Stewed Blueberries with Bay Custard and Gin

This is a pretty wicked Summer dessert, definitely for hot Summer days. The beauty of it is that the custard and blueberries can be prepared ahead of time – eg the day before – and then it takes but a few minutes for the dessert to come together.

As the title suggests, blueberries, slightly stewed, are served with icecream, a bay-flavoured custard, and savoiardi biscuits soaked in gin, rosewater and blueberry syrup. It sounds amazing, right? And it is (the gin-soaked biscuits are out of this world), but the title belies the ease with which this dish is created. Best to note that it is an adult dessert only!

Of course, it is an Ottolenghi dessert, from his book Plenty More which we are trying to cook all the way through. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit our preferences and what is available from our garden, fridge and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column. In the recipe below we have substituted a custard made with custard powder for the egg-based one, as we don’t cook with eggs. It sounds horrific, I know, but I assure you it tastes just as good. Feel free to use your favourite method.

Also, blackberries are originally used by Ottolenghi but they are notoriously difficult to find here, so we have used blueberries. It might be Ok to use frozen blackberries – but warm them through with the sugar rather than cook them.

Similar recipes include Strawberry and Black Pepper Icecream, Poached Oranges with Vanilla Ricotta, and Sweet Rhubarb with Cloves and Black Pepper.

Browse all of our Blueberry recipes and all of our Desserts. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Guacamole | Avocado Dip and Spread

This household was eating avocados long before they became de rigueur in the Australian cafe sub-cuisine. This is how we have been making guacamole since the 1990’s.

The most basic guacamole is simply avocado mashed with garlic, lemon, salt and pepper. The velvety texture of avocado, and the zing of the lime that cuts through the smoothness just as you’re getting comfortable with it. Then comes the bite of the garlic. The flavours  blend beautifully together and yet at the same time, all flavours are distinctly identifiable.

The good thing is that the basic recipe can be endlessly varied. We include a number of variations in our recipe below – tomato, coriander, chilli, sour cream, yoghurt – all manner of things can be added to the basic blend. You can vary guacamole so each time you make it, it is different.

Some say that leaving the avocado stone in the puree will prevent discolouration. My view is that if the guacamole’s around long enough to find out, you’re not doing it right.

Are you after other Avocado dishes? Try Cold Avocado Soup, Avocado and Strawberry Salad, and Avocado Smash with Radishes.

You can browse all of our Avocado recipes and Salsa dishes. Check out our easy Late Summer recipes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series.

Guacamole

Guacamole | Mexican-Style Avocado Salsa

basic recipe
2 ripe medium avocados or 1 very large one
juice 1 lemon or 1 – 2 limes
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and black pepper to taste

optional additions prior to mashing or blending – if mashing, dice or grate the onion, fresh chilli and tomato finely, or if blending, chop coarsely
mayonnaise, creme fraiche, sour cream or yoghurt
1 small tomato
chilli powder to taste, or 1-2 fresh green chillies
a little white onion
leaves from 4 – 5 springs fresh coriander, chopped

optional additions after blending
0.5 – 1 green or red pepper, diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 small cucumber, finely diced
pitted olives, chopped
1 tomato, diced

method
Gather together the basic recipe ingredients and any additions to be added prior to mashing or blending. Mash or blend in a food processor or blender until creamy.

Add any further additions after blending (if any) and stir. It is best not to double up on ingredients – for example, if you add onion prior to blending, don’t add chopped onion after blending.

Taste, and adjust seasonings (chilli, lemon, salt, pepper). Serve with tortillas and corn chips.

Guacamole | Mexican-Style Avocado Salsa

recipe notes and alternatives.
Mashing the avocado with a fork or back of a spoon can produce a chunky guacamole (I love it!), or use a blender or food processor for a smooth one.

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BBQ’d Vegetables with Peppery Dressing

Recently it was the first day this season where the sun felt HOT on my face as I stepped outside, and it immediately had me thinking about the BBQ. I need to roast capsicums anyway, to make a batch of harissa, so why not make a meal of it? We roasted a range of veggies and drizzled them with a mustard-pepper dressing.

