Pomegranate Raita

We’ve come a long way in Australia, foodwise, in the past decade or two. Not far enough – we have lost the wide variety in each vegetable, and do not yet have proper labelling of variety, growers and location. But when it comes to pomegranates we do have edible ones now! Thank goodness! When I first brought them into our kitchen the only locally available pomegranates here were sour and hard to the point of being inedible. It was after a beautiful road trip in India, eating pomegranates in Kerela with every breakfast (piled onto my plate).  Now, edible varieties are commonly available, frozen kernels are stocked by supermarkets (with all the dangers of eating mass processed frozen foods, sadly), and this year a tree will grace our garden.

Locally, I find 2 types of pomegranate – the usual bright red one with bright red kernel, and a larger pomegranate with a pink skin and paler kernels. Both are great.

Pomegranate kernels are perfect garnishes for almost anything Middle Eastern, much North Indian food, and any salad. They turn an Ok salad into something instagram-worthy.

Today, we make a Raita, a glorious use of both pomegranate kernels and yoghurt. Serve as you might any salad, with any Indian meal, or just with Indian flatbreads or a little rice.

Similar recipes include Pomelo Raita, Carrot Raita, and Okra Raita.

Wondering what to do with your pomegranates? Here is how to extract pomegranate juice, and use it to make Pomegranate Honey, Pomegranate Vinegar and Pomegranate Molasses.

Browse all of our Pomegranate dishes and our Raitas and Pachadis. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.
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Apples with Lemon and Cinnamon

Elizabeth David’s books should be compulsory reading for every person who enjoys cooking. They are reminders that food can be simple, and yet stunningly delicious. It is so important in today’s world of Ottolenghi-like complex recipes. Of course I love Ottolenghi dishes, but how good it is to be able to put a dish together quickly and simply, rather than spending an hour or so on just one dish.

This is from Liz’s book An Omelette and a Glass of Wine and it is a simple apple dessert. Cooked in a syrup, it is a rare use of sugar on this blog. Our desserts are rare. But at least once per year, we have to cook some apples.

Similar recipes include An Autumn Fruit Salad, Butter Glazed Apples, and Baked Apples with Star Anise.

Browse all of our Apple recipes and all of our Elizabeth David dishes. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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MID SPRING – Don’t Miss these Recipes for Relaxed Spring Living | Seasonal Cooking

Celebrating Spring

Mid Spring can still be capricious in its mid point between Winter and Summer. No matter where you are, it is a month of change. Gorgeous and sunny, wild and windy, or drenching spring rains – all weather reigns in this season. We look forward longingly to Summer, and are pleased to leave the chills of Winter behind.

Enjoy these highlights from our Mid Spring recipe collection.

You can also browse other Mid Spring recipes:
Other gorgeous Springtime posts include:

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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Broad Bean and Dill Rice

Sometimes we just need to throw something together quickly. This is your recipe for a rice side dish, or a snack if you will – ideal for Spring time when young broad beans are around, or at other times using frozen, peeled broad beans from your Middle Eastern of Afghani Grocer. Grab your dill from there too – they have simply the best, largest, freshest bunches of dill, far better than the limp branch or two we get from Supermarkets. (If you buy your frozen broad beans from the supermarket, it is likely that you will have to peel the individual beans once they are blanched. The ones from a Middle Eastern shop will save you quite a bit of time.)

Similar dishes include Black Pepper and Cumin Rice, Persian Barberry Saffron Rice, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, Kosheri, and Zucchini Rice.

Browse all of our Rice dishes and all of our Middle Eastern recipes. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Bucatini con Zucchini | Bucatini with Zucchini

Bucatini are the long hollow pasta noodles, like slightly thicker spaghetti but with a hole though the middle that helps it cook in reasonable time. They are really delicious. I grabbed some zucchini from the garden and char grilled them to make this simple but delicious pasta dish for a week day lunch with a friend. It is a simple recipe that allows the taste of the cheeses to shine through. Gorgeous.

Similar recipes include Bucatini with a Raw Tomato Sauce, Marinated Zucchini Gratin, and Pasta with Zucchini and Pesto.

Browse all of our pasta dishes and all of our Zucchini recipes. Our Italian dishes are here.  Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Grape Leaf Encrusted Rice Pie | Layered Rice with Vine Leaves

We are fascinated with using vine leaves for cooking. While everyone is familiar with dolmades, there are quite a number of dishes that are complemented by the flavour and aroma of the grape vine leaves.

This recipe is sort of a lazy man’s dolmades – a rice mixture baked in layers with vine leaves, and encrusted with vine leaves. It comes out as a pie, and is cut into wedges to be served with lemon and pomegranate molasses. The rice is herby, nutty, and slightly sweet from the currants. Some Middle Eastern flavours there. The recipe comes together easily, tastes great, and can be eaten warm or cold. It is an excellent contribution to a table of mezze.

