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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Pearl Barley and Porcini “Risotto” | Pearl Barley and Porcini with Parmesan

Well, I have been known to be quite pedantic about what makes a risotto and what does not. I have this in common with Nigel Slater. It is a constant surprise the lengths some recipes go to, to be called a risotto.

But ok, this recipe is not a real risotto, that is why the quotes are there. But is is a dish with beautiful flavours, cooked with pearl barley which is stirred while it simmers, to cook it slowly. It is beautifully flavoured with red wine, porcini, pecorino, and, would you believe it, currants for a dark musky note and a hint of sweetness.

The amount of liquid needed to soften barley can vary, so stir in more liquid if the specified amount is not quite enough.

Similar recipes include Charred Okra with Spiced Tomato Barley, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Parsley and Barley Salad.

Browse all of our Barley recipes, all of our real Risottos and our Mushroom dishes. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Mysore Rasam | First Method

In the end, rasam is just flavoured water. But as Indian food is the most refined cuisine in terms of the layering of flavours to achieve complexity and exquisite balance, flavoured water is amazing! Hot, spicy, tangy, salty, herbaceous, it hits the palate like a flavour bomb, and stimulates all aspects of digestion. I am a lover of Rasam, and am generally found having multiple servings.

Mysore Rasam is similar to Kottu (Plain) Rasam, in that it includes toor dal to give the rasam a beautiful silky texture. It also uses the water from cooking the dal to round out the flavours. It is rather like Plain Dal Rasam with different spices. And in this recipe, rasam powder is not used, rather the spices are sauteed and ground while the toor dal cooks.

In order to cook the toor dal while I potter around the house and garden doing other things, I have a little trick that I will share with you. I don’t have a pressure cooker, so first thing in the morning I rinse the dal and pop it into a saucepan with ample water. Then it is placed on the stovetop on the lowest heat available. Covered, I know that the dal will be perfectly cooked in 1 hour without me thinking about it. I do check the water level about half way through, but other than that, I can get on with the day without having to watch the pot. Perfectly cooked dal will be ready to make rasam for lunch. Or pop it on when you first get home from work or picking the kids up from school, and it will be easy to make rasam for dinner.

You might also be interested in reading about the difference between Rasam and Sambar.

Similar recipes include Tomato Rasam, Tomato Lemon Rasam, and Garlic Rasam.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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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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Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans | Israeli Couscous Pilaf with Broad Beans

Mograbieh is a large couscous/pasta in the shape of pearls. Similar products are known by various names – Ptitim, Israeli Couscous, Jerusalem Couscous, Pearl Couscous, Ben-Gurion rice, Maftoul, Lebanese Couscous, Giant Couscous, and more. It is also similar to the Kabyle Abazine and the Sardinian Fregula.

Although they can be used interchangeably, technically speaking, there are some differences between the products of different countries. Some are an extruded pasta, similar to Italian orzo, made with semolina and flour which is toasted to dry. This one has a nuttier flavour than normal couscous. One type is Ptitim, or Israeli Couscous, is a type of toasted pasta and shaped either like rice-grains or little balls and was developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce.

Others, like Mograbieh (Lebanese) and Maftoul (Palestinian), are rolled and dried large couscous pearls about the size of tapioca pearls, and when cooked they have a chewy buttery flavour and are larger than Israeli Couscous. These starchy pasta balls swell and become soft and chewy when cooked and are fantastic at absorbing the flavours of the dish they are cooked in.

Sadly, the globalisation of food has meant that differences get smoothed over, and names get mixed, or all the variations merge into one product. Locally, for a long time I was only able to find the extruded pasta type, but more recently a local Afghan shop stocks the best Mograbieh. The pics show the extruded type – I will update when I make this dish again.

For this recipe, a celebration of Spring, use any of these types, cook it with saffron and add broad beans and chilli. You can even use Italian orzo pasta or risoni if you wish.

