Baked Figs with Cheese and Honey

As Autumn arrives, even before, my Italian-owned green grocery is full of figs – green, black and in between. What a gorgeous time it is – the last of the summer stone fruits, grapes, plums – one of my 4 favourite seasons of the year!

I must admit to liking my fruit, any fruit, fresh. You will see that we don’t have a lot of fruit recipes in our collection because of that. But once in a while, we will bake, grill or roast, maybe poach, something sweet.

Figs are so wonderful in their natural state, and we have several salads that attest to that. They pair well with cheese, honey, and even almonds and pinenuts! Figs are simply gorgeous this way.

But roasting brings in another dimension. It is a different taste – just as fig jam tastes different to fresh figs. Roasted figs are soft, warm and sticky, and they shine with either savoury flavours, sweet flavours, or a mix of both. They can be mashed onto bruschetta and topped with pesto, without the honey they can be used with pasta, or top a green salad with them. Serve them for breakfast, lunch, dessert, a snack or supper.

Are you looking for Fig recipes? Try Figs with Rosewater and Almonds, Fig Salad with Almond Butter Dressing, and Figs with Pecorino.

Browse all of our Fig recipes here, all of our Italian recipes, and all of our Dessert recipes. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer dishes.

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Fennel and Fig Salad with Vin Cotto

It is fig season! And I am cozying up to my neighbour who has 2 huge fig trees. So far, no luck in getting those ripe goodies, but luckily my green grocers are carrying both green and black figs.

Symbols of Autumn, figs begin to ripen in late Summer, and they star as one of the great delicacies until late Autumn. They are so luscious, the first ones of the season must be eaten raw. As the season moves on, they can be baked, fried (yes!), roasted, grilled, poached, made into jam, cooked into tarts, or pickled. They are also wonderful in salads.

This salad is best for the darker figs. Green ones are so delicate in flavour they cannot carry the Vin Cotto. The combination of the sweet flavour and yielding texture of the figs with the aniseed crispness of the fennel is divine.

Figs really do make excellent salads, if there are any left over from eating them as they are, or perhaps from making fig jam. They pair so well with almonds that many salads feature that pairing. Try Fig Salad with Almond Dressing, Fig Snack with Gorgonzola, or Figs with Rosewater and Almonds.

Similar recipes include Baked Figs with Cheese and Honey, Figs Baked with Thyme, and Fig and Pecorino Salad.

This salad pairs the figs with Fennel. Are you looking for more fennel recipes? Try Fennel Salad with Fresh Prunes, Grilled Fennel with Mozzarella, or Fennel and Apple Salad.

All of our Fig recipes are here, and all of our Fennel dishes are here. Feel free to browse them. Or take some time to explore our large range of wonderful, tasty Salads. Or simply browse our Late Summer dishes.

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Tomates Fondues à l’huile d’olive | Confit Tomatoes | Tomatoes in Olive Oil

For me, tomatoes are at their very very best in Autumn This year (as I write), the summer has been cooler than normal (despite a few heat waves), so I am beginning the usual Autumn uses of tomatoes a little early. Do use them in all their shapes and forms at this time of year.

These are confit tomatoes, cooked slowly in beautiful olive oil which they tend to absorb while becoming wonderfully soft. You can do them on the stove top, but I find that the heat is better controlled in the oven. They need to cook slowly. As you can tell by the name, it is a French recipe.

These are even better if the tomatoes are straight from the garden. Serve them with baked dishes, or in a salad. They go wonderfully in risotto and with pasta1 Try them as a side dish with grilled polenta and a salad. Or on inch thick fresh bread with basil or tapenade, or simply in the middle of a large white plate to enjoy on their own.

I first made these in 2002, so long ago now, but they are a traditional part of autumn cooking for us. Use large tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, just adjust the cooking time accordingly. We consider this recipe as part of our Retro series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 2005 – 2006. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series.

Would you like other baked tomato recipes? Try Oven Baked Tomatoes, Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce and Tomatoes Stuffed with Cheese.

If you love confit recipes you will also like our dishes where food is cooked a la grecque.

You might also like our Tomato recipes. Or browse our French recipes. Check out our easy Early Autumn recipes.

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Bhindi Raita | Crispy Fried Okra in Yoghurt

Yoghurt is such an important part of the diet in many parts of India, and it is often a part of every lunch and dinner meal. Sometimes served as is, and often mixed with a vegetable, there are many ways to ensure yoghurt, spices and vegetables have an increased presence in the daily diet.

