Vege recipe index

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These are along the salad sort of idea – that is, a mixture of 3-5 contrasting and complementary flavours


Artichokes, peppers, hazlenuts, halloumi


Radicchio, chicory, lettuce

Radicchio and chicory have a bitterness which really has to be tempered somewhat: by caramelising to get bittersweetness, or by contrasting with acidity or mellow with cheese or nuts. To caramelise, halve chicory heads and fry them hard in butter or oil, then finish on a lower heat, stewing gently. For mellowing, blue cheese is up to the challenge, and cream softens anything. Or put radicchio in risotto. For contrasting with acid flavours, try the sharpness of preserved lemons or the sweet, rich, fruity sharpness of balsamic or sherry vinegar. Little Gem lettuces are a softer version, and simply braised in stock or butter, go well with sweetish meats such as lamb.


Radicchio, stilton, walnut gratin

Braised caramelised chicory

Chicory gratin with cream, cheese or bacon

Braised lettuce or celery



Cabbages and other similar green stuff

An innocently small-looking Savoy cabbage is the Tardis of the vegetable world and will feed six. So it’s as well that leafy cabbages and other leafy green things lend themselves as a backdrop to a whole load of contrasting flavours. Both palettes of sharp and exciting flavours (such as lemon, anchovies, chilli) as well as unctuous and rich textures (cheese, cream, porcini) go well. As well as the taste, specks of red chilli look stunning against dark green leaves. Chinese and Japanese flavourings - oyster sauce, shitake mushrooms, garlicky purée, miso, are worth experimenting with. Lemon is good with spinach, and lifts its slight bitterness.

Cabbage with chilli, balsamic, cream

Cabbage with porcini (Annie Bell)

Cabbage with juniper

Cabbage gratin with Roquefort

Greens with preserved lemons, chilli, halloumi

Greens with balsamic or sherry vinegar, walnuts or cream

Greens and onions with chilli, pomegranate molasses

Greens with shitake mushrooms and oyster sauce

Greens and aubergine with miso

Greens with toasted nuts

Pak choi with oyster sauce; with garlic

Purple sprouting with pinekernels, lemon, anchovies, capers

Spinach with lemon; with cream; garlic

Spinach and Feta; classically in filo pastry

Green beans, blue cheese, walnuts

Green beans in butter with toasted almonds

Peas with shallots in butter

Cauliflower cheese

Cauli fritters with tomatoes, capers, olives



Mushrooms are in a class of their own and whole books are devoted to them. I don’t have much to say here; mushrooms do their own thing. It’s an axiom that they go well with beef. Good in risotto, and, with cream, in pasta sauces. I once smoked some mushrooms in a smoking-roasting bag thing.


Morels, peas, leeks in cream with truffle oil; or with wild garlic. This is very good.

Mushroom spring rolls with split pea and leek purée (31 Dec 2006)

Cabbage leaves stuffed with mushrooms


Red Peppers

Peppers are sweet. The shape of them demands them to be stuffed. Lots of mixtures work (again, the salad principle). Red peppers and chèvre is something special.


Red peppers: courgettes and halloumi, dill and cinnamon

Red peppers: chèvre and spinach, hazlenuts

Red peppers: mushroom, lentils, smoked cheese

Red peppers: lamb

Red pepper and celeriac (Annie Bell)



Aubergines, courgettes, small squash

Aubergines are nice roasted in halves,with stuff on them. To roast, halve them, then criss-cross into the cut surface. Roast them cut-side down, in an oiled heavy roast pan, such as the Mermaid ones. The Mermaid pans conduct the heat through the base, so they brown on the down-side. I think they take about 30 mins. You have to check they aren’t sticking. At the end of the cooking time, turn them cut side up and spread whatever flavoursome gloop you want to add.

Or slice them and do them on a ridged grill pan, so as to make nice lines. You can slice them lengthways and then roll up the slices with some stuffing in.

You can roast auberines whole and scoop out the puree inside, to make Middle-Eastern things. You want to partly burn the skin, so you get the insides smoky. Prick the skin in a few places, but it can be quite entertaining if you don’t and they explode. We had a memorable smoky aubergine curry in Kedarnath.


Aubergine (roast or grill) with pesto

Melanzane parmigiana

Aubergine, tomato, mozzarella

Aubergine with tomato, anchovy, pinekernels, sultanas, cinnamon

Aubergine in sesame batter

Aubergine roast with miso

Roast squash wedges


Large Squash and pumpkin

Squash have a sweetish and undemanding character and can tolerate all sorts of abuse. But not long ago we chanced on a real winner: roast squash with tandoori marinade. Make the usual tandoori mix of spices, lemon, garlic, ginger, yoghurt and marinade 1-inch chunks of squash in this. Then roast in the Mermaid pan. I think about 30 mins. It all caramelises wonderfully, and the sweetness, the spices, the yoghurt combine into something truly irresistible. Make about twice what you expect you will be able to eat.


Squash, courgette, red pepper cubed and fried

Squash, beetroot, feta

Squash, blue cheese gratin

Squash with satay marinade

Roast squash in tandoori marinade


Cheese tarts

Loads more variations on these, the cream-and-cheese quiche or flan thing is deservedly a classic idea. I don’t list much here simply because we don’t tend to make them much ourselves, since it’s a damn sight easier to buy them from Waitrose.


Chèvre and chestnut tartlets

Chèvre and beetroot tartlets (29 Jan 2007)


Onions and leeks

Sweetish things again, and caramelise nicely when roast or ridge-pan grilled. Leeks go well with scrambled eggs. The sweetness doesn’t really need cream, but cream is nice and goes well with anything; I suppose the sharper crème fraîche is best here


Roast onions, crème fraîche, chèvre: try kalonji

Leeks with cream and ham

Leeks with lemon and olives



Fennel’s a tough little bulb; we roast it into submission or stew it. I think we must use our steak knives more for fennel than we use them on steak. Tomatoes go well. Annie Bell's recipe is a heavenly mixture of flavours.

Roast fennel

Fennel, tomatoes, olives, Feta, Pernod (Annie Bell)


Root veg

Parsnips are nice roasted, but everyone knows that.


Parsnips Gratin with Stilton and walnuts

Carrots with cumin



We eat quite a lot of pulses. Lots of different character, and there are many different cuisines to raid. Chickpeas in Spanish and Middle Eastern styles. Haricots, flageolets with slow-cooked meats. Beans pick up meaty flavours well, and meaty fats. The classic is Cassoulet. Puy lentils go well with fresh tomatoes as a salad. Butter beans look lovely and match ham and pork. Kidney beans and black beans want Central American flavours. Dhal is delicious and comforting stuff that you can shovel down, just as well it is, since if you’re on a month long cycle tour of the Indian Himalaya, that's what you get.


Butter beans with chorizo, cream

Beans with leeks, ham, cream, truffle oil

Beans with mushrooms

Chickpeas and spinach

Chickpeas, feta, herbs, mint

Chickpeas, fried halloumi, or feta

Chickpeas, tahini, lemon

Puy lentils and fresh tomatoes

Chickpeas, roast squash, preserved lemon

Kidney beans with tomato, chilli, shallot, cilantro

Kidney beans with tomato, spices, chilli, chocolate