100 Vegetables (and fruits): #3 Apricots

Apricots are another fruit with both sweet and savoury uses. With their fresh fruity flavour they add a lightness and great colour contrast to salads and fruit salads. They bake and poach well and pair surprisingly well with vegetables like okra.

Dried apricots also have numerous applications in the kitchen, either pureed or soaked and cooked.

We find store-bought apricots are not as good flavour-wise and in texture as home grown fruit, so keep them for salads and cooked dishes. When we have the delight of a gift of home-grown apricots, they are eaten as-is.

You can browse all of our Apricot recipes here. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

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100 Vegetables: #1 Amaranth Leaves

Amaranth Leaves are the leaves of the varieties of edible amaranth plants. They are very easy to grow, and come up year after year, so keen gardeners are never without this vegetable in their gardens. The leaves can vary from green to red, and you will often see bunches in Asian green groceries.

I cook them in Indian dishes, as the leaves are quite common in India so there is a great variety of recipes. However, Amaranth varieties are used in Asian cooking too. Known as Chinese Sinach or Een choi, it is often sold as whole plants with roots. It is exceptionally high in protein.

You can also browse these (and any new recipes) here. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

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Curry Leaf Kuzhambu | Karuveppilai Kuzhambu

Kuzhambu is made daily in Tamil households, and has hundreds of varieties. It is basically a spicy broth that can but might not include vegetables and it is spooned or poured over rice as it is eaten.

This Kuzhambu is one that is tamarind based and is strongly flavoured with curry leaves.  There are many different recipes for this dish – I hope you enjoy this one.

Similar recipes include Rasam with Curry Leaves, Green Tomato Sambar with Crushed Curry Leaves, and Lemon and Curry Leaf Rice.

Browse all of our Curry Leaf dishes and all of our Kuzhambu recipes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Sweet and Sour Tomato “Soup”

There is a thing about some of the soups of South India – they can be like hot drinks rather than the way we might think of soups. We treat them as hearty, warming dishes to be eaten by the bowlful. Contrast this with flavoursome but not highly spiced hot  beverages. There is nothing like them anywhere else – they are neither like the tangy and highly spiced rasam, nor like the North Indian shorba. Some of the soups take influence from other parts of Asia, some from the English and French lighter soups and some from the soups of Portugal. These type of Indian soups are not common, but are also not rare.

I like to call it a “shot” of soup, often no more than a quarter of a cup. And it is often served after the meal, in a way that we might serve coffee. Relaxing over a shot of soup. What a delightful way to include more vegetables in our lives!

This recipe is a quick and easy tomato soup, in the Indian style. A hot beverage if you like. And totally delicious. While sugar is added to give the sweet-sour taste, it can be omitted and we often leave it out.

Also note that more Western style soups are becoming more and more popular across India as people turn their hand to cooking other cuisines.

This is such a delightful accompaniment to Fried Upma.

Similar recipes include Indian Sweetcorn Soup, Tamatar Shorba, South Indian Vegetable Soup, and Indian Potato and Tomato Soup.

Browse all of our Indian Soups and all of our Tomato Soups. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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White Bean, Basil, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Turmeric Spread

You know we like our spreads and dips, especially classic Italian ones. Here is a simple recipe for pureed beans seasoned with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and fresh basil that can be made mostly out of cupboard ingredients. It is divine in flavour and texture, with a multitude of uses. It is difficult to get fresh ingredients during this CV-19 lockdown, I know. If you don’t have basil, use parsley, coriander or chives. I have even used rocket and baby spinach (use a little less). Or simply leave the basil out.

The optional tomatoes and fennel seeds is an idea from one of the Moosewood cookbooks of long ago – we adopted it and use that combination in all sorts of things now.

Similar dishes include White Bean Puree with Harissa and Rosemary, White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, and White Bean Soup.

Or browse all of our White Bean recipes and all of our Spreads.

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King Oyster Mushrooms with Special Miso Sauce

A wonderfully surprising dish.

