Apple and Celery Creamy Yoghurt Salad

Yoghurt is used in salads all over the world, except, it seems, in cuisines such as English based countries. Let’s remedy that by mixing yoghurt and cream (yum!) and using it to dress apples and celery. It is delicious.

Add some fresh walnuts if you wish. They go really well with celery and apples.

Similar dishes include Bondhi Yoghurt Salad, Celery Yoghurt Salad, and Cucumber Yoghurt Salad.

Browse all of our Salads and all of our Yoghurt dishes. Our Apple recipes are here and Celery dishes here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Apple and Celery Creamy Yoghurt Salad”

Cucumber and Tomato Raita with Lemon-Chilli Paste

Picture a Tunisian grandmother, a master at cooking kofta, making them with Ottolenghi. This scene from his Mediterranean series is a classic. She gets fully ticked off with his faffing around, the time he takes, the number of ingredients he uses. She sits on a stool in the corner, rolling her eyes and muttering under her breath. Ah, Grandma, we know, we KNOW.

It must have been a trial for Ottolenghi to bring out Simple, his latest book. Recipes pared down to their bare essentials. No more layerings of flavour upon flavour upon flavour. No more dishes that can be a meal in themselves. HE must have been the one rolling his eyes and huffing and puffing as testers and editors stripped yet another ingredient from a dish.

I am in 2 minds about Simple. Yes, there is a level of difficulty in his other books, and not all of those recipes are for typical week night cooking. But there is something in the Simple recipes that I miss. An undefinable something. It is as though every recipe in his other books stretches us in the kitchen somehow. A new ingredient, a new technique, a new way of cooking, a new combination of ingredients. Not so Simple. Some dishes are quite ordinary by comparison, albeit delicious.

Still, they are as visually pleasing as the dishes from his other books, and a delight in their own way (just a different way to the Ottolenghi we have been used to). This raita, a riff on an Indian dish, is quite good. I’ve said before that Ottolenghi does not yet understand Indian food very well – perhaps he doesn’t care about that. He has been known to use Indian ingredients in ways that don’t showcase them to their best. But in this dish, although not typically Indian, it is a pretty jolly good plate of food.  Love the inclusion of preserved lemon in the chilli paste which is layered on top of the raita. Brilliant.

Raita is traditionally served with an Indian meal as a salad and as a cooling agent, contrasting well with the spiciness of the rest of the meal.  Leave off the chilli paste if you want to serve it this way. But raita is very versatile. It is lovely as a dip, gorgeous with some warm pitta, and excellent spooned on top of spiced rice.

You can find the original recipe for this dish here.

Similar dishes include Pomegranate Raita, Pomelo Raita, and Carrot Raita.

Browse all of our Raita recipes. Our dishes from Simple are here, and all of our Ottolenghi recipes are here. You might like to check out our Indian dishes and our Indian Essentials. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

Continue reading “Cucumber and Tomato Raita with Lemon-Chilli Paste”

Bean Curd (Tofu) and Mushrooms with Vegetables

I have mentioned my ancient Chinese cookbook before, the one direct from the 1970’s, bright orange cover, published by Sunset, and absolutely falling apart now. It is held together with a bulldog clip. It is still available online, I see – leftover copies and second hand ones.  It is not surprising, the recipes are great. Mostly non-veg, but with enough veg recipes for me to still want to keep it on my bookshelves – at least until I have cooked every one of the veg dishes.

Today’s dish is simple but delicious. Tofu in a mushroom sauce with either broccoli, beans or carrots. Delicious. I have replaced oyster sauce with miso – you might like to use a mushroom based vegetarian oyster sauce if you prefer.

Similar recipes include Broccoli and Chickpeas with Orange Butter Sauce, Chinese Cold Cucumber, Green Beans with Garlic and Sesame, and Sizzling Rice Squares.

Browse all of our Tofu dishes and all of our Chinese fare. Have a look at the recipes we have made from the cookbook Chinese Cooking. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Bean Curd (Tofu) and Mushrooms with Vegetables”

Easy Summery Weekend Breakfast and Brunch Dishes

Think outside the box for Breakfast, especially in Summer.

Prepare your breakfast dishes, make a large pot of coffee, set the table on the verandah, deck, or under the grapevines, take the newspaper or a book, and enjoy a leisurely Summer breakfast.

Continue reading “Easy Summery Weekend Breakfast and Brunch Dishes”

Cucumber Raita

Amongst non-Indians, Cucumber Raita must be the most well known accompaniment to Indian meals. It is not a surprise, really. It is a tasty and cooling dish that easily cuts through the heat of Indian food. Because of it’s popularity, the wealth of different Raita and Pachadis (Sth India’s version of the raita) sadly do not feature in restaurants.

In Summer, in this 42C heat of recent days, even we reach for this cucumber cooling goodness. I hope you enjoy it.

Similar recipes include Cucumber and Tomato Raita with Lemon-Chilli Paste, Cucumber Pachadi with Coconut, Spinach Pachadi, and Carrot Sambol.

Browse all of our Pachadi and Raita. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Mid Summer collection of recipes.

Continue reading “Cucumber Raita”

Sweet Potatoes and Deep Fried Tofu in Coconut Miso Broth with Noodles

Oh deep fried tofu! Sssshh, don’t tell tofu-haters how good deep fried tofu is! I think we should keep it to ourselves. Deep frying changes the soft mushy texture of tofu to a crispy outer skin with a pillow soft inner. If you are drooling already, have a look at this deep fried tofu with a peanut sauce. Sensational.

