Vegan Feta Cheese

As we have established many times, I am in no way a vegan. But when I was teaching cookery, we once ran a Mexican class that consisted mainly of vegetarians with a few vegans in the mix, and my boss experimented with this recipe for vegan feta cheese. I’ve always been a bit wary of substituting a ‘free-from’ version of something for the real deal, because setting up the comparison often results in disappointment. But I literally could not stop eating this stuff when it was presented to me. Then I forgot about it, because I have no real need for vegan cheese substitutes on a day-to-day basis.

But, over a year later, I was throwing a vegan dinner party, and remembered the existence of this almond feta. I decided to give it a go. It was just as tasty as I remembered. Everyone else seemed to love it too, and I’ve made it a couple of times since.


I’m not going to pretend this is a like-for-like substitute for feta, because obviously it tastes different, being made from almonds rather than dairy. But it does have the same salty, savoury, addictive joy about it. It’s wonderfully crumbly and versatile. The almonds, when broken down like this, are surprisingly creamy. Here, I’ve shown it crumbled on top of a salad (because just photographed in its little dish it would look a little uninspiring, just as photographing an untouched lump of real feta would). But you can use it just as you would the regular cheese: it’s great with all sorts of salads, or roasted vegetables, or sprinkled over eggs, or baked into a frittata. You can make up a dish of it and keep it in your fridge happily for a couple of weeks, pulling it out whenever you need it.



This recipe is adapted from the version we used when I was teaching, but I’m afraid I have no idea where that was from originally. Do shout if you know!


This does take a bit of time, but it’s largely completely passive time, where you can happily leave the nuts to do their thing and go and get on with your life.


200g blanched almonds
90 ml lemon juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for the baking dish
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1½ teaspoons salt
125 ml water


  1. First, soak the almonds. Place them in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Leave to soak for an hour.
  2. Drain the almonds, throwing away the water. Pop them into a food processor of other blender with the lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, and 125ml water. Blitz thoroughly until you have a relatively smooth paste.
  3. Line a sieve with muslin, a clean tea towel, or a coffee filter. Put the almond paste into the lined sieve and leave to drain for at least three hours (or leave it overnight if you like).
  4. Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 3. Lightly oil a small baking dish or tin. Pop the almond mixture in, smooth the surface, and lightly smear a little more olive oil over the top. Bake for around 25 minutes, or until starting to turn golden. You can use the almond feta warm or cold from the fridge, as you wish.

Spiced Parsnip and Apple Soup

Simple soups are great for the January slump, when you don’t want to be fussing about making anything too complicated, but you need a warming and comforting bowl of food. This spiced parsnip and apple soup will do the job: make a batch and keep it in your fridge, ready to heat up for an easy meal. The addition of lentils make it hearty and filling, and the spices make it a bit more interesting than its plainer cousins.


Bramley apples are the definitive English cooking apple: sour and juicy, they work very well here, lending a little sweetness when cooked and complementing the soup’s spices. Parsnips are one of my favourite root vegetables. Cheap, readily available, easy to prepare, with a satisfying nutty flavour, they are wonderful in soups. Both apples and parsnips are in season in January, and should be easy to find and at their best for this parsnip and apple soup.



Generous knob of butter
1 white onion, thinly sliced
600g parsnips, peeled and cut into roughly 2cm chunks
2 tbsp curry powder (or less, if you don’t like your food a bit spicy)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 garlic cloves, crushed
150g dry red lentils
300g Bramley apples, peeled and cut into chunks
1 litre vegetable stock
100ml cream
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh coriander and cream, to finish


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat until foaming. Add the onion and the parsnips. Cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add spices, garlic, lentils, and apples. Stir well, and cook for 2 minutes. Pour the stock into the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the parsnips are totally soft.
  3. Blitz the soup until smooth, either with a stick blender or in a food processor. Stir in the cream. Taste and season. Serve with a drizzle more cream and some chopped fresh coriander, if you like.

Beetroot, Tangerine, and Kale Salad

Christmas is over, and I have spent the last week living on chocolate, mince pies, and various forms of potato. Obviously this is brilliant, but I am starting to feel like I should supplement this excellent diet with some food with nutritional value. Don’t get me wrong, I am still going to enjoy working through my Christmas chocolate and all of the traditionally carb-and-cheese-laden foods of the season. I am just going to punctuate it with some fruits and vegetables.


It’s still perfectly possible to have delicious, colourful, healthy meals as we head towards the end of the year. This dish makes use of plenty of seasonal ingredients that are thriving right now, including beetroot, kale, and, if you fancy, mackerel.


