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Chakchouka

Chakchouka

This dish is popular all over the Mediterranean region and there are many different variations. Basically it is a tomato–based vegetable stew, like a ratatouille, with eggs poached right in the mixture. Serve it for a fast and sustaining lunch.

Mozzarella with capsicum on crostini

Mozzarella with capsicum on crostini

Here is a colourful, Mediterranean–style dish that is very easy to make. The vegetables can be prepared in advance, and left to soak up the flavours in the dressing, then mixed with the mozzarella and piled onto freshly toasted, garlicky ciabatta bread. A perfect summer lunch.

Cheese and root vegetable gratin

Cheese and root vegetable gratin

This country–style gratin tops nutty–flavoured root vegetables with a crisp mixture of wholemeal bread cubes and cheese. It makes a really satisfying main dish on a chilly day. Serve in the baking dish, straight from the oven, with a leafy green vegetable or mixed salad alongside.

Pannacotta

Pannacotta

The traditional recipe for this ‘cooked cream’, from the Piedmont region of Italy, is made with rich thick cream. This lighter version, served with a pretty rhubarb and strawberry compote, is delightfully smooth and creamy yet much lower in fat. Prepare it the day before serving, if possible.

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Chickpea and vegetable eggah

Chickpea and vegetable eggah

Popular throughout the Middle East, this thick and chunky Arab omelette is served flat, not rolled or folded, and is more like a cake. It is packed with vegetables and chickpeas, and is equally delicious hot or cold – ideal for a picnic.

Creamy curried eggs

Creamy curried eggs

A coconut curry sauce goes beautifully with eggs, and an aromatic vegetable pilaf is perfect alongside. Finish with some vitamin C–rich fruit, such as sliced mangoes, to ensure maximum absorption of iron from the eggs.

Fetta and couscous salad

Fetta and couscous salad

Apart from being an excellent source of starchy carbohydrate, couscous is a great background for other ingredients. In this lunch salad, both raw and lightly steamed vegetables are added to the couscous together with toasted almonds, fresh mint and creamy fetta.

Fish in egg and lemon sauce

Fish in egg and lemon sauce

Steaming fish atop vegetables and then using the cooking liquid to make a sauce is a good way to retain water–soluble vitamins. Here a piece of fish is cooked with baby carrots and zucchini, and the stock is then used to make the classic Greek egg and lemon sauce called avgolemono.

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Fruity Bircher muesli

Fruity Bircher muesli

The original recipe for this nutritious breakfast cereal was developed over a century ago, by Dr Bircher–Benner at his clinic in Zurich. The technique of soaking the cereal, here using milk, makes it easier to digest, and also easier to eat.

Garlicky fresh cheese

Garlicky fresh cheese

This tangy, soft–textured yogurt cheese, flavoured with herbs and garlic, makes a healthy starter or snack, and is a great addition to a picnic basket, too. The garlic is blanched for a sweeter flavour. Serve with fresh vegetables for dipping, plus wholemeal bread, to be spread with the cheese.

Ginger-glazed pears with ricotta and rum raisins

Ginger-glazed pears with ricotta and rum raisins

This simple dessert tastes just as delicious as it looks. After brushing with a honey, lemon and ginger syrup, the hollowed–out pears are filled with rum–soaked raisins and ricotta. This is the perfect way to turn the classic combination of fresh fruit and cheese into something a bit special.

Tamarind vegetables and cashews

Tamarind vegetables and cashews

Tamarind has a distinctly sweet and sour taste that is absolutely tasty when combined with vegetables.

Vietnamese fish salad

Vietnamese fish salad

‘Cooked’ in a powerful rice and vinegar marinade, this simple yet effective salad marries the soft texture of fish with the crunch of peanuts. With fresh herbs and hot chilli as flavourings, it makes a great lunch or dinner that tastes delicious and is good for you too.

Tender beef with fried rice

Tender beef with fried rice

Stir–fries are a simple way to incorporate a variety of meat, vegetables and grains into your diet in one dish. Here, thin slices of steak team with fried rice and colourful vegetables to make a delicious combination of textures and flavours.

Baked eggplant with yogurt

Baked eggplant with yogurt

In this delicious dish, grilled slices of eggplant and zucchini are layered with a rich tomato sauce and cumin–flavoured yogurt, then baked. Thick slices of bread and a crisp green salad are the perfect accompaniments to make a satisfying meal.

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