Roasted Radishes and Asparagus

Sweet, grassy asparagus and earthy radishes work so well together, raw or cooked.  Here I’ve roasted them for a quick but delicious summer salad. It works as a standalone dish for a quick lunch or as a side or a starter. Continue reading

Borlotti Beans with Tomatoes and Spinach

My recent freezer forage turned up a lot of home-grown borlotti beans. These speckled beauties are good simply cooked with aromatics and dressed with olive oil, herbs and  lemon zest and juice, but they’re even better in this rich tomato sauce. I added spinach because I had a big bag in the fridge, but you can use kale or chard, too. Continue reading

Extra-crunchy Celery Salad

Possibly the world’s crunchiest salad, this employs a technique which gives you super-crisp celery. It’s indescribably good. I’ve combined it here with beautiful blood oranges and black olives for an enlivening winter side dish. It’ll make your taste buds tap dance. Continue reading

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

Mushroom and Chestnut Strudel

Crammed with mushrooms, chestnuts and festive cranberries and wrapped in shatteringly crisp filo, this works as the centrepiece for a vegan or vegetarian Christmas dinner. It’s also a useful addition to a bigger spread if you’re trying to cater both for omnivores and those who prefer a plant-based diet. Continue reading