How to Oven Dry Capsicums

Such intense flavours

It is so helpful in the kitchen to have bibs and bobs that you can munch on while cooking (or watching TV, or changing the baby, or reading that novel). And lots of bibs and bobs that you can add to the dishes that you are cooking to add more flavour, texture, colour and bulk.

This is one of those recipes. It produces not only great snacks, but also a treasure trove for adding to soups, vegetable stews, curries and other dishes.

Similar recipes include Dried Turmeric Okra.

Browse all of our Capsicum recipes here Or find some inspiration from our Late Summer recipes.

Continue reading “How to Oven Dry Capsicums”

Fagioli Stufati | Tuscan Beans Baked with Sage and Lemon

An Italian baked beans dish full of goodness and taste.

I love beans. Give me Italian or Indian bean dishes and I am in heaven. Without much ado today, this is a baked dish full of goodness and taste. Italian in origin, it is something we have been cooking for years. Fagioli Stufati means Stewed or Baked Beans.

Although this dish is traditionally made with the traditional white beans – cannellini, haricot or lima (butter) beans, I have also made the dish with black-eyed beans, and it was just as delicious.

It is a dish with extraordinary flavours for very little effort, apart from the soaking time and cooking time. For less than 10 minutes (closer to 5 minutes), you can have this dish on the table for lunch or dinner if you think ahead. Quite the opposite to Ottolenghi’s dishes, hey? Maximum flavour with Maximum Effort and Maximum Time.

Similar recipes include Fagioli a la FlorentinaRustic Spicy Lima Beans, Baked Lima Beans with Celery, Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas with Burrata, and White Bean Salad.

Or browse all Italian recipes. Our Baked Bean recipes are here and our Cannellini Beans recipes are here. Or check out our Mid Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Fagioli Stufati | Tuscan Beans Baked with Sage and Lemon”

Olan | Cucumber and Coconut Curry | Deliciousness from Kerala, India

This is a beautiful Olan, a curry with a coconut sauce from the Nair community of beautiful Kerala in South India.

It is rare that we consider cooking cucumber in Australia, but that is not so in other parts of the world. This is a beautiful Olan, a curry with a coconut sauce from the beautiful Kerala in South India. In particular, this dish comes from the Nair community from the that region.

Wikipedia has an entry on the Nair community, and there is this lovely piece. Continue reading “Olan | Cucumber and Coconut Curry | Deliciousness from Kerala, India”

Divine Cumquat Marmalade with Vanilla Bean | Kumquat Marmalade

What to do with Cumquats? Make marmalade, of course.

Aaah, Cumquats. Those little orange balls of sour citrusness. Cute, almost inedible. That is, except if you make Brandied Cumquats, Cumquats in Gin, Cumquats Pickle, Cumquat Olive Oil, Cumquat Marmalade, or use Cumquats in salads.
..K
Sometimes these little orange balls are spelled Kumquats.

Similar recipes include Easy Cumquat Marmalade, and Fig Jam with Ginger and Black Pepper.

Browse all of our Cumquat recipes, and our other Jam recipes. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

Continue reading “Divine Cumquat Marmalade with Vanilla Bean | Kumquat Marmalade”

How to Use Deep Fried Tofu

A perfect quick meal or snack!

Versatile Deep Fried tofu can either be store-bought in packets, or made at home.

Deep Fried Tofu is available from any Asian or Chinese Grocery, where it might be called Tofu Puffs, or Fried Tofu Squares. As the name suggests, it is a tofu that has been deep fried. It is quite firm in texture and therefore is easy to slice and dice, to include in wet dishes, or simply serve as it is. It is definitely a delicious way of using tofu.

An alternative is to deep fry your own tofu. The texture and taste is quite different to store-bought deep fried tofu, and is worth the effort involved. See below for instructions on how to deep fry your own tofu.

All of our Tofu recipes are here. You might like to browse our Asian recipes too, our Chinese recipes are here and our tempting Snacks here. Or simply explore our easy Mid Summer dishes.

You might also like to try tofu dishes without deep frying. Try Two Marvellous Tofu Recipes (Tofu Napoleons, and Tri Coloured Stuffed Tofu), Marinated Tofu with Sweet Peach Salsa, Cucumber and Tofu Salad, Tofu, Herb and Sesame Salad, and a dipping broth for tofu.

Continue reading “How to Use Deep Fried Tofu”

Oven Dried Tomatoes with Sumac

These are quite easy to make. It just takes time – a very slow oven and a few hours.

