Beetroot with Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing and Za’atar

Beetroot is back on the menu, our earthy flavoured friend. In this salad, the beets are grated and mixed with a classic yoghurt and tahini dressing. To keep up the Middle Eastern theme, we add some za’atar.

This is a perfect Autumn Salad, although it does work really well in all other seasons. I love it in Autumn because we are moving from the cool blue colours of Summer into the oranges, golds, reds and crimsons of Autumn. It seems to fit well somehow.

If you are interested in other Beetroot Salads, try Beetroot, Orange and Olive Salad, Beetroot with Honey Dressing, and Warm Beetroot and Carrot Salad with Indian Spices.

Or try other Beetroot Recipes – Beetroot Risotto, Beetroot Fry and Beetroot Halwa.

Otherwise, have a look at all of our Beetroot Salads and all of our Salads. You can have a look at all of the other Beetroot recipes too. Or browse our Early Autumn dishes.

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Ayran | Middle Eastern Yoghurt Drink

A Summer-time salty yoghurt cooling drink from the Middle East.

I am keen on yoghurt drinks in warmer weather. Somehow they keep me feeling well and balanced. Lassi drinks – India’s contribution to the world of yoghurt drinks – are diverse and wonderful. Smoothies, made with yoghurt, encapsulate the modern trend of blending ingredients together. And the Middle East has much to offer.

This recipe is Ayran/Airyan, a drink claimed by both Turkey and Bulgaria. But it is popular across all of the Middle East. Syrians and Lebanese call it Laban Ayran. In Iraq and Jordan it’s called Shenina. And if you add a little crushed or dried mint to the drink, you’ll have Doogh, the Iranian version of Aryan.

Ayran is a mixture of yogurt, cold water and salt, but there are variations. What makes its Ayran special is that it is quite frothy. For example, one variation, the Susurluk Ayran, comes from a small town, Susurluk, in Turkey. The ingredients are the same, but in Susurluk restaurants cirulate the Ayran through a faucet, using high speed pumps, and this creates a foamy texture with a heavy creamy top. It is very famous, and eaten with a cheese panini-like dish called tost.

Are you after Yoghurt Drinks? Try our Lassis, we recommend Strawberry and Peach Lassi with Basil, Jeera (Cumin) Lassi, and Mango Lassi.

You can find all of our Yoghurt Drinks here – please browse. Also browse our Middle Eastern recipes here, and all of our Yoghurt recipes here. Or explore our easy Early Spring recipes.

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Babaganoush | Roasted Eggplant with Tahina

Suddenly the eggplants in the garden have found their mojo and are producing so many eggplants. It has me scrambling to find different ways to prepare them. Today they are grilled and the flesh is combined with tahini. It is another lovely mezze or tapas dish, or an any-time snack with flatbreads. You will love this. A take on Babaganoush, it is rich, smoky, and creamy.

You can grill/bake the eggplant in several ways. Cook it under the griller, turning often until the skin is blistered and blackened, and the flesh is soft. Or it can be cooked over a gas flame in the same way. But my favourite way is to grill it whole in a covered BBQ (grill) until the skin is blackened and the flesh collapsed. It is the easiest and quickest way at our place.

Are you looking for other Eggplant recipes? Try Eggplant Simmered in a Beautiful Broth, Grilled Eggplant Salad with Pinenuts and Pita Chips, and Deep Fried Eggplant.

Is it Dip Recipes that you are looking for? Try Coriander-Walnut Dip, Tomato and Chilli Jam, or Tahina Tarator.

You can explore all of our Eggplant recipes here, and all of our Dips here. Browse the Middle Eastern recipes, or take some time to explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Cardamom Spiced Coffee

Are you wishing that you could have a nice spiced coffee, the way that Chai adds spices to the humble black tea to create a wonderful, headily aromatic drink that is both warming and nourishing? Well, you can. Apart from some small pockets of this planet, it has been a well kept secret. But let that be no longer.

