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Pretty peas and ravishing raspberries

PRETTY AS A PICTURE VEGETARIAN MENU: sweet potato sliders with peas, rocket and sumac yogurt / vegan raspberry ice cream and spiced banana and coconut cookies

Second pea post in a row. They're just too GOOD right now.

I made this whimsical and delectable little menu for a casual Monday lunch with Tuscan MA. He has an Italianate appreciation for beauty (and happens to be an avid Instagrammer) so I wanted to give him something well and truly postable. True to form he posted a pic of the dessert on his onward journey. Thank goodness there's reception on the metro.

These sweet potato sliders are a new OBSESSION, as they really do seem the perfect receptacle for all those peas I'm buying at the moment. The sweetness of the potatoes is balanced by a punchy and tart sumac yogurt and the herby citrusy greens. The whole thing is ready in 30 minutes, it's super easy to put together and a veritable EXPLOSION of delicious vegetarian flavours.

In this Parisian heat, ice cream seemed like the thing for dessert. This is my third foray into coconut milk ice cream (after plain, and matcha), this time using frozen raspberries and a banana for sweetness. I only just learnt that apparently this is called 'nice cream'. Vegan ice cream. Look, it's not going to replace my occasional Ben and Jerry's binge, but it is zingy, refreshing and light. And so EASY to make. It would also make pretty popsicles, coated in chocolate sprinkles, for example. Even more postable.

The cookies are a 5 minute WONDER. Banana, coconut, spices. That's it. They are tasty good, extremely MOREISH and provide perfect brain-freeze prevention. Together, they make a whimsical and oh so virtuous dessert.

So, get on to it. You won't be sorry. Plus, whoever you're cooking for will be so impressed.

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Et en français...

Sweet potato sliders with feta, peas, rocket and sumac yogurt

Serves 2, takes 30 minutes

main / spring / summer / vegetarian / easy peasy / quietly smug / party / date night / ready in a jiffy / brunch / gluten free

You need these in your life. So simple to make, healthy, satisfying and pretty as a picture. Leave out the garlic if that's not your thing.

* Sweet potato - 1 large

* Olive oil - a couple of glugs

* Greek yogurt/labneh - 200g

* Sumac - 1 tbsp

* Garlic - a small clove, crushed

* Peas - 500g unpodded weight (about 4 handfuls podded)

* Fresh parsley - a handful, chopped

* Fresh mint - about 10 leaves, chopped

* Rocket - a few handfuls

* Pomegranate molasses - a drizzle (or replace with lemon juice)

* Feta - 200g, finely sliced

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C.

Slice the sweet potato long ways into slices of about 1cm thick. Be CAREFUL as this is a little tricky to do. You can cut horizontal slices f you feel more confident that way. I just don't think it looks as pretty. But you'd still have all your digits. Your choice.

Lay the slices out on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss and place in the oven for 25 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown.

To make the sumac yogurt, just stir the sumac and crushed garlic into the yogurt. Set aside.

Next cook the peas. Bring them to the boil in plenty of salted water and simmer until tender. Drain.

Return the peas to the pan (away from the heat) and add the fresh herbs, the rocket, a glug of olive oil, the pomegranate molasses (or lemon juice) and salt and pepper. Mix well.

After the potatoes have been in for 25 minutes, take them out of the oven and lay a thin layer of feta on top of each slice. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.

To assemble the dish, divide the potato slices between each plate and put a dollop of yogurt on each slice. Then spoon over the pea and rocket salad and enjoy immediately.

Raspberry nice cream

Makes 500ml, takes 5 minutes, plus freezing time

perennial / summer / dessert / vegan / gluten free / date night / dairy free / vegetarian / easy peasy / showing off / detox / refined sugar free / ready in a jiffy

This light as feather dairy free ice cream tastes like a cross between a sorbet and a frozen smoothie. If you're averse to banana you can leave it out and add extra maple syrup to taste.

* Coconut cream - 400ml

* Frozen raspberries - 2 cups

* Banana - 1, ripe

* Maple syrup - 3 tbsp

* Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste for sweetness - you might prefer to add more maple syrup depending on how sweet your fruit is.

Pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container and place in the freezer.

Every half an hour, remove the ice cream from the freezer and whisk thoroughly, making sure you incorporate all the outer frozen crystals into the centre.

After a couple of hours it will be ready.

If you're making it in advance, make sure to remove it from the freezer ten minutes before serving.

Banana and coconut spiced cookies

Makes about 6, takes 10 minutes, plus baking time

perennial / dessert / baking / vegan / gluten free / date night / dairy free / vegetarian / easy peasy / quietly smug / ready in a jiffy / detox / baby / picnic / on a budget / refined sugar free

These are chewy and spicy and a bit like banana bread in a cookie. Plus they're gluten free, dairy free and sugar free. They'd be pretty good with a drizzle of dark chocolate over the top too.

* Banana - 1 large ripe

* Desiccated coconut - 1 cup

* Allspice - 1 tsp

* Ground ginger - 1 tsp

* Salt - a pinch

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Spoon the dough onto a baking sheet covered in baking paper. Each cookie should be 1 tbsp. Use the back of the spoon to flatten each ball into a cookie about 1/2cm thick.

If you want to use a cookie mould, use your fingers to gently squidge each cookie into the mould. Lift the moult slowly away and you should be left with a perfectly shaped cookie.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until turning golden brown.


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