In European cookery seeds are most often used in baking, to add taste and texture to bread and biscuits. Other cuisines incorporate seeds in stews and stir-fries.
Sesame seeds, which are little blonde disc shapes, have the most dramatic warm, aromatic flavour; sunflower seeds taste like they are good for you (and they are) and work well in bread; pumpkin seeds have a bit more bite than sunflower and tiny poppy seeds give a fragile graininess that is good in sponge or Madeira cake.
This is a very quick and easy loaf, but with lots of varying textures. And don't worry if the sunflower seeds turn green during baking – it actually looks very attractive.
This very simple little salad makes a nice side dish. I like to serve it as a nibble before an oriental meal. If you have problems tracking down Japanese ingredients, try www.clearspring.co.uk
This recipe was given to me by chef Norbert Kostner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok when I visited the cookery school there. It's lovely served as a first course or included in a cold-buffet menu.
This can be a quick supper dish for the family or it's exotic enough for entertaining: all you need is a fan steamer – bamboo or the old-fashioned kind.
Adding pimenton to a plain tomato chutney is an inspired move and makes it unbeatable with barbecued meats, sausages and cheeses. A great way of using up a glut in the garden!
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