Apple and Celery Salad with Creamy Miso-Seed Dressing

A wonderful Winter salad is apple and celery with walnuts – seasonal, healthy, crunchy and delicious. This easy salad has a blended dressing made with seeds (sunflower or pepitas – pumpkin seeds), miso and umeboshi plums.

Similar recipes include Miso-Tahini Molasses Dressing and Miso-Sesame Dressing.

Browse all of our Salads, all of our Apple Salads, Celery Salads and our Dressings. Or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Keerai Molagootal | Spinach with a Peppery Coconut Gravy

A bunch of beautiful spinach leaves from the garden – what can be better than cooking them with toor dal and coconut with a pepper hit? This recipe is a Palakkad recipe – from that region in Kerala on the border of Tamil Nadu. The area is a melting pot of influences especially Tamil and Malayalam. This dish is quite traditional. Some recipes include pepper and others do not. As it’s name indicates with pepper, that is how we cooked it. It is quite similar to a kootu, but subtly different. It is much like the Poritha Kuzhambu of Tamil Nadu.

In Kerala, many different greens are used for this dish, even cabbage. It can be made with chowchow, long beans, snake gourd and yellow pumpkin. Mixtures of vegetables such as plantain, carrot, yam, potato and chowchow, are also excellent. Indian greens include mulai keerai, paruppu keerai, thandu keerai, palak keerai, and ara keerai – oh to have the same range of greens here.

Similar dishes include Moringa Leaf Dal, Poritha Kootu, and Ridged Gourd Masiyal.,

Browse all of our Spinach dishes. Our Kootu recipes are here. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Cooking the Softest Chickpeas

Absolutely years ago, Lucy posted a method for cooking chickpeas that takes FOREVER but yields the softest chickpeas that are also perfectly intact. They don’t disintegrate – usually there is a fine line between “hard as a bullet” and “falling to pieces” with chickpeas.

The recipe, Lucy notes, comes from Jude Blereau’s book Wholefood. And you do have to plan ahead with up to 36 hours of soaking and 5 – 8 hours of cooking. IF you have the time or IF you want glorious chickpeas for a special dish, then this method is worth it. Usually I cook chickpeas overnight in the slow cooker with some baking soda to soften the skins, and love the results, but this recipe takes them to a whole different level.

This is a great weekend dish – put them on to soak on Friday night and put them in the oven on Sunday morning. In Winter, the kitchen will be warmed beautifully for all those hours.

Similar recipes include All about Chickpeas, Hummus, Falafel and Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas.

Browse all of our Chickpea recipes, or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Roasted Aubergine with Black Garlic Yoghurt Sauce

For the last couple of years, black garlic has been the thing – slowly fermented until black, the garlic has the taste of parmesan, tamarind and molasses It is gorgeous. Mostly mashed or pureed into other dishes, it is quite versatile, if not an expensive addition to all sorts of dishes including soups, simmered dishes and dressings. Or just spread on some toast.

Ottolenghi took a while to warm to black garlic, but several recipes feature in his books – one absolutely gorgeous one in Nopi, and this one – both with eggplants that have been roasted. In this recipe, from Plenty More, the roasted eggplant slices are drizzled with a yoghurt-black garlic sauce, which is then topped with crispy chilli rings and garlic slices, before being liberally sprinkled with herbs. It is delicious. Of course.

We are cooking our way through Plenty More as our project for the year. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

Don’t have any black garlic? See the Nopi post for substitutions that work very well.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. As mentioned, we are cooking 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 or Telegraph columns.

Similar dishes include Roasted Eggplant with a Garlic Sauce, Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt, and Smoky Eggplant and Asparagus.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Baked Ziti with Feta

I had recently made Jamie Oliver’s Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, when I came across this similar recipe by Ottolenghi. The concept is the same – cheesey pasta in tomato sauce, baked until melty – the execution is different, with different pastas, different spices, cheeses and cooking methods. They are both great left-over-pasta-and-tomato-sauce dishes – layer with cheese and bake or grill – and hence they would make fabulous Sunday night supper meals.

