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Anchovy braised vegetable medley, Provençal style aubergine, courgette and mushrooms gently cooked in anchovy sauce with garlic and a touch of lemon.
Christmas pork, apricot and fig stuffing for turkey, duck, goose or chicken. This stuffing has a wonderful flavour, sweet with the dried fruit and spiced with nutmeg and mace. but is very easy to make.
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!
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.
Oven baked rice with brown shrimp and green vegetables, crispy on the outside and fluffy in the centre. Perfect rice without fail, inspired by Diana Henry’s recipe.
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.
Broccoli cheese spiced up with anchovies and Cayenne pepper, an excellent alternative to cauliflower cheese.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Celeriac, carrot and apple remoulade with creme fraiche and wholegrain mustard dressing is a seasonal winter salad and a great side dish for seafood.
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.
Pork, chestnut and mushroom stuffing for turkey or goose, perfect Christmas trimming. But don't stuff the bird - cook the stuffing separately to ensure both cook evenly.
Homemade coleslaw recipe with lightly fermented vegetables. This is Tom Kerridge's coleslaw recipe with light and healthy yoghurt and lemon dressing.
Corn on the cob with tahini butter: steamed to perfection in the microwave, slathered with tahini butter, the easiest and the tastiest ear of sweetcorn you’ll ever have tried!
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:
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.
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?
Creamed Swiss chard cooked over low heat has incredible depth of flavour and velvety texture. And it’s still marvellously nutritious!
Creamy mushrooms, lovely on toast, on pasta or as a side dish, paired with steak. An easy recipe for velvety creamy and garlicky shiitake mushrooms.
Another way to cook cabbage: crispy and caramelised. Brown cabbage Swedish style is simply fried down and baked. This method turns the vegetable into the perfect side dish.
Crispy tobacco onions, very easy, very tasty, they beat onion rings anytime. Why are they called tobacco onions? It's because of their colour and curly appearance.
Tomato rice with crispy cheese topping can be made with leftover rice. Spiced up with tomato and chilli, flashed under the grill, ready in 40 minutes even boiled from scratch.
Crunchy cabbage salad with chopped gherkins and vinaigrette dressing. Raw shredded cabbage is better than the best lettuce, and this salad recipe is the absolute go-to garnish for tacos, gyros, summer rolls and all dishes that want for a bit of crunchy flavoursome greenery.
Crushed broad beans with garlic, mint and dill are a perfect summery side dish, and the best use of the larger, mature, late season beans.
How to cook and serve new potatoes? Lightly crushed, dressed with garlic, mint and dill with some chopped olives. The best new potatoes are Jersey Royal of course, but pick your own local ones if Jerseys are not available.
Fresh cucumbers with cumin tahini dressing, sprinkled with extra sesame seeds are crunchy, juicy and wonderfully refreshing.
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 orange salad. The best thing about raw fennel is that it’s really a wonderful and versatile background for endless variants. I’ve used orange but any other large citrus fruit will do nicely. Ah well, you can even skip the citrus and just dress it with lemon juice...
Flat iron mushrooms, a mix of cultivated mushrooms pressed flat whilst cooking, to concentrate and wonderfully enhance their flavour.
Carrots fondant are carrots cooked in a water and butter emulsion, with carraway and cinnamon. Similar to carrots Vichy, except my recipe is all about lots of butter!
Celeriac fondant makes a great side dish. Recipes featuring celeriac are usually for mash or puree, but dicing the celeriac root and cooking it in butter brings out the great flavour.
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.
Baby new potatoes, Jersey Royals if you can get them, poached in oil with lemon slices and garlic cloves. It’s almost blasphemous to cook them other than in plenty of water and serve other than with a little butter and salt. But this is absolutely gorgeous and actually brings out the flavour even better. They are not at all greasy.
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.
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