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!
Low-fat recipes often need quite assertive ingredients in order to give you plenty of taste and flavour: this lovely Japanese-inspired soup is a great example, with shiitake mushrooms adding punch and meaty depth.
The four 'stars' in this case are celeriac, carrot, cabbage and spring onion. The result is a very crunchy fresh-tasting coleslaw that can be made the day before, if you cover it with clingfilm and keep it in the refrigerator until needed.
This is a low-fat variation of Thai Grilled Beef Salad with Grapes. In Thailand they serve it with pomelo, which is very similar to grapefruit.
This is something a little different to ring the changes whilst we have an abundance of sprouting broccoli. I think it goes very well with most oriental dishes or just by itself with some steamed rice.
These lovely peppers can be made in advance, so are perfect for entertaining as a starter - full of flavour, colour and intense flavours of Italian vegetables.