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Fettuccine con Cacio e Pepe | Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper

Simple is great, yes? Less is more. In this pasta dish, as with many others, it is the simplicity that shines and makes for a spectacular dish. And we do keep it simple. While other recipes will argue the ratios of pepper and cheese, and how to make a sauce that is emulsified and does not split, we follow the advice of respected Italian home cooks and mix the cheese and pepper directly with the pasta  together with some butter. It works and works really really well.

I have made it here with some home made eggless pasta that combines flour, semolina flour and chickpea flour and uses ground sesame seeds as a binding agent. It is really good, but of course this recipe can be made with any pasta – use piti, rigatoni, fettuccine or spaghetti. The general recommendation is that dried pasta is better with this sauce, but the robustness of this eggless pasta version stands up well to the robust flavours of pepper and parmesan.

Are you looking for Pasta dishes? Try Beautiful Buttered Orzo, Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, Penne with Broad Beans and Ricotta, Capunti Pasta with Basil and Tomatoes, Pasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto, Simple Pasta with Chilli and Olive Oil, and Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce.

Don’t forget that home made eggless pasta.

Or perhaps you are after Italian fare? Try Risotto with Mushrooms, White Bean Soup and Grilled Fennel with Mozzarella.

You can browse all of our pasta dishes here, and all of our Italian recipes here. Or simply take some time to explore our Mid Autumn collection of recipes.

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Pomelo and Green Mango Salad with Asian Flavours

This salad has such a fresh taste, embodying the joys of summer.

Ottolenghi has done it again. This is the first time that we’ve used Pomelo and it is a delightful find. Let me say, however, that it is a lot of work to peel and remove the membrane, but once the trick is discovered it is not a difficult task.

This salad has such a fresh taste, embodying the joys of summer. I wonder why pomelo is not very popular in Australia as this dish is very much a beach-side picnic dish or a country-drive-and-picnic dish.

Are you looking for Pomelo recipes? Try Three Citrus Salad with Green Chilli and GingerPomelo Salad with Avocado, Pomelo and Carrot Salad, and Pomelo, Green Mango and Pea Eggplant Salad with Tamarind Dressing.

Ore perhaps other Green Mango recipes? Try Green Mango and Lemon Rice, and Jicama and Green Mango Salad.

Are you looking for other Salads? Try Buddha’s Delight Salad, Kylie’s Tofu and Asian Herb Salad, and Ottolenghi’s Beetroot, Black Olive and Orange Salad.

Or browse all of our Pomelo dishes, all of our Salad Recipes and our Ottolenghi recipes. Or be inspired by our Late Summer recipes.

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Tulsi ka Sherbet | Iced Tulsi Tea

What a powerhouse herb Tulsi is, everyone should have a plant or at least dried leaves in their pantry. We have a few recipes featuring it, and today, another one. An iced tea for the hottest of weathers. We have 40C days in Summer, sometimes hotter, so our minds will be on cooling drinks for afternoons under the grapevines.

Similar recipes include Tulsi, Mint and Lemon Verbena Tea, Tulsi and Mint Chai with Cinnamon, and Ginger and Tulsi Tea.

Browse all of our Tulsi recipes, and all of our Indian Coolers. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essentials Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Dried Turmeric Okra | Vendaikai Vathal

Ah Fryums. Dried vegetables that are then fried and served in sambar or kuzhambu, with yoghurt as a pachadi or raita, or as an accompaniment to rice.

To make these Okra Fryums they are soaked in yoghurt for 2 days and then dried. Traditionally they would be dried on rooftops in the hot sun, but as that is not possible here, a dehydrator will substitute. I used Vidhyas Home Cooking as a guide for making these.

Are you after other Vathal? Read this article about them and then try Mango Vathal and this other recipe for Okra Vathal. We also have Dried Mung Dal Nuggets.

