Griddled Courgette Rolls

I really felt for Kathy Slack when I read about her tomato disaster, her lovingly nurtured seedlings run over and crushed by a Range Rover in a Cotswold lane. It wasn’t entirely the driver’s fault but anyone who grows their own will feel Kathy’s pain.

It’s one of the anecdotes in her new book, From The Veg Patch, published by Ebury Press. Full disclosure: Kathy is a friend and Guild of Food Writers colleague, but I wouldn’t be writing about the book if I didn’t rate it highly. She takes ten vegetables or fruits and gives ten recipes for each, along with bonus cooking ideas and growing tips. (Getting your seedlings run over is more of a cautionary tale.) Continue reading

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne

This is a recipe for those days when you want comfort food without the stodge of winter. It’s a lasagne, but it’s meat-free and made light with ricotta. It’s the sort of dish where you can have a second helping without collapsing in a food coma. Continue reading

Ham, Cheese and Mushroom Jalousie

I’m very partial to this little pie, it’s the perfect recipe for a chilly spring day when the sun is out, the wind is cold and you want something summery but haven’t quite relinquished comfort food and woolly jumpers. Continue reading

Big Mack(erel)

Beef burgers, meh, I can take them or leave them. Mostly I like them for the trimmings. A fried fish sandwich, though, is something else. A juicy mackerel fillet, cooked until the skin is crisp, slapped in a bun and anointed with tartare sauce with an unorthodox hit of horseradish … well, now I’m salivating. Continue reading

Chicken with Herbs and Grapes

It’s an odd time of the year here, nearly-but-not-quite-spring. The daffs are opening in the garden and the sun has been making some cautious appearances, but it’s still a bit chilly and misty out there.

I’m not ready to fully embrace salads, even ones with hot bacon, but I want lighter, fresher food. This recipe was inspired by my sister-in-law Sarah, who was reminiscing about an Iranian dish she once ate, sharp with sour grapes and fragrant with herbs. Continue reading

Allowes – A Tudor Meat Pie

I blame Hollywood. The popular image of medieval and Tudor food is all fat, gouty nobles with meat grease dripping off their chins, waving haunches of venison which of course would be stiff with spices because they didn’t have fridges and the meat was off. In between gargantuan flesh fests they would oppress peasants and maybe ravish a maiden or two before getting their comeuppance from a hero of gentle birth who lived in a treehouse. Continue reading

Red Mullet with Clams and Chorizo

Seafood, to my mind, is the original fast food. It cooks in minutes and given the number of species fished off our coast, there’s something for all tastes: delicate and flaky, dense and meaty, rich and oily. One of my favourites is red mullet, a fish I normally associate with warmer climes but which can be caught off our southern coast.

It’s a white fish but it will stand up to punchy flavours. I’ve cooked it here with rosemary, chorizo and clams and the resulting brothy sauce was so good we slurped it from our bowls. With spoons, we’re not heathens. Continue reading

Monkfish with Seville Dressing

I’m lucky when it comes to seafood. Spencer of Spen’s Fish will deliver to my door and my friend Mike Warner of A Passion For Seafood does pop-up sales at a local farm shop every Friday. I’m spoilt for choice, which is fortunate because I went through a lot of fish this week testing what is actually a very simple dish.

It is monkfish with a dressing based on Sicily’s salmoriglia, but using Seville orange juice instead of lemon. Sevilles are such a seasonal treat it seems silly not to. It’s essentially a punchy vinaigrette which acts here as both marinade, glaze and sauce.

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