Thai mussels

Serves 4

Mekong catfish (Ca Kho)

Serves 4

Pickled onion squash

Makes 1-2 jars

Get your goat: Develop a taste for the new kid on the block

It's a staple food all over the globe. Now at last this tender, tangy, super-lean meat is finding favour here, too.

Coronation chicken on toast

Serves 4

Meals without frontiers: Asian migrants to the UK have given their own twist to English dishes

We know that "foreign" food swept into these isles in the Elizabethan age of exploration. Walter Raleigh and others who went forth brought back tomatoes from Mexico (love apples as they were then called), sugar, spices like paprika and chilli, almonds and other exotic ingredients used for ever-more-thrilling, outrageous feasts for the rich. In truth, many favourites thought to be quintessentially British – tea, potatoes – were brought in from elsewhere and naturalised. As Rose Prince writes in her book, The New English Kitchen (2005): "This is a country ... with a five-hundred-year-old history of food piracy, borrowing ideas from other shores, importing their raw materials and learning to cultivate them on our soils." Brits were suckers for wild and new tastes, continuing an irrepressible national characteristic.

South of the border: Why Mexican food is now hot stuff

Nachos may be a fast-food favourite, but the subtler joys of real Mexican food have been harder to come by – until now.

How very Moorish: Spice girl Skye Gyngell hots things up for summer

Gently spiced dishes based on the subtly sweet flavours of North Africa are perfect for balmy English summer meals, says Skye Gyngell

Grilled poussin with harissa

Serves 4

I pod: Mark Hix sings the praises of the versatile pea – his favourite vegetable of the moment

Peas are very in vogue at the moment, and whether they are fresh or frozen, they're still one of my favourite vegetables. I always have a packet of frozen peas in my tiny freezer at home as they are so versatile when I want to knock up a quick soup or add a finishing touch to pastas and risottos. The market tends to get flooded with foreign imports during May and June and our own native peas and beans start to appear properly around now. Peas are at their best when freshly picked; if you wait too long they can end up being a bit tough and not quite so sweet. I love serving them at the table in their pods for guests to snack on during a meal.

Fresh pea falafels

Makes about 20 patties

Keep it raw: How not to cook

No frying, boiling, roasting or toasting – this is food in its purest form. If you think preparing it must be simple, think again.

Tiny tubs of taste: Growing your herbs is the biggest favour you'll ever do your food

Herbs are simple, inexpensive and the crowning glory of so many dishes

Thai fish cakes with dipping sauce

Ingredients to make about 15
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