You’d never guess you can create such lushness from opening three cans. Cinnamon and cloves with beans make an uncommon blend, but one that turns the beans sweet and fragrant. This was Sally’s first grown-up recipe, the remains of her obligatory vegetarian phase in college. These beans are what she craves when she’s tired, what she makes when she comes home from a trip and the cupboard is bare, and when she suddenly has seven children for dinner instead of two. The beans make a sublime burrito. Dip tortilla chips or stovetop-grilled whole wheat tortillas into them, and be sure to pass hot sauce and grated cheese at the table.
When the idea for this popped into my head, I could almost taste it. It’s such a fine tumble of contrasting flavours and textures, and the sourness comes from the mango or the tamarind: you can never be sure of a mango until you taste it, so hold fire on finishing the dressing until you’ve tried the mango – add a little honey if it is unripe and sour; leave it alone if it is edging towards sweet. This is great with pea shoots in place of rocket [Ed. note: rocket is arugula], coriander rather than mint, a red onion instead of the shallot, and by all means cast pomegranate seeds over the top. Play with it as you like.
Pickled cabbage may seem like a strange ingredient to add, but it lends this dish a subtle lactic tang—we got the idea from Isa Chandra Moskovitz, a blogger whose recipe for mac and ’shews (cashews) is widely loved.
Add a world of flavor to your cauliflower dish using the three variations below: miso ginger, tandoori, or Middle Eastern.
As with the novel, the demise of the potato is much discussed but never actually materializes, at least not in my house. This is not an exhaustive list, but it should help you cook potatoes that will go with Mediterranean dishes, Eastern European food, Indian, Greek, or sort-of-French recipes. You can stick them in the oven on the shelf below (or alongside) whatever starch-less main course you’re cooking. The first recipe is the most basic and can take endless simple variations. You do have to make sure your potatoes are cut to the correct (and roughly the same) size, though these are forgiving rather than exacting dishes. Cooked potatoes are tender and the tip of a knife will tell you whether they’re ready or not.
I’m cheating here, because this isn’t entirely cooked in the oven, but the brief roasting is what helps Brussels sprouts achieve their optimum potential, instead of waterlogging them in a saucepan. I ate a similar dish at Rotisserie Georgette in New York—a restaurant that specializes in roast chicken—then came straight home and made this. It’s been a regular in my house ever since, and not just at Christmas.
The sauce here is rather like a vegetarian version of the Piedmontese anchovy sauce, bagna cauda (though it’s even more umami-packed). It’s not one of those vegetable recipes that feels like a side dish, where you keep searching for the focus, but has enough different flavors and textures from each vegetable to be layered and surprising.
I’ve heard that when we’re taking good care of ourselves, our bodies crave what they need. Well mine must need whatever is in this salad, because I find myself dreaming about it weekly! I’m also in a phase where I like to combine sweeter, richer foods like sweet potatoes and squash with a tart punch of citrus to balance things. This salad hits all of the right notes, and because it’s served at room temperature, you can make it the morning of and enjoy it all day long!
I describe chimichurri sauce as “parsley pesto” to people who have never had it before. I prefer using curly parsley over flat-leaf for its fresh grassy-green flavor. Flat leaf tastes a little like cilantro to me and is less versatile.
Cooking it with love, slowly over a low heat, brings out the flavour of the black lentils and black cardamom and results in a rich, intense, deep taste.