I think Jamie’s recipe is a winner – easy to make and packed with flavour, and it has an honesty about its simplicity which shines through in the finished dish. Ottolenghi’s version layers the flavours with herbs and spices and uses the bite of feta and the umami of aged cheese and parmesan to add depth to the dish. It is different to Jamie’s in that the pasta is the focus and it is baked until the top layer is crispy and the cheese is golden brown. Delicious. Jamie’s recipe is pasta bathed in tomato sauce, Ottolenghi’s is pasta with a little tomato sauce.

I always preferred my father’s pasta the next day, when he’d put it in a hot oven with heaps of extra cheese. It would emerge slightly burned and very crisp on top.

This recipe serves a heap of people, up to 10, depending on how hungry the mob is. So don’t be afraid to halve it for a smaller family meal. Just note that the baking dish must be big enough to hold the pasta in a shallow layer. Or bake in separate dishes as I did.

I also have to mention that Ottolenghi grills this dish but I baked it. Partly because that is easier in our kitchen, but mostly because the recipe asks that the tomato sauce sits aside while the pasta is cooked, so it has lost heat. Baking heats the dish again beautifully.

As already mentioned, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

In fact, it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking 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.

Similar dishes include Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, and Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Pasta dishes, our Baked dishes and our Italian recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Mushrooms, Garlic and Shallots with Lemon Ricotta

Tray-Baked seems to be the catch phrase of the moment, and has me wondering whether I need to update all of my baked dishes to reflect current fashions. I have a lot of them, they warm the kitchen in Winter and provide needed comfort as well as nourishment in the cold weather. And right now, I think I will stick to the term baked.

Ottolenghi is in on it too, with recipes that are tray baked, but not this one. I have noticed that Yotham will often cook dishes on the stove top when I might throw them in the oven. It gives him more control, I suspect, whereas I am happy to have dishes bubble away in the oven, intensifying flavours, and then pull them out when they smell right. There is something about smell in the kitchen that we don’t often talk about, but it is there, just like sound is a cue to what needs to happen for stove-cooked dishes. It needs stirring, or it is running out of liquid or it needs a drop more oil, or it sounds cooked. All of these things can be identified without looking. We are such smart creatures.

So this recipe is not tray-baked, but it could be. Cook it on the stove top the first time, then make your adjustments and tray bake it next time.

If you are not put off by peeling lots of shallots and garlic cloves, you’re in for a winter treat with this hearty, oniony mushroom stew topped with ricotta. You don’t need much more, though a chunk of sourdough would not go amiss. To help with the peeling, soak the shallots and garlic in water for half an hour.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

The recipe takes an awful lot of small shallots and garlic, but the end result is definitely worth the effort. They are cooked with mushrooms, herbs, spices and PERNOD. There are a number of recipes in Plenty More that use Pernod, so we have overcome our reluctance to purchase it  and now have a bottle sitting proudly in our kitchen cupboard.

Sadly, we don’t get the really small shallots in Australia – our shallots are large and hefty. Halve the quantity, or take even 1/3 of the amount, depending on your shallots.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. We are running behind our schedule, so you are on the receiving end of a score of wonderful dishes.

Currently we are cooking 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.

Similar dishes include Red Onion and Green Chilli Bhaji, Onion Jam, and Grilled Mushroom and Red Onion Salad.

Browse all of our Onion dishes and all of our Mushroom recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Crunchy Root Vegetable Slaw

This is a great Winter salad, a great accompaniment to hot Wintery dishes, and healthy as well. Winter root vegetables are julienned and dressed with a chilli vinaigrette before toasted almonds and poppy seeds are added. There is not much that is more delicious than this. You can make it at other times of the year – I do – but it is harder to find kohlrabi or jicama in Summer.

The recipe is an Ottolenghi one, from his book Plenty More. I received my first Ottolenghi book, Ottolenghi, as a gift after a visit to London, and before Yotham had made an impact in Australia. It was an eye opening book at the time, and it is a measure of the impact of Ottolenghi and his crew that we now take as normal many of the ingredients that Yotham introduced and were harder to find at the time.

In fact, today 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.

Similar dishes include Waldorf Salad, Ensalada, and Roast Beetroot Salad with Sweetcorn.

Browse all of our Salads and all of our Ottolenghi dishes. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Dried Fava Bean Mash with Olive Oil | Koukofava

Dried fava beans are loved in Greece. This is an exquisite yet simple dish. Simple food, simple execution, incredible flavour. Fava beans are never mixed with lemon in Greece, as might a puree of yellow split peas, confusingly also called Fava. Rather the acidic and other strong flavours are eaten alongside the puree. Lemon wedges, salty accompaniments, raw onion, olives, pickled peppers and parsley are very common accompaniments. It is rarely eaten on its own.

Fava (the dish) is made with yellow spit peas and the one made with fava beans is call Koukofava. So very confusing, what were they thinking! Koukofava is a favourite in Crete and in various islands in the eastern Aegean. It is often cooked together with a little potato, which gives a smoothness to the final texture but also uses more olive oil.

Similar dishes include Fava Bean Puree with Olive Oil and Dill, Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs, and Fava Bean Puree with Fresh Herbs.

Browse all of our Fava Bean recipes, and our Greek dishes. Or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Fennel with Garlic and Orange

Toasted in a pan, this fennel dish is a delight.

Fennel is a wonderful vegetable with a strong aniseed taste when raw and a mellower taste when it is cooked. Raw fennel makes wonderful salads, and baked, grilled or fried fennel make excellent side dishes.

Here, a simple pan fried fennel dish flavoured with orange (a wonderful pairing with fennel) and lemon or pomegranate for acidity. Easy to make, this dish will surprise. It could also be cooked in a foil pan in a covered BBQ.

Are you looking for Fennel recipes? You will love Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette, Grilled Fennel with Mozzarella, and Fennel a la Grecque. You might like to read about Sweet Green Fennel and Florence Fennel.

Browse more Fennel recipes here.  Or explore our collection of easy Early Winter recipes.

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Baked Millet with Ginger, Pumpkin and Daikon

Millet at last is getting the recognition that it deserves, its wonderful healthy properties exposed for all to see. Mind you, most natural foods are super foods in their own right – our current fascination with super foods is simply because the particular trend of the moment is to discover a new’ish ingredient from another cuisine and recognise its health properties. Turmeric. Moringa. Goji berries. Cranberries. And now, millet. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we also discovered the health benefits of, say, turnips, parsley and pepper – those things that are right here under our noses and on our kitchen benches. I love how we widen our choice of kitchen staples through learning about the essentials of other cuisines – but I do get a bit tired of food fashions. Sigh. But back to millet…

There are lots of different millet varieties, but the common one, Pearl Millet is the one that is used in this dish. Certainly, try it with others – foxtail millet, barnyard millet, finger millet. The result will be different, as they cook up differently, but just might be wonderful too. Do try it and let me know. Pearl Millet has different names in the different areas of India: Kambu (Tamil), Bajra (Hindi, Bengali, Odia and Punjabi), Sajje (Kannada), Bajri (Gujarati and Marathi) and Sajja (Telugu). This dish has Japanese style flavourings, but imagine one that subs out those flavours for Indian flavours. Stay tuned, I may just do that.

Brown rice and other whole grains such as millet, barley, oats, quinoa, spelt, rye, and teff are considered by macrobiotics to be the foods in which yin and yang are closest to being in balance, and many macrobiotic dishes are built around these grains.

This recipe has its genesis in the macrobiotic movement. Macrobiotics is not as popular any more, and its yin/yang approach to food is avoided by the mainstream cooks – they are also packed full of less common ingredients such as Chinese toasted sesame oil, seaweeds, umeboshi and tamari. But I love them – they are rustic and homely in style with flavours that are sort of Japanese, but not quite.

Do try this recipe – like tray-baked meals, this one cooks away in a low oven for an hour and a half, without you having to lift a finger. Pure heaven. You don’t have to be on a macrobiotic diet to enjoy it. The millet is cooked with the mentioned macrobiotic flavours, and with daikon (white radish) and pumpkin. I always use Butternut or Jap pumpkin – they are our favourites – but any pumpkin and most squashes will work.

