Broad Bean Spread with Roasted Garlic Ricotta

On the day that I picked 3 kg of broad beans, I knew I had to find some additional recipes. We have some wonderful broad bean dishes, but I was looking for something new and different. We had recently made Avocado and Broad Bean Mash (delicious), and this time it was a rift on that recipe, combining a herby and lemony broad bean mix with ricotta flavoured with roasted garlic. What could be better? Slather it on sourdough toast. (You can make it with frozen broad beans too.)

We have made this successfully with cream cheese instead of the ricotta. We’ve been keeping cream cheese handy lately, it is so versatile. We love to pile it onto fresh bread or toast and then top it with pistachio butter. I can’t tell you how good this is.

The recipe for this broad bean and ricotta spread comes from Ottolenghi- we are currently cooking our way through his book Plenty More. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one day 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.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean Dip with Wilted Greens, 31 Dishes to Make with Broad Beans, and Broad Bean Salad with Garlic and Dill.

Browse all of our Broad Bean dishes and our Spreads. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Broad Bean Burgers/Patties

Chickpea flour is really easy to make at home, especially if you have a high speed blender. We toast the chickpeas until they are aromatic – either the small Indian chickpeas or the regular, larger ones – and allow them to cool. Then grind them to a fine powder in a high speed blender. We are fortunate enough to have a “dry” blender jug, designed for powdering dry ingredients, but I hear you can do this just as easily using the normal blender jugs.

We toasted our chickpeas early this morning, pre dawn, and the house smelled toasty and chickpea-y. They cooled while we had breakfast, and then made our flour – a couple of cups worth. The reason we are doing this today is that we were out of the flour and needed a little for today’s recipe. I love to make my own besan – you know what is in it when you grind it yourself.

The fritters come from an Ottolenghi recipe and I have made some adjustments to it. Firstly the egg is replaced with the chickpea flour as we do not cook with eggs. Secondly – we wondered why Ottolenghi was toasting spices and then adding black pepper separately. So we have used our South Indian tricks to toast and grind black peppercorns along with the other spices. We replaced fennel seeds with ajwain as we love ajwain and were out of fennel seeds.

We have also been used to making this recipe with a fabulous Indian tomato chutney to accompany it. Today we made it with a sour cream sauce but I do recommend it with the tomato chutney – I’ve included the recipe below.

And by the way – a little Indian sour and salty mango pickle sets these burgers off beautifully (we prefer to call them patties).

The broad beans were from our stash in the freezer.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – a day 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 (this recipe is from Plenty). 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.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean Dip with Wilted Greens, Broad Beans with Lemon and Coriander, Broad Bean and Cabbage Kofta, and Falafel.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Palak Bhajiya | Spinach Fritters

Spinach and other greens are some of the easiest things to grow in the garden, so we always have them in abundance. One easy way (and delicious way) to use them is to make this great Indian snack, generally eaten during the Monsoon season. Spinach leaves are coated in a chickpea flour batter and deep fried. So put on your rainy weather gear, pick the palak, and make this bhajiya with lots of friends and lots of laughter. In the UK Bhajiya is called Bhajji (confusingly), and this practice is spreading. We could just call them Pakoda and be done with it.

Similar recipes include Pakora – Vegetable Fritters, and Onion Rings.

Please, browse all of our Pakora/ Bhajji, and all of our Snacks. Our Indian dishes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Late Winter dishes.

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Quick Rice Squares and Sizzling Rice Squares in Dipping Sauce

How inventive rice squares are. They are pretty easy to make, then their bland goodness is partnered with some flavoursome soups, broths or sauces. You have to admire cultures that waste little.

If sizzling rice squares are your thing, the rice squares are deep fried before placing in the soup or sauce – they sizzle when they are hot and really sizzle as they hit the liquid. They can also be used in any stir fried dish. We have our Asian brothers and sisters to thank for this easy and filling addition to simple meals.

