Seasonal Cooking | Don’t Miss these EARLY SUMMER Recipes

Coats and jackets are put away and anticipation is high for the warming weather. The capriciousness of Spring is steadying. The weather is beautiful, and food becomes lighter, as though our body is shedding its layers too. Thoughts turn to the bountiful Summer harvest.  Enjoy these highlights from our Early Summer classic recipes.

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Garlic Yoghurt Dressing | Garlic Yoghurt Sauce

Yoghurt is used predominately for sweet purposes in my country – it is sold already sweetened (although the yoghurt makers don’t alert us to that fact) and it is often eaten as is, out of the carton. The beautiful French really sour yoghurt is not a thing here. Nor is it used for its sour notes as it is in India. It is spooned over fruit or cereal, made into frozen yoghurt, or incorporated into fruit smoothies. Not so often do we use it in dips, stir it into soups or make dressings and sauces out of yoghurt. It is a sad thing really, as the savoury uses of yoghurt are infinite and wonderful. More enlightened countries include Turkey, Greece, India and Middle East Countries. There, yoghurt is used with abandon.

When buying yoghurt for non-sweet uses, look for a Greek Yoghurt, or an Indian Yoghurt. If you can’t find any in your supermarket, visit your local Greek, Middle Eastern or Indian shop, they will definitely have beautiful, creamy, unsweetened yoghurt for sale.

Garlic and yoghurt go together so well, and the pairing is used across many parts of Europe and the Middle East – think falafel, for example. What would it be without a creamy yoghