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Bring your veg game up a notch.
"When cooking green vegetables such as tender-stem broccoli or asparagus make sure to over season the water heavily with salt. That way you ensure the seasoning really gets into the vegetables. Keep the cooking to a minimum so the vegetables stay crisp and green. It is never nice eating brown overcooked vegetables that should be served bright green." - Tom Cenci, Duck & Waffle
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"Cauliflower leaves: don't throw them away! Wash them and chop them very roughly. Add to a roasting dish and coat with olive oil and salt. Roast them at about 180 for about 10-15 mins, or until charred and crispy. They are the perfect accompaniment to any roast dinner, banger (vegan of course) and mash or just by themselves!" – Meriel Armitage, Founder of Club Mexicana
“Beetroot are easy to roast as you just put them on a baking tray, skins on, and in to a fairly hot oven (200°C/180°C fan/ gas mark 6) for 45 minutes. You can wrap them loosely in foil or drizzle with oil if you like, but really they’re fine as they are. Young beetroot leaves can be shredded in to salads, while the older ones can be steamed or stir-fried like chard” – Bill Collison, the founder of Bill’s restaurants
"My top tip for getting roasted vegetables crunchy as if they have been shallow fried is to coat them in a batter of rice flour. The rice flour crisps up as the vegetables soften making for a lovely and healthier alternative to frying." – Mallika Basu
"Slow roast cherry tomatoes, or bigger ripe ones (cut in half First) at 140 degrees for 3 hours. Drizzle them with oil, salt & pepper before roasting. Then use them (as a topping or just drop them in and submerge) to any Asian dish, soups work best but fried rice is good. Adds instant umami to the dish." – Meriel Armitage, Founder of Club Mexicana
"I love the smokiness of burnt aubergine pulp. Aubergine is a great sponge to take on any flavour, but smokiness adds another dimension to whatever you use the pulp for, whether for dressing, or a dip or as an accompaniment. Although aubergines are best roasted on an open fire or on a barbecue, if you don’t have either, they work just as well directly on a gas hob, or under a very hot grill.
"Roast away all you like and don’t be afraid as the skin burns, once the aubergines are roasted on all sides, leave them in bowl covered with cling film for 15-20 mins, the aubergine cooks through and then the skin peels off easily. The smoky flesh is your reward!’ – Vivek Singh, Executive Chef of The Cinnamon Collection
"I love cooking Jersey Royals. Just before they are cooked, I remove them from the heat and replace 1/3 of the water, add butter, several sprigs of dill and additional salt. Cover the pot with cling film and allow to steam for 15-20 minutes before serving." – Helena Puolakka, Chef Patron at Aster
"When making soups with spinach, make sure you retain the vibrancy of the leaves by only using boiling hot stock and then liquidising immediately – otherwise it can wilt and loose its emerald charm" – Adam Gray of Number Five at the Devonshire Club
"Scrape at the thick stems of king oyster mushrooms with a fork so that the flesh peels off in threads. It will look like a pulled meat. Add a good slug of olive oil to a roasting pan, add some chopped garlic and your favourite herbs (I like Mexican oregano) and mix. Cook in the oven at about 180, turning regularly, until most of the mushroom's moisture has evapourated and you're left with what looks like a tray of pulled pork. Delicious in tacos, on pizza, in a fluffy white bread roll! " – Meriel Armitage, Founder of Club Mexicana
“We use vegetables to layer up flavours of a dish. We even use vegetables to flavour some more of our classic sauces, we do a roasted onion hollandaise to serve with our braised artichoke and it tastes amazing. We slow roast onion halves, until juicy and charred on the outside, then put them in the clarified butter and slowly simmer to get the flavour out. Then we use that butter to make the hollandaise.” – Sophie Michell, Executive Chef at Home House
"Cook all your vegetables on an open fire. I don't mean gently sauté them in a little butter... I mean get a fire burning, (using hard wood) and get the fire roaring. When the fire is roasting hot, start throwing your vegetables on to the fire, all veg and any veg can be thrown on.
"Once they start to turn black, remove the vegetable out of direct heat and roast. At this stage, you can follow up your hard work and continue roasting it on the fire or alternatively, bring it inside and finish it in the oven.
"Once cooked, i.e. soft in the inside, leave the vegetables to cool a little and rub off all of the charred outside of the vegetable. Dice them in to chunks, add a little oil if necessary and season. The vegetables will taste similar to a toasted marshmallow does.
"I usually use the following veg: sweet potato, Scottish turnip, potatoes, leeks, red peppers, red onions, white onions, along with anything else that is in season." – Andy Waugh, Mac & Wild
"Recently we've been cooking a lot of courgettes and we find the best way is braising them slowly for up to three hours with whole garlic cloves, chilli flakes and plenty of olive oil. You need to stir them quite frequently and keep them on a low heat. Once they have almost completely broken down and started to smell incredible, you finish them with a good amount of lemon juice. It’s a really nice way to cook them and highlights a completely different flavour profile of a courgette." – Harry Kaufman and George Ryle, The Garden Cafe
"During the summer it is easy to find yourself in front of a barbecue. Everything tastes better when grilled on embers… Put a couple of whole washed peppers on the grill and keep turning until the skins are completely burnt. Then put them in a paper bag to cool for 30 minutes. Peel and clean, removing the seeds.
"Cut into long pieces, put in a bowl and dress with salt, garlic and olive oil.
The peppers will taste smokey and rich; perfect to use as a twist in a sandwich, in a salad or as a side for a BBQ steak, giving everything a touch of south Italy." – Matteo Alle, Co founder of Radio Alice
"To make best use of aubergine (which can be the perfect meat- free alternative filling to many recipes) remove the top and bottom of the vegetable with a knife. With a vegetable peeler, peel the remaining aubergine in stripes, leaving half skin on and half removed. Less skin removes some of the bitterness and is more balanced with half the sweet skinless flesh. Cut the aubergine in cubes. Boil, drain and place them in a colander squeezing the extra liquid to create a drier mix. (you can even put the base of another pan on top to squeeze it fully!). This dry consistency is the perfect tip to make aubergine adaptable to many recipes.
I like to use this mix to make polpette or aubergine meat (free) balls. By adding salt, pepper, parmesan and parsley to the mix, I then roll in some egg yolk and the bread crumbs from day old bread. You can then deep or shallow fry until crispy and golden. Buon Appetito! – Masha Rener, Head Chef of Lina Stores
"Vegetables grow in two different ways, below ground and above ground, so there are two simple tips to follow below when simply boiling vegetables:
"Vegetables that grow below ground should be boiled from cold water. Add the the vegetables to a pan of cold water, add in a herb and cook on a low heat. The vegetables are then boiled slowly, ensuring they are infused with flavours.
"Vegetables grown above ground are much more delicate and complex. Always cook vegetables grown above ground in already boiling water for a shorter period to ensure they hold their flavour and fragrance. Tip: Remember a farmer takes a year to grow a vegetable, and it takes the cook a few mins (boiling) or a few hours (roasting) to cook it, so respect it for what it is and keep it simple." – Oliver Gladwin Chef Patron, Rabbit, The Shed and Nutbourne
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