Butternut squash and bean chilli

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year but a few weeks ago we had a spell of cold, wet weather when I was craving spicy, comforting food. So I made a big batch of this chilli, using a mix of beans (kidney, butter and fresh green beans) cooked in big portions to have plenty…

Stuffed peppers

A couple of weeks’ ago I watched an episode of Yottam Ottolenghi’s cookery series where he was in Crete. He visited a family restaurant where one of the specialities was stuffed vegetables. All the family got together on a vine clad, sun drenched terrace to stuff courgettes, tomatoes and peppers with a simple mixture of…

Asparagus frittata

I made this frittata for brunch last Sunday during the April heatwave. That week we had enjoyed several days of heavy heat and bright sunshine and the supermarkets were full of people in shorts and T shirts buying up barbecue food. This frittata seemed to me the perfect al fresco, late breakfast option for a…

Griddled chicory with Gorgonzola dressing

This was a recipe I planned to use as a first course but with sourdough bread it was really substantial and I was too full to eat anything else. It’s based on a Jamie Oliver recipe which uses radicchio (which I couldn’t find so I used chicory instead) and raisins (which I didn’t have in…

Melanzane alla Parmigiana (baked aubergine with Parmesan)

This is my version of baked aubergines cooked in tomato sauce and Parmesan. I never get sick of aubergines. They are hearty and versatile and a good staple for a vegetarian diet. Aubergines are brilliant for dips, tagines, stews like ratatouille and of course cooked simply on their own. I often just brush them with…

Puy lentils with anchovies and toasted pine nuts

I always keep Puy lentils in the cupboard and much prefer them for salads than green or brown lentils which I use for cooked lentil recipes like vegetarian shepherd’s pie. Puy lentils go very well with anchovies and toasted pine nuts and I’ve just added some hard boiled eggs in this recipe for a more…

Super green lasagne

I had a similar lasagne last week at The Magic Garden pub in Battersea – it was delicious  – and as usual when I find something particularly good I want to see if I can make my own. The Magic Garden used asparagus and I did too because I found a packet at a reduced…

Happy halloumi burger

I had a brilliant day last Saturday. I met up with some of my best friends to watch the fireworks at the end of the Lord Mayor’s show from a boat on the Thames (followed by a little cruise up and down river). Before that I wandered around the food stalls on the South Bank…

Figs with Roquefort and walnuts

These are perfect as canapés or a first course. The salty cheese is delicious with the sweetness of the honey and the crunch of the walnut contrasts with the soft flesh of the fig. They are dead easy to prepare and only take 10 minutes in the oven – make sure to get them out…

Antonio Carluccio’s beetroot lasagne

I was very sad to hear of the death yesterday of Antonio Carluccio. I loved watching him in cooking programmes over the years and listening to him talk about growing up in Italy during the war and foraging for food – to make meals from mushrooms and nettles. His cooking reflects so much of the…

Mushroom stroganoff

This is one of my regular recipes. I prefer it to beef stroganoff as it’s incredibly cheap (the mushrooms only cost around £2 or £3) and so fast you can rustle it up in about 10 minutes. I like to use a mixture of mushrooms, in this case chestnut mushrooms and some large Portobello mushrooms…

Spaghetti with minty aubergine and sun-dried tomato sauce

Aubergines are cheap and nutritious and make a great base for a spaghetti sauce. I watched Rick Stein make something similar to this recipe based on a Sicilian dish but he used tinned tomatoes which I didn’t have (very unusual for me) so I made it with a few sun-dried tomatoes and tomato puree instead….