Anna Jones is on a mission to encourage people to cook differently. The chef and food writer is blazing the trail for a contemporary style of cooking that takes into consideration the current state of the planet and the increasingly limited time we have in our day-to-day lives.
Her new book One: Pot, Pan, Planet is a guide to cooking more sustainably, economically and efficiently, by using only one pot, pan or tray per meal. It's filled with over 200 simple yet flavoursome vegetarian recipes, from baked dahl with tamarind-glazed sweet potato to one-pot Persian noodle soup. It also includes three dedicated chapters on how to make your diet more planet-friendly and reduce waste, with practical, easy-to-follow advice.
Anna sat down with us to reveal more about her passion for one-pot cooking and share three of her favourite recipes from One: Pot, Pan, Planet...
My latest book one is all about cooking knock-out delicious food in a way that’s kinder to the planet but also easy and life friendly. One pot or one pan cooking is key to that. One aspect of food sustainability I had not considered is the amount of energy we use in the kitchen (in the UK a third of our energy goes to the kitchen). So if we can reduce the amount of things we turn on each time we cook and cook in one pot or pan on a single hob then we are saving energy and also saving water and resources when we wash up. Not to mention its an easy, simple and time saving way to cook.
There are so many ways we can make positive change – here are a few.
First of all is to frame sustainability in your kitchen positively. There is a lot of guilt in the sustainability conversation, but I like to think of every day as an opportunity to make positive change, to start from where you are and to not look back.
Next is to put plants at the centre of your plate as many times a day as possible. For me, that’s every meal. Eating a plant based diet is widely agreed to be the single most impactful thing we can do to fight climate change.
Waste is also a big issue. Making sure the food we buy is not wasted is another key shift we can fairly easily make in out homes. My book is filled with ways to help avoid waste.
I like a sturdy pan that will stand the test of time. Cast iron is my favourite as it seems to get better with age and you don’t need to worry about the coating peeling off. While I love a pan to be a workhorse is also has to look good. I use my pans all day every day and they are a constant feature in my kitchen.
My current favourite is the harrissa and lemon chickpea braise from One (below). Its super quick and is essentially an assembly of good ingredients in a pan (as all good cooking should be). It one of those dishes which comes together so quickly but the flavour tastes like you have been cooking it for hours. My kind of cooking.
Cooking vegetables like this (pan roasting) happens a lot in restaurant kitchens but it’s a good thing to do at home too. You get the vegetables going in the pan, building up a bit of colour and texture, then blast them in the oven to cook through; they get some direct heat and char from the hob, then some more mellow even heat from the oven. I love adding vinegar when I am cooking vegetables and it’s balanced here by the sweetness of the cauliflower, saffron and pine nuts. This recipe is inspired by the brilliant cook, Lola DeMille.
SERVES 4FOR THE YOGHURT
FOR THE CAULIFLOWER
Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7. Mix the mint and/or parsley and yoghurt in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, stir in a splash of olive oil, then set aside.
Heat a large oven-proof frying pan over a medium heat, add a good glug of olive oil, then add the cauliflower in a single layer (you may need to cook it in a few batches). Once all your cauliflower is browned on both sides (this will take about 10 minutes), put the lot back into the pan and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the stalks are soft and the florets crisp.
Remove the pan from the oven using an oven glove, then put it back on the hob over a medium heat, add the vinegar and saffron or turmeric then reduce the vinegar for about 2 minutes. Take off the heat, add the butter, toss the cauliflower in it to create a thick and glossy sauce, then stir through most of the parsley and/or coriander.
Spoon the yoghurt into a shallow serving bowl and use the back of a spoon to swirl it over the bottom, then tumble the buttery cauliflower in. Finish with the last bit of parsley, the pine nuts and some sumac, and serve with flatbreads.
For his birthday most years, I ask John what he’d like for breakfast. The answer is usually rösti. We lived in the Alps for a winter where we both fell in love with rösti. I worked in a bar, John worked up the mountain. We weren’t together then; we lived in a one-bed studio flat with four friends. There was a small cooker and our cooking options were as limited as our budget, so we ate a lot of those röstis from a packet, with chilli sauce. This is a long way from that vac-packed version. I serve it with a punchy tomato and ancho chilli chutney and sometimes an egg.
FOR THE RÖSTI
FOR THE ANCHO CHILLI CHUTNEY
Coarsely grate the potatoes, then season with salt and pepper. Place the grated potatoes into a clean tea towel, gather it up and twist the tea towel to squeeze as much moisture as possible out of your potatoes. Heat half the butter in the frying pan until melted and bubbling, then add the grated potato. Flatten the grated potatoes onto the pan slightly to make a pancake. Allow to cook for a couple of minutes without touching, then gently give the pan a shake so the butter coats the bottom evenly and the rösti comes loose.
Continue to cook over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until the bottom looks golden and crisp. To turn the rösti over, place a plate that fits just inside the pan on top, cover your hand with a tea towel to protect it, then turn the pan upside-down with confidence so the crispy bottom is now facing up on the plate. Add the second half of the butter to the pan. Now carefully slide the rösti back into the pan so the other side can crisp up. Cook for another 10 minutes, then slide it back on to the plate or a chopping board to serve.
Cut into quarters and then serve each quarter with a dollop of chutney, the kale, coriander leaves and stalks, spring onions, cheese, salt and pepper.
Put the cumin and chilli in a dry frying pan and toast for a couple of minutes then crush in a pestle and mortar. Put the frying pan back on the heat, add a little olive oil and fry the onion, garlic and ginger until soft. Add the tomatoes, the spices, the sugar and red wine vinegar. Bring to the boil then simmer for 25 minutes, squashing the tomatoes with the back of a spoon as they soften, until the chutney is sweet and sticky. Take the pan off the heat, squeeze in the lime juice.
This is a meal in a pan, a pan full of all the things I want to eat on a cold weeknight, and there is little more comforting than that. Most greens would work here in place of the kale. Jarred chickpeas are my choice– always. If you don't have preserved lemons, the zest of an unwaxed lemon will do fine.
Put a little oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
Once the onions have had 5 minutes, add the garlic, kale stems (leaves go in later) and turmeric to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes.
While that happens cut the preserved lemon in half, remove and discard the flesh, then finely chop the peel. Add this to the pan along with the tomatoes and the chickpeas, including their liquid. If you are usingjarred chickpeas you might want to add another 150ml water here, as there will be less liquid than if you are using 2 tins.
Cook for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have thickened and reduced. Add the reserved kale leaves and cook for a few minutes until wilted. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed (the jarred chickpeas are usually already well seasoned, so be sure to taste first). Stir in most of the parsley.
Ripple the yoghurt and harissa together in a bowl and serve with the braise, a drizzle of tahini, the last of the parsley and some warm flatbreads.
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