Asian Octopus Foam Starter

1606 Asian Octopus Soup  -1710
I was served this amazing soup in a Spanish tapas bar and loved the lemon grass flavour together with the octopus. The recipe below is a recreation of that dish.
Unfortunatly, when recreating this, I did not have my ISI Whipper nearby but if you have one, then just strain the soup, pour it into the canister, charge with 1 cream charger and discharge into the soup bowl. Add the octopus and chopped chili. Creating a foam of the soup gives another, very interesting, texture to this soup.

Serves 2 as a main course

½ medium sized potato
300 ml water
2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
½ stalk of lemon grass, chopped
½ small chili, chopped, seeds removed
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp lime juice
100 ml whipping cream/double cream.
Red and/or green chili, finely chopped for decoration
200 g octopus, finely sliced or in bite size pieces

1. Boil the potato with the kaffir lime, chili and the lemon grass in the water.
2. Puree using an immersion blender.
3. Add the salt and pepper, lime juice and cream.
4. Heat and then whisk to create a bit of a foam.
5. Heat the octopus in the soup or in a separate pan (depending if it is pre-cooked or raw).
6. Place in serving bowls and decorate with the chopped chili.

Nacho Cheese Sauce – Dairy Free

1604 Dairy Free Nacho Cheese-2396

A spicy dip to be served with nachos, cucumber or any other vegetable. Dairy free, gluten free and low fodmap. Quick and easy to make. Can be served directly, still a bit warm from the boiled vegetables, or cold.

4 medium sized potatoes
2 medium sized carrots

100 ml water
75 ml almond milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
100 ml nutritional yeast
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp black pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
75 grams roasted, marinated red pepper (I like the Sacla brand) or roast your own with olive oil and salt

1. Boil the potatoes and carrots until soft. Place in a food processor.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
3. Taste. Add some smoked paprika, lemon juice and salt as required. Remember, cheese is quite salty so if you want to imitate the nacho cheese sauce you may need more salt.

Serve with Nachos

Nutty Bite Sized Pies

160224 Nutty Bite Size Pies-1644
This recipe provides a great base for a lot of different toppings. By adding some cinnamon you can even make it as a base for a dessert, maybe cheesecake?
Here I’ve made it with two different toppings. You might recognize some of the ideas from an earlier recipe “Nutty Guacamole Pie”.

300 g toasted (blanched) almonds
1 red apple
1 large sweet potato
2 carrots
50 ml lemon juice

1. Mix all in a blender.
2. Spread into pie tin, bake at 175 C for 40 minutes
3. Set aside. Can be refrigerated for later use.
4. When cool, cut into bite size squares.

Topping 1. Red pepper hummus
200 g chickpeas
4 tbsp lemon juice
100 g roasted marinated bell pepper (drained)
2 tbsp Tahini
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp smoked paprika powder
A few drops of Tabasco
Up to 50 ml olive oil

1. Combine all ingredients (except olive oil) in a blender.
2. Run until smooth.
3. Slowly incorporate the olive oil
4. Set aside

Topping 2. Avocado crunch mix.
1 celery stalk, chopped
½ apple, cut into fine cubes
1 avocado, mashed
3 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Roasted macadamias or hazelnuts, halved
Rocket salad
Cherry tomatoes, halved

1. Cut base into bite sized portions.
2. Spread with one of the toppings.
3. Garnish.

Mushroom Anchovy Salad


160217 Anchovy Mushrooms-1293

A salty mushroom dish that can be used as a starter with green salad or on bread as appetizers.

2 anchovies
Olive oil
400 g mushrooms, chopped
15 green olives, sliced
4 sundried tomatoes, chopped
Parsley, chopped
Salt (if needed)

1. Melt the anchovy in some oil
2. Add the mushrooms, sauté over medium heat until all liquid has evaporated
3. Add the olives and the sundried tomatoes
4. Season with salt and pepper
5. Take off heat, add the parsley

Spicy Baked Artichoke Dip

1601 Baked artichoke dip-9760

This is a great dip to use with cut up vegetables or crackers. Take it easy with the Tabasco as the dish becomes spicier during the time in the oven. You can always sprinkle some more chili flakes on top afterwards if it is not spicy enough. (Another name for this dip is “Petra’s Great Dip”).

400 g marinated artichoke hearts
75 ml mayonnaise
30 g parmesan cheese, finely shredded
4-5 drops of Tabasco
2 tbsp Lemon juice
(Salt and pepper)
Chili Flakes

  1. Oven at 200 C
  2. Chop the artichokes
  3. Add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Taste and add some salt and pepper if needed (the parmesan provides some saltiness and you will have heat from the Tabasco)
  5. In a large ovenproof dish, spread the mix in a thin layer.
  6. Top with some chili flakes
  7. Bake in oven 15-20 minutes.

