Wouldn’t it be a sensible idea to have a cookbook that looks at those key ingredients we all use, and delves deeply into each one: capers for example. Well, I have one for you!

I don’t know about you, but I really love capers, and in Easy Wins by Anna Jones, she has a whole chapter on them. She goes into the types available, storage, pairing, favourite uses, where to buy as well, of course, as giving some delicious recipe ideas.

These include an ice cream – yes – and also a cocktail using caper brine.

Easy Wins – about the Book

Some 12 different ingredients receive Anna’s detailed treatment, but there’s also a lot more to this wonderful book

Distilling her 20 years of experience, Anna inspires us how to layer flavour and texture.

And there’s practical advice on how to season, plus plenty of ideas for invaluable vegetarian swaps, as well as how to reduce waste and use less energy when cooking.

Her hero ingredients all last a long time, are relatively affordable and easily available.

All the recipes are, as usual, choreographed and carefully thought out so that they take the least time possible.

Dotted through the book are recipes from some of her friends and favourite cooks. 

Anna Jones – Author

Anna Jones is a cook, writer, the voice of modern vegetarian cooking and award-winning author of bestselling One: Pot, Pan, Planet; A Modern Way to Eat; A Modern Way to Cook and The Modern Cook’s Year. 

According to Anna: “These simple ingredients, shown a little bit of love and attention, come together to make more than the sum of their parts. This to me is an Easy Win. A little moment of kitchen alchemy that reassures me. Recipes that are reliable sources of joy in a world that is ever-changing”.

Anna is on instagram @we_are_food

A Taster for You

Here are some recipes from the book – they are very good indeed!

The Cauliflower Caponata recipe below this first one for the potatoes, is seriously good – I’ve cooked it a number of times now and it’s a firm favourite.

Cheese and pickle roast potatoes with chilli-dressed leaves


1kg new potatoes, scrubbed clean

10 cornichons (35g), roughly chopped, plus 100ml of the brine from the jar

100ml extra virgin olive oil

3 fresh red chillies

juice of 1 unwaxed lemon

100g Comte cheese or vegan

mature Cheddar-style cheese

1 head of radicchio or other bitter lettuce

A tray of these for dinner is just about the best thing I can think of to eat. Squashed crisp-edged potatoes, tossed and baked in pickle brine to give them a subtle but important chip-shop-vinegar feeling. Once

hot and crisped, the potatoes are topped with cornichons and cheese and finished with a chilli and bitter lettuce salad, though the potatoes are also good just on their own.

Pickle brine is often thrown away but it is highly seasoned gold. It is acidic, a little salty and usually a little sweet, so it instantly adds depth like a splash of vinegar would but in a more mellow way.’

Preheat the oven and parboil the potatoes

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add 1kg scrubbed new

potatoes and cook for 10-20 minutes, depending on their size, until they are just cooked. Drain and leave the potatoes to steam dry in a colander.

Season and roast the potatoes

Tip the potatoes into a roasting tin, toss chem with 50ml cornichon brine, 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper, then roast for 15 minutes.

Remove the tin from the oven and, using a potato masher, squish the potatoes until they crack and expose some of the soft, fluffy insides. Pour over another 2 tablespoons olive oil and return to the oven for another 3040 minutes, turning the potatoes halfway, until golden and crispy.

Make the chilli dressing

Prick 3 fresh red chillies with the tip of a sharp knife – this stops them exploding when they are cooked.

Using a pair of metal tongs, hold the chillies one at a time over a gas flame until they’re blackened and blistered all over. If you don’t have a gas hob you can do this in a dry frying pan. Once they are all blistered, put them in a small bowl, cover and leave for 15 minutes. This way they will steam in their own heat and the skins will peel off easily. Once cool enough to handle, peel the chillies, open them up and scrape out all the seeds.

Discard the seeds and finely chop the flesh. Put in a mixing bowl with the remaining olive oil (70ml) and the juice of 1 unwaxed lemon and mix well. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

Finish the potatoes and dress the leaves

Once the potatoes are golden and crisp, add 50ml of cornichon brine while the potatoes are still hot, then toss with 10 roughly chopped cornichons and a generous grating of Comte or vegan Cheddar. Tear 1 head of radicchio into bite-sized pieces, season with salt and toss in the chilli dressing.

Cauliflower caponata   


1kg cauliflower, broken into roughly 4cm florets

3 red onions (350g), peeled and cut into eighths

3 sticks of celery, cut into 2cm pieces

extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes 

100g stone-in green or black olives, stones removed (I use a mixture of both) 

3 tablespoons capers

50g raisins

½ a bunch of parsley (20g), leaves picked

warm bread, to serve

Caponata is a masterclass in balancing sweet, sour and salty. It’s most often made with aubergine, which you have to fry in lots of olive oil first, making it less of a weeknight situation. This buttery cauliflower version is all done in the oven and to me it’s just as good as the aubergine version. It has the texture of a stew and can be eaten warm as an antipasto, as is most common in Italy, or on toast or tossed through pasta.’

Preheat the oven and roast the cauliflower

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan. 

Put a cauliflower, broken into roughly 4cm florets, 3 red onions, peeled and cut into eighths, and

3 sticks of celery, cut into 2cm pieces, into a large, high-sided baking tray with r tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and a little sea salt and pepper. 

Toss to coat, then roast for 25 minutes, until everything is slightly charred and starting to soften. 

Turn the oven down to 200°C/r80°C fan.

Add the rest

Add 2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes, breaking them in your hands as you do so, along with 100g stone-in green or black olives (stones removed),

3 tablespoons capers and 50g raisins. Give everything a good mix, mashing slightly with a fork, and return to the oven for 40 minutes, or until everything is soft and sticky.

Finish with the vinegar and oil

Once ready, and while the mix is still piping hot, add another tablespoon of vinegar, toss through a handful of parsley leaves and serve. Finish with a very generous dousing of extra virgin olive oil to bring it all together.

Extracted from EASY WINS: 12 flavour hits, 125 delicious recipes, 365 days of good eating by Anna Jones (Published by 4th Estate on 14th March, £28). Photography by Matt Russell.