Potato and mint soup
Peel about 8 medium sized potatoes
Strip 3 cloves of garlic
Add the whole lot to a pan of water with a small, crushed dried chilli
Bring to the boil until cooked
Add 10 or more fresh mint leaves
Boil for a further 5 minutes
Add salt and pepper
Liquify with hand blender or processor
End result: super-tasty gloopy soup: best served with Foccaccia
Red, yellow and green roasted peppers
Use as many mixed peppers as you fancy
Halve, remove seeds, place face down in olive-oiled tin
Roast for about an hour at 150
Meantime, toast a handful of pine kernels
When pepper skins are crinkled, remove from oven and cool
Strip off skin and put flesh into a bowl
Add toasted kernels, salt and pepper (really scrumptious on toast)
Shredded poached haddock or any fish with parsley
Salt & pepper
Mix fish and rice in a bowl, pour a little olive oil and salt. Scoop palm-fulls and roll into balls, placing each into the cup of a cookie tray. Top each ball with a few drops of olive oil and salt. Bake for 45 mins or so on 200c, until crispy all round. Great with green salad or the tomato and basil written up below.
Baby jersey potatoes, small bag
Mushrooms, one case
Pancetta, as much as you like
Spring onion stalks
Garlic, one generous clove
Half a red chilli
Par boil the potatoes (pre-chop them to speed things up). Add to big frying pan with heated olive oil. When nearly done, chuck in the chopped mushrooms, chopped spring onion stalks and the grated garlic clove and if you fancy chilli, now’s the time. When its all looking good and rusty, throw in the torn-up parsley, salt and pepper. Add grated Parmesan last thing. A spoonful of mayo on the plate is good, too.
Three vines of baby plum tomatoes
Fresh basil (plenty)
Extra virgin olive oil (as much or little as you like)
Salt & pepper
(For 4 or more if its an antipasti)
Knob of butter
Tablespoon olive oil
2 boxes perfectly ordinary mushrooms
2 small cloves of garlic (or 1 big one)
Any herb (see how you feel)
Melt the butter and olive oil over a high heat. Chop the mushrooms in two and add to the pan. While the mushrooms build to a good sizzle, grate the garlic into them. When its all really going, pour two circumferences of white wine into the pan. Leave to bubble until the juice has reduced. When you’re happy with the consistency, the mushrooms are ready. Chop herb of choice over the top, stir, season. Tonight I used tarragon.
Beautiful Boyfriend showed me how to make Pesto when we met; on holiday in Sicily last year I perfected my own version, which I now offer to you. These quantities will work for about four plates of pasta.
Pesto’clock is that magical moment of pesto-dipped Crisp Finns and a glass of chilled white after work …
8 big bunches of fresh basil
1 bag of peppery rocket
125ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
zest of one lemon
Toast the pine kernels. Finely chop or crush anything choppable or crushable, grate everything else, keeping some lemon zest back, throw it all into a large bowl or blender with the olive oil – stir to paste or blend. Add chilli if you fancy some extra heat. Season, sprinkle with remaining zest.
Pick & mix green bean salad.
A hearty dish originally designed to satisfy the No Wheat No Meat No Dairy brigade when they come for dinner. The basic salad is surrounded by a satellite of little bowls containing tasty things so everyone can make up their own bespoke plate.
Green beans (steamed to crunchy)
Toasted sunflower / pumpkins / poppy seeds / pine kernels (or all of them)
Grated lemon zest
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Grated or wafer thin parmesan
Chopped and crispy pancetta
Smoked Salmon or Mackerel
Boiled eggs (quail is good)
Fried or grilled lean beef strips
… absolutely anything that tickles your fancy
Mango and herb magnificence
This is a Pakistani influenced accompaniment for grilled chicken or lamb. My continental roots nudge me towards using it on Bruschetta. Or just eat it by the teaspoon straight from the bowl. Yum.
2 red onions
4 stems baby vine tomatoes
1 big bunch fresh coriander
1 big bunch fresh mint
Salt and pepper
Chop the mangoes, onions and tomatoes. Chuck into a good blender along with the herbs and olive oil. Blend. Season. That’s it.