Easy Veggie Chow Mein

This dish is a weeknight hero! It only takes 15 minutes in total and super simple and delicious! 

I made few times when I just wanted something quick and filling. If you want to add extra veggies you can also serve it with a side or broccoli, green beans or kale!

Ingredients: 

Serves 2-3 people 

About 200gr of noodles – I have used rice noodles 

1/2 white onion – finely sliced 

3 garlic cloves -crushed 

1-2 red chilli (depending on how hot you like it) – deseeded and finely sliced 

About 150gr of mushrooms – slices 

About 100gr of snap peas

About 100gr of bean sprouts 

2 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds oil 

5 tbsp of soy sauce or Tamari 

2 tbsp of brown rice vinegar 

1 tbsp of coconut sugar 

3-4 spring onions- chopped 

Sesame seeds to sprinkle on top 

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. If using rice noodles it shouldn’t take more than 5-6 minutes. Once cooked, drain them and rinse them with cold water to prevent from sticking.

While the noodles are cooking add the sesame seeds oil to a large pan or wok (if you have one) on a medium heat. Once hot add in the onion, garlic and chilli. Sautee for 2-3 minutes, keep on stirring from time to time. Add in the mushrooms, snap peas and bean sprouts and keep cooking for another 4-5 minutes. Make sure to keep stirring to avoid the vegetables sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

Add in the noodles to the pan together with the soy sauce, rice vinegar and coconut sugar. Cook for another minute or so. Serve with the chopped spring onion on top and a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds.

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Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Pesto Chickpea Pasta

This recipe is the perfect quick and healthy midweek dinner. The red pepper is an absolute winer and requires only an handful of wholesome ingredients. To make this dish even more packed with goodness I have used chickpea pasta which is higher in fibre and protein but it will work with any type of pasta of your choice. For this recipe I have used my new Kitchen Aid Artisan blender which is a dream to create healthy and delicious meals. It’s obviously not just great for smoothies but thanks to its super stronger engine is great to make hummus, nut butters, pesto, veggie burgers and so much more! You can use my discount code” HAPPYSKINKITCHEN” to get 20% off on any Kitchen aid blenders!

Ingredients: 

2 red peppers 

1/4 cup of walnuts 

1 garlic cloves 

An handful of basil leaves

2 tbsp of nutritional yeast 

The juice of 1/2 lemon 

2-3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil 

Salt to taste 

Serve with roughly 250gr of chickpea pasta ( I went for penne)

Remove the seeds and stalks from the pepper and chop it into pieces. Add them to a roasting tray with 1tbps of oil, a pinch of salt and roast them in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes until soft.

Add the roasted pepper to the Kitchen Aid Blender together with the nutritional yeast, basil, garlic, walnuts, lemon juice, the remaning olive oil, a pinch of salt and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste the pesto and add more salt if needed.

Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain the pasta but reserve about 2-3 tablespoons of the cooking water. Put the pasta back into the pan and stir in the pesto and the add the cooking water. Mix everything until it’s well combined. Optional: if you want to add extra greens to this dish, add in an handful of baby spinach and keep stirring until they have wilted.

Serve straight away and enjoy! 

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Cheesy Roasted Vegetables Stuffed Pasta Shells

This pasta bake is an absolute winner! It’s so easy to make, utterly delicious and packed with so much flavour! For this recipe I have used Violife grated and creamy cheese alternatives which  they work like a dream in any dairy free recipes. I use them as part of the filling together with the cooked aubergine, pepper and basil and the result it’s an ultra creamy and decadent pasta bake oozing with some much deliciousness! You really have to try this recipe!

Serves 2 people

Ingredients:

1 jar of your favourite tomato sauce ( I went for a simple tomato and basil sauce)

250gr of giant pasta shells

For the filling:

1/2 aubergine – chopped into small cubes

1/2 red bell pepper – chopped into small pieces

1 white onion- finely chopped

3 garlic cloves – minced

100gr of Violife Original Flavour grated + extra for sprinkling on top

3 tbsp of Violife Original Flavour Creamy

A bunch of fresh basil leaves + extra for sprinkling on top

1 tbsp of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

To a large frying pan add the oil together with onion. Sautee the onion for 3-5 minutes until it starts to caramelise. Add in the minced garlic & chopped aubergine. Cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the aubergine becomes soft and almost mushy. In a separate pan add a touch of oil and the chopped pepper and cook for about the same time as the aubergine.

While the veggies are cooking cook your pasta according to the packet instruction keeping it “al dente”. Drain it, rinse it with some cold water and set it onto one side.