Or perhaps other Okra dishes? Try Spicy Dried Okra Snack, Pickled Okra, and Goan Fried Okra.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Vathal. Have a look at our Autumn Preserving article. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Gorgonzola and White Bean Salad with Chickpeas

For a huge amount of time, gorgonzola was not available in Australia. It was a source of huge frustration for any foodie, particularly those who love cheeses. But over the years, the restrictions have been relaxed and gorgonzola now appears even on supermarket shelves.

Need I say that we love this cheese? Here is another salad that uses it. It is one of our simple salads and combines the cheese with some tomatoes and Chickpeas and/or White Beans. I like to use cannelini or haricot beans. If you can’t get gorgonzola, there are more cost effective Australian Blue Cheeses that are also divine.

Are you looking for other Gorgonzola Salads? Try a Gorgonzola Snack, and Gorgonzola Torte.

Or other White Bean Salads? Try Roasted Red Pepper Salad with White Beans and Mozzarella, Grilled Eggplant Salad with White Beans, and Easy White Bean Salad.

Or perhaps Chickpea Salads? Try Green Salad with Chickpeas and Feta, Chickpea Tabouleh, and Chickpea and Carrot Salad with a Curry Dressing.

Browse all of our Gorgonzola dishes, all of our White Bean recipes and all of our Chickpea recipes. All of our many many Salads are here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Miso and Tofu Dipping Sauce and Dressing

We love our dipping sauces, ones that an be used as dressings and sauces as well. This one, another recipe from a pack of miso, is wonderful. It takes soft tofu and blends it with miso, garlic and saké. Yum!

Similar dishes include Miso and Tahini Sauce, Miso Sesame Dressing, and Chilli Miso and Sesame Sauce.

Browse all of our Miso recipes and all of our Dipping Sauces and Dressings. Or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Apple and Celery Salad with Creamy Miso-Seed Dressing

A wonderful Winter salad is apple and celery with walnuts – seasonal, healthy, crunchy and delicious. This easy salad has a blended dressing made with seeds (sunflower or pepitas – pumpkin seeds), miso and umeboshi plums.

Similar recipes include Miso and Tofu Dipping Sauce and Dressing, Miso-Tahini Molasses Dressing and Miso-Sesame Dressing.

Browse all of our Salads, all of our Apple Salads, Celery Salads and our Dressings. Or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Keerai Molagootal | Spinach with a Peppery Coconut Gravy

A bunch of beautiful spinach leaves from the garden – what can be better than cooking them with toor dal and coconut with a pepper hit? This recipe is a Palakkad recipe – from that region in Kerala on the border of Tamil Nadu. The area is a melting pot of influences especially Tamil and Malayalam. This dish is quite traditional. Some recipes include pepper and others do not. As it’s name indicates with pepper, that is how we cooked it. It is quite similar to a kootu, but subtly different. It is much like the Poritha Kuzhambu of Tamil Nadu.

In Kerala, many different greens are used for this dish, even cabbage. It can be made with chowchow, long beans, snake gourd and yellow pumpkin. Mixtures of vegetables such as plantain, carrot, yam, potato and chowchow, are also excellent. Indian greens include mulai keerai, paruppu keerai, thandu keerai, palak keerai, and ara keerai – oh to have the same range of greens here.

Similar dishes include Moringa Leaf Dal, Poritha Kootu, and Ridged Gourd Masiyal.,

Browse all of our Spinach dishes. Our Kootu recipes are here. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Pasta and Roasted Sweet Peppers Salad with Walnuts

A pasta salad! Some may say this is corny, but we love them, and they are also such a good way to use up left over cooked pasta. This one takes some sweet roasted peppers – at least some red ones, but add green, yellow and orange if you have them, and tosses them with any cooked and cooled pasta and toasted walnuts. Goats cheese or Persian feta is optional. Today we left it off, but it does make a good addition to the salad.

Are you after other Pasta dishes? Try Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper, Hand Made Pesto, and Light Pasta Lunch Salads.

What about other Capsicum dishes? Try Roasted Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Tomato and Red Pepper Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Lime and Chilli, and Roasted Peppers and Eggplant Salad.

Browse all of our Pasta dishes, and all of our Capsicum dishes. Our Italian dishes are here. Or explore all of our Late Autumn recipes.

