Tender, Volume I: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater

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Notes about this book

  • IvyManning on December 24, 2010

    I love this book. Not only does it give thinking-man's recipes and ideas for cooking all through the year with vegetables, it's also a beautiful lesson in how the plants grow with prose that is lovely and inspiring, not dry and technical. It's printed on beautiful paper, has gorgeous photos and smart recipes that aren't overly fussy. If only America had a Nigel Slater....

  • MelMM on August 05, 2010

    A very personal and beautiful book about both growing and cooking vegetables. A good read as well as good food.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • A stew of oxtail and onions for a cold night

    • Foodelf on March 17, 2012

      A totally different take on oxtails preparation and I loved it! The name says it all and a new approach to the traditional recipes for oxtails. I braised at 325 for 2 3/4 hours and the meat was meltingly tender. Served w/ flash sauteed spinach and mashed potatoes w/chives had the guests begging for more.

    • Astrid5555 on February 17, 2013

      The star here is the sauce, which makes you want to lick your plate, absolutely incredible. I expected the meat to fall off the bones after 2 1/2 hours in the oven, however, it needed a lot of cutting to come off. Should have probably been in the oven for another hour, still nice though. Served with mashed potatoes and oven-roasted carrots.

  • Chicken with leeks and lemon

    • Jane on February 13, 2018

      I'm surprised that Nigel says "This is one of my all-time favorites for a good, easy, midweek supper. What especially appeals is that although the sauce tastes rich and almost creamy, it has no butter of cream in it at all." This isn't going to be a favorite for me. It was quite acidic from the lemon juice and very liquid, not close to "creamy". Now, I did use 4 thighs rather than 8 but mine are big and one thigh per person is enough. It was slightly better the second night when I cut the chicken off the bone into pieces and served with egg noodles, but still not a recipe I plan to repeat.

  • Courgettes and green lentils to accompany slices of dark and interesting ham

    • Jane on March 28, 2016

      Not very interesting - won't repeat.

    • MelMM on September 13, 2010

      Made a very nice light meal. The flavors go quite well together.

  • A soup-stew of beans and cavolo nero

    • Jane on January 12, 2015

      I liked this though it wasn't a 5-star recipe. I used dried pinto beans, butternut squash and kale. The ham bone and Parmesan rinds gave the soup-stew a good depth of flavor. I also used my own flavorful vegetable stock rather than water or bought broth. I made a double batch and froze in individual portions for winter lunches - a bowl of this soup-stew is a good, comforting, filling meal.

    • Emily Hope on November 18, 2010

      This was OK, but not as fantastic as I was hoping. Used fresh shell beans, and threw in the shredded ham hock meat left from previous day's collards. C thought this made it too smoky (I disagree). The squash was a sugar pie pumpkin, I think, and it didn't disintegrate at all, which I don't think helped matters. Fine and comforting, but not more-ish at all.

    • joneshayley on January 14, 2018

      Used tinned beans- but the stew still took 1 - 2 hours for the veg to cook through- or use the slow cooker on low 6-7 hours. Used Parmesan rind and vegetable stock. Healthy, hearty winter fare. It’s not a dinner party dinner, but perfect for a cold winter evening after work

  • A soup of lentils, bacon and chard

    • Breadcrumbs on February 28, 2013

      p. 228 Well this soup didn’t impress but it was no fault of Nigel Slater. For my taste, the soup was too “porky” and that was due to the new brand of Italian imported pancetta I’d purchased. While it would undoubtedly shine in other applications, its flavours were simply too overpowering in this dish. Then, an error at my hands. I had a very juicy lemon and since I wasn’t fussed on the porky flavoured broth, I decided to throw caution to the wind and toss all the lemon juice into the pot, oh…along w the grated rind, that the recipe didn’t call for. Now our porky pot of lentils was powerfully pucker-inducing! Some might say bitter. Not me of course! If nothing else, it looked good! Photos here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/891795#7922651

    • Franci on January 02, 2012

      I personally loved this recipe, much more than Ottolenghi's chard and lentils soup. Cooked in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes before adding the chards leaves.