To a food processor add the cooked aubergine, onion and garlic, Violife grated, Violife creamy, salt and pepper and the fresh basil. Blitz for few seconds until you have a creamy filling. Transfer it to bowl and mix in the cooked pepper.

Cover the bottom of a large baking tray with most of the tomato sauce (reserve some to drizzle on top). Fill each shell with the filling mix and arrange them on tray until it’s all covered. Drizzle the remaining tomato sauce on the shells and sprinkle with some extra Violife grated.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes until the pasta starts to become slightly crispy on top.

Sprinkle some extra chopped basil leaves and serve while still warm.

Enjoy!

 

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Spanish Style Tortilla

This recipe couldn’t be any simpler! It’s a very easy and wholesome take on a classic Spanish tortilla and I couldn’t love it more! The chickpea flour create that “eggy” consistency and it works perfectly with the pan fried potatoes. I personally love it to eat it warm straight from the pan but it’s also great cold in lunch boxes!

Ingredients:

Makes a large tortilla enough for 4 people 

4 medium potatoes 

1/2 white onion

2-3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil 

1 cup of chickpea flour (also called gram flour)

1 cup of water 

1 tsp of smoked paprika

Salt to taste 

Peel the potatoes and wash them.  Cut them in half and slice them in thin slices. In a non stick pan add the olive oil and once is hot add the potatoes , salt and the onion. Add in 1 cup of water and turn the heat down slightly to prevent the potatoes from burning. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Stir from time to time to prevent the potatoes sticking to the pan.

In a large bowl whisk together the chickpea flour with the water and smoked paprika. Add in the cooked potatoes and onion. Mix all tougher.

Add an extra bot of oil ti the same pan and pour in the tortilla mix. Cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes. Place a plate over the tortilla and turn it around, cook for another 5 minutes on the other side. 

Serve the tortilla while still warm with a salad, avocado or some coconut yogurt! 

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Green Beauty & Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl

The term Green or Clean Beauty is definitely a hot topic right now as it’s gaining more and more popularity. But what does it mean exactly and why is better for you and your skin? 

Before diving deep into the concept of green beauty let me mention briefly when I decided to switch to non toxic beauty products and why.

It was when I was battling with my hormonal acne that I got more and more interested in natural skincare products. Although at the time I didn’t know much about it, I knew my body was fighting with an internal inflammation and the idea of adding harsh chemical to the surface, my skin, didn’t make sense to me. That’s when my journey in finding out more about toxic free beauty started. I didn’t throw away all my existent beauty products, I just replaced them with natural ones as they ran out. Switching to a natural and less harsh skincare routine definitely helped me massively to clear my skin and since then I never looked back.

So why Green non toxic beauty is better? 

1- Better for your health : A lot of what we put on our skin and hair is absorbed into the body, so I personally believe that it is important to only use products with ingredients that will make you look great inside and out! 

2 -Better for the enviroment: In addition to natural products that do no harm to the body, natural products also won’t do harm to the environment. With added chemicals, beauty product waste can contaminate water and the surrounding environments and become toxic.

3- Better for the animals: Normally Green beauty brands don’t test on animals and most of times don’t use animal products as well. They also tend to source their ingredients in a more ethical way, either by choosing organic or fair trade sources. Lots of brand also use more sustainable packaging like glass/metal or bamboo instead of plastic. 

So what shall we look out for and avoid when buying a product? This is quite and extensive list of ingredients which I try to avoid as much as possible. I know it might look a bit overwhelming but once you get familiar with certain brands that avoid all of these you won’t need to check every single bottle as you will probably just trust the brand and what they stand for.

  • Aluminium chlorhydrate and aluminium zirconium
  • Cocamide DEA
  • Contaminated Lanolin
  • Disodium EDTA
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole
  • Butylated hydroxytoluene
  • Ethylene Glycol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate
  • Lauramide DEA
  • Methyldibromoglutaronitrile
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Ozokerite
  • Parabens
  • Paraffin Wax
  • Petroleum derivatives
  • Phthalates
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Polyoxymethylene urea
  • PVC
  • Quaternium-15
  • Silicones 
  • Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
  • Sodium lauryl sulphate
  • Sodium laureth sulphate
  • Synthetic colourants 
  • Synthetic fragrance
  • Synthetic SPF’s – Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene and Homosalate
  • TEA / abv. tiethanolamine
  • Tetrahydrozoline Hydrochloride
  • Tetrasodium EDTA
  • Toluene
  • Triclosal

The only downside of clean beauty is that you might have to go out of your way to find products. You won’t probably find them at your local drug store but online shopping definitely makes life so much easier as almost any brands now will ship internationally.

