Roast and raw fennel, blood orange and goat’s cheese salad. Photograph: Alan Betson

Fennel, with its plump, hourglass-shaped leaves which wrap around each other to form a shapely bulb, is gorgeously feminine to look at – its soft, wi(...)

Stewed Courgettes and Caponata. Photograph: Alan Betson
Classic caponata

First up, salt the cubed aubergines and set aside. Start the caponata by sweating the onions in the olive oil until soft and then adding the celery(...)

Stewed Courgettes and Caponata. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

In a heavy-based saucepan, gently heat the olive oil before adding in the courgettes and lemon juice and chilli flakes. Season well and cook over a(...)

Drop Egg Soup and Courgette Bread.Photograph: Alan Betson
Drop egg soup

This soup starts off with a bit of cooking, but the whole point of it is that most of the veg in it “cooks” only slightly in the stock. In a large s(...)

Drop Egg Soup and Courgette Bread.Photograph: Alan Betson

When you’re younger, food can be a battleground. You worry about the shape it makes you rather than how it makes you feel. I am well past my 40th birt(...)

Drop Egg Soup and Courgette Bread.Photograph: Alan Betson
Courgette bread

Preheat the oven to 180°C. You’ll need a food processor and a large bowl for this, and it couldn’t be simpler. In the bowl, mix together the dry ing(...)

Real Texas Chili and Classic GuacamolePhotograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Ah, the 1980s. The decade when Tex Mex hit Ireland for the first time. And it took the country – or maybe it was just me – by storm. In fairness(...)

Real Texas Chili and Classic GuacamolePhotograph: Alan Betson
Guacamole

In a blender, blitz together all the ingredients – except the avocados – until you reach a pesto-like consistency. Then dress the cubed avocado with(...)

Real Texas Chili and Classic GuacamolePhotograph: Alan Betson
Texas chilli beef

In a large, heavy saucepan with a lid, brown the meat in the olive oil in batches and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium and sweat the onions, ga(...)

Bananas the star of my first recipe, a banana bread that is gluten-free and which, along with coconut sugar, contains all the goodness of four bananas. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

I t’s no secret that my food has veered firmly into healthier territory over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean that my sweet tooth doesn’t ve(...)