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Fresh and simple

12 May 2017


TO MY joy, a summer open-air market, including two excellent fruit-and-veg stalls, has popped up in a car park near by, with bounty cheaper and fresher than the supermarkets’. Here are recipes we have enjoyed as I’ve pursued the quest for vegan and local-food recipes for the people I’ve been cooking for in leaner times.

The first is a Watercress salad, with a dressing made from coconut oil (vegan, not local!), which complements the bitterness of the watercress. It will solidify when it hits the cold, fresh leaves, which is disconcerting but not unpleasant.


a bowl of watercress, spinach leaves, rocket, and lettuce
1 spring onion, sliced finely
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
ground sea salt and black pepper
grated Parmesan or flaked coconut


Wash and dry the salad leaves and spring onion. If you are finishing your salad with Parmesan, grate or flake it coarsely. If you prefer to use coconut flakes, place them on a baking tray and lightly toast them under the grill. Just before you are ready to eat the salad, warm the coconut oil in a small saucepan until just liquid, and toss in the other ingredients to taste, whisking to an emulsion. Pour over the salad, mix well, and serve at once.

Roasted cauliflower is having a new burst of popularity. I am doubtful about some recipes that I’ve seen for roasting what is, after all, a delicate flower, and why you would want to use so much fuel. Try this recipe for Cauliflower curry/casserole. It goes well with bread for supper, or you can serve it with rice or new potatoes.


1 large cauliflower
1 head of broccoli
1 onion
4 tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon Harissa paste
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh coriander leaves to garnish


Cut the cauliflower and broccoli into small florets. Peel and slice the onion and fry it gently in the coconut oil, using a sauté pan large enough to hold all the vegetables. When the onion is tender, add the spices, and allow them all to warm together briefly. Add the cauliflower and broccoli to the pan, stir them into the spices for a minute, and then add half a cup of water and a little seasoning. Cover and simmer the vegetables on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes.

Check the seasoning and consistency from time to time, adding a little more water and stirring if your vegetables are beginning to stick or burn. Dice the tomatoes and add them to the pan with the Harissa paste. Stir them through, cover, and cook through for another ten minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender. Serve with a few fresh coriander leaves.

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