For the past 5 months I have been using amaiaa facial oils as key part of my skincare routine and I definitely fallen head over heels with these products. They are a 100% natural, vegan and cruelty free beauty brand who like me believe every woman’s skin should reflect the radiance within. I have been replacing my day moisturiser with atma day time facial oil which is a blend of 10 different oils and it really nourish my skin more than any cream has done before. I know lots of women with a combination skin are fearful of oils as they think they might cause breakouts, but my experience has been exactly the opposite. The amaiaa oils are nourishing and moisturising without being “greasy” so they work perfectly with my combination skin. I also found them particularly helpful during these winter months to help defend my skin from the cold temperatures. 

All amaiaa products are 100% natural, vegan and cruelty free and they also contribute to the Empowered Girl foundation, so with every purchase made, amaiaa will empower a young girl to attend school in India.

The lovely people at amaiaa like me believe that looking after your skin from the outside is equally important as feeding your skin from the inside so I have decided to share my favourite Green Smoothie recipe which I have been so obsessed with lately. I call it my Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl as I literally feel so vibrant and alive after eating it!

The smoothie is packed with skin loving ingredients, like kale, oranges and lime juice, all really high in vitamin C, essential for the production of skin collagen. 

I also like to add avocado not just to make the smoothie super creamy but also because it adds healthy fats, again really important for plumped and glowy skin. I love adding a bit of fresh ginger for that extra zing which goes so well with all the other ingredients.

Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients: 

Makes 1 large smoothie 

1-2 frozen babanas

A generous handful of kale 

The juice and pulp of 1-2 oranges 

The juice of 1 lime 

A thumb size piece of ginger 

1/2 avocado

Enough water to blend 

Optional adds on:

1 tsp of baobab powder 

1 tsp of wheatgrass powder 

Toppings:

Coconut chips 

Quinoa pops 

Sliced kiwi

berreis

Cacao nibs 

Or whatever you fancy!

Simply place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add the water gradually as you don’t want to have your smoothie too runny. 

Pour the smoothie into a bow and top with your favourite toppings. Enjoy!

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Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are by far the best cookies I have ever made! They are crunchy on the outside but chewy in the middle! Plus you seriously can’t beat peanut butter and chocolate together! They are super easy to make and the are super quick too! Make sure to use good quality dark chocolate to make them extra indulgent.

Ingredients:

Makes around 8-10 cookies depending on the size 

3/4 cup of oat flour – simply place some oats into a blender and blend until you have a flour 

1/4 cup of arrowroot powder 

1/4 cup of ground almond 

Around 140gr of chocolate chips or dark chocolate chopped into chunks 

1/2 cup of runny peanut butter – I have used Pip & Nut Smooth and Crunchy and I think they are the ones that works best

1/3 cup of maple syrup 

3 tbsp of coconut oil – soft but not liquid 

1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda 

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract 

A pinch of salt 

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. In a bowl whisk together the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract and coconut oil. Whisk until you have a relatively smooth consistency. In a separate bowl mix together the oat flour, ground almond, arrowroot powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix all together. Fold in the chocolate chips but reserve some to sprinkle on top. 

Line a biking tray with some parchment paper. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and with your hands press it down into a cookie shape. The cookies will expand quite a lot during the baking so make sure to leave some space between each other. I have used an ice cream scooper to make the process easier and neater.  Sprinkle some extra chocolate chips on top. Bake the cookies in the oven for 9-11 minutes until they start to go slightly golden around the edges. I like mine quite chewy so I like to bake them for 9 minutes, if you like the a bit crunchier bake them for longer.

Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool down for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

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Easy Pad Thai with a Peanut Sauce

I have been on a serious Asian kick lately and this easy pad Thai is definitely one of my favourite recipe. It’s super easy, quick and so delicious! The peanut sauce really take it to the next level, making it creamy and ultra flavoursome. It’s definitely on of those recipes which I will make over and over again. I hope you enjoy it too! 

