Sunday, 31 August 2014

MORE courgettes!!!

They just don't stop coming do they? I've got three grow sacks with courgette plants in my garden. I must admit, my seeds went in a little late (I had to to do a second sowing after the mice ate the first ones). So I've still got courgette flowers as well as lots of courgettes of varying sizes. Then my brother-in-law sent me some super-sized ones (basically their neighbour gave them some plants, and they just forgot about them!) so I guess they're marrows. 

The last time I was this swamped in courgettes, I posted a blog of some of my favourite courgette recipes. I think it's time to add to this list.

Courgette & spilt channa dal

Since the shift in the weather and feeling a bit chillier, I needed to eat something warming. I made a big batch of this at the start of the week, so it's fed us well on several occasions. The dish is only gently spiced, and has more of a fragrant cumin hit than chilli, so very child friendly dish. Serve with a soft flat bread such as chapati or roti, or steamed basmati rice. I had a dollop of hot pickle on the side with mine too.

2 cups of split channa dal (soak in cold water for one hour prior)
3 courgettes, chopped 1" pieces
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp black cumin seeds
couple of pinches of asafoetida
2 fresh or dried large red chillies, finely chopped
2 onions finely chopped
3 tsp of sambhar masala powder (use garam masala as alternative)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
handful of fresh coriander
pomace oil
3 pts water

1. Put half of the prepped onion into a heavy bottomed pan with a little oil. Saute until softened, then add courgettes, turmeric, salt and drained channa. Cover with water and bring to boil. Simmer for 1-2 hours until channa is soft (but not mushy and falling apart). Add more water as dal cooks to maintain a soup like consistency.
2. In a small pan, add oil with cumin and asafoetida. Fry until seeds splutter, then add fresh or dried chillies, diced onions, tomatoes and sambhar masala powder, and cook until onions and tomatoes and completely soft, and oil has separated.
3. Pour tempering mixture over the cooked dal and stir well. Serve scattered with fresh coriander.

Bean & courgette soup

A little variation on a French pistou soup.

2 large courgettes, chopped, bite size pieces
1 med onion, finely chopped
250g green beans, fine sliced
1 tin of haricot beans, washed and drained
1 tin of black eye beans, washed and drained
3 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of fresh basil
3 medium tomatoes
salt & black pepper
1 tbsp parmesan cheese (or similar) grated
olive oil
2 pts water

1. Gently soften the onion in 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the green beans, haricot, black eye and courgette and then cover with water and bring to simmer, for about 15 minutes.
2. Put the rest of the ingredients in a blender, and add about 1-2 tbsp olive oil to make the pistou.
3. Just before serving, pour the pistou into the soup and stir well. Serve with a few fresh basil leaves and grated parmesan on the top.

Courgette & feta frittata
This is one of my favourite frittata combinations. A protein packed meal for a vegetarian, which I like to eat with a big tomato salad. And makes a great alternative to sandwiches for a packed lunch, as it will keep for a few days in the fridge.

150g new potatoes, quartered & boil until tender
1 red onion, fine sliced
80g feta cheese
2 courgettes, fine sliced
1-2 tbsp olive oil
large sprig of fresh thyme
salt & white pepper
6 free range eggs

1. Saute the onions in the olive oil until they start to soften, then add the sliced courgettes and the thyme leaves, and cook for three minutes. Add the cooked potato quarters and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
2. Beat four of the eggs together. Separate the whites of two eggs and set aside. Beat the remaining four eggs with the egg yolks from the other two. Then whip the egg whites until fluffy and meringue like, and gently fold into the main egg mixture. This is what will  make your frittata light and airy.
3. Crumble the feta over the vegetables, then pour over the egg mixture and cook on a very low heat about six to eight minutes. Then place pan under grill and cook until eggs are fully set.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A Trip to Nanban

I don't get to eat out much when I'm working in the kitchen. But having hankered to taste some of Tim Anderson's Japanese soul food since our filming days together during MasterChef 2011 (usually limited to sneaky tastings when production staff weren't looking), I made the determined decision to go to his current pop up while working down in London this last week. Nanban, Tim's Japanese soul food, currently has a residency at Market House Brixton during August.

