From The Oven To The Table, by Diana Henry

You know how I’m on this Excess Baggage thing – well, I’m supposed to be on an Excess Baggage thing, but, well, March. Anyways, when my bestie and I decided to embark on this “journey” we set our own rewards for every 5kgs we lost. My stated reward for every 5 kgs I lost was to be a new cookbook – and yes, I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s not really.

This cookbook was my reward for my first 5kgs and I’m not sure that I could have chosen better.

Diana Henry books are always a treat – in fact, I don’t know why I haven’t told you about more of her recipes – and this one is no exception. The tagline on the cover says, “simple dishes that look after themselves,” and that’s exactly what this book is about – throwing ingredients into a dish or roasting tin and letting the oven do all the heavy lifting. And best of all? There’s an entire chapter devoted to Henry’s (and my) favourite ingredient for tray bakes – chicken thighs.

So far, I’ve made:

  • A French-style Chicken with Dijon mustard, crème fraiche and vermouth
  • Chicken with lemon, capers and thyme (the recipe is here).
  • Roast salmon and green beans with cornichons and mustard greens
  • Chicken and cauliflower
  • Cumin-roast green beans and tomatoes with tahini and coriander
Some bad photos of the chicken with lemon etc

On my list is so much more: the lamb fillet with herb butter, radishes and peas, toad in the hole with leeks and cheddar cheese, chicken with wild mushrooms, pumpkin, rice and sage butter, chilli-roast tomatoes with feta cheese, yoghurt, dill, mint and pistachios, baked fennel with chilli and parmesan cheese, and roast radishes with honey, mint and preserved lemon. And that’s just some of the pages I’ve got post-it notes on. 

As for something sweet? I’m looking forward to having a crack at the chocolate and red wine cake. (I know, right?).

With so many great recipes it was tough for me to pick just one to bring you; I was tempted to go with the French-style mustardy chicken, but I’ve gone with the roasted beans – even though Sarah was initially “I’m not sure how I feel about that…”

Cumin-roast Green Beans and Tomato with Tahini and Coriander

For the vegetables

  • 500g cherry tomatoes – on the vine if possible, mixed colours if possible, but don’t stress if you can only get off the vine red ones.
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g green beans – topped but not tailed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped coriander leaves

For the tahini dressing

  • 75g tahini (I use un-hulled tahini)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 5 tablespoons water (more if needed)
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons runny honey

What you do with it

  • Preheat the oven to 190C fan
  • Put the tomatoes in a roasting tin, toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season them well. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Toss the green beans in a bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the cumin seeds. Scatter over the tomatoes and return to the oven for a final 10 minutes. At the end of this time the tomatoes should be soft and the beans slightly scorched.
  • To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and season well. The tahini will “seize” when the lemon juice hits it but will loosen up again when you add the water and beat hard with a wooden spoon.
  • Spoon the dressing onto a plate, add the vegetables on top and scatter with sesame seeds and coriander.

You’ll find more recipes from the book here.

A photo from the book

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

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