The Tomato Soup

160113 The Tomato Soup-1040

Quick and delicious! One of my favourites. Creamy and as spicy as you’d like. Can be made dairy free and low fodmap if you leave out the crème fraiche topping or just substitute it. (Low fodmap: you can use some tofu cream cheese whipped up with some rice milk to make it smooth, use lactose free creme fraiche or use some soy based sour cream – if based on soy protein, not whole beans).

Serves 6
800 g chopped tomatoes
500 ml coconut milk
1 tsp Sambal Oelek or other chili paste
300 ml water
2 cubes vegetable stock (fodmap friendly)
Salt, if needed

100 ml Crème fraiche
Chili flakes

  1. Add all ingredients (except crème fraiche and chili flakes) and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  2. With a handheld blender, mix into a smooth soup.
  3. Add some salt if needed.
  4. Whisk the crème fraiche.
  5. Serve with chili flakes on top and a dollop of whipped crème fraiche.

Duo Salmon Flower Starter

160113 Salmon Flower-1026
This recipe is inspired by a Cordon Bleu recipe. Easy to make but requires a bit of time. Dairy free and low fodmap.

Serves 6

550 g salmon, skin and boneless
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper

6 tomatoes

100 ml watercress
30 ml red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
100 ml olive oil
Salt and pepper

Green part of 2 spring onions, finely chopped

Mixed leaves (including rocket salad)

140 g smoked salmon

  1. Oven at 180C
  2. Wrap the salmon in foil with lemon juice and seasoning and bake in oven 12 minutes (or until done)
  3. Cut out the top, inner, hard part of the core on each tomatoe. Then make a shallow cross through the skin at the bottom. Dip briefly (45 seconds) in boiling water and then transfer to ice cold water. The skin will have curled up slightly and can now be easily removed.
  4. Peel the tomatoes (set aside some of the peel to be used as decorations), cut into 8 wedges. Cut out the seed so that only 8 “petals” remain. Set aside.
  5. Combine all ingredients for the dressing and run in a blender until smooth
  6. In a bowl, mix the fresh salmon with finely chopped spring onion (green part) and 6 tbsp of the dressing
  7. In a bowl, toss the mixed leaf salad with remainder of the the dressing
  8. Cut the smoked salmon into thin strips.
  9. To assembly as a flower: Place some salad on a serving plate. Create a small ball of cooked salmon on top of the salad, possibly using a small round mold. Line the base of the ball and 2 cm up the sides with smoked salmon strips and then, as the outer part of the flower, place 8 tomato petals (overlapping each other) around each mold. Take a small piece of peel and press down in the middle of the peel on the top of the crab flower.

Baked Spinach Dip

160106 Spinach Dip-1061

This recipe is adapted from a Georgia (US) recipe. The versatile dip can be used as a sauce (e.g. with smoked salmon) or as a dip with nachos, vegetables or bread. Why not try the Gluten Free Crisp Bread with it?


Serves 15 as an appetizer

1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
Rape seed oil
500 g frozen, chopped spinach
1-2 tsp sambal oelek or other chili paste (or a few drops of Tabasco)
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
150 g cheddar cheese, grated
100 g Philadelphia cream cheese
3-4 tbsp quark or crème fraiche
Chili flakes

Nachos or vegetables for dipping

  1. Oven at 200C
  2. In a large pan, fry the onion and garlic in a bit of oil
  3. Add the spinach, continue to fry until the liquid is gone
  4. Add the spice (sambal oelek, chili or tabasco), salt and the vinegar
  5. Add the cheese and crème fraiche. Stir until heated.
  6. Pour into oven proof dish (possibly several individual serving dishes).
  7. Sprinkle with chili flakes.
  8. Bake in oven 15-20 minutes.

160106 Spinach Dip-1071

Aubergine Parmigiana

160106 Parmigiana Starter-0946

A good Parmigiana should be made with a great roasted tomato sauce and lots of cheese! This one is a favourite!

Serves 6
3 medium aubergines, sliced lengthwise about 1 cm thick
Olive oil
400 ml tomato sauce
4 eggs
80 g parmesan cheese, grated
200 g mozzarella, thinly sliced
Fresh basil
Salt and pepper
Tomato Sauce:
1 red pepper, cut into pieces
4 (0.5 kilo) large tomatoes, cut into pieces
1 red onion, cut into 6-8 pieces
1 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 basil leaves, shredded
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Spinach leaves

  1. Oven at 200 C
  2. Place all vegetables for the tomato sauce on an oven tray, sprinkle the garlic, vinegar and oil on top. Roast 30 minutes. When done (soft and slightly charred), let cool, place in blender and mix until semi-smooth.
  3. Sauté the aubergine slices in oil over high heat. Place on paper towels to absorb some of the oil.
  4. Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with ½ of the tomatoe sauce
  5. Whisk one egg and pour on top
  6. Place a layer of aubergines and sprinkle some salt on top
  7. Pour remaining sauce on the aubergines
  8. Spread ½ of the parmesan cheese on the sauce and all of the mozzarella
  9. Put some of the basil on the mozzarella
  10. Layer the remaining aubergines on top
  11. Spread the remaining parmesan on the aubergines
  12. Whisk 3 eggs and pour on top
  13. Place some basil leaves on the dish and place in the oven. Bake 20 minutes.
  14. Serve on a bed of spinach leaves, with some ham or with some gluten free bread.

