Wild or exotic mushroom ragu, perfect to serve over pasta or gnocchi. It is, truly, a masterly recipe and the addition of tomato ketchup a stroke of genius.
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.
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 pan-blistered padron style green peppers. A delicious snack from the tapas menu, they can be eaten whole.
Turnips roasted with thyme, rosemary and parmesan. They get a new line of life with this recipe, zinged with a dash of parmesan and thoroughly cooked through. Now I’m a hater of overcooked veg, but those babies, they need to be tender.
Deep fried parsnip fries, a delicious alternative to potato chips. Parsnip fries with gutsy seasoning are healthier than potato chips and can be also made in an air fryer.
Parsnip gratin, baked in a creamy, cheesy sauce with a hint of spice. Another way to zing up a boring vegetable – parsnip gratin. What to do with all those root veg when the sexy ones have all gone out of season?
Dos and don'ts of making the best roast potatoes you have ever eaten. The ultimate golden, crispy roasties that make you forget about the roast beef.
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.
Pissaladière Provençal is a simple savoury tart from Nice, with onion, anchovy and olive topping on pizza dough. In other words, salty fish on pizza!
Potato and cabbage gratin, herby with sage and dill, cheesy with gruyere or Cheddar. Rich, warming and absolutely comforting – it’s an oven-baked antidepressant!
Potato, chorizo and cauliflower tray bake; a one pan dish seasoned with cinnamon and smoked paprika. A traybake – or a sheet pan dish – is not very often successful in my view.
Potato and fennel gratin, a super-comfort dish of sliced potatoes and fennel baked in garlicky cream and a generous sprinkle of Gruyere or Cheddar.
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
Potato babka is an unusual and tasty alternative to a boring nut roast, the vegetarian Christmas or Thanksgiving option. Lavishly seasoned grated potato mass studded with peppers and mushrooms baked till crisp in a loaf tin.
Potatoes boulangeres, potato slices baked with stock, onions and a little butter. A simple side of potatoes boulangeres is traditional with beef bourgignon.
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.
Festive red cabbage stir fried with apples, raisins and spices, super quick to cook. Red cabbage can be cooked super quick and easy, not only for Christmas.
Easy one pan ratatouille with courgettes, peppers, aubergines and tomatoes, cooked on the hob. Classic side dish made simple.
Raw broccoli salad with fragrant Asian dressing. NY Times inspired salad of fresh raw broccoli marinated in garlic and sesame dressing.
Stuffed peppers with rice and leftover cooked chicken meat. Stuffed peppers bake for 40 – 50 minutes and they can be made as a vegetarian dish very easily.
Carrots and parsnips roasted with garlic cloves, harissa, herbs and honey, that's a classic trimming for a Christmas dinner. But a tray of fragrant roast vegetables is far too good to only have once a year!
Chunks of beetroot roasted with honey, thyme, tarragon and balsamic vinegar. This is really gorgeous – beetroot baked long, loooong, you might even consider biscuit beetroot: cooked twice.
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.
Roasted savoy cabbage wedges with Parmesan and thyme, charred in the pan then oven roasted. It’s a perfect side for fish or pork.
Crispy, smashed and roasted potatoes with tangy cream topping, so glorious you can skip the meat from your Sunday or Christmas roast.
Roasted sweet potatoes with chorizo and bacon are the perfect blend of sweet, salty and spicy.
Roasted Mediterranean vegetable mix with a topping of crumbled feta and toasted pine nuts. It’s vegetarian, it’s wholesome and it’s healthy.
Potato, beetroot and celeriac rösti. A very Swiss thing. It’s the Alpine dish where you get the starch, the oil, the crispiness of frying, the seasoning – and preferably a sliver of bacon on top – which is just what you need after a day of skiing.
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.
Homemade spiced sauerkraut, dead easy, can be made in small quantities. I should be talking all about raw and fermented so I’m side-tracking. Recipes abound, everyone is fermenting like crazy and the reports of all those good bacteria doing wonders to our guts are making poor old sauerkraut blush.
Sausage, pear and root vegetable tray bake with chestnut mushrooms and rosemary is an easy one pan dish that hits the comfort spot.
Sautéed courgettes with crisp and tasty toasted breadcrumb topping. Those are magic. They have the ability to transform the blandest vegetables into a feast.
New potatoes sautéed with spinach. This recipe for sautéed new potatoes has them boiled first and then fried in plenty of butter with spinach and capers.
Sauteed wild mushrooms, chanterelles and pied de mouton. Cook wild mushrooms simply, with only a little seasoning: salt, pepper and a dash of cream.
Sesame roasted broccoli with a hint of sweetness from maple syrup, soused in olive and sesame oil, ready in 20 minutes. Broccoli like you’ve never tasted before!
Shaved Brussels sprout salad with toasted walnuts and Manchego cheese; the sprouts are raw, the walnuts are toasted and the cheese is mashed into a dressing. Feed it to a sworn Brussels hater and see what happens.
Chinese smashed cucumber salad with chilli, garlic and sesame oil. Cucumbers, the skinniest member of the gourd family of portly melons, squashes, pumpkins and marrows is technically not a vegetable but fruit.
Roasted turnips with flaky smoked fish, olives and capers make an exciting salad. Turnips deserve better: full of fibre and over four times less calorific than potatoes.
Spelt risotto with pearled spelt grain and dried porcini mushrooms is a gorgeous vegetarian dish: wholesome, flavoursome and effortless.
Spiced roasted cauliflower with togarashi seasoning and cinnamon. Melted butter, a grating of Parmesan and it's a vert tasty side or lunch dish.
Fiery bacon, spiced but still cool cucumber and mild new potatoes in a warm salad. The bacon and cucumber salad on its own will make a great spicy snack or starter - I’ve thrown new potatoes in to a/ dampen the fire a bit and b/ make it into a main course.
Hot and spicy fried aubergine, a simple side or starter. Aubergine slices are dusted with flour to stop it guzzling oil so much and make the dish healthier.
Oriental style stir-fried asparagus with chilies, ginger and garlic, seasoned with sesame oil. Asparagus works well but you might like to apply this treatment to broccoli - God knows it’s bland enough to use some heat.
Oven baked spinach and mozzarella balls, coated in breadcrumbs. Healthy baked spinach and cheese balls go well with a steak as a side dish but also delicious as an appetizer.
Spinach and cheese bake, a healthy casserole served as a side dish or for brunch. Cheese is able to cover a multitude of sins. There aren’t many dishes that can’t be improved by throwing some cheese at them.
Spring cabbage salad is easy and incredibly healthy, with herbs and a touch of garlic. A welcome change from lettuce or mixed greens, it's perfect for BBQ.
Spring potato salad with radish, gherkins and very light mayo dressing – it’s the taste and flavour of a summer barbecue even in midwinter.
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