It was definitely one of my better eating out decisions. The food was incredible, and for my part as a vegetarian, I was sincerely wowed by the reimen dish, a Korean influenced chilled noodle soup with yuzu, chilli and a tea pickled egg. Where so much restaurant vegetarian food feels like an after thought (and indeed if any thought has been taken), the yuzu-chilli reimen stands out as one of the best vegetarian dishes I've ever enjoyed. Zingy, punchy and refreshing, with the kind of depth of flavour that demonstrates a chef who understands umami in food. Thanks Tim. It was truly a joy!

Joined by Mat Follas and Zam, our bus sous chef, as well as a couple of dear friends who live nearby, we ordered everything on the menu. 

We all wolfed down the lotus root crisps before Mat arrived, so we showed him a photo, which seemed to make him more cross ;) The bacon wrapped peppers (kushiyaki) vanished almost as soon as they hit the table so I had to get a photo from Tim's Pinterest page. I snaffled the shitake mushroom ones before I got a picture. 

The chicken kaarage was clearly addictive, as Tim kept sending more boxes that were very quickly emptied. The butter shoyu sweetcorn was so perfectly cooked and flavoured, I even braved stealing some more from one of Mat's plates after finishing mine! The enormous bowls of ramen broths and sticky udon noodles were beautifully constructed, punchy and deep, and the others voted the yuzu-chilli reimen and the kumamoto ramen (with pork belly) as their favourites. Although Donna then changed her mind when she found she couldn't stop eating the kaarage despite being full.

Tim brought over some of his new Nanban craft beer and ice cream for us to try. I'm hoping his beer might join us at the IMBC dinner in October. The Whippysan ice-cream was delightful, and we all agreed that a big mouthful of the chilli chocolate whippysan was perfected by following it with a big spoonful of the peach flavour.

You really should go folks, while you have the chance. The food is simply very very good!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Events Update

Thought it useful to post a few more upcoming event dates on here. I'm bringing Barbarella to some selected events around the country over the next month or two (as well as putting the hours in with the MasterChef street food bus team). 

First up, I'm down in London village with the MC bus, bang in the middle of Covent Garden. You won't miss us! We've got a great new summer menu, and I'm really looking forward to working with my old mate Tom Whitaker and Jack Lucas from this years final.

From Friday 22nd August, right through to the bank holiday Monday (woo hoo!) I will be at Bolton Food & Drink Festival. This is a fantastic Northern food event with an array of fantastic North West producers (and probably one of the most well organised events I've ever been to). I love it. Bolton is an old school friendly place too, which always makes life that bit better. My gas regulator failed on the bank holiday, the last time I was there. After I tweeted the disaster, a local camp shop came to the rescue with a set of little butane stoves. Then my old tow car left me stranded in the town centre. Once again, a local driver with a Landcruiser saved my skin. You've just got to love Bolton.  Hopefully, it'll be all the fun again with none of first year teething problems!

I'm then taking Barbarella to London, where I'll be serving my food outside the Blue Fin building. The building is hosting the MasterChef pop up for six weeks from the start of September, and for some of that time on weekdays only, you can come and get some lunch with me. I'm very excited about a proper street food stint in London!

On the weekend of 20th & 21st September, I'm joining forces with the talented foraging chef Mark Lloyd at the Great Taste Festival of Food & Drink. Clumber Park is a stunning woodland park between Mansfield and Sheffield. You can even camp there for the weekend!

The weekend after that (following a few more days at Blue Fin) I am bringing my vegan street food to VegFest at Olympia in London for Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th September. The last time I joined these guys in Bristol, it was one of my best events and I'm excited to showcase some new vegan dishes for the crowds.

There are still a handful of tickets left for the Indy Man Beer Con dining event at Victoria Baths in October. Spent a wonderful evening with the IMBC gang tasting beer and testing the menu. It's a hard life sometimes ;0)

And last but not least, come November, I'll be back down to Derbyshire with the team at Seasoned for a great day of cooking and eating. There are still a few places left on the Malaysian and Thai cookery day, and the Flavours of China cookery day.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Halloumi-gate (part 2)

I went on holiday for 10 days and came back to a new menu on the MC street food bus. It was the 'roadshow' menu. As a result of limited prep time and storage, and with all round challenging logistics, we had somehow ended up with portobello mushrooms and halloumi cheese.  For those of you that remember halloumi-gate part 1, it should come as no surprise that I wasn't overjoyed! So after much discussion I was given the go ahead to turn it into something that could be a burger. I came up with this...

