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 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
An innocently small-looking Savoy cabbage is the Tardis of the vegetable world and will feed six. So its 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
Cauli fritters with tomatoes, capers, olives
Mushrooms are in a class of their own and whole books are devoted to them. I dont have much to say here; mushrooms do their own thing. Its 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
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 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 arent 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 dont and they explode. We had a memorable smoky aubergine curry in Kedarnath.
Aubergine (roast or grill) with pesto
Aubergine, tomato, mozzarella
Aubergine with tomato, anchovy, pinekernels, sultanas, cinnamon
Aubergine in sesame batter
Aubergine roast with miso
Roast squash wedges
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
Loads more variations on these, the cream-and-cheese quiche or flan thing is deservedly a classic idea. I dont list much here simply because we dont tend to make them much ourselves, since its a damn sight easier to buy them from Waitrose.
Chèvre and chestnut tartlets
Chèvre and beetroot tartlets (29 Jan 2007)
Sweetish things again, and caramelise nicely when roast or ridge-pan grilled. Leeks go well with scrambled eggs. The sweetness doesnt 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
Fennels 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.
Fennel, tomatoes, olives, Feta, Pernod (Annie Bell)
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 youre 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