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The best pizza dough recipe that makes the best thin crust pizza in the world. 72-hour no-knead dough, perfect for a baking stone or a baking steel.
Asparagus risotto with Parmesan crackers. Making a good risotto is tricky: the proportion of liquid to rice; when to add on the add-ons; how to score the precise result between tough grains and a slop bucket; whether to use a wooden spoon or a whisk in the absence of the magical girariso and how much butter it REALLY needs.
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.
Avocado and red kidney bean salad with crispy garlic and crunchy seed and nut topping, the garlic and the topping alone make this recipe worth trying!
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.
Baked figs with blue cheese, a drop of honey and a drizzle of balsamic can be a gorgeous starter, side dish, lunch or even a healthy dessert.
My baked rice pilaf is a veggie dish, with three kinds of mushrooms just for variety; and because there aren’t many things that can’t be improved with dried porcini flavour.
Baked tomatoes stuffed with herby cheese and breadcrumb filling. For the vegetarian option skip the anchovies and use vegetarian cheese.
Crusty tart with beetroot greens and garlic topping. If you get hold of really new, baby beets with vibrant, tender leaves, use them in salads.
Broccoli and Stilton soup, easy, tasty and proper comfort food. This one is made without blender, just chunkily mashed with potato ricer.
Broccoli cheese spiced up with anchovies and Cayenne pepper, an excellent alternative to cauliflower cheese.
Broccoli frittata starts on the hob and finishes in the oven. With cheese and a little crème fraiche in the egg mix it’s fluffy and very satisfying.
Mejadra is a simple lentil and brown rice dish and my recipe has a great fried onions shortcut tip. Levantine rice and lentils were the biblical Esau’s ‘bowl of stew’. Probably.
A simple vegetarian dish of brown rice with mushrooms. Brown rice with brown mushrooms is not going to win me any photographic awards, that’s for sure. There’s no denying the fact that it’s brown - completely and utterly.
Bucatini pasta with creamy Alfredo sauce, peas and spinach. Bucatini is thick spaghetti-like pasta shape and it goes well with Alfredo sauce, a sprinkling of Parrmesan and a handful of peas..
Bulgur wheat pilaf with red peppers and raisins: cooked like rice pilaf but refreshingly different; looks like couscous but it’s more nutritious; whole grain of cereal but not slimy like barley. That’s my perfect grain!
Five-spice butternut squash in cheesy custard is precisely the treatment the squash needs to be a great dish. No surprise, it’s a recipe from Ottolenghi.
Cabbage lasagne, a vegetarian dish of pasta layered with a filling of lightly cooked cabbage with tomatoes. Surprisingly flavourful and delicious!
Camembert en croute: baked Camembert wrapped in homemade shortcrust pastry. A divine cheese parcel in cornmeal shortcrust with Cheddar and thyme. Who doesn't love baked cheese?
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.
Caramelised leek and Cheddar tart on shortcrust pastry, homemade or shop bought, is a fabulous, easy dish, as good to serve warm as it is cold.
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.
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?
Cheese and mushroom omelette is a quick and easy breakfast or lunch dish. Beat the eggs well and work quickly for a perfectly fluffy omelette.
The best cheese fondue, smooth as velvet and comforting as a blanket. This tastes absolutely fantastic. And so it should – it’s Heston’s recipe from the book ‘Heston Blumenthal at home’.
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.
Simple chickpea salad with pancetta, red pepper and mushrooms makes a quick and easy lunchtime dish. Tinned chickpeas are dry roasted in a pan with cayenne pepper.
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 vegetable lasagne, with peppers, courgettes and tomatoes. Coated with creamy white sauce with mozzarella layer, it will cook to a bubbling, gorgeous perfection.
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.
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.
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:
Couscous with asparagus chunks, toasted pistachio nuts and fresh herbs, it’s a warm salad of perfectly matching ingredients.
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 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!
Fresh cucumbers with feta cheese and honey are a minimalist version of Greek salad and all the better for skipping tomatoes – mainly for your digestion.
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.
Savoury tart with fennel and taleggio filling; a vegetarian version of a classic British pie. My offering to vegetarians who like pies, this is actually better the next day at room temperature, if there’s any left.
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.
Filo wrapped asparagus with Parmesan are a crunchy, golden, irresistible vegetarian snack or appetiser. Asparagus filo parcels rolled up like cigars - a must before the asparagus season ends.
Flat iron mushrooms, a mix of cultivated mushrooms pressed flat whilst cooking, to concentrate and wonderfully enhance their flavour.
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