Pine nuts (or pine kernels)
Tiny and teardrop shaped, pine nuts come from the Mediterranean stone pine.
They have become known in Britain through our love of Italian food – pine nuts on their own or in pesto are a popular ingredient in the cuisine of the Ligurian coast which includes Genoa – but in fact their use is widespread through the Mediterranean world.
This is a lovely spicy salad with Moroccan overtones – perfect for a buffet lunch, party or serving with cold cuts and spicy chutneys.
I've always loved the fragrant flavour of spiced pilau rice, and could easily eat it just on its own, adding nuts to give it some crunch. However, it's also an excellent accompaniment to any spiced or curried dish.
Make the peppers ahead for an easy dish when entertaining. Stuffing vegetables with a mixture of rice, nuts and dried fruit adds plenty of flavour and a very Mediterranean element.
Bubble and squeak is a classic leftover recipe for greens, but making it rösti-style and adding some mature Cheddar adds a new dimension. These little individual rösti are brilliant served with sausages or leftover cold turkey and ham and a selection
Every year I grow enough basil leaves to see me through the summer and, most importantly, to make at least one home-made pesto sauce. A lot of precious leaves are needed to make up 2 oz (50 g), but it really is worth it...