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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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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Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho

Cold soup is a treasure of Summer weather. Some countries (eg India and the Middle East) have a whole cuisine of cold drinks that are sipped in the extreme weather of the hottest periods of the year, and countries such as Spain have a cuisine of cold soups to slurp in similar weather. Here, we have neither although our weather in Summer equals or exceeds that of those countries. It is a puzzle why that is.

Never fear, here in our little patch of Australia, both cold soups and cold drinks prevail in hot weather.  From the simplest (juice tomatoes with a tiny piece of chill, serve as a soup with basil, spring onions, black pepper, sea salt) to beautiful but out of fashion vichyssoise varieties.

Today we make a Gazpacho style soup with watermelon as well as tomato. It is delicious on a hot Summer evening, eating on the deck or verandah with friends and family. Serve as a soup, or even as a savoury drink, like you might serve a tomato juice – leave the bread out if you are going to serve it this way. Sipped or slurped, it is wonderful.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, from Plenty More, although I have added some cucumber back into the recipe. I love its juice and can’t imagine a gazpacho without it. It makes a difference. Sometimes, I have also added the juice of zucchinis (surprisingly delicious and cooling) in the past too, because I had a glut of them, and it is delicious. It is such a light and delicious soup, and easy to make – you will want to make it all Summer.

In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – 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 recipes include Coriander and Lemongrass VichyssoiseGazpacho,  and Cold Avocado Soup.

Browse all of our Cold Soups and all of our Tomato Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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

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Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato

We have been making this dish for ever and a day. We make all sorts of variations. Sometimes we use Trecce, the plaits of Mozzarella, or really large balls, and tear them apart, drizzling with a grassy extra virgin olive oil and tossing tomato wedges, cucumber slices and basil leaves on top. It is divine, and ready in 5 minutes. Salt and pepper, and it is done.

Sometimes we use tiny bocconcini balls, cutting or tearing them in halves and marinating them, or using them as-is. Add some spring onions to the tomatoes and cucumbers. Drizzle with even more olive oil.

We can’t even remember where we first came across this practice but it is common. Ottolenghi has a great recipe where large balls of Buffalo Mozzarella are marinated in some spices, herbs, garlic and oil, before tomatoes are added. This is probably one of the simplest yet finest suppers you can make. It is a great summery meal to eat on the couch watching your favourite show.

Use only ripe summery tomatoes, juicy and sweetly intense, straight from the garden if you can. Get the best-quality buffalo mozzarella you can find. Serve with good crusty white bread. Enjoy!

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.

Are you looking for other Mozzarella recipes? Try Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Lemon and Caperberries, and Mozzarella with Crispy Tomato Crumbs.

We have lots of Tomato Salads. Try Tomato Salad with Lemon or Lime.

Browse all of our Ottolenghi recipes, and all of our Mozzarella dishes. Our Tomato recipes are here and our Salads here. Check out our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More.Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Tomato and Lettuce Salad with Pickles and Croutons

Croutons make great additions to salads, as they add flavour, texture and bulk. A salad that might be light – easily made, quickly eaten and easily digested – can be beefed up (so to speak) with the addition of toasted croutons of any sort of bread. Crispy flatbread will work, rye bread, grain breads and normal white bread all add variety to salads. Or use the Italian Friselle or Greek Dakos, sprinkled with some olive oil and red wine vinegar to soften.

Here is another such recipe. It takes tomatoes and pickles with a little sliced chilli, mixes them with lettuce, tossed with croutons and dressed with a mustardy mayo or vinaigrette. What could be better? A perfect, beefed up salad for a BBQ or lunch.

Are you after other Tomato Salads? Try Quick Tomato Salad with Mustardy Mayo, Tomato and Strawberry Salad with Basil, and Tomato and Peach Salad.

Browse all Tomato Salads, our Lettuce Salads, and our many many Salads of various types. Or relax with a cuppa and explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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MID SUMMER – Don’t Miss these Stunning Dishes | SEASONAL COOKING

Mid Summer! In Australia, Xmas and New Year are now over and we can relax. It is holiday and family time. Beaches, cafes, bars, and good times. Reading, cooking, picnics, friends and eating. Enjoy these highlights from our Mid Summer classic recipes.