    • Hellyloves2cook on April 05, 2013

      Deliciously warming. I was given a lovely bunch of rainbow chard by a friend who grows his own. Decided to try Nigel's recipe. I tweaked it by omitting bacon and using chicken stock. Result! The lemon and mint added a refreshing zing to a lovely earthy flavoured . Whole family left replete and all warm inside. Comment " that was very nice darling".

  • Warm chicken with green beans and chard

    • Breadcrumbs on September 12, 2011

      p. 260 - With green beans and chard in abundance at this time of year, this dish had immediate appeal. I roasted a whole chicken, washed and chopped the beans and chard a day ahead so not much more than a quick cook of the veggies and assembly was needed during the week. Instead of dunking the chard in boiling water I stir-fried it in a little bit of oil in the wok (which I omitted from the dressing) then I added the beans (which I’d steamed til al dente) to the wok along w most of the dressing. The idea is to serve the warm chicken over the cooked, dressed beans and chard The night we were serving I simply warmed the chicken in the oven then placed slices over the salad the drizzled with the small amount of remaining dressing. This was really special. The chicken was tender and moist, the greens were fresh and vibrant and the lemon/shallot/basil dressing just tied it all together beautifully. This was such a nice summer meal that was substantial without being rich or heavy.

    • AlyssafromRhody on October 07, 2021

      This truly is unexpectedly delicious and perfect for a CSA box that contained chard, beans, and tomatoes.

    • Soff on July 11, 2020

      This is one of those recipes which is much more delicious than you would think from the name - the mint in the dressing really takes it to the next level. We got chard, green beans and tomatoes in our CSA box and this was the perfect dish for them. We cooked chicken thighs on the grill but otherwise we stuck to the recipe. Yum!

  • Baked potatoes, leeks and Fontina

    • rodillagra on January 11, 2015


  • A dish of lamb shanks with preserved lemon and swede

    • rodillagra on February 02, 2015


  • Roast aubergines, chillies and thyme

    • vickster on August 03, 2017

      Nigel is right - it is a lazy person's ratatouille. But it is very good, and was a great way to use some of my garden produce.

  • A baked cake of celeriac and parsnips

    • lizwinn on March 06, 2011

      Sweet and savory all at once. I used Lemon Thyme the second go-round, which was lovely as well.

    • helengeoghegan on December 13, 2013

      Really tasty. I'd run out of onions, so used spring onions instead. Will make again.

  • A shallow tart of chard and cheese

    • Lindalib on July 15, 2013

      This was absolutely delicious . It's relatively easy, but a bit time consuming allowing for the making, chilling and blind baking of the pastry case, so probably best for a weekend, rather than a work night. I used a relatively mild cheddar because that's all I had on hand, but will use something a little sharper next time.

  • A sweet and sticky casserole of duck with turnips and orange

    • KarenS on March 11, 2012

      Delicious, although it didn't get sticky for me. More like a stew. I used 4 duck legs instead of a whole duck. One negative -- the matchstick-cut ginger was too prominent, even after all of the braising. Next time I will smash and mince it as I usually do.

  • Classic creamed spinach

    • okcook on July 16, 2015

      Page 544

  • Cabbage with beans, coconut and coriander

    • mcvl on December 20, 2018

      V. good. I used halved cherry tomatoes instead of the canned tomatoes, and I threw in a handful of peanuts, which worked well. Decorticated cardamom seeds make this dish a breeze.

  • Winter cabbage, juniper and cream

    • mziech on February 05, 2012

      Very simple recipe, excellent as a side dish in winter with a well spiced main.

    • Melanie on July 08, 2014

      This was okay, but not great. I don't think I will bother making it again as it didn't grab me. If you do make this, make sure the juniper berries and peppercorns are ground finely.