This recipe is terrific, with the combination of textures and flavours. It can be served as both a raita (yoghurt dish) or as a side dish – okra in a yoghurt sauce.

This dish is from the beautiful Yamuna Devi’s Lord Krishna’s Kitchen, a real bible of Indian dishes. She suggests that this dish is served with Spiced Potato and Pea Samosas with Sweet and Sour Tamarind Sauce, for a light lunch or snack, and with Toor Dal Kitchari with Mixed Vegetables for a more substantial meal. Delicious!

Are you after more Okra dishes? Try Spicy Dried Okra, Malaysian Lemak-Style Vegetables, and Moru Sambar with Okra.

Or do you want to try more Yamuna Devi recipes? Try Spicy Eggplant Rice, Golden Turmeric Rice, and Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread.

We have more Raita recipes. Try Carrot Raita, Spinach Raita, and Three Different Raitas.

Or browse all of our Okra dishes, all Raitas and all of Yamuna Devi dishes. All of our Indian dishes are here. Or simply explore our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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Red Onion and Green Chilli Bhajji

Looking for quick and easy snacks? These Onion Bhaji are feather light and so more-ish – you had better make quite a few. Heat from the chilli, the beautiful citrusy warmth of the coriander seed and the chickpea flour coating make these a great go-to accompaniment to a strong cuppa Indian tea either morning or afternoon on a cool day.

This is a treasure of Bengal, north of India. The original recipe comes from Christine Mannfield in her collection of Indian recipes Tasting India. I adapted it a little. The beauty of this recipe is that the onions are not coated in a batter, but the chickpea flour is worked into the onions, using its own moisture, to form a delicious crispy light coating.

Have a look at this other style of Onion Bhaji and these Vegetable Bhaji. Or try this Greek-Indian Tomato Pakoras. Other Onion dishes you could try include Confit d’Oignon (Onion Jam), Onion Salad with Sesame Oil, and South Indian Onion Strings Slightly Pickled Salad.

Browse all of our Bhaji/Pakoras here, or have a look at our Indian Snacks. All of our Onion recipes are here, and Indian dishes are here. Or you might like to explore all of our easy Mid Autumn dishes.

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Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad or Dip

The last of this crop of beetroot was picked to make a Chilled Beetroot Soup and a Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad/Dip. It is a heatwave right now, as I write this post – we are in Day 3 of a 4 Day heatwave with temperatures over 40C. Thankfully, the mornings are glorious, so there is time to do a little gardening and get some cold dishes ready for the day.

Can I tell you that I have fallen in love with beetroot this year? Ok, I have eaten it and cooked with it before, but beetroot straight from my garden has made me a lover of this vegetable. You can tell by the number of beet recipes posted from 2006 to mid 2016 (5), and after that date (25 published or scheduled).

Let me share some of those recipes with you. Try an Indian sautéed Beetroot Curry, another Chilled Beetroot Soup, and a Beetroot Risotto.

We have some other dips perfect for hot weather: the green coriander based Zhug, Moroccan Carrot Dip and Tomato and Chilli Jam.

Yoghurt makes a great base for yoghurt salads that can often also be used as dips. For example: Yoghurt and Cucumber, Yoghurt and Green Peppers, and Yoghurt Tahina Dip.

Please browse all of our Yoghurt dishes, all of our Dips, our Salads, and all of our Beetroot recipes. or simply find some time to explore our Mid Summer Recipes.

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Radicchio Risotto | Risotto al Radicchio

Oh goodness! The vibrant colour of the bitter leaves of radicchio! I love them in my kitchen, but they are not the cheapest of vegetables to buy so they are not a weekly visitor. However, radicchio is so versatile, and incredibly good.

Today we make a risotto with this glorious vegetable. It is added at the beginning of the cooking process, and thus becomes very tender during the 20 mins of stirring that makes a risotto.

Do be careful about the rice that you use for risotto. You will get the best results using a risotto rice. You can read more about that here. My favourite at the moment, and the one that I used for this dish, is Carnaroli.

Are you looking for Radicchio recipes? Read more about this incredible vegetable here. Try Grilled Radicchio with Shallots and Dill, and Red Rice Congee topped with Radicchio.

Try other risottos too – Beetroot Risotto, Caramelised Pumpkin Risotto, Mushroom Risotto, and Asparagus Risotto are some of our favourites. You can see how to make a basic risotto here.

