White Bean Soup | Zuppa di Fagioli

Here I sit at the (usually) hottest part of the year, and as I write it is a cool day, and wet. So we find ourselves wanting Autumnal food. Having made a risotto yesterday, I am using the remainder of the stock to make a white bean soup – luckily I had the forethought to soak the beans overnight. You have to bless the Italians, right? Simple food with great flavours.

This soup is just gorgeous because the beans just seem to float in this gorgeous broth.

White beans are great – versatile for Summer in Salads, and in Winter for Soups, pasta sauces and more hearty dishes. Use cannellini or haricot beans when white beans are specified. Keep them in your pantry year-round.

Other White Bean recipes include: Grilled Eggplant Salad with Pine Nuts, White Beans and Pita Chips, Florentine Beans, and Tuscan Beans with Sage and Lemon.

All of our Cannellini Bean recipes are here, and our Haricot Bean recipes here.  See all of our Italian recipes. Or browse our wonderful Soups. Our easy Mid Autumn recipes are all here.

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Cheese and Eggplant Torte | Cheesy Eggplant Layers

Yet another divine use for eggplant – such a versatile vegetable. This time it is a cheesy torte – eggplants layered, Italian style, with cheeses, baked, allowed to rest and firm up, then cut into wedges to serve. What could be better? It makes a great lunch or supper, or works very well in a tapas spread, mezze or antipasto. It even makes a great any-time snack.

Eggplant is so flexible, and very variation tastes so good. You can bake it, simmer it, steam it, BBQ it, grill it, roast it, saute it and deep fry it. I hope you try some of these recipes.

It makes great Indian style Chutney, Curries, Salads, Fritters, Pasta Sauces, Rice dishes, and gentle dishes.

As well as all of these Eggplant recipes, you might like to also browse our Italian recipes and our easy Late Summer dishes.

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Falafel | Ta’amia | Spicy Middle Eastern Chickpea Patties or Balls

Using cooked or tinned chickpeas, falafels are very easy to make.

Who can resist a good falafel? Wonderful for snacks, meals, in wraps or topping salads, they are wonderfully tasty, textural and healthy. Whip them up using chickpeas you have previously cooked and  frozen, for an easy supper.

Home made falafel are a huge cut above store-bought ones, or even those from some restaurants that must purchase them in bulk and keep them frozen for a long time. One has to wonder why, they are so easy to make, whereas many pre-prepared ones taste like cardboard. Who hasn’t had a wrap or roll with cardboard-tasting falafel stuffed into them for a “vegetarian option” when it would have been more flavoursome to leave them out?

Worry no more, we have your back. These are fantastic. Crispy crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. You can grind the chickpeas coarsely or more finely, which ever is your preference. But they must be ground enough to hold together as fritters.

You might like to also try hummus, which goes well with falafel. Chickpeas make a whole range of dishes. Try Chickpea Fingers, for example (it uses chickpea flour). Or Chickpea “Tabblouleh”Chickpeas can be baked, or made into a spread, or smashed and made into a salad.  They are really healthy – have a look at this article.

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Mushroom and Carrot Salad with Mung Sprouts and Ginger Vinaigrette

A modern mushroom salad

Summer is a delightful season for salads, and we should not resist playing with herbs and vegetables and fruits to create exciting combinations and exquisite dressings. This recipe is a salad that brings contrasting textures and a super vinaigrette. It is a Mushroom-Carrot Salad that exhibits gingery overtones via the perfect dressing

Similar recipes for Mushrooms that you might like – try Mushrooms a la Grecque, Caramelised Oyster Mushrooms, and Stuffed Mushrooms on the BBQ/Grill. You can check out our Mushroom Salads here.

If you are looking for Carrot Recipes, try Mung Bean and Carrot Salad, Moroccan Salad, and Carrot Thoran. You can check out all of our Carrot Salads here.

Browse all of our Carrot recipes here and here, all of our Mushroom recipes here and here, and our Salad recipes here and here. We have a collection of Bittman Salads here. Or be inspired by our Mid Summer recipes here.

