Moroccan Salad with Radishes

Salads are one of two types. First we have the very simple salad, simple flavours and few ingredients. Fresh and vibrant, they are made to accompany dishes that are complex in composition and flavours. The second sort, the more complex Ottolenghi-style salads, contain a whole range of ingredients and layer upon layer of flavours. They are made to be a meal in themselves or to go with some very simple or plain dishes – a few slices of grilled halloumi, for example.

This is the first type – simple, with just two main ingredients and a simple dressing. It is so fresh and wonderful, a little tart from the lemon juice, and made to get the appetite really humming. It is Moroccan, and contains cinnamon in the dressing. So unusual.

Similar salads include Orange and Walnut Salad, Orange and Olive Salad with Mint and Basil, and Halloumi and Orange Salad.

Browse all of our Orange Salads, and all of our many Salads. Our Moroccan dishes are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Moroccan Salad with Radishes”

Orange Star Anise Sauce with Walnuts

Are you looking for a sauce to use with pancakes, surnoli, rice puddings, fruit puddings, chunks of left-over xmas cake and/or crepes? This is a delicious buttery Orange Sauce with Walnuts.

We have used it most recently with Rice pudding, turning a plain dessert into a stunningly beautiful dish.

Similar recipes include Orange Verjuice Butter Sauce.

Browse all of our Orange recipes and all of our Desserts. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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

Continue reading “Orange Star Anise Sauce with Walnuts”

Toasted Pearl Barley with Pistachios and Raisins

Such a wintery dish – beautiful Barley mixed with dried fruit and nuts, with a yoghurt-tahini and mint dressing, making a perfect salad, or an accompaniment for roasted winter vegetables. My house is a cold old house in the depths of winter, and there is nothing better than having vegetables roasting and barley bubbling on a cold evening. It fogs the windows and makes us and the kitchen toasty warm.

This Barley almost-pilaf-style dish is wonderful served with all sorts of roasted winter vegetables – Pumpkin, Jerusalem Artichokes, Fennel, Parsnips, Carrots etc. But don’t let that limit you. The Barley makes an excellent salad or side dish with the dressing just drizzled over the top.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Barley and Red Kidney Beans, Parsley and Barley Salad, and Mediterranean Barley with Crispy Tofu.

Or browse all of our Barley dishes, and all of our Middle Eastern recipes. And explore our Mid Winter dishes.

Continue reading “Toasted Pearl Barley with Pistachios and Raisins”

Lentil, Barley and Vegetable Soup

Soup Mix is a packet mix of barley, dried peas and various lentils that is easily available in supermarkets. It it not something I would normally buy, but my Father had a couple of bags in his pantry and I inherited them.

During a particularly cold snap, they were used to make a hearty and creamy vegetable soup. It is a soup that is warming and delicious. It also freezes very well.

The soup’s secrets are – the inclusion of fennel with leeks, onions and celery. Fennel is rarely included in soups yet it goes so well with lentils and beans. We have an extraordinary Dried Fava Soup that uses fennel in its base. The second secret is that half of the lentil-barley mix is cooked separately and blended to a puree before including in the soup. This gives the soup a beautiful creamy texture.

Healthy and utterly delicious, this soup is beautiful on a cold Wintery evening. Pair it with Parmesan Toasts if you wish, or with Polenta Crisps.

Similar recipes include Du Puy Lentil Soup, Red Lentil and Garlic Soup, and Vegetable and Barley Soup.

Browse all of our Soups and all of our Lentils Soups. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

Continue reading “Lentil, Barley and Vegetable Soup”

Aloo Do Pyaja | Potatoes with Onions | An Indian Home Cooked Recipe

While the current fashion of food photography and food videos has been helpful to many home cooks, especially when cooking unfamiliar dishes, it has done a great disservice to home cooking. The requirement for everything to be instagram-worthy has meant that the rustic dishes without visual appeal are sidelined and instagrammed out of existence. It’s a pity. More than that, it is a shame.

