Strongly emblematic of Asian-American cuisine, handmade dumplings make for a deliciously flavoursome & impressive starter, party snack or meal, and are surprisingly easy (if admittedly not enormously speedy) to make.
The unusual way of cooking the courgettes in this light summery salad gives them an incredible flavour & texture, while the zingy dressing offers that genuine, hard-to-put-your-finger-on Italian flavour that you only find in the best trattorias & delicatessens.
Delicious as a fancy antipasti option, confit tomatoes also work beautifully as the star of simple pasta dishes. Their flavour concentrates amazingly as they cook, and they keep their shape really well throughout roasting, making them a bit more elegant than ordinary roasted tomatoes.
I’ve always been a fan of Welsh rarebit toasts – my parents used to occasionally make them for lunch on Saturdays when I was small and I could never understand why they tasted so good. Now that I’m older, I understand that they’re pretty much pure ‘umami’. And I also know now just how good they taste with a cold drink.
The gin & tonic combination in these poached pears came about sort of by accident due to having no wine opener (or wine for that matter) in our new place to make my usual poaching recipe, but the G&T version turned out to be a real revelation – the gin gives a light bitterness that works beautifully as a counterpoint to the sweet fruitiness of the pear, and the various aromatics flavour the syrup beautifully.