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Mushroom Curry with Yoghurt-Tomato Sauce

Madhur Jaffrey’s recipes, although not always traditional, are always tasty, easy and no-fail. This is another one – I found it in my pile of saved recipes, scribbled out. Any mushrooms are good with this yoghurt -tomato gravy/sauce, just cut them large enough so they don’t get lost in the sauce.

You might like to Stuffed Mushrooms on the BBQ, Mushrooms on Toast, or Mushrooms a la Grecque.

Would you like other yoghurt curries? Try a Kerala Sweet and Sour Mango Curry, Moar (Yoghurt) Kuzhambu with Lentil Dumplings, and coconuty Avial.

You can find all of our Indian dishes here, and all of our Mushroom recipes here. We have a number of Yoghurt dishes. Or take some time to explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Cardamom, Coriander and Fennel Herbal Tea | Ayurvedic CCF Tea

Try this tea/herbal infusion, but not before bed. It is slightly diuretic so may disturb your sleep. It is another of the great Spring Detox teas, all of which are a variation on a theme. This is one of the first such teas that I made, and was instantly aware of its properties. Oh the power of herbs and spices.

Please also check out a similar tea – Pitta Tea – also suitable for Spring. You might enjoy The Making of Herbal Teas, The 5 C’s Golden Spiced Tea, and Yogi Tea. All of our teas are here, and Ayurvedic Hints here. Or simply explore our Early Spring Recipes.

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A Good Brew – Prunes in Tea with Spices, Mandarin and Lemon

I recently read this characterisation of hot drink imbibers:

Tea drinkers are golden oldies fans. Those who take it from a pot, never from a bag, are classical music snobs. Instant coffee drinkers go for hits from the ’70s and ’80s. Short black aficionados turn into whatever is new and funky. The only people who drink herbal teas are folk singers and old hippies.

That makes me a fan of golden oldies and an old hippie folk singer, yet a lover of the new and funky.

Thank goodness that characterisation is not true today, and along with good espresso coffee, tea has found a rightful place after losing out to coffee for a while. Herbal teas are available in cafes and restaurants, chai is a perfectly acceptable cafe-based low-caffine drink for non-coffee drinkers.

They say tea was discovered in 2737BCE when Chinese Emperor Shen Ning infused dried camellia leaves in water to make a pleasant drink that gave him vigour and focus.

Thank goodness for that. Today we use tea in preparing a dessert or breakfast dish with tea and prunes. You can also browse other breakfast dishes or our deserts here and here. You might also like to check out our tea and chai recipes.

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Tofu and Chilli Salad

Sichuan Pepper and chillies mix with tofu in this interesting salad.

This salad layers different chilli flavours with tofu that has been pressed, so it absorbs its dressing very well. It is a playful, delightful salad.

Would you like to browse other Tofu recipes? Try Peach Salsa with Marinated Tofu, Thai Deep Fried Fresh Beancurd with Sweet Nut Sauce, or Ottolenghi’s Black Pepper Tofu.

Or perhaps you are looking for a salad with a difference. Have a look at another Tofu salad – Asian Lightly Pickled Cucumber and Tofu Salad, or Orange and Olive Salad with Mint and Basil, or even Wombok  (Chinese Cabbage) and Red Radish Salad with Peanut Dressing.

Browse all of our Tofu recipes here and here, and our Salad recipes here and here. We have a collection of Bittman Salads here. Or be inspired by our Summer recipes here and here.

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Adzuki Bean, Barley and Pumpkin Soup with Miso and Parsley

Adzuki Beans with Sesame, Tamari and Miso – complimentary flavours for a warming soup

I must admit it. Adzuki beans have not reached the status of being a firm favourite in this household, as the sweetness of the beans can feel a little overwhelming in savoury settings. We had a couple of recipes we stuck to when cooking Adzuki. It was a pity, because we love the name Adzuki, it has such an evocative elegance about it.

That is, until recently. Via Lucy of the most excellent blog, Nourish Me, we discovered the tempering effects of cooking Adzuki with Toasted Sesame Oil, Tamari and Miso, and adding parsley and celery leaves. It makes sense, right? The more Northern Asian flavours to compliment a bean used commonly in Chinese, Korean and Japanese cooking. We also discovered how well Pumpkin goes with Adzuki.