Check out all of our Risotto recipes, and all of our Italian recipes. We have some other Radicchio recipes too – check them out here. You might like to browse our easy Late Summer recipes here.

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Black Bean and Cabbage Salad with Orange Dressing

An Autumn and Winter salad, this one. Cabbage, fresh can crisp, with black beans and an orange juice vinaigrette. It’s refreshing and filling at the same time, making it perfect for either lunch or dinner.

Cabbage is often paired with caraway seeds, but if you are not a caraway lover, do what this salad does – use cumin instead. The flavour is different, but a similar bite to the flavour is there, and it pairs just as well.

Neither cabbage nor black beans are seen often in this kitchen, so it is nice to bring them together here.

If you are looking for other Cabbage recipes, try Fancy Pants Coleslaw, Chilli Cabbage, Cabbage Thoran, Kimchi, and Napa Cabbage and Radish Salad.

Similar recipes include Black Bean and Avocado Salad with Green Tomatoes.

Are you looking for other Salads? Try Mung Bean and Baked Carrot Salad, Fennel and Apple Salad, and Moroccan Carrot Salad. Or Creamy Salad Dressing, without Eggs.

You can browse all of the Cabbage Recipes here. Take some time to browse our many many Salad recipes, or our easy Mid Autumn recipes.

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Baked Okra with Tomato and Ginger

You either love okra or hate it, but this dish is sure to convert all of the okra haters, or those hesitant to try it.

The okra is baked whole with a little olive oil until it is tender. Then it is mixed in a light and fresh tomato and ginger sauce. It is a surprise – the sauce with the okra is wonderful, and the baking of the okra gives a slightly different flavour and texture to it.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, so of course the flavours are magical. It is from his first cookbook Ottolenghi. It is an easy dish, taking 15 mins to cook once you’ve prepared the okra.

Are you looking for more Okra dishes? Try Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seed, Lemak Style Vegetables, and Avial.

You can browse all of our Okra dishes here, and all of our Ottolenghi recipes too. The dishes from Ottolenghi are here. Or take some time to enjoy our Late Autumn collection of dishes.

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Buttery ANZAC Biscuits

Generally I use my Grandmother’s recipe for ANZAC Biscuits, but was curious about a recipe that increases the amount of coconut and butter. Other than that, the recipe is the same – a traditional one without the additions that the US variety of these “cookies” include. Good grief, USA, leave our beloved ANZAC biscuits alone.

The result of the slight alterations is a blonder biscuit, but otherwise a delightful one, perfect for a cuppa for afternoon tea on any day of the year. The biscuit is quite buttery with a definite coconut flavour.

It is the day after New Year, and it is likely to be one of my 2 or 3 baking efforts per year. I don’t have a sweet tooth, thankfully, and also do not use eggs in my recipes. Thus, the options for baking are limited on both accounts!

Originally, ANZAC Biscuits were made for the troops in the World Wars, and did not contain coconut (as it deteriorates rapidly, and possibly it was not readily available). The biscuits were “flat packed” for transport to the troops. Then, it seems, a little coconut was added to the recipe, and as times became easier, the amount of butter and coconut increased. Thus we have the buttery biscuits of today.

See this post for some notes about the use of bicarb soda in the recipes for ANZAC Biscuits. Don’t substitute the use of bicarbonate of soda with Self Raising Flour or Baking Powder, as its use is essential to the biscuit. The other essential element is Golden Syrup. There is no substitute, and this Australian ingredient gives these biscuits their beautiful caramelised taste.

You can read more about the history of ANZAC Biscuits here.

Similar recipes include Oatmeal Crackers, and Traditional ANZAC Biscuits.

Browse all of our Biscuits, and explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Sodhi | Coconut Milk Kuzhambu | Jaffna Style

Today’s recipe, Sodhi, is primarily a Sri Lankan and Malaysian-Indian dish, but it is also very famous in Tirunalvelli District of Tamil Nadu in India. This is a simple recipe for the dish which is a thin coconut gravy great for eating with rice or idiappam. Vegetables can be added – drumstick, beans, carrot, potato and the like, for a more filling dish.

The dish is slightly sweet, from the coconut milk, balanced with the tartness of the lemon or lime juice. It is so good it can be eaten as a soup. You might be slurping it long before the rice is cooked.

You might like to try some of our other Kuzhambu recipes – Moar Kuzhamu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu and Grated Coconut Masala Kuzhambu are great ones to try.

