The very best way of serving Swede has to be, boiled and mashed with lashings of butter and black pepper. A Sunday roast in winter is not complete without it. Despite having no Scottish roots, I enjoy serving haggis with neeps and tatties on Burns Night, January 25, and I usually mash the Swede (neeps) together with the Swede (tatties) and carrot too. Swede is great roasted and, of course I always add it to soups and casseroles.
I could happily munch on a bag of watercress, the way that some people eat a bag of crisps. I love a watercress and orange salad best though. It makes for either a great starter or light lunch. Simply peel and slice a couple of oranges, add to a bowl with a bunch or bag of watercress, toss in a handful of walnuts or whatever nuts you like and drizzle with a blend of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Delicious!
There’s something about the red soil that Egyptian potatoes are grown in that gives them a distinctively special flavour. Their fluffy yet creamy loveliness is irresistible. There’s no better way to eat them than steaming hot with a good dollop of butter and a handful of freshly chopped mint. I also like to cool them after cooking, roughly chop them and gently mix with some sweet corn, mayonnaise, chopped spring onion, red pepper and some crispy bacon bits. Mmmm!
Sweet potatoes can be used in all the ways that regular potatoes are used. The bright orange colour brightens up a plate of bland looking food and I think as chips they are far superior. When I make chips from them I like to sprinkle them with chilli flakes.
Forget picked beetroot from a jar, freshly cooked beetroot is the best. My favourite ways of eating beetroot are; sliced in a crusty white bread sandwich with mature cheddar cheese, or roasted in herby olive oil with an assortment of other root vegetables.
I love to eat raw cauliflower; it makes a great crudité for favourite dips. However as my family are not great lovers of the taste of cauliflower I have to disguise it in order to get them to eat it and this is how they like it. I par-boil the cauliflower, drain and tip into an oiled baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over it and sprinkle with paprika. Top with a scattering of grated cheese and crispy bacon bits and pop into the oven until the top is golden and bubbling. Serve with a chunk of crusty bread and a glass or wine for a tasty lunchtime treat.
Strictly speaking, bell peppers are fruits but I hope you’ll forgive me for including them in my vegetable list. I actually love all kinds of peppers but the humble red bell pepper is always on my shopping list. I wish I had more success in growing them but I just don’t have green fingers. Often when I have friends round for drinks and a few tapas style snacks, I serve up roasted and sliced red peppers drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar with some torn up basil leaves. Some toasted French bread rubbed with a garlic clove to go with it...yum!
Ah, the humble pea: Often disregarded as it is so common, yet so tasty and so good for us. Many a happy hour in my childhood was spent sitting in my parent’s vegetable garden picking the peas and eating more than I put in the pot. At least once a week, we have a homemade soup and one of my favourites is pea soup. Like all soup recipes, it’s unbelievably easy and delicious. Simply chop an onion and gently cook in a splash of oil until it is soft, add about 500g frozen peas and roughly 750mls vegetable or chicken stock. Cook for 10 minutes then use a blender to make a smooth thick liquid. Add salt and pepper and a good handful of crispy bacon bits or some ripped up mozzarella.
There’s that very short spell at the end of the summer when British runner beans are available and if you’ve grown them yourself, you’ll know the thrill of watching them go from tiny red flowers to healthy long green beans, ready to pick and eat. I’ve served runner beans in many different ways, as cold meze, or in risotto but to me, there’s no better way of enjoying runner beans than cooked in lightly salted water with a twist of black pepper.
Oooh! Spinach, packed with iron and other good nutrients. Old Popeye knew what he was onto, didn’t he? The thing is with spinach, it’s so versatile as well as been tasty. It’s a super flavoursome addition to a salad and goes well with rice, pasta and spicy dishes, fish and meat too. Here’s a really nice party dip using spinach. Cut up half a mango up and pop in a blender along with a large handful of spinach, two tablespoons of Greek yoghurt and a few pine nuts. Blend into a puree and serve with raw vegetable or crisps & crackers.