Back from India, and What’s in The Kitchen

India Bliss

A quick trip to Chennai – Mylapore to be precise – immersed my body and soul once more in the colour, happiness and devotion of India. It was an extraordinary and intense 7 day, and one I will never forget. I met the most incredible people, traveled to Mahabalipuram and Chidambaram, ate extraordinary food, worked with the small charity that I coordinate, visited most ancient of temples, sat on beaches and felt welcomed in every step and in every place. Such a fixture I became in the streets of Mylapore around Kapaleeshwara, that I would be greeted by all and sundry as I walked around.

India Bliss Temple

In a moment I will share a couple of food related highlights to share with you. Continue reading

Posted in Indian, Links, VEGETARIAN | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Roasted Tomato and Sweetcorn Soup for Late Autumn

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

There is nothing quite like a roasted tomato for wonderful and intense flavours. I use them everywhere and all year around. I cook them in the oven or in the covered BBQ. Both are delicious.

Roasted tomatoes make great soups, like this cold one I made some time ago. But winter cometh, and it is time for hot soups once again. The inspiration for both soups was from Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries I, (see August 7th) but I made it my way. Here is what I did. Continue reading

Posted in 05 Late Autumn, Capsicums, Soups, Tomatoes, VEGETARIAN | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Nigel is my Inspiration. Baked Garlicy Eggplant with Feta.

Baked Garlicky Eggplant with Feta

I am finding Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries I and II very inspiring for evening supper-type meals. Quick to cook, open to adjustment, not too many steps or ingredients, his (vegetarian) food is my food at the moment. I am often home late-ish, so something quick and healthy is perfect for me.

In the past I had drooled over his baked aubergines with sheep’s cheese and mint in The Kitchen Diaries I for August 2 (look it up if you have the book) and made these recently. Inspired by this dish, I made it my way. This is how I made them. Continue reading

Posted in 05 Late Autumn, BBQs, Eggplant, English, Italian, Side Dish, Snacks, VEGETARIAN | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Raitas/Pachadis – 3 different ones to Tickle your Tastebuds

3 different Raitas/Pachadis

In Australia, if you see Raita on the menu of an Indian restaurant, it means the ubiquitous Cucumber Raita. Cooling and tasty, it helps those of us unused to the heat of Indian meals to cool our tongue and palate.

Raitas, or Pachadis, are an Indian version of salads.  To call yoghurt the “dressing” of the salad is a bit of a misnomer. It is more than that – it is the carrier of the vegetables and the flavours of the spices. It holds the whole dish together. The vegetables used might be cooked or raw, and in Tamil Nadu they are served near the end of the savoury portion of the meal, just before payasam/dessert/kheer (rather than along with the curries). But I often eat more “fusion” and serve raitas as part of a meal, or even part of the entree/ starters.

Here are three raitas for you to try at home. Continue reading

Posted in 01 Mid Summer, 02 Late Summer, 03 Early Autumn, 04 Mid Autumn, Indian, Radish and Daikon, Salads, Salsas, Purees, Pates and Dips, Side Dish, VEGETARIAN | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Traditional ANZAC Biscuits, for any day of the year

ANZAC Day

It’s past ANZAC Day, but I found myself cooking the traditional ANZAC biscuits tonight. It is a wonderful memory of childhood days past, of cooking dozens of dozens of biscuits on the old wood stove, of thin crisp crunchy ANZAC Biscuits more often than ANZAC Day comes around. I am a country girl, and these mega baking days were very common in our house when I was a child.

Don’t be fooled, this is a traditional recipe. None of those thick, soft biscuits which try to pass as ANZAC Biscuits can be found in this kitchen. No sultanas, raisins or other dried fruits in sight. Just thin ones that start on the tray as a lump, and gradually spread out and brown up nicely. Yep. Traditional. With a cuppa tea, a good yarn and a wood fire. Continue reading

Posted in 04 Mid Autumn | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Eggplant Makhani, in a slow mood. Perfect for Autumn.

Brinjal Makhani

So Autumnal here, Australian style. Some slightly yellowing leaves, sunny cloudless skies but the sun is lower so the days are pleasant without being hot. Long shadows and slower days. Glorious sun rises, cool to cold at night and in the mornings. Gardens frolicking in the not-too-hot weather, and tomatoes to die for. Summer fruits are disappearing and oranges, plums and pears are beginning to appear on the shelves. Some chestnuts.

Cooking for my daughter one evening, I wanted something delicious but not to difficult or time consuming. Inspired by Sanjana at korasoi, I took her slow cooker recipe and made some changes to suit the evening meal.

It was served with some steamed basmatti rice, English spinach sauted in spices and a cooling cucumber salad.

Check out the original recipe here. It looks magnificent. This is how our version went. Continue reading

Posted in 03 Early Autumn, Eggplant, Indian, Sunday Afternoon at Home Cooking, VEGETARIAN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crispy Garlic. Crispy Sage.

Crispy Garlic. Crispy Sage.

I use crispy garlic particularly a lot to top vegetables, soups and mashes. It adds texture, flavour and another dimension to dishes. Sage likewise.

Truly it is quite easy. Heat about a Tblspn olive oil in a pan over medium heat, and then cook slivers of garlic for 30 seconds until golden.

Likewise for sage leaves. Heat a Tblspn of oil over a medium heat and fry the sage leaves for about 1 minute until crisp and translucent. They will splatter, so be careful.

Drain both on absorbent paper and scatter over your soup, mash or vegetables. Continue reading

Posted in 05 Late Autumn, 06 Early Winter, 07 Mid Winter, 08 Late Winter, garlic, Spices and Herbs, VEGETARIAN | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment