Category Archives: Sides

sweet and sharp peppers

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It’s around this time of year that I can get a little fed up of side dishes involving brassicas and root vegetables. It has to be said, though, that if you were to take this blog as evidence, you would probably conclude that I eat neither kale nor potatoes as often as I eat pies or cake. Strictly speaking, this is not 100% true – it’s just that I’m not sure how interested you’d be in recipes for steamed broccoli, or colcannon, or even kale sauteed with chilli, garlic and ginger. I have been imagining that if you were that keen, you could probably work those out for yourself (especially the first one), and so my writing efforts are far better used in telling you about 101 things to do with pastry, no?

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If you are feeling equally frustrated by the limited options available at the greengrocers, this bright, lightly vinegared dish is a perfect way of cutting through the seasonal monotony. This is admittedly probably partly due to the fact that peppers have no season here in rainy England, so are shipped to us all year from halfway around the world, unlike the more prosaic winter vegetables – I can’t remember ever seeing kale in a supermarket in July, for example, but perhaps that’s because I never want kale in July. I’m always far too busy stuffing my fat little berry-stained face with dressed crab, tomato salads and crunchy green beans.

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pommes parmentier

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This might be a potato-heavy week, everyone. Firstly, I have to tell you about my favourite thing to do with potatoes, and then tomorrow I’m having my second favourite potato thing (at which point it will promptly become my first favourite – I can be very fickle), which I also feel strongly that you should know about. I would apologise, but I happen to really like potatoes, and I refuse to believe that the whole world doesn’t share my views. (This also applies to many other things, not just potatoes, but that’s by the by.) After all, what reasonable person could walk past a plate of potato skins roasted to a crisp and loaded with cheese and bacon and not take just a tiny one? The same sort of a person that passes the gratin dauphinoise dish around the table without taking a spoonful, that’s who: frankly, very suspicious.

I do intend to make myself you a cake in between, though, partly so that you don’t desert me in favour of less starch-laden climes, and also partly because I have been thinking about very little else for over a week now, which says very little in favour of my time management skills. In my defence, I did spend most of Saturday miles up a hill in the mist chopping down hawthorn, and then the rest of the time since then pulling inch-long thorns out of places that should perhaps have been better protected from them. That is my excuse.

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