Salted anchovies

Salted anchovies have been a recent joy in my winter salad dressings. Chopped or mashed - depending on how soft they are - and mixed simply with good olive oil and white wine vinegar (or more robustly with a little dijon mustard, and red wine or walnut vinegar), this is a regal dressing for any… Continue reading Salted anchovies

Capering around with nasturtium seeds

Nasturtiums are one of those fantastic plants that combine ease of growth with good looks. Their big tough seeds always come up and the plants seem to survive whatever you or the weather might throw at them. I plant trailing nasturtium seeds around the edges of the pots on my small London terrace every year,… Continue reading Capering around with nasturtium seeds

Damson Chutney

Damsons are the most delicious plum to cook with. Sharp and deeply flavoured, in my opinion they make the very best chutney you can eat, and the strongest flavoured plum jam. I was overjoyed to find them in my local Borough Market a few years ago – but not so overjoyed by the exorbitant price.… Continue reading Damson Chutney

Fresh jam – plum, peach, raspberry and rosemary

I don’t know why I never used to think of making jam in small quantities. It’s such obvious instant gratification! You can make something delicious and seasonal just a jar at a time, eat it up in a week or two, and then make some more. It’s faster and more efficient to cook, and since… Continue reading Fresh jam – plum, peach, raspberry and rosemary

Green olives

I have a small standard olive tree in a large pot on the small area of decking outside my central London apartment. It thrives in its exposed, dry spot, though the unpredictable weather means it doesn't always live up to the promise of its copious spring blossom. It usually manages to produce between half a… Continue reading Green olives

Bramble (blackberry) chutney

The only blackberries that really taste of anything are the ones you find in the hedgerow in late summer and early autumn. They are usually much smaller than the ones in the supermarket punnets, but their flavour is intense. When I was little we’d spend weekend after weekend filling buckets with fruit from the fields… Continue reading Bramble (blackberry) chutney

Apricot chutney with a touch of wild cherry

Almost all the chutney I make ends up looking a dark brownish black, mainly because it is made with dark fruit and/or dark brown sugar. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does mean that even though the different versions might taste different, they do all tend to look the same.  This time, I was… Continue reading Apricot chutney with a touch of wild cherry

Fresh apricot jam

A good ripe apricot is one of the joys of summer, but a woolly one is one of its cruellest disappointments. Living in central London means I am at the mercy of the fruit-sellers, and at best I only have a 50/50 chance of getting a good one. So, whenever I find myself in a… Continue reading Fresh apricot jam

Black olives

Some of the most delicious olives I have ever tasted were the ones foraged from the grounds of a friend's house near Vence in the south of France. The huge old tree had obviously produced a massive crop, and when I visited in spring the ground was littered with the tiny fruit, shrivelled by the… Continue reading Black olives

Wet walnuts

It is almost midsummer, the magic date around which green or wet walnuts (from the walnut tree Juglans regia) must be picked. If you want to pickle or preserve them, or soak them in wine to make vin de noix (or walnut vinegar, depending on how it goes), you'll need them to be soft enough to… Continue reading Wet walnuts