Homemade Ratatouille
Homemade Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a famous braised vegetable preparation from Provence in the South of France. The main ingredients typically include Eggplant, Tomato, Onion, and Bell Peppers, but Zucchini and Fennel often appear, with Mushrooms and Black Olives being added in some versions. It can be served as a hot, as a vegetarian casserole or vegetable side dish, and, once cooled, can be served as a relish, or used as an ingredient in more complex preparations.


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Zucchini with Mushrooms and Tomatoes
Zucchini with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Zucchini with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

I often make variations of this dish to go with grilled steaks, but the general combination also works well as a side dish with roasts. It used canned mushrooms for convenience, is extremely simple to prepare, and provides a lot of scope for improvisation. In this recipe, I have limited the herbal addition to fresh Thyme, but Parsley and Sage together are also very nice.


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Sweet Glazed Roast Parsnips
Sweet Glazed Roast Parsnips

Sweet Glazed Roast Parsnips

Parsnips are one of those vegetables that seem to be either loved or despised. For those who love them, roasting them produces the best results through the action of caramelization. In this recipe, parsnip batons are roasted to a lovely golden sweetness, and then, later, when ready to cook the main meal, they are quickly finished in a sweet and tangy sauce that is reduced to a lovely glaze before service.


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Rumbledethumps
Rumbledethumps

Rumbledethumps is a traditional dish from the Scottish border region, and, like the slightly more famous dish Colcannon, combines potatoes with greens (commonly cabbage) and sometimes other root vegetables like Turnip, or Carrot. Nowadays, it is often baked with a layer of cheese on top and, in that form, can easily make a very filling main dish, or a whole meal, in it’s own right. Here, however, I am making a simpler version, more suitably served as a vegetable side dish.


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Minted Zucchini and Mushrooms
Minted Zucchini and Mushrooms

Minted Zucchini and Mushrooms

Mint always pairs well with Zucchini, and the convenience of canned Button Mushrooms makes this a delicious side dish for lamb-chops, steaks, and virtually any roast, or hearty main dish. In this recipe, the zucchini is first grilled to harness the power of the Maillard reaction, and to add a lovely smokiness to the finished dish.


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Shanghai Bok Choy with Mushrooms
Shanghai Bok Choy with Mushrooms

Shanghai Bok Choy with Mushrooms

The mushrooms used in this recipe are dried Chinese Black Mushrooms, also known as Shiitake, which make an umami counterpoint with the sweetness of the Bok Choy greens. The stock-based sauce in which both are served is seasoned very lightly and the resulting dish could just as easily be a main plate in a Chinese table service as it could a side dish for a Steak, or a Western-style Roast.


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Simple Roast Cauliflower
Simple Roast Cauliflower

Simple Roast Cauliflower

Cauliflower is not a widely appreciated vegetable. When boiled or steamed, much of the subtle taste of the fresh vegetable is leached away leaving a bland taste faintly reminiscent of old cabbage water. Roasting, on the other hand, produces a cauliflower treat that even confirmed haters can warm to… The subtle notes of the fresh vegetable are enhanced, instead of diminished, and the process gives a rich, in some ways ‘nutty’ depth to the vegetable.


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Char-Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Char-Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Char-Roasted Brussel Sprouts take on a new sweetness from the caramelization process and can make converts out of the most steadfast of sprout-haters.

I, myself, have never been a huge fan of the little green spheres at the best of times, but, when roasted with the right seasonings, and alongside other vegetables for extra flavor, they can turn out very nicely indeed.

 Today, I have not provided a comprehensive recipe for you, rather I have just documented one way I cooked them as a general starting-point for you to play with in the kitchen…


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Bok Choy with Braised Mushrooms
Bok Choy with Braised Mushrooms

This particular dish of Bok Choy with Braised Mushrooms was put together as a side dish for Flank Steak braised with Lemon Juice and Capers. It is definitely Western in concept as it uses thyme and white wine as flavorings, but it could still be used as a dish in a Chinese meal, even without substituting any of the ingredients.


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Spicy Grilled Corn on the Cob
Spicy Grilled Corn on the Cob

Spicy Grilled Corn on the Cob will be something of a revelation to those who are only accustomed to corn being boiled and served with butter and salt. Freshly shucked corn is grilled and made spicy in thousands of different all around the world, and it is well worth trying it on the grill if you haven’t done so already. Today’s recipe has its roots in South-East Asia and is easy to follow.


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