Beetroot Salsa with Yoghurt

The first beetroot from the new garden had me looking for a simple yet dynamic way to treat them. This tangy salad has the wonderful flavours of cumin and coriander, and has yoghurt rippled into the salad. Treat it like a salsa, as a side to your main dish or curry. Summery and special, I love this fusion of east and west flavours.

You might also enjoy Beetroot Risotto, Beetroot, Orange and Black Olive Salad, and a Warm Carrot and Beetroot Salad with Spices.

Our Beetroot recipes are all here and our Salsas here for you to explore. Or try our easy Early Summer recipes.

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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 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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Green Tea, Mint, Ginger, Apple Juice and Strawberry Cooler

Man, it is hot, and that sound is the sound of records breaking. As I write it is mind numbingly “warm”. Although it is such a slow start to Summer, these first days of heat are some of the hottest recorded. And people say climate change is not real.

So the rhythms of the kitchen change, and first thing in the morning we decide what to pop into the fridge for late-afternoon-on-the-deck cool sipping. There are quite a few recipes around for Apple Green Tea iced drink, and I tissied them up a bit, to suit our tastes and the items on my kitchen bench this morning. I do hope you enjoy it!

You might also like to try Watermelon Juice with Mint and Ginger, Balinese Ginger and Lemongrass Tea (which can be iced) and a Strawberry Frappe.

Have a look at our Summer Cooler Suggestions – or browse all of our coolers here. Are you looking for Tea recipes? Try here. Or Juice suggestions? Look here. Or simply explore our Early Summer recipes here.

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Andhra Brinjal Chutney | Indian Roasted Eggplant Chutney | Vankaya Pachchadi

The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh in South India is well known in India, even more, I think, than my beloved Tamil cuisine. One of the features of Andhra cuisine is its wonderful chutneys – wide, varied and flavoursome recipes that tease the palate and make wonderful companions to other dishes.

Cooking at Home with Pedatha is one of the well known cookbooks focusing on food from Andhra. The authors capture the recipes of 85 year old Subhadra Krishna Rau Parigi, fondly known as Pedatha. I often delve into this book for inspiration, along with my treasured books on Tamil cuisine by Meenakshi Ammal.

Please enjoy this recipe for Brinjal Chutney.

Browse our other Indian Chutney recipes, all of our Andhra Pradesh recipes, and our Eggplant dishes.  Are you looking for Indian recipes? They are here. And our Indian Essential Series is here. Or simply relax and explore all of our Early Summer dishes.

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Quinoa, Parsley and Lemon Salad with Cannellini Beans

Today’s recipe is for a common style of salad around the Mediterranean – it is light and full of sunshine! Herby and lemony, it feels so healthy and is ideal for outside eating in Summer.

The Mediterranean style salad of quinoa and cannellini beans is quick to put together. Super simple once the beans and grains are cooked, it is ready in minutes and very delicious. It is an Ottolenghi recipe that does not have a mile-long list of ingredients or dozens of steps in the recipe. Tucked away in a corner of a page in his book Plenty More, it is a salad that should not be missed.

It is a very white salad, so it looks great served next to a salad with lots of tomato or pomegranate seeds. If you use red quinoa, it looks very elegant against the cannellini beans!

Similar dishes include White Bean Salad with Tahini, Grilled Eggplant Salad with White Beans, and Roasted Red Pepper Salad with White Beans.

You might like to see our other Quinoa recipes and Cannellini Bean recipes. All of our Salads are here. Browse all of our Ottolenghi recipes here, or explore our collection of easy Early Summer dishes.

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Pol Roti | Coconut Roti | Sri Lankan Flatbread

These Pol Roti are very popular in Sri Lanka, are eaten at all meals by many, and are particularly loved for breakfast. Pol Roti pairs well with curries, and Sri Lankan sambols, pickles and chutneys. They are even delicious with butter and jam!

A tawa is perfect for cooking them, but you can use any flat pan, griddle, hot plate or BBQ.

Pol Roti can be made thin or thicker. We have made them thick here, but you can choose to roll them out to a thinner roti. Chop the onions or chilli into smaller pieces for thinner roti.

Similar recipes include Quick RotiRoti from Goa, and Adai.

Our Roti recipes are here or explore other Indian/Sir Lankan breads. Have a look at other Sri Lankan recipes, or browse our Indian dishes. Or simply check out our easy Early Summer recipes.

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Seasonal Cooking | Don’t Miss these EARLY SUMMER Recipes

Coats and jackets are put away and anticipation is high for the warming weather. The capriciousness of Spring is steadying. The weather is beautiful, and food becomes lighter, as though our body is shedding its layers too. Thoughts turn to the bountiful Summer harvest.  Enjoy these highlights from our Early Summer classic recipes.

Want more than highlights? You can also browse:

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Garlic Yoghurt Dressing | Garlic Yoghurt Sauce

Yoghurt is used predominately for sweet purposes in my country – it is sold already sweetened (although the yoghurt makers don’t alert us to that fact) and it is often eaten as is, out of the carton. The beautiful French really sour yoghurt is not a thing here. Nor is it used for its sour notes as it is in India. It is spooned over fruit or cereal, made into frozen yoghurt, or incorporated into fruit smoothies. Not so often do we use it in dips, stir it into soups or make dressings and sauces out of yoghurt. It is a sad thing really, as the savoury uses of yoghurt are infinite and wonderful. More enlightened countries include Turkey, Greece, India and Middle East Countries. There, yoghurt is used with abandon.