In this dish the King Oyster mushrooms have been sliced quite finely, although they can be sliced thicker. They are marinated in our Special Miso Sauce and pan fried with the marinade. It is a deeply flavoured and delicious dish, perfect with rice and a green salad.

The Special Miso Sauce can be made any time prior to the mushrooms. It stores well in the fridge or freezer.

King Oyster Mushrooms are also known as King Trumpet Mushrooms or Eryngii. 

Similar recipes include Caramelised King Oyster Mushrooms, Risotto with Mushrooms, Pasta with Porcini Mushroom Sauce, and Mushroom Curry.

Check out our collection of Miso recipes here.

Feel free to browse all of our mushroom recipes. Or explore our Early Summer dishes. Continue reading “King Oyster Mushrooms with Special Miso Sauce”

Collection: Tomato Sauces, Purees and Jams

Winter comes, and suddenly we are looking for sauces of all sorts to make soup out of, add to lentil braises, vegetable stews, gratins, dipping sauces, and other dishes. Luckily I make several of these each Autumn so that they are frozen in zip lock bags, ready for the first Wintery dish that needs them.

Some of these sauces are the sort of sauce that you put on your (vegetarian) bangers and mash or over your BBQ’d veggies and patties. Most of these sauces are fine for that use, but the other purpose of these sauces is to add flavour to dishes, or form the base for soups, other sauces, and dipping sauces for snacks.

Enjoy these 7 or so different Tomato Sauce recipes. And don’t forget that you can pre-make these in Autumn when the tomatoes are at their best, and freeze them for those cold rainy days.

Similar articles include 30 Soups for Mid Autumn, A Collection of Kitchdi Recipes, and Delicious Recipes with Green Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Tomato Sauce Recipes, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Spicy Mashed Potato and Sweet Potato with Onions | Podimas

This is a lovely mash of potatoes and sweet potatoes, and it can be made with either just potatoes or just sweet potatoes. It is simple to make once they are cooked – the mash is mixed with chilli, onion and spices. Delicious. It is a version of Podimasa peeled and mashed vegetable, tempered with spices, green chillies and onion. Podimas means mash in Tamil. It is a traditional type of Poriyal.

Similar recipes include Simple Potato Podimas, Potato Pallya, and Garlicky Potato Mash.

Browse all of our Mashed Potato recipes and all of our Potato dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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A New Approach to Vegetarian Stocks – How to Make Really Flavoursome Vegetarian Stocks

My thinking about broths or stocks for soups has changed over the years. Once I regularly made vegetable stock from off-cuts and peelings, supplemented by chopped vegetables to get the right balance. I made loads of light Asian style broths and more layered all-in stocks for soups, risottos, and the like. There were miso based stocks, SE Asian coconut-curried stocks and Indian flavoured stocks. Keeping them in the freezer meant that they were always at hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use these regularly, but more often I use a different technique, and one that does not require additional work. I make the stocks in the dish I am cooking. More often than not this is soup but it can be any dish – risotto, braises, bean bakes, veggie casseroles, sauces, veggie stews, etc.

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Buckwheat and Broccolini Salad

I happily eat this buckwheat salad as is for a light lunch or snack. You know I love my salad snacks. It is lovely just on its own. Or it is great served with, say, some fritters, herby new potatoes and roasted beetroot. Yum.

This is an excellent dish for the cooler days of Summer and Autumn. The recipe is based on one from Ottolenghi’s Simple. He uses beans in the salad. After the devastating bushfires in Australia, fresh beans are difficult to source. Broccolini makes a great alternative. We cook a lot of Ottolenghi dishes but always feel free to use what is in our pantry, on our kitchen benches, in our garden, or available locally. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Some say buckwheat is an acquired taste. But I think of it as a creamy quinoa, and adore the flavour and texture. You will too. It has a slightly earthy and nutty flavour.

Similar dishes include Butternut with Buckwheat Polenta, Broccolini and Sweet Tahini, and Buckwheat Salad.

Browse all of our Buckwheat recipes and all of our Broccolini dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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