You can browse all of our Mid Summer 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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Every Meal some Simple Greens

Even Vegetarians need their greens, and sometimes, if we are truthful, we don’t place enough emphasis on bringing these various and beautiful vegetables into our diet. How are you going? Vegetarian or not, we can use some help to bring green beauty into our lives at the kitchen table.

If we look around the world, various cuisines use tricks (I prefer to call them habits) t0 increase our intake of elements that are healthy and perfectly compliment the cuisine of the area. The ubiquity of yoghurt in Indian cuisine, for example, the Salads of Thailand, the Salad course of France, and the Greens before Dinner custom of parts of Italy.

In a time where dimension and complexity are the buzz words of the food world, simple is a welcome point of difference. Simple, where the taste of the ingredients shine through strongly and identifiably.

The Greens before Dinner custom is one that resonates in this household. It is very simple:

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Jamie’s Pasta al Forno con Pomodori e Mozzarella | Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

During a delightful week at my daughter’s place, running wild with the two kids, we had an informal Sunday lunch with friends and made this baked pasta dish from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy. Jamie describes it as a wonderful dish which is simple to make, and he is right on both points.

He first fell in love with this dish in Italy, then tried to reproduce it in his school’s program for 37p per serve. He tells how he fell out of love with it because he had to use cheap pasta and cheap cheese. Back in Italy, he realised that the Italian government mandates organic pasta for schools, the mozzarella was always local and fresh and the tomatoes the best available. It makes all the difference! He says that this was the recipe that was made for 1,000 kids at the Italian school he visited.

The dish is very common in Italy, and can be eaten hot, warm and room temperature. Use the best ingredients that you can, and make two – you won’t regret it.

Similar recipes include Baked Ziti with Feta, Orecchiette with Broad Beans, 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. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Braised Broad Beans, Peas and Lettuce with Parmesan Rice

A couple of years ago we made a lovely French dish with our home grown broad beans – they are briefly simmered in stock and wine with peas and lettuce. It is such a gorgeously gentle, green and fresh dish.

Ottolenghi, in his book Plenty More, has a similar recipe, sans the wine, and where the ingredients are cooked for substantially longer than our dish. He serves it with gorgeous, buttery, parmesan rice, a delicious accompaniment.

I feel that the cooking times in Ottolenghi’s recipe are far too long, and have reduced them accordingly. I have also added a little verjuice to the dish, as I miss the tang of the wine in the French recipe. But the play of the vegetables against the buttery parmesan rice is quite amazing. Usually I recommend reducing the quantities of Ottolenghi’s recipes, they are always ample, but this one makes enough for 4 people – however, if you think you might want seconds (and you will), make a larger quantity.

It is Ottolenghi Cook the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi 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 French Braised Lettuce, Broad Beans and Peas, Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque, and Green Beans Braised in Tomatoes and Olive Oil.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and all of our Pea dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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

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The Little Italy Salad | Tomatoes with Mozzarella

Where would we be without tomatoes? Here is yet another version of a Tomato Salad, one that pairs them with Mozzarella. Fresh or traditional mozzarella can be used – both are great. Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella and Boccancini balls go so well with tomatoes, but so does the traditional, drier Mozzarella. Normally associated with pizza, it is also nice eaten sliced or cubed as part of an antipasto plate or in a salad. That’s the one we use today, but you can choose either.

Are you after other Mozzarella Salads? Try Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato, Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella, Marinated Zucchini Salad with Bocconcini, and Mozzarella and Eggplant Torte.

Or other Tomato Salads? Try Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayonnaise, Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Chilli and Lime, and Cherry Tomatoes with a Soy Dressing.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads, our Mozzarella Salads, or indeed all of our many many Salads. Or take some time to explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Kottu Rasam | Plain Simple Rasam | Third Method

This recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. It is a plain rasam, very simple and quick to make as it does not contain any significant amount of toor dal. She has three methods for making this rasam, each one treats the 1 teaspoon of toor dal that it does contain, in a different way. This is Method 3. Method 1 is here, and Method 2 is here. They are all very similar, but the taste and texture difference is subtle but noticeable.

