Red Pepper and Sunflower Seed Pesto Recipe (1)

Though much maligned, getting home from work and having little time to cook can often force you into coming up with some delicious meal ideas. Simple and usually relatively frugal, these recipes are among the most satisfying to develop and jot down.

I love the mid-week “make do with what you have lurking in the fridge” attitude; it can really give you that creative spark you wish you’d had the weekend before. This recipe for Red Pepper and Sunflower Seed Pesto is a perfect example of that. After all, aside from a portion of spaghetti it only contains 4 ingredients!

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Sweet Potato and Mozzarella Calzone Recipe (4)

A food of convenience, calzoni are the last word in edible portability. In essence a type of Italian street food, these “bread pasties” have become increasingly popular in the UK and beyond. It’s a rather intriguing – though welcome – development that both local and national pizzerias and Italian restaurants have begun offering calzoni alongside their usual fare. After all, a calzone is probably best suited to the busy lunch hour, dispensed by a market vendor to the satisfaction of all. Still, I hope you’ll agree that once open and spilling forth, the contents of my Sweet Potato and Mozzarella Calzone are really rather appetising.

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Kale, Walnut and Lemon Pearl Barley Risotto Recipe

Risotto is a dish that adapts well to every season. Depending on what ingredients you use to flavour yours it can be light and delicate (Leek and Pea Risotto), or rich and decadent (Red Pepper and Goats Cheese Risotto). However, flavours are not the only way in which you can influence the seasonality of a dish. Though traditionally made with short, fat rice, it is possible to incorporate other grains or even pasta into a risotto. This recipe for Kale, Walnut and Lemon Pearl Barley Risotto runs with that idea, taking a step closer to winter perfection.

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Spinach, Feta and Walnut Pesto

You wouldn’t think it from the limited selection available at supermarkets, but pesto is an incredibly versatile sauce. A quick internet search reveals just how much variety there is out there, beyond the traditional Genoese basil flavour. My advice is to go with the seasons when it comes to pesto – basil isn’t always the best choice. For instance, there’s a definite autumnal feel about this Spinach, Feta and Walnut Pesto – very comforting indeed.

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Red Pepper and Goats Cheese Risotto

As many of you will know, the base ingredients usually found in risotto are white wine, butter and – most importantly – parmesan. However, the status quo deserves to be upset once in a while and goats cheese does a great job of mixing things up. Not only is it delicious and robust, it adequately performs the duty of the usual dairy products. My Red Pepper and Goats Cheese Risotto recipe may be a break from tradition, but it’s as rich and indulgent a risotto as you’d hope to find.

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