Delicious and simple, this striking Mediterranean starter is easier to prepare than you might think
- 1 lemon, halved, plus juice 1½ lemons
- 4 globe artichokes
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 20 pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 1 small tomato, finely chopped
- ½ small bunch mint, finely chopped
- ½ small bunch parsley, finely chopped
MethodCut the stalk off each artichoke and discard. Boil the artichokes for 40-45 mins until the base feels tender when the tip of a knife is inserted.
- 75g French beans, finely sliced
- 200g fresh white crabmeat
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 4 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- grated zest 1 lime
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander
- 75g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 egg, beaten
- sunflower oil, for frying
- 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 red chillies, roughly chopped
- 6cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 dried kaffir lime leaves
- 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
- 175g caster sugar
- 50ml rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce or lime juice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- To make the dipping sauce, blend the garlic, chillies, ginger, lime leaves, lemongrass and coriander in a food processor until very finely chopped. Tip the sugar into a small saucepan, add 3 tbsp water and heat gently to dissolve. Continue to cook for another min or so until the syrup starts to thicken slightly.
- Add the chilli and ginger mixture, and continue to cook for a further 2-3 mins. Then stir in the rice vinegar, fish sauce and soy sauce. Remove from the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
- Cook the beans in a small pan of boiling salted water for 1-2 mins until tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water, then leave to dry on kitchen paper. Mix the crab with the cooked beans and all the remaining ingredients, apart from the sunflower oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and shape into 8 small patties.
- Heat 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil in a frying pan and cook 4 crab cakes at a time until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and keep warm while you cook the remainder. Serve with the sweet chilli dipping sauce.
- 2 aubergines
- 3 courgettes
- 2 red peppers
- 1 green pepper
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 400g can Italian chopped tomato
- a large handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 350g goat's cheese with a rind, such as Capricorn
- 350g sliced white bread, crusts removed
- 1 tbsp green pesto
- 1 tbsp each chopped fresh parsley, basil and chives
- Cut the aubergines and courgettes into thick slices, no thinner than 2cm/3⁄4in, then cut all the slices across in half. Set aside. Cut the peppers in half, remove and discard the seeds, then cut the peppers into bite-sized chunks. Set aside.
- Heat 5 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan, add the onions and garlic and gently fry for 8-10 minutes. Add the aubergines, courgettes and peppers and fry for a further 10 minutes. Tip in the chopped tomatoes, season well, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the chopped basil and leave aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, for the crumble, put the bread into a food processor and blend to fine crumbs. Add the pesto, herbs, the remaining olive oil and plenty of seasoning, then blend again.
- Cut the goat’s cheese into large bitesized pieces and fold through the ratatouille. Spoon into a 2 litre/31⁄2 pint ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the herby crumb mixture over the top of the ratatouille.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5/fan oven 170C and bake the crumble for 25 minutes until golden.
- zest and juice 1 lemon
- 1 red onion, very finely chopped
- 400g spaghetti
- 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 4 tsp small capers
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- pinch of sugar
- 500g red ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
- bunch mint, leaves torn
- handful chives, snipped
- 1 or 2 x 125g balls buffalo mozzarella, depending on how lavish you feel
- Put the lemon juice and zest into a large bowl, tip in the onion, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside for 10 mins, to let the onion soften a little.
- Boil the spaghetti for 10 mins. Mix the oil, capers, chilli and sugar into the lemony onions, then season generously.
- When the pasta is ready, drain, toss with a splash of oil, then let cool awhile. Put into the bowl with the dressing, tip in the tomatoes and most of the herbs, then toss well. Tear in the mozzarella and toss ever so gently. Put into bowls, top with more herbs and drizzle with more oil to serve.