Spring and Summer mean strawberries and blueberries, and often they are so cheap that it is worth grabbing several punnets when shopping. Ok, blueberries are never cheap, but sometimes they are cheaper. Both make great icecreams, jams, frappe, lassis and smoothies. And they are wonderful juiced.
How I love Autumn. Small bulbs of beetroot hit the shops with their stalks and leaves on, and are intensely earthy and sweet. Trim the stems and leaves leaving a little of the root if you are going to cook them. But beetroot is also very very good raw. Julienne it, or shave it paper thin and use in salads – you will wonder why you have never done this before.
Today’s salad can be made either way – with wedges of cooked beetroot or slices of paper thin raw beetroot. Either way is delicious! I will leave it to you to decide. Beetroot and yoghurt are a great combination either way!
And by the way, the leaves of the beetroot are delicious too. Saute them in a little olive oil with garlic and caraway seeds, for example, and served with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream.
This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty. The photos today show the salad made with the slices of raw beetroot, but the original recipe chooses cooked beetroot. We have made it both ways, and can recommend both.
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 – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking mainly 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.
Browse our Beetroot Salads, and indeed, all of our Beetroot recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.
Spring and Broad Beans go together like birds of a feather. But when the fresh green pods of these green-flavoured beans are no longer available, we are fortunate to have dried broad beans. These come in several sizes and colours – the main ones are large, unpeeled beans, and smaller, yellow, peeled beans. Both are great, slightly differently flavoured, and the yellow ones come with the advantage of not having to peel them before cooking.
This is another great puree made from the dried broad beans (fava beans) – use either type. Today, the puree is used as a dip and spread alongside roasted onions, wilted greens, roasted capsicums, and olives, with toasted ciabatta for spreading and piling on the accompaniments.
Cream cheese still features in our kitchen, despite its fall from grace. Over-used in the ’80s and ’90s, cooks have relegated it to supermarket shelves. But, thank goodness, really good cream cheese still exists if you look around. It makes very easy, simple but flavoursome dips and spreads, and snack balls.
This spread mixes cream cheese with olives and herbs. Cream cheese is quite bland, so we spice things up by incorporating some chilli toasted pine nuts. It is hardly a recipe, it is that simple. But we share it here anyway.
Use the spread on crackers, on hot toast or crumpets, and with roasted vegetables.
This recipe for Okra is another simple, stir fried one that combines the okra with cumin and green chillies for a great afternoon snack, or as a side dish for a larger meal.
It is an easy recipe, one that you can cook in under 30 mins, perhaps under 20 if you are organised. These are the best recipe, don’t you agree? I know you will enjoy this one. Wonderful flavours.
Spring onions are relatively easy to grow and so we always have plenty of them. They go into everything in the peaks seasons – dips, salads, soups, my miso bowls, with noodles, with pasta, you name it, we put spring onions into it.
We have made Spring Onion Soup before, a South Indian one, gentle and unspiced. So it was interesting to find a recipe for a similar soup. I suspect that leeks would also work well in this recipe. It is a lovely soup, lighter than the chickpea soups we have been cooking lately. Both whites and greens of the onions are used; they are sauteed with peas, zucchini and LOTS of garlic, and then blended with the stock. You might think that the garlic will overwhelm the dish, but the flavour mellows with the cooking.
This is an Ottolenghi recipe, and he uses a product from Iran called kashk. Kashk, or kishk, is produced by the fermentation and drying of yoghurt or curdled milk, to form a powder that can later be reconstituted. Iranian kashk is used to bulk up soups, giving them a wonderfully deep and sharp aroma, a bit like feta but in runny form. But don’t worry if you can’t get hold of kashk – a mixture of crème fraîche and grated parmesan (or other mature cheese) is a good substitute.
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 slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.
Browse all of our Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.
With some itsy bitsy tomatoes in hand, looking more like jelly beans than tomatoes, we made a Tomato and Walnut Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing. A perfect choice, as we had made our own Pomegranate Molasses, and had whole walnuts sitting on the kitchen bench. You can of course, purchase pomegranate molasses – I find the Middle Eastern shops have the best ones.
It was Lucy’s recipe, from Nourish Me, that we went to for inspiration. It’s a pretty easy salad – take some juicy tomatoes, and make an interesting dressing with garlic, cinnamon and pomegranate molasses. Pretty good, as all of Lucy’s recipes are.
The weather begins its transition this month, and like all change, is a little chaotic and changeable. Autumn is the time for crisp leaves, knitted sweaters, and comfort food. Windy, stormy at times, the Autumn rains come. Cooler days intersperse the fewer warmer ones, and while it is hard to let go of cooling foods, dishes get somewhat heavier and more warming. We grieve the passing of Summer but look forward to what Winter brings.
Enjoy these highlights from our Mid Autumn recipe collection.
You can also browse other Mid Autumn recipes:
- Indian Deliciousness
- Salads, Dips, Chutneys, Pickles and Vegetables
- Warming Soups
- Breads, Grains and Lentils, Pasta and Noodles
- Teas and Drinks, and Sweet Desserts
- In the Kitchen – Tips, Hints and How To’s
If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.
Winter this year had cold cold nights, but there were many days that were warmish (by Winter standards), without much rain. I have a grape tomato bush that bore a few fruit till mid Winter, chillies produced fruit and eggplants still flowered. The cold nights turned the amaranth and the lemongrass the most gorgeous of colours, the grapevines too. There is always much joy in a garden.
Salads at the table go on and on, almost year round. Usually by Mid Winter we give up on salads until Spring, preferring hot dishes over room-temperature ones. But this past winter, the weather was such that we maintained our salad regime for longer than usual.
Today’s salad is one we made through the Winter – a salad using Kohlrabi, which can be thought of as a Wintery vegetable, and which is cooked for this dish. It is paired it with mint and cucumber.
Kohlrabi is protected by a thick skin, which is either purple or pale green. The outside layer is rather fibrous and unpleasant. It won’t break down after being cooked. If peeling before cooking, use a sharp knife to remove the skin, as it’s too thick for a traditional vegetable peeler. In this recipe, we cook the kohlrabi then peel it. It takes a long time to cook, so be patient.
This Poritha Kuzhambu is made using the third of 3 methods outlined by Meenakshi Ammal in her 4 volumes of Cook and See. It sautees the spices before grinding them to a paste and adding to the dish. This deepens the flavours and adds a toasted overtone.
Poritha Kuzhambus are very delicious. These recipes are without tamarind and with coconut added for a beautiful sense of the tropical South of India. Beautiful indeed.
You might like to find out more about Kuzhambu. We suggest that you read The Difference Between Sambar, Kuzhambu and Kootu. Also have a look at the other methods of making Poritha Kuzhambu. The differences are minor, but they do change the flavours significantly. The first uses Sambar Powder, and the second replaces that with a few individual spices.
Are you looking for the recipes of Meenakshi Ammal? They are here. She certainly is my guru of Tamil Brahmin cuisine.