Are you perhaps after Broad Bean recipes? Try French Braised Lettuce, Peas and Broad Beans, Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Tawa Broad Beans.

Also try our Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing.

You might like to browse our Middle Eastern recipes, our Israeli recipes and our Orzo recipes. Enjoy all of our Late Spring recipes here.

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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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Sri Lankan Ghee Rice with Pandanus | Buttered Rice

Ghee rice is such a celebratory dish, rich in flavour and great to accompany light spicy dishes. This rice is flavoured with pandan leaves and curry leaves, adding sultanas to highlight the sweet floral notes of the pandan. It is exotic and luxurious, and a delight at the table.

I was never much bothered with washing and soaking rice, but basmati deserves this attention. I love the aged basmati rice with its long beautiful grains, and soaking definitely adds to the finished product. Please make the time to soak the rice while you chop the onion and get the other ingredients ready.

Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Coconut Curd Rice, Sri Lankan Yellow Rice, and Sakkarai Pongal. Also try Sri Lankan Pol Roti.

This rice dish adds to our collection of mixed rice dishes. You can explore them all here. It is a Sri Lankan dish, and you might like to browse our other Sri Lankan recipes here. Or perhaps have a look at our Indian recipes too. Our Late Spring recipes are here.

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Beetroot Risotto

Beetroot Risotto is something very special. Bright ruby red, luscious, creamy, just perfect with a glass of wine and a salad. Enjoy!

We have been making this risotto since 1999 – that’s such a long time. Risottos for us are a wonderful Friday night meal if we are eating and relaxing at home. The week is done, we can take our time, chat, listen to music, drink a little wine if we are in the mood.

I love to make this when I can find beetroot straight out of my garden. The first time I made it, all those years ago, was with fresh beetroot straight from an organic Clare Valley vegetable garden. The difference in taste to store-bought beetroot is amazing. Right now, we try to keep our own beetroot growing in our garden.

The risotto is such an beautiful colour. Serve on white or green plates for maximum effect.

If this is the first time that you are making risotto, read Risotto Basics 101 first. If this is the first time you are roasting beetroot, have a look here.

Similar recipes include Parsnip Risotto, Asparagus Risotto, Beetroot and Pinot Risotto, and Risotto with Mushrooms.

You might like our other Beetroot recipes or our other Risotto recipes. Check out our easy Late Spring recipes here.

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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Kiribath | Sri Lankan Coconut Rice

A celebration dish from Sri Lanka

Tropical countries around the globe have their own versions of coconut rice. This one is from Sri Lanka, and is different to our other Coconut Rice dishes in that the rice is allowed to over-cook and become very soft and tender. It can be served hot, but if allowed to cool it solidifies and can be cut into diamond shapes.

Sri Lanka has a beautiful red rice which is often used to make this dish. It is nutty in taste, but is much softer than brown rice. This coconut rice is an auspicious dish in Sri Lanka, being made on every important day, festivals, celebrations and on the first day of each month to mark to symbolise luck and happiness.

Similar dishes include Sri Lankan Ghee Rice, Yellow Rice with Yoghurt, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, and South Indian Coconut Rice.

Have a look at our other Coconut Rice dishes, and explore our Sri Lankan dishes. All of our Rice Recipes are here. Or simply browse our Late Spring recipes.

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White Bean Puree with Harissa and Rosemary

White beans make the best purees – smooth, thick and shiny. There is no excuse to not have some on hand, ready to serve with bread, as a dip, over steamed or roasted vegetables, with salads, or even with pasta.

This puree is a slooow cooked one. Place it on your lowest flame and simmer slowly for up to 3 hours to get the softest beans that have imbued the flavours of the harissa. Divine! Or, cook the beans in the slow cooker overnight, and finish on the stove until meltingly soft.

Similar recipes include White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, and Easy White Bean Salad.

Or browse all of our White Bean recipes (Haricot Beans or Cannellini Beans), and all of our Purees. Our Dips are here. Or explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Three Cheese Risotto

Risotto is such a comfort dish, packed with flavour. For us it is a Wintery night time dish that we love to eat in relaxed style with the fire going and the talk about family and life.

This risotto is creamy and beautiful, with heaps of cheese including some Gorgonzola. You know how you love that Four Cheese Pizza? You will love this Three Cheese Risotto. It really is white on white on white on white  on white (onion, rice, milk, cheese, plate).

One thing that is a must read if you are cooking your first few risottos. How to Cook Risotto – it also explains which rices to use for the best results in making risotto.

Are you looking for other Risotto recipes? Try Beetroot RisottoRisotto with Mushrooms, Asparagus Risotto with Basil, and Caramelised Roasted Pumpkin Risotto.

Or are you after Cheesey dishes? Try Cheese and Eggplant Torte, Mascarpone and Gorgonzola Torte, and Melted Cheesey Toast on the BBQ.

You can browse all of our Risottos, or all of our Italian dishes. Or explore all of our Late Autumn dishes.

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Sri Lankan Yellow Rice With Yoghurt | Aromatic Sri Lankan Turmeric Curd Rice

Turmeric Rice, Sri Lankan style

Off to Sri Lanka today for a popular Sri Lankan rice dish, rich in flavour, aromatic and colourful on the table. There is a secret to this dish – chopped coriander and natural yoghurt is added to the rice just before serving.

Sri Lankan food is dominated by spices, and while many dishes are similar to those in neighbouring countries, especially South India, their use of spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit is distinctive and makes their cuisines unique.

I love rice and the endless varieties of Indian and associated rice dishes. Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Ghee Rice, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, Spicy Eggplant Rice, and  Turmeric Rice.

You can browse all of our Rice dishes and our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or you might explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Daikon Dal | Moolangi Tovve

This delicious dish using daikon radish is from Karnataka in South India. Tovve is a mild lentil dish cooked with ghee in a tamarind based gravy (or lemon juice is used) with a simple spice combination. It is similar to dal or rasam (depending how thick the dish is made). Tovve is a versatile recipe and can be prepared with many kinds of dal and vegetables.

Similar dishes include Daikon Radish and Pumpkin Curry, and Daikon Salad.

Also try Kancha Mung Dal, Mung Dal with Ghee and Spices, and Mung Dal with Coconut Milk.

You can browse all of our Radish recipes and all of our Dals. Our Indian dishes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Late Winter dishes.

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Parsnip Risotto with Rosemary

Parsnips – perhaps Winter’s best vegetable. So sweet, and they keep their flavours whether boiled, steamed or roasted. They take to many different pairings and treatments. Today, a risotto, and the recipe comes from the multi-continented Ilva, the great food photographer and the author of a beautiful blog that sadly no longer exists, Lucullian Delights.

I am very grateful that, before Ilva closed her blog, she allowed me to save my favourite recipes. I like to think that some of her recipes will live on now. This is one of her wonderful risotto dishes – subtle, divine. I have made a few minor adjustments to suit our tastes and availability of ingredients.

I love the use of white pepper in subtle dishes (Asian foods, cauliflower dishes, with parsnips, for example). In this recipe I have layered pepper flavours by using both white and black pepper.

If this is the first time that you are making risotto, read Risotto Basics 101.

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

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

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Poha Chaat

Poha Chat is an Indian spicy snack and street food loved by many. Poha is rice that has been steamed and flattened, and it comes in various sizes. For this recipe, thick poha will be needed. If using thinner poha, don’t soak for long in water – thin poha particularly will need a sprinkle of water only.

Similar recipes include Borlotti Bean Chaat, and Channa Chaat.

Other Poha dishes include Kanda Poha, Kolacha Poha, and Sweet and Crunchy Poha.

Browse all of our Poha recipes and our Chat dishes. Our Indian recipes are here, and Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

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