Haloumi Pizza with Oven Dried Tomatoes

From the market to the kitchen in Italian style.

Trawling the Farmer’s markets, the result was a full shopping bag topped with some sweet autumn cherry tomatoes, some rapé (rapini), and my favourite organic pizza dough. They came together in a pizza.

Take a look at our other pizzas here and here, and a collection of tomato recipes here and here. Check out our oven dried tomatoes here and here. Find inspiration in our Autumn recipes here and here.

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Tofu, Sesame and Spinach Napoleons | Tofu Stacks with Spinach and Sesame

A simple dish that delivers more than it promises.

This wonderful dish, full of the flavours of Japan without being Japanese, the flavours of SE Asia without being South East Asian, became an instant family success. We made it often, but somehow, as we no longer all live so close together, it has fallen from our menus. When I do make it again, I recall why we loved it so much, and give myself 2 helpings.

The first time this dish was served to the gathering family, all went silent as they ate, tasted, yet could not get the words from their tastebuds to their brain to their mouths. Silent eating, always the mark of a great dish.

It makes a great first course – or a light meal.

You might like to browse our tofu recipes here and here, or Spinach recipes here and here. Find inspiration in our Summer recipes here and here.

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Ven Pongal | Savoury Pongal | South Indian Kitchari

A dish loved throughout South India.

I have been involved in one of the most joyous activities for someone who loves cooking and loves Indian food – testing and proofing Indian Festival recipes for a publication soon to be released.. The publication will outline 15 Indian festivals and associated activities, including traditional foods that are cooked by families during the festival. The publications are aimed at Western audiences, and for media, ideal for when they want more information about Indian traditions. It will also be perfect for those who have lost touch with or are curious about the traditions of India and want more information.

I was involved in testing a number of dishes, including this one which did not make the final cut. Never mind, it is your gain! I hope to bring you the other dishes once the publication is released.

Really, there is nothing like Ven Pongal with hot sambar and some coconut chutney on the side. Add a cup of hot coffee and life is perfect.

There are all sorts of Rice+Mung Dal dishes in India. Try Bisibelebhath, Parsi Kitchari (a very simple kitchari) and Sakkarai Pongal.

Are you looking for Indian Rice recipes? Try Pepper Rice, South Indian Coconut Rice, Balinese Coconut Rice, Masala Lemon or Lime Rice, Tamarind Rice, and Urad Dal Garlic Rice.

Browse all of our Pongal recipes, all of our Kitchari recipes (there are many), and all of our Rice recipes here. Or be inspired by our Late Summer recipes.

For some reading, explore different kinds of rice, and the Difference between Kitchari and Risotto.

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Fragrant Eggplant with a Garlic-Yoghurt Sauce

Another Nigel Slater dish, from Tender.

I promised you a couple of recipes from Nigel Slater’s book Tender, Vol. 1. Previously I made Stuffed Capsicums, which proved to be a great winner. There is an equally wonderful dish that I have been making along with the stuffed capsicums – Fragrant Eggplant, served with Yoghurt and Sweet Paprika.

There are a couple of eggplant pairings that are so wonderful – eggplant and yoghurt is one, the other, quite different, is eggplant and miso. Nigel’s recipe is one of utmost simplicity, and yet it can form a delicious dinner for one with a small salad, or can be part of a much larger meal. Whatever, however, Nigel has done it again!

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Tomato and Chilli Jam

A spicy sauce for all kinds of uses.

Welcome to the world of chillies. Where would I be without them? Indeed, lost in the culinary wilderness. A Tomato and Chilli Jam (jam in the loosest sense, more like a thick sauce) is another way to enjoy their wonderful heat, but with a touch of sweetness.

The jam is a great addition to any dish – tonight, for example, a pasta sauce of blended rocket, peas, grilled eggplant with a generous dollop of the Tomato Chilli Jam makes a wonderful, very late, Australia Day supper.

A wonderful accompaniment to dishes, served like a chutney. With dosa or other flatbread. With a stirfried vegetable or tofu dish, stirred into a soup that wants a little more spice, smeared over pizza or farinata.  Spread very thinly on toast and topped with bocconcini, fresh greens and herbs. Over plain rice. In a salad dressing. Drizzled over steamed or baked vegetables.

The possibilities are endless. Continue reading “Tomato and Chilli Jam”

Baked Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes

Capsicums stuffed with cherry tomatoes and a basil sauce.

Tender. What a great name for a book. And what a book it is. Nigel Slater speaks so engagingly and comfortingly about his garden near Highbury Barn in London. He cooks my style of food – homely, so so simple, yet packing incredible flavours. Despite being British in style he loves to use Indian spices and experiment with flavour combinations.

When I say “British in style” I don’t want to conjure up images of old-fashioned British food like chip butties and steak and kidney pie. I do imply, though, that the food is cold weather food – root vegetables, cabbage, oven cooked food. For even a hot day in the UK does not pass muster as a summer day in Australia. Nigel would argue that some of his food is for the hotter seasons, but his recipes are not, say, like Bill Granger’s, built with the 30C – 45C degree heat of good ol’e Aussie summers where it is hot enough to cook a falafel on the sidewalk and everyone who is sane heads for the beach.

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Cacik | Turkish Cucumber and Yoghurt Mezze

Cool off in hot weather with a classic yoghurt dip from Turkey.

Cacik is a wonderful dish, cooling in summer and endlessly versatile. It can be made very thick with thick thick yoghurt to serve as a dip or along side curries, rice dishes and pastry dishes. Make it with ordinary yoghurt as a sauce to drizzle over vegetables or salads or some filo pastry dish. Or make it thin with some ice cold water and eat as a soup.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Green Tahini Dip and Sauce, Yoghurt Tahina Dip with Herbs, and Green peppers in yoghurt.

