How to Prepare an Artichoke

A variety of edible thistle, the Artichoke is one of the real joys of summer in both flavour and fragrance. Though cultivated in Britain – particularly in the South – the heartland of the Globe Artichoke is the Mediterranean, where it grows wild and in prodigious quantity. Indeed, the artichoke is best known for its use in Italian cuisine. But before we get onto all of the clever things that can be done with artichoke hearts, let me show you how to prepare the vegetable and enjoy its meaty leaves.

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Cooking with Wild Garlic

If you’ve been cycling or walking through forest recently you may have picked up an often quite strong scent of garlic in the air. In season between late winter and spring, wild garlic (also, ramsons or bear’s garlic) grows in prodigious quantity in damp, deciduous woodland. It can be identified not only by its garlic-like scent, but also by its distinctive lush green leaves and pretty white petals. If you can get your hands on some, and I’d be surprised if there isn’t any nearby, then it has many culinary applications, chief among which is Wild Garlic Pesto.

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Red Pepper and Sunflower Seed Pesto Recipe (1)

Though much maligned, getting home from work and having little time to cook can often force you into coming up with some delicious meal ideas. Simple and usually relatively frugal, these recipes are among the most satisfying to develop and jot down.

I love the mid-week “make do with what you have lurking in the fridge” attitude; it can really give you that creative spark you wish you’d had the weekend before. This recipe for Red Pepper and Sunflower Seed Pesto is a perfect example of that. After all, aside from a portion of spaghetti it only contains 4 ingredients!

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Sweet Potato and Mozzarella Calzone Recipe (4)

A food of convenience, calzoni are the last word in edible portability. In essence a type of Italian street food, these “bread pasties” have become increasingly popular in the UK and beyond. It’s a rather intriguing – though welcome – development that both local and national pizzerias and Italian restaurants have begun offering calzoni alongside their usual fare. After all, a calzone is probably best suited to the busy lunch hour, dispensed by a market vendor to the satisfaction of all. Still, I hope you’ll agree that once open and spilling forth, the contents of my Sweet Potato and Mozzarella Calzone are really rather appetising.

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Kale, Walnut and Lemon Pearl Barley Risotto Recipe

Risotto is a dish that adapts well to every season. Depending on what ingredients you use to flavour yours it can be light and delicate (Leek and Pea Risotto), or rich and decadent (Red Pepper and Goats Cheese Risotto). However, flavours are not the only way in which you can influence the seasonality of a dish. Though traditionally made with short, fat rice, it is possible to incorporate other grains or even pasta into a risotto. This recipe for Kale, Walnut and Lemon Pearl Barley Risotto runs with that idea, taking a step closer to winter perfection.

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