IF you’ve ever fried off a clove of garlic, drizzled olive oil over a salad or sprinkled basil over your spaghetti, chances are you've been inadvertently inspired by the late food writer Elizabeth David.

The ground-breaking author would have turned 100 this year and a new collection of her recipes has been published.

Whether or not you know her name, most will be familiar with the dishes she helped make popular As well as bringing Mediterranean fare to our shores, she helped to give vegetables a starring role in cooking, making meat-free meals appetising to a generation who saw vegetable-based dishes as something they had to endure when money and rations were scarce.

Here is a recipe from Elizabeth David On Vegetables.


300g Italian rice (try Arborio or risotto rice), 1.25 litres/2 pints of vegetable stock, or chicken stock if you're not vegetarian, 1 wine glass of oil, 1 medium onion, chopped fine, 2 cloves of garlic ,chopped, 125g white mushrooms, cut into slices.

Into a heavy saute pan put the oil, and as soon as it is warm put in the onion, the garlic and the mushrooms. As soon as the onion begins to brown, add the rice and stir until it takes on a transparent look. This is the moment to start adding the stock, which should be kept just on the boil by the side of the fire.

Pour in about two cups at a time, and go on stirring and adding stock each time it has been absorbed. The whole process is done over a low flame, and in about 45-50 minutes, the risotto should be ready. It should be creamy but on no account reduced to porridge.

Grated Parmesan cheese is served with it, and sometimes stirred in before bringing the risotto to the table. In any case a risotto must be eaten immediately it is ready, and cannot be kept warm in the oven, steamed over a pan of boiling water, or otherwise kept waiting.