Roasted Plum Icecream

Years ago we used to have home made icecream all the time in Summer, but since our house became vegetarian, we haven’t been able to get our heads around making icecream without an egg based custard. So our making and eating of icecream diminished considerably. Shop bought icecream never tasted good – too fatty rather than creamy – and we assumed that home made without a custard base would be icy.

Well, it is different. There, I have said it. But it is also good. It is more like creamy-ice rather than ice-cream. But if you make the flavours intense, it is wonderful. Our strawberry icecream seemed to improve with time, rather than be depleted by it, as most icecream instructions will tell you. But I do have to say that it does always taste best on the day that it is made.

It is Plum season here and our friend has a huge tree. We have been roasting them a lot (we adore roasted summer fruits). Today we took a dozen roasted plums and made icecream. Delicious. I will say that this icecream can be a little hard (common with this eggless icecream), so take it out of the freezer in plenty of time, so it can soften enough to serve.

Similar recipes include Strawberry Icecream with Black Pepper.

Browse all of our Icecream recipes and our Desserts. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Thick Thick Yoghurt with Zaatar, Walnuts and Olive Oil | Labneh with Walnuts and Zaatar

While others may call drained yoghurt as Labneh, I have always made it myself and began calling it Thick Thick Yoghurt all those years ago, before I had ever heard of Labneh and before labneh became trendy.

It is a versatile product that can be used in a multitude of savoury and sweet ways. Salt it and add spices to use as a spread, dip, dressing or filling. Serve with wedges of toasted pita bread. Sweeten it a little (or not) and use it with fruits, jam, on scones, on toast and jam and it is a great alternative to cream.

Countries from India through the Middle East and into the Mediterranean make and use thick thick yoghurt. This dish is one that uses golpar, that tangy, slightly tart powder made from Persian hogweed. Speaking in terms of traditional medicine, the use of golpar with yoghurt counteracts the cold property of yoghurt. You can buy it from Middle Eastern, Afghan and some Asian groceries. You can substitute some grated lemon rind – it is a different flavour but will still be very very good.

Use this as a mezze dish, a dip, with tomatoes and cucumbers (and radishes), a spread in a sandwich or wrap, slavered over baked vegetables, in place of sour cream.

To get you started, this is how you make Thick Thick Yoghurt. And read more about Golpar.

Similar dishes include Ways to Use Thick Thick Yoghurt, Salty, Garlicky Thick Thick Yoghurt, and Blueberry Shrikand.

Browse all Thick Thick Yoghurt dishes and our Dips and Spreads. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Peas with Purslane (or Sorrel) and Mustard

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. It is a Pea dish today.

There is an ode to peas (especially frozen peas) in the Guardian as it introduces this dish from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. It goes something like this (with minor alterations):

“Is there a safer bet in the kitchen than that there will be a bag of peas in the freezer? Peas are unlikely to surprise or shock in any way, but they are delightfully reassuring. They will somehow always be there, and always taste as they have and should.

Sure, freshly podded peas have about them a certain romance  – they have, for example, that beautiful texture when thrown raw into a crunchy spring salad. But who has access to fresh peas that haven’t been sitting for far too long on the green grocer’s shelves? No wonder, frozen peas sit comfortably in almost all home freezers.

Peas are incredibly relaxed about whom they sit next to at dinner. Salty and tangy feta or parmesan, creamy yoghurt, nutty potatoes, sweet fresh mint, peppery watercress or bitter leaves: sweet peas will always bring out the best in their companion. Needing little more than a minute’s blanching to cook, followed by a brief drenching in cold water, peas are low-maintenance and offer instant gratification. They are hugely versatile in use, as good at being mashed, pureed, lightly stewed or blitzed as they are left whole and mixed through a salad or pasta, stirred through a risotto, or gently stuffed inside artichoke hearts ready for braising.”

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Bhindi Raita | Crispy Fried Okra in Yoghurt

Yoghurt is such an important part of the diet in many parts of India, and it is often a part of every lunch and dinner meal. Sometimes served as is, and often mixed with a vegetable, there are many ways to ensure yoghurt, spices and vegetables have an increased presence in the daily diet.

This recipe is terrific, with the combination of textures and flavours. It can be served as both a raita (yoghurt dish) or as a side dish – okra in a yoghurt sauce.

