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”

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”

31 Dishes to Make with Broad Beans (Fava Beans)

Broad Beans, a little out of fashion except in Italian, Greek, Chinese, South American and Middle Eastern communities, are a speciality of Spring time. Once upon a time, before the green bean varieties came to Europe, Broad Beans were the beans. They are ancient and no one knows exactly where they came from. They are also often called Fava Beans.

Broad beans are synonymous with Spring, with their presence so fleeting. Here in Australia, that is from September through mid November. It is a great example of true seasonal vegetables. Catch them when harvested young and sweet, as towards the end of their season they can become very mealy. They have a flat, fur-lined pod enclosing seeds that are used in soups, purees, stews, salads, stir-fries and combined with rice and pasta.

Look for them in green grocers who cater for the Italian, Greek or Middle Eastern food requirements, as soon as Spring arrives. An acceptable alternative is frozen Broad Beans, and they can be found in the Supermarket, or in the freezer sections of Middle Eastern groceries. The benefit of the Middle Eastern ones over the supermarket ones is that the ones stocked by Middle Eastern stores have been double peeled. We will explain that later.

Check out some of our other collections:

Continue reading “31 Dishes to Make with Broad Beans (Fava Beans)”

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”

Tahini Biscuits

Tahini is an oily paste made from crushed sesame seeds that is a pillar of any hummus recipe. It is also gorgeous with yoghurt, with green herbs, or with miso as a dressing on vegetables or drizzled on ice-cream. There is a sauce with garlic and lemon that rivals mayonnaise. Mix it with pomegranate or quince molasses and you have a dessert worth dying for.  In the Middle East, tahini is viewed in much the same way as Italians view olive oil. It sometimes referred to as white gold – like Italians and olive oil, it is woven into the fabric of the culture and cuisine. It has been made across the Mediterranean, Middle East and North African countries for centuries.

Plain tahini is made with hulled, roasted sesame kernels. Whole tahini is darker in colour, and is made without removing the hull. It is richer but can also be a bit bitter or gritty. The best sesame seeds for tahini are said to be the Ethiopian humera variety, thanks to their richness of flavour. Try to purchase your tahini from Middle Eastern shops – they have some of the best brands.

These cookies are like a hybrid between a short biscuit and halwa, with the typical melting texture of the former and the nutty, unctuousness flavour of the latter. For us who grew up spreading halwa over white bread to gulp it down for breakfast, they are a real throwback to childhood.

With all of the sweet and savoury uses of tahini, perhaps one of the most well known (apart from hummus) is to make cookies, or as we call them in Australia, biscuits. This recipe, one of Ottolenghi’s from his book Jerusalem, is very short (in terms of dough mixtures).

Because of that, the biscuits are divine with a cuppa. They are absolutely gorgeous in flavour, but like all really short biscuits, a cuppa complements them perfectly.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Jerusalem. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

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 ANZAC Biscuits and Oatmeal Crackers.

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

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

Continue reading “Tahini Biscuits”

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”