Plantains are delicious, a variety of banana that is eaten while green. India uses them a lot, far more than Western cuisines which tend to ignore them completely. Enjoy these spicy dishes and snacks.
From the moment that pineapple hits the shops in late Spring or Summer, it is a regular feature in our kitchen. Salads of course, or just wedges to suck at. But then there are curries, grilled when BBQing, and endless cooling juices.
Peas have been part our diet for hundreds of years and are used all over the world. Strictly speaking, green peas are not vegetables. They are part of the legume family, which consists of plants that produce pods with seeds inside. Lentils, chickpeas, beans and peanuts are also legumes. There are many varieties of peas, but here we are focusing on the humble, oft overlooked Green Pea.
Pears are as ubiquitous in Autumn and Winter as stone fruits are in Summer. They are my afternoon snack in these months, and my preference is the brown beurre bosc. The yellow pears of my childhood are no longer the same – mushy when ripe instead of gorgeously juicy with a touch of crispness. I do miss them. But there is now a wide variety of pears from which to choose – red, green, yellow, and brown. Nachi, William Bartlett, Packam, Corella, Anjou, Asian and more.
Summer means Peaches, the loved stone fruit above all others. The gentleness of the white peach and the juiciness of the yellow peach. The joy of eating them as they are! They are suitable not only for sweet temptations but also for salads, salsas, chutneys and drinks.
One of the dishes that I grew up with is tomatoes, halved, and seared in a frying pan, cut side down, until soft and caramelised. Is it an Australian thing? or maybe a rural Australian thing? These were served as a side dish or with a breakfast spread. They are really great with baked beans, for example.
Today I love them just as they are. Great tomatoes, good olive oil, some crunchy bread and a little salt. Perfection. They are also great on flatbread type bases – use wraps, tortillas, socca or pudla. Squish them, or not, and use on toast, in salads, on nachos type dishes and pizzas, or spread a puree and top with these yummy tomatoes. They can also be squished into a pasta sauce, or normal sauce, or Indian style chutney. Which ever way, scatter with lots of chopped herbs and spring onions (scalliions).
The flavour of this dish belies its simplicity.
This dish is also an excellent one for the BBQ.
I am a great fan of wasabi – anything hot for that matter. Horseradish, mustard, wasabi. I like it when it gets up your nose and leaves you breathless with its heat. Now you don’t have to like it as hot and pungent as I do – in this snack/salad you can temper the taste to your own preferences.
It is a lovely dish, put together in 3 or 4 minutes, perfect for Summer evenings or any time the weather has a bit of heat in it. Use zucchini or red or white radishes – they work equally well.
The idea came from one of my loved books – Jam Today Too, by Tod Davies. A treasure trove of easy to make dishes with at-hand ingredients.
We have a few ways of making Cucumber Pachadi, varying just a little in ingredients. This is one of the simplest and one of the favourites.
It is of course, from Meenakshi Ammal and Vol 1 of her Cook and See books.
Similar recipes include Okra Pachadi, Nethu Kottu Flour Pachadi, Methi Sprouts Tambuli, Zucchini, Lime Leaf and Yoghurt Salad, Chow Chow Kari, Vellarikkai Thayir Pachadi, Tomato Pachadi, and Bitter Melon Pachadi.
Or browse all of our Pachadi recipes.
This beautiful salad is one of Ottolenghi’s simplest dishes. Appropriately, it is from his book Simple. You can make it in just over 5 minutes – perfect for a weekday evening, and spectacular at a weekend BBQ, picnic or lunch.
The quality of the ingredients make this dish, so you’ll need the best tomatoes – preferably home grown ones if possible – as well as the best sherry vinegar you can afford.
The salsa is glorious spooned on all sorts of dishes, from toast topped with mozzarella and/or avocado to lentil salads and pasta dishes. So double or triple the quantities when you make it. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.
As I mentioned, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Simple – note that we feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. If you want to check his original recipe, see his books and Guardian column.
Browse all of our Tomato Salads, and all of our Ottolenghi dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.
We are so blessed that we get good quality okra locally at a cheap price. Move closer to the city and it is rare and expensive. Our local shops stock it by the barrel load, a testament to the local Indian, Nepalese and Middle Eastern communities. I had never used Okra as much before I shifted into this area. It shows just how much that the stock in our shops influences our behaviour.
This is another Pachadi, a South Indian dish of yoghurt, okra and spices, a cooling and healthy dish. I have a few other Okra raita dishes – each one is a little different.
Similar recipes include Nethu Kottu Flour Pachadi, Methi Sprouts Tambuli, Okra Tamarind Pachadi, Zucchini, Lime Leaf and Yoghurt Salad, Sauteed Okra with Ginger and Garlic, Roasted Okra with Tomato, Aloo Bhindi, and Bhindi Raita.