You might like to also try Adzuki Sundal (briefly stirfried with coconut) or Red Rice with Adzuki Bean Congee.

Or are you looking for Barley dishes? Try Italian Farmhouse Barley and Vegetable Soup.

You might like to browse our other Adzuki recipes, other Barley recipes, other Pumpkin Recipes here and here, and other Soup recipes here and here. We hope you enjoy!

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Heavenly Gentle Chai

There is something about Chai that makes everything Ok again.

Chai. Aaah, the very word invokes relaxation. In colder weather it comes into its own with its warming, comforting and nourishing emotive qualities.

You might also like to try Seva Devi’s Ashram Chai, and Yogi Chai. What about Cardamom Spiced Coffee? Or for a herbal tea, there is Ginger and Tulsi Tea.

Feel free to browse all of our Chai recipes here, or our general Tea recipes here. All of our drinks can be found here. You might also enjoy to take some time and expore our easy Winter recipes or our easy Summer recipes.

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Domatokeftedes | Santorini Style Tomato “Patties” | Indian Tomato Pakoras

Greek Tomatoes in Batter, a delicious snack

Domatokeftedes are delicious Greek tomatoes in batter, in fact they are similar to Pakoda/Pakora. They are often referred to as fritters or patties, although they don’t always conform to a uniform shape.

Domatokeftedes are a  specialty of Santorini in Greece. They are traditionally made with the island’s native tomato that is grown in the volcanic soil. It does not require watering, and yet the small tomato is sweet and intensely flavoured. This recipe uses any juicy tomato – Roma tomatoes are good. The fritters can be served as a snack or as part of a mezze platter – they are delicious dipped into tzatziki or any yoghurt sauce, sweet chilli sauce, or a herby blended fresh coriander and mint chutney.

This dish is very versatile. And it is such an innovative way to use tomatoes!

You might also like to explore our Greek recipes here and here, or browse our Tomato recipes here and here. Or you might like to have a look at the Snack recipes here and here. Check out our easy Summer recipes here and here.

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Stuffed Mushrooms on the BBQ

Cooking Mushrooms on a Sunny Autumn Day

On a sunny and beautiful day in Autumn or Spring it is tempting to fire up the BBQ on the balcony, and get the field mushrooms out of the fridge.

Mushrooms cook well on Aussie BBQs (I guess these are called grills in the US). Drizzled with oil, cooked over a medium heat until softening, topped with some fresh and beautiful ingredients, and served when bubbling and sizzling. Truly a taste worthy of an outdoor meal.

Feel free to browse our Mushroom recipes here and here. Or you might like to browse BBQ recipes here and here. Check out our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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Marinated Eggplant on the BBQ with Tomatoes and Asparagus

Smokey charred eggplant from the BBQ

Vellarikkai Thayir Pachadi | Cucumber Yoghurt Salad | Cucumber Raita

The joy of yoghurt is beautifully expressed in this flavoursome recipe for Cucumber Raita. Cucumber Raita is a dish known all over the world, and if you must equate it, it is the Indian version of Tzatziki. The combination of cucumber and yoghurt, in what ever form or from what ever cuisine, is well known all over the world. Both ingredients are cooling, so it makes it a special dish for hot weather, but this does not mean that you need to forgo it on cooler days. An essential part of an informal gathering, Cucumber Raita always wins over your guests.

You might like to read more about Pachadi. Browse our Pachadi recipes here and here. Or explore our Yoghurt recipes here and here. Our Indian dishes are here and here. Be inspired by our Summer dishes here and here.

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Sago Payasam | South Indian Dessert

A classic dessert of Tamil Nadu

Sago Payasam is a classic dessert in Tamil Nadu in South India, along with Vermicelli and Rice Payasams. Payasams are sweet desserts, the milk condensing and thickening as it cooks and the sugar sweetens this thick mixture to a level almost beyond the experience of cooks outside of India. Hold back on the sugar to begin with if you do not have a sweet tooth.

You might also like our Payasam recipes here and here. Or our Sago recipes here and here. Explore our Indian Desserts here, or the more general Dessert recipes here and here.

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