We didn't know what to call it, as it was a hybrid of the simple (and lazy chef) griddled portobello halloumi. The idea came from one of the few restaurants that do something more with halloumi than stick it on a griddle. Halloumi menander is a much loved Mughli menu item, served with a tangy tamarind dip.  So I took the idea of a menander batter, giving it a little twist with the fabulous ajowan seed (all hail the ajowan seed!), wedged the halloumi inside the mushroom, dunked it in the batter and fryed it.

We served it with all the goodies going on in the smoky chicken burger.  This veggie burger flew out and morphed into a gluten free special with no roll, which we thought made a lovely dish in itself.  Mat Follas reckons everything tastes better with bacon, so we had a third special of halloumi, mushroom & bacon going out by the end of the week. 

So here's the recipe.

4 portobello mushrooms, remove stalk, dust off any soil/residues
1 pkt of halloumi cheese, cut into 60mm slices
3 cups of gram flour
1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp ajowan seeds
2 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder (add more chilli if you like it spicy, or perhaps fresh chopped)
3 tbsp paprika powder
salt to taste

Toast the seeds in a pan, once aroma is released add the powdered spices and toast for another 5 minutes.  Leave to cool. Mix gram flour with cold water to make a thick pancake like batter, then add spices and seasoning. Whisk well and taste batter to check seasoning.

Heat deep pan of oil or fryer to 180.  Fill mushroom with halloumi slices, then dip in batter.  Gently place in fryer, with halloumi side facing upwards. After 2-3 mins, gently dunk using tongs so that the batter seals the halloumi in place. Cook for a further 2-3 mins on each side.

Turn onto kitchen roll, halloumi side down to allow any excess oil to drain away.

We served our burger in a milk roll, with Tim Anderson's gochujang burger sauce, Mat Follas' smoky tomato sauce, homemade pickles and salad leaves.  To serve as a gluten free starter, we lay the salad leaves into the box, drizzled with burger sauce, added the spice battered mushroom halloumi burger (yeah crap name I know), then topped with smoky tomato sauce and some pickles.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Slow Cooked Vegetable Ragu

Recipe time!

This is one of my stock recipes for having something delicious, healthy, quick and ready to eat during the week, when we’re all busy and the last thing I want to do when I get home from a ten hour day is chop more veg!

I make this slow cook vegetable ragu every other week at home. Instead of making it this week, I'm blogging it, after a special request from a local yoga teacher. A big batch usually goes on the stove on a Sunday afternoon while I’m making dinner, and consists of whatever vegetables are knocking around in the fridge drawer. Core stock ingredients and often a few Mediterranean veg that we all eat regularly like peppers, courgettes, aubergines and the like.

The ragu makes a great pasta sauce on it’s own, but I often add a veggie mince for a Bolognese or use it to make lasagne or an aubergine bake, sometimes with cooked puy lentils. I'm making some gnocchi to go with ours this week, or how about ricotta dumplings. It’s great for a ready-made homemade dinner after a long day at work and I can hide a few veg the teens are less keen on (teen girl isn’t keen on cooked carrots and teen boy doesn’t like aubergines or mushrooms as he thinks they have a weird texture). No matter, the secret to this sauce is to cook slowly and for a long time.  A Creuset style pot is best, and once the ragu is simmering, put it on the smallest gas ring on low.

The ingredients vary. Start with 2-3 onions, fine chopped. Then any number of the following that you may find lurking in that fridge drawer, all diced…
Aubergine, carrot, leeks, peppers, celery, mushroom, courgette, fennel (no more than half a bulb or it will overpower the flavour) etc etc

Saute all your veg in a large heavy bottomed pan, with a good splash of pomace oil. This needs a gentle sauté, for at least 15 mins, so that the veg is a bit sticky and soft. Then add water. The next part all depends on quantities of veg used. The more veg, the more water and seasoning you will need. I added 2 litres to the pan above. Add the following seasoning per litre of water:

1 tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp black pepper
1 small sprig of fresh rosemary
small handful of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tins of tomatoes
1-2 tbsp dark soy sauce or 1/4 tsp marmite
little squeeze of lemon or vinegar

Then bring to full simmer, and turn down heat to lowest. Place a lid on the pan, and leave to cook gently for 1 - 2 hours.  Check up on it every 40 minutes or so, and see if there is enough water. Add a little more as necessary.  This dish should have a soft velvety texture.  If you need to hide the veg a bit further, I sometimes give it a rough mash. Add salt and pepper to taste. This will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. Enjoy!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Upcoming Events & Pop Ups

I have some exciting events and pop ups coming up.  For more details go to the events page on the website.

