A bush of garden thyme will be a good friend to any cook, as it provides fresh leaves all the year round. It has a really strong, warm resinous flavour and needs to be used sparingly if it is not to overpower other tastes.
A teaspoonful of chopped thyme added to a salad dressing is a good idea, and I use little branches of thyme in my stocks and casseroles – and always add some to beef stews.
As it is a herb that dries well, it's useful for flat dwellers and non-gardeners.
Black-eyed beans are the lovely nutty beans that are popular in recipes from the deep south of America and, with the addition of other vegetables, they make very good beancakes.
Serve this hot on a cold winter's day with some buttery jacket potatoes or, if the weather is warm, it's lovely served cold with salads and chutney or pickles.
This is a great way to serve celery as a vegetable. I used silicone paper (baking parchment) for this as it looks very pretty if you take the whole parcel to the table – otherwise foil would do. For 4 to 6 people, you can double the ingredients...
Cheap and nutritious, trout is hugely under-rated and still good value for money. This is a brilliant way of serving it - light and summery with hardly any fat.
This goes very well with some basmati rice cooked with onion, or else with some very creamy mashed potato.
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