When buying yoghurt for non-sweet uses, look for a Greek Yoghurt, or an Indian Yoghurt. If you can’t find any in your supermarket, visit your local Greek, Middle Eastern or Indian shop, they will definitely have beautiful, creamy, unsweetened yoghurt for sale.

Garlic and yoghurt go together so well, and the pairing is used across many parts of Europe and the Middle East – think falafel, for example. What would it be without a creamy yoghurt sauce? Often cucumber is added, but this recipe is simple and directly garlicky.

Similar recipes include Umbrian Sauce for a Cure, Roast Capsicum Dressing, and Lemony Yoghurt Dressing.

You might like to explore our other Yoghurt recipes and our Dressings. Our Salad Dressings are here. Or simply explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Balinese Sambal Iris | Onion, Tomato and Chilli Condiment

An Indonesian sambal is a fiery blend of fresh hot chillies and other seasonings which are used as relishes or condiments throughout Indonesia. There are dozens of different sambal recipes; some raw, and some cooked. A sambal is served and used in much the same way we might use Sriracha or tabasco sauce.

They are generally easy to make, especially the raw ones, and this sambal takes no more than 5 minutes. The onions and chillies cure in the lime juice, making it incredibly delicious. Drizzle it over everything for spicy hot flavours.

Of course, our ingredients here are different to the ingredients available in Bali. Our chillies are different, our onions are different, rices are different, and so forth. So when we cook Balinese dishes there will be a difference to the traditional ones. But the flavours will still be so good. Plus, that gives us some leeway to play with the traditional recipe, adding freely available, local ingredients. I love to include cumquat juice and zest and kaffir lime leaves. Coriander and/or Basil leaves go nicely too.

Similar recipes include Chilli Jam, Chilli Paste, Sambel Tomat, and Sweet Chilli Sauce.

All of our Chilli dishes are here, or you might like our Balinese recipes. We have some Sambals here too. Or explore our Late Spring collection of dishes.

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Schiacciata with Cheese Topping

If Focaccia is half way between pizza and bread, then Schiacciata is half way between Focaccia and Pizza. It is flat and usually infused beautifully with olive oil.

Originally cooked in the ashes of the hearth, schiacciata, meaning squashed, is flat and 2 – 3 cm thick (but can be thinner). Variations of the bread are made throughout Italy. In Tuscany, it is simply brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Herbs such as rosemary can be added. A sweet version with grapes and sugar is also made.

This recipe with onion and cheese is great weekday lunch-at-home fare, even for Sunday night supper. It is great with a hearty soup. Maybe Onion Soup would be fabulous. In late Summer, pair it with ripe, bursting figs and celebrate the end of summer.

You might also liked our Focaccia recipes. Our pizza recipes are here. If you need pizza dough, the recipes are here. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing

Such a wonderful earthy flavour, Freekeh, that strange sounding name (to Western ears) belonging to the nutty grain. Sold whole or cracked, it is easy to find at Middle Eastern stores, some providores and some bulk lentil and grain places. Freekeh actually means rubbed – the process of removing the grains from its husks.

Like quinoa, freekeh is full of protein, with a beautiful smokiness, and is dead easy to cook. It is Middle Eastern duram wheat that is picked while unripe then traditionally roasted over wood fires to burn off the husks – hence its wonderful smoky flavour. Surprisingly it is also a little sweet, so a squeeze of lemon or lime always does wonders to a freekeh dish.

Freekeh is so unusual as generally the grains we use have been allowed to mature and dry on the head.

This dish is a take on an Ottolenghi dish from his book, Plenty, but has some minor variations. It is beautifully cooked by simmering for 15 mins and then leaving covered, to steam until cooked. Then it is tossed with herbs and topped with garlicky lemon yoghurt before serving.

Similar recipes include Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.

Browse all of our Freekeh recipes and all of our Pilafs. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or browse our Late Spring collection of 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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A New Juice for Summer – Zucchini Juice

How hot can Summer days get! Even the days before Summer officially begins can have a real bite. On those days you can reach for the coolness of white wine, of course, and in this house we make a range of lassi drinks, fruit juices and iced cordials.

One thing we love is to reach for the Zucchinis and make a healthy and refreshing juice, guaranteed to combat the heat without putting a wobble in your step.

Who knew that zucchini juice is so good? I discovered it one recent summer when my neighbour kept gifting me huge zucchinis from their organic farm. There are only so many zucchinis a girl can eat! They don’t really dehydrate well, and I had made enough zucchini pickles and preserves to last all winter. So I decided to try juicing them. It was a revelation.

I am here to tell you that zucchini juice is amazing! On its own or mixed with other fruits and vegetables, it is pure refreshment in a glass on a hot morning, afternoon or evening.

Similar recipes include Watermelon Juice with Ginger and Mint, Green Tea, Apple Juice and Strawberry CoolerStrawberry Frappe, and Summer Cooling Drinks with Juices.

Browse all of our Zucchini recipes and all of our Juices. Our Cooling Drinks are here. Or explore our Mid Summer 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, 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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