Grape Vine Leaf Powder

Lately, I have been using a powder made from blanched, dried and ground grape vine leaves as a spice and flavouring. It has a deep red grape, woody flavour. We use grape leaves in cooking – e.g. dolmades, cheese wrapped in grape vine leaves, casseroles and baked dishes lined with grape leaves – AND that they dry easily, so I thought that powdering them might work. It does. It is still an experiment and work in progress, but I am sharing the beginnings with you.

It goes well mixed with ghee and stirred through rice, sprinkled over feta cheese, and scattered over vegetables before they are roasted. Mixed with salt it is an excellent seasoning and into yoghurt as you make a sauce, dressing or dip. It is an interesting umami type flavour.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Grilled Pecorino in Grape Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Cooked in Grape Vine Leaves. Other spice mixes/powders include Sundakkai Podi, and Chaat Masala.

Browse all of our Grape Vine Leaf recipes, and all of our Spice Mixes. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Okra with Cumin and a Yoghurt Sauce

This next recipe in our Okra series combines the okra with cumin seed (or use caraway seed) and other spices, and cooks it in a thickened sauce which glazes the okra. It is then mixed with yoghurt, or the yoghurt is drizzled over the top of the okra. It is Indian in style, but not a traditionally Indian dish.

Okra is available for such a long period of the year, and is reasonably priced in most areas, so it makes sense to include it in your diet. It is rather a healthy food too.

Are you after other Okra dishes? Try Spicy Dried Okra, Crispy Okra, and Plain Kuzhambu with Okra.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, or explore our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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Green Tea, Mint, Ginger, Apple Juice and Strawberry Cooler

Man, it is hot, and that sound is the sound of records breaking. As I write it is mind numbingly “warm”. Although it is such a slow start to Summer, these first days of heat are some of the hottest recorded. And people say climate change is not real.

So the rhythms of the kitchen change, and first thing in the morning we decide what to pop into the fridge for late-afternoon-on-the-deck cool sipping. There are quite a few recipes around for Apple Green Tea iced drink, and I tissied them up a bit, to suit our tastes and the items on my kitchen bench this morning. I do hope you enjoy it!

You might also like to try Watermelon Juice with Mint and Ginger, Balinese Ginger and Lemongrass Tea (which can be iced) and a Strawberry Frappe.

Have a look at our Summer Cooler Suggestions – or browse all of our coolers here. Are you looking for Tea recipes? Try here. Or Juice suggestions? Look here. Or simply explore our Early Summer recipes here.

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Andhra Brinjal Chutney | Indian Roasted Eggplant Chutney | Vankaya Pachchadi

The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh in South India is well known in India, even more, I think, than my beloved Tamil cuisine. One of the features of Andhra cuisine is its wonderful chutneys – wide, varied and flavoursome recipes that tease the palate and make wonderful companions to other dishes.

Cooking at Home with Pedatha is one of the well known cookbooks focusing on food from Andhra. The authors capture the recipes of 85 year old Subhadra Krishna Rau Parigi, fondly known as Pedatha. I often delve into this book for inspiration, along with my treasured books on Tamil cuisine by Meenakshi Ammal.

Please enjoy this recipe for Brinjal Chutney.

Browse our other Indian Chutney recipes, all of our Andhra Pradesh recipes, and our Eggplant dishes.  Are you looking for Indian recipes? They are here. And our Indian Essential Series is here. Or simply relax and explore all of our Early Summer dishes.

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Indian Fresh Green Apple Pickle

My beautiful Mahrashtrian friend makes this pickle that is amazingly delicious! Whenever we have big groups over for dinner, she makes this. The first time I tasted it, I begged her for the recipe. It was delicious and it turned out to be so very easy! She uses a store-bought Aachar Masala powder, and all it takes is some extra spices, the apples, some mustard oil and the powder.

I had forgotten the recipe as I hadn’t made it for a while, so I have to thank my twitter friend Dee, for helping me out.

You can also make this with cucumber, carrots, green mango, celery, lemons or caperberries too!

The spice mix is called Achar Masala and is the RamDev brand. This is the brand my friend recommends, and I do not receive anything for mentioning it.