The sweetness and sharpness of the citrus here contrast beautifully with the earthiness of the beetroot, and the bright orange, rich purple, and deep green in this dish will bring a bit of life to any winter table. You can make a big batch of this salad and keep it in the fridge to eat alone or with your chosen additional protein for satisfying lunches or light dinners.



This will serve 4-6 people (depending on how hungry you are!) as a side dish.

If you want to use this as a base for a main course, it’s great with pan-fried mackerel fillets (or fish of your choice) or topped with generous discs of goats’ cheese.

Clementines, satsumas, or oranges would also work well in place of tangerines.


100g blanched hazelnuts
4 medium raw beetroot
200g uncooked quinoa, or a 250g cooked quinoa pouch if you prefer – any colour is fine
a good bunch of cavolo nero or kale stalks
3 tangerines
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
plenty of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper, to season


  1. Set your oven to 220C/ 200C fan/ gas 6. Spread your hazelnuts out on a lipped baking tray and pop them in the oven to toast for five minutes while it heats up.
  2. Meanwhile, peel your beetroot and cut them into halves (or quarters if they are particularly large). Your hazelnuts should be toasted by now, so take them out of the oven and pop them into a bowl. Put your beetroot on the baking tray and toss it with a generous glug of olive oil, then season generously. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
  3. While your beetroot cooks, cook your quinoa according to pack instructions (if you’re not using a pre-cooked pouch). Tear your kale leaves from their thick stalks into rough ribbons, and pop them in a large bowl. Sprinkle them with a pinch of sea salt, then massage the leaves for a couple of minutes until they seem darker and shrink down a little.
  4. Peel your tangerines, then slice them into rounds and put them in the same bowl as the kale. Add the chopped tarragon and cooked quinoa. Finally, roughly chop your hazelnuts, and mix them in. Finish it all off with a couple of tbsps of olive oil stirred through, and taste and season.
  5. Serve the salad alone for a lighter meal, or top with fish or discs of goats cheese.


So, I don’t think it can be denied that I have made the effort to get into the Christmas spirit around here. There have been mulled wine brownies. A Christmas cheat sheet. And even a heroic effort to eat all the world’s mince pies. But you know what? Not everything we eat at this time of year is mulled or sprinkled with glitter. So here is a completely seasonally inappropriate recipe that’s also completely delicious. I’ve called this Menemen because it sounds more exciting than ‘very liberal interpretation of a Turkish egg and pepper dish’, but this isn’t really Menemen in any true sense of the word. It’s also part Shakshuka, and part random invention. It’s an ideal brunch solution though, and very very tasty.


I have been making some variation on this for years, but only thought to put it on the blog when my brother asked me for the recipe after I made it at a family gathering a couple of months ago. When my brother asks for the recipe for something then I know it must have been a winner.


This is, of course, the sort of thing you can be fairly liberal with. If you have other vegetables you’d like to toss in – sliced courgettes, say, or a handful of spinach – then do. You can skip the bread if you don’t fancy it, although I promise you it’s excellent for mopping up all those tasty juices. And obviously, if you’re catering for vegetarians then you can pass on the chorizo. It will still be lovely either way.



This will serve 2-3 people, but it’s easy to scale up by adding more eggs. It’s an excellent thing to plonk down in the middle of a table so that people can help themselves.

Add chilli flakes (or skip them) according to your tolerance for spicy food. I like to make this with a good kick, but appreciate that not everyone will feel the same.


Extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion
3 red or orange peppers
125g chorizo
3 cloves garlic
1 heaped tsp cumin
1 heaped tsp paprika
chilli flakes, to taste
2 tins or cartons of chopped tomatoes
4 or 5 medium eggs
100g feta
handful of pistachios
bunch of fresh parsley
bread, to serve


  1. Gently heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan while you slice a red onion. Toss the onion in and cook on a medium heat to soften. Meanwhile, slice your peppers, and add them to the onion once it’s begun to soften. Cut your chorizo into small coins or half moons, turn up the heat, and add it to the pan. After a minute or two, when the chorizo has started to release its oil and is smelling amazing, crush your garlic. Add your garlic to the pan, stir, and cook for a minute. Add your cumin, paprika, and chilli flakes, stir, and cook for a minute more.
  2. Add your chopped tomatoes to the pan, stir, and put them on a medium heat. Let the mixture bubble away form around ten minutes. Taste your tomato base, and season as needed.
  3. Use a wooden spoon to make four or five (depending on how many eggs you are using) wells in the tomato base. Crack an egg into each, and turn the heat down to low. Pop a lid on the pan. The eggs will now poach in the tomato sauce.
  4. Crumble your feta, roughly chop your pistachios, and chop your parsley. After about five or six minutes, your eggs should be ready – you want the white cooked, but the yolk runny. Sprinkle your feta, pistachios, and parsley over the pan. Bring it all to the table and serve directly from the pan, with bread.

Miso Ramen with Yutaka

This little packet of miso ramen noodles from Yutaka is a godsend if you’re after a quick and healthy meal. You know those days when you need to eat dinner within ten minutes or you’re going to have a bit of a meltdown? No? Just me? Anyway, even if you’re able to deal with hunger like a reasonable adult, these miso ramen noodles are a great meal option. The noodles cook within three minutes, and come with a little sachet of miso, so you’re pretty much ready to go.

I’ve worked with Yutaka before, and I love their products. If, like me, you don’t know that much about Japanese food, their ingredients are a great start. They’re very accessible, and often contain handy recipe instructions on the packaging.


Obviously, the joy of this sort of dish is that you can add whatever you like. Here, I have gone for tofu and asparagus, along with the base flavours of chilli, ginger, and coriander, for a light meal. However, you could add leftover cooked chicken or pork, or top with a soft-boiled egg, or add any vegetables you like. This is a great way to use up odds and ends in the fridge.



This recipe will make one bowl of noodle soup – you can scale up as needed depending on how many people you’re feeding.

I’ve added some soy and mirin to my miso soup base for an additional flavour dimension, but if you want to make the recipe even simpler you can skip those too.


1 bundle of Yutaka noodles
1 sachet of Yutaka miso soup
a dash of soy sauce
a dash of mirin
1/2 a fresh chilli, finely chopped
handful of asparagus, finely chopped
small chunk of ginger, grated
1/2 block of tofu, cubed
handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped


  1. Pop your noodles into a pan of boiling water for 3 minutes to cook. Put your sachet of miso into your serving bowl, and add boiling water from the kettle to fill the bowl. Taste, and add soy and mirin if you like.
  2. Chop your chilli and asparagus, grate your ginger, and cube your tofu. Finely chop your coriander. Drain your noodles when cooked.
  3. Add all of your ingredients to your soup bowl, and season to taste if you feel it’s needed. Eat immediately, while it’s hot.



Black Quinoa & Halloumi Salad with Wild Honey

A recipe post with a difference, this week: this black quinoa salad was inspired by Wild Honey. Wild Honey are a fantastic independent Oxford business, selling fresh, local, and organic products. Run by Matt and Jessica, it’s all about the local community and economy, with a real focus on great suppliers. They mainly sell food and drink, but they also sell supplements and beauty products. Obviously for me though, it’s all about the food.

I’m going to be doing a few recipe posts inspired by ingredients from Wild Honey. There are two Wild Honey shops, and both are glorious treasure troves of delicious, intriguing products. Yes, you can buy excellent peaches and honey and chocolate and all sorts of the usual things there, but you can also find some lesser known delights on their shelves. It’s those products that I want to focus on. I’m going to develop a few recipes that should hopefully give people a few ideas on what you can do with some of their more unusual ingredients.

Hence, black quinoa. Yes yes, I know, this blog is usually all about the baked goods. But even I sometimes eat healthy stuff to break up the endless parade of cakes.


Black quinoa is like the exciting older cousin of regular white quinoa. It’s darker, stronger in flavour, and has a more interesting crunchy texture. Like regular quinoa, it’s a complete protein, containing fibre, vitamin E, iron, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc. It’s also gluten free, low in fat, and high in protein.

There’s no need to be intimidated by black quinoa if you’re unfamiliar with it. It’s just as simple to cook as regular quinoa: rinse, simmer, drain if needed. Once it’s cooked, there are loads of things you can do with it. If you make up a big batch, it’s great to have throughout the week. It’s very versatile: you can have it in salads, with curries, topped with roasted vegetables…


This black quinoa salad also contains raw broccoli and kale. Wait, wait, don’t leave. I promise you, it’s really tasty. Especially when spiked with a creamy tahini dressing, and finished with shining pomegranate and crispy fried halloumi. You could also switch it up in a dozen different ways. It would work great with cauliflower instead of broccoli, and I think adding a handful of toasted nuts would also be an excellent idea. You could leave off the halloumi if you want, but… I mean, any excuse for halloumi.


