100 Vegetables: #7. Asparagus

Asparagus, the joy of Spring. Spring Asparagus is in a class of its own. Fresh, gentle, spring green and tender stalks – for me, so evocative of hot steamy days and the typical Australian BBQ with a large plate of char grilled asparagus stalks with lemon and sea salt.

The gentleness of asparagus means that is is just right for a range of dishes, from salads to soups, to hot and steamy to chilled and icy. From whole stalks to creamy purees. Grilled, BBQ’d, baked, steamed or lightly simmered.

Time to get your asparagus on and try these 22 recipes!

You can also browse these (and any new recipes) here. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

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A Quick, Simple Cheese and Greens Salad

This is a perfect evening salad, reminiscent of a cheese and greens plate – so much so that you will find yourself wanting to eat it with crackers! It is simple and quick, yet utterly delicious.

I don’t often advise buying bags of mixed lettuce leaves but sometimes it is the easiest and cheapest way to bring a salad together. Here I use mesclun, but any mix will work. If you have some watercress leaves, radicchio or Belgian Endive, add some of those too.

Top with toasted nuts or seeds. Walnuts are great – I generally keep a bowl of two of unshelled walnuts in the kitchen just to add to dishes as needed. But other nuts will work easily as well – pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, for example. Or sunflower seeds, pepitas or other seeds.

Then drizzle with just a little walnut or hazelnut oil with even less lemon juice. Voila! A salad.

Similar recipes include Beetroot and Goat Cheese Salad, Swiss Cheese and Rye Salad, and Haloumi and Watermelon Salad.

Browse all of our Cheese Salads and all of our Salads. Or browse our Early Spring dishes.

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Penne with Walnuts, Gorgonzola and Sage

Pasta is that comforting dish that is generally easy to make and forms a perfect Friday Night or quick weekend meal. It takes 10 or 11 minutes to cook the pasta, and the creamy accompaniments are ready to be tossed with it. Perfect! It is also good for when a friend pops in unexpectedly at lunch time.

It is mildly flavoured and goes really well with a green salad, herb salad or just some bitter leaves of Belgian endive or rocket.

Similar recipes include Penne with Ricotta and Broad Beans, Rocket Salad with Penne and Parmesan, and Pasta Salad with Artichoke Hearts.

Browse all of our Pasta dishes, and all of our Penne recipes. Our Italian dishes are here. Or browse all of our Early Summer recipes.

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Collection: Spicy Yoghurt Recipes from India

India does yoghurt better than any other country IMHO. In particular, and the focus of this collection of dishes, are the dishes where yoghurt forms a delectable sauce. The sauce is either the dish itself or the base element of the dish. We are looking particularly at Kadhi, Pulissery and Mor Kuzhambu.

Similar articles include 50 Garlic Recipes, Very Special Turmeric Recipes, and Indian Dishes for Summer.

Browse all of our Yoghurt Curry Recipes, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Korean Braised Tofu with Sesame-Soy-Chilli | Dubu Jorim

This is a glorious way to serve tofu. It is a Korean braised tofu dish that is enormously popular as a side or main dish. To make this dish, the sliced tofu is pan fried and then braised in a soy sauce-based sauce.

The recipe uses a little known trick to firm up the slices – this makes it easy to handle them and to serve them in a variety of ways. The trick is to simmer the slices in salted water – this process tightens protein structures and causes the tofu to exude its moisture. This in turn gives the tofu slices textural integrity so that it can be simmered for a longer time while absorbing the flavours of the sauce.

Serve the tofu atop a bowl of rice, with kimchi, with steamed greens, in salads, as part of a mezze spread, or in a wrap or sandwich.

Similar recipes include Bean Curd (Tofu) with Mushrooms, Tofu and Spinach Layers, and Sticky Kaffir and Tamarind Tofu.

Browse all of our Tofu dishes and all of our Korean recipes. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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100 Vegetables: #17 | Delicious Beetroot Recipes

Beetroot. Earthy, versatile, raw or cooked, beetroot is a colourful and delicious addition to our table. Enjoy these 30 or so Beetroot dishes.