This dish is from the beautiful Yamuna Devi’s Lord Krishna’s Kitchen, a real bible of Indian dishes. She suggests that this dish is served with Spiced Potato and Pea Samosas with Sweet and Sour Tamarind Sauce, for a light lunch or snack, and with Toor Dal Kitchari with Mixed Vegetables for a more substantial meal. Delicious!

Are you after more Okra dishes? Try Spicy Dried Okra, Malaysian Lemak-Style Vegetables, and Moru Sambar with Okra.

Or do you want to try more Yamuna Devi recipes? Try Spicy Eggplant Rice, Golden Turmeric Rice, and Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread.

We have more Raita recipes. Try Carrot Raita, Spinach Raita, and Three Different Raitas.

Or browse all of our Okra dishes, all Raitas and all of Yamuna Devi dishes. All of our Indian dishes are here. Or simply explore our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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Purslane Salad with Burrata

This is a herby salad with the tang of purslane, the bite of spinach, the crunch of nuts and the creaminess of burrata.

I have used Purslane, as we grow it exceptionally well in Summer. Rather than weed out all of this plant, I leave a little patch and water it well. It grows lusciously with long branches lifting up from the soil. It is easy to pick, and more important, easy to clean by rinsing a couple of times. The tart tang of purslane adds a lovely lift to salads. It is very easy to grow, and you may find it occasionally at your green grocers. You can always forage it, it is everywhere, but make sure it IS purslane and that it has not been sprayed.

I have to mention how lucky I am to have a green grocer owned by a Middle Eastern family. They stock the best Dill that I have ever seen. Very thankful. I need to mention that the inspiration for this recipe comes from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More but we evolved the recipe over the years to use our common ingredients and make it egg-free. It is like a third cousin twice removed.

Similar recipes include Raw Beetroot and Herb Salad and Mustardy Peas with Purslane.

Browse all of our Purslane dishes, and all of our Salads. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad or Dip

The last of this crop of beetroot was picked to make a Chilled Beetroot Soup and a Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad/Dip. It is a heatwave right now, as I write this post – we are in Day 3 of a 4 Day heatwave with temperatures over 40C. Thankfully, the mornings are glorious, so there is time to do a little gardening and get some cold dishes ready for the day.

Can I tell you that I have fallen in love with beetroot this year? Ok, I have eaten it and cooked with it before, but beetroot straight from my garden has made me a lover of this vegetable. You can tell by the number of beet recipes posted from 2006 to mid 2016 (5), and after that date (25 published or scheduled).

Let me share some of those recipes with you. Try an Indian sautéed Beetroot Curry, another Chilled Beetroot Soup, and a Beetroot Risotto.

We have some other dips perfect for hot weather: the green coriander based Zhug, Moroccan Carrot Dip and Tomato and Chilli Jam.

Yoghurt makes a great base for yoghurt salads that can often also be used as dips. For example: Yoghurt and Cucumber, Yoghurt and Green Peppers, and Yoghurt Tahina Dip.

Please browse all of our Yoghurt dishes, all of our Dips, our Salads, and all of our Beetroot recipes. or simply find some time to explore our Mid Summer Recipes.

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Avocado and Black Bean Salad with Green Tomatoes

Black Beans are so good and great in Summer as they add a little more substance for cooler days without feeling heavy and too wintery. If you haven’t used them before, they are a good stock item in your pantry. We are not keen on too many cans in our pantry, but black beans have joined the tomatoes, coconut milk and chickpeas (for emergencies).

Here we pair black beans with avocado and feta for a creamy salad that zings with lime juice.

We also add green tomatoes. What??, I hear you ask. Green tomatoes are a magnificent slightly sour and very crunchy ingredient ideal for salads, especially those with Mexican or South East Asian overtones. They are used extensively in parts of the world but not much in the English-speaking world. You may have seen the film Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (or not), but the use of green tomatoes extends far beyond being crumbed and fried (as delicious as they are). Try them in Indian dishes too, as a replacement for, or along side, the usual souring agent in the dish (tamarind, lime or lemon juice, dried pomegranate seeds, kokum, golpar, sour grapes, verjuice, etc). There are parts of the world that use sour to great effect in their cuisines – Persia and India come to mind.

I hope you enjoy this salad, it is very very good.

You might enjoy some other Black Bean recipes. Have a look at Turtle Bean Soup, and Black Bean and Cabbage Salad with Orange Dressing.

Try some Bittman SaladsCucumber and Avocado Salad with Asian Dressing, Wombok and Radish Salad with Peanut Dressing and Artichoke Hearts with Feta Salad.

