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.

Continue reading “Broad Beans Mezze | Salad of Broad Beans with Sea Salt and Black Pepper AND Broad Beans with Feta and Dill”

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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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Pasta alla Crudaiola | Pasta with a Raw Tomato Sauce

Yay for simple pasta dishes. We have a few recipes for such dishes, and most of them feature tomatoes in some form. Tomatoes are so easy to chop and add to pasta with some olive oil, garlic and basil. A bit of parmesan. And a tasty dish is born.

While the base ingredients are almost the same in the simple dishes, the way they are treated will vary, and that changes the dish. This recipe uses those base ingredients but they are chopped finely to make a sort of uncooked sauce. It is mixed with ricotta and left for an hour for the flavours to develop. Easy. Good.

This dish goes well with any pasta, really. Use short ones, curly ones or long strands. Spaghetti and bucatini are particularly good, and I love it with Penne. It is best made in Summer, or early Autumn, when our Australian tomatoes are at their best.

Are you looking for other Pasta dishes? Try Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper, Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, and Pasta with Chilli and Olive Oil.

And why not make your own Pasta? How to Make Eggless Pasta.

You can browse all of our Pasta dishes, our many Tomato dishes, and all of our Italian recipes. Or simply browse our Early Autumn 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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Broad Beans with Fresh Pecorino Cheese

There is a beautiful Tuscan Spring time tradition of serving Broad Beans with a fresh pecorino cheese. The cheese is sliced and served with the beans. If the beans are young, the guests get to pod their own as they eat them. There is a saltiness in the fresh pecorino that matches the sweetness of the broad beans. And the crispy texture of the beans with the melting softness of the pecorino is divine.

Similar recipes include Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, Tomato and Broad Bean Salad, Panfried Broad Beans with Chilli, Lime and Salt, Broad Beans with Crispy Garlic, and Tawa Broad Beans.

Have a look at the other Broad Bean recipes. Our Snacks are here. Or explore our collection of Late Spring recipes.

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Tomato Risotto

Get your Italian Risotto Mojo on with some loud opera music and a good wine

Italian food is just wonderful! Today is another Great Risotto Dish. Risotto is always a meditation in cooking. A quiet kitchen, a wooden spoon, some rice and a large pot.

From years ago, when I was first making risotto, and still today, I amazed friends who pop in unexpectedly. I pick tomatoes, salad greens, chilli and rosemary from the garden, pull some stock and tomato paste from the freezer, and cook this risotto in approx. 30 minutes. I serve it with a garden salad and fresh fruit for dessert. They are always pretty impressed!

If you haven’t cooked risotto before, here are some basics.

Similar recipes include Risotto with Mushrooms, Asparagus Risotto with Basil, and Caramelised Pumpkin Risotto.

You might also like our Risotto recipes, and our Rice recipes. Our Italian dishes are here. Check out our easy Early Spring recipes too.

This is a vegetarian recipe from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can browse other recipes from this blog in our Retro Recipes series. Continue reading “Tomato Risotto”

Dried Fava Bean Soup | Dried Broad Bean Soup with Potatoes

Late Winter comes and we begin to look forward to Spring. However the weather gods have other ideas, plunging us into the coldest weather of the winter, stormy and wet, and very very cold.

We really did fall in love with dried broad beans this year. After a hiccup at the beginning – we really didn’t know a lot about how to handle these large beauties – we have settled into a routine of using them every couple of weeks. Totally delicious.

The smaller, peeled dried fava beans are easier to use, but if you can’t find them, use the larger (gigantic) unpeeled ones. The peeled dried broad beans are quite small, whereas the unpeeled ones are large beans. Soak the large ones overnight, then pop them out of their peels before cooking. If they don’t come out of the skins easily, try soaking them in boiling water for 20 – 30 mins. They should come off easily then. I like to peel them in front of the TV the night before I am using them. It makes this meditative task very easy.

This recipe doesn’t saute the onions and celery, but rather pops them into the pot with the beans and the stock. In Greece it is believed that sauteing them before hand makes the dish heavier, and if you think about it, it is an excellent observation. I like to keep this soup lighter, but by all means saute off the aromatics beforehand if you wish.

