Caponata Siciliana | Eggplant, Olive, and Celery Appetizer

This is a beautiful dish with Roman origins, from Sicily. There is something  beautifully different about some of the taste combinations you’ll find in Sicily, especially the tendency to combine sweet and sour – a legacy, they say, of ancient Roman days when sweet dates were used instead of tomatoes and sugar.

La caponata, one of the most famous Sicilian dishes, is a good example. It’s a cousin to the ratatouille of Provence. Caponata features eggplant, with celery, tomato and onions along with capers and olives. These are typical Southern Italian flavours. And it has that sweet-and-sour touch that perfectly balances out the flavours. It layers different flavours one upon the other, and, if you care to cook it for 30 mins or more, the flavours are deep and glorious and the consistency almost jam-like.

Serve Caponata on its own, hot or room temperature, on a Sunday afternoon (with a glass of wine, of course), or in the traditional manner as an antipasto. Caponata can be served on bruschetta, with flatbread or with salad leaves, and it’s also perfect as a side dish or even as a relish.

Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray note warily in the River Cafe Classic Italian Cookbook that “there are as many ways to make caponata as there are cooks in Sicily”, a fact confirmed by Giorgio Locatelli, who claims that “in every house and in every restaurant you will find a different version and opinion.”

There are many versions of Caponata on Sicily – apparently 37 official versions, depending on local customs. The differences lie in the addition of different vegetables, for example potatoes, bell peppers, zucchini.

Are you looking for other Eggplant dishes? Try Babaganoush, Grilled Eggplant Salad, Baingan ka Bharta and Eggplant Fry.

We have other Celery recipes too. Try Celery Yoghurt Salad, Spicy Celery Salad, and Chickpea, Celery and Carrot Salad with a Curry Dressing.

Or perhaps some other Italian dishes. Try Farinata, Marinated Zucchini Salad, Wet Polenta and Tomato Layers, and Grilled Sweet Peppers and Eggplants.

Or you can browse all of our Eggplant recipes, all of our Celery recipes, or all of our Italian recipes. Alternatively, take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

This is a recipe from our first blog which ran from 1995 – 2006. You can browse all of the vegetarian recipes from that blog in our Retro Recipes series.

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Begun Pora | Bengali Eggplant Puree | A Rustic Cousin of Baingan Bharta

Baingan Bharta is the well known, Punjabi, wonderful Indian eggplant puree, easy to make, full of spicy flavours and so versatile in its use. This is its rustic cousin from Bengal, less well known than Baingan Bharta but no less well loved. This has the tastes of Bengal and is totally different in flavour to its cousin.

Make both! This one is almost salsa-like in its rustic composition. Wrap it in a roti and bliss out.

Are you after Eggplant recipes? Try Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate, Begun Pora with Bori Crumbles, Baingan Ka Salan, BabaganoushSaffron and Rose Scented Eggplant, and Japanese Baked Eggplant.

Or perhaps you would like other Bengali dishes. Try Bengali Vegetable Kitchari and Bengali Rice Kheer.

Have a look at all of our Eggplant recipes, and all of our Bengali recipes. Perhaps you want more Indian dishes. Or simply explore our Early Autumn feasts.

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Green Tomato Pachadi | Green Tomato Chutney

This chutney is Indian in style and we make it in Summer when green tomatoes are available. We use home grown ones and our local green grocer also stocks them. Green tomatoes are tangy and have a beautiful crunch. In this dish, they are cooked down with green chillies before being blended with spices and some tamarind to form the chutney. It is generally made to be eaten on the day it is made, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It is delicious with any Indian meal, or just with rice and a dollop of ghee.

Similar recipes include Green Tomato Bhajji, Fresh Radish and Mint Chutney, Roast Tomato Chutney, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney.

Browse all of our Indian Chutney recipes, and all of our Green Tomato dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Green Chilli and Coriander Paste | Chilli, Garlic and Coriander Chutney

This recipe is for a chilli, garlic and coriander paste that can be used as an accompaniment to dishes and full meals (like an Indian style chutney), and as a flavouring for food. Stir it into steamed rice, for example, or into any curry. It works particularly well with coconut milk based spicy dishes. Have it on the side of rice or curries, drizzle it into soups, spread a tiny amount on a sandwich, smear a little onto a snack.

Keep it handy too for spreading on your sandwiches and toast (try it with cheese!), and as a dip for snacks and finger food. It also goes well with idli, vada and other Indian snacks. We are claiming this as an Indian style chutney, although it does vary a little. Nevertheless, it is every bit as delicious as any Indian green chutney.

The paste keeps well in the fridge if tightly covered and avoid using a wet spoon when using the paste.

