Salads, stuffed veg, fish curry and some soupy mussels: seasonal favourites from Observer Food Monthly, with matching wines.
Bruno Loubet's petits farcis de Provence
Stuffed vegetables are a great Provençal dish to cook for a big party because you can pre-cook them and simply re-heat them just before serving. Serve directly from the cooking dish.
mini aubergines 6
small squashes 6
red onions 6
vine-ripe tomatoes 6
olive oil 4 tbsp
good-quality chopped tomatoes 1 x 400g can
black olives a handful
garlic cloves 2, chopped
sage leaves 12, chopped
rosemary leaves 1 tbsp
thyme leaves 1 tsp
For the farce (stuffing)
semolina couscous 200g
olive oil 1 tbsp
boiling water about 100ml
basil leaves 2 tbsp
flat-leaf parsley 2 tbsp
soft goat's cheese 100g
dried breadcrumbs 2 tbsp
garlic cloves 4, finely chopped
parmesan cheese 50g
egg 1, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 195C/gas mark 5½. Cut the tops off the vegetables and scoop out the centres with a small knife or spoon. Cut all the vegetable insides finely and place in a small pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cook them over a low heat until soft, then remove from the heat and set aside.
For the farce, place the couscous in a bowl, season with salt and add the olive oil. Pour over the boiling water, mix well, then press the top with the back of the spoon to compress the couscous. Cover with clingfilm and leave to absorb the water for about 5 minutes.
Place the cooked vegetable trimmings in a food processor with the herbs, goats' cheese and breadcrumbs and garlic. Process until well chopped, then place in a bowl with the couscous, parmesan and egg. Mix well with a spoon and check the seasoning.
You need to start to cook the vegetables before they go in the oven. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a roasting tin placed over a medium heat. Add the hollowed-out aubergines, squash and onions and start to colour them all over - this should take about 4 minutes. Once lightly coloured, turn the heat off, lift the vegetables out of the tin and add the tinned tomatoes, olives, garlic and herbs. Stir to mix.
Fill the vegetables with the farce, then replace them in the roasting tin on top of the tomato mixture. Place the tin in the oven for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the stuffing is piping hot.
Mange Tout by Bruno Loubet (Ebury, RRP £25). To order a copy for £18.49 with free UK p&p, click here
★ Wine match (all wines chosen by David Williams)
Domaine des Oullières Rosé, Côteaux d'Aix, Provence, France 2012 (£9.95, Yapp Bros)
Domaine Oullière's rosé is super fresh and zippy with notes of watermelon, strawberry and citrus freshness.
Nigel Slater's herb burgers
A greener, more interesting version of the classic beanburger. They are at their most charming made as small patties and stuffed into buns.
mung beans 400g can
flageolet beans 400g can
spring onions 6
rapeseed oil 1 tbsp
basil a large handful
garlic cloves 2, peeled and crushed
parsley about 8g, chopped
buns, to serve 6
tomatoes 4, sliced
mayonnaise about 6 tbsp
Drain and rinse the beans in a colander or sieve under cold running water. Finely slice the spring onions and let them soften in the oil over a mo derate heat. Don't let them brown. Add the basil leaves, the finely chopped chives, the garlic cloves, peeled and crushed, and chopped parsley. When the herbs have darkened a little, tip in the drained beans and season the mixture generously.
Using a potato masher, partially crush the mixture so that there are smooth bits and rough bits, producing a texture that will be interesting to eat. Mould small balls of the mixture into thick, flat patties - you will get about 12. They are fragile, so treat them carefully. Set them down on a baking sheet, then refrigerate for a good 20 minutes.
Warm a thin layer of oil in a non-stick frying pan, then place the patties down in the pan, a few at a time, leaving room to flip them over. When the underside is golden brown, carefully turn the patties over and cook the other side. Drain briefly on kitchen paper then stuff into the buns with slices of tomato and a slather of mayonnaise.
★ Wine match
Domaine de la Croix de Chaintres Saumur-Champigny, Loire France 2012 (£11.99, Waitrose)
This has a waft of green herbal freshness to match the herbs of the burgers. Give it half an hour in the fridge for the full refreshment factor.
Rick Stein's cod curry
As I watched this dish being cooked in Pondicherry, I thought it was the perfect recipe for our own cod; you could also try it with pollock, haddock or hake. As I'm rather too fond of saying, if we could get fish dishes like this anywhere, everyone would love fish.
