My favorite grilled cheese sandwich

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Who doesn’t like a good grilled cheese sandwich? It’s astonishing the pleasure melted cheese in between bread can produce. However, in order to make such a simple dish exceptional you the need proper ingredients. A dense tangy sourdough is the perfect support for a full-bodied mature cheddar. Cut by the sharpness of onions the mouthful is heavenly, but beware, plain cheese toasties will be very dull after you’ve tried this recipe.

I’ve been making my cheese sandwich this way ever since I visited the Kappacasien stall at the Borough Market (the biggest food market in London). I was love-struck and dreamt about it for weeks afterwards. I assumed pestering customers have twisted their arm into giving out their secret as they’ve had the kindness of sharing their recipe with the world (you can find it here). I’ve modified it to fit me lifestyle as I rarely have 3 different types of cheese in my fridge or leek for that matter. But let me assure you that my version is close enough to give you real experience.

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Plum and frangipane rustic tart

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Although having a cake the size of a small bucket all to myself used to be one of my childhood fantasy, the reality is now far less pleasant than imagined. As my sweet tooth subdued with age, the only cake I’m now able to eat entirely are fruit tarts. And I love them at any time of the day: after a meal, for tea with a cup of coffee and even for breakfast when I’m on the go.

This express recipe is so simple you’ll feel like you’re cheating, and we are a little bit as we’re using ready-made pastry. But you can’t do everything when you are cooking for yourself and I promise you, the final result is the real deal. The slight tang of the juicy plums is beautifully balanced by the sweet nuttiness of the frangipane. These flavors have a natural affinity and it will take all the self-control you’ve got to stop after the second serving.

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Niçoise salad, the classic summer dish.

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I was extremely lucky to travel every summer growing up. We used to cross the pond and spend a few weeks on the old continent, notably to visit my granddad in Nice, France. His flat was our base camp, the doorstep, for my siblings and I, to a new world. I was there introduced to the freshest, seasonal fruits, off-putting long-conservation milk and heavenly fresh bread. My taste buds developed, experienced new flavors and got more curious on each trip.

The Nicoise salad is probably one of the most famous dish from the region, although, throughout the years, I’ve ever had one in a restaurant there. It always felt too touristic. But I’ve savoured it at dinner parties and family gatherings. The homemade versions of such an uncomplicated dish is often best and more authentic than what you would get at a restaurant anyway and I’m excited to share this piece of my childhood with you.

Made out of simple ingredients, with the right balance of vegetable and proteins, it makes for a very satisfying meal. And with this amazing dressing, they are all tied-in beautifully. The only thing you might miss is the pebble beach, the scorching sun or the azure sea.

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Tartiflette savory cake

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Tartiflette is a dish from the Haute Savoie region of France made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons and onions. All the ingredients are baked into an earthenware dish with the cheese disk simply sliced in two and topped on the potatoes. After a bit of the time in the oven the cheese crisps up and melts into the dish, coating every single element with a layer of gooey cheese. It is absolutely decadent!

Ever since I tried it for the first time in the region itself I have never been able to get it out of my mind and I often need a fix. But on a warm summer night, it’s not really ideal. This is the kind of recipe that needs to be enjoyed when the snow storm keeps you lock indoors and a nice wood fire is keeping you warm.

So, I’ve decided to use these wonderful flavors in a lighter, less wintry meal. Savory cakes, like muffins, are great canvas for aromas and they are as good cool or warm, making the ideal take-to-work lunches for the week. This creates a

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Mackerel puttanesca linguini

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If you are looking for a quick pasta packed with flavors look no further. This dish is rich, spicy, salty and slightly sweet. All of that in one bowlful.

I came up with this recipe on a lazy Monday night after spending a long weekend in the country. The fridge was empty and having indulged in rich pub food for one to many nights I was craving a homemade meal. The canned fish from my fish cakes recipe testing sessions were still sitting on my shelf and it inspired me to make a nice puttanesca pasta, with a twist.

With a basil plant sunbathing on my window sill, some kalamata olives chilling in the fridge and the tinned mackerel patiently waiting in the cupboard, I had all I needed and it was a quick recipe to put together. It has now become one of my default meal when out of ingredients and I’m excited to share it with you.

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