Grilled Aubergine with Crab Appetiser

151230 Grilled Aubergine and Crab Starter-0991

A festive starter and so easy to make. As well as being guten free it is a dairy free and low fodmap dish.

Makes 5-6

1 Aubergines, sliced lengthwise
Olive oil
Crab – 120 g
2 tbsp chopped dill
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
A pinch of cayenne pepper

  1. Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil and fry until golden brown on both sides.
  2. Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Place of spoonful of mix on each aubergine slice and fold.

Cucumber Salad with Feta Cheese

151230 Cucumber Salad with Feta-0643

Prepared for me by my daughter, I had dry fried beans for the first time. The beans (and the chili) really make this dish.
Serves 4
1 cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 lemon, juice
75 g mixed seeds
1 tsp chili flakes
8 tbsp of canned black beans, dry fried
75 g feta cheese, crumbled

  1. Marinate the cucumber slices in the lemon juice for 30 minutes
  2. Rinse, dry and then dry fry the beans in a hot pan
  3. Combine all on a serving plate

Pepper and Courgette Starter

151223 Pepper and Courgette Starter-0859

Light and fresh, possibly with a hint of garlic. Don’t overcook the vegetables, keep them crunchy. This is a low foodmap recipe.
Serves 6
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1 orange pepper, thinly sliced
3-4 tbsp lemon juice
4 Courgettes, cut into strand with a spiral slicer
Oil for frying (you may use garlic infused oil)
Salt, lemon pepper
Almonds, flaked and toasted (max 10 g per person)
Baby spinach

  1. Mix the peppers with some lemon juice, set aside.
  2. Stir fry the courgettes in the oil over high heat, add the peppers and fry another minute. Season with salt and lemon pepper.
  3. Line small molds with clingfilm and turn onto a bed of spinach on a servingplate.
  4. Decorate with the toasted almonds.

Crab Salad Starter

151216 Crab Salad Starter-0809

This dish is inspired by a wonderful Cordon Bleu recipe.

An increasing number of people have started following the difficult Low Foodmap Diet. This recipe is fodmap friendly and dairy free.

Serves 6

200 g rice

300 g cooked crab meat

1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 celery stalk (maximum 5 cm per serving if following the foodmap diet), finely chopped

100 ml crab bisque

salt and pepper

50 ml Red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
25 ml garlic infused oil
50 ml olive oil
Pinch of Cayenne pepper

2 tomatoes, peeled
Parsley, shredded

  1. Boil the rice according to instructions on package. Rinse under cold water and drain well.
  2. Finely chop all vegetables for the salad, add the crabmeat.
  3. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, reduce the bisque until thick enough to leave a “coat” on the back of a spoon. Add to crab mixture and season.
  4. Combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette, saving the oil for last and whisking well while pouring it in.
  5. Pour the dressing over the crab mixture.
  6. Prepare 6 small bowls with plastic lining. Spoon the crab salad into the bowls. Chill.
  7. Peel the tomatoes. With a sharp knife, cut a shallow cross at one end of the tomato, dip the tomato for a few seconds into boiling water then chill immediately in ice-cold water. The peel can now easily be removed. Cut the tomato into 8 wedges. Turn them into “petals” by removing the seeds.
  8. Chop the parsley.
  9. When serving, turn the bowls onto plates. Place a few tomato petals on top of each and sprinkle with parsley.

Sumptuous Salad Starter

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The dressing and the nuts are really the main ingredients in this salad. Any thinly sliced raw vegetable can be used, for instance red cabbage, leek, peppers… Just keep it beautiful and colourful.

2 carrots, thinly sliced
4 beetroots, thinly sliced
½ cucumber, thinly sliced
Mixed dark green salad leaves
Pecan nuts, toasted
Pine nuts, toasted

1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tbsp Tahini
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

  1. Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix the salad dressing in a salad shaker.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Baked Avocado

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I love to make this dish with avocados but you can make it with other vegetables too.


Serves 4
2 avocados, halved with stone and peel removed
150 g Mozzarella, diced
25 g walnuts on small pieces
75 g grilled peppers, cut into pieces (I sometimes roast my own with olive oil and garlic, sometimes I buy the ready-made)
Basil leaves, shredded
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
(chilli flakes or Tabasco if you want it a bit spicier)
4 gem lettuce leaves

  1. Oven at 200 C
  2. Cut off a bit of the round bottom of the avocado to make a steadier stand. Put the cut off piece in the hole where the stone used to be. Place the avocados on greased baking sheet.
  3. Mix all remaining ingredients together.
  4. Spoon the mixture on top of the avocados.
  5. Baked until the mozzarella has melted and started to brown (15-20 minutes).
  6. Serve on a piece of gem lettuce.