For the paste
small onion 1, chopped
small tomato 1, chopped
fresh or frozen coconut 80g, grated or chopped
garlic 6 cloves, 30g, peeled
dried Kashmiri chillies 9, stalks snipped off
black peppercorns 1 tbsp
For the fish
vegetable oil 50ml
black mustard seeds 1 tsp
urid dal (husked) 1 tsp
turmeric 2 tsp
cod fillet (or pollock, haddock or hake) 600g, cut into 4cm slices
fresh curry leaves a handful
fresh coriander leaves a handful
boiled basmati rice and chapatis to serve
To make the paste, put all the paste ingredients in a mini food processor and blend to a thick paste, adding a splash of water if needed. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or karahi over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and urid dal and fry for 30 seconds, then add the paste and the turmeric, and fry for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add the water, bring to the boil then add the cod. Cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked through, occasionally shaking the pan gently to distribute the heat (avoid using a utensil to stir as the fish is delicate and will break up). Finally add the curry leaves and coriander to the pan and serve with rice and Indian bread.
Rick Stein's India (BBC Books, RRP £25). To order a copy for £18.99 with free UK p&p, click here
★ Wine match
Pegasus Bay Riesling, Waipara Valley, New Zealand 2010 (£16.99, Waitrose)
A glass of this top Kiwi riesling would bring ripe tropical fruit and sugar sweetness to cushion the heat of the chilli.
Mitch Tonks's mussels with peas and basil
This is really a soup-style dish, great with a lump of sourdough or served on toast. Play around with the herbs - it also works well with tarragon.
live mussels 2kg
white wine 100ml
olive oil 50ml
spring onions 8, sliced, on an angle, about 10mm
garlic 2 cloves, crushed
ripe tomatoes 4, skinned and chopped
good jellied chicken stock 100ml
peas 150g (frozen are fine)
basil leaves a handful, shredded
Clean the mussels by washing quickly in cold water and tug off the beards.
Add the mussels to a pan, pour over the wine and cover. Cook until the mussels have opened, discarding any that remain closed. Leave until cool enough to handle then remove all the meat from the shells. Strain the liquor, reduce by half, and reserve.
In a separate pan heat the olive oil and add the spring onions and garlic and cook until softened. Add the tomatoes then add the reserved mussel juice and the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the peas and mussels, season with salt and white pepper then stir in the basil and serve with bread or on top of toasted sourdough.
Mitch Tonks is the chef proprietor of the Seahorse in Dartmouth, Devon; mitchtonks.co.uk
★ Wine match
Villemarin Picpoul de Pinet, Côteaux du Languedoc, France 2012 (£7.99 or £6.99 if you buy two bottles, Majestic)
If moules marinières might call for briney Muscadet from the Loire, this Mediterranean alternative fits with southern France's equivalent dry white seafood partner: a cool, apple-and-lemon-scented Picpoul de Pinet.
Nigel Slater's salad of summer leaves, cured pork and cherries
The sweet-sharp notes of the cherries lift the smoky, herbal notes of cured ham. And yes, I think you must stone the cherries for this.
ENOUGH FOR 2 AS A LIGHT LUNCH
salad leaves 4 generous handfuls
thinly sliced cured ham such as lomo, speck or coppa 750-100g
cherries 4 handfuls, stoned
For the dressing:
Dijon mustard 1 tsp
red wine vinegar 2 tsp
olive oil 50ml
double cream 3 tbsp
parsley a few sprigs
To make the dressing, put the mustard in a small bowl with a pinch of salt, the red wine vinegar, olive oil and a grinding of black pepper. Mix with a fork or a small whisk, then introduce the cream. Finely chop the parsley leaves and add to the dressing.
Toss the salad leaves with the cured ham. Halve and stone the cherries and add them to the leaves. Trickle over the dressing and serve.
Tender: Volume II by Nigel Slater (4th Estate, RRP £30). To order a copy for £20 with free UK p&p, click here
★ Wine match
Marks & Spencer Frappato, Sicily, Italy 2012 (£7.99)
A wine that works best after half an hour or so in the fridge, and whose colour, flavours and acidity have the same cherryish hue and vibrant freshness as you will find on the plate.
Rick Stein's cod curry. Photograph: Jean Cazals