When my July issue of BBC Good Food Magazine dropped through the door, Meera Syal's vegetable biryani was the first recipe that really jumped out at me. Not only did it combine an impressive list of spices, it was also a great opportunity to up our quota of veggie meals.

I saved it for a Friday night when I would have more time, as it involves multiple steps and is definitely not a quick and easy mid-week supper. The recipe suggests 30 minutes preparation and 1h 30 minutes cooking time, this was more or less accurate with it taking me just over 2 hours. It's important to note though that I spent 1h 30 minutes busy in the kitchen with the biryani in the oven for the final 30 minutes. In other words, it's not a quick 30 minute prep and then feet up while it's cooking.  

Meera's recipe introduced me to new cooking techniques, for example, blending the tomatoes and coriander before adding to the pan and cooking the rice with cumin and cinnamon. I love how these tips delivered added value.

Unfortunately, the ingredient list included two vegetables on my husband's definitive list of most hated foods; aubergine and cauliflower. I'd hoped the spices would render them both incognito, but no such luck. Despite his disappointment to see them on his plate he conceded that the biryani was good. In his next breadth though he was at pains to request both items are excluded from future mealtimes.

The recipe served 6 and there were just two of us eating, so it'll be veggie biryani for lunch for me next week, which takes care of another job!