We love to make these from scratch, but left over cooked rice can be used too. They make such a delicious afternoon snack.

Similar recipes include Congee and Thattai Vadai.

Browse all of our Rice dishes, and our Chinese recipes. Explore all of our Mid Spring dishes too.

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The Huge Vine Leaf Pakora | Angoor Patta Pakora

Fresh grape vine leaves are a rarity, unless you have a vine in your yard, or are surrounded by vineyards, or live in an Italian neighbourhood. If you can, grab some fresh ones (more than you need and freeze the rest). We have quite a number of recipes for them. If you can’t find them locally, you can purchase them preserved in water, salt and citric acid. They are available at most gourmet stores or Greek groceries.

In this recipe, the leaves are blanched, drained, finely shredded and folded into a spiced chickpea flour batter. The mixture is then poured into a sauté pan and shallow-fried into a large round cake that is golden brown, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is like making one pakora from the batter. You could of course, make individual pakoras the usual way.

This recipe is adapted from Lord Krishna’s Kitchen, a beautiful book full of Vedic cooking.

Similar recipes include Sizzling Rice Squares, Eggplant and Kale Pakora, Malabar Spinach Pakora, and Crispy Battered Onion Rings.

Browse all of our Vine Leaf recipes and all of our Pakoras. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Char Grilled Vine Leaves Stuffed with Goat’s Cheese and Pinenuts

There is so much to celebrate in Spring, so many spring things that it is hard to keep up with them. One such abundant item in Spring is Grapevine Leaves. Of course, you think of Dolmades, but there are also other ways to enjoy this green taste of spring. For example, Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves (delicious) and Grapevine Leaf Pecorino Parcels. Then there are rice mixtures, baked in vine leaves, and, of course, feta or goat’s cheese wrapped in vine leaves.

This recipe also uses goat’s cheese – I love a goat’s milk feta too – which is mixed with herbs, pinenuts and preserved lemon, and wraps the mixture in vine leaves before grilling. My preference is to make these when the BBQ is lit, perhaps to roast red peppers, and we make them as a snack with a squeeze of lemon juice. Grab your goat’s milk feta from your local Middle Eastern shop.

If you are using fresh vine leaves, the leaves from a fruiting grape vine are softer then those of an ornamental grape vine. I have used the ornamental vine leaves, and they are great, particularly for baking, but fruiting vines are better for stuffing and wrapping.

Do you have mixture left over? No worries, it is great on crusty bread or crackers.

Browse all of our Grapevine Leaf recipes, our Snacks, and all of our Greek dishes. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Grilled Goat’s Milk Feta Wrapped in Vine Leaves

There is so much to celebrate in Spring, so many Spring things that it is hard to keep up with them. One such abundant item in Spring is Grapevine Leaves. Of course you think of Dolmades, but there are also other ways to enjoy this green taste of spring. For example, Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves (delicious) and Grapevine Leaf Pecorino Parcels.

This recipe uses goat’s cheese – I love a goat’s milk feta especially – and wraps it in vine leaves before grilling. My preference is to make these when the BBQ is lit, perhaps to roast red peppers, and we make them as a snack with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Left over filling is wonderful in toasted sandwiches with tomatoes, or spread on crusty bread or crackers. Top the spread with thin slices of cucumber or tomatoes.

Similar recipes include Vine Leaves Stuffed with Goats Cheese and Pine Nuts.

Browse all of our Grapevine Leaf recipes, our Snacks, and all of our Greek dishes. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Deep Fried Potato and Carrot Strings with Chilli Powder and Lemon | An Indian Snack

Once upon a time, it is hardly believable now, we didn’t eat much fried food. Falling in love with Indian food changed that, as their snacks and street foods are over the top delicious. Not all are deep fried, of course, but there are a fair number that are.

This is a simple dish – it just takes time to fry the strings of potato and carrot in batches. It is moreish and you may have to make more than you anticipated. It makes a great afternoon snack with a cuppa, or a late night supper. But note that the vegetable strings need to soak for 30 mins before cooking.

