Beautiful courgette carbonara

• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 6 medium green and yellow courgettes
• 500g penne
• 4 large free-range or organic egg yolks
• 100ml double cream
• 2 good handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• olive oil
• 12 thick slices of pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, cut into chunky lardoons
• a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped, flowers reserved (if you can get hold of flowering thyme)
• optional: a few courgette flowers

Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Halve and then quarter any larger courgettes lengthways. Cut out and discard any fluffy middle bits, and slice the courgettes at an angle into pieces roughly the same size and shape as the penne. Smaller courgettes can simply be sliced finely. Your water will now be boiling, so add the penne to the pan and cook according to the packet instructions.

To make your creamy carbonara sauce, put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the cream and half the Parmesan, and mix together with a fork. Season lightly and put to one side.

Heat a very large frying pan (a 35cm one is a good start – every house should have one!), add a good splash of olive oil and fry the pancetta or bacon until dark brown and crisp. Add the courgette slices and 2 big pinches of black pepper, not just to season but to give it a bit of a kick. Sprinkle in the thyme leaves, give everything a stir, so the courgettes become coated with all the lovely bacon-flavoured oil, and fry until they start to turn lightly golden and have softened slightly.

It’s very important to get this next bit right or your carbonara could end up ruined. You need to work quickly. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Immediately, toss the pasta in the pan with the courgettes, bacon and lovely flavours, then remove from the heat and add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water and your creamy sauce. Stir together quickly. (No more cooking now, otherwise you’ll scramble the eggs.)

Get everyone around the table, ready to eat straight away. While you’re tossing the pasta and sauce, sprinkle in the rest of the Parmesan and a little more of the cooking water if needed, to give you a silky and shiny sauce. Taste quickly for seasoning. If you’ve managed to get any courgette flowers, tear them over the top, then serve and eat immediately, as the sauce can become thick and stodgy if left too long.

Bay salt prawn skewers with summer veg

• 20 raw king prawns, peeled and black veins removed
• 4 small courgettes
• 10 bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon sea salt
• 3 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
• juice of ½ lemon
• 2 large handfuls of freshly podded peas
• 2 large handfuls of freshly podded broad beans
• a small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked
• optional: a few chive flowers
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

First of all, get your barbeque good and hot. If you’re using wooden skewers, soak four of them in some cold water for 10 minutes, so they don't burn when you put them on the barbie later. Thread 5 prawns on to each skewer, make sure you poke through the fat and the thin part of each prawn. Slice the courgettes into ribbons with a speed peeler or a mandolin cutter.

To make the bay salt, crumble the bay leaves into a pestle and mortar and add the salt. Bash up the bay leaves until you have a vibrant green salt and all the bay leaves have broken down and released all their natural oils.

Sprinkle each of the prawn kebabs with a good pinch of the bay salt. Drizzle them with a little olive oil and pat and rub everything in. Place the skewers on the hot barbeque for a couple of minutes on each side. Fill the rest of the barbeque with the courgette slices – as they are so thin, they'll only need cooking on one side. After 2 minutes, turn over the skewers and cook for a further 2 minutes while you start taking off the courgettes.

Pour 3 tablespoons of good olive oil into a large bowl. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the peas, broad beans and grilled courgettes. Tear over the mint leaves and the chive flowers, if using. Season with a little salt and pepper and gently mix everything together.

Serve the vegetables in a big bowl in the middle of the table with the skewers on a wooden board next to it. Perfect light, healthy summer eating.

Bread and tomato soup

• 500g ripe cherry tomatoes
• 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• a large bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
• the best extra virgin olive oil you can find
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 x 400g tins of good-quality plum tomatoes
• 500g or 2 large handfuls of stale good-quality bread

Prick the cherry tomatoes and toss them with one sliced clove of garlic and a quarter of the basil leaves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, put them in a roasting tray and cook in the oven at 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 for about 20 minutes. The reason for doing this is so that their flavour becomes intense and concentrated.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pot and add the remaining garlic and the basil stalks. Stir around and gently fry for a minute until softened. Add your tinned tomatoes, then fill the tin with water and add that. Break the tomatoes up with a spoon, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Tear the bread up into thumb-sized pieces and add them to the pan. Mix well and season to taste. Tear in the basil leaves and let the soup sit on a low heat for 10 minutes. By this time your roasted tomatoes will be done, with juice bursting out of their skins, so remove them from the tray, remembering to scrape all the lovely sticky bits from the bottom. Pour them into the soup with all the juices, basil and oil from the tray.