Similar recipes include Carrot Pickle, Onion Strings Pickle, and Quince Aachar.

Browse all of our Indian Pickles. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Broad Bean and Mint Vadai | Broad Bean Falafel

We have been using up the last of the broad beans, and turned the very last of them into a cross between South Indian Vadai and Middle Eastern Falafel. Whatever, they are gorgeous!

The trick is to grind some blanched broad beans with herbs and curry leaves, then add besan, and shallow fry or deep fry them until cooked and crispy. They are gorgeous with some fresh Indian chutney and a bowl of rasam. We use the Western Fava Beans (aka Broad Beans) not the Indian Broad Beans, Avarakkai, for this dish.

Try some other vadai too – Maddur Vada, Falafel, and Gram Flour Vada. Are you looking for Rasam? We have a couple of dozen rasam recipes here.

Browse our Vadai recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring dishes.

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Quinoa, Parsley and Lemon Salad with Cannellini Beans

Today’s recipe is for a common style of salad around the Mediterranean – it is light and full of sunshine! Herby and lemony, it feels so healthy and is ideal for outside eating in Summer.

The Mediterranean style salad of quinoa and cannellini beans is quick to put together. Super simple once the beans and grains are cooked, it is ready in minutes and very delicious. It is an Ottolenghi recipe that does not have a mile-long list of ingredients or dozens of steps in the recipe. Tucked away in a corner of a page in his book Plenty More, it is a salad that should not be missed.

It is a very white salad, so it looks great served next to a salad with lots of tomato or pomegranate seeds. If you use red quinoa, it looks very elegant against the cannellini beans!

Similar dishes include White Bean Salad with Tahini, Grilled Eggplant Salad with White Beans, and Roasted Red Pepper Salad with White Beans.

You might like to see our other Quinoa recipes and Cannellini Bean recipes. All of our Salads are here. Browse all of our Ottolenghi recipes here, or explore our collection of easy Early Summer dishes.

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Creamy Potato Cheese Gratin

Normally cheesy gratin dishes would be Winter fare in this house, but it is late Spring as I write, and we have the heating on and three layers of clothes. It is cold and wet. It might be 10 days from Summer but it feels like mid Winter. It HAS to be potatoes and cheese. Plus the oven warms the kitchen nicely.

Are you looking for similar dishes? Try Parmesan Potatoes, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini, and Gratineed Sweet Potatoes.

You can browse all of our Gratin dishes and all of our Potato recipes. Or simply explore all of our Late Summer dishes.

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Murungakkai Sambar | Drumstick Sambar With Crushed Curry Leaves

Drumsticks, such a funny name, are stick shaped vegetables that grow on a tree. They are funny, skinny, long vegetables with a hard outer covering that gives them the name drumsticks. You have to be in the know to eat this vegetable, as you would never guess it. There is a soft interior that is delicious. The pieces of drumsticks have to be picked up with the fingers, the exterior is squashed in the mouth and the tender interior can be scraped out with the teeth. You come to love this little procedure. The harder skin, once all flavour is extracted from it, is discarded on the side of the plate.

Drumsticks are particularly delicious in Sambar and Rasam. They are best bought fresh, but frozen drumsticks are readily available in Indian groceries if you can’t find them locally. This recipe is from the classic book Classic Tamil Brahmin Cuisine, such a great book of classic South Indian / Tamil traditional recipes. The method is somewhat different to Meenakshi Ammal’s seminal recipes from Cook and See, in that the tadka is added to the base gravy before the cooked dal is added. Ammal usually also includes tomatoes in her sambar as well, and thickens the dish with a little rice flour or besan at the end. I have added the thickening trick to the recipe as it really does add to the texture of the dish.

Similar recipes include Poritha Koottu, Poritha Kuzhambu, Drumstick Kadhi, and Pitlai.

Browse all of our Drumstick recipes and all of our Sambar dishes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Late Spring dishes.

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Pol Roti | Coconut Roti | Sri Lankan Flatbread

These Pol Roti are very popular in Sri Lanka, are eaten at all meals by many, and are particularly loved for breakfast. Pol Roti pairs well with curries, and Sri Lankan sambols, pickles and chutneys. They are even delicious with butter and jam!

