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!
Fried sliced mushrooms, cooked in butter and a little oil, perfect for breakfast or as a side to steak. Cook them for 10-15 minutes until caramelised and crisp.
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.
Garlic mushrooms with parsley - simple and delicious. Mushrooms are an excellent source of protein and fibre. Season them generously and fry them with garlic - so tasty just with a chunk of bread. This is a suggestion for a lovely side dish.
Grilled asparagus with flaked almonds and Parmesan, an exquisite side dish or starter ready in 10 minutes. It can be cooked in oven grill or on a barbecue.
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.
Grilled radicchio salad with Parmesan. Radicchio loses its bitterness when attacked with heat, salt and acid so that’s what I’ve done to make it collapse in a delicious heap.
Halloumi and vegetable skewers, vegetarian kebabs of cheese, mushrooms, peppers and onion drizzled with tangy marinade, as fantastic cooked on a barbecue as from the oven.
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.
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.
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.
Leek and potato soup, homemade is the best. Soup is the easiest, cheapest and quickest thing to cook at home. Especially if you are a proponent of Soup With Bits, like me – you won’t need a blender.
Warm salad of poached fish and raw samphire with lemongrass dressing. Samphire, or sea asparagus, is the salty marshland grass and not actually seaweed as some may think.
Ottolenghi inspired fondue filo pie, with butternut squash swapped for mushrooms. It’s a combo of Savoyarde raclette experience and a Greek or Middle Eastern filo pastry, and it’s excellent.
Moules marinières with cream, fairly standard, but this recipe has a tiny twist. The usual spiel is to cook mussels with wine, take them out and then add cream – what a waste of time. I added the cream beforehand, turned up the heat full whack and threw the shells in...
Negimaki-style veal escalopes, marinated in teriyaki and sliced across like sushi rolls. A party snack with a wow-factor or a dish for the special dinner à deux.
French onion soup with toasted bread slices loaded with cheese. The best thing to eat on a cold winter’s day is soup. Something so comforting about a good bowl of soup – better than a stew, much better than a salad and it even beats cheese on toast – sometimes. Not that much beats cheese on toast in my view.
Oven baked arancini, mushroom risotto balls filled with prosciutto and mozzarella. It’s the starter you wish was a main. It’s the leftovers dish that’s better than the original.
Baked oyster mushrooms with garlic and blue cheese. This makes almost a sauce – if you want proper sauce, chop them smaller and add more cream. I like to bake them whole though and pile the unctuous, blue cheesy morsels on top of a perfectly cooked steak.
Padron peppers, pimientos de padron, a Spanish dish of blistered padron style green peppers.
Pan-fried wood pigeon breast is a great starter. It's an easy and quick recipe for very underrated, tasty, cheap and sustainable meat. Serve it with orange caramel and pomegranate seeds.
Pasta with fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil. I love fresh tomatoes with good quality pasta. The question whether you should buy ’fresh’ supermarket pasta is a moot point – buy dry. Good.
Parmesan fish balls inspired by Tom Kerridge’s fish burgers, with parsley, capers and mustard for flavourings. Fish balls, fishcakes, fish burgers – processed fish can be glorious.
Pasta fritta, fried pasta with asparagus, garlic and mint; the best thing to do with leftover pasta. Any pasta shape can be made into pasta fritta without eggs, or frittata pasta – with eggs mixed in.
Pasta with crispy capers, bacon and breadcrumbs or pappardelle con pangrattato. Breadcrumbs are an age-old pasta dressing, poor man’s Parmesan. Textures are great here; everything is crispy and crunchy and salty
Pasta with asparagus and lemon butter, served with lots of Parmesan. Three tricks pasta and I’m pleased to announce that this is truly a pasta template, versatile as anything. I give you the pasta with lemon and any veg, plus Parmesan because pasta can’t be without it.
Baked peach with blue cheese and cinnamon crumble. I like a savoury take on a dessert dish. You expect a roasted peach, honey and pillows of whipped cream or mascarpone and here’s blue cheese with its sharp, salty sting.
Pear and grilled halloumi salad with roasted parsnip and salty pumpkin seeds. Everything is there: the wholesome, the sweet, the salty and the crunch. A perfect salad?
Penne pasta with chanterelles and pied-de-moutons, and plenty of parmesan. A very simple dish – good ingredients don’t need elaborate processing, and fresh wild mushrooms are as good as it gets.
Piperade is the Basque take on ratatouille with the heat of espelette pepper. This recipe is easy and simple, like a lot of best things in life.
Pissaladiere Provençal, a simple savoury tart on pizza dough with onion, anchovy and olive topping. And that is one of the best snack/street food/ starter/nibble in the world.
Hawaiian poke bowl with yellowfin tuna, seasoned with shichimi togarashi. Originating from Hawaii, it’s a salad/starter/appetiser of raw fish, sliced (which is what ‘poke’ literally means in Hawaiian).
Potato salad with pancetta and asparagus, delicious warm or cold. I’m really not sure what the deal with the ‘only three ingredients!’ recipes is. Or only four or five for that matter - the authors of those seem to take pride in putting together as few foodstuffs as possible
Simple potato soup with mushroom flavour is as warming and comforting as easy it is to make. Chunky, waxy potatoes, carrot and celery in a fragrant, clear broth flavoured with wild mushroom – gorgeous.
Homemade gyoza are much easier to make and cook than you’d think and are perfect served with a simple dipping sauce and a quick cabbage salad with oriental dressing. They make a fantastic snack, starter or main course.
Prawns with stewed tomatoes. The other night I went out for dinner (a respite from all this cooking, shooting and Fiending) and had a very decent red mullet served with tomato and raisin stew. The stew was simply AMAZING.
Puff pastry tartlets with three kinds of filling: prawn and garlic, spinach and blue cheese and bacon and Cheddar. Puff pastry – party food rescue, the solution for when you crave pizza-type food but can’t be bothered to make the real thing...
A summer salad of cucumbers, radish and lots of fresh herbs with feta cheese and a simple dressing. Cucumber, my favourite underrated fruit is usually included in vaguely Greek salads with tomato and feta cheese.
Italian beef ragu; pasta sauce with beef and pork mince, soffrito and tomato sauce. The amount of about 3-4 tablespoons of the sauce per person gives the perfect balance between Italian sparsity and British overload.
Roasted red peppers, soft cheese and basil salad. The peppers actually will keep very well in oil or the type of dressing I suggested below; you can jar them and they will keep even longer.
Baked salmon pâté with tarragon and chopped gherkins. Fresh salmon marinated in soy sauce and honey is turned into flavoursome pâté in this simple recipe.
Salt baked celeriac, sweet and earthy and a Michelin grade impressive centrepiece dish. Salt crust made from flavoured salt and flour, you crack it open like an enormous soft boiled egg. Or a pathologist opening the skull.
Scallop ceviche with citrus juice and fresh plums. Contrary to what you might think, a dish of raw fish is actually a pretty common thing.
Scallops thermidor, fat little molluscs baked in creamy fragrant Thermidor sauce on a bed of spelt and pancetta. Who needs lobster?
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