Give the soup a good stir – you're looking to achieve a thick, silky, porridgey texture, so feel free to adjust it with a little water. Then remove it from the heat and add 6 or 7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Divide between your bowls and serve with a little extra basil torn over the top if you like. The most important thing with this soup is that you have a wonderfully intense sweet tomato basil flavour.

Beef and ale stew

If using the oven to cook your stew, preheat it to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6 • Trim the ends off your celery and roughly chop the sticks • Peel and roughly chop the onions • Peel the carrots, slice lengthways and roughly chop • Put a casserole pan on a medium heat • Put all the vegetables and the bay leaves into the pan with 2 lugs of olive oil and fry for 10 minutes • Add your meat and flour • Pour in the booze and tinned tomatoes • Give it a good stir, then season with a teaspoon of sea salt (less if using table salt) and a few grinds of pepper • Bring to the boil, put the lid on and either simmer slowly on your hob or cook in an oven for 3 hours • Remove the lid for the final half hour of simmering or cooking • When done, your meat should be tender and delicious • Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving, and taste it to see if it needs a bit more salt and pepper • You can eat your stew as it is, or you can add some lovely dumplings to it

Hunter's chicken stew

Season the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper and put them into a bowl. Add the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs and the crushed clove of garlic and cover with the wine. Leave to marinate for at least an hour, but preferably overnight in the fridge.

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Dust the chicken pieces with flour and shake off any excess. Heat an ovenproof pan, add a splash of olive oil, fry the chicken pieces until browned lightly all over and put to one side.

Place the pan back on the heat and add the sliced garlic. Fry gently until golden brown, then add the anchovies, olives, tomatoes (broken up with a wooden spoon) and the chicken pieces with their reserved marinade. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid or a double thickness layer of foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1½ hours.

Skim off any oil that’s collected on top of the sauce, then stir, taste and add a little salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, and serve with a salad, or some cannellini beans, and plenty of Chianti.

Barbequed leg of lamb with thai green spices

Preheat your oven to 170°C/325°F/gas 3. Place the kaffir lime leaves, ginger, lemon grass, garlic, most of the coriander and chillies into a large pestle and mortar or a food processor and bash or pulse until you have a thick, fragrant, green paste. Stir in the olive oil and the lime juice.

Rub the marinade all over the lamb, making sure you get into all the nooks and crannies. Most of it will fall off during cooking, but it will still give the meat the most fantastic flavour. Season the lamb well and place it in a roasting tray. Cover with tinfoil and pop it in the preheated oven for about an hour.

After half an hour or so, light your BBQ so the flames have a chance to die down nicely. Make sure you have coals piled up high on one side so it's super hot and low on the other side for a more gentle heat to give you some control. Take the lamb out of the oven and cut or break it into a few big chunks, this way it'll be much easier to handle.

Place the lamb on the hot side of the barbie with the tray with all its juices on the cooler side. Squeeze a bit more lime juice into the tray if you like – you want the acidity to be like a mint sauce. Turn the meat regularly, basting it in the juices from the tray as you go. This will give you a nice, dark crust. Give the meat about 10 minutes like this, to build up the colour.

Once your meat is done, remove it to a board, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest. Pour the coconut milk into the tray and allow it to bubble for a couple of minutes until thickened.

Carve your lamb into chunky slices. Serve the sliced lamb with the Thai sauce, sprinkled with chopped chilli and the remaining coriander. An absolute showstopper

Asian-inspired turkey salad and pancakes

Shred the brown turkey meat into thin strips using your fingers and put it into a dry pan on a medium heat. Add the cashew nuts, dried cranberries and five-spice. Give it all a good stir then let it toast away while you get on with your salad. Give the pan a shake every now and then to make sure nothing catches.

Add the mint and most of your coriander leaves to a bowl with your mixed salad leaves. Make your dressing in a separate bowl by mixing the juice from your clementine and lime. Squeeze the juice from one of your pomegranate halves through your hands to catch any seeds then discard them. Stir in your grated onion. I tend to use 3 parts oil to 1 part acid when I’m making dressings, so look at what you’ve got in the bowl so far then pour in 3 times as much extra virgin olive oil. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil. Squeeze in all the juice from your grated ginger then throw away the pulp.

Give this lovely dressing a really good stir, and have a taste. If you want more salt, add a splash more soy. If you want more acid, add another squeeze of lime juice. Drizzle over enough dressing to coat the salad leaves then use your hands to toss and dress them.