All of our Black Bean recipes are here, and our Avocado Recipes here. Salads are all here (there are a LOT), and Bittman Salads here. Or take some time to explore our easy Late Summer Recipes.

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Celery Salad with Sour Grapes and Burrata

They say that Burrata is the best thing since sliced bread. And certainly it is very very good. A delicious mozzarella shell filled with thick cream. Has your mind gone to heaven? Indeed. It is simply the dreamiest. Creamy, luscious – burrata is Italian for butter, if that gives you any clues on how beautiful it can be.

Burrata is quite difficult to find here, in our little outback town of Adelaide. Not so in other cities, where it perches on the shelves of every supermarket. I had to search hard to find it within reasonable driving distance of my home. It took some time – distributors and cheese makers were not willing to help – I contacted several – but persistence paid and I found a reliable source not far from my work. That is Adelaide for you.

One of the great things about Burrata is that it is perfect for replacing coddled or poached eggs in salads. Thus for those who, like me, avoid cooking with eggs, the creaminess of the interior with the soft mozzarella coating brings that something that soft cooked eggs give to salads and baked dishes.

Celery salads are so rare, but I love one particular recipe, it is my favourite use of celery. I have modified it here to include the burrata. I hope you enjoy it. The origin is an Ottolenghi salad but the recipe keeps morphing into a dish that is appearing more and more often on our table.

Oh, and the other ingredient that is introduced in this salad, is Sour Grapes. Yes, I know, you all know those who are always full of sour grapes. But, it is also an exciting ingredient. Preserved sour grapes can be found in jars in Middle Eastern and Afghani groceries. They taste sour and briney, and a little like capers and caper berries. They are great in salads and in dishes where a sour taste is called for to balance other flavours. Pick some up today (or use capers in place of the grapes).

Similar recipes include Purslane Salad with Herbs and Burrata, Celery Yoghurt Salad, Nashi Pear and Celery Salad, and some Simple Celery Salads.

Browse our Celery Salads and all of our Celery dishes. Our Burrata dishes are here.  Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Sticky Kaffir and Tamarind Tofu

Sadly, many people believe tofu is boring. Perhaps recipes like this one are secret, locked away from view unless you have the password or know the secret phrase to say. An easy dish to make, the tofu is marinated in tamarind, kaffir leaf and lemongrass with sweet soy sauce for half an hour, and then sauteed until it forms a crust on the outside. The marinade is reduced to a sticky sauce which coats the seared tofu.

Similar recipes include Black Pepper Tofu, Baked Marinated Tofu, and Deep Fried Tofu with Peanut Sauce.

Browse all of our Tofu recipes and all of our Asian dishes. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Watermelon Salad with Mint and Olives

Well, watermelon has this household hooked in the Summer hot weather – that luscious pink colour going looking so good in the heat, and the juices running down onto one’s plate (or down one’s chin). Eaten with a sucking noise, to extract every piece of juice, it cools and supplies a sugar energy boost at the same time.

It is so good to slice it, take it outside and eat with ones hands, the rind still on, gnawing at it to get the last of the pink bits. Or cut into cubes, more delicately eaten with a fork, popping ice-cold cubes into our mouths with regular automatic movements of fork to cube to mouth and back again.

Today we mix it with feta, such a good mix, some onion, mint and olives, for a quick salad. I have some creamy feta from the local Afghan shop, so creamy it can be spread onto flatbread for quick snacks. But today I managed to save some for the salad.

We have a collection of Watermelon Salads for you to explore – we brought together all our favourite salads in one post.

Similar recipes include: Watermelon Juice with Ginger and Mint, Watermelon and Peach Salad with Basil, and Haloumi and Watermelon Salad. All of our Watermelon Salads are here, and all of our other Watermelon recipes are here.

You might like to look at other Feta recipes. Perhaps try Artichoke Hearts and Feta Salad with Tomatoes, Du Puy Lentils with Feta and Tomato, or Rustic Tomato Soup with Feta.

You could browse all of our many Salad recipes. Or take some time to browse our Mid Summer dishes.

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Baked Yoghurt Encrusted with Vine Leaves

Ottolenghi believes that Turkish cuisine is one of the most exciting and accomplished in the world. I would argue that Indian is, but the cuisines between Indian and the Mediterranean definitely come close. Ottolenghi’s Book Plenty contains this unusual savoury cake (perhaps a pie) from the Turkish part of Northern Cyprus (where it is called Kibris Böreği).  A version of this dish is also known in Greece, being made in the Drama Region of Greece’s Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, where it’s known as Asmapita. The name comes from the Turkish word Asma, which means grapevine.

