Crab butter with Thai chilli flavour, fantastic on toast or fresh bread. Chili crab butter is easy to make and can be served as a dip or sandwich spread.
Chunky ratatouille with chicken pieces, a perfect wholesome and easy one-pot meat-and-veg dish braised in the oven. And it’s just as nice on the following day!
Classic Caesar with chicken, bacon, Parmesan croutons and anchovy dressing. Anyway – nice and not too anchovy dressing, best ever croutons, meaty fresh lettuce and good quality roast chicken.
Jumbo pasta shells, conchiglioni, stuffed with ground beef and baked with mozzarella and parmesan. There are only so many things you can do with minced meat; and depending on whereabouts you are, the flavourings, additions and textures will change subject to available produce.
Corn ribs from the oven, with homemade dukkah, just like the ones served at Ottolenghi’s Rovi. It’s totally a snack du moment – and de toujours, I hope.
Fresh corn, bacon and avocado salad with crumbled feta and furikake seasoning, on a bed of iceberg lettuce: one of the best main course salads ever.
Courgette and spinach tian with garlic, pine nuts and cheese. Make a note of the courgette treatment – that’s how this boring vegetable needs to be handled. Squeeze the living daylights out of it and it might just be vaguely tasty.
Zucchini parmigiana becomes here zucchini alla pecorino – let’s stick to courgette gratin, shall we? I like courgette but do agree it needs some oomph to make it less bland and it must borrow flavour from elsewhere – tomato sauce for instance.
Couscous salad with chicken and red peppers - lovely salad. As with most salads, the ingredients may vary – depending on your fancy and the contents of the fridge. I like to add some kind of cooked, warm vegetables.
Couscous with asparagus chunks, toasted pistachio nuts and fresh herbs, it’s a warm salad of perfectly matching ingredients.
Crab salad with spring onions and radishes, served with acocado slices - the classic. The alpha male approach to crab is to grab a live crustacean and plunge it into boiling water, claws waving.
Creamed corn with blue cheese and fresh ripe tomatoes. Creamed corn in fact is now my number one method of cooking corn and that’s how I’ll continue until the end of the summer and beyond – it’s gorgeous.
Crispy pork mince, kidney beans and Romaine lettuce salad with mixed toasted seeds. Caramelised pork crumbs are the best thing since crispy bacon!
Crispy fried minced pork with noodles or called 'ants climbing a tree' in Sichuan cuisine. Traditionally glass vermicelli, my recipe is for egg noodles, so the poor ants have more traction!
Crispy rice with chorizo and mushrooms blasted under the grill for super-crunchy breadcrumb and Parmesan topping. A dish based on the paella theme but ten times easier.
Crispy and spicy roasted chickpeas with grilled peppers, a wholesome vegetarian lunch or dinner as chickpeas are an excellent source of protein and fibre.
Crispy popping chickpeas and roasted red peppers, spiced with chilli flakes and fennel seeds, with butter or olive oil in the vegan version. It’s your new favourite dish!
Cured duck breast meat, tonnes of umami flavour produced over three days with just salt and sugar. Homemade prosciutto, and it’s lean and healthy if you discard the skin.
Cured salmon, homemade gravlax, flavoured with fennel, caraway and lemon zest. Three minutes work, four days wait and you have an astonishing party starter or a sandwich filling. Good value too, obviously.
Curried mussels with saffron and ginger, steamed in light creamy sauce. No, I still don’t like curries. One of the very few dishes that revolt me, out there with mushy peas, kale, barley and any veiny, tendony, gelatinous meat.
Danish bagel wheels, savoury pastry pinwheels with sesame, poppy and almonds. A savoury twist on raisin wheels, these pastries are made the easy way: the laminating process, usually so troublesome, is shortened here by maturing the dough in the fridge for a couple of days.
Duck pastilla, a Moroccan pie made with filo pastry layers encasing leftover roast duck mixture filling, with onions and peppers.
Fennel and gorgonzola fettucine - I love pasta. I could eat pasta every day, if it only didn’t contain carbs. Since it does (hell, what other reason it tastes so good?), it’s an occasional treat.
Feta saganaki with caramelised figs. Saganaki is a Greek dish of anything cooked and served in a small skillet, cheese saganaki the most popular.
Feta cheese, roasted grapes and crunchy walnuts is a perfect combination of juicy, sweet, crunchy and salty. I roast grapes like I like to roast summer berries when so plentiful they get a little tired: sprinkled with very little sugar and blasted with big brief heat.