Similar recipes include Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs, and Fava Bean Soup with Fresh Herbs.

Or browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and all of our Italian dishes. Alternatively, take some time to explore our Mid Winter collection of dishes.

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Tapenade Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Today’s salad takes some olive tapenade and olive oil and smothers bread in it. As it soaks in, cubes of the bread are mixed with tomatoes to make a gorgeous salad. A fun alternative to including olives, and adds a bit of bulk to the dish.

This is also a great way to use up left over bread that might be only good for toast. The firmer texture of this bread is perfect for salads as it soaks up the juices of tomatoes and dressings.

Are you looking for similar Tomato Salads? Try this one which combines crispy flatbread, tomatoes and red peppers. And our favourite of Fresh Mozzarella, tomatoes and cucumbers. Also try a Warm Tomato SaladTomato and Basil Salad with Grilled Cheese Croutons, and Artichoke Hearts with Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads. Our Bittman Salads are here. Or take some time to explore all of our many many Salads. Alternatively, check out our easy Late Summer recipes.

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Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese

Cabbage and Carbs always go well together, right? And this dish of cabbage with pasta is divine. It is a great cold weather dish, and perfectly good for any time of the year as a Sunday Supper. It is a rustic dish, but don’t let that dissuade you.

Sometimes I cook this dish and the family aren’t home yet, and I pick at it in the kitchen until there is a definite hole in the side. It is so delicious with the nutty, slightly stretchy Emmental cheese. So easy to make just 3 ingredients – I cook the pasta and use the pasta water to blanch the cabbage. A few minutes assembly and into the oven it goes for about 20 mins – faster if you have a good fan forced oven. Take it bubbling to the table – your family will be begging for it again and again.

Truly, this dish almost needs a wood fire and a large glass of red. Eat on its own, with salads, or as an accompaniment to other dishes. Left overs are good fried up for breakfast! You could almost say that this comfort dish is NOT a Sydney dish. It is built for Melbourne and Adelaide, and all year round in Tassie. 🙂

Similar dishes include Potatoes and Cheddar Gratin, Baked Eggplant Steaks, and Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini.

Are you looking for Pasta dishes? First, check out our home made eggless pasta. Then try Pasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto, Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Pepper and Tomato, and Light Pasta Salad.

Or are you looking for Cabbage Recipes? Try Malaysian Lemak Style Vegetables, Nappa Cabbage Salad with Peanut Dressing, and Cabbage Thoran.

You might also like to browse all of our Cabbage recipes. All of our Pasta dishes are here. Or browse Baked recipes. Take some time to check out our easy Mid-Winter recipes.

Also browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006.

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Mediterranean Barley with Crispy Tofu

Barley is beautiful, especially in Salads

I am in love with barley at the moment – a great wintery grain that also, strangely, has some cooling properties when used in the warmer months. Not only does it do well in soups, pilafs and vegetable stews, it is an accommodating base for salads.

Ilyse, the amazing artist from the no-longer-existing blog Lucullian Delights, had a wonderful barley and tofu salad for any season. I tweeked it just a little, and it is a perfect salad for summer or for winter.

Do also try Black Pepper Tofu, an exquisite dish from Ottolenghi. Or make Toa Hou Hod, Deep Fried Tofu with a Sweet Peanut Sauce, a Thai dish full of flavour.

Are you looking for other Barley recipes? Try Barley Pilaf, and Charred Okra with Spiced Tomato Barley. This Parsley and Barley Salad is pretty good too.

You might like to browse other Barley recipes here. Our extensive list of wonderful Salads are here. You might like to see all of our Tofu recipes also. Or simply explore our easy Late Summer Recipes.

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Pere al Forno con Marsala e Cannella | Pears Baked with Marsala and Cinnamon

Beautiful raisin flavoured baked pears for wintery nights.

Aaah, the thought of these makes me feel hungry. First made in our household about 20 years ago they still feature occasionally in our kitchen, especially in winter. They are a great way to take the evening chill off of the kitchen – turn the oven on, pop in the pears and perhaps some parsnips to roast, pour the wine and put some Italian music on in the background.