This is the sort of dish you can use as an entree or salad course, a side salad, a main dish with crusty bread, or a snack. I need to tell you that we are not so formal about courses here – we tend to cook Balinese style – prep and/or cook a whole lot of dishes early in the day and eat as required or desired through the day. We do love our salads, and also our snacks, so each day might see one of each, along with other dishes. Most are simple – that is our food style, simple – quick – easy.

This dish can actually be made at any time of the year – just make it with seasonal vegetables. It is a great way to clean out the fridge!!!

Similar dishes include Raw Vegetable Salad with Mustard-Mayo Dressing, Kohlrabi and Mint Salad, and Miso Vegetables and Rice with Sesame Dressing.

Browse all of our BBQ recipes and all of our Salads. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho

Cold soup is a treasure of Summer weather. Some countries (eg India and the Middle East) have a whole cuisine of cold drinks that are sipped in the extreme weather of the hottest periods of the year, and countries such as Spain have a cuisine of cold soups to slurp in similar weather. Here, we have neither although our weather in Summer equals or exceeds that of those countries. It is a puzzle why that is.

Never fear, here in our little patch of Australia, both cold soups and cold drinks prevail in hot weather.  From the simplest (juice tomatoes with a tiny piece of chill, serve as a soup with basil, spring onions, black pepper, sea salt) to beautiful but out of fashion vichyssoise varieties.

Today we make a Gazpacho style soup with watermelon as well as tomato. It is delicious on a hot Summer evening, eating on the deck or verandah with friends and family. Serve as a soup, or even as a savoury drink, like you might serve a tomato juice – leave the bread out if you are going to serve it this way. Sipped or slurped, it is wonderful.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, from Plenty More, although I have added some cucumber back into the recipe. I love its juice and can’t imagine a gazpacho without it. It makes a difference. Sometimes, I have also added the juice of zucchinis (surprisingly delicious and cooling) in the past too, because I had a glut of them, and it is delicious. It is such a light and delicious soup, and easy to make – you will want to make it all Summer.

In fact, 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. 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 Cold Cucumber Soup, Coriander and Lemongrass VichyssoiseGazpacho,  and Cold Avocado Soup.

Browse all of our Cold Soups and all of our Tomato Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Aussie Scones | Egg Free

Scones, those English and Australian afternoon-tea essentials, slathered with strawberry jam and whipped cream, are often the star of our afternoon snacks. From a young age, I would make scones for visitors. As soon as I could, I would slip away and leave them to chat with others in the house. I would head for the kitchen and whip up a batch of scones, bringing them out still hot from the oven to the delight of everyone who happened to be there at that time.

In fact, it takes only 15 minutes to produce a basket full of lovely hot scones that are feather light.

Sometimes you can eat them just with butter, or without sugar but with cheese mixed into the batter and sprinkled over the top before baking. Jam and cream is very traditional. Sultanas can be added to the dough. Pumpkin scones have a reputation in Australia but they are not something that I make more than once a decade. Or omit the sugar and add a little black pepper, and serve them with a large bowl of soup.

These favourites are not, take note, *not* the American scone, pronounced scoh-n, more like our biscuits than this light and fluffy delicacy. Ours is pronounced sco-n, a short “o”, as in pond.

Similar recipes include Bannock, Australian Quick and Easy Date Slice, Oatcakes and Griddle Cakes.

Browse all of our Biscuits (there are not many, we don’t have a sweet tooth), and our Desserts. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Pommes de Terre Maxim | Crispy Potatoes Maxim

It was much more common a decade or two ago to bake potatoes, usually sliced, with some combination of butter, cream and cheese. I guess times have changed and our weather isn’t cold enough for long enough for these dishes to still grace our tables regularly. But the recipes are worth having on hand – when guests let you know they will be arriving for a meal in less than an hour, when the weather IS cold enough to freeze the tip of your nose, and for, well, when nothing but some good old fashioned potato is going to satisfy your need for comfort.

Today is a very simple recipe – slice peel potatoes, mix with melted butter, layer on a tray and bake till crispy. We are adding it to our raft of baked potato recipes.I loved French food when I was working in France. Pommes de Terre Maxim is such a simple dish but it is oh so special. Don’t just keep it for Winter – it works well for any Sunday lunch, and even in the cooler days of Summer and into Autumn.

