Anchovy braised vegetable medley, Provençal style aubergine, courgette and mushrooms gently cooked in anchovy sauce with garlic and a touch of lemon.
Fresh green asparagus cooked gently with butter, served with some shavings of parmesan. Cook them simply. Don’t overcook; they need to have a bite. They love butter, not too high heat, a squeeze of lemon and some parmesan.
Raw asparagus salad with lemon and olive oil dressing. This is a simple salad and of course you can choose not to bother with the peeling, but it makes for a good contrast of textures. The dressing marinates the asparagus a bit and the Parmesan complements them nicely. As fresh green shoots as you can get – and it’s spring by the mouthful!
Aubergine parmigiana in homemade tomato sauce, with mozzarella, Parmesan and basil - the classic. It's a delicious standalone dish but also a good side to a steak.
Autumn vegetable tian, a cheesy bake of carrots, parsnips, potatoes and other root vegetables, easily made ahead.
Cheesy bacon and sweetcorn enchiladas with red salsa, made with crisp, toasted corn tortillas. Assemble and bake them straight away, so they don’t get soggy standing around.
Baked fennel with tomatoes and plums: three ingredients and what a burst of flavour. It makes a good vegetarian lunch or an interesting side for meat or fish.
Perfect chips with a crunch: first baked then double-cooked in oil. Blanching in the oven gives the chips a lasting crunch with tender fluffy interior.
Roasted balsamic shallots, baked with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Sweet and tart glaze and rosemary fragrance makes these an irresistible side, condiment or a snack.
Baked tomatoes stuffed with herby cheese and breadcrumb filling. For the vegetarian option skip the anchovies and use vegetarian cheese.
Beetroot gratin, thinly sliced beets baked in garlic and dill infused cream, a gorgeous side to a fish course. No need to pre-cook the beetroot.
Mixed raw and cooked beetroot in tangy dressing. As all things dark red or purple, beetroot is incredibly rich in nutrients especially when eaten raw.
Broad bean and smashed pea bruschetta with herbs and garlic and a drizzle of olive oil is a starter, lunch or appetiser to kill for. And new beans need just 5 minutes to cook!
Broccoli and Stilton soup, the easiest and tastiest - and no blender needed. Blended soup is my pet hate, worse than mushy peas or smoothies (though mind: purée - justified; milkshake - okay).
Broccoli cheese spiced up with anchovies and Cayenne pepper, an excellent alternative to cauliflower cheese.
Crispy roasted brussels sprouts and blanched sprout tops with almonds. They need to be salted and peppered about twice as much as an amount you think sensible.
Brussels sprouts cooked with fennel and caraway seeds and coated in crushed walnuts, parmesan and breadcrumbs. For a vegetarian option of course leave out the bacon. The fennel and caraway seeds add flavour.
How to cook spinach? Simply, with lots of butter and thinly sliced garlic. Buttered spinach is a perfect side dish, healthy and ready in minutes.
Vietnamese cabbage and prawn salad with nuoc mam dressing, layered on baked brown rice. The best salad bowls are a/ Asian and b/ contain cabbage.
Cabbage lasagne, a vegetarian dish of pasta layered with a filling of lightly cooked cabbage with tomatoes. Surprisingly flavourful and delicious!
Cabbage with bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms is a delicious main dish, served with plain pasta or potatoes. It can also be a hearty side dish, to go with fish or chicken.
Caramelised courgettes with basil and garlic: is it a sauce, a condiment, a side dish? All of those and more.
Caramelised fennel slices sautéed in a pan with maple syrup and white balsamic vinegar. The best way of cooking fennel, it makes an exquisite side dish, or a lovely starter served with a chunk of crusty bread.
Cauliflower cheese with spices, garlic and creamy sauce. Interesting thing about comfort foods is that they usually tend to be quite bland. I guess when it's cold outside or you're feeling a bit down you don't fancy stimulating senses too much.
Roasted cauliflower parmigiana, cauliflower slices, parmesan and mozzarella layered with simple tomato sauce. A good veggie dish which actually tastes much better than you’d think.
Celeriac gratin - thinly sliced celeriac baked in cream, garlic and Gruyère cheese sauce. Adding cheesy sauce to most veg transforms them into something delishhh so celeriac gratin will work even for people not that keen on the knobbly brute.
Vegetarian Wellington, with mushroom and spinach layer around baked celeriac centre. Easy to make ahead, even easier to make it vegan: just use vegan pastry and skip the butter.
Celeriac, carrot and apple remoulade with creme fraiche and wholegrain mustard dressing is a seasonal winter salad and a great side dish for seafood.
Oven roasted celeriac steak with sweet potato chips, vegetarian bliss with no meat substitutes in sight. And it’s made vegan with a simple tweak. Who needs Quorn?
Celery salad with furikake, Japanese sesame and dried seaweed seasoning, is the best way to use that bunch of celery that looks at you reproachfully from the vegetable drawer.
Fresh chanterelles sautéed in a little butter, piled on thick slices of toasted bread, make lunch, starter or a snack fit for gods. Scottish or French chanterelles, sunny yellow wild mushrooms, are autumn’s best.
Sweet potato tray bake with a lively topping of peppers, tomatoes, bacon and cheese. A one tray dish ready in under an hour.
Sweetcorn tart with cheese topping on a crusty, cheesy base of pizza dough. Vegetarian and gorgeous, for lunch or dinner. Shop bough dough is OKAY.
Chilli con corn – vegetarian sweetcorn chilli with beans goes well with tortillas, baked potatoes or nachos. Corn on the cob cooked with classic chilli flavours – the fresher ears of corn, the better!
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!
Chunky vegetable lasagne, with peppers, courgettes and tomatoes. Coated with creamy white sauce with mozzarella layer, it will cook to a bubbling, gorgeous perfection.
Homemade coleslaw recipe with lightly fermented vegetables. This is Tom Kerridge's coleslaw recipe with light and healthy yoghurt and lemon dressing.
Slow roasted tomato confit. It brings out the flavour hidden deep when it comes to those plasticky looking imported fruits. It’s a slow job – the longer the better. They should still retain their shape but become very soft and quite a bit darker in colour.
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.
Savoury courgette wheat and rye bread with Parmesan, it is perfectly good for slicing, buttering, and turning into ham sandwiches.
Courgette fritters in tomato and paprika cornmeal crust. Why is it such a thing about courgettes every summer? Magazines, blogs and weekend supplements fall over themselves to supply novel ways of utilising courgettes:
Courgette loaf cake or what to do with courgette glut. Let’s be honest here: this is no Great Bake Off contest entry. It’s fairly bland, similarly to the vegetable; will benefit from vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond essence, lemon zest and whatever other flavourings you can think of.
Raw courgette ribbons marinated with lemon and tossed with raisins, almonds, pistachios and nori flakes – a gorgeous courgette salad made without spiralizer but just a vegetable peeler.
Courgette sandwich loaf - tasty, sliceable and excellent when toasted. This is a twist on my onions-and-mash deli bread, a lovely loaf in itself albeit really quite oniony.
Jerusalem artichokes cooked in cream with garlic and tarragon, then baked au gratin style. This dish is supposed to be made with potatoes: sliced thinly, accompanied with herbs and garlic, a bit of onion, a bit of leek and – wait for this – cooked in cream. Literally. Boiled in copious quantity of double cream. Decadent or what?
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