Similar dishes include Dolmades, Grape Vine Leaf Powder, Grilled Pecorino in Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves.

Browse our Rice dishes and all of our Vine Leaf recipes. All of our Yoghurt dishes are here. Or explore our other Early Summer recipes.

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Quick Okra with Coconut and Yoghurt | Okra Raita

A delightfully quick okra dish where okra is sauteed with turmeric and other spices and mixed with yoghurt. There are a lot of dishes originating in India that combine okra and yoghurt in some way. It is such a special pairing. This is another recipe that celebrates that combination.

It is a really quick dish. By the time you have the yoghurt ready, the okra have nearly finished cooking. This time I have used the tiny Egyptian Okra that I get from my local Afghan grocery, no bigger than a thumb nail, and I use them whole. If using the larger okra, halve them lengthwise.

Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk, Kurkuri Bhindi, Okra and Coconut Milk, and Okra Pakora. Also try other raitas, such as Pomegranate Raita.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. We have some Yoghurt dishes. Or explore our Mid Spring collection of recipes.

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Crisp Okra Pachadi | Fried Okra with Yoghurt and Spices

Okra and yoghurt are pretty good together, as we have seen with other Okra Pachadi recipes. Today’s recipe differs a little in its treatment of the okra and the spices used. It is South Indian in style, with a mustard seed tadka and curry leaves. As well, the okra are split into lengths rather than rounds, giving a different visual appeal. Pachadi is similar to the North Indian raita.

Read more about Okra here.

We have a number of Okra and Yoghurt dishes. Try Quick Okra Raita, Okra in a Spicy Yoghurt Sauce (use okra in place of the pineapple), Okra Pachadi, Okra with Cumin and a Yoghurt Sauce, and Bhindi Raita.

Other Okra recipes include Okra with Mustard Oil, Sri Lankan Okra Curry, and Crispy Okra.

Browse all of our other Okra dishes, and other Pachadi recipes. Our Indian dishes are here and Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

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Fancy Pants Coleslaw

If you are of a certain age in Australia, you grew up with Coleslaw, a creamy dressed salad of shredded cabbage. Well, Ottolenghi has taken Coleslaw to the next level, of course he has, with this Fancy Coleslaw. It shreds carrots, fennel, cabbage, red capsicum and radicchio for a very special salad.

After all of that shredding and chopping, you’ll have a huge bowlful of fresh and refreshing vegetables – the ideal antidote to all the fats, carbs and general debauchery of the holiday season. It is a healthy and nourishing salad, but also over-the-top delicious.

The creamy dressing for this salad is made with mayo and yoghurt. NOTE that I make an Eggless Mayo which is already mustardy and sweet, so I adjust Ottolenghi’s dressing accordingly (less or no extra mustard and only a little honey).

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest round of posts featuring 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.

Similar recipes include Waldorf Salad, Wombok and Radish Salad, and Chilli Cabbage.

Browse all of our Cabbage Salads, and all of our Salads. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here. Or browse our Mid Summer dishes.

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Peas with Purslane (or Sorrel) and Mustard

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. It is a Pea dish today.

There is an ode to peas (especially frozen peas) in the Guardian as it introduces this dish from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. It goes something like this (with minor alterations):

“Is there a safer bet in the kitchen than that there will be a bag of peas in the freezer? Peas are unlikely to surprise or shock in any way, but they are delightfully reassuring. They will somehow always be there, and always taste as they have and should.

Sure, freshly podded peas have about them a certain romance  – they have, for example, that beautiful texture when thrown raw into a crunchy spring salad. But who has access to fresh peas that haven’t been sitting for far too long on the green grocer’s shelves? No wonder, frozen peas sit comfortably in almost all home freezers.

Peas are incredibly relaxed about whom they sit next to at dinner. Salty and tangy feta or parmesan, creamy yoghurt, nutty potatoes, sweet fresh mint, peppery watercress or bitter leaves: sweet peas will always bring out the best in their companion. Needing little more than a minute’s blanching to cook, followed by a brief drenching in cold water, peas are low-maintenance and offer instant gratification. They are hugely versatile in use, as good at being mashed, pureed, lightly stewed or blitzed as they are left whole and mixed through a salad or pasta, stirred through a risotto, or gently stuffed inside artichoke hearts ready for braising.”

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MID SPRING Vegetables for Healthy Spring Eating | Seasonal Cooking

What a special month this is, quintessential Spring. No matter where you are it is a month of change. Today, a few more dishes to sparkle in your kitchen during the month to come.

Celebrating Spring

Some gorgeous inspirational fruit and vegetables for you this Mid Spring. You can also browse

Other gorgeous Springtime posts include:

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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Baked Yoghurt Encrusted with Vine Leaves

Ottolenghi believes that Turkish cuisine is one of the most exciting and accomplished in the world. I would argue that Indian is, but the cuisines between Indian and the Mediterranean definitely come close. Ottolenghi’s Book Plenty contains this unusual savoury cake (perhaps a pie) from the Turkish part of Northern Cyprus (where it is called Kibris Böreği).  A version of this dish is also known in Greece, being made in the Drama Region of Greece’s Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, where it’s known as Asmapita. The name comes from the Turkish word Asma, which means grapevine.

Ottolenghi credits a book Classic Turkish Cooking by Ghillie Basan, so I borrowed the book to browse through. It is a great book if you are looking for Turkish recipes. I recommend it.

The recipe caught our attention because we have a Vine Leaf thing going at the moment, using them in a number of ways. We haven’t made dolmades yet, but they are on the list. Have a look at what we have made so far. There are more to come.

This is a dish where a shallow layer of yoghurt mixed with herbs and thickened with rice flour is baked wrapped in vine leaves! Grape leaves impart their exceptional flavour and aroma to the filling as it bakes. The breadcrumbs and sesame seeds add a crunchy layer to each slice. How very delicious! This recipe comes together in minutes, tastes great, and can be eaten warm or cold. It is an excellent contribution to a table of mezze.

Have I mentioned too, how the grape vine leaves are scented, and the kitchen begins to smell like a grape arbour. As you scald them, they release the fragrance. As I dry them in the sun the outside deck is scented with grape vines. As they bake, they have a lovely woody, grapevine aroma.

Similar recipes include Dolmades, Grape Leaf Encrusted Rice Pie, Burghul Dolmas, Grape Vine Leaf Powder, Grilled Pecorino in Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves.

Browse our Turkish dishes and all of our Vine Leaf recipes. All of our Yoghurt dishes are here. Or explore our other Early Summer recipes.

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Waldorf Salad, Sort of

We delve into the Ottolenghi library again for today’s salad, and it is this twist on the Waldorf Salad that takes our fancy. With some red cabbage sitting neglected in the fridge, it is an ideal way to put it to use.

Ottolenghi twists up the classic Waldorf Salad, created by Oscar Tschirky, the maître d’hôtel of the Waldorf Astoria, and we make some changes too. Our changes are to accommodate readily available ingredients and our preference for eggless mayonnaise. Healthy and tasty, what could be better?

Similar Salads include Fancy Pants Coleslaw, Black Bean and Cabbage Salad with Orange Dressing, Celery Yoghurt Salad, Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Mustardy Yoghurt, and Quick Tomato Salad with Mustardy Mayo.

Browse all of our Salads, and all of our Cabbage dishes. Our Ottolenghi recipes are here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Marinated Roasted Mushrooms

This is a favourite recipe for mushrooms – shiitake, portabello, field mushrooms, brown mushrooms – and the mushrooms can be roasted in the oven, cooked in a covered BBQ, or grilled. Your choice. Today, they have been made in the oven, but BBQing them is a real favourite.

To BBQ them, they go into a foil pan that has been oiled lightly. They can even go straight on the grill for the BBQ. For the oven they perch on a baking paper lined tray.

Before cooking, the mushrooms are marinated in a mixture of garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander, with a touch of honey.

Similar recipes include Stuffed Mushrooms on the BBQ, Grill Mushroom and Red Onion Salad, Shiitake Mushroom Sauce, and Mushrooms for Toast.

Browse more recipes for the BBQ, and other Mushroom dishes. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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Red Radish and Broad Bean Salad

Here we are with broad beans again (my favourite), and paired with radishes. Both are so easy to grow, so this really is a from-the-garden salad. But when broad beans are out of season, use frozen ones. You can make the all-too-short broad bean season last longer this way.

A friend living in Tasmania still picks Broad Beans at the end of December, so if you are in a cooler climate, how good is it to have broad beans through mid Summer. I still have a few on my bushes, not many, but enough to make the occasional meal.

Light, refreshing and perfect for a warm weather day, this recipe can also be a light lunch with some beautiful flat bread and maybe a wedge of pecorino cheese. It brings together my two favourite ingredients of Spring – Broad Beans and Radishes. It’s another Ottelenghi beauty.

Now to the question of whether to double peel the broad beans. While very young pods can be cooked and eaten with the beans, this is not the recipe to try that. Should you peel the individual beans? It is a personal preference. I almost always peel them, but younger beans can be eaten as is. I find popping broad beans out of their individual skins can be meditative, and I prefer the taste and texture of peeled broad beans. But many people can’t be bothered. If you’re one of the latter, skip the skinning stage – you’ll need to cook the beans for a minute longer and you will lose the light texture of the naked beans.

You might like other Broad Bean recipes – try this Tawa Broad Beans, Broad Bean and Dill Rice, and Five Bean Salad.

Are you looking for Radish recipes? Try Chinese Cabbage and Red Radish Salad with Peanut Dressing, and Red Radish and Green Mango Salad.

Our Radish recipes are here and Broad Bean recipes here. Take some time and explore all of our Salad recipes, and explore our Easy Early Summer dishes.

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