Paul Flynn: Are these three veggie dishes too simple? They work, that’s the thing

These dishes are not meant for The Tannery. My job here is to demystify cooking

Our restaurant reopened at the beginning of February, after a longer-than-usual winter holiday. It seems ages ago now, but when we closed, the 8pm restrictions were still in place. Another hurdle to get over in a world full of them.

All the staff needed a break. After two years of “pivoting”, during which we tried everything – takeaways, picnics, hot dogs, Christmas starters, duck pies – our brains were rattled.

On reopening we made some changes to way we operate, vowing to remove some of the stress from all our lives. None of us are getting any younger. We reviewed the menu with a critical eye, as we always do. I wanted to make it more vegetable-centric. It’s impossible for me to remove meat and fish – I love them too much, and so do our guests. However, I was determined to put vegetables a little more centre stage. I feel it’s the right thing to do.

These dishes are not meant for the Tannery. As ever, they are for the home cook and are as simple as I can make them. Sometimes I look at the method, not so much the ingredients, and wonder if they are too simple, but I think it’s my job to demystify cooking and make it easier for people. They work, that’s the thing.


The success of the roasted root vegetables lies in cutting them evenly so they cook uniformly. You can cut down on the harissa if you don’t want it too spicy. I added baby peppers towards the end simply because I thought they were cute. The butterbean hummus has a light, lemony touch that adds a cooling creaminess to the affair.

I initially got this beetroot bake wrong. I used precooked beetroot, but it looked pallid and tasted of disappointment. The fresh beetroot really makes a difference. It’s sprightly and promising. The baharat is a subtly complex Arabic spice blend, but you can use mixed spice if you can’t find it.

This spiced carrot and chickpea stew happens to be vegan friendly. It makes a lovely side dish, or can really shine as part of a mezze platter with some couscous.

Recipe: Middle Eastern root vegetable feast with harissa and butterbean hummus

Recipe: Baked beetroot with baharat, yogurt and sesame

Recipe: Spiced carrot and chickpea stew