Cauliflower, almonds, broad beans stir fry

This is a very easy stir fry recipe, with a lovely crunch from the almonds and cauliflower, and the gentle taste of sesame oil and ginger. 


  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 200g broad beans
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbs dry sherry
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 60g flaked almonds or blanched almonds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 slices of fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Prepare the cauliflower; chop the florets so they are around 5cm long and 2cm wide. Put the florets in a bowl of very cold water to freshen up. 
  • Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and boil the broad beans for around 5 minutes. Drain when cooked. 
  • In a small bowl, combine the cornflour, sherry, sesame oil, and 2 tbs water to make a smooth paste. 
  • Heat the oil in a wok. When it is hot, fry the almonds. Keep a close eye on them, and as soon as they look as if they are about to turn golden brown, fish them out and set aside. 
  • Next, lightly bash up the garlic and ginger, and add to the hot oil for 10 seconds. 
  • Add the drained cauliflower, broad beans, and salt. Fry for 2 minutes
  • Add 2 tbsp water, cover, and cook for another two minutes
  • Remove the cover, lower the heat, and add the cornflour mixture from the cup. Stir in for 30 seconds. Add the almonds and stir once. 
  • You’ll need to fish out the ginger and garlic before serving. 

This works as a delicious dish along with a range of other dishes, to share. It makes around 4 small portions. 

Beetroot and vinegar

I have managed to grow some beetroot this year, not always my best crop, and last year was better. I served this with pork chops the other evening, delicious. Another Nigel Slater recipe, I am a huge fan, and you should buy all his books, the recipes are full of passion for ingredients.


  • Six small to medium beetroot, about the size of a lime, with the leaves on. 
  • A teaspoonful of balsamic vinegar (you could use any vinegar)
  • A tiny pinch of salt


  • Clean the beetroot and remove the leaves, but do not peel. 
  • Simmer in boiling water for around 20 minutes, or put into a small roasting tin in a hot oven with a little water, and cover with foil, and cook for an hour. 
  • When cooked and cool enough to handle, trim and remove the skin, which should be easy. Cut into segments, and add the vinegar and salt.
  •  Pick out the best leaves, rinse them, and roughly chop, including the stems. Treat these like chard. I cooked them in a small frying pan with butter and a little water until cooked, just a couple of minutes. 
  • Serve the beetroot on a bed of leaves. The book suggests eating with buttered bread and a hard crumbly goat’s cheese. We had them with pork chops. 

Fennel in vermouth

I made this delicious side dish with the last of the fennel that I grew this year. It had started to bolt, but the stems were still very tender. I sliced the bulbs thinly and chucked anything that was a little tough. 


  • 2 bulbs of fennel, sliced
  • 60g butter
  • 60ml dry white vermouth (Martini, Noilly Pratt, etcetera)
  • A tiny pinch of salt


  • Melt the butter in a small pan, and add the sliced fennel. Cook over a low flame until the fennel is softening.
  • After about five minutes, add the vermouth, cover with the lid and leave to cook very slowly for another twenty minutes. Check occasionally to make sure that the mixture is not burning. The mixture should be just about caramelised at the end of cooking. 

Grilled and buttered fennel bulbs

I grew bulb fennel this year with varying success. To get the fennel to make nice tight little bulbs, it needs to be well watered, well fed, not overcrowded or stressed at all. I feel very accomplished with each perfect bulb. This is an excellent way to prepare them. For each person, allow one small fennel bulb. 


  • 1 fennel bulb per person
  • 20g butter per person
  • 20g grated parmesan per person
  • salt and pepper


  • Put the fennel in a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • Cut the fennel bulbs in half, and place in an oven proof dish, cut sides up. 
  • Melt the butter and pour this over the fennel bulbs
  • Add a layer of grated parmesan to each fennel bulb, and grill under a hot grill until the cheese is browning and crisping up. 

That is all. I served as a side dish with a rich stew and potatoes. 

Clapshot (posh version)

Clapshot is a traditional dish of boiled and mashed potatoes and turnips, and it is very fine. It could be regarded as Orkney’s national dish, although there are many versions from all over the British isles. It is best made with winter turnip (known in England as Swede) and with dry, floury potatoes.


