Funky Pretty – cauliflower and aubergine curry

"Need some help?" enquired one of the two charming students sitting opposite us for the 'all you can eat' thali. The hotel on MG road had seen grander days (Winston Churchill once stayed there) but now was a very popular lunch destination serving delicious food. Friendly staff brought us a couple of teaspoons, but I had been to South India before and had no need of these.

Harvest Greek salad

At last I have a small crop of cherry tomatoes! These, plus the herbs which always grow in the garden, call for a celebratory salad on this hottest of days. In Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me, by Richard Fariña, the protagonist sets out carrying a jar of feta in his bag. A modern version of the latter is a key ingredient here.

Hot Sauce

I can eat it for breakfast, lunch and supper. I use it as a base ingredient for many other recipes - yes, with chili but also breakfast, barbecue pork and beans or tortillapatis. Doesn't taste anything like the bottled varieties - just hot sunshine on a plate (corn chip). Everyone has their own personal recipe, cooked or raw, mild or scorchio, but if you need somewhere to start look no further.

Minestrone senza formaggio

Taking a quick tour of the internet before writing this recipe I realised that there are wildly different ways of approaching this buxom vegetable soup. Some, incredibly to me, have no tomato (isn't that a minestre?) The subject of stock is heated. Some include ham and cheese. So, if you are happy with your own recipe there is no need to change. But, for anyone who has never made minestrone before, you might want to start here:

No meat paella

Put the oil in a pan on a medium heat with the chopped marjoram, sliced fennel, garlic, chilli, salt, pepper and the halloumi cut into 1cm cubes. Stir this around for a few minutes, then empty out on a plate, leaving most of the oil in the pan. Now add the sliced onion and when it has gone translucent, the rice. You can put in a few strands of saffron now too.