Similar recipes include Balinese Sambal Tomat, Coriander Paste, Zhug, Chilli Jam, and Chilli Paste.

Browse all Chilli recipes, and all Pastes and Purees. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Fennel and Lemon Quick Chutney

I am writing this in early December, and I must have the last reasonable fennel bulb before Wintery cold weather comes again. Rather than make a salad from it, we thought that a fennel chutney would be nice. It is a quick chutney, one that you can eat almost immediately and will keep only a week or two in the fridge. The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Guardian column.

We always regret not using Fennel enough. It seems to be a summery vegetable with that cooling aniseed taste, but in fact is difficult to find at decent prices once Winter is over – and by the end of Spring good fennel is definitely unavailable.

Similar recipes include Roasted Eggplant Chutney, Onion Jam, and Cumquat Chutney.

Or for Fennel dishes, try Slow Baked Fennel with Chilli, Orange and Garlic, Fennel and Apple Salad, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Browse all of our Fennel recipes and all of our Chutneys. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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South Indian Fresh Radish Chutney

I have radishes galore in the Kitchen Garden, and I do love them straight from the garden, sliced and slightly salted. They look glorious and taste even better.

In India, as far as I know, the main radish used is the long white radish. Not quite daikon radish, it is smaller. But red radishes can be substituted – it is just the colour that will alter. Rather than being pale, the red radishes (unpeeled) will give dishes a slight pink hue. It’s rather nice.

This chutney has the bite of the radish, the tang of tamarind, the heat of the chilli and the crunch of the sauteed dal. There is nothing better. I love it with rice, but it is good with chappati and rice roti too.

Are you looking for other Radish recipes? There is a Fresh Mint and Radish Chutney, Spicy Radish Salad with Coconut Milk or Cucumber and Red Radish Slighlty Pickled Salad. All of our Radish Recipes are here.

If you are looking for fresh Chutneys, Indian style, try Green Tomato Pachadi, Spinach Thogayal | South Indian Spinach Chutney, Coriander and Coconut Chutney or Indian Style Apricot Chutney. All of our Indian Chutneys are here.

Also try Fennel and Lemon Chutney.

All of our Indian recipes are here, or take some time to explore our easy Mid Summer recipes.

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MID SPRING Vegetables for Healthy Spring Eating | Seasonal Cooking

What a special month this is, quintessential Spring. No matter where you are it is a month of change. Today, a few more dishes to sparkle in your kitchen during the month to come.

Celebrating Spring

Some gorgeous inspirational fruit and vegetables 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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MID AUTUMN Vegetable Dishes for Healthy Autumn Eating | Seasonal Cooking

What a special month this is, quintessential Autumn. No matter where you are it is a month of change. Beautiful cold weather vegetables come to the table – Spinach, Pumpkin, Potatoes, Eggplants. The vegetables at this time of the year are superb.

Enjoy some Vegetable inspiration for Mid Autumn deliciousness. You can also browse:

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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Thosai Sambol | Sri Lankan Coconut and Tamarind Sambol | Coconut and Tamarind Chutney

You can’t help but love this Chutney. It goes well with dosa and dosa-like dishes such as idli, paniyaram and uttapam. It can also accompany any Indian or Sri Lankan meal. A typical Sri Lankan meal will consist of  various curries, rice, roti and several sambols and side condiments, all served together to create a lovely layered blend of tastes. In many ways Sri Lankan Tamils took the Tamil Nadu cuisine and made it their own.

This sambol is coconut-y for sure, with a little heat, gingery and some sourness from the tamarind. It is divine!

Are you looking for chutneys and sambols? Try Carrot Sambol – a Jaffna-Style Salad, Red Radish Chutney, and Coriander and Coconut Fresh Chutney.

Or do you want Sri Lankan dishes? Have a look at Mung Dal with Coconut Milk | Sri Lankan Style, Red Radish Chutney, and Fenugreek Kuzhambu.

You can find some more Indian Chutney recipes here, and other Sri Lankan dishes here. Browse other Coconut recipes. All of our Indian dishes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take time out to explore all of our easy Mid Summer recipes.

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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. Enjoy!

Similar recipes include Baingan Ka Salan, Eggplant in Tamarind Leaf Paste.

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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Fresh Radish and Mint Chutney

This chutney was one of my first forays into the universe of Indian fresh chutneys, some many years ago. These days I make them a lot – not only are they wonderful in their own right and an important taste element in an Indian meal, they are also a great way to eat more vegetables, and a great way to use up any vegetable and herb that is sitting a little neglected in the fridge. They go great in sandwiches, toasties, and dolloped into soups too.