This recipe takes some deep fried tofu and cooks it with sweet potatoes in a coconut green curry broth, and then serves it with noodles and coriander leaves. It is typically S. E. Asian, like the curries of Thailand and Malaysia. I also make it as one of my Miso Soup options, adding a little more broth to the ingredients. Miso Soup with Sweet Potato, Tofu and Noodles.

If you are not familiar with using miso, read about the different types.

Similar recipes include Noodles with Spring Onions and Edamame, Chinese Bean Curd with Mushrooms and Vegetables, Lemak Style Vegetables, and Black Pepper Tofu.

Recipes with Rice Vermicelli Noodles include Green Mango and Vermicelli Salad. Or read about other Asian Noodles.

Browse all of our Tofu recipes and all of our Sweet Potato dishes. Our S. E. Asian dishes are here. Or explore our Late Winter set of recipes.

Continue reading “Sweet Potatoes and Deep Fried Tofu in Coconut Miso Broth with Noodles”

Cheesy Baked Aubergines with Saucy Tomatoes

Winter brings that longing for hot, oven baked dishes that are filling and so comforting on a chilly night as the wind whistles around the house. The oven warms the kitchen and living room, and the aromas make everyone hungry (even the neighbours). How I love baked dishes in the cold cold days. I am warm and so is the kitchen, and I potter around doing this and that in my favourite room. The results are always delicious.

This is another baked eggplant dish, and it is layered with cheese and a tomato sauce. It’s great! Wintery and lovely – another quick and simple cold weather dish.

This recipe first makes a tomato sauce, and then layers golden eggplant slices with the sauce and cheese, before baking it until bubbling and browned. What more do you need in cold Winter weather? Serve with a salad for lunch, or as part of a larger meal for dinner.

Because it is Winter, tinned tomatoes might be your best option for making the sauce, but this year we’ve had really good quality tomatoes available all through Winter. Another option is to use those tomatoes that you threw into the freezer last Autumn. Also, if you made your own Tomato Pastes or Purees to keep in the freezer for Winter, now is the time to use them in place of the Tomato Puree. You can even make it with one that includes a little chilli! As little as 0.25 cup and up to 1 cup of puree is needed.

Similar dishes include Cheesy Bake of Carrots and Parsnips, Potatoes and Cheddar Gratin, Baked Eggplant Steaks, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, and Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini.

Are you looking for Eggplant recipes? Try Creamy Bake of Carrots and Parsnips, Eggplant and Zucchini Baked with Chickpeas and Harissa Sauce, Baked Eggplant Stuffed with Cheese and Tomatoes, and Cheesey Eggplant Torte.

You might also like to browse all of our Eggplant recipes. And browse Baked recipes. Or take some time to check out our easy Mid-Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Cheesy Baked Aubergines with Saucy Tomatoes”

Beetroot, Yoghurt and Preserved Lemon Relish

How I love Autumn. Small bulbs of beetroot hit the shops with their stalks and leaves on, and are intensely earthy and sweet. Trim the stems and leaves leaving a little of the root if you are going to cook them. But beetroot is also very very good raw. Julienne it, or shave it paper thin and use in salads – you will wonder why you have never done this before.

Today’s salad can be made either way – with wedges of cooked beetroot or slices of paper thin raw beetroot. Either way is delicious! I will leave it to you to decide. Beetroot and yoghurt are a great combination either way!

And by the way, the leaves of the beetroot are delicious too. Saute them in a little olive oil with garlic and caraway seeds, for example, and served with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream.

This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty. The photos today show the salad made with the slices of raw beetroot, but the original recipe chooses cooked beetroot. We have made it both ways, and can recommend both.

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 – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking mainly 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 Beetroot with Black Pepper, Kohlrabi, Beetroot and Celery Leaf Salad, Beetroot and Yoghurt Salad and Dip, and Raw Beetroot and Herb Salad.

Browse our Beetroot Salads, and indeed, all of our Beetroot recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Beetroot, Yoghurt and Preserved Lemon Relish”

Black Olive, Herb and Chilli Pine Nut Cream Cheese

Cream cheese still features in our kitchen, despite its fall from grace. Over-used in the ’80s and ’90s, cooks have relegated it to supermarket shelves. But, thank goodness, really good cream cheese still exists if you look around. It makes very easy, simple but flavoursome dips and spreads, and snack balls.

This spread mixes cream cheese with olives and herbs. Cream cheese is quite bland, so we spice things up by incorporating some chilli toasted pine nuts. It is hardly a recipe, it is that simple. But we share it here anyway.

Use the spread on crackers, on hot toast or crumpets, and with roasted vegetables.

Similar recipes include Quince Molasses and Tahini Spread, Miso and Tahini Sauce, and Yoghurt and Kaffir Lime Leaf Spread.

Browse all of our Cream Cheese dishes and all of our Spreads. Or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

Continue reading “Black Olive, Herb and Chilli Pine Nut Cream Cheese”

Tahini and Yoghurt Sauce and Dressing

This is an awesome dressing for salads – think green salads, or salads of warm vegetables. It is also perfect for hot potato chips, and a great sauce for snacks. Try it with Falafels! Or use as a dip for celery and carrot sticks. It is made in seconds, all you need is a bowl and a fork for whisking.

Are you after similar dressings? Try Minty Yoghurt-Tahini Sauce and Dressing, Celery Yoghurt Salad, Green Tahini Sauce, and Lemony Yoghurt Dressing.

Browse all of our Dressings and all of our Sauces. Or take some time to explore our Mid Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Tahini and Yoghurt Sauce and Dressing”