These can range from a soft, spreadable young cheese with a mild flavour, to a well-matured, strong, zesty, very goaty-flavoured one.
For eating, I like the strong-flavoured French Crottin de Chavignol, the English Chabis, or Mine Gabhar, which is made in County Wexford, Ireland.
The log-shaped Chèvre, dusted in ashes, is a medium-matured softer goats’ cheese. For a fresh farmhouse goats’ cheese with a milder flavour that also grills very well, Perroche, made in Herefordshire, is superb. But because the quantity of goats’ cheese made on farms fluctuates with the seasons, it is often in short supply.
There are farm-made soft-rind goats’ cheeses labelled Welsh or Somerset, which are fine for cooking.Goats’ cheeses in general are good for cooking. For a strong flavour, choose Crottin de Chavignol; farm-made soft-rind goats’ cheeses labelled Welsh or Somerset will be mellower.
A tin of cooked lentils allows you to rustle this lovely, French-inspired salad up in minutes. You could also serve it without the cheese as an accompaniment to chicken and fish. Let's raise the pulse rate!
Anchovies, mi-cuit tomatoes, olives, oregano: all strong flavours, but combine them in a processor and you end up with this lovely pate-like result. Spread it on to toasted bread for a type of bruschetta - useful as nibbles at a party.
An easy and quick vegetarian tart, this one uses ready-made puff pastry and a wonderful jar of caramelised red onions that should be a staple in your storecupboard.
Soufflés can be a bit tricky to get right, but if you're worried about them, these twice-baked versions are ideal as they combine all the fluffy loveliness of a soufflé with eminent good behaviour. Make them ahead or even freeze them if you prefer.
Vegetarians certainly won't feel short-changed with this sumptuous meat-free version of shepherd's pie: in fact, meat eaters will no doubt love it as much as they do!