Spring Recipes from Anna Jones

Food writer, award-winning cook and author, Anna Jones has been called "the voice of modern vegetarian cooking". Her recipes are simple and bursting with flavour, with her books offering suggestions for both everyday dining and special occasions. Below, we have shared three tasty recipes from Anna's fifth book, Easy Wins: 12 flavour hits, 125 delicious recipes, 365 days of good eating. Read on to discover Anna's recipes for Cauliflower Caponata and Courgettes Agrodolce, followed by Double Lemon Cake. 

Cauliflower caponata

Caponata is a masterclass in balancing sweet, sour and salty. It's most often made with aubergine, which you have to fry in lots of olive oil first, making it less of a weeknight situation. This buttery cauliflower version is all done in the oven and to me it's just as good as the aubergine version. It has the texture of a stew and can be eaten warm as an antipasto, as is most common in Italy, or on toast or tossed through pasta.



1kg cauliflower, broken into roughly 4cm florets

3 red onions (350g), peeled and cut into eighths

3 sticks of celery, cut into 2cm pieces

extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes

roog stone-in green or black olives, stones removed (I use a mixture of both)

3 tablespoons capers

50g raisins

½ a bunch of parsley (20g), leaves picked

warm bread, to serve


Preheat the oven and roast the cauliflower.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan. Put a cauliflower, broken into roughly 4cm florets, 3 red onions, peeled and cut into eighths, and 3 sticks of celery, cut into 2cm pieces, into a large, high-sided baking tray with r tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and a little sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then roast for 25 minutes, until everything is slightly charred and starting to soften. Turn the oven down to 200°C/r80°C fan.

Add the rest.

Add 2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes, breaking them in your hands as you do so, along with 100g stone-in green or black olives (stones removed), 3 tablespoons capers and 50g raisins. Give everything a good mix, mashing slightly with a fork, and return to the oven for 40 minutes, or until everything is soft and sticky.

Finish with the vinegar and oil.

Once ready, and while the mix is still piping hot, add another tablespoon of vinegar, toss through a handful of parsley leaves and serve. Finish with a very generous dousing of extra virgin olive oil to bring it all together.

Courgettes agrodolce with sticky onions

Agrodolce means sweet and sour in Italian. In Italy there are so many ways of using this contrast of flavours to bring out the most in ingredients. Here I've used courgettes, but this technique would work for aubergine, thinly sliced butternut squash or fennel. The hit of vinegar which might feel angry on its own is offset with a little bit of sugar, which mellows the acidity and rounds off the flavour. I've written this recipe to serve 2 people but it can easily be doubled, though you will need to fry the courgettes in a few batches.



5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra to serve

4 small or 2 regular courgettes (500g), cut into 1.5cm-thick rounds

1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes, plus extra to serve

1 clove of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

½ a bunch of mint (15g), leaves picked

250g ricotta


Fry the courgettes

Heat a frying pan over a medium­ high heat and add 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Season 500g courgettes cut into 1.5cm-thick rounds with sea salt and fry them for 3-4 minutes on each side or until blistering and golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon on to a plate.

Cook the onion and add the agrodolce Add 1 thinly sliced red onion to the same pan and lower the heat. Fry for 10 minutes until soft, then add 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar and 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes and return the courgette pieces to the pan.

Cook for a few minutes, then taste and season and divide the courgettes and onion between two plates.

Season and finish

Sprinkle over 1 peeled and thinly sliced clove of garlic and a few more dried chilli flakes, tear over the leaves from half a bunch of mint and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season 250g of ricotta with salt and pepper and spoon it next to the courgettes.

Double lemon cake with streusel topping

This is my ideal cake. Lemony, soft-crumbed and streusel-topped.

The idea for this recipe comes from baker Thalia Ho, who has a cake in her book Wild Sweetness that ripples lemon curd through it. This cake is loaded with three types of lemon: lemon zest scudded through the cake batter, the curd on top and a hit in the streusel topping.



250g plain flour, plus 8og for the streusel topping

20g porridge oats

250g plus 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar

zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

200g unsalted butter at room temperature, plus 70g cold unsalted butter and a little extra for the tin

80g ground almonds

1½ teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

½ teaspoon sea salt

3 large organic or free-range eggs 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 250g natural yoghurt or oat yoghurt

1oog good-quality lemon curd, plus extra to serve

creme fraiche, to serve


Make the streusel topping

Put 80g plain flour, 20g porridge oats, 2 tablespoons caster sugar and a pinch of sea salt into a bowl and mix well. Add the zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, then add 70g of cold unsalted butter. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour like a crumble mixture until large sticky clumps have formed. This is your streusel.

Preheat the oven and line your tin Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Grease a 23cm cake tin with butter, then line with baking paper.

Mix the dry ingredients

Put 250g plain flour, 80g ground almonds, 1½ teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl with ½ teaspoon sea salt and mix with a whisk until there are no lumps.

Cream the butter and sugar

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in another mixing bowl with an electric hand whisk or wooden spoon, cream 200g unsalted butter and 250g golden caster sugar until pale and fluffy. This will cake about 3-4 minutes in a stand mixer and longer by hand.

Add the eggs

Scrape down the bowl and add

3 large organic or free-range eggs one at a time, mixing on a low speed until each one is incorporated, then mix in 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, the zest of another unwaxed lemon, and 250g natural yoghurt or oat yoghurt.

Add the dry ingredients

Add the dry ingredients to the batter in the mixing bowl and mix until just combined. This is a very forgiving cake, but minimal mixing will make it as light as possible.

Put the batter into the cake tin and add the lemon curd

Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and level it gently with a spatula, then spoon over 100g good-quality lemon curd in little patches and use your spoon to swirl it in a little. Scatter the streusel topping evenly to the very edges of the cake; don't pile it into the middle or it will sink.

Bake the cake

Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cover the top of the cake with foil if it looks like it's browning coo fast. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with some creme fraiche rippled with a little lemon curd.

Extracted from EASY WINS: 12 flavour hits, 125 delicious recipes, 365 days of good eating by Anna Jones (Published by 4th Estate on 14th March, £28). Photography by Matt Russell.



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