Mushrooms Baked in Grape Vine Leaves

Grape vine leaves add a subtle flavour to dishes that are cooked on them – even wood-fired BBQs using grape vine “wood” adds a subtle taste and aroma to foods cooked over that fire.

It is a wonder that we don’t use vine leaves more for baking foods. As well as the flavour, the leaves themselves can be eaten if you have baked in a low heat (otherwise, they go a little crispy).

Elizabeth David in her beautiful book An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, gives a recipe for baking mushrooms with vine leaves. She first saw the recipe in Edmond Ridhardin’s 1913 book L’Art du Bien Manger. It is as good today as it was a century ago.

Similar recipes include Grilled Mushroom Salad, French Slow Cooked Mushrooms, and Shiitake Mushroom Sauce.

You might like to explore other Elizabeth David recipes, or browse Mushroom recipes. This dish could also be cooked in a covered BBQ – have a look at other BBQ dishes also. Or simply scroll through all of our Mid Spring recipes.

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Young Broad Bean Pod Puree

Did you know that you can make a puree of young, vibrant green Broad Bean pods? They must be young, and the simple puree then can be used as a dip, with grilled vegetables and salads, or as a base for a wonderful soup. It does oxidise very very quickly (to an interesting shade of black), so needs to be covered well or made immediately before use.

The taste is green and fresh. I made this with broad bean pods straight from the garden, from about 6 cm long to 12 cm long. I left the beans in the pods, although you can remove them if you want to use them for a different dish.

We love this top to tail eating with vegetables. With broad beans, the shoots can be eaten, the beans of course, the pods as in this recipe, and also the dried beans. A life-cycle of uses.

Are you after more Broad Bean dishes? Try Glorious Five Bean Salad, Dried Fava Bean Puree with Dill, and Tawa Broad Beans.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes, and all of our Purees. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

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Broad Beans Mezze | Salad of Broad Beans with Sea Salt and Black Pepper AND Broad Beans with Feta and Dill

Sometimes we forget that Simple is Better. I do say that a lot, because sometimes we forget. As I write Nigella Lawson is being savaged for her “too simple” new cookbook. It is difficult to understand – Jamie Oliver didn’t face the same criticism with his 30 Minute Meals, 15 Minute Meals, or meals with just 5 ingredients. But we really have become used to complicated food – Ottolenghi, for example. His beautiful food cannot be called simple. Master Chef dishes are mind bogglingly complex. We all want to be Iron Chefs.

I *love* to get back to basics. Simple food, simply cooked, banging with uncomplicated flavours where the ingredient shines. Grilled Peppers with Olive Oil. A plate of Olives. Crumbled Feta. Cucumbers with Rice Vinegar. Green Beans with Garlic. A plate of Spinach. Yoghurt with Cumin. Crusty Bread. Grilled Eggplants. Steamed Potatoes. The list goes on and on. So today, this is a reminder that salt and pepper is often all that is needed.

The recipe today is a Broad Bean Salad, simple style. We add a second salad that takes the minimalistic version and adds olive oil, lemon juice and feta. It too is delicious without being overly complicated.

Both are great additions to a tapas spread or a mezze plate. They even make a great afternoon snack.

Similar recipes include Simple Chickpea Salad, Simple Celery Salads, and Simple Cucumber Salad.

Other Broad Bean dishes to try are Young Broad Bean Pod Puree, Broad Beans with Crispy Garlic, Broad Bean Salad with Tomato and Thyme, and Glorious Five Bean Salad.

Browse all of our Broad Bean dishes. Or check our our collection of Early Spring recipes.

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Broad Bean and Mint Mash | Broad Bean and Mint Dip

Difficult to stop eating this delightful dip

Our love affair with Broad Beans continues with some mashes. Broad beans mash very well – especially later in the season when the beans are not as young and tender as they were earlier in the season.

This is easy to make, but it is necessary to double peel the beans – first remove them from the pod and then peel each bean. For this recipe it is Ok to cook the beans for a few minutes before peeling – they are also easier to peel once cooked.

Similar recipes include Young Broad Bean Pod Puree, Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, Broad Bean and Butter Bean Spread, and Avocado Smash.

You might like to browse our other Broad Bean recipes. Or explore our other snacks. Our Late Spring recipes are here.

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Spring Chai

Chai! The very word evokes a feeling of warmth and comfort, and brings back memories of chai’s past. What an important part of life chai is.

This is a Spring time Chai, with saffron and jasmine flowers. I hope you enjoy it.

Similar recipes include Indian Chai Variations, Chai Masala, and Seva Devi’s Ashram Chai.

You can browse all of our Chai recipes, all of our Indian dishes, and our Indian Essentials series. Or settle back and enjoy our Early Spring collection of recipes.

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Chinese Style Greens with Garlic and Sesame

If you are like me, you love a plate of greens now and again. And if they are straight from the vegetable garden, there is nothing better. This is an easy dish to whip up and is fragrant with the garlic and spring onions.

The recipe can be made with just the leaves, or, if you have an abundance of stems, it is also good made with just the chopped stems. But mostly, I mix the two.

Similar dishes include Sweetcorn and Spinach Bhurji, Spinach Stem Salad with Sweet Raisins, and Orzo Pasta with Wilted Spinach.

Browse our Chinese dishes and our Asian recipes. Our Spinach dishes are here. Or browse our Early Spring recipes.

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Dr. Kilkani’s Ayurvedic Chai

Another wonderful Chai recipe

This is the chai recipe given to me by an Ayurvedic doctor from Pune, India. He would visit Sydney regularly to give courses and I was lucky enough to attend several of them.

His chai recipe is not dependent on ratios, just the ingredients. Mix them to your own taste preferences. The best way is to make a small jar of chai blend, and then use the mix to make your morning cuppa.

Similar recipes include Tim’s Chai, Chai for Colds, Spring Chai, and Illaichi Chai.

You might like to also browse all of our Chai recipes. all of our Drinks, and our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or browse our collection of Mid Spring dishes.

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Ma Karal | Sri Lankan Snake Bean Curry

At last we have a snake bean dish for you. Snake beans are generally available at Asian and Indian groceries. They are long beans, with a tougher outer layer than, say, our green beans. They are terrific in Asian and Indian dishes. Today we make a Sri Lankan curry, using Coconut Milk, Pandan and the Sri Lankan Curry Powder, Badapu Thuna Paha. If you can’t find this spice mix in your Indian and Sri Lankan groceries, and don’t want to make it, use any warming roasted curry powder (as spicy as you like – or not). At a pinch you could use Malay Curry Powder, Sambar Masala or Garam Masala.

Green Beans are a good substitute for Snake Beans if you can’t locate the longer ones.

Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Okra in Coconut Milk, Sri Lankan Mung Dal with Coconut Milk, and Sri Lankan Fenugreek Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Sri Lankan dishes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. All of our Bean dishes are here. Or explore our Early Spring collection of recipes.

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Slightly Charred Okra with Garlic, Chilli and Thyme

It’s the weekend and so it is Okra time again. This recipe sautés the okra briefly and then tops them with a chilli-garlic oil. Crispy okra with chilli and garlic – what could be better? And it is tossed with basil leaves for a light and totally gorgeous dish.

Are you looking for more Okra dishes? Try Charred Okra with Tomato Barley, Greek Okra in Tomatoes, and Fried Okra.

You can browse all of our Okra recipes, you will love them. Or simply explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Cypriot Grain Salad

George Calombaris, well known Australian celebrity chef (how I dislike those words), is in the news for all the wrong reasons right now. But his food is very very good. This Grain Salad is delish, and I have my twitter sister, Jude, to thank for pointing me to it.

It is divine, and perfect for this changeable Spring weather. It is perfect one day, then the weather gods drag us back into mid Winter weather the next. A transitional season.

This recipe uses freekeh, but other grains can be used – couscous, quinoa, barley, burghul, for example). It is one of the best uses of freekeh and du Puy lentils that I know. The flavours in this dish are just right and balance well. It is sweet, sour, tangy, crunchy, soft, earthy, herby, and healthy.

Similar recipes include Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Crushed du Puy Lentils with Cumin and Tahini, and Du Puy Lentils with Feta and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Freekah dishes, du Puy recipes, and all of our many Salads. Our recipes from Cyprus are here. Or browse our Early Spring collection of dishes.

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Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint

Celebrate Spring with Broad Beans

This has been the year of the Broad Bean in our household. A rarely used vegetable before last year, it is again a focus for us this Spring – we found that we actually love Broad Beans. Our local Italian green grocery near our new house has large amounts of them – something that our inner-city grocery did not carry, even during Spring – so it is easy for us to celebrate this humble bean.

When you buy broad beans, young and fresh is best – they have a sheen on the pod, and will be bright green, crisp to the touch and without any black marks or blemishes. Pods are usually about 10cm long.

This pasta dish celebrates all that is Spring. Fresh and herby, it is a delight. We have used broad beans here, but it could easily use asparagus, peas or the last of the globe artichokes of the season. Or use them all together!

Remember to double-peel broad beans. Remove them from the pod, then scald them for around 30 – 60 seconds. Place in cold water then drain. With a sharp small knife make a nick in the top or side of each bean and slip it out of its skin.

Are you after other Pasta recipes? First, check out our home made eggless pasta. And try Rice and Orzo Pasta, Hand Made Pesto, and Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce.

Are you after other Broad Bean dishes? Try Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Tawa Broad Beans, Broad Bean and Butter Bean Spread, and Glorious Five Bean Salad.

Check out our other Broad Bean recipes, and other Pasta recipes. Our Italian dishes are here. Or take some time to explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Easy Eggplant Kuzhambu | Eggplant in Coconut Gravy

Kuzhambu, a cousin to the Sambar, is easy to make as (unlike Sambar) it usually does not use the time-consuming toor dal. Toor dal can take a long time to cook unless you use a pressure cooker (I do not). Without a lentil to add bulk, Kuzhambu is often like a gravy, and excellent to eat with rice.

This is an easy eggplant Kuzhambu from the Monks who wrote the Monk’s cookbook – a collection of easily prepared South Indian and Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes, perfect for the home kitchen and not dependent on dozens of ingredients. Every recipe is delicious.

You might like to read about the difference between Sambar and Kuzhambu.

Similar recipes include Simple Poritha Kuzhambu, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, and Race Kuzhambu.

Try our Sri Lankan Long Bean Curry too.

Browse our other Kuzhambu recipes, and our Eggplant recipes . All of our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here.  Try Sri Lankan dishes too. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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

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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Black Gram Sprouts Sundal | Quick Urad Lentil Stirfry with Coconut

Urad Sprouts make a delicious Sundal

Sundals, from Tamil Nadu in South India, are quick, stir-fried lentils or beans with spices and coconut. Not only are they quick, they are delicious and healthy.

Sprouting the lentils adds another layer of nutrition and flavour. In this recipe, whole urad lentils are sprouted and then stirfried.

Similar recipes include Bean Sprout Sundal, Brown Lentil Sprouts Sundal, Sprouted White Pea Sundal, and Urad Dal Sundal.

Check out our other Sundal recipes for quick and easy snacks or side dishes. Sundals can also be used as prasadam and neivedyam for Navaratri or Ganesha Chaturthi and other Hindu Festivals. Click the links for other recipes for these festivals. Or explore our collection of Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here.

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Parmesan Potatoes (with Broad Beans Sautéed with Crispy Garlic)

Perfect Saturday afternoon snack

How good these Parmesan Potatoes are! The saltiness of the cheese, the crispness from baking, and the freshness of the broad beans. It is a great snack indeed, or a first course, or an excellent side at a BBQ.

The potatoes are sliced thin and baked in a hot oven with parmesan cheese. It is very simple to make. The broad beans are quickly sautéed with garlic, and their texture goes so well with the potatoes.

Similar dishes include Potatoes and Cheddar Gratin, Potatoes Baked with Cumin and Tomatoes, and Perfect Roast Potatoes.

Have a look at the other Broad Bean recipes, and our other Potato dishes. Our snacks are here. Or simply explore our Late Spring recipes.

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