Similar dishes include Malabar Spinach PakoraMadhur Vadai, and Crispy Onion Rings.

Browse all of our Indian Snacks and all of our Potato and Carrot dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Bhindi Bhaji | Stir Fried Okra

This recipe for Okra is another simple, stir fried one that combines the okra with cumin and green chillies for a great afternoon snack, or as a side dish for a larger meal.

It is an easy recipe, one that you can cook in under 30 mins, perhaps under 20 if you are organised. These are the best recipe, don’t you agree? I know you will enjoy this one. Wonderful flavours.

Are you after other Okra dishes? Try Sri Lankan Okra Curry, Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seeds, and Spicy Dried Okra.

Browse all of our other Okra recipes, and explore our Indian dishes. Or take some time to explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Green Tahini Dressing

Cauliflowers, roasted whole, have become a fashionable item for sometime – perhaps you might say it is going out of fashion, along with cauliflower steaks. But riced cauliflower still makes a regular appearance and I am glad about that – late onto the bandwagon as usual, I tried it for the first time recently and it is quite amazing.

So it is a surprise that Ottolenghi has a roasted whole cauliflower recipe in his new book Simple. And simple it is – par boiled then roasted with butter and oil before serving with a green tahini sauce. Elements of Ottolenghi, without all the hoohaa of his other books.

In a way, though, it is shockingly simple. It almost doesn’t feel quite right, doesn’t feel quite  like Ottolenghi. Even the style of the book has changed – the texture is different (different papers used), the layout is different. I am in 2 minds about the style changes – I wanted it to have all the lux of over-the-top Ottolenghi cookbooks, but with simpler recipes.

The book defines simple in 6 different ways (the first letters of which spell out SIMPLE), and each recipe is labelled to indicate which of these various simplicities it belongs to. For me, the most important simplicity is S ie Short on Time. In my household, somewhere between 6 and 8 dishes are made daily, so spending a minimum of 1 hour on an Ottolenghi dish does not make efficiency sense, even though we might adore the dish. HOWEVER, in defence of Ottolenghi’s other books, they contain recipes that can be a whole meal. That is not the case in Simple. TBH, you’d have to make 2 or 3 dishes to make a whole meal from Simple, or pair one dish with other plates of food.

Another first impression is that, reading through Simple, many of the recipes feel like half-recipes. That is not a criticism! It is a comment on the way he layers textures and flavours in his other books, and thus the simplicity of this book shocks! For example, take Whole Roasted Cauli. I might have expected Roasted Cauli, pureed, with cooked and toasted chickpeas, a tahini dressing and herb oil topped with baby falafel with a sumac dust. No, wait! That actually sounds great! (makes note to self). But here in Simple, we have only the cauliflower with a tahini dressing. It does make the recipes very accessible for weeknight cooking. And, for all its simplicity, this dish is a cracker!

Again, the comments on simplicity are not a criticism, it is an emotional response. We all have these when confronted with change. During my project of cooking Plenty More I often lamented the complexity (especially of time) and hankered after some Elizabeth David recipes. I have my wish now, although perhaps the style of Simple is a little like Elizabeth David on a small dose of steroids. She can specify recipes in 2 or 3 lines. Ottolenghi still takes a page or 2 for each dish.

Truthfully, I can’t wait to dive into this book and get to know it as intimately as I know the others.

“I like to serve this in the centre of the table, for people to share with drinks at the start of a meal. We break the cauliflower apart with our hands, dip the individual florets and crisp green leaves into the sauce and sprinkle with salt.”

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 through Plenty More (nearly finished), 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.

Similar recipes include A Plate of Cauliflower, Cauliflower Roasted in Olive Oil, and Cauliflower Roasted with Mustard Seeds and Curry Leaves.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. As we cook more, you will find all of our dishes from Simple here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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