Moreover, the word Peasant as attached to food is beginning to be seen as derogatory. I have never thought of “Peasant food” as been anything “less than”. I think of it as extraordinary food being produced without the influence of fashion and with local and common ingredients. My real favourite sort of food. Isn’t it what we strive for at home – cost effective and flavoursome food with local ingredients?

I am often amazed by the simplicity of Indian home cooked dishes, and how much flavour can be put into a couple of ingredients with a couple of spices. These sorts of dishes, so simple, so easy, are rarely seen on social media. I hope you enjoy this one. This is a simple recipe – not the best looking, made with minimal ingredients, but very very tasty. Serve with some Indian bread as an afternoon snack or as part of a meal.

By the way, Do Pyaja (also spelt Pyaza) means double the onions or lots of onions. There are many recipes for this dish, from the Punjab through to Rajasthan. Some have peas or a dose of cream, for example, a more complex spice mix, and it can be a wet or dry curry. But I adore this recipe for its simplicity. It is real home cooking.

Similar recipes include Sesame Potatoes, Saag Aloo, and Potato Subzi.

You might also like to browse all of our Potato recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Check out our easy Late Winter recipes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. It is cross posted on our sister site, Heat in the Kitchen. It appears there as part of the Retro Recipes series of recipes which documents our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

Continue reading “Aloo Do Pyaja | Potatoes with Onions | An Indian Home Cooked Recipe”

Sweet Rhubarb with Cloves and Black Pepper, Poppy Seeds and Gin Soaked Cumquats

I have had a life long aversion to rhubarb, ever since childhood. We grew a lot of rhubarb and it was served, stringy and under-sweetened at almost every meal while in season. It has taken until this year, decades later, for me to try it again. And only because I was given some rhubarb from a friend’s garden.

You will love this recipe. It is an alternative to your rhubarb with apples, or rhubarb pie. The jaggery adds that sweet earthiness, cloves add their magic, black pepper brings a bite without tasting peppery, and the poppy seeds add much needed texture.

I have used some of my Gin Soaked Cumquats to enliven the dish – it does need a little acid and these bring a sweet acidity to the dish. You can alternatively add some charred, sugar dipped lemon slices, candied orange or lemon peel, a little (just a little) pomegranate molasses or quince molasses, or even, if desperate, a squeeze of lemon.

Similar recipes include Beetroot and Rhubarb Salad, Apples with Lemon and Cinnamon, and Pears with Marsala. Also try our Sweet Orange Star Anise Sauce.

Browse our Rhubarb recipes, and all of our Desserts. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

Continue reading “Sweet Rhubarb with Cloves and Black Pepper, Poppy Seeds and Gin Soaked Cumquats”

Polenta Crisps with Avocado and Yoghurt

Polenta crisps and polenta chips are the modern way to cook polenta, and both are jolly good. The polenta is cooked to a thick mass which is spread out on trays to firm up. It is then cut to shape and fried. I can’t tell you how moreish they are, totally addictive. And when used to scoop up an avocado, yoghurt and lime dip they are even more so.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty More. In the scheme of Ottolenghi recipes, it is relatively easy, just needing time to let the polenta cool. We are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area, but the only change we have made to this recipe is to add some chopped curry leaves into the polenta. You can leave them out if you wish.

Not using polenta very much? Grab that packet from the back of the cupboard; these polenta crisps should do the trick: they’re very easy to make and even easier to eat.

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 recipes include Butternut with Buckwheat Polenta, Peter’s Wet Polenta and Tomatoes, and Pea and Mint Croquettes.

Browse our Polenta dishes, our Dips, and our Avocado recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Polenta Crisps with Avocado and Yoghurt”

Mushrooms with Black Glutinous Rice

Black glutinous rice, available from Asian groceries, is actually a very deep burgundy colour. It is gloriously nutty in taste, beautiful to look at and has a soft, starchy texture that is slightly al dente, because each grain retains its integrity when cooked. Like brown rice, black rice is unmilled, and it is the dark outer husk that makes it so nutty and chewy. It’s also why it takes longer to cook than many other rices, and needs to be soaked before cooking.

Black glutinous rice works in both savoury and sweet dishes. It’s a popular pudding rice in South-East Asia where it is cooked with water, coconut milk and pandan. It is best known for this delicious dessert. However it can be used in savoury ways too, particularly as a striking alternative to other short-grain rices.

Continue reading “Mushrooms with Black Glutinous Rice”

Lima Beans Baked with Spinach and Feta

I am a sucker for great Greek and Italian dishes, but abhor dishes that have lots of different processes with an associated mountain of pots and pans to wash. However, this 6-process dish is worth the effort. Allow enough time to cook the dish – you need soaking time for the beans plus cooking time of 3.5 hours. Perhaps it is a Sunday dish.

The flavours are beautiful. Soft, creamy butter beans with intense spinach flavour, salty feta and crispy breadcrumbs. I have to be honest, it is not the most instagram-ready dish when cooked, but despair not! You will melt over the flavours, and ask for a second helping.

Don’t avoid the kneading of the spinach. I have seen versions of this recipe where the spinach is blanched or steamed before cooking with the beans, to avoid the kneading. What we are looking for here is an intensity of flavour, and cooking the spinach beforehand diminishes that flavour. You will be quite surprised what the salting and kneading does to the spinach – it is broken down and quite edible at that point. And the flavour that it adds to the finished dish is a surprising intensity.

The recipe comes from The Glorious Foods of Greece by Diane Kochilas. It is a beautiful collection of regional and rural Greek dishes.

Similar dishes include Baked Lima Beans with Celery, Rustic Spicy Baked Butter Beans, and Florentine Beans.

Browse all of our Lima Bean recipes, and all of our Greek dishes. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

Continue reading “Lima Beans Baked with Spinach and Feta”

Congee Bowls

I love congee made in a Chinese clay cooking pot in the middle of winter, cooked on a lazy Sunday afternoon. A large batch is sometimes cooked and stored in the fridge. In this way it is available night and day, for late night suppers or early morning breakfast. Congee was once a very popular dish but it has fallen out of fashion. We have been making it since 2003, and thankfully it has not fallen out of fashion in our household.

There are lots of congee recipes around – almost every Asian cookbook you pick up has one in it. I first cooked it at home  as I loved the late night congee in Sydney’s China Town. So good. Short grain rice is best. One cup of rice made a huge amount – enough for 4 – 6 bowls of it. So be careful the first time that you make it to ensure that you are not making enough for your whole suburb!!! Congee can be eaten at any time of the day – it has become a popular breakfast food for Southern Chinese and midnight snacks for Singaporeans & Malaysians. So eat it first thing, last thing, or anywhere in between.

Congee Bowls, in our household, are bowls of congee topped with a range of delicious accompaniments – herbs, tofu, bean sprouts, peanuts, crispy onions and garlic, steamed beans, mushrooms, Asian greens – the list is endless and any combination can be used, depending on the season, the weather, your mood, the time of day and the available ingredients. Congee flavour is always up to you!

Congee is eaten throughout Asia, from Japan right down to Indonesia. Each one varies a little from the others, but all are made with boiled rice, lentils or beans. However, the name for this dish originated in India – from the Tamil kanji. Perhaps also from the Telugu and Kannada gañji, the Malayalam kanni and the Urdu ganji. All meaning, more or less, boiling. The earliest reference can be traced back to the Zhou dynasty (circa 1000BC). It is also mentioned in the Chinese Record of Rites (1st century AD) and noted in Pliny’s account of India circa AD77.

Similar recipes include Red Rice with Adzuki Beans Congee, Cracked Wheat and Mung Dal Kitchari, and Quinoa Porridge.

You might like to browse our Rice recipes, and Porridge recipes. Or check out our easy Mid Winter recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can explore more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

Continue reading “Congee Bowls”