I have a love of two things – Farmer’s Markets and making pickles, preserves, pastes, purees and dried things. I love to turn fresh ingredients that will preserve them in some way. This recipe is perfect for perfect little cherry or grape tomatoes. It oven dries them in a very slow oven to make a great intensely flavoured snack, or ingredient for pasta sauces and salads.

The first time I made these little beauties, my Office Assistant and friend ate the whole batch! They are very more-ish.

You might also like to try Haloumi Pizza with Semi Dried Tomatoes, Tomato Tarte Tartin, and Semi Dried Tomatoes with Pomegranate. You can browse all of our oven dried tomato recipes here and here. Or have a look at our Tomato Recipes here and here.

Continue reading “Oven Dried Tomatoes with Sumac”

How to Make Vegetable Stocks

Healthy tasty stocks make all the difference to your soup.

Many people ask me about vegetable stocks, saying it is hard to make a truly good and tasty veggie stock.

I tell them that I believe it is actually easier to make vegetable stocks because we are not working with one dominating flavour. We work with a combination of flavours, and the joy is that we can fine tune that combination to suit the mood, the day, the recipe. People are so attuned to adding meat when we want a certain, gutsy flavour that they don’t spend time thinking about how to get gutsy flavour without meat. Here are some of my tricks that I would like to share with you.

This article gives you guidelines. You can find a specific recipe for a great vegetable stock here.

Continue reading “How to Make Vegetable Stocks”

How to Cook Rice Rolls | Vegetarian Banh Cuon

How to eat Vegetarian Banh Cuon – Rice Rolls – Chinese and Vietnamese.

One of the typically Asian things that I love is their rice rolls. But it can be confusing – how are these lovely rice rolls used?

Rice rolls are very common in Vietnam (Banh Cuon) and in Thailand (Goi tiew lohd).  It is a light dish, and is generally eaten for breakfast everywhere in Vietnam, or as a snack in Thailand. In our house, this dish is a wonderful summery lunch.

In Vietnamese Bánh means pastry and Cuốn means rolled, so as far as indicating its origin or how to use them, the name is quite enigmatic. The rice sheet is extremely thin and delicate. It is made by steaming a slightly fermented rice batter on a cloth that is stretched over a pot of boiling water.

You might also like What to Do with Deep Fried Tofu, Thai Eggplant with Sesame and Soy, Black Pepper Tofu, Asian Style Greens with Garlic and Sesame, Chinese Scallion and Orange Zest Pancakes, and Spicy Crunchy Herby Salad with Asian Dressing.

You may like to browse our other SE Asian recipes, and our other Mid Summer recipes.

Continue reading “How to Cook Rice Rolls | Vegetarian Banh Cuon”

Broad Bean and Butter Bean Puree with Horseradish | A Mash, Spread or Dip

The secret to great tasting broad beans is double peeling

It is easy to develop an aversion to Broad Beans. Prolific bearers and easy to grow, they are an easy choice for home gardeners and country kitchen gardens. Yet the poor bean is often misunderstood. Instead of being treated tenderly, cooks mistakenly overcooked them to a green-grey mush with a strong taste only masked by other strong tasting ingredients. Unaware that each individual bean has its own skin that needs to be peeled, they were being boiled until that outer skin reached a level of tenderness – and that mean that the inner bean was overcooked.

Yes, the secret to broad beans is that they need to be double peeled. First the fury pod is removed, and then, after blanching, the skin of each bean can be easily slipped off. Young beans are preferable to their older counterparts as their flavour is gentler.

What a difference a peel makes! You might like to read more about broad beans.

Are you perhaps after Broad Bean recipes? Try Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Broad Beans with Fresh PecorinoTawa Broad Beans, and 13 Treasure Happiness Soup.

Or are you looking for Dips and Spreads? Try Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, Spicy Moroccan Carrot Dip, Thick Yoghurt Tahina Dip, Avocado Mash, and a Quicky Hummus.

You might like to browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and our recipes for Dips. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Broad Bean and Butter Bean Puree with Horseradish | A Mash, Spread or Dip”

How To Cook Rice | The Absorption Method

How to perfect this common method of cooking rice.

Remember really gluggy rice? Yes, those were the days. Certainly in Australia, our parents and grandparents mostly did not know how to cook rice. Well-cooked rice makes a meal, and poorly cooked rice spoils it. It took me a long time to be able to cook rice consistently well. Like my mother, I would put rice into buckets of boiling water, cook it rapidly, strain it when done and then hope for the best. Sound familiar?

These days, rice cookers take any guess work out of the process, and they are great. But I still like the meditative art of the stovetop method when I have the time. It is not hard at all. At one time someone I worked with taught me this foolproof method – once you have mastered it you will never have gluggy rice again.

Continue reading “How To Cook Rice | The Absorption Method”