  • An extremely moist chocolate beetroot cake with crème fraîche and poppy seeds

    • mziech on November 11, 2011

      I'm a big fan of Nigels Slater. This recipe is really delicious, indeed very moist and the cake is very light (which I didn't expect)

    • lilham on January 19, 2019

      This is, like Nigel Slater said, an extremely moist chocolate cake. Very delicious too. I cooked the beetroot in a slow cooker (wrapped in foil and cooked on high for a few hours). Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. The recipe said it makes enough for 8 as a dessert. The author must have a big appetite. For me, it’s enough to serve 12.

    • JoBills on August 22, 2015

      I followed the recipe exactly but the cake failed. I think that's a first for a Slater recipe. Completely disintegrated in on itself coming out of the tin. I think it could be that the beetroot had too much liquid. Either way, it feels a bit too liable to fail again to risk making it again with expensive ingredients. If I did, I'd definitely use a springform or cook the mix in smaller tins to make sure it's cooked though. Unfortunately the usual warning signs of being undercooked (slump in the middle, tester coming out moist) are actually what he notes you should expect in the recipe. Even so, the bits that did cook properly around the side tastes amazing; but next time I need a chocolate cake fix I'll stick with his ever reliable brownie recipe which I've been baking for years.

    • Williamssj7 on August 28, 2019

      One of my all time favorite chocolate cakes! It’s a lot of steps, read carefully and be organized.

  • A side dish of spiced and creamed carrots

    • mziech on July 05, 2011

      love this, reminds me of indian pachadi

  • A root vegetable korma

    • mziech on March 13, 2015

      Simple korma, great for weekdays (although it takes one hour cooking time). The curry was somewhat sweet in flavor, purely from the root vegetables (parsnip, swede, Jerusalem artichoke), recipe does not include any added sugar.

    • Melanie on January 01, 2012

      p394. Nigel reckons you can get this on the table in an hour but this needs about an hour cooking time plus time to chop up your vegetables, grind spices etc. I used a mix of root vegetables that I has at hand - parsnip, swede and carrots - and reduced the chillies. Turn the heat off before adding the cream and yoghurt to reduce the chance of curdling. We really loved this and will make again - serve with naan bread.

  • A stir-fry of broccoli and lamb

    • Emily Hope on December 06, 2010

      This was surprisingly tasty. I used a pound of ground lamb (rather than 300 grams) and more broccoli than specified, and added extra lime juice/fish sauce to compensate. Quite good as a one-dish meal over steamed rice with some hot chili sauce on the side. Put chunks of avocado on top of the leftovers the next day; this was also good. This recipe would also be good with ground pork.

    • happyeater on October 30, 2013

      Very tasty but actually need even more chilis and more sauce. The proportions on the sauce should be 2 T each fish sauce and sugar and 4 tsp lime juice. Great with ground lamb; bland with ground turkey.

  • A salad of roast tomatoes

    • Emily Hope on July 30, 2011

      This was good, not great--really depends on the quality of the tomatoes, I think, and mine were a bit early in the season still. Also, the crust never really got "crunchy", per se--the tomatoes were too juicy for that. But I don't find that problematic. I'd try this again with super tasty tomatoes--the flavor combination is good.

  • A new pumpkin laksa for a cold night

    • zorra on January 06, 2014

      Perfect indeed for cold nights. Made this first with roasted kabocha, next with canned pumpkin. Very flavorful & variable. I've added spinach or kale, mushrooms, tofu. Balance of salty, sour, sweet. Slater has versions online also.

  • New season's potatoes with pancetta, walnut oil and sherry vinegar

    • L.Nightshade on August 01, 2012

      Heeding a COTM warning about too much dressing, I cut the amounts down in relation to the amount of potatoes I had. I had Serrano ham, not pancetta, so I sauteed the ham until crispy. This was a big hit in the Nightshade house. The dressing had zing but not too much bite. The crisp Serrano ham brought the right touch of salt and crunch. Definitely a do-again dish.