This rasam may be simple and quick but it does not lose anything in flavour. It is amazing – tangy, spicy, and the taste of coriander complimenting the rasam. Make double the recipe, you might need seconds.

Just a note on Rasam powder – if you are going to make your rasam powder fresh for this recipe, make one without much toor dal. But, really, if you have some already made or purchased, it will still work well, so use whichever type you have. Even Sambar Powder will be Ok.

Are you interested in other Rasams? Try Mysore Rasam, Tomato Lentil Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, Cumquat Rasam, and Pepper Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

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

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Fava Bean Puree | Dried Broad Bean Puree

When your broad beans pass their peak and become older, white in colour and rather tough, the best thing is to cook the diggins out of them. Indeed, this also applies to dried broad beans – or Fava Beans as they are most likely called in your local Italian deli or Provodore.

The great thing about dried fava beans is that they bring the beautiful broad bean into your kitchen even in the depths of winter.

Today, broad beans are cooked almost a la Grecque style, with water and olive oil, for a couple of hours for dried beans and a little less for fresh beans. They are then pureed with herbs to make a great spread, dip or accompaniment to your main dish. It makes a great Greek style salad topped with red onions.

Are you looking for other Fava Bean recipes? Try Koukofava, Dried Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs and Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil.

You might like to browse our other Broad Bean recipes, and other dried Broad Bean dishes. There are other Broad Bean Dips and Spreads. Our Italian recipes are here.  Or simply explore, at your leisure, our Early Winter dishes.

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Spaghetti con Pomodori Freshchi | Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes

It’s Friday night, Pasta night, and we are all home late and tired from a long week. There is no time for a cooked sauce, we are starving. So we turn to one of our simple but delicious pasta dishes, a salad and some crusty bread.

This recipe is simple, just tomatoes, cheese and basil, so very Italian in its composition. It takes no longer than it takes to cook the pasta. Enjoy!

Why not make your own Pasta? How to Make Eggless Pasta.

Are you looking for Pasta recipes? Try Pasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto, Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, and Pasta with Chilli and Olive Oil.

You can browse all of our Pasta dishes and all of our Italian recipes. Or simply browse our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Hawaiian Chilli Pineapple Salad

I went searching for some pineapple in the supermarket the other day, and nearly picked up a tub of chunks of pineapple for over $6 because I thought it might be my only option. It probably contained less than half a pineapple. I don’t often buy fruit and veg in the supermarket (for all sorts of reasons) but when something is less common or slightly out of season, they are more likely to stock it. But then I saw half a fresh pineapple for $2.50, so I grabbed it, pleased that I had saved $4. Later, at my Asian-Owned Green Grocer, they were selling whole pineapples for 99c. The lesson is: look around first! Lesson learned.

I quite like fruits with a sour tang with chilli – green mango, pomelo, pineapple, for example. So our salad today is just that. You can of course just slice the fruit and dip it into salt and chilli, but today we make a chilli vinaigrette for the pineapple.

Similar recipes include Mango and Pineapple Salad, Pineapple Pulissery with Green Peppercorns, and Green Tomato and Pineapple Salsa.

What about Chilli recipes? Try Tofu and Chilli Salad, Deeply Flavoured Chilli Jam, and Chilli and Coriander Lassi.

Please browse all of our Salad recipes though, we have a lot. Check out our Chilli recipes. Or take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Watermelon, Apple and Lemongrass Salad

This year we are still getting watermelons quite late in the season, and the new season apples are beginning to hit the shops. So we have been drinking watermelon juice (yum) and making Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho, eating it sitting outside with the birds and butterflies in the garden.

We have a number of Watermelon Salads that we make, and love the one with halloumi. Today’s salad is new to us, and we love it. It has the flair of S. E. Asia with lemongrass, lime, mint and coriander. We found the recipe in Ottolenghi’s Guardian column, and made a few tiny changes to it.

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 recipes include Apple and Grape Kachumber, Watermelon Salad with Mint and Olives, Watermelon Salad, and Watermelon Salad with Peaches and Basil.

Browse all of our Watermelon Salads and all of our Apple Salads. All of our Salads are here. Our dishes from Ottolenghi are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or browse our Mid Summer recipes.

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