I would really encourage you to pop to Wild Honey for black quinoa if you live in the Oxford area, or to another health food shop if not. You could also buy it online. It’s really beautiful in this salad, and more interesting than regular quinoa, with a lovely complex flavour. That said, this would also work perfectly well with white or red quinoa if that’s what you’ve got in the cupboard.



I never, ever measure anything in cups normally. However, it does work easily here, because the quinoa : water ratio is volume based. You don’t need a special measuring cup or anything – just grab any old mug, fill it with quinoa, and that’s your measurement. You then need three times as much water as quinoa.

This salad feeds 4-6 people, depending on whether it’s a main or a side, and how hungry those people are.


1 mug black quinoa
3 mugs water
1 head broccoli
1 handful/ ½ pack kale
generous pinch of sea salt, and a good grinding of pepper
juice of half a lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

for the tahini dressing

100g tahini
75ml water
2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of half a lemon

to finish

1 pack halloumi
handful of pomegranate seeds


  1. Put the quinoa in a sieve, and rinse well for a minute or so. Pop it in a saucepan with the water, bring to the boil with a pinch of salt, then simmer gently, stirring now and then, for around 25 minutes. Check it after 20 to see if it’s cooked – you’re looking for the grains to seem like they have popped open, showing a kernel, and to be largely soft but with a bit of texture and bite. If needed, drain it, but it will probably have absorbed all the water.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, break the broccoli into rubble (i.e. the tiniest little florets possible) and pop it in a big bowl. Shred the kale, removing any tough stalks, and add it to the broccoli. Add a big pinch of salt, pepper, the lemon juice, and the olive oil. Mix everything together, and then get your hands in and massage it all for a minute or two, or until the kale shrinks, softens, and darkens.
  3. For the tahini dressing, mix all the ingredients together, taste, and season.
  4. Cut your halloumi into thick slices, then fry it in a non-stick frying pan for a couple of minutes per side in a little oil, until golden.
  5. Mix the cooked, drained quinoa into the broccoli and kale mixture. Pop it all into the dish you want to serve in, drizzle with the tahini dressing, sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds, and finish with the halloumi.

Review: Yutaka Soybean Noodles

I really love Japanese food, so I was pretty excited when Yutaka sent me a couple of boxes of their new soybean noodles to play with. Japanese food is vibrant, flavoursome, and usually very healthy, full of fresh vegetables and lean protein. These noodles have the added benefits of being gluten free and organic. As someone who doesn’t have to eat gluten free, I was interested to see how these noodles would compare to more standard offerings. Would I notice a difference?


I was sent a box of the regular soybean noodles and a box of the edamame soybean noodles. I decided to make the recipes by Ching He Huang on the back of each box, rather than coming up with some wild creation of my own. This time, I wanted to be sure I was cooking with the noodles as intended, because I definitely don’t claim to be an expert in Asian cuisine.

The noodles themselves couldn’t be easier to cook – just pop them into boiling water and simmer for six minutes – and would be a great base for lots of dishes. I had a taste of them simply cooked, drained, and tossed with some sesame oil before continuing on with the recipes. They were flavoursome and substantial, and fairly robust. They would stand up well to bold ingredients and spices, and didn’t fall apart, overcook, or become clumpy.


The recipes on the noodle boxes were fairly simple and easy to follow. They would be a good starting point for anyone unaccustomed to Asian cuisine. I found myself upping the quantities of the seasoning ingredients and spices to give the dishes more of a depth of flavour, but that’s down to personal taste.

Pictured are the edamame noodles, with which I made Chicken Edamame Noodle Soup. It was a lovely, light, and fairly mild dish, that involved poaching chicken thighs in a flavoured broth that formed the base of the soup. Chicken breasts tend to be more popular than chicken thighs, but I’ve always preferred the latter. They are far more succulent and flavoursome, and less prone to drying out, so I was glad to see them in this recipe. Finished with beansprouts and spinach, the soup was nutritious as well as tasty. The leftovers were also great the next day.


In summary…

These noodles would be a great option for anyone who is following a gluten free diet, but are delicious in their own right and would be enjoyed by all, regardless of dietary restrictions. You could feed these to a group of mixed eaters – in a big platter of sharing noodle stir-fry or cold noodle salad, for instance – and satisfy everyone without having to make a separate gluten free option. I doubt anyone would notice these were gluten free without being told, so everyone would be happy.

