Mrs Portly’s Panzanella

Panzanella is one of those excellent Italian recipes where frugality transcends virtue to become something greater. It marries stale bread with sweet, juicy tomatoes to give you the perfect summer salad, one with flavour and a bit of heft. Continue reading

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

Asparagus with Goat’s Cheese Cream

Anyone who has a passing acquaintance with me knows how fond I am of asparagus. My Instagram pal @stephencooksfrench (he makes good food and bad puns) even put it into verse: Linda loved asparagus/She thought it was so yummy/She slathered it with Hollandaise/And put it in her tummy.

And I cannot lie to you, I do love it served that way, but sometimes you want to ring the changes. Continue reading

The Winter Garden

King Henry I is said to have died from a surfeit of lampreys. I can’t eel out of the fact that I’m suffering from an overdose of Christmas. Delicious though the mince pies, clotted cream and chocolates were, I’m beginning to look like a galleon in full sail. Continue reading

Broad Bean, Feta and Strawberry Salad

I enjoy a complex curry or fiddly French pastry as much as the next person, but good ingredients don’t always need a lot of faff and hours spent hovering over a hot stove.

Some of the best meals I’ve had have been the simplest – fragrant amber honey poured over thick yoghurt with a handful of chopped nuts for breakfast in Corfu, freshly caught mackerel barbecued on the beach in Ireland, home-grown asparagus drenched in salted butter. And this. Continue reading

Goat’s Cheese, Cranberry and Orange Salad

In January it is traditional to beat yourself up over all the carbs and chocolates you’ve consumed over Christmas and vow to go on a diet. I am not advocating this. Instead, I’m offering you a bright, refreshing salad  – don’t panic, it has warm things in it – which should give even the most jaded taste buds a kick up the whatsit. Continue reading