Hosted by our lovely friends at Polocini Coffee Shop in Romiley (Stockport), I will be taking over their kitchen for the day and serving up some of my classic street food dishes.  We'll be serving from 12.30pm til 6pm, on Saturday 10th May


We are proud to announce a special 4 course meal* with matched beers from IMBC. A fantastic event in a unique setting!
Places are limited to 30 per sitting, the meal will take place in the Victoria Baths cafe :
Thursday 9th October / 7pm
Friday 10th October / 7pm and 8.30pm - a few spaces left
Saturday 11th October / 7pm and 8.30pm SOLD OUT
Tickets are £37.50 they include four courses with matched beers + entrance to the festival – purchase HERE
* Meal will last one hour

Join us for an action packed and fun filled day learning to some classic recipes from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and China.  Seasoned Cookery Courses are held in South Derbyshire at the beautiful Catton Hall.

Follow this link for Thai & Malaysian course

Follow this link for Flavours of China course

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Family time & the art of relaxed eating

I've learned as well anyone might during the last few years, just how precious family time is. The last year has been tough on my own family.  In the past, I've been quite privileged to have worked in some comparatively balanced working environments as a researcher in the public sectors. The difference between this and running your own business is quite a shock to the system.  Oh what I'd give for 30 days paid annual leave (never mind a rather slick 37.5 hour salaried week).

Anyway, back on topic, family time and the art of relaxed eating... it's such a joy when it comes together, so I thought I'd share this successful menu, hopefully for some inspiration and practical tips to aid a few more relaxed family get togethers at home. I don't think there is anything particularly clever or challenging about this menu. It's more of case of some lovely dishes that just go beautifully together.

I've got quite a big family these days (probably as I'm now properly middle-aged!). I was struggling to find a booking for fourteen people locally that could offer that Mediterranean and Middle Eastern relaxed style of food (that would taste awesome of course).  And family groups can differ so much in their eating preferences these days, then add a decent cohort of vegetarians and other varieties of fussy eaters, it becomes a bit of a culinary minefield.  Chilli spice is off the table due to little appetites and a hiatus hernia. 

When I worked at Ottolenghi during a couple of stages, I remember thinking that the deli looked like his books come to life. Beautiful, sometimes simple, sometimes complex, nourishing and that aubergine salad.. to this day, it continues to astound me with flavour and texture. There was always a piece of perfectly cooked beef and fish, surrounded by stunning salads piled high like colourful little mountains. Then I remembered I had leftover stock in the freezer. So that was that, I would cook for everyone and for the first time in ages I was very excited about it.

I've been eyeing a few recipes in Simon Hopkinson's The Good Cook lately, so I decided to usurp Ottolenghi's aubergine dish for Hopkinson's.  The Good Cook recipe is passed on from his friend, with Simon claiming it was the best aubergine dish he ever had. So that was going on the menu. I also had a delicious salad a couple of weeks ago, from Wendy Swetnam, a talented vegetarian chef who was doing a bit of cooking at new local cafe, Cowherd.  I'm not normally one for putting fruit in my savoury food, but radish, apple and fennel are seriously good together.

My lovely stepmum agreed to help and we made enough to feed twenty or more people. You could easily cut some dishes out from the menu.  After all, I had the benefit of some prepped stock in my freezer, but then that shouldn't stop you doing exactly the same. Arancini are far less fiddly to make than cauliflower cheese bonbons, if you want to save some time.  And both can be prepped in advance and even frozen.  We had a great family dinner and I spent very little time in the kitchen, and got to be with my family.  Just how it should be!