Ottolenghi credits a book Classic Turkish Cooking by Ghillie Basan, so I borrowed the book to browse through. It is a great book if you are looking for Turkish recipes. I recommend it.

The recipe caught our attention because we have a Vine Leaf thing going at the moment, using them in a number of ways. We haven’t made dolmades yet, but they are on the list. Have a look at what we have made so far. There are more to come.

This is a dish where a shallow layer of yoghurt mixed with herbs and thickened with rice flour is baked wrapped in vine leaves! Grape leaves impart their exceptional flavour and aroma to the filling as it bakes. The breadcrumbs and sesame seeds add a crunchy layer to each slice. How very delicious! This recipe comes together in minutes, tastes great, and can be eaten warm or cold. It is an excellent contribution to a table of mezze.

Have I mentioned too, how the grape vine leaves are scented, and the kitchen begins to smell like a grape arbour. As you scald them, they release the fragrance. As I dry them in the sun the outside deck is scented with grape vines. As they bake, they have a lovely woody, grapevine aroma.

Similar recipes include Burghul Dolmas, Grape Vine Leaf Powder, Grilled Pecorino in Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves.

Browse our Turkish dishes and all of our Vine Leaf recipes. All of our Yoghurt dishes are here. Or explore our other Early Summer recipes.

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Baked Marinated Tofu

There is a magnificent Asian grocer near us, their shop is so large it goes on and on. And, well, it has inspired me to play more with tofu. They have every variety from Five Spice Tofu to Deep Fried Tofu, to the hardest firm Tofu to the silkiest Silky Tofu.

For this recipe, I used really firm tofu. It is first marinated then baked for a delightful snack or summery side dish. It is a perfect dish, sticky and dark. Eat with a green mango salad. Or a crunchy, herby, green Asian Style Salad.

You might like to try some other Tofu dishes: Sticky Tamarind and Kaffir Tofu, Peach Salsa with Marinated Tofu; Hou Hod (Deep Fried Tofu with a Sweet Peanut Sauce); and Black Pepper Tofu.

You can browse all of our Tofu recipes here, and our Snack recipes. Or you might like to explore all of our easy Early Summer Recipes.

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Beetroot Salsa with Yoghurt

The first beetroot from the new garden had me looking for a simple yet dynamic way to treat them. This tangy salad has the wonderful flavours of cumin and coriander, and has yoghurt rippled into the salad. Treat it like a salsa, as a side to your main dish or curry. Summery and special, I love this fusion of east and west flavours.

You might also enjoy Simple Beetroot Soup, Slightly Pickled Beetroot Salad with MustardBeetroot Risotto, Beetroot, Orange and Black Olive Salad, Cherry and Hazelnut Salad, and a Warm Carrot and Beetroot Salad with Spices.

Our Beetroot recipes are all here and our Salsas here for you to explore. Or try our easy Early Summer recipes.

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Okra with Cumin and a Yoghurt Sauce

This next recipe in our Okra series combines the okra with cumin seed (or use caraway seed) and other spices, and cooks it in a thickened sauce which glazes the okra. It is then mixed with yoghurt, or the yoghurt is drizzled over the top of the okra. It is Indian in style, but not a traditionally Indian dish.

Okra is available for such a long period of the year, and is reasonably priced in most areas, so it makes sense to include it in your diet. It is rather a healthy food too.

Are you after other Okra dishes? Try Bhindi Raita, Baked Okra with Gingery TomatoSpicy Dried Okra, Crispy Okra, and Plain Kuzhambu with Okra.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, or explore our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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Creamy Potato Cheese Gratin

Normally cheesy gratin dishes would be Winter fare in this house, but it is late Spring as I write, and we have the heating on and three layers of clothes. It is cold and wet. It might be 10 days from Summer but it feels like mid Winter. It HAS to be potatoes and cheese. Plus the oven warms the kitchen nicely.

Are you looking for similar dishes? Try Parmesan Potatoes, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini, and Gratineed Sweet Potatoes.

Other Potato dishes include Saag Aloo.

You can browse all of our Gratin dishes and all of our Potato recipes. Or simply explore all of our Late Summer dishes.

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