If you are trying to learn more about Indian cooking the importance of the Indian fresh chutneys is not immediately evident. They may not make sense to you – they appear in a separate section of cookbooks and it may not be evident how critical a part they play in any meal. It is only through diligent reading of many many blog posts or books, or a visit to India where you can eat in homes and local cafes, that the place of fresh chutneys in Indian meals slowly dawns.

Similar recipes include Coconut and Tamarind Sambol, Andhra Eggplant Chutney, Andhra Spinach Chutney, Mint and Coriander Chutney, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney.

Don’t let a day go past without whizzing one up. Read about Indian Chutneys here. Browse our Indian Chutney recipes, our general Chutney recipes, and our pickle recipes. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes series.

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Ousback’s Grilled Pepper and Apple Relish / Chutney

I am not sure where I first came across Ousback’s recipe — he was very popular with Vogue Entertainment Magazine around the mid 1990, so perhaps it was there. Anders Ousback was well known as a lover of food and wine, and this relish of his was also well known and loved. He was influential in the Sydney food scene, and influenced many chefs and restaurant owners. This recipe of his has stood the test of time, and is as wonderful today as it was back then.

There were several variations of the Grilled Pepper Relish. The one below is the one that I love because of its freshness and the wonderful taste of the spices it includes.

I am sure the recipe that Anders used has provenance. You can see the origins in Elizabeth David’s Red Pepper Relish. And there are infinite purees and pastes of roasted red peppers, such as  Serbian Ajvar, an Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Relish.

Similar recipes include Harissa, Roasted Red Pepper Sauces, and Red Pepper, Eggplant and Tomato Pasta Sauce. Or try Fennel and Lemon Chutney, and Char Grilled Banana Chillies Stuffed with Tomatoes and Spices.

You might also liked to browse our Preserves recipes and our Capsicum recipes. Our Apple dishes are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in our Retro Recipes series.

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Andhra Spinach Chutney | Palakoora Pachadi

Serve with rice and a dollop of ghee

Andhra Pradesh is well known for its chutneys, and for the love that Andhra people have for their chutneys. Called pachadi, the chutneys are not to be confused with the pachadi dishes from Tamil Nadu, which are generally yoghurt based like a raita. An Andhra Pachadi is more like a Tamil Thogayal. I hope that clears the confusion.

Andhra Pachadis are ground vegetables and spices, made to be eaten with rice and a dollop of ghee. But you can use them in sandwiches, stirred into yoghurt, or with snacks, chapatti, idli or dosa.

This is a Spinach Andhra Pachadi, and you have never tasted spinach so delicious. Spicy from red and green chillies, and cooling from the ground sesame seeds, it all comes together into an awesome dish.

Are you after similar recipes? Try Andhra Eggplant Chutney, Spinach Thogayal, Green Chutney, Red Radish Chutney, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney.

You can see our Tamil Pachadi dishes here and here, and our Andhra Pachadi dishes here. Or browse all of our Spinach recipes and our Indian dishes. You might also like to explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Lightly Pickled Jicama and Citrus Salad | Yam Bean and Citrus Salad

This recipe is a salad that is tangy and juicy. It is refreshing and clean tasting with the crispy, apple flavoured jicama (yam bean) marinated in a variety of citrus juices.

Marinate the jicama for at least an hour, and you can leave it overnight in the fridge if you like, ready to be made the next day.

When you find a good supplier, jicama is available for a most of the year, and it is a versatile ingredient, useful both raw and cooked. We find it readily available in our local Asian grocery.

Are you looking for more Jicama recipes? Try Jicama or Radish Salad with Mirin-Soy-Wasabi Dressing, Pickled Jicama, Vegetable Sticks with Spices, and Spicy Radish and Jicama Salad with Coconut Milk.

Browse all of our Jicama dishes, and all of our Salads. Or explore our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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Champignons Montagnard | Mushroom Savoy | Mushrooms and Tomatoes from Haute-Savoie in France

A rustic mountain dish from France

Perhaps not a pretty dish, there I said it. This is a rustic mountain dish from Haute Savoie, a region of France. It uses vinegar and lemon to add real tang to the mushrooms which are eaten cold – they go well with some excellent bread. In modern times it is great as part of an appetiser plate or part of a mezze/tapas style meal. The vinegar gives it the characteristics of a quick pickle or chutney, and it will pair well with other small dishes.

Are you after Mushroom dishes? Try Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad, Caramelised King Oyster Mushrooms, and Mushroom Curry.

Perhaps you are looking for French recipes. Try French Cream of Pumpkin Soup, French Tomato Salad, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Browse all of our Mushroom recipes, and all of our French recipes too. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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