Serves 2-3 people 

For the Pad thai:

About 200gr of rice noodles 

3 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds oil 

3 garlic cloves, minced 

A small piece of ginger, finely grated 

1/4 cup of soy or Tamari sauce 

2tbsp of brown rice vinegar 

2 tbsp of coconut sugar 

1/2 tbsp of paprika 

About 1/2 cup of cubed extra firm tofu 

3 spring onions – chopped + extra for sprinkling 

1 cup of bean sprouts 

1/4 cup of unsalted peanuts – lightly roasted and roughly chopped 

1/2 lime cut into slices

An handful of fresh coriander – roughly chopped 

A sprinkle of sesame seeds

For the peanut sauce:

1/2 tbsp of siracha or hit sauce 

1 cup of canned coconut milk 

2 tbsp of soy sauce or Tamari sauce 

1/2 cup of runny and unsweetened peanut butter 

1 tbsp of coconut sugar 

Cover the rice noodles with boiling water and let them sit for 15 minutes.

In the meantime make the peanut sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and slowly bring it boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thicken. Remove from the heat and set on the side. 

Heat a large frying pan or a wok over medium-high heat and stir fry the ginger and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add in the drained noodles and cook for another 2 minutes until they have soften. Add the soy sauce, coconut sugar, vinegar and paprika and keep stirring. Add the tofu in and mix well to combine all the ingredients. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add more soy sauce, chopped spring onions, chopped peanuts, bean sprouts and keep on stirring to prevent the ingredients sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a dash of water if it looks too dry. Cook for another 3 minutes. 

Remove it from the heat and serve it with chopped spring onions, coriander, lime slices, sesame seeds and drizzle the peanut sauce on top. 

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Steamed Bao Buns with Hoisin Duck

These homemade vegan Bao buns are just so good you will want to make them over and over again. They require a bit of time and preparation but it’s so worth it as they are utterly delicious. They are definitely the perfect sharing food when you have friends and family around and I promise they will satisfy even the most hardcore meat eater! I filled them with Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Hoisin Duck which is so flavoursome and perfect for any Asian inspired dish. 

Ingredients:

Makes about 18 buns – (they are suitable for freezing)

For the bao buns:

530gr plain white flour 

1 1/2 tbsp of caster sugar 

1 tsp of fast action dried yeast 

50ml of unsweetened soy milk 

1 tbsp of olive oil + extra for greasing 

1 tbsp of rice vinegar 

1 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of salt

For the filling:

1 pack of Linda Mcccartney’s Vegetarian Hoisin Duck 

1 carrot and 1/2 cucumber –  finely sliced in thin matchsticks

1 red chilli – sliced 

2 spring onions – finely sliced 

A bunch of fresh coriander – finely chopped 

A generous sprinkle of sesame seeds 

A squeeze of lime juice 

About 1/2 cup of vegan mayo (optional)

To make the buns: 

Mix together the plain flour, caster sugar and ½ tsp salt in a large mixing bowl.

Dissolve 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast and a pinch of sugar in 1 tbsp warm water, then add it to the flour with the soy milk, 1 tbsp of oil, rice vinegar and 200ml water. Mix into a dough, adding a little extra water if needed.

Place the dough onto a work surface dusted with some flour and knead for 10-15 mins, or until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 2 hrs, or until doubled in size.

Place the dough out onto a clean work surface and punch it down. Flatten the dough with your hands, then sprinkle over 1 tsp baking powder and knead for 5 mins.

Roll out the dough into a long sausage shape, about 3cm thick, then cut into pieces that are about 3cm wide – you should have 18.

In the palm of your hand, roll each piece of dough into a ball and leave to rest for 2-3 mins.

Use a rolling pin roll out each ball, one by one, into an oval shape about 3-4mm thick. Rub the surface of the dough ovals with oil and brush a little oil over a chopstick.

Place the oiled chopstick in the centre of each oval. Fold the dough over the chopstick, then slowly pull out the chopstick.

Cut 18 squares of baking parchment and put a bun on each. Transfer to a baking tray, cover with a clean tea towel or lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hr 30 mins, or until doubled in size.

Heat a large steamer over a medium-high heat (I have used a traditional bamboo one but any steamer will work) Steam the buns for 8-10 mins until puffed up (you’ll need to do this in batches). Remove them from the steamer and let them cool down for a coupled of minutes.

While you are cooking the buns prepare the Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Duck. Simply add a touch of oil to a large frying pan and once hot add in the duck “meat” and fry for 1 minute. Add in about 50ml of water and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the eating and add in the hoisin sauce. Mix everything together and fill the buns adding  a teaspoon of vegan mayo, fresh coriander, chopped spring onions and chilli. You can also add the carrots and cucumbers or having them on the side.