The simplest way to spice up your coffee is to add some cardamom. This elixir is common in Israel and the Middle East as well as India. Make your coffee as usual, adding some cardamom seeds, or crushed cardamom pods to the coffee grounds. The bitterness of good strong coffee with the sweet, pungent flavour of cardamom is not to be underestimated. Not only does cardamom coffee taste delicious but in Ayurvedic medicine the cardamom is reputed to reduces the acid in coffee and neutralise the over-stimulating effects of caffeine.

But it doesn’t end there. Other spices can be added too. Cloves, coriander, fennel, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger can be added – singly or in a mix.

You might also  like our other Coffee recipes and our Chai suggestions.

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Beets in a Herb Dressing

Beautiful Beetroot, roasted, and dressed with herbs

Beetroot is a great vegetable, and baby beets are sweet and tender. This recipe treats them minimally. You can use baby beets or larger, medium sized ones.

The inspiration for this dish came from Turquoise by Greg Malouf. I recommend this cookbook of Turkish recipes. It is beautiful.

Feel free to browse other recipes from Turquoise.  You might also like our Beetroot recipes here and here. Or you might like to browse Salad recipes here and here. Check out our easy Spring recipes here and here.

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Cacik | Turkish Cucumber and Yoghurt Mezze

Cool off in hot weather with a classic yoghurt dip from Turkey.

Cacik is a wonderful dish, cooling in summer and endlessly versatile. It can be made very thick with thick thick yoghurt to serve as a dip or along side curries, rice dishes and pastry dishes. Make it with ordinary yoghurt as a sauce to drizzle over vegetables or salads or some filo pastry dish. Or make it thin with some ice cold water and eat as a soup.

Here we love yoghurt, so there is quite a collection of yoghurt recipes, including drinks, dips, curries and salad dressings. I hope something inspires you there. Or our Dips are here and here. Be inspired by our Spring recipes here and here.

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Yoghurt, Feta and Mustard Dip

Take some yoghurt, feta and mustard and you have a dip for a Summery day.

Gathering the thick thick yoghurt, some home made mustard, a smidgen of honey, and a copy of Turquoise, Greg Malouf’s mustardy creation was manifested. It can be a dip, sauce or dressing and the combination of flavours is quite synergistic – beyond what you might expect.

You might like to try other Yoghurt dishes here and here, and other Dips here and here. All of our Turquoise dishes are here. Be inspired by our Spring recipes here and here.

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Green Olive, Walnut, Pistachio and Pomegranate Salad

The most incredible salad

In the past it has been difficult to get pomegranates that were as tasty as those in Tamil Nadu and Kerala in India. There, they are so flavoursome, sweet, served by the bowlful for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here, early in the season, there were only wild pomegranates in the shop. Small, tart, hard, inedible. It was only later, much much later, some became available that approach the deliciousness of the fruit of India.

Are you looking for Pomegranate recipes? You can browse them here. And browse salad recipes here and here. Our favourites are Pomegranate and Banana Salad and Mung Sprouts Sundal. Or be inspired by our Winter recipes here and here.

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Haydari | A Turkish Yoghurt Dip

A Turkish Dip

Haydari is a thick dip and spread made from strained yoghurt which is called suzme in Turkish. It is very much like the Middle Eastern labne. Spread it on toast or flat breads, or serve with salads or chargrilled vegetables and tofu.

Looking for other Turkish recipes? Browse them here. Or browse our Dips, Sauces and Salsas here. Our favourites are Cacik and Pawpaw Salsa. You might like our Yoghurt recipes here and here. Or be inspired by our Winter recipes here and here.

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Spicy Rustic Red Lentil Soup with Thick Thick Yoghurt

In my palette of dried beans and lentils, it is the red lentil that is used least of all. I am not sure why. Its colour is lively, it is so easy to cook, does not require previous soaking and it falls to a wonderful creamy mush as it cooks. Perfect for when there is never enough time.

Red lentils were one of the four pulses commonly available as I was growing up – red lentils, split peas,  yellow split peas, barley – and was often thrown by the handful into overcooked soups and stews, left bland and forgotten at the bottom of the dish in an era when spices and herbs were not to be found in any Proper Country Australian Housewife’s kitchen. These women knew how to cook vegetables and meat for their men, but not “these dried things”.

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