Sweet & Sour Okra

Here is another one from Madhur Jaffrey, doyenne of Indian cookery . Okra (also called bhindi or ladies’ fingers) is in plentiful, cheap supply in local greengrocers during the summer months and this is a wonderful way to cook it. In colour and texture it complements Lake Palace Aubergines very well. Serve with raitha andContinue reading “Sweet & Sour Okra”

Salade Niçoise

Like ratatouille, and as you can tell from its name, Salade Niçoise comes from Nice. The version we eat has several inauthentic elements (lettuce? cucumber?), or so Antonia was told by the French teacher who assessed her at 11+. It is a firm family favourite, and the reason you all learned to make a vinaigretteContinue reading “Salade Niçoise”

Ratatouille

This popular mediterranean vegetable stew is originally from Nice, its name derived from Occitan ratatolha, which comes in turn from Latin (natch). Recipes and cooking methods differ widely, but common ingredients include tomato, garlic, onion, courgette, aubergine, pepper, and various green herbs. Sometimes you’ll find saffron or olives included, and the process might involve cookingContinue reading “Ratatouille”

Spanakopita

A Greek god of a pie, spanakopita (σπανακόπιτα) makes a stunning centrepiece to a big summer meal. It’s delicious hot or cold, vegetarian friendly and fairly cheap to put together. My recipe is based closely upon one in a book by Claudia Roden, who in turn credits it to an Athenian cookery writer, June Marinos.Continue reading “Spanakopita”

Chicken Laksa

About eight years ago, Oxford Brookes university enlisted our friend Allegra McEvedy (see her Treacle Tart recipe here) to upgrade their student catering. This was one of the delicious dishes she put on the menu – lucky students! It’s a great use for chicken stock if you fancy something other than the usual soup orContinue reading “Chicken Laksa”

Double Dips

Two recipes in one post again this week because neither feels substantial enough to justify a post in itself. There are countless possible variations upon both of these dips and you should feel free to experiment. As a snack or appetizer they can be accompanied by raw vegetables, toast, pitta bread or tortilla chips. TheyContinue reading “Double Dips”

Aubergine Parmigiana

This dish makes a great vegetarian alternative to lasagne. It has umpteen variations, particularly in the pre-cooking of the aubergines, and there isn’t necessarily a ‘correct’ way of making it. My version has evolved from a recipe in Sophie Grigson’s book ‘Food for Friends’, which inspired many meals I cooked at university. Grigson recommends steamingContinue reading “Aubergine Parmigiana”

Caesar Salad

Delia Smith’s Summer Collection, published in 1993 and followed by a TV series in 2002, prompted a nationwide run on limes and crème fraîche. Her recipes aren’t the most adventurous, and they can be rather wordy, but they always work. I’ve adapted this one a little, and you can always increase the protein content byContinue reading “Caesar Salad”

Carluccio’s Carrots

In 2001, just before I went on maternity leave, one of my Year 9 tutees gave me a signed copy of Antonio Carluccio’s newly-published book ‘Vegetables’. His simple recipe for carrots with garlic has accompanied almost every roast dinner we have eaten since, and is the reason I break out into a cold sweat whenContinue reading “Carluccio’s Carrots”

Greek Bean Stew

Take the plunge and dip into your stockpile with this cheap, nutritious combination of store-cupboard ingredients. It requires some forethought (soaking the beans overnight) but you could use tinned ones if you forget. Serve with bread or turn into a complete one-pot meal by adding 2 large handfuls of pasta 20 minutes before the endContinue reading “Greek Bean Stew”