  • 700g potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 700g turnips, peeled and diced
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp double cream
  • salt and pepper


  • Cook the potatoes and turnips together in boiling salted water until tender (about 15 minutes) then drain well.
  • Mash together wtih butter and cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you have chives, chop them finely and sprinkle over the top.

All done.

Soy bean sprout salad with sesame oil

I had a packet of soya beans on the shelf for a while, wondering what to do with them. This is one of the recipes that work well. I began with a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s ‘Eastern Vegetarian Cooking’, a book that I have had for more than twenty years. It is old and scorched, and full of recipes I like.


  • Soy beans
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame seeds, toasted.
  • Stock


  • I started by sprouting the soy beans for several days, rinsing them at least twice a day in fresh water, and keeping them in a cool shaded area of the kitchen. Once the roots were about two inches long, and the beans were beginning to colour green, I put them in the fridge until I was ready.
  • Next I simmered the sprouts in stock for about seven minutes, and drained them.
  • When they were almost cool, I sprinkled the sprouts with sesame oil and a little soy sauce, and garnished with a teaspoonful of toasted sesame seeds.

Apparently you can add mung bean sprouts for the last couple of minutes of cooking. I served this slightly warm, and it was excellent.

Broad bean salad

I have a lot of broad beans at the moment; I planted them late and I’m just picking the last of them now. We used some to make this salad, which was perfect with barbequed food: we had shish kebabs, nan bread, yoghurt and cucumber salad, humus, lots of things. I got the idea from a Jamie Oliver Recipe, but he had added some other ingredients at the end. I stopped short of the full thing, as the salad was delicious enough without the extras. I made it at the last minute, as it is good slightly warm.


  • Allow around 30g beans per serving
  • Lemon juice to taste (1 lemon for 4 servings)
  • olive oil (ratio of lemon juice:olive oil is 1:3)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint per serving
  • 1 spring onion per serving


  • Pod the beans, and blanch them, unsalted, in boiling water for a minute or two. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • Put the warm beans in the serving dish, and dress with lemon juice and olive oil. For every 1 tbsp of lemon juice, add 3 tbsp olive oil.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and add finely shopped mint. Slice the onions very finely, and fry in a little olive oil, until the onions are soft and starting to colour. Stir them into the salad.

This works really well served with sour cream or greek-style yoghurt.

Spicy Cabbage, Hungarian style

The recipe is adapted from Judy Ridgway’s Quick After-work Vegetarian Cookbook. Some of the recipes have become standbys., an excellent book.


  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 hot green chilli
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 head white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 75ml stock
  • Salt and pepper


  • fry the sliced onion and chilli in the olive oil over a high head for 4-5 minutes, until lightly browned
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, and bring to a simmer. Cook over a medium heat, turning the vegetables from time to time, for about 8 minutes, when the cabbage will be tender.

This recipe is best as a side-dish.

Red Lentil Dal with ginger

This is another Madhur Jaffrey recipe from Curry Easy, a great side-dish for other curries. It is a good idea to make this early on in the meal preparation, as it can sit cooking slowly, and will stand in a warm spot once it is ready.


  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 140g chopped tomatoes, or 140g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 200g red lentils
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp chopped coriander


  • Combine the garlic, ginger, ground coriander, cumin, cayenne and turmeric in a small bowl, ready to add to the pan. 
  • Pour the oil into a medium pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion, and fry until it is beginning to turn golden at the edges. 
  • Add the spice mixture from the bowl, stir for a minute, add the tomatoes and continue to cook until the tomatoes have softened. 
  • Now add the lentils, 800ml water and salt and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer over a low heat for 45 minutes. Check from time to time, stir to prevent it from sticking, and possibly add a litte water if you think it is getting a bit too thick. 
  • For the last five minutes of cooking, uncover and stir, and then add in the fresh coriander. 

Cabbage, celeriac, carrots and cream

Delicious. Another Gordon Ramsey creation, I watched this on a youtube clip and tried it without knowing the quantities. It was excellent


  • 30g butter
  • Half a savoy cabbage, shredded
  • A couple of carrots, diced
  • A celeriac, diced
  • 100g pancetta, diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 150ml cream


  • Fry all the vegetables and the pancetta in the butter at a high temperature for about four to five minutes. 
  • Pour the cream around the edge of the pan, season with salt and pepper and stir to mix. 

You could add a wee grating of nutmeg, but it is delicious without.