  • A salad of carrot thinnings

    • L.Nightshade on August 01, 2012

      I did not have carrot thinnings, had a bunch from the CSA, of wildly different sizes and shapes. Some were teeny, as you can see, most were finger sized. Many were spirals, probably from trying to grow around rocks in the soil. I put them all in to steam, but pulled out the smaller ones as they became tender. I did use beets, but large ones cut into finger sized wedges (as evidenced by my stubbornly red hand). I realized as I was cooking that I was out of the lemon called for, so I used lemon agrumato in place of olive oil. Added the red wine vinegar, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper as directed. My cilantro had bolted, so I had to use some of the feathery leaves to make up a full handful. We were very happy with this dish, which we ate at room temperature. I served it with New Season's Potatoes, also from Tender, and Seared Beef with Mint and Mustard Dressing from KD.

  • Zucchini on the grill

    • L.Nightshade on August 01, 2012

      Pretty much the same recipe in Kitchen Diaries and in Tender. In Tender the recipe calls for salting and resting the zukes, in KD they are just sliced and placed on the grill. Other than that, I think the directions proceed identically. Mr. NS the Griller was (understandably after a rough day) not up to individually watching and flipping a couple dozen thin slices of squash on the grill, so we popped them into a grill basket. We've had plenty of successes with grilling in the basket prior to tonight, but on this occasion the zucchini seemed more like they were steamed than grilled. We missed the char, but otherwise the dish was very nice. The lemon-zucchini-basil combination was bright and summery. If you have the time and patience to tend multiple thin slices of squash on the grill, I think the char would really add something to the dish, but even without, not bad at all.

    • twoyolks on July 03, 2020

      These are simple but an easy way to cook zucchini on the grill. It does take up a lot of space which is a bit annoying if you're trying to cook other things.

  • Roast asparagus

    • L.Nightshade on August 01, 2012

      I had planned to roast asparaus last night, using lemon zest and garlic, but ran across this recipe and thought I might as well do one from the COTM. Nothing much to it; Thin spears of aspargus go into an aluminum foil packet along with olive oil, lemon juice and a bit of salt. They are roasted at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes. Mine took a scant 15, as they were very skinny. The asparagus seemed to enjoy their lemony sauna. The flavor was fresh and bright. It's a different feel than my usual roasted asparagus, which ends up with more toasty spears and crispy bits of garlic, but I liked it for a change. And, clean-up? Nothing to it. Always a welcome trait in a dish.

    • twoyolks on April 17, 2017

      This was basically just asparagus steamed in the oven. I wanted some actual roasted flavors on the asparagus but there were none.

  • Moutabal - a heavenly purée

    • Astrid5555 on April 17, 2015

      Not as good as Ottolenghis "Burnt aubergine with garlic, lemon & pomegranate seeds", but still very good. Less hands-on time required, comes together much quicker. Good alternative when in need for a quick and tasty dip.

  • A chicken, spinach and pasta pie

    • Astrid5555 on March 25, 2014

      Delicious! Excellent way to use up leftover chicken meat. Kids loved it, will go into regular rotation.

    • twoyolks on December 14, 2016

      This quite good but really rich. It was a good way to use up leftover roast chicken. It does, however, call for a lot of chicken, a lot of cream, and a lot of cheese. I think this would be even better with a little bit of garlic cooked between the mushrooms and adding the chicken. It would also be easier to eat and serve using a shorter pasta than spaghetti (penne would be a good choice).

    • Nancith on July 20, 2017

      Wow! This was super rich, & certainly very caloric, but well worth it for a once-in-awhile treat. Unfortunately forgot to purchase mushrooms, which would have added to the lusciousness, but sautéed some onion & threw that in. Rather than going through the extra step of steaming the spinach, I simply put it in the colander & drained the spaghetti on top of it. It was simple to get the spinach out then to chop it up. I agree with a previous reviewer that shorter pasta would make this easier to serve.

  • Spiced aubergine stew

    • monica107 on January 26, 2014

      This was very good but a lot of work... not a weeknight meal.