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Cooking the Softest Chickpeas

Absolutely years ago, Lucy posted a method for cooking chickpeas that takes FOREVER but yields the softest chickpeas that are also perfectly intact. They don’t disintegrate – usually there is a fine line between “hard as a bullet” and “falling to pieces” with chickpeas.

The recipe, Lucy notes, comes from Jude Blereau’s book Wholefood. And you do have to plan ahead with up to 36 hours of soaking and 5 – 8 hours of cooking. IF you have the time or IF you want glorious chickpeas for a special dish, then this method is worth it. Usually I cook chickpeas overnight in the slow cooker with some baking soda to soften the skins, and love the results, but this recipe takes them to a whole different level.

This is a great weekend dish – put them on to soak on Friday night and put them in the oven on Sunday morning. In Winter, the kitchen will be warmed beautifully for all those hours.

Similar recipes include All about Chickpeas, Hummus, Falafel and Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas.

Browse all of our Chickpea recipes, or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Tomato Salad with Lemon or Lime

Tomato Salads can be quite simple yet pack a flavour punch. In this world of complex recipes, it is worth having dishes that you can get onto the table in less than 5 minutes – dishes that will compliment the rest of your meal.

Recently we have been making tomato salads – we love to make them in Autumn as Autumn tomatoes are so flavoursome. Today’s recipe is a reminder that simple is often the best. Oh yes.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean and Tomato Salad, Tomato Salad with Green Olives, and the Best Tomato Salad.

Browse all of our Tomato salads and all of our Salads. Or browse our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Mysore Rasam | Second Method

This is our second version of Mysore Rasam from Meenakshi Ammal. It varies slightly from the first version, but as we know with Indian cooking small changes can make significant taste differences.

Mysore Rasam is similar to Kottu (Plain) Rasam, in that it includes toor dal to give the rasam a beautiful silky texture. It also uses the water from cooking the dal to round out the flavours. It is also rather like Plain Dal Rasam with different spices. And in this recipe, rasam powder is not used, rather the spices are sauteed and ground while the toor dal cooks.

You might also be interested in reading about the difference between Rasam and Sambar.

Similar recipes include Cumquat Rasam, Spicy Tomato and Dal Soup, and Pepper Rasam.

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

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Cream of Asparagus Soup

Asparagus has that gentle flavour that makes it an ideal Spring vegetable, especially for soups. Asparagus soups do not have the heaviness of Winter soups, and as we emerge from jumpers, scarves, hats and overcoats, it is a delight to have its gentleness.

I don’t mean to imply that this soup should be kept only for Spring – indeed it will be a staple in your kitchen from Spring right through to the end of Autumn, at the times you can source decent asparagus. This recipe is a take on the recipe that appeared in Moosewood all those years ago – you Woodstock fans will know what I mean (and I am not referring to the bird!). It is a little different to the French Cream of Asparagus that we have also been making for quite a number of years.

This soup can be made in a high speed blender, one that heats the soup as it blends. While it misses the sweetness that can only be found in slowly cooked onions, sauteed asapragus and toasted roux, it is still a great option for evenings after a long day at work.

Similar recipes include the French Cream of Asparagus Soup, Chilled Asparagus Soup and Gentle Asparagus and Turmeric Soup.

Browse all of our Asparagus dishes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Uppadam | Okra Kuzhambu with Sundakkai Vatral

Uppadam is an older recipe, one which people recall their Grandmothers or perhaps Mothers making, but which seems to have lost favour in the current generations. It is generally made with okra, and, as Uppadam means something that is preserved, with vatral, sun-dried vegetables, as well. Manathakkali vatral is traditionally used, and I searched high and low for it. It is difficult to obtain here, it seems, so Sundakkai is the recommended alternative. Sundakkai is sun-dried Turkey Berry/Pea Eggplants.

