Shallow-fried vegetarian chimichangas

A proper chimichanga is a whacking great burrito that’s been deep fried, thereby endowing it with the power of a zillion calories. This version is somewhat lower in fat, and will give you an insight into just how much oil a tortilla can absorb. When you fry them, they’re like little sponges – however much grease you add, they’ll suck it all up. Where does it all go? Hips, arse and belly, I think.
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Batata harra with ras el hanout

What could possibly be better than good old British chips? Try this. It makes the humble chip seem dowdy and pale.

Maybe it’s overfamiliarity that’s making me cheat on our national dish. Batata harra is like the dashing foreign exchange student who turns up at school, blows smoke in your face and instantly gets off with the girl you’ve been lusting after since the summer before last. Chips can’t be expected to compete with that.
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Lasagne with spinach, leeks, mushrooms and goat cheese

Here’s a proper vegetarian main course that even the most ardent meat-eaters won’t turn their noses up at.

From chopping board to table, this takes about two hours. You can prepare any part of it in advance and put it all together when you’re ready to cook.

I’d recommend making your own pasta, as it’s much better when it’s fresh. Two eggs and 200g of flour makes enough pasta for this recipe. If you use the dried stuff, though, boil the sheets beforehand. I know the instructions on the pack say you don’t need to cook it first, but that’s terrible advice – the bits of pasta at the edges of the dish will go rock hard and inedible in the oven.
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Breadmaker crumpets

Homemade crumpets are unbelievably good. I’ve always liked the ones you find in shops, but after tasting the real thing they seem as dense and rubbery as hockey pucks.

The crumpets from this recipe – nicked from the Hairy Bikers and adapted slightly for use in a breadmaker, so they’re guaranteed to rise properly – are amazing. Crispy on the outside, soft and light and slightly chewy inside. I don’t think I’ll ever bother buying them again.
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Wild rice and greens soup

This was a bit of an experiment that turned out surprisingly well. The rice, greens and broth remained resolutely separate, despite some vigorous boiling, and my plan to blend it all up into a proper soupy consistency was foiled. I think it might have been a bit gritty if I’d done that. Still, there’s nothing wrong with a chunky soup…
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