I’m looking forward to buying this new offering from Yutaka and adding them to my ‘cupboard of carbs’ (which is stuffed with various types of rice and pasta), and using them as a base for simple and healthy dishes. Or maybe I’ll fry them, when I don’t feel like doing anything simple or healthy. One or the other.

*I was sent these products free of charge for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.

Proper Chicken Soup

This recipe is not revolutionary, or glamorous. It’s not authentic, or the definitive version of anything. It’s not even seasonally appropriate, now that I can actually see the sun, and some daffodils, and have abandoned one outdoor layer (but still wear a coat at all times, obviously, because I’m not some kind of crazy risk-taking daredevil who wishes to court hypothermia). It is only something simple that James likes. He asked me to write it down for him, and since I was writing it down for him anyway I thought I may as well write it down for you too. Also, apparently this blog now only covers soup and macarons.


This is the kind of chicken soup that takes a little time, and a little effort, although it isn’t at all difficult. It is genuinely healthy (something that can be said of very few things on this blog). It requires care, and attention. It is the sort of thing I make for people when I want to show them kindness in some way (I am only able to show kindness through the making of soup, bread, and cake, all of which I randomly leave on the doorsteps of friends in the neighbourhood because social interaction requires too much effort and I am useless). It is supposedly the sort of thing one uses to cure illness, and though this claim has no scientific basis that I am aware of, I merrily presume it is true anyway and make it for those who seem to be somehow ailing. This is why I would make a terrible doctor.


Notes: This recipe is obviously infinitely adaptable, so go ahead and add whatever vegetables and herbs you have kicking about. This is just my version among thousands of others.

You will need a large saucepan or pot that you can comfortably fit a whole chicken into.


1 whole chicken (I usually get one that will feed three-four people even if I am cooking for two, so that we have plenty leftover)
3 large carrots
2 stalks celery
1 white onion
a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 bay leaves (fresh or dry, either is fine)
handful of dry black peppercorns
4 shallots
1 fresh red chilli
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
1 nest of dried noodles (egg or rice, or whatever you have, is fine)


  1. Roughly chop 1 carrot, both stalks of celery, and the onion into large pieces – no need to peel. Put them in the bottom of your largest saucepan or pot, along with the stalks (not the leaves) from the bunch of parsley, the bay leaves, and the peppercorns. Take any string and packaging off the whole chicken and add it to the pot, then cover the bird with cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt. Put the pot on a low heat, cover, and bring the water to a gentle poaching simmer. Let the chicken poach for around 1 – 1.5 hours until cooked through, checking it occasionally to make sure it is still covered in water. When cooked, the legs should be loose and completely floppy, coming away from the chicken when tugged.
  2. Remove all of the chicken from the pot, and turn the heat on the pan up to high, letting the liquid reduce. Meanwhile, strip all of the meat from your chicken and set it aside – you will either have to wait for it to cool slightly, or wear gloves. Discard the skin, and place the chicken bones back into the pot. Bubble the stock away for another half hour or so, tasting occasionally – it should be full of chicken-y goodness.
  3. Meanwhile, prep the rest of the soup ingredients. Roughly chop your parsley leaves, peel your shallots and cut them into slim rings, chop your chilli (seeds in or out, up to you), and peel and dice your ginger. When your stock is reduced and tastes delicious, strain it and discard the original vegetables and the chicken bones. Put the stock back into the original pot.
  4. Finally, add your shallots, chilli, and ginger to the liquid. Cook gently for 10 minutes, then add your chicken meat and your noodles. Cook until the noodles are soft (usually around four minutes). Take your soup off the heat, stir in your chopped parsley, and taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as required.



Roast Butternut Soup with Coconut, Lemongrass, and Chilli

It’s not often I can say this about a recipe featured on this blog, but this is vegan, gluten free, and healthy. Don’t worry, I have not abandoned the baked goods. But James and I do not live on macarons and pie alone (oh, if only), and plenty of savoury food comes out of my kitchen. Some of it is even healthy. I just don’t tend to feature it on this blog, because I find it less interesting. Also because so much of the savoury food I make is thrown together with whatever is lying around in the fridge, in a very ‘meh, it’ll probably be fine, chuck it in’ sort of a way, and so it’s hard for me to recreate dishes again, let alone write down how I made them.


However, the recipe for this soup was specifically requested (I know, how exciting) after I made it for a group at a yoga retreat, and so I recreated it and actually bothered to write down what I was doing, and here it is. Apologies for the rather uninspiring photos – they were taken at speed in the dying light. Still though, look how healthy it all looks…



It’s soup, so you can play it a bit fast and loose with the ingredients. Only one onion left? No problem. Got some herbs you want to throw in there? Go for it. Not a vegetarian and want to go mad and add bacon? Live your best life today.


1 large butternut squash
olive oil
2 onions
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
2 lemongrass stalks
80g Thai red curry paste (about 1/2 a small jar, or make your own if you’d rather, or add more to taste)
1 can full fat coconut milk
750ml vegetable stock
1 lime
1 chilli (optional – to garnish)


  1. Preheat your oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 6. Peel your squash and cut it into roughly finger sized chunks, discarding the seeds. Pop it in a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then roast for around 40 minutes – you want it meltingly soft and just charring around the edges, for flavour.
  2. While that’s happening, slice your onions, peel and roughly chop your ginger, and bash your lemongrass stalks a bit so they release flavour. Put a generous slug of olive oil in your largest saucepan and cook the onions, ginger, and lemongrass down together, until the onions are soft. Add your curry paste and cook gently for 3-4 minutes until everything smells amazing. Tip in your butternut squash, coconut milk (saving a couple of tbsp if you want some to drizzle on the soup), and stock. Stir it all together and then simmer for around 10 minutes. Find the lemongrass and pull it out.
  3. When everything is all happily cooked down and amalgamated, blitz your soup until smooth – I use a stick blender, but a liquidiser or food processor will do the job. Add your lime juice, give it a good stir, and check the seasoning. It should be rich and warming, with a lingering chilli kick at the end. Add more salt, pepper, or lime as needed. Serve hot, drizzled with the leftover coconut milk if you’re feeling artistic, and add some chopped chilli or extra chilli sauce if you want it to have more spice.

Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan

When James and I had only just started seeing each other, he came round to my flat for dinner for the first time. I was still in that phase at the beginning of a relationship when you want to impress the other person and are trying to make them think you are amazing and wonderful, and so I asked him what his favourite food in the entire world was and told him I’d make it for us to eat. I was thinking maybe steak with some triple cooked chips and peppercorn sauce, or perhaps chocolate souffles, or fresh scallops, or raspberry sorbet, or roast lamb…

He told me his favourite food in the entire world was broccoli.

He could have asked for literally anything, and he chose broccoli. I realised this dinner was going to be less complicated and less expensive than I had imagined.


Since James and I have been together, I have eaten a lot more broccoli than I used to. Unlike James, though, I get bored with eating the same thing over and over, and so I started looking for another way to serve broccoli that wasn’t ‘steamed and plain’.

Putting this post up and calling it a recipe feels like a bit of a cheat, because the ‘recipe’ so pathetically easy. However, it is also, slightly dispiritingly, one of the most consistently praised things I cook for people, probably because it’s surprising. It’s a simple side-dish, but it makes broccoli so insanely delicious that it’s quite magical. It made a friend of mine who hates broccoli like broccoli. It made another friend of mine, who loves broccoli but was deeply suspicious of the concept of roasting it, message me to say ‘roast broccoli where have you been all my life’. It’s so good that I will fairly often just cook up a whole head of broccoli like this and call it lunch.

I mean, you know, I don’t want to big it up too much because I don’t want you all to think it’s the path to world peace or something and then be disappointed. But it’s pretty great.



As I say, this is more of a method than a recipe, so I’m not putting down proper measurements. Use your common sense. I trust you.

See those dark bits on the broccoli? The broccoli is not burnt. Those are the best bits. They are crispy and caramelised and delicious.


1 head of broccoli (not tenderstem)
sea salt flakes
black or red pepper
olive oil (or rapeseed, or whatever you fancy)
grated parmesan
chilli flakes, if you like



  1. Preheat your oven to properly hot – 220C/ 200 fan/ gas 7. While it’s heating up, cut your broccoli into florets and pop it into a roasting tray. Season generously with sea salt and pepper, give the tray a shake, then glug some oil over the top and shake it again, making sure the broccoli is well covered.
  2. When the oven is hot, put the broccoli in for 10 minutes. Bring it out, toss everything round in the tray a bit, and put it back in for 5 minutes more. When you bring it out, it should all be just tender with patches that are starting to catch and caramelise and crisp up. If you’re not there yet, put it back in.
  3. When you’re happy, dust the whole thing with a handful of grated parmesan and serve hot.

See? Barely a recipe at all.