Filo pastry snails with mushroom, spinach and cheese filling. The original recipe for these snails calls for feta cheese. It actually calls for roasted fennel instead of spinach but here I think my improvement has worked – spinach in filo pastry is a classic after all.
Classic English fish and chips: crispy chip shop style batter and double cooked chips. I consulted Heston Blumenthal’s recipe for perfect fish and chips in order to produce mine; with the batter sans vodka (we don’t waste spirits in cooking).
Flat iron mushrooms, a mix of cultivated mushrooms pressed flat whilst cooking, to concentrate and wonderfully enhance their flavour.
Courgette flowers (fiori di zuccha) in light batter, shallow fried in olive oil with a touch of mint inside each blossom. It’s pan-fried poetry!
Galettes made with buckwheat flour (gluten-free), with a classic topping of ham, cheese and a few spinach leaves. Galettes are pancakes – only better. The hardcore version has them fried only on one side, toppings put on top (as you would with toppings), and the sides only nonchalantly folded over.
Homemade garlic bread with dough made from scratch. You don’t have to. You can buy your French stick. But just think how many calories you’ll burn doing all the kneading?
Fresh clams cooked with plenty of garlic and white wine. And then – off they go into spaghetti or linguine, or soup or chowder , or just as a splendid dish of little morsels of saltiness with the juices mopped by some good bread.
Giant (aka Israeli) couscous salad with tomatoes, roasted peppers and feta cheese. This is a great recipe for a vegetarian salad that can be eaten warm or cold.
Latkes with roasted apple topping, crispy fried shredded potato pancakes traditionally eaten for Jewish Hanukkah. I like to make one giant latke for brunch, topped with crème fraiche and tart roasted apples.
A warm salad of Purple Majesty potatoes, zucchini and radishes. Dark potatoes are fairly common, but the ones I’d had before would turn ordinary white when boiled. Not these beauties! These are perfectly unique. To start with, the skin is almost completely black and while scrubbed, they reveal to have a thin film covering the tuber - like a second skin or, as I like to think, a veil.
Focaccia with olive oil, fresh grapes and crumbled blue cheese. I am not quite sure why grapes are not popular as cake ingredients. All summer berries, cherries, stone fruit and apples get to play, jumping into soft sponge, orderly marching onto tarts, drowning in runny clafoutis and sweating gently underneath crumbles
Greek lamb, spinach and feta filo pastry pie, using leftover roast lamb, is better than the original roast.
Grilled mussels with savoury breadcrumbs and crumbled black pudding. It’s blood. Mixed with fillers, more often than not cereal of some kind, less often chopped up offal; encased, sausage way, into a length of gut.
Halloumi burgers with roasted pepper, aubergine and onion. I love the cheese. Gorgeously rubbery, gooey but not dissolving, tasting of nothing much at all, it must be the mother of processed cheese. I bet the founders of Kraft Foods were Cypriots.
Hasselback chorizo stuffed with halloumi chunks is an upscale, deconstructed hot dog and completely irresistible. This is your guilty food pleasure turned into a proper meal!
Herby courgette pasta bake, with roasted garlic and Pecorino, simple and super-tasty. The best thing to do with courgettes? Bake them with pasta!
Hot butterflied tiger prawns in a spicy marinade by Ottolenghi. Grill them, fry them or barbecue them as long as you’re quick – they only need a minute in the pan.
Oven baked fresh sardine fillets with herbs, garlic and lemon, Italian style. Sandwiched in pairs, they only take 13 minutes to cook.
Smoked mackerel and prawn kedgeree. Haddock seems too much of a northern fish to go into a dish of Indian of origin so I’ve replaced it with hot smoked mackerel. Breakfast? I don’t know but it’s an excellent lunch dish and a brilliant starter.
Homemade lamb doner kebab from Tom Kerridge is made in the oven, served in a tortilla wrap and devoured in seconds. Who said you can’t make street food at home?
Moroccan lamb pastillas are shaped like cigars with leftover lamb wrapped in filo pastry. Inspired by Jamie Oliver's recipe, these lamb pastillas are served with a yoghurt harissa dip.
Baked yellow courgettes stuffed with minced lamb and tomatoes, topped with grated cheese. Large yellow courgettes are much easier to fill with stuffing.
Crab salad two ways, white crab meat and sweetcorn layered with creamy brown crab meat salad base. Use fresh dressed crab meat and bake corn on the cob for the best crab salad ever.
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