While carrots are available 365 days a year, they especially shine in the spring, at their peak season. This recipe brings them to the center of your plate. Carrots are roasted in a brown butter sauce enhanced with floral saffron and piled atop creamy, soft, and tangy labneh, a Middle Eastern yogurt cheese. A handful of chopped fresh parsley and sweet toasted hazelnuts tie it all together. Definitely serve this platter with crusty bread or pillowy pita so you can swipe it clean.
Labneh is made by straining whole-milk plain yogurt until it’s even thicker than Greek yogurt and closer to the consistency of cream cheese. While it was once hard to find outside of Middle Eastern markets, you’ll now find it at some Whole Foods and other well-stocked grocery stores. Otherwise, you can make it quite easily yourself by simply straining Greek yogurt.
I love a chewy grain salad (this one has lentils too) with a lot of contrasting flavors and textures. Sweet, sour, chewy, crunchy, salty. You can go crazy and add more ingredients here; just don’t add toasted nuts or seeds ahead of time, as they will get soggy—throw them on top just before serving.
This salad is perfect over mixed greens, spinach, or arugula or served in lettuce cups for a quick easy lunch. It keeps well for five to seven days in the fridge. I adore using Homemade Avocado Mayo (recipe follows), or Primal Kitchen’s avocado mayo if you’re short on time, in this recipe.
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.
If you cook for others on a regular cadence, you’ll discover that not all the meals will be beautifully planned. Sometimes one thing leads to another and you forget to shop, or you forget that you need wood or propane or time to brine the meat. Sometimes you run out of time. Sometimes you run out of energy. Sometimes you just want to cook something simple and eat, toast one another, wash everything up, and take a long walk with the dog.
This is what I make for dinner practically every single night, tossing it with my hands so I can get a feel for the moment when the leaves are nicely coated with the dressing (though use utensils if you want to avoid olive oil on your fingers). You can use any salad greens you like; I tend to go for the dark, slightly bitter ones of the arugula/spinach variety, but this recipe will work with whatever you have in your fridge.
This vibrant, refreshing salad makes a terrific accompaniment to any dish in this book, whether it be vegetable, chicken, fish or dal. The mango’s sweetness is offset by the chilli kick and the zingy taste of mint, while cucumber and radish add lightness and crunch.
Rosewater, one of my favorite flavors, is delicately fragrant, and I suggest buying a bottle or two for your pantry. Whenever I am roasting rhubarb I add a few dashes of rosewater, but it’s also delicious added to whipped cream, sponge cakes, raspberries, strawberries—I could go on…
The flavors of the herbs and hazelnuts roasted along with the lamb cutlets are utter heaven here, but you could use almonds or pine nuts instead if you prefer. The last time I made this dish was at my good friend and London theater queen Sally Greene’s house. Since it was a large supper gathering, I prepared the pea and wild garlic purée ahead in the morning, along with the lamb cutlets right up to the stage of putting them in the oven, so it was very easy to serve.
This has to be the prettiest spring salad ever! The delicate peppery taste of the pea shoots alongside the crispy, smoky pancetta, sweet peas, and creamy goat cheese is divine—or try using watercress instead. The dressing, lightly scented with orange, is my favorite with this salad, but if you are fonder of a lemon dressing, then simply replace the orange with a lemon. I recommend doubling up the dressing recipe, as it will last for up to two weeks in the fridge.