Similar dishes include Garlic Herb Potatoes, Batata Hara (Lebanese Roasted Potatoes), Creamy Potato Cheese Gratin, Potato Bake with CheddarGratin Dauphinois, and Potatoes Baked with Cumin and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Potato recipes and our French recipes. Check out our other Potato Bakes and explore other Mid Winter dishes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes series.

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Beautiful Cold Avocado Soup

I have a couple of Avocado Soups that I make in Hot Weather. This is one of them. The other is also an amazing cold soup – Avocado and Celery.

This recipe has a little hit of sweet chilli amongst the familiar tastes of garlic, coriander and lemon.  It is an easy soup, not pureed (although you can if you want to), but the ingredients are chopped finely and pulled together with some stock. Make it early in the day for the afternoon or evening – this allows time for flavours to develop.

Have a look at other cold soups too. Try Minty Cucumber Yoghurt Soup, Quick Cucumber and Tomato Cold Soup, Chilled Beetroot Soup, and Cream of Asparagus Soup. Here is how to make a range of easy cold soups in Summer.

Are you after other Avocado recipes? Try Guacamole, Cucumber and Avocado Salad, and Retro Recipes with Avocados.

You might also like all Avocado recipes here. Or check out Cold Soup recipes. Take some time to explore our easy Mid Summer recipes. Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006.

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A Special Pumpkin Soup

A soup for when winter goes on and on and on ….

You can never have too many pumpkin soup recipes. They abound, to be sure. But, comforting and nourishing, they are frequently on the menu at our place. Also, they are perfect dinner items from Autumn through Winter and into Spring, which means they are very versatile. We always make a large pot, and then vary the soup each meal by adding chilli or pesto, tomato paste or milk/cream and adding different herbs – basil, parsley, coriander (cilantro).

This pumpkin soup has a tang to it with the addition of sweet sherry! An old ingredient indeed, but that does not mean that it doesn’t have the occasional place in the modern kitchen.

This is a great dish for Thanksgiving, if you celebrate that US festival. Other Thanksgiving recipes are here.

Similar recipes include South Indian Pumpkin Soup, Cream of Roasted Swede SoupFrench Cream of Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, and Pumpkin Cooked with Lashings of Butter.

You might like to browse other Pumpkin Soup recipes, and all of our Pumpkin recipes. Try other Soup recipes too. Or simply explore our easy Mid Winter recipes.

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Caramelised Sweet Potatoes

This is a delicious dish – it can be a side dish or, as I like to do, eat it as a mid afternoon snack! Pretty healthy (as much as butter and some sugar can be – everything in moderation, right?) and they are definitely delicious. You can make this same recipe with carrots or pumpkins such as Butternut or Jap.

This is a great dish for Thanksgiving, if you celebrate that US festival. Other Thanksgiving recipes are here.

Are you looking for Sweet Potato recipes? Read about Sweet Potatoes here. And then tryRoasted Parsnips and Sweet Potato with Caper VinaigretteRoasted Sweet Potato and Fresh Figs, Creamy Baked Sweet Potato, British Potato and Sweet Potato VindalooSweet Potato Subzi with Yoghurt, and Sweet Potato Wedges.

You might also like Caramelised Roasted Pumpkin.

Have a look at our all of our Sweet Potato dishes here. Or check out our easy Mid Winter recipes.

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Soupe au Potiron | Our Family’s Favourite Cream of Pumpkin Soup

A French Soup so good that your friends will request the recipe

In the days when my kids were growing up, I really was famous for this soup. People would request it if they were coming over for a meal. I would keep copies of the recipe handy for people. We make it still today, and it is still just as good.

I love the way that the colour of this soup mirrors that of the falling autumn leaves at my house.

This is a great dish for Thanksgiving, if you celebrate that US festival. Other Thanksgiving recipes are here.

Similar recipes include How to Make Perfect Cream Soups, Pumpkin Soup with Lentils, Italian Pumpkin Soup, South Indian Pumpkin SoupAdzuki Bean, Barley and Pumpkin Soup, Special Pumpkin Soup, and Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006. You might also like our Pumpkin recipes here. Or you might like to browse Soup recipes here.

Continue reading “Soupe au Potiron | Our Family’s Favourite Cream of Pumpkin Soup”