A tawa is perfect for cooking them, but you can use any flat pan, griddle, hot plate or BBQ.

Pol Roti can be made thin or thicker. We have made them thick here, but you can choose to roll them out to a thinner roti. Chop the onions or chilli into smaller pieces for thinner roti.

Similar recipes include Quick RotiRoti from Goa, and Adai.

Our Roti recipes are here or explore other Indian/Sir Lankan breads. Have a look at other Sri Lankan recipes, or browse our Indian dishes. Or simply check out our easy Early Summer recipes.

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EARLY SPRING Vegetables for Healthy Eating in Spring | Seasonal Cooking

At last, Spring arrives with her variety of fresh greens and other vegetables. Thank goodness! It is Vegetables that carry us from Deep Winter into Transitional Spring. How important it is in Early Spring to increase the intake and variety of fruit and vegetables. We are here to help.

Enjoy our Vegetable Inspiration for Early Spring.

You can also browse other Early Spring recipes:

 

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Pomelo Raita

We adore Pomelo when it is in season and have a range of salads and snacks that we make with it. It takes some effort to peel, but it is worth it! This particular pomelo, in season now, has bright pink flesh, and the dishes look amazing.

Today we make an Indian dish with the Pomelo. Pomelo is called different things in different parts of India, but mainly have spellings similar to Chakkotha. We mix it in the yoghurt with some other cooling ingredients – tomatoes and cucumbers – and spice it up with some chaat masala. I can’t claim all the credit for this. I saw a recipe some time ago that was similar, and the thought has stayed with me. Now that Pomelos are back in the shop, it is a chance to make this dish.

Similar recipes include Pomelo with Avocado, Three Citrus Salad, and Pomelo and Green Mango Salad.

Browse all of our Pomelo dishes and all of our Raitas. Our Indian dishes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Late Spring dishes.

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Pearl Barley and Porcini “Risotto” | Pearl Barley and Porcini with Parmesan

Well, I have been known to be quite pedantic about what makes a risotto and what does not. I have this in common with Nigel Slater. It is a constant surprise the lengths some recipes go to, to be called a risotto.

But ok, this recipe is not a real risotto, that is why the quotes are there. But is is a dish with beautiful flavours, cooked with pearl barley which is stirred while it simmers, to cook it slowly. It is beautifully flavoured with red wine, porcini, pecorino, and, would you believe it, currants for a dark musky note and a hint of sweetness.

The amount of liquid needed to soften barley can vary, so stir in more liquid if the specified amount is not quite enough.

Similar recipes include Charred Okra with Spiced Tomato Barley, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Parsley and Barley Salad.

Browse all of our Barley recipes, all of our real Risottos and our Mushroom dishes. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Sundakkai Vathal Paruppu Podi | Dried Pea Eggplant, Spice and Lentil Mix | Dried Turkey Berry Spice Powder

Sundakkai Vathal are dried pea eggplants (also called turkey berries), and they have a salty, slightly bitter taste. They are quite addictive, but are an adult taste. You have to grow into them. We adore them.

One way to use them is to grind them into a powder. Sometimes we do this without mixing them with anything else – saute them in a tiny bit of ghee until the puff a little, then grind into a powder, and sprinkle on rice and into dishes. It is amazing!

This recipe is a podi, or a South Indian spice mix, which includes lentils, pepper and chillies. You can add cumin as well. Curry leaves are crisped and ground with the other ingredients. It tastes great with hot rice mixed with ghee, and used to make Sundakkai Vathal Kuzhambu.

Other Spice Mixes include Garam Masala, Chaat Masala, Grape Vine Leaf Powder, and Sambar Powder.

Browse our other Podi recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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EARLY WINTER – Don’t Miss these Hearty Dishes | Seasonal Cooking

Slowly we leave the lovely light of Autumn and don the coat as the chilly mornings and evenings are slipping in. The Greengrocer’s shelves are changing, fruit is disappearing, and winter vegetables arriving. What will you be cooking?

Enjoy these highlights from our Early Winter classic recipes. You can browse all of our Early Winter recipes here:

Please let us know if you find links that are not working. We would love to fix them for you.

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