Baked Dakos with Spiced Chickpeas, Tomato and Feta

Having just made Dakos (the wonderful Greek salad), using Dakos (the bread that has been dried until very hard), we turned to a recipe for baking Dakos (bread) with chickpeas and tomatoes, spices and feta. It is delicious, and it is just the day for turning the oven on.

The recipe is another one of Ottolenghi’s, but not from his books. It is published on the Ottolenghi website.  It is a great way to use up a packet of Dakos crisp bread, and I know you will enjoy it. Cook the chickpeas the day before if you like (or use canned ones).

The dakos becomes quite soft as it is soaked in tomato juices and a marinade of red wine vinegar and oil. The contrast of the vinegar in the dacos with the tomatoes and chickpeas is absolutely divine. Cook the recipe using a table-friendly oven proof dish, so you can take it direct from oven to table. It is harder to plate, but not impossible.

Similar recipes include Dakos, Dakos with Tomatoes, Herbs and Feta, Pasta Baked with Cabbage and Cheese, and Baked Eggplant Steaks.

Browse all of our Dakos recipes and our Greek dishes. Our Baked dishes are here. and all of our Ottolenghi dishes are here.. We have written about our experiences cooking through his book Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Black Barley with Mushrooms and Roti-Style Yoghurt Flatbreads

Black barley is a terrific find, it is nutty and dark in flavour and cooks easily in 35 – 45 minutes. I came across it at Goodies and Grains in Adelaide Central Market while I was stocking up with a few items. It is an African barley just becoming available more locally. It is excellent in soups, salads, vegetarian “stews” (let’s call it a ragout) like our recipe today, and even with tostadas and such like. As a base for other ingredients, it is excellent – try Black Barley with this Charred Okra dish.

Today we are using it to replace pearl barley (you can do that in any recipe). Ottolenghi has a recipe for Barley and Mushrooms in his book Plenty. We first made this around 2011, when my daughter and her family came back from London. There was much celebration. Barley and mushroom is a soothing combination – it is well known in Italy where a type of risotto, orzotto, is made from barley and mushrooms. The delight of the dish is mainly a textural thing, with the barley both gently breaking and enhancing the mushroomy gloopiness. This recipe uses 3 types of mushrooms, and today we used porcini, shiitake and pearl mushrooms, as I had pearl mushrooms left over from making a Soba Noodle and Mushroom dish.

Ottolenghi’s recipe also has some roti-like flatbreads made from wholewheat flour and mixed with yoghurt. These are rolled out and cooked on a tawa, flat griddle or frying pan. They are super easy to make and go with any dish similar to this one. You can also use any Mexican or Middle Eastern flatbread to compliment the barley if you are out of time to make your own. Or some frozen roti from your Indian Grocery.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

It is a very wintery dish – perfect for brisk Autumn days through to Winter.

Similar recipes include Mushrooms with Black Glutinous Rice, Charred Okra with Barley, Barley and Porcini Risotto, and Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms.

Browse our Black Barley recipes, all of our Barley dishes and our Mushroom recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through his Plenty More book. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes. Continue reading “Black Barley with Mushrooms and Roti-Style Yoghurt Flatbreads”

Na’ama’s Fattoush

Fattoush, as its simplest, is another tomato and bread salad – a common combination around the globe. And as tomato and bread is a very very good basis for a salad; it is no wonder that it is popular. It is also a variety of chopped salad, easy to make, no fuss at all.

Mention Fattoush to anyone from the Middle East to Israel, and  you are likely to find yourself in a discussion (argument?) about the composition of the salad.  Is sumac essential? Should other spices be included? Is garlic necessary? Is the bread to be toasted? Or fried? What is the dressing made of? What herbs are included? How big should the pita pieces be?

It is one of THOSE salads, loved and protected by all who eat it regularly. As mentioned, it is a type of chopped salad with tomatoes and includes pita. A salad that is best when all ingredients are the freshest and best quality available.

Arab salad, chopped salad, Israeli salad – whatever you choose to call it. Wherever you go in the city, at any time of the day, a Jerusalemite is most likely to have a plate of freshly chopped vegetables – tomato, cucumber and onion, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice – served next to whatever else they are having. Friends visiting us in London always complain of feeling they ate ‘unhealthily’ because there wasn’t a fresh salad served with every meal.

Ottolenghi and Tamimi, in their book Jerusalem, have a recipe that comes from Sami’s mother. It is also in Sami’s book Falastin. Sami can’t recall anyone else in the neighbourhood making the recipe this way She called it fattoush, as it includes chopped vegetables and bread. She soaks the untoasted or fried bread in a kind of home-made buttermilk, which makes it terribly comforting. It is a gorgeous salad and the home made buttermilk dressing is wonderful. It does make it quite different to other versions of Fattoush.

Try to get small cucumbers for this as for any other fresh salad. If you need to use the larger, long cucumbers, perhaps remove the seeds before using, if you wish.

Summer purslane, a tangy succulent with fleshy leaves and something of the lamb’s lettuce about it, is commonly found in fattoush in its homelands, and is well worth adding for its lovely lemony flavour. I have included it as we have it growing.