  • Black cabbage and bacon - a fry-up

  • A soup of roots, leeks and walnuts

    • Franci on November 30, 2011

      I like it. Next time I need to be more careful with the spice mix. Very fine julienne of ginger and walnuts coarsely chopped. Used half water and half vegetable nage (John Campbell-Formulas for Flavour).

  • Lentil soup with lemon, pancetta and mint

    • Melanie on June 23, 2017

      We really enjoyed this soup, despite the fact that I accidentally used green lentils instead of puy lentils. I imagine the original recipe is delicious!

  • Red cabbage with cider vinegar

    • Melanie on May 30, 2015

      I liked this - quick and easy, reheats well, nice balance of flavours. My partner wasn't a fan though. Half a cabbage easily makes enough for 4 serves (as a side, I don't think a large helping would be nice).

  • Baked swede to accompany a meat dish

    • Melanie on January 01, 2012

      p568. You don't even need a meat dish to like this one! I ate this by itself one night (cooking for myself only) and felt like I had eaten a good dinner. Easy - cut and bake.

  • A warm pumpkin scone for a winter's afternoon

    • Melanie on November 01, 2015

      Good flavour, this works well as a side to a bowl of soup.

  • A tart of leeks and cheese

    • monicahorridge on January 16, 2014

      Really simple, really tasty, perfect winter comfort food.

    • evatoad on May 13, 2021

      Delicious! I used (homemade) rough puff pastry I’d had in my freezer and replaced the potatoes with cauliflower, which I sautéed and then gently finished with the leeks. Used less crème fraîche (1/4c) and less cheese (~125g) than the recipe called for because that’s what I had, but can’t say I missed either. Will make again!

  • Leek and cheese mash

    • sharifah on January 17, 2012

      Yummy! The recipe didn't have any amounts cos you were meant to use leftover mash and it said use whatever cheese you have lying around in the fridge. I used 1 leek, 3 potatoes and feta cheese. Deliciousss......

  • Classic roast potatoes

    • katiebw on January 14, 2012

      Roasted in bacon fat. So incredibly yummy, especially dipped in cooks illustrated pub-style burger sauce.

    • evatoad on January 18, 2021

      Delicious! The classic English method for crispy-craggy outsides and tender-fluffy insides.

  • A quick, hot spinach side dish

    • twoyolks on December 05, 2019

      The ginger and garam masala completely covered up the flavor of the spinach.

  • A creamy dressing

    • twoyolks on April 14, 2016

      This is a nice, simple, creamy dressing. It's closer to a creamy vinaigrette than anything else.

  • A chowder of mussels and leeks

    • Ruthdigs on June 12, 2019

      Tasty though more like stew than soup. I’d cut the potatoes into small dice not large, more in keeping with the soup and might actually cook in the 10 minutes stated. I used milk and sour cream, it’d be very rich with double cream.

  • Baked vegetables with an aubergine sauce

    • clkandel on July 02, 2020

      This is delicious. Check the veg early, they may not need the full 45 minutes. Also, I used Ottolenghi's Burnt Eggplant with Tahini from Plenty, instead of just the plain roasted eggplant. (page 221)

  • A slaw of red cabbage, blue cheese and walnuts

    • clkandel on October 10, 2020

      What a great slaw. Crisp and refreshing. Didn't have fennel, so I just omitted it. Think this would also be good with raisins or dried cranberries. I question the serving size, it seems the quantities would make a salad for more than 1.

  • Roast potato salad with rosemary and garlic

    • clkandel on February 22, 2020

      If only using cloves of garlic add to the potatoes about half way through cooking time.. They can burn with the high temp and long cooking time.

  • A cake of potato and goat's cheese

    • clkandel on February 27, 2020

      Added some cooked peas to the potato mix.

  • A simple stew of onions, beer and beef

    • Nancith on January 08, 2017

      Simple to make, luscious aroma while cooking, well appreciated by the folks who ate it. My only issue was that the gravy/sauce really thinned out during the oven-baking. Perhaps because the "2 small bottles" of monastery beer is very indefinite, & I may have used too much. A listing in oz. would have been more helpful. Also cooking for awhile without the lid might have helped keep the gravy thicker. Very nice for guests.