The Menu

Arancini with leek & Montagnolo Affine*
Cauliflower cheese bonbons*
Roast sirloin of Cheshire beef
Scrumpy braised gammon with roasted mustard glaze*
Jumbo king prawns with garlic, lime & chilli (deseeded)*

Aubergine salad with garlic, parsley & feta*
Rocket salad with pear & Grana Moravia (vegetarian hard cheese)
Fennel, radish & apple salad with parsley, lemon, maple & sumac
Mozzarella & basil salad with balsamic
Artichoke hearts with sun dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, capers & olives
Greek salad & marinated olives
Roasted sweet peppers stuffed with mozzarella & basil
Guacamole & red pepper humous

Local artisan bread
Cheese board
Pavlova with berries, mango & passionfruit*

Recipes*, Cooking Tips & Suppliers

Arancini with Leek & Montagnolo

First up, let's talk arancini! Possibly in my top three love your leftovers recipes. For a start, you get a fabulous first meal of delicious risotto. I always make more, just so I know I will have enough to make these gorgeous little crispy sticky balls.  I decided to reduce the phaff of stuffing them with mozzarella, and made a leek and blue cheese risotto with Montagnolo Affine, a divine vegetarian soft blue cheese from Epicerie Ludo. They tell me it's their bestseller, which is no surprise at all!

6 large leeks with green tops, sliced into 5mm rings
2 crushed garlic cloves
4 sprigs of thyme
800g risotto rice
2 litre of good quality veg stock
280g Montagnolo Affine
Pomace oil
Panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
2-3 free range eggs

Serves 4 for dinner, then makes approx 40 arancini balls

  1. Heat 50ml of pomace oil in pan, add sliced leeks and cook until start to soften.  Then add garlic and thyme.  Cook gently for a few minutes.
  2. Next add rice, and a little more oil if needed.  The rice should be shiny from the oil and not sticking at all.  Then start adding stock, a ladle or two at a time.  Keep stirring and adding stock until rice is cooked (al dente of course) and there is a medium thick porridge like consistency.  It should be nice and creamy.
  3. Finally add the crumbled blue cheese, remove from heat and stir until all the cheese has melted.  Serve risotto immediately.  Set aside leftovers to cool and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The leftover risotto will be quite firm and perfect for rolling into small tangerine sized balls.  Lay on greaseproof tray. 
  5. Fill medium sized pan with oil for deep frying and start heating (but keep an eye on it).  Set up three bowls.  Whisk 2 or 3 eggs into one bowl. Half fill the next bowl with plain flour and a pinch or two of salt and the remaining one with panko breadcrumbs. Roll the risotto ball into the flour then coat in egg, and then panko. Lay back on tray. COOK'S TIP: If you are making the bonbons too, prep them also to this stage, so you can do all the frying at the same time.
  6. Deep fry balls in batches of five or six, until golden brown. Personally, I prefer to deep fry something quite quickly (so not too golden brown) and finish cooking in the oven, to make it less greasy. Drain and cool the balls on kitchen paper. If preparing prior, refrigerate or freeze at this stage, once completely cooled. They crisp up again perfectly in the oven, on about 180 (170 fan) for 10-12 minutes.

Cauliflower Cheese Bonbons

I first served these for the England home game during the Six Nations rugby, with a tomato and 'nam prik' chutney. I've been obsessed with making savoury bonbons ever since Tom Whitaker served up crab bonbons with some fish during our MasterChef stint. These little beauties had barely been up for a fortnight on my Six Nations menu posters, when a neighbouring (more famous chef) was cooking them on TV that following Sunday. Well you know what they say about imitation, flattery and all that!  He used goat cheese, which you could too and it might be easier to work with. But my OH is less than keen on goaty produce, so I stuck to simple soft cheese.