Here we love yoghurt, so there is quite a collection of yoghurt recipes, including drinks, dips, raitas, yoghurt curries and salad dressings. I hope something inspires you there. Or our Dips are here, Turkish dishes here and Middle Eastern recipes here. Or be inspired by our Late Spring recipes.

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Daikon Salad | Mooli | White Radish Salad

Daikon radish, often over looked, is the star of this salad. It can be made with red radishes too.

Daikon is great in freshly squeezed juices to add a touch of spiciness, but other than that it is often left sitting abandoned in the bottom drawer of the fridge. No longer. Here is a salad to make daikon shine! Summer goodness, oh yes.

You might also like Daikon and Pumpkin Curry. All of our Radish recipes are here and here. Or try our Salads here and here. Be inspired by our Spring recipes here and here.

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Asparagus Pesto

A beautiful pesto from a gentle ingredient.

Isn’t it great that there are lots of ways to mush things together and the results taste spectacular? Soups, for example, smoothies, combination juices. The wonderful pesto and hummus. The wonderful mushing together of pastes, oils, nuts, seeds, cheeses, yoghurts, creams, fruits, herbs, spices and vegetables make for an endless variety of goodies. Even lentils and rice, ground together, make amazing fritters and even better fermented or unfermented flatbreads.

Especially great in all things mushed together is that the variety is endless. For example, in the warmer months, I am likely to be seen picking green things from my small pot-garden. Nasturtium leaves, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, cardamom leaf, parsley, curry leaves, basil, lemon  verbena, rosemary, thyme – whatever looks good on that day. My handful of herbs gets chopped finely with some nuts or seeds, maybe some cheese or maybe not, garlic, maybe chilli, sometimes some rocket or spinach, lemon zest and whatever else is fresh and on my kitchen bench at the time.

Asparagus can also be used. Steamed and chopped, it makes a very rustic Asparagus Pesto. Glorious. Gentle.

You might also like to read The Joy of Asparagus, Spring Salads, and Cream of Asparagus Soup. All Asparagus recipes are here and here, and our Dips are here and here. Be inspired by our Spring recipes here and here.

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Yoghurt, Feta and Mustard Dip

Take some yoghurt, feta and mustard and you have a dip for a Summery day.

Gathering the thick thick yoghurt, some home made mustard, a smidgen of honey, and a copy of Turquoise, Greg Malouf’s mustardy creation was manifested. It can be a dip, sauce or dressing and the combination of flavours is quite synergistic – beyond what you might expect.

You might like to try other Yoghurt dishes here and here, and other Dips here and here. All of our Turquoise dishes are here. Be inspired by our Spring recipes here and here.

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Farinata | Socca | Chickpea Flour “Pizza”

Baked chickpea flour farinata with a pizza topping.

There can’t be a more versatile ingredient than the chickpea – whole, crushed, blitzed or ground; soaked, cooked, dried or tinned. But it is when they are dried and ground that the excitement really begins. Chickpea flour (also known as Bengal gram, gram flour and besan flour) forms the basis of some of my favourite comfort food.

Chickpea flour is used by cuisines from France through to India (from Socca in France to Farinata in Italy, to Iranian gondi dumplings, to pudla in India, for example), an beyond that as well. It is a versatile cooking medium, even lending itself to batters for deep frying vegetables and other snacks. There are also cardamom flavoured biscuits, pistachio studded fudge, sev noodle snacks, delightful yoghurt curries, In India its use is ubiquitous, and Italy seems to have a wonderful understanding of its properties too. This nutty-flavoured flour has grabbed the attention of cuisines around the world .

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How to Make Nut Butters

It is good to minimise the use of margarine type spreads because none of them are very healthy. Still use them, of course, but aim for moderation. It is easy to replace margarine at times with pureed avocado or hummus or other bean-based spreads (home made). Nut butters are another alternative.

Cashew butter, almond butter and peanut butter can all be made – all so very delicious and useful in many ways, not just for spreads. For example, hve cashew butter on my porridge with some coconut oil and fruit. Very good! Use almond butter with sherry vinegar to make a salad dressing. They can be used for dips, or spooned into soups and wet curries. They good well over steamed vegetables. You can mix them with lemon juice or vinegar and thinned with water to make a great dressing. Continue reading “How to Make Nut Butters”

Stir Fried Mung Bean Sprouts | Mooga Usili

Fantastically quick and easy for a snack or side dish. Enjoy!

This dish is an Indian stir fry using whole Mung Dal or Mung Beans – those green round unhulled lentils that are less common than their sisters, the yellow, skinned, split mung dal.

First the mung is sprouted by soaking them and then keeping them moist for a few days. When the mung have sprouted, they are stirfried with spices.

You could try this with purchased mung bean sprouts. It would be a slightly different dish because the sprouts are left to grow longer and the beans themselves will be softer.

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Rose Petals and Yoghurt with Fruits

Yoghurt and roses. A wonderful marriage.

Yoghurt forms the basis of so many great dishes, savoury and sweet. Dried rose buds which can be purchased at Asian and Middle Eastern groceries, have a natural affinity to yoghurt, sweetening and perfuming it. This recipe brings the two of them together.

We have a wealth of yoghurt recipes, from drinks to curries to salad dressings, desserts, dips, toppings and more. Browse through them here and here. Dessert recipes are here and here. Or find inspiration in our Spring recipes here and here.

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