Browse all of our Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Sri Lankan dishes. Our Indian recipes are here, and Indian Essentials here. And explore all of our easy Mid Summer recipes.

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MID AUTUMN Vegetable Dishes for Healthy Autumn Eating | Seasonal Cooking

What a special month this is, quintessential Autumn. No matter where you are it is a month of change. Beautiful cold weather vegetables come to the table – Spinach, Pumpkin, Potatoes, Eggplants. The vegetables at this time of the year are superb.

Enjoy some Vegetable inspiration for Mid Autumn deliciousness. You can also browse:

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes with Caper Vinaigrette

This year it is a long cold start to Summer. As I write, I sit here in a jumper in January, thinking of putting a rug over my legs rather than turn the heater on. So, needing something to warm the kitchen, I popped some roast veg in the oven.

Not any roast vegetables – this is an Ottolenghi dish, one that takes a common dish and makes it extraordinary. It is a favourite, and I don’t know why I haven’t posted it before. My note in the cookbook is “Magnificent” pencilled in the margin.

It takes sweet potatoes and parsnips and roasts them with garlic and (later) some cherry tomatoes, before dressing them with a tangy vinaigrette that is both sweet and sour, full of capers for a saltiness. It’s the perfect dish for any festival, celebration, Sunday lunch or any day of the week is born.

Ottolenghi says “The addition of a vinaigrette to freshly roasted vegetables gives them a freshness and juiciness they don’t normally have; the acidity brings out new shades of flavour, too.”

You might also like Roasted Beetroot with Cumin Seeds, Perfect Roast Potatoes, or Hot Roasted Carrot Salad.

Try some Parsnip recipes too: Roughly Mashed Parsnip with Parmesan and Olive Oil, and Parsnip and Carrot Mash.

Take some time to explore the Ottolenghi recipes we have tried. Our Sweet Potato recipes are here and our Parsnip recipes here. Or browse our Mid Summer collection of easy recipes. (You might prefer our Mid Winter recipes!)

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Marinated Roasted Mushrooms

This is a favourite recipe for mushrooms – shiitake, portabello, field mushrooms, brown mushrooms – and the mushrooms can be roasted in the oven, cooked in a covered BBQ, or grilled. Your choice. Today, they have been made in the oven, but BBQing them is a real favourite.

To BBQ them, they go into a foil pan that has been oiled lightly. They can even go straight on the grill for the BBQ. For the oven they perch on a baking paper lined tray.

Before cooking, the mushrooms are marinated in a mixture of garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander, with a touch of honey.

Similar recipes include Stuffed Mushrooms on the BBQ, Grill Mushroom and Red Onion Salad, Shiitake Mushroom Sauce, and Mushrooms for Toast.

Browse more recipes for the BBQ, and other Mushroom dishes. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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Bhuna Khichuri | Bengali 5 Lentil Kitchari with Toasted Mung Dal

The warm weather disappeared and our thoughts turned to kitchari as it rained and rained and rained. Researching Bhuna Kitchari, I came across a very interesting recipe, one that took time and extraordinary care over the making of this dish.  Bhuna Khichuri is a richer version of Kitchari and injects flavours not only through the spices used but also by the slow frying of onions, the roasting of the mung dal and the frying of the other lentils and rice. There are 5 lentils used in this dish. The word Bhuna actually comes from the roasting of the moong dal and the frying the rice as the kitchari is made.

It is true that this recipe for Bhuna Khichuri is fussier than others – more steps and an attention to detail. But the end result justifies the means. Often at our house Kitchari is made in the rice cooker, and it is pretty fast and pretty good. But when time allows, more complex variations yield wonderful results. The recipe isn’t difficult – let me reassure you – it just has a few more steps. I have followed the original recipe fairly closely, with just a few alterations.

The secret to this dish, which I recommend that you note, is the frying of the onions – caramelise them – the quality of your ginger-garlic paste, toasting of the mung dal and the frying of the rice. The texture of the dish is wonderful! Also, on occasion I have used urad dal and matki (moth) beans when I have been out of masoor or mattar dal. Both need to be in the longer soaking.

Similar dishes include Norom Shada Khichuri, Bengali Vegetable Kitchari, Maharashtrian Masoor Sprouts Kitchari,  and Gujarati Kitchari.

Browse all of our Kitchari Recipes. Browse our Indian recipes here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Early Summer dishes.

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