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Neatballs with Celeriac Noodles

These are by far the best “meat free – meatballs” I have ever made! The consistency is really similar to regular meatballs, thanks to the combination between the cooked brown rice and mushrooms. To add that lovely cheesy flavour I have used nutritional yeast which works perfectly in this recipe. These “meatballs” are really versatile and they work really well with a simple tomato sauce and pasta dishes of if you want a lighter and fresher recipe I love serving them with these Celeriac Noodles. If you can’t get your hands on celeriac you can also regular white potatoes, sweet potato or courgette.

Ingredients:

Makes about 15-20 balls depending on the size 

For the Neatballs:

3 cups of cooked brown rice (for this recipe I find it works best short grain brown rice)

150 chestnut mushrooms – finely chopped 

1 cup of walnuts – blitzed to a fine crumble 

1 white onion 

2 cloves of garlic 

2 cups of porridge oats 

2 spring onions finely chopped 

1 carrot – peeled and finely grated

2 tbsp of nutritional yeast 

1 tablespoon of tahini paste 

1 tablespoon of maple syrup 

1 tablespoon of siracha or hot sauce 

2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil + more for frying

3 tablespoon of soy sauce 

A bunch of fresh thyme 

About 2 cups of breadcrumbs for rolling the balls 

For the tomato sauce:

1 tin of chopped tomatoes 

1 small white onion – finely chopped 

1 garlic clove – minced 

An handful of chopped fresh basil 

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large celeriac 

Heat up 1 teaspoon of oil in pan, add the chopped onion and mushrooms and cook it a medium heat stirring from time to time for about 6-8 minutes until the onion has soften and all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.

In a bowl mix together the ground walnuts, brown rice, nutritional yeast, thyme, oats salt and black pepper. In a separate bowl mix the soy sauce, tahini, siracha, maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil and the garlic cloves finely chopped. Give it a good whisk until you have a smooth sauce. Once the mushrooms and onion are cooked add them to the bowl with the rice, together with the chopped spring onions and grated carrot. Pour the sauce on top and mix everything together. You should have quite a thick, dense “dough”.

With your hands scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into small balls. Roll the balls into the breadcrumbs.To cook the “meatballs” heat up a bit of oil in a large frying pan and cook them for a couple of minutes each sides until they start to go golden brown.   

Once they are cooked place them on plate and leave them onto one side while you are making the rest.

To make the tomato sauce simply add a dash of olive oil to a pan with the onion and garlic. Cook for few minutes until the onion starts to soften and caramelise. Add in the tinned tomatoes and the fresh basil. Season with salt and pepper and cook the tomato sauce for 10-15 minuets on a low heat.

Peel the skin off the celeriac and using a spiralizer make some “noodles”. Add the celeriac noodles to the tomato sauce and cook it for 5-8 minutes until they start to soften. Add more season if needed. Gently add in the neat balls and move them around the pan so they get coated in the tomato sauce. 

Serve everything while still warm. Sprinkle with some extra black pepper or nutritional yeast.

Note on the “neat” balls:

They hold the shape so much better if eaten the next day after being refrigerated overnight. They also freeze really well and you can just reheat them in a pan for few minutes from frozen.

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Creamy Cannellini Beans & Fennel Pasta

This recipe is simple, wholesome and delicious. I absolute love cooking with cannellini beans and they are so versatile, they are great in sauces as when cooked they become all mushy and creamy. I love using fennel as it adds a lovely sweetness and goes so well with the cannellini beans and the onion. To add extra greens I have used a generous handful of baby spinach but finely chopped kale will work as well/

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

1 tin of cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed 

1 small fresh fennel (or half of a large one)

1 white onion, finely chopped 

3-4 garlic cloves, crushed 

2 tbsp of nutritional yeast 

1 tsp of miso paste (optional but adds lots of flavour)

An handful of baby spinach 

A bunch of fresh parsley finely chopped 

Salt & peper to taste 

Pasta of of your choice (I have used brown rice)

To a large frying pan add a glug of olive oil then add in the chopped onion. Cook the onion for 3-4 minutes until it starts to caramelise. Add in the crushed garlic and cook for another minute. Add in the chopped fennel and cook for another 4-45 minutes until it start to soften. Add in the drained cannellini beans, the miso paste, nutritional yeast and about 200ml of water. Turn the heat down to a simmer and put the lid on. Cook for 10-15 minutes. At this point the beans should start to fall apart and you should have a creamy kind of consistency. Add another 100ml of water and cook for another 10 minutes. Finally add in the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the spinach, cover with the lid and turn the heat off.

Cook the pasta according to the cooking instructions and once cooked mix in with the bean sauce. Serve straight away with a drizzle of olive oil and some black pepper.

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