Add the honey to the pan with the turkey meat and stir through until coated. Turn the heat up to full whack for the last few seconds to really crisp up the meat mixture. At this point, make sure your guests are all at the table and ready to eat so you can serve the salad as soon as the hot meat hits the salad leaves. Toss half of your pan-fried ingredients through the salad leaves and transfer to a serving platter.

Spoon the remaining nuts, cranberries and crispy meat over the top of the salad and add another drizzle of dressing. Hold the remaining pomegranate half over the salad and knock it on the back with a spoon so the seeds pop onto the salad. Garnish with a nice sprinkling of fresh red chilli, any remaining coriander leaves and serve right away.

Spicy parsnip soup

Heat a splash of olive oil and the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and garam masala. Gently fry for around 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and sweet.

Drop in the chopped parsnip and stir together so that everything gets coated in the oil and flavours. Pour in the milk and stock, season well and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes with a lid on.

After half an hour, check that the parsnips are cooked by sticking a knife in. If you’re happy, remove them from the heat and carefully whiz up using a hand blender or liquidizer. Taste the soup to see if it needs a little more salt or pepper.

Serve with a sprinkling of sliced red chilli, a few coriander leaves if you like, and a good chunk of crusty bread.

Grape, ricotta and tarragon salad

Season the sliced shallots with salt and pepper, add the sugar and the vinegar and leave to marinate for a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the tarragon and grapes and grate in most of the cheese. Drain the pickled onions and throw them in with a little of the vinegary juices, salt and pepper and a glug of olive oil. Toss everything together and divide between four plates. Grate the rest of the cheese on top of each salad and serve.

Carrots boiled with orange, garlic and herbs

Boil the carrots in salted boiling water with a tablespoon of sugar, a knob of butter and a little handful of fragrant herbs, tied up. Parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay – use just one or a mixture. Cut an orange into eighths and add them to the water, along with a few whole garlic cloves in their skins. If you really want to be a little tiger, add a pinch of cumin as well (seeds or ground) – it subtly cuts through with the most wonderful flavour. As soon as the carrots are cooked, drain them, discard the herbs and all but one of the orange pieces, squeeze the garlic out of its skin, chop the remaining orange piece finely and toss with the carrots, some seasoning and a little more butter. The flavour will be incredible.

Another idea is to fry the chopped-up orange in a good tablespoon of sugar, so it almost jammifies, and serve this on top of the carrots. These two flavours together are one of the coolest things.

roasted carrots with orange, garlic and thyme

Or – just as easy – as soon as you drain the carrots you can throw them into a baking tray with the chopped-up orange and the garlic cloves and roast them at 200°C/400°F/gas 6 for 10 minutes – this will give you a slightly meatier flavour.

mashed carrots

Or simply mash the carrots up with the orange and garlic, so you have some coarse and some smooth. Lovely.

6 hour slow roasted pork shoulder

• 2kg bone-in shoulder of pork, skin on
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 red onions, halved
• 2 carrots, peeled and halved lengthways
• 2 sticks of celery, halved
• 1 bulb of garlic, skin on, broken into cloves
• 6-8 fresh bay leaves
• 600ml water or vegetable stock

Preheat your oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.

Place your pork on a clean work surface, skin-side up. Get yourself a small sharp knife and make scores about a centimetre apart through the skin into the fat, but not so deep that you cut into the meat. If the joint is tied, try not to cut through the string. Rub salt right into all the scores you’ve just made, pulling the skin apart a little if you need to.

Brush any excess salt off the surface then turn it over. Season the underside of the meat with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Place your pork, skin side-up, in a roasting tray and pop in the preheated oven. Roast for 30 minutes, until the skin of the pork has started to puff up and you can see it turning into crackling. At this point, turn the heat down to 170°C/325 F/gas3, cover the pork snugly with a double layer of tin foil, pop back in the oven and roast for a further 4 and a half hours.

Take out of the oven take the foil off, and baste the meat with the fat in the bottom of the tray. Carefully lift the pork up and transfer to a chopping board. Spoon all but a couple of tablespoons of fat out (save it for roast potatoes!)

Add all the veg, garlic and bay leaves to the tray and stir them into the fat. Place the pork back on top of everything and return to the ove sithout the foil to roast for another hour. By this time the meat should be meltingly soft and tender.

