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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Poha Chaat

Poha Chat is an Indian spicy snack and street food loved by many. Poha is rice that has been steamed and flattened, and it comes in various sizes. For this recipe, thick poha will be needed. If using thinner poha, don’t soak for long in water – thin poha particularly will need a sprinkle of water only.

Similar recipes include Borlotti Bean Chaat, and Channa Chaat.

Other Poha dishes include Kanda Poha, Kolacha Poha, and Sweet and Crunchy Poha.

Browse all of our Poha recipes and our Chat dishes. Our Indian recipes are here, and Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

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Glass Noodles with Spinach

Glass Noodles are wonderful – silky, soft and translucent, they are great in salads, soups and stir fries. Other names for these noodles include Cellophane Noodles, Chinese Rice Vermicelli and Chinese Vermicelli. They don’t take much to prepare – stiff like wire when you buy them, they soften with a short soak in hot water, and within about 5 minutes they are ready to toss with other ingredients. But don’t mix them up with Indian rice Vermicelli, that is vermicelli of a different type.

This salad takes some fresh, younger spinach and wilts it with sesame oil before tossing with the glass noodles. You can sprinkle with some sesame seeds to complete the dish.

Similar dishes include Glass Noodles and Green Mango Salad, Indian Vermicelli Payasam, and Sweetcorn and Spinach Bhurji.

Browse all of our Spinach dishes, and all of our Vermicelli dishes. Our Asian dishes are here. Or browse our Early Spring recipe collection.

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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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Gajar ka Achaar | Mustardy Carrot Pickle

A beautiful Punjabi pickle

Pickles are ubiquitous in India. Spicy green chilli pickles, Mango Pickles with Cardamom and Fenugreek, yellow Cauliflower pickle, even Quince Pickle and Cumquat Pickles. You name it, every Indian household will have big jars filled with freshly made pickles sitting in the sunshine. This is a method commonly used to develop the flavours of the pickle and let them mature.

Making Indian pickles is so simple. Some are pickled in oil, some in an acid, like vinegar, or lemon or lime juice. They may take some time to allow the flavours to develop, but all good things take time.

Oil style pickles are common in North India, and salt and oil play important parts in the pickling process. Salt adds to the flavour, draws moisture out of the vegetable and inhibits bacterial growth. Oil acts as a barrier and keeps the vegetables moist. Different oils produce different tasting pickles.

Today’s pickle is a beautiful crunchy carrot pickle, made mustardy with the use of mustard oil and mustard seeds.

Are you after other Carrot Recipes? Try Carrot Rice, Cumin and Ginger Glazed Carrots, Carrot Thoran and an interesting Carrot Curry with Crumble.

Are you looking for Pickles? Try Pickled Okra, Pickled Jicama, and Pickled Cumquats.

Have a look at other Carrot Pickles, and all of our other Picklesour Chutneys too. All of our Carrot dishes are here. Or browse our Indian recipes, and explore our Mid Spring recipes too.

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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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Very Quick Radish Pickles | Japanese Radish Pickles

Simple Pickled Radishes

Lucy Nourish Me is in love with the flavours of the orient – shoyu, tamari, mirin, rice wine vinegar, rice vinegar, kombu and much more more. She uses them with aplomb. Right now I am exploring radish recipes, and Lucy has a couple that remove the tangy peppery flavour and make the radishes a great vehicle for the flavours of Japan.

Lucy adapted this recipe from Jamie Oliver, and of course (can’t help myself) I have adapted it again. What a nice chain we make, linking recipe to person to recipe to person over time and space.

This is the quickest and simplest of radish recipes, honestly. I love the peppery tang of radishes, but these recipes from the East are a nice change.

Similar recipes include Quick Pickled Radishes with Asian Flavours, and Slightly Pickled Cucumber and Red Radish Salad.

Explore our other Radish Recipes and our other Quick Pickles. Try our Japanese dishes. Our Late Spring recipes are all here.

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Beautiful Buttered Orzo Pasta

Orzo is a tiny rice-shaped Greek pasta, not to be confused with barley which in Italy is also called orzo. When you see Orzo called for in a recipe, you always have to think twice! Is it pasta or is it barley? Sometimes it is not very clear.

In this recipe orzo Pasta is simply cooked and then bathed in butter. It is a delicious way to serve it, either as an accompaniment to other dishes (perhaps a replacement for rice), or tossed with herbs and cheese as a snack. We also love it with some cream and breadcrumbs added as well.

Orzo is available from Greek groceries, and can be found in Italian groceries under the name of riso, risoni, orzo, and rosmarino. The difference is in size. Riso is very small and rosmarino is larger than orzo.

Similar recipes include Pasta with Tomato and Salted Ricotta, Elegant Orzo Salad with Spinach, and Rice with Orzo.

Browse all of our Orzo recipes and all of our Pasta dishes. Our Greek recipes are here and Italian ones here. Or explore our Early Spring 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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Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumber and Pomegranate Molasses

This dish of beautiful fresh buffalo mozzarella balls has saved me many a time, late at night, tired from a long day, collapsed in front of the television. Mozzarella balls are torn apart, tomatoes, cukes and herbs added, and pomegranate molasses drizzled over.

Tearing the fresh Mozzarella adds great texture, great mouth-feel, and a much more interesting look than slicing. Never slice the large balls unless absolutely necessary.

Try these other fresh Buffalo Mozzarella recipes. Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Fresh Mozzarella, Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Caperberries, and Marinated Zucchini Salad with Bocconcini.

Browse all of our Mozzarella recipes here, and all of our many many Salads. Or explore our beautiful Late Summer dishes.

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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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Broad Bean and Tomato Salad

Spring brings us Broad Beans. Celebrate their freshness with this salad.

Oh the joy of Spring. Two pieces of that joy are the short season of the Broad Bean, and the arrival of ripe cumquats. Today we celebrate the Broad Bean with a quick salad.

Larger Broad Beans need to be twice peeled. That is, they are first removed from the pod, of course, and then each bean has their thick outer shell removed. This seems like a lot of work, but once you are on a roll, it happens quickly. I use a small, sharp knife to knick the outer skin, then a quick peel and the inner bean pops out. The inner bean is much gentler in taste, very delicious.

You can also make this salad at other times of the year – just use frozen broad beans, easily available from your supermarket. You can find them peeled and unpeeled. Go for the peeled ones if you can find them – much easier and definitely quicker.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Broad Beans MezzeEnsalada, Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, Broad Beans with Fresh Pecorino, and Pan Fried Broad Bean Salad.

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

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