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 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 Okra and Coconut Milk, and Okra Pakora.

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 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, 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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Grape Vine Leaf Powder

Lately, I have been using a powder made from blanched, dried and ground grape vine leaves as a spice and flavouring. It has a deep red grape, woody flavour. We use grape leaves in cooking – e.g. dolmades, cheese wrapped in grape vine leaves, casseroles and baked dishes lined with grape leaves – AND that they dry easily, so I thought that powdering them might work. It does. It is still an experiment and work in progress, but I am sharing the beginnings with you.

It goes well mixed with ghee and stirred through rice, sprinkled over feta cheese, and scattered over vegetables before they are roasted. Mixed with salt it is an excellent seasoning and into yoghurt as you make a sauce, dressing or dip. It is an interesting umami type flavour.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Grape Leaf Encrusted Rice Pie, Burghul Dolmas, Baked Yoghurt in Vine Leaves, Grilled Pecorino in Grape Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Cooked in Grape Vine Leaves. Other spice mixes/powders include Sundakkai Podi, and Chaat Masala.

Browse all of our Grape Vine Leaf recipes, and all of our Spice Mixes. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Broad Bean and Mint Vadai | Broad Bean Falafel

We have been using up the last of the broad beans, and turned the very last of them into a cross between South Indian Vadai and Middle Eastern Falafel. Whatever, they are gorgeous!

The trick is to grind some blanched broad beans with herbs and curry leaves, then add besan, and shallow fry or deep fry them until cooked and crispy. They are gorgeous with some fresh Indian chutney and a bowl of rasam. We use the Western Fava Beans (aka Broad Beans) not the Indian Broad Beans, Avarakkai, for this dish.

Try some other vadai too – Maddur Vada, Falafel, and Gram Flour Vada. Are you looking for Rasam? We have a couple of dozen rasam recipes here.

Browse our Vadai recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring dishes.

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Locquat Salad

Locquats ripen in early November, perhaps late October if the weather is good. That is Spring time here in the Southern Hemisphere. They are so beautiful, picked straight from the tree, still warm from the sun, eaten as they are. They don’t keep well or long inside, they bruise easily, but can be poached and served with icecream and a liqueur poured over.

Cutting them up is a chore. Starting with a basketful, you might end up with a small bowl of flesh. The stones in the middle are huge, and by the time you remove the stem and tail ends, and peel them, there are only small amounts of flesh left per locquat.

One other way that we use them, laboriously cutting and peeling, is in a simple salad with ingredients from our garden. It is lovely and refreshing on a sunny Spring day.

Similar recipes include Green Guava Salad, Pomegranate Salsa, and Peach Salsa.

Our Locquat recipes are here. Browse all of our Salads too, or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Broad Bean Puree with Chilli Oil

As broad beans get older, they suit purees and spreads really well. It is very simple – simmer them for some time, peel each bean, and then puree them with herbs. It makes a delicious snack on toast – I love it at morning tea time with a good cuppa. Or use the puree to make a fresh, spring soup by adding some stock or water and thinly sliced spring vegetables.

Are you after other Broad Bean recipes? Try Broad Bean and Mint Mash, Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and 13 Treasure Happiness Soup.

You might like to look at our other Broad Bean Purees here, and all of our Broad Bean recipes. Browse our Italian recipes as well. Or take time out and explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Fiona’s Beautiful Chai

A recipe that has formed a chain as it goes from one person to another

Fiona was a twitter friend some time ago. As often happens, life changes, and it had been some time since we have connected,. But a quick search located her in Berlin! Today I came across her recipe for Chai which she sent to me in 2009! It seems so long ago. Fiona made a note that this recipe was given to her by her friend Peta. I love how food and recipes create this chain of people across the world. I am now making you a link in the chain!

So, with great memories of Fiona, I made her chai again this afternoon. The recipe is for a mix, which you can then use to make your chai each day. It is unusual in that it includes dried orange peel and a vanilla bean as well as the usual spices.

Are you looking for more Chai recipes? Try Sri Lankan ChaiChai Masala for Relief of Colds, Peppery Chai, and Illaichi Chai.

You might like to browse our other Chai recipes – we have a few. Or explore our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. You might also like to browse our easy Mid Spring recipes. I hope you enjoy them.

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