Are you looking for similar dishes? Try Roasted Rosemary Pears, and an Autumn Fruit Salad.

You might like to browse our Dessert recipes, and our Pear recipes. Check out our easy Late Winter recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2005. You can browse more of those recipes in the Retro Recipes series.

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Bistecche di Melanzane | Eggplant Steaks

Leftover eggplant in the fridge? Don’t quite know what to do with it? No matter what you are serving tonight, this Italian dish from Bugialli will blend. In no time at all you will be enjoying the wonderful soft texture of well cooked eggplant contrasted with the crunch of breadcrumbs. It makes a great starter with a green leaf or two, it can accompany any other dish for a a multi dish meal, or it can take centre place with a salad and chickpeas.

Eggplant will soak up whatever you soak it in. This recipe utilises this property well by marinating the eggplant before baking. Yummy! This is so good, I do hope that you try it.

Are you looking for other Eggplant dishes? Try Eggplants in a Creamy Peanut Gravy, Roasted Eggplant with a Garlic Sauce, Eggplant and Zucchini with a Chickpea and Harissa Sauce, and Eggplant, Sultanas and Pinenuts.

All of our Eggplant recipes can be browsed here, and have a look at other Bugialli recipes. Or explore our wonderful collection of Late Autumn dishes.

Also, feel free to browse other vegetarian recipes from our first blog in existence from 1995 – 2006, in our Retro Recipes series.

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Fettuccine con Cacio e Pepe | Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper

Simple is great, yes? Less is more. In this pasta dish, as with many others, it is the simplicity that shines and makes for a spectacular dish.

I have made it here with some home made eggless pasta that combines flour, semolina flour and chickpea flour and uses ground sesame seeds as a binding agent. It is pretty good, but of course this recipe can be made with any fettuccine or spaghetti.

Are you looking for Pasta dishes? Try Beautiful Buttered Orzo, Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and MintPasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto, Simple Pasta with Chilli and Olive Oil, and Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce. Don’t forget that home made eggless pasta.

Or perhaps you are after Italian fare? Try Risotto with Mushrooms, White Bean Soup and Grilled Fennel with Mozzarella.

You can browse all of our pasta dishes here, and all of our Italian recipes here. Or simply take some time to explore our Mid Autumn collection of recipes.

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Zucchini Sott’Olio | Zucchini Preserved in Oil with Mint, Chilli and Garlic

Turning zucchini into glorious pickles

Fussy to make, these pickles are rather gorgeous and a great way to use the gigantic zucchini that you can’t avoid in your vegetable garden patch.

Are you looking for other Zucchini Recipes? Try a Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini with Thyme, a delicious Indian Zucchini Fry, and Zucchini Rice.

Or perhaps you would like some Pickle suggestions. Try Pickled Okra, Pickled Jicama and Pickled Ginger.

You might like to browse all Pickles, and all Zucchini recipes. Explore our Autumn preserving recipes too. Or take some time to explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Risotto with Mushrooms

This is a most beautiful risotto with the creaminess of mushrooms combined with the creaminess of a risotto. Mushroom Risotto is a perfect winter-time dish, a cold evening dish, a heater-on-high dish. It is a comfort dish, for when you need a little more love and support in your life. Really, it is divine. Who doesn’t like risotto?

While I specify button and oyster mushrooms, you can make this with any mix of mushrooms. Cut them to size accordingly.

Do be careful about the rice that you use for risotto. You will get the best results using a risotto rice. You can read more about that here. My favourite at the moment, and the one that I used for this dish, is Carnaroli.

If you are new to making risotto, read How to Make Risotto.

Try some other Risottos too – Tomato Risotto, Beetroot Risotto, Caramelised Pumpkin Risotto and Asparagus Risotto are some of our favourites.

Are you looking for Mushroom recipes? Try Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s Slow Cooked Creamy Mushrooms, Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves, French Mushrooms and Tomatoes, Adzuki Beans with Shiitake Mushrooms, and Mushroom and Carrot Salad with Mung Sprouts.

Check out all of our Risotto recipes, and also  all of our Italian recipes. All of our Mushroom recipes are here. You might like to browse our easy Late Summer recipes here.

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