Similar recipes include Barnyard Millet Kitchari, Barnyard Millet with Yoghurt, Escarole Salad with Millet, and Daikon and Pumpkin Curry.

Browse all of our Millet dishes, our Pumpkin Dishes, and all of our Daikon recipes. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

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A Collection of 31 Soups for Mid Winter

Brrrrr, turn the heater up, it is so cold! Bundled up, we go about our daily business, thinking of hot soups and warming food, hot ovens and warm kitchens. Mid Winter can make winter feel like it is never ending.

Let me help you with some soups to bring both warmth and delight to your table. Take the stock out of the freezer, survey your pantry and make a soup each and every day of Mid Winter.

To help you on your way with stocks for your soups, here are the ones that we use the most

Now that you have your Winter menu organised, let’s get cooking! Most of these soups will freeze well.

Here are 30 of our best Soups for Early Winter.

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Cabbage or Lettuce Salad with Swiss Cheese and Rye, and a Russian Dressing

Simple salads are still coming – a few more yet – we are nearly at the end of our 101 Salads project. Simple salads can seem at first glance of the recipe to be incomplete, but put them together and the simplicity leaves the vegetables to shine gloriously. Whether it is tomato or Brussels Sprouts, or lettuce, or avocado, or whatever, simple salads remind us that it is Ok to leave ingredients alone, allow them their own space. Elizabeth David was a great advocate of this approach. Ottolenghi, conversely, breaks all the rules of simplicity.

This salad is shredded cabbage (Napa or Wombok) or some lettuce with some nutty Swiss cheese (I love Ementhal) and some rye bread croutons. Dress it with a dressing with a touch of heat. Nice.

Are you after other Cabbage dishes? Try Chilli Cabbage, Wombok Salad and Radish with Peanut Dressing, and Cabbage Thoran.

Also Tomato and Lettuce Salad with Pickles and Croutons.

Browse all of our Cabbage dishes, Cabbage Salads and Lettuce Salads, and all of our many, many Salads. Or simply browse our Late Autumn recipes.

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MID WINTER: Don’t miss these Warming Winter Recipes | Seasonal Cooking

Goodness, it’s cold! Put on another jumper and enjoy these highlights from our Mid Winter classic recipes.

You can browse all of our Mid Winter recipes here:

Please let us know if you find links that are not working. We would love to fix them for you.

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Quince Molasses and Tahini Dip, Paste and Spread (or eat it by the spoonful)

Our Quince Molasses this year is awesome, tasting every so slightly of roses and with a tart-sweet flavour. We make a jar full in Autumn each year to last us through to Summer, but having discovered this recipe we may have to double the quantity in future.

Mixing Quince Molasses with Tahini produces a spread (or dip, or dressing) that could be used for sweet or savoury purposes. The tahini modifies the sour notes of the molasses to form something that is so moreish, I dare you to stop eating it by the spoonful.

In Iraq, this spread is called Ardeh Shireh and in Turkey it is called Tahin Pekmez.

Similar recipes include What to do with Quinces, Quince Molasses, and Pomegranate Molasses. Also try Miso and Tahini Sauce and Dressing.

Browse all of our Quince recipes and all of our Sauces, Spreads and Dressings. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Every Meal some Simple Greens

Even Vegetarians need their greens, and sometimes, if we are truthful, we don’t place enough emphasis on bringing these various and beautiful vegetables into our diet. How are you going? Vegetarian or not, we can use some help to bring green beauty into our lives at the kitchen table.

If we look around the world, various cuisines use tricks (I prefer to call them habits) t0 increase our intake of elements that are healthy and perfectly compliment the cuisine of the area. The ubiquity of yoghurt in Indian cuisine, for example, the Salads of Thailand, the Salad course of France, and the Greens before Dinner custom of parts of Italy.

In a time where dimension and complexity are the buzz words of the food world, simple is a welcome point of difference. Simple, where the taste of the ingredients shine through strongly and identifiably.

The Greens before Dinner custom is one that resonates in this household. It is very simple:

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