The Flavour Thesaurus: Pairings, recipes & ideas for the creative cook

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Struck by the realisation that she had less freestyle kitchen confidence than her ancestors, Niki Segnit felt compelled to painstakingly (and somewhat altruistically we think) compile an easy guide on flavour pairings. And for this, we will be eternally grateful.

Through examples of culture, recipes and “flavour science”, Segnit helps us understand the language of flavour, and potentially become more confident cooks in the process.

Chocolate and tomato? Surely an error in judgment… until we remember the favourite of even the most traditional British male: Chilli con carne. We’re on the fence re: Vietnam’s coffee and avocado combo though.

So, whether you want to break away from meticulous recipe following, impress your friends with a thoughtful (and stylish) gift, or update your coffee table (it really is pretty sexy), we see no reason not to put this on your Christmas list.

Hush, M&S have had mince pies at entrance eye level since August.

Seasonal Seduced: Broccoli

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Sulphoraphane, vitamin C, caretenoids, iron, folic acid, calcium, fibre and vitamin A.

For some people, it’s the strength of its iron that wins them over. For us though, it’s the sulphoraphane that stole our hearts. The cancer fighting powers it provides demand our respect and keep us coming back for more.

Chilli, garlic & lemon charred broccoli

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, V, WF
Our take on the Baker & Spice faithful that made us re-assess our less than amorous relationship with this very green powerhouse. We think our lemon addition is a must, bringing a hint of tangy sweetness to this earthy veg. Must. Eat. Our. Greens.

1 head broccoli
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 chilli, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 lemon, juice & zest


  1. Steam broccoli and set a griddle or frying pan to heat on a high flame. No oil.
  2. After 3 minutes, remove the broccoli and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. Mix with half the olive oil and salt. Place on the griddle at right angles to the ridges – we want black char tracks. Keep the flame high, the griddle needs to be super-hot.
  4. Meanwhile gently heat the remaining olive oil in a pan and fry the chillies and garlic very lightly until they start to brown – 1 min. approx.
  5. After about 4 mins. the broccoli can be turned, doing the same on the reverse side.
  6. When nicely charred and smoky, remove the broccoli, mix with the hot oil, lemon zest and half the juice (you can discard the rest).
  7. Serve at room temperature or chilled with chicken, a meaty fish or as part of a salad. You can keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.