  • A pilaf of asparagus, broad beans, and mint

    • VineTomato on August 13, 2018

      We found this to be disappointing - a bit bland, nothing special. I prefer to turn to my Indian cookbooks for flavoured rice dishes.

    • judiemccourt on July 15, 2019

      The flavours are subtle, but with veg from the garden this was delicious

  • Chicken broth with pork and kale

    • Barb_N on August 20, 2014

      This recipe needs a sexier name- it is the bomb. I have made it more times than I can count just in the past 9 months; use any kind of sturdy greens, add rice or rice noodles, use ground pork, or sausage, spice it up with other seasonings ...it can be different and delicious every time. One thing I have not tried is a vegetarian version.

    • Barb_N on March 22, 2018

      Still making this recipe after all these years- bone broth, ground pork extra spicy with cumin, cayenne and sichuan pepper (to clear sick hubby's sinuses), fresh Korean noodles and spinach.

  • A mildly spiced supper of cauliflower and potatoes

    • robinelizabethleslie on April 11, 2014

      Seriously, this is a keeper! Directions were clear and straightforward, and the results were so good! Perfect level of spicy heat, very satisfying! Despite what Mr. Slater says in the preamble, I think rice is a really good accompaniment.

  • A salad of beans, peas and pecorino

    • KIGirl on November 22, 2014

      V nice - I didn't bother with the bread

  • A carrot cake with a frosting of mascarpone and orange

    • hendrioso on December 29, 2014

      This frosting is incredible!

    • Varundel on April 04, 2015

      Cooked for 35 mins rather than the recommended 45 - my ovens a bit on the fast side. Lovely flavours, light-textured sponge and the frosting is delicious. Would definitely do again.

  • Pork, leeks and green peppercorns

    • Peeko44 on June 13, 2020

      Really liked this. Made with morels, shiitake and button mushrooms. It felt like it needed just a little more punch. A little nutmeg perhaps. Tarragon?

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Reviews about this book

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  • Fine Cooking

    ...Nigel Slater wittily details his experience as an urban gardener and cook. Recipes like these will keep you cooking from the garden (or market) year-round.

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  • 101 Cookbooks by Aran Goyoaga

    Nigel Slater's Tender is one of those books I can get lost in for hours. ...any time I need inspiration about a particular variety (of vegetable), I turn to this book.

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  • Kitchn

    What is comfort food?...If there is one cook that constantly produces recipes that speak to this passionate, abundant, delicious, satisfying way of cooking, it's Nigel Slater.

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  • Oregonian

    Although the recipes are simple at heart, Slater dishes up page after page of useful information on each vegetable...Read this book leisurely, and surrender to Slater's brilliance.

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Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • ISBN 10 000746276X
  • ISBN 13 9780007462766
  • Published Apr 05 2012
  • Format Paperback
  • Page Count 592
  • Language English
  • Countries United Kingdom
  • Publisher HarperCollins Publishers
  • Imprint Fourth Estate Ltd

Publishers Text

With over 400 recipe ideas and many wonderful stories from the cook's garden, Tender: Volume I -- A cook and his vegetable patch, is the definitive guide to cooking with vegetables from Britain's finest food writer. 'I would like to think I know more now than I did before I picked up my trowel and dug that first furrow of red and white radishes. How to get the best out of a vegetable yes, but also what are the different ways to treat it in the kitchen, which seasonings will make it sing, what other ingredients is it most comfortable or most exciting with. What are the classic recipes not to be missed by a newcomer and what new ways are there which might be of interest to an old hand.' In his inimitable, unpretentious style Nigel Slater elevates vegetables to the starring role in his latest cook book, whether that means enjoying vegetables for their own sake or on the same plate as a piece of meat or fish. From crab cakes and crushed peas to broccoli and lamb stir-fry, luxury cauliflower cheese to a delicious broad bean salad, 'Tender' has everything a cook could want from a recipe book.

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