There are a few ways of making Kuzhambu style dishes with okra, but I particularly like this way. It has that sense of connecting one with past generations of women cooking in the kitchens of South India, or directing the making of similar dishes with a specialist’s hand. The okra is cooked with spices and the vatral, before tamarind and a paste of toasted rice, fenugreek, and chillies is added. This thickens the dish, so it is half way between a Rasam and a Sambar. Meenakshi Ammal has a similar recipe, and I will share that one too, in due course.

Roasting the rice will interest you. It releases more moisture that you thought possible, and the grain itself therefore changes somewhat. Roast until it is aromatic.

Similar dishes include Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Vatral Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Okra dishes and all of our Kuzhambu recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Roasted Aubergine with Black Garlic Yoghurt Sauce

For the last couple of years, black garlic has been the thing – slowly fermented until black, the garlic has the taste of parmesan, tamarind and molasses It is gorgeous. Mostly mashed or pureed into other dishes, it is quite versatile, if not an expensive addition to all sorts of dishes including soups, simmered dishes and dressings. Or just spread on some toast.

Ottolenghi took a while to warm to black garlic, but several recipes feature in his books – one absolutely gorgeous one in Nopi, and this one – both with eggplants that have been roasted. In this recipe, from Plenty More, the roasted eggplant slices are drizzled with a yoghurt-black garlic sauce, which is then topped with crispy chilli rings and garlic slices, before being liberally sprinkled with herbs. It is delicious. Of course.

We are cooking our way through Plenty More as our project for the year. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

Don’t have any black garlic? See the Nopi post for substitutions that work very well.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. As mentioned, we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian or Telegraph columns.

Similar dishes include Roasted Eggplant with a Garlic Sauce, Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt, and Smoky Eggplant and Asparagus.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Baked Ziti with Feta

I had recently made Jamie Oliver’s Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, when I came across this similar recipe by Ottolenghi. The concept is the same – cheesey pasta in tomato sauce, baked until melty – the execution is different, with different pastas, different spices, cheeses and cooking methods. They are both great left-over-pasta-and-tomato-sauce dishes – layer with cheese and bake or grill – and hence they would make fabulous Sunday night supper meals.

I think Jamie’s recipe is a winner – easy to make and packed with flavour, and it has an honesty about its simplicity which shines through in the finished dish. Ottolenghi’s version layers the flavours with herbs and spices and uses the bite of feta and the umami of aged cheese and parmesan to add depth to the dish. It is different to Jamie’s in that the pasta is the focus and it is baked until the top layer is crispy and the cheese is golden brown. Delicious. Jamie’s recipe is pasta bathed in tomato sauce, Ottolenghi’s is pasta with a little tomato sauce.

I always preferred my father’s pasta the next day, when he’d put it in a hot oven with heaps of extra cheese. It would emerge slightly burned and very crisp on top.

This recipe serves a heap of people, up to 10, depending on how hungry the mob is. So don’t be afraid to halve it for a smaller family meal. Just note that the baking dish must be big enough to hold the pasta in a shallow layer. Or bake in separate dishes as I did.

I also have to mention that Ottolenghi grills this dish but I baked it. Partly because that is easier in our kitchen, but mostly because the recipe asks that the tomato sauce sits aside while the pasta is cooked, so it has lost heat. Baking heats the dish again beautifully.

As already mentioned, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

In fact, it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, and Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Pasta dishes, our Baked dishes and our Italian recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Green Puy Lentils, Asparagus and Watercress

Green lentils, brown lentils, red lentils, black lentils, yellow lentils, split peas, dried peas – the world of Western lentils is quite different to the world of Indian lentils. It presents a challenge to your pantry space if you commonly cook lentils from both cuisines. Two of the coloured lentils we adore and keep in our pantry each winter – the green French or Du Puy lentil, and the black Beluga lentil.

This salad is terrific, mixing hot green lentils with parmesan and asparagus with a dressing made from watercress and parsley. In many ways, this dish is about the parmesan rather than the lentils, dressing or asparagus. That yeasty, earthy umami flavour with the lentils and dressing as a base will have you coming back for more and more. The asparagus offers a delightful crunch.

It is an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty. Currently we are cooking from his book Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by.  For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Green Puy Lentils, Asparagus and Watercress”