Which country produces the best olive oil?
Difficult to answer, this. The olives of each country have their own character and flavour, which will even vary from region to region: a Tuscan olive oil, for instance, is different to a Ligurian olive oil. If I were being a purist I would suggest that Provençal dishes should be made with oils made in Provence, and Italian, Greek or Spanish dishes made with the oil produced in that country. But unless you do masses of cooking it's best to find an olive oil you're happy with, and my recommendation is to have an extra virgin oil for special occasions, along with an everyday blended oil.
How to store oils: This has to be in the coolest-possible place, though not in the fridge, as oil solidifies when it gets too cold. Light is not good for oils, either, so a cool, dark corner would be the best place to store them. Most oils have date stamps, so watch these, and although it is more expensive to buy in smaller quantities, it is still cheaper than throwing out stale oil that never got used.
Veggies will love this recipe – marinating mushrooms adds masses of flavour. Serve them with a sweet-spice pimenton mayonnaise for dipping.
Plenty of Italian influence in this wonderfully ingenious recipe…as we all know, ham and cheese are made for each other, so simply add polenta for a quick and easy supper dish.
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!
A great way to add lots of vegetables and pulses to a buffet spread - and so easy you can make it well in advance.
Make the most of summer beans and other vegetables in this gorgeous vegetarian recipe which can be eaten on its own or as an accompaniment. And if the weather is less than kind, you can serve it warm instead of cold as a salad.