Similar articles include 30 Salads for Winter, Our Best Feta Recipes, and Delicious Chilli Pastes and Sauces.

Browse all of our Green Mango Recipes, and all of our Collections. Or explore our 100 Vegetables Series.

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Salad of Broad Beans, Tomatoes and Parmesan

One of the precious gifts of Spring is Broad Beans. If you do not grow your own you miss the young, tender pods, no more than, say, 8cm long. Often smaller. Sweet with the grassy taste of Spring, these need not be podded or peeled – they can be used as they are.

If you are not so lucky, purchase them from your green grocer and always look for the younger pods. Remove the beans from the pods, scald them for a few minutes, and then remove the outer peel of each bean. Perfect!

This simple salad pairs the beans with tomatoes and parmesan, a classic pairing, easy to prepare, delightful to eat.

Similar recipes include Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, Broad Beans with Pecorino, Broad Bean and Tomato Salad, and Pan Fried Broad Bean Salad with Tomato and Thyme.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes, our Broad Bean Salads, and all of our Salads. Or explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Noodles with Fried Eggplant, Miso and Walnuts

I hadn’t really cooked any dishes from Ottolenghi’s books for about a year (and it would be another 6 months before I went back to cooking his recipes regularly). When I began cooking from Plenty More again, I realised 2 things: Firstly how much I had missed the flavours of Ottolenghi, and secondly I remembered the almost tedious number of processes in each recipe.

The deep sweetness and intensity produced by miso paste, combined with other Japanese staples, are guaranteed to put a smile on your dial on an overcast Winter or Early Spring day.

This one is no different. It has 7, yes seven, different processes with associated pots, pans and equipment. Make the vegetarian dashi, ribbon cut and soak ginger and spring onions, prep the eggplants, deep fry the eggplants, saute the onions, walnuts etc, make the sauce, cook the noodles.

So Ottolenghi flavours come at a price. Leave an afternoon free – at least several hours to cook and clean up – when making any of his dishes.

To be fair though – the man I call the Master of Flavour produces amazing dishes that makes the hours worth the effort!

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. You can see the original recipe here.

Similar recipes include Roasted Eggplant with Special Miso Sauce, Deep Fried Eggplant, Ginger Scallion Noodles, and Udon Noodles and Shimejii Mushrooms.

Browse all of our Japanese dishes and all of our Eggplant recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Green Bean Salad | Insalata di Fagiolini

Equally good hot or cold, this Green Bean Salad is sure to become a favourite. Simple and easy (very much my kind of food), the beans are steamed and then mixed with mint, garlic and lemon. Take it straight to the table for an instant salad, entree/starter or snack. With some crusty bread, it can even become a light lunch.

Similar dishes include Green Beans with Tomatoes, Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Green Bean and Carrot Poriyal.

Browse all of our Green Bean dishes and all of our Italian recipes. Our Salads are here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Sprouted Horse Gram Sundal | Horse Gram Sprout Salad

A lot of deliciousness in a small bowl. Perfect for Navarathri.

I re-read something I wrote years ago, and it hit a chord, so I thought I would repeat it.

The weather is gorgeous and I am so grateful for so many things in my life. From my teachers and mentors throughout my life, to the birds that sing me awake in the morning, the kookaburras which made an unscheduled stop in our neighbourhood, to the gardeners and garbage men who keep things spick and span around this area.

I am grateful for the simplicity and nourishment of food, and of course for the great tastes.

Today I am making a Sundal from horse gram sprouts. Horse gram sprouts are a little trickier to grow – I found the cheese cloth method the best. And they are tough little sprouts so need simmering or steaming before use. They are highly nutritious and worth cultivating.

Read more about Horse Gram (aka Kulthi Bean). It is easily purchased in Indian shops.

Similar recipes include Horsegram Thoran, Black Gram Sprouts Sundal, Sprouts Usal, and  Sprouted White Pea Sundal.

Browse all of our Sundals and all of our Horse Gram recipes. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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