Carefully move the meat to a serving dish, cover again with tin foil and leave to rest while you make your gravy. Spoon away any fat in the tray, then add the water or stock and place the tray on the hob. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to scrape up all those lovely sticky tasty bits on the bottom of the tray. When you’ve got a nice, dark gravy,pour it through a sieve into a bowl or gravy boat, using your spoon to really push all the goodness of the veg through the sieve. Add a little more salt and pepper if it needs it.

Serve the pork and crackling with your jug of gravy and some lovely roast potatoes (As a treat you can try roasting them in the fat you spooned out of your roasting tray. Some stewed red cabbage and a dollop of apple sauce will finish this off perfectly).

Fruit smoothie

• 1 banana
• 2 ripe mangoes
• 400ml can coconut milk
• zest and juice of 1 lime
• a pinch of cardamom seeds, pods and husks removed, seeds pounded
a handful of ice cubes

to garnish
• a little lime zest
• freshly ground black pepper

Peel the banana and roughly chop it. Skin the mangoes, remove the stones and roughly chop the flesh. Put the fruit in a food processor or liquidizer and blend together with the rest of the ingredients. Make sure you blend the mixture really well, then pour the fruit smoothie into a tall, chilled glass. Sprinkle over a bit of lime zest and some freshly ground black pepper. Drink straight away.

Omega 3 and couscous

• 700g red mullet and/or sardines, scaled, filleted and pinboned
• olive oil
• 2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 bulb of fennel, herby tops removed and reserved and bulb finely chopped
• 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 1 bay leaf
• 400g couscous
• 500g mixed ripe tomatoes
• 2 anchovy fillets, chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 lemons, zested and halved
• 8 tablespoons natural yoghurt
• a small handful of fresh mint, torn

First of all, lay your fish out in one layer on your worktop to give you an idea of how much you are dealing with. Next get yourself a pan with a lid – ideally one that’s the right size for the fish to be spread out in one layer. This is so that it can all cook at the same time. Put your pan on the heat, add 4 or 5 tablespoons of olive oil, and slowly fry your onions, fennel, chilli, fennel seeds and bay leaf with the lid on until nice and softened. This should take about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile put your couscous in a bowl and just cover it with salted, boiling water. Put to one side to soak for about 5 minutes. When the onions are sweet and soft, add the tomatoes and anchovies, stir together and carefully season to taste. Shake the pan so that the onions and tomatoes cover the bottom of the pan evenly. Dress the couscous lightly with a little olive oil and the juice and zest of one of the lemons. Sprinkle the couscous over the top of the onions and tomatoes in one even layer. Then place the fish over the top of that and finish off with a drizzle of olive oil. Place the lid on top and simmer slowly on the hob for about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the yoghurt with salt, pepper and the remaining lemon juice and sprinkle over the reserved fennel tops and mint. Serve the pan of fish in the middle of the table with a bowl of yoghurt and let everyone help themselves. Lightly stir the fish up, check the seasoning and eat straight away.

Asparagus soup with a poached egg on toast

• 800g asparagus, woody ends removed
olive oil
• 2 medium white onions, peeled and chopped
• 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and copped
• 2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
• 2 litres good-quality chicken or vegetable stock, preferably organic
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 10 small very fresh free-range or organic eggs
• 8 slices of ciabatta bread
• a knob of butter
• extra virgin olive oil

Chop the tips off your asparagus and put these to one side for later. Roughly chop the asparagus stalks. Get a large, deep pan on the heat and add a good lug of olive oil. Gently fry the onions, celery and leeks for around 10 minutes, until soft and sweet, without colouring. Add the chopped asparagus stalks and stock and simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on. Remove from the heat and blitz with a hand-held blender or in a liquidizer. Season the soup bit by bit (this is important) with salt and pepper until just right. Put the soup back on the heat, stir in the asparagus tips, bring back to the boil and simmer for a few more minutes until the tips have softened.

Just before I’m ready to serve the soup, I get a wide casserole-type pan on the heat with 8 to 10cm of boiling water. Using really fresh eggs, I very quickly crack all 10 into the water. Don’t worry about poaching so many at the same time. They don’t have to look perfect. A couple of minutes and they’ll be done, as you want them to be a bit runny. Toast your ciabatta slices. Using a slotted spoon, remove all the poached eggs to a plate and add a knob of butter to them. To serve, divide the soup between eight warmed bowls and place a piece of toast into each. Put a poached egg on top, cut into it to make it runny, season and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.