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Anna Jones' secret to the best one-pan meals

Pioneering veggie cook and author Anna Jones shares her steps to making game-changing one-pan and one-pot meals

Anna Jones' secrets to one-pan cooking | Arepas
Anna Jones' secrets to one-pan cooking | peanut stew

Layering flavour is crucial in one-pot cooking. Sautéing a base of onions, celery, carrots, fennel as suits your dish to start; adding aromatics like garlic and ginger next; then spices or a spice paste; then your main veg and finally finishing with herbs and citrus. This can be done easily and quickly, but building that layer of flavour is key.

Also, think about texture, especially if it's a soup or stew – is there a quick topping which can boost flavour? Toasted seeds, chopped nuts and lots of fresh herbs can really work wonders.

When it comes to an easy, foolproof and delicious one-pot dinner, I don't think you can beat a dahl. I like mine made with mustard seeds, curry leaves, coconut milk and lots of lemon to finish.

I always add some kind of veg from spinach to grated carrot or sweet potato and finish with lots of chopped herbs like coriander or mint and plenty of fresh green chilli.

Then, to make it feel special, it's all about the toppings. Most one-pot dishes look after themselves on the hob, so you can use that time to mix up some added flavour and texture to top the finished dish.

That could be some quick-pickled red onions, a spoonful of chilli crisp or harissa from the fridge, or a quick salsa verde. Use what you have and think about the fresh/sweet/salt/acid/spice balance of your dish; if some of that is missing in the pot you can tweak it by adding it on top at the end.

If you're feeling the fatigue of cooking daily, don't worry: my levels of inspiration have varied wildly, too. Back in March (like many) I was baking sourdough every day, cooking with my son and baking a lot of cakes and chocolate chip cookies, but my enthusiasm has definitely waned as the months have progressed.

I've tried to go easy on myself, cook simple recipes that feel like friends when inspiration is low, or support local restaurants by buying takeaway or their cook-at-home kits.

That said, our lockdown hero has without question been pizza. I got an Ooni pizza oven at the start of lockdown and I've used it every week. It's felt as close to being at a restaurant we're going to get right now.

One by Anna Jones is out in March; annajones.co.uk

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