Category Archives: Side Dishes

Mushrooms in Red Wine and Miso Sauce



Mushrooms are too often just fried and served, or buried in a pie. This recipe, although it is for a side dish,  brings them centre stage, and it is so simple to put together, taking just over 25 minutes to prepare, cook and serve.

A word of warning for those unused to using miso paste. It is a strong flavour, and it is easy to over do it. Add a bit and taste it before adding any more. It will be worth it all. You will be rewarded with a full flavoured side dish that everyone will be calling for seconds.

Serves 4. Preparation time 10 minutes. Cooking time 15 – 20 minutes or so.


2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 red pepper diced

2 tablespoons red wine

16 oz button mushrooms

1/2 to 1 teaspoon miso paste

2 tablespoons chopped parsley



Melt the butter and oil in a saucepan big enough to hold the mushrooms.

DSCN6977Sauté the minced garlic for a few minutes. Add the diced red pepper and continue to sauté

Add the red wine and bring back up to a simmer.

Stir in the miso paste. Taste and add more if needed.


Add the mushrooms and stir to coat thoroughly, cover and simmer for 15 minutes

Remove the lid and continue cooking to reduce the liquid, for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Season to taste.


Serve and sprinkle the chopped parsley over the mushrooms.


Here I have served it with Peas and Saute Potatoes.



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Filed under All Year, Side Dishes, Student Food, Vegetables

Spicy Potatoes

DSCN5877As a British kid, I grew up eating potatoes. It was a staple of post Second World War Britain. But there was on offer only boiled, baked, mashed and chips, and only the chips had anything other than gravy or mint sauce on them. Potatoes with every meal and so little variation in presentation, but I was not complaining. I loved them and still do. But with cooking books and the internet, the variation on offer now is beyond belief.

I happened upon this Lebanese/Syrian recipe last year and it has established itself as a regular in our family. I have modified it slightly to suit my philosophy of cooking in the most efficient way within the bounds of a recipe.

Because it is baked it lends itself as a dish that can go in the oven alongside a main course, and therefore is cooked for ‘free’. Well perhaps I am kidding myself, but you understand where I am coming from.

Serves 4. Preparation Time 10 minutes. Cooking Time about 40 minutes


1 large potato per person, cut into 1 cm dice

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 red pepper or 2 large tomatoes, diced to 1 cm

1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

2 or 3 teaspoons ground coriander

a grind of salt and pepper



Mix all the ingredients, except the lemon juice, in a bowl and stir together well.


Tip into a baking dish as a single layer

Put into a hot oven set at 180 C/350 F/Gas 4/ Moderate for about 35 to 40 minutes. Half way through baking, stir them through.


They are finished when they are nicely browned.


Drizzle with the lemon juice and serve them immediately. Here I have served them with Peas and Stir Fried Cabbage (recipe here)




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Filed under All Year, Main Meal, Side Dishes, Spicy, Student Food, Vegetables

Stir Fried Cabbage


We grow and eat a lot of cabbage, and we use many different recipes in order to vary the way we eat them. This is one such way, which is quick, economical and also tasty. As with a lot of our recipes this is one that can be adjusted to suit the style of cuisine that it is accompanying.

This serves 4. Preparation 10 – 15 minutes. Cooking 10 minutes


1 medium cabbage

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

1 dessert spoon caraway seeds or fennel seeds


Wash the cabbage leaves and then steam or boil them for 5 minutes.

Drain the leaves.


Shred or slice them finely

In a wok heat the oil, and add the seeds and garlic, cook for 1 minute.


Add the cabbage leaves and cook for a further 3 or 4 minutes.

Season and serve immediately.

And if you are thinking, that is not much cabbage for 4 people, you are correct. I was doing and photographing a half recipe.

If you wanted to liven up the visual aspect of the cabbage you could add a finely chopped red, orange or yellow pepper, which takes little or no time to cook, before you add the cabbage to the wok.



Filed under ALL Recipes, All Year, Side Dishes, Spicy, Student Food, Student Food, Vegetables

Baked Cauliflower and Lemon Tahini Sauce



Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable, found across a whole range of cuisines, cooks easily and compliments many different flavours. I have just about cooked it in as many ways as you could think of but up until now I have not baked cauliflower. Well this recipe did it for me, paired with a sauce that threatens to become a store cupboard standby.

See what you think. It takes only minutes to prepare and with a total cooking time of no more than 25 minutes, this could be a boon to people in a hurry. As a side dish you would want to put it alongside food that is not strongly flavoured so that you can savour the sauce.

This recipe serves 2 but is easily scaled up to suit your requirements.



1 small head of cauliflower broken into florets

1 tablespoon of olive oil

a good pinch of salt

For the sauce

Tahini paste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon white wine

1/2 tablespoon honey

1 clove of garlic minced

3/4  tablespoon Sumac spice

3/4 tablespoon fresh chopped dill or 1 dessert spoon dried dill

1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes

1 /4 teaspoon salt





In a bowl mix well the florets of cauliflower, salt and oil, tip into a baking dish and roast at 200 C/ F/ Gas / in a preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes.


Stir through and turn the florets at least once during the baking.


Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the sauce, in a blender and produce a smooth puree. If necessary add a little more wine to thin it.

