almost feel those vitamin-packed leafy greens doing you good as you eat it. Hearty but not too heavy, it is a wonderful dish for summer and autumn. You can use all sorts of greens – simply adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Vegetable soup with fragrant pesto

Vegetable soup with fragrant pesto

This soup is based on pistou, the classic French soup from Provence. Laden with vegetables and pasta, and flavoured with pesto, the delicious basil and parmesan sauce, it makes a fabulous change from minestrone, its Italian counterpart. French bread is the traditional accompaniment.
Perfect Pasta

Vietnamese broth with noodles

Punchy flavours and aromatic ingredients transform a light broth into an exotic dish that makes a substantial starter or a light meal. The ingredients are not fried before being simmered – making this a great low-fat soup – so select prime-quality steak, which tastes excellent when poached.
Cinnamon banana caramels

Cinnamon banana caramels

Any fruit can be used to make this instant version of crème brûlée. The fruit is topped with Greek style yogurt - a lower-fat alternative to thick cream, very handy to have in the fridge for serving with desserts - then topped with raw sugar and grilled to a rich caramel topping.
Sirloin steaks with port sauce

Sirloin steaks with port sauce

Thin sirloin steaks, sometimes sold as minute steaks, can be quickly fried, and the juices left in the pan turned into an instant sauce with the help of a little port. A colourful stir-fry of tiny new potatoes, mushrooms, red capsicum and sugarsnap peas is a perfect accompaniment.
Speedy two-bean chilli

Speedy two-bean chilli

Here's a hearty and satisfying chilli – without the carne (meat) – that can be made in minutes. This version combines two varieties of beans with corn in a rich tomato sauce flavoured with herbs, fresh chilli and chilli sauce. Serve with boiled rice or plenty of warm crusty bread.
Hot fruity parcels

Hot fruity parcels

Baking fruit in paper parcels is a brilliant way of sealing in all the flavour. It also makes a novel presentation method and saves on washing up! Serve this delicious fruity treat of fresh pineapple and dried apricots with a dollop of Greek-style yogurt or crème fraîche.
 Citrus salad with dates

Citrus salad with dates

Fresh dates are such a treat: sweet, succulent and tender. They are the perfect complement to grapefruit and orange in this refreshing vitamin C-rich dessert. With a syrup flavoured with star anise, Campari and some fresh mint, this offers a real taste sensation at the end of a meal.
Chicken escalopes with mushrooms

Chicken escalopes with mushrooms

Tender chicken escalopes – breast steaks pounded until thin – only need brief cooking. Simmered with firm-textured chestnut mushrooms and a Madeira sauce finished with crème fraîche, they make a dish that is perfect for easy entertaining. Serve with basmati rice and a leafy salad.
Pappardelle with eggplant

Pappardelle with eggplant

A good tomato sauce can turn a plate of pasta and eggplant into a delicious dish. The inspiration comes from Catania, in the shadow of Mount Etna in Sicily, where eggplant and tomato pasta is known as pasta alla Norma, in honour of the town's famous son, Bellini, and his opera, Norma.
Seared pork with cumquats

Seared pork with cumquats

Here, thinly sliced pork fillet is quickly browned in a sizzling hot, ridged cast-iron grill pan, then simmered with tangy cumquats, honey, Dijon mustard, white wine and stock. It is served on a bed of puréed potato, accompanied by crisp green beans, to make a very elegant dish.
Stir-fried squid with spaghetti

Stir-fried squid with spaghetti

There's no need to go out to eat when special dishes such as this are so easy to prepare at home. Black spaghetti coloured with squid ink, available from delicatessens and larger supermarkets, makes a great talking point.

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