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Grilled Green Tomatoes Tostadas with Black Beans, Avocado and Coriander Leaves

Tostada is a Spanish word meaning toasted. In Mexico and other parts of Latin America, it is the name of various local dishes which are toasted or use a toasted ingredient as the main base of their preparation. It usually refers to a flat or bowl-shaped tortilla that’s toasted – it is perfect as a base for other foods.

Today’s tostada is topped with crunchy grilled green tomatoes, soft avocado and delicious black beans, topped with coriander leaves. It is a great snack or informal lunch and reasonably easy to prepare. We love to eat it sitting on the steps of the decking (with large napkins), folding the tortillas together and eating with our hands. Summer eating! We make this style of snack a lot, and the inspiration for this combo comes from Food52.

Similar recipes include Green Tomato Pachadi, Green Tomato and Pineapple Salsa, Avocado and Black Bean Salad with Green Tomatoes, and Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad.

Browse all of our Snacks and our Green Tomato recipes. Our Black Bean dishes are here. Or explore our Late 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 Sada Roti, 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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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.

Similar recipes include Pita Bread, The Life Changing Loaf of Bread, Potato and Garlic Pizza, and Sweet Potato Bread with Raisins and Walnuts.

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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Simple Tomato Bread Salad

When life is busy, simple is necessary. Eating healthy but quickly means the freshest of ingredients, whatever is in the fridge, without too much thinking or cooking. We are in that space at the moment, life is busy, simple is the way we are eating. Simple but good. VERY good. It is important to remember that salads need not be complex or take time to make.

For this salad, toast some bread really well, and mix it with some tomatoes for an awesome salad. The success of the salad lies in great tomatoes and a very good, tasty, extra virgin olive oil.

Are you after other Tomato Salads? Try Dakos, Na’ama’s Fattoush, Tomato Salad with Parsley Oil, Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Tomato and Pomegranate Salad, and Kachumber – Indian Tomato and Cucumber Salad.

Similar Salads include Dates and Spinach Salad with Almonds and Sumac, and Locquat Salad.

You can browse all of our Bread Salads, Tomato Salads, or indeed all of our many many Salads. Or take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Tomato and Basil Salad with Grilled Cheese Croutons

After a seasonal slow start to the tomato season this past Summer (poor setting of flowers all over Adelaide), as I write this in late, late Summer, they are ripening in abundance. How special that is – teeny little cherry tomatoes and little egg shaped ones, juiced, cooked, made into salads. Yum.

This salad, another from Bittman as I journey through his 101 salads, is a wonder – a toasted sandwich made into croutons, then mixed with the classic tomato and basil salad. How good is that! Combining 3 loves – basil, tomatoes and cheese toasties. I have added some green tomatoes to the salad, as I love their tang and use them whenever I can.

Are you looking for Tomato Salad inspiration? Try Tomato and Walnut Salad with Pomegranate Dressing, Tomato and Lettuce Salad with Lemon, My Mother’s Tomato and Cucumber Salad, Tomato Salad with Marjoram, and Tomato and Peach Salad.

Or are you looking for general Tomato recipes? Try Santorini Style Tomato Patties, Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce, and a Light Summery Tomato and Potato Soup (from India).

Have a look at our Toastie Sandwiches. All of our Tomato Salad Recipes are here, and the complete compendium of Tomato dishes are here. Would you like to browse all of our Salads?  Or spend some time to explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Chinese Scallion and Orange Zest Pancakes | Coriander and Chilli Pancakes | Fenugreek and Ajwain Pancakes

A classical Chinese dish with a twist

Scallion Pancakes are classic Chinese fare – crisp, flaky and chewy, made with layers of dough and sesame oil – they are surprisingly easy to make. You can also pre-make the dough and pop it in the fridge to make later. The pancakes can even be rolled out prior to cooking and kept with layers of baking paper between until you are ready to cook.

The traditional filling is Spring Onions (aka Scallions in the US), but indeed any filling can be used. Today, I have made 3 different ones:

  • Fenugreek Leaves with Ajwain and Cumin Seed
  • Coriander Leaves and Green Chilli
  • Spring Onions with Grated Orange Zest and White Pepper

Are you looking for similar recipes? We have some Indian chickpea flour “pancakes” here, and try some Indian dosa. And try Sweetcorn, Spring Onion and Chilli Pancakes, Sizzling Rice Squares, and Spring Onion Greens Salad.

Check out our Chinese and other Asian recipes. Or explore our easy Winter dishes.

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MID SPRING Goodies, Grains and Lentils, with BBQs, Snacks, Breads and Pasta for Spring Sustenance | Seasonal Cooking

Inspiration for Mid Spring Healthy Living

Capricious, transitional Spring gets into her stride, and by mid Spring is giving us gorgeous weather with hints of the Summer to come. It is daylight saving time, lighter now at night, as the sun withdraws her rays into herself later and later each evening. Warmer evenings and outside activities become more important.

Celebrating Spring

Some gorgeous inspirational sustaining food 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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