1 medium cauliflower
500g full fat soft cheese
150g Applewood smoked cheese, grated
1 tsp English mustard
Pinch of salt & white pepper
Pomace oil
Panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
2-3 free range eggs

Makes approx 40 bonbons

  1. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. I found the trickiest part was getting the cauliflower florets the right size.  Whatever the widest point of the piece is, this will be the diameter of your ball, so aim to cut florets no wider than one inch.
  2. Mix the cream cheese, grated cheese and mustard in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Set up three bowls.  Whisk 2 or 3 eggs into one bowl. Half fill the next bowl with plain flour and a pinch or two of salt and the remaining one with panko breadcrumbs.
  4. Take a small ball size of cheese mix and push a cauli floret into middle. Roll the cheese to make a ball and fully cover the cauliflower. You may need more cheese to do this. Roll in the flour, then dip in the egg and then panko. Set onto a tray with greaseproof paper.
  5. Deep fry balls in batches of five or six, until golden brown. As with the arancini, I prefer to deep fry something quite quickly and finish cooking in the oven, especially if I'm not serving it immediately. Drain and cool the bonbons on kitchen paper. If preparing prior, refrigerate or freeze at this stage, once completely cooled. They crisp up again perfectly in the oven, on about 180 (170 fan), for 12 minutes.

For the roast sirloin of Cheshire beef, I seasoned and pan roasted a 900g sirloin from Frosty butcher. Twenty minutes in a medium oven, then same again resting. My beef loving brother in law thought it was perfectly cooked. Not bad for a vegetarian I thought.

The scrumpy braised gammon with roasted mustard glaze was leftover from making croque monsieurs at the pub during the Six Nations.  I braised the gammon in scrumpy cider, with onion, leek, celery, five spice, cloves and cinnamon for about two hours. I then mixed some honey and mustard for the glaze, and roasted in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes.

I source my seafood from Out of The Blue, and their jumbo sized tail on king prawns are really good quality.  I marinated them in juice of two fresh limes, 1 crushed garlic clove and finely sliced deseeded chilli (I couldn't help myself - how can one not use chilli), then skewered them into threes. A quick blast on both sides under a hot grill just before serving. Of all the dishes, these flew off the plate the fastest. No chilli allowed. Pah!

Simon Hopkinson's
Aubergine salad with garlic, parsley & feta

Blimey this dish was good. Bit fiddly, but also a strangely relaxing task. Ingredients are simple enough, as per the title with some good quality virgin olive oil and salt. I used three medium aubergines (Hopkinson recommends using the long thinner variety). You score in a circle around the top, just below the skin and then at 3cm intervals down the sides. I put them under a medium grill, turning occasionally until the skin changed colour and the aubergine was quite soft (but not blackened in the same way you would for babaganoush). Leave to cool.

In a bowl add one crushed clove of garlic, mixed with 1/2 cup of olive oil, a large handful of fresh chopped parsley and a pinch of salt. Set aside while you peel the aubergines. If using bigger aubergines like I did, cut them lengthways in half, keeping half the stem top on each piece. Then peel the skin away and lay the the aubergine on a big plate. Cover the plate with a single layer of the pieces of aubergine, then cover with the garlic and parsley mixture and crumble feta over the top.  The flavours infuse if you set aside, but don't serve straight from the fridge as these kinds of flavours work best at room temperature.

Michel Roux's
Pavlova with berries, mango & passionfruit

Of course it was amazing! A) because it's Michel Roux's recipe (well his wife's actually) and B) because it was made by my teen daughter, a bit of a patisserie chef in the making (once she's had a money making career - her words, not mine).

I don't think I need to detail the recipe, as it's a simple French style meringue. Keep the double cream softly whipped and I used alphonso mango puree for extra sauciness (fresh ones aren't great at the moment), along with fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and passionfruit (which are great at the moment).

All of the other vegetables, fruits and other ingredients were bought locally in Chorlton. We are incredibly lucky to have Elliotts Fruit and Veg in our precinct, a proper greengrocers with an eye for seasonal and delicious specials. I also picked up a selection of bread (and cheese) from Ludo's. Their baguettes are almost famous and you can order to pick up fresh and warm from the oven, simply by tweeting them. Almost worth tolerating trolls on Twitter just for that.

Artichoke hearts in olive oil are my favourite vegetable cheat for antipasto. I roasted some peppers and added a mix of sundried tomatoes, olives and capers.

The salad recipes are as simple as their names suggest, but big on flavour. I got someone to bring me a new supply of sumac powder from Ottolenghi's deli. Don't worry if you can't get hold of it easily. Substitute with some pomegranate molasses (pick up in any Asian grocers) and just omit the maple syrup.

Then sit back and enjoy! :0)