Either serve on plates with the sauce drizzled over the cauliflower or serve at the table with sauce in bowls for dipping.


Here I have served it with boiled potatoes, carrots and some cauliflower leaves.




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Filed under All Year, Main Meal, Sauces, Side Dishes, Spicy, Student Food, Student Food, Vegetables

Roasted Green Tomatoes


If you grow your own tomatoes, you will be familiar with the overwhelming feeling of what to do with your surplus tomatoes at the end of the season in autumn or fall. For years, in September and October, I have frantically made green tomato chutney (very nice), green tomato jam (very nice), fried green tomatoes alla southern style (very nice), green tomato cake (very nice), but, there comes a point when you think – heck, now what I am I going to make? Well here is an option that will have you nicking green tomatoes from the plants well before autumn or fall. Fortunately, where I live, they sell green tomatoes most of the year. That said ripe tomatoes go very well in this recipe.

This one of those recipes where you can adjust it it to suit your desire or availability of your store cupboard. Basil would be a very good alternative to oregano. As would thyme.

Serves 4. Preparation 10 minutes. Cooking time approx 1 hour.


chopped green tomatoes enough to fill a 22 x 32 cm/9 x 13 inch  baking pan in a single layer

3 or 4 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced

2 or 3 tablespoons/ 1/4 cup olive oil

1 – 2 tablespoons/ 1/5 cup balsamic vinegar

2 or more teaspoons dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste



Chop the tomatoes roughly and put them in the baking dish. They need to be in a rough single layer.


Spoon in the oil over the tomatoes, sprinkle on the oregano, season to your taste and finally sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar.


Bake for approximately 1 hour in an oven pre-heated to 180 C/ 350 F/ Gas 4/ Moderate. Stir at about 20 minutes intervals. Serve immediately.

I last served this with baked potatoes and peas.










































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Filed under ALL Recipes, All Year, Main Meal, Side Dishes, Student Food, Vegetables

Braised Red Cabbage


This dish is very popular in Germany and Austria where it is consumed throughout the year, but of course in Britain, red cabbage is used almost exclusively for Pickled Red Cabbage, and rarely for serving hot, which is a pity really. It provides a sweet counterpoint to stronger flavoured items on the plate such as Brussels Sprouts, Parsnips, Swede or Game in much the same way that Cranberry Sauce does, and at a fraction of the cost.

It is simplicity to make, freezes well and the flavour improves if made the day before it is wanted, and just heated up prior to serving. For vegetarians and vegans it could be served with plain boiled potatoes as a main course.



1 small red cabbage

25 gm/1 0z/ butter

1 large onion finely sliced

1 level teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 level teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 Bramley or cooking apple peeled,cored and grated

100 ml red wine vinegar

100 ml cold water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly or similar


Melt the butter in a suitably large saucepan and gently saute the onion for 5 minutes


Finely slice the cabbage discarding the core, then add to the onion.

Stir in the spices, apple, sugar, red wine vinegar and water. Season well.

Stir until the sugar is dissolved, fit the lid, bring to the boil and the simmer with a lid on for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Check near the hour and make sure the cabbage is tender and also to ensure that the liquid has nearly evaporated. If it has not then cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid off.

Stir in the redcurrant jelly and serve. I used grape jelly the last time I made it, and it was just as nice.


If you do want to make this ahead then when you reheat it just a add a very little water so that it does not catch on the bottom of the pan. Warm it through for about 10 minutes and serve hot.

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Filed under ALL Recipes, Autumn/Winter, Main Meal, Side Dishes, Spring, Vegetables

Red Onion and Cheese Galettes


These are easy to produce, look fabulous on the plate and just melt in your mouth. They make a light meal suitable for a lunch or as a separate course at a dinner party or more formal occasion. And before anyone writes, yes I made only 3 instead of 4, using the same quantities of ingredients. It was just that I was cooking for 3 people not 4, and I did not want any leftovers.

Serves 4 Preparation Time: 10 minutes.        Cooking Time: 45 minutes.


10ml/1 desertspoon Olive oil

10gm/1oz/1 desertspoon Butter

330gm/11oz/2 cups Red onions, finely chopped

5ml/1 teaspoon Sugar

Salt and Pepper, freshly ground

250gm/8oz Ready-rolled Puff Pastry *( see separate recipe for easy make puff pastry)

120gm/5oz/ Strong Cheese (Cheddar)

15gm/ 1/2oz/ Fresh Thyme or equivalent dried Thyme.

Heat oil and butter in a saucepan, and then add the finely chopped onion, and the sugar. Season and then with the lid on cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Lay out the pastry on a floured surface and cut into 4 equal rectangular portions. Position them on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, draw a line around the edge of each portion, forming a 1cm/1/2inch border.


Divide the cooked onions between the portions, leaving the border clear. Sprinkle the thyme on top of the onion and then repeat with the cheese.


Brush the borders with beaten egg or milk and then bake in a preheated oven set at 200C/400F/Gas Mark 5/moderate hot, for 15 minutes.






Serve immediately or cold, with either some green vegetable and boiled potatoes or salad.


Filed under ALL Recipes, All Year, Cheese, Main Meal, Pastry, Recipes, Side Dishes, Student Food, Vegetables