Purslane Salads | How to Use Purslane in Salads

Purslane, Portulaca Oleracea, is an edible succulent plant that spreads vigorously. The leaves are crunchy with a tangy lemon-peppery flavour. It pops up in gardens here from December (early Summer) through to Autumn. It is prolific in my garden, so much so that I can pull the whole plants out when young, nip off the root and use the stem and leaves. For larger plants, stems are picked and leaves removed. You should always wash it really well as it is such a ground-hugging plant.

Pick them early in the day for best flavours. If I need to pick them later in the day, I will cover them in water for an hour or so until they perk up and lift their heads. Don’t soak any longer, they turn to mush (being a succulent).

In some parts of the world you can buy Purslane in green groceries but in Australia that is not the case. So you can forage alongside footpaths and in parks and green areas, but always be careful that it has not been sprayed. The best way is to purchase some seed, or gather it from flowering foraged plants, and grow in your own garden. Once you have planted it in your garden you will always have it. It grows best in warm to hot, dry climates.

It is used around the world, from Greece to Mexico, South Africa, India and Turkey. It is a nutritional medicine cabinet in a plant with remarkable amounts of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. It is mainly used raw but is also cooked in some places, such as India.

We’ve put together some of our favourite salads using Purslane to inspire you. Be sure to let us know how you use it and which salads are your favourite. Don’t forget that you can use Purslane to replace other sour or lemony ingredients such as sorrel in salads and other dishes.

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Three Ways to Caramelise Figs

The beauty of caramelised figs is that they can be used in any sweet or savoury application. Serve just with icecream and scattered with toasted slivered almonds, for example. Or pair them with a Wintery rich dark pudding. Serve with yoghurt and drizzle with honey.  Ricotta and marscapone, or a double cream, also make perfect accompaniments. Use them in a pavlova, or make a caramelised fig tart. Caramelise some oranges too and serve on top of a beautiful custard or autumnal trifle. Pair with some sweet French Toast. Bake them in a cake. Top your Tiramisu with them.

For savoury uses, serve in salads, accompany with blue cheese, goat’s cheese, creme fraiche, burrata or feta. Caramelise them with a little balsamic vinegar and use in sandwiches on dark rye bread with goat’s cheese and greens (I like radish greens straight from the garden). Make a salad with roasted sweet potato. Pair them in salads with pistachios, slivered almonds or hazelnuts. Make an almond butter dressing for a salad with rocket, watercress or baby spinach. Use them on bruschetta. They pair well with baked feta.

Here are 3 different ways to caramelise figs.

Similar recipes include Baked Figs with Thyme, Boozy Fits and Roasted Sweet Potato with Figs.

Browse all of our Fig recipes, or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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A New Approach to Vegetarian Stocks – How to Make Really Flavoursome Vegetarian Stocks

My thinking about broths or stocks for soups has changed over the years. Once I regularly made vegetable stock from off-cuts and peelings, supplemented by chopped vegetables to get the right balance. I made loads of light Asian style broths and more layered all-in stocks for soups, risottos, and the like. There were miso based stocks, SE Asian coconut-curried stocks and Indian flavoured stocks. Keeping them in the freezer meant that they were always at hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use these regularly, but more often I use a different technique, and one that does not require additional work. I make the stocks in the dish I am cooking. More often than not this is soup but it can be any dish – risotto, braises, bean bakes, veggie casseroles, sauces, veggie stews, etc.

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How to Keep Tomatoes for the Winter – Purees, Pastes, Freezing, Drying

In Autumn, tomatoes are cheap and great quality, often more flavoursome than Summer tomatoes. Large bags of them can be bought locally and very cheaply. It is a perfect time to freeze tomatoes for use during winter.

In Autumn, tomatoes are cheap and great quality, often more flavoursome than Summer tomatoes.I can buy large bags of them locally and very cheaply. It is a perfect time to freeze tomatoes for use during winter. And in times of trouble, such as these crazy days of 2020, it is useful to have tomatoes that you can use without having to leave the house to shop.

Other Tips you might like are Freezing Ginger and Making Ginger Paste, How to Freeze Garlic, and Making Coriander Paste.

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Quick, Deeply Flavoured Stocks

My thinking about broths or stocks for soups has changed over the years. Once I regularly made vegetable stock from off-cuts and peelings, supplemented by chopped vegetables to get the right balance. I made loads of light Asian style broths and more layered all-in stocks for soups, risottos, and the like. There were miso based stocks, SE Asian coconut-curried stocks and Indian flavoured stocks. Keeping them in the freezer meant that they were always at hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use these regularly, but more often I use a different technique.

By the way, you can see all of our Soup Recipes here.

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English Mashed Potatoes

When I need comfort food, mashed potato it is.  Reminiscent of childhood — large plates of mashed potato, buttery and herby, steaming hot from the pan and piled with other vegetables — it takes me back to days of large gardens, lazy days, and few cares.

As simple as mashed potatoes is to make, some care is needed otherwise a gluey mash or a dry flavourless pile of potatoes is the result. Here are some tips that might help you to find the perfect mash.

We have three different mashed potato recipes for you:

Similar recipes include Crushed Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes and Eggplant, Indian Mashed Potatoes and French Mashed Potatoes.

Browse all of our Potato recipes and some other Mashes. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. See the Retro Recipes series of recipes which contain some of our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Turmeric Chickpeas – Recipe and Experiment

Are you looking for the recipe? Click here to go straight to it.

Turmeric – A Superfood?

Turmeric has hit the super foods category even though it has been a staple in Indian cooking for centuries, perhaps longer. It is interesting when something is taken out of a context and put under the spotlight in a Western context – all sorts of inappropriate uses of the food, herb or spice are suddenly flooding the internet. Turmeric is no exception.

In India, turmeric is always combined with other spices because

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How to Make Bechamel Sauce | White Sauce

Bechamel is a classic French sauce made from butter, flour, and milk, stock or wine, made to compliment the foods they are served with. Sauce Bechamel, a gorgeous creamy sauce, has a number of traditional variations. In addition (and every French person might turn in their grave over this) it is very common in parts of the world (such as Italy and India) to use it in toasted sandwiches with a variety of other fillings. And it is incredibly delicious in this latter day variation.

Some of us who are old enough remember our Mothers making cauliflower drenched in white sauce. We have come a long way since then!

Luckily Bechamel sauce is very easy to make.

Similar recipes include How To Make (and Freeze) Beurre Manie.

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About Miso and the Different Types of Miso

Miso has long been a favourite and we adore Miso Soup. Recently I found a sweet little Japanese bowl that just smiles sweetly and says “let’s make miso soup” to me every time I catch its eye on the kitchen bench. It is very easy to make if you have miso paste. But miso is not limited to making miso soup – there are hundreds of ways that it can be used.

Miso is a Japanese staple made by fermenting soybeans and grains (rice, barley, buckwheat, millet, rye for example) with salt and a particular type of fungus, called Aspergillus oryzae. The result is a thick paste, the colour and flavour of which varies according to many different factors (the exact ingredients, the season, the region, the duration of fermentation and the fermenting vessel, to name a few).

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Dry your Citrus Peel for Flavour Boosts to Spice Powders, Teas, Sauces, Pulses, Salts, Vegetables and Sweet Dishes

Drying citrus peel is easy and can add a huge flavour boost to so many dishes. The dried peel can be used in chunks or strips, or can be powdered and mixed with other ground spices. I add it to my regular chai mix, to herbal/spice infusions, curry powders, soups, sauces, dressings, syrups, salts, breads and other baked goods, sweet and savoury rice dishes and saucy baked dishes.

Peel from any citrus can be dried – oranges, mandarins, limes, tangelos, pomelos and so forth. Use them alone, or mix them in dishes.

Similar recipes include How to Dry Chillies How to Dry Capsicums, and How to Dry Tomatoes.

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