Whatever it is you're cooking, be it peas, cauliflower, carrots, brussel sprouts (blech), broccoli, mangetouts or whatever, observe these simple guidelines and you'll always end up with veg that is full of flavour, colour and texture (rather than the overboiled mush we all grew up with):

  • Never put the veg into cold water - make sure it's at absolutely top boiling temperature every time.
  • Never cover the pan - vegetables like air, they lose their colour if you stifle them.
  • Never overcook - when the water in your open pan comes back to the boil and the veg starts floating to the surface, it's usually ready. You can leave it an extra minute if you don't like the almost-raw feel, but don't overdo it.
In the case of peas, there's another minor secret - don't put salt in the water. It makes their skins go tough.

And there you have it - perfect vegetables that are not bland, or boring, or mushy, colourless and revoulting.

Some vegetables are born great:

  • Eat local produce. Eat from the garden. If you don't have a garden, buy from a farmer. Get your produce from a farmer's market. Ask the farmer how he or she cooks whatever you're buying. If there is no farmer's market, buy from a produce specialty store. If you can, buy organic. Your last resort is a supermarket. Why? Because most supermarkets stock vegetables that have been bred for standardized appearance, shelf life, and hardiness in transportation, not flavor, and you can believe that they've traveled a long way to sit on the grocer's shelves.
  • Eat seasonally. If it doesn't grow in your climate at this time of year, it's been transported hundreds or thousands of miles to get to your market, and bred to survive the trip.

And some vegetables have greatness thrust upon them:

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