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 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 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 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 Chai 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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Umbrian Broad Bean Puree | Broad Bean Sauce

Traditionally an Easter dish, this Umbrian Broad Bean Puree is eaten on toasted crusty bread that has been drizzled with olive oil. But it is equally as good with vegetables, pasta and as a dressing in salads.

It is a simple but gorgeous, flavoursome dish.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean Puree with Chilli OilUmbrian Cure-all Sauce, Young Broad Bean Pod Puree, Broad Bean and Mint Mash, and Broad Bean and Butter Bean Spread.

You might like to look at our other Broad Bean recipes. Browse our Italian recipes here, and our Broad Bean Puree recipes are here. Or take time out and explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Grilled Pecorino Wrapped in Vine Leaves

Do you have a grape vine, or access to grape vine leaves? Then this is for you. A great tea time snack, they are definitely delightful.

Pecorino is wrapped in vine leaves and then grilled until the cheese melts and the leaves crisp a little. You can even cook these on a BBQ.

Grape leaves are best picked from grape vines in the Spring and Early Summer, while they are still tender. Select young whole, medium leaves. Make sure  that the leaves haven’t been sprayed.

Similar recipes include Burghul Dolmas, Baked Yoghurt in Vine Leaves, Mushrooms Baked in Grape Vine Leaves and Grape Vine Leaf Powder.

Browse our grape vine leaf recipes, our Italian dishes and our French recipes. Or take some time to explore our collection of Late Spring recipes.

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French Braised Lettuce, Broad Beans and Peas | Peas and Broad Beans a la Grecque

Well, the news is out. I love broad beans and have had quite a broad bean fest this year, eating them in various ways and forms on most days. This recipe is a gentle braise that is very much French in style, gentle in style and flavours, but glorious as a dish.

It uses those lettuce leaves that can withstand heat – cos and iceberg are two that are ideal for this recipe. You can use other leaves, but make sure that they are not too strongly flavoured or else they will overwhelm the dish.

Similar recipes include Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans, Broad Beans with Feta and Preserved Lemon, and Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint.

A la Grecque dishes you might lie to try include Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque, Gentle Vegetables a la Grecque, and Courgettes a la Grecque.

You might like to browse our other a la Grecque recipes (in the Greek style), or our French recipes. Our Broad Bean recipes are here and are worth a look. Or simply explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans | Israeli Couscous Pilaf with Broad Beans

Mograbieh is a large couscous/pasta in the shape of pearls. Similar products are known by various names – Ptitim, Israeli Couscous, Jerusalem Couscous, Pearl Couscous, Ben-Gurion rice, Maftoul, Lebanese Couscous, Giant Couscous, and more. It is also similar to the Kabyle Abazine and the Sardinian Fregula.

Although they can be used interchangeably, technically speaking, there are some differences between the products of different countries. Some are an extruded pasta, similar to Italian orzo, made with semolina and flour which is toasted to dry. This one has a nuttier flavour than normal couscous. One type is Ptitim, or Israeli Couscous, is a type of toasted pasta and shaped either like rice-grains or little balls and was developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce.

Others, like Mograbieh (Lebanese) and Maftoul (Palestinian), are rolled and dried large couscous pearls about the size of tapioca pearls, and when cooked they have a chewy buttery flavour and are larger than Israeli Couscous. These starchy pasta balls swell and become soft and chewy when cooked and are fantastic at absorbing the flavours of the dish they are cooked in.

Sadly, the globalisation of food has meant that differences get smoothed over, and names get mixed, or all the variations merge into one product. Locally, for a long time I was only able to find the extruded pasta type, but more recently a local Afghan shop stocks the best Mograbieh. The pics show the extruded type – I will update when I make this dish again.

For this recipe, a celebration of Spring, use any of these types, cook it with saffron and add broad beans and chilli. You can even use Italian orzo pasta or risoni if you wish.

Are you perhaps after Broad Bean recipes? Try French Braised Lettuce, Peas and Broad Beans, Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Tawa Broad Beans.

Also try our Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing.

You might like to browse our Middle Eastern recipes, our Israeli recipes and our Orzo recipes. Enjoy all of our Late Spring recipes here.

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Saffron, Date and Almond Rice

Goodness, what a beautiful rice dish. Ottolenghi again creates magic with this Iranian recipe that he credits Claudia Roden’s classic A Book Of Middle Eastern Food. He believes that Irani people cook the best rice, and I have to say he might be right.

This recipe takes a bit more effort than banging some rice into the rice cooker, but for special occasions, and for weekends, it is definitely worth it. The rice grains are beautifully separated and soft. The dish has a sweet overtone from the dates, and conjures up beautiful Middle Eastern feasts on low tables in tents with thick rugs covering your legs.

This dish is cooked like a biryani, in layers. It needs a very low heat – raise the pot above your heat source a little if you can (eg place a roasting rack or heat diffuser over the heat source). It could also be cooked in a very low oven, but you’ll miss the crunchy rice that forms at the bottom.

Recently I needed to replace my saffron, so I ordered some from Saffron Only. It is the most beautiful saffron! Far better that what I had been using. If you love saffron, check her out on Instagram. (I only recommend products when they are excellent, and am not recompensed for my recommendations.)

Similar dishes include Kosheri, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, and Rice with Orzo.

Also try Saffron and Rose Scented Aubergine, Golden Saffron Spiced Tea, and Dates and Saffron Soaked in Spiced Ghee.

Browse all of our Rice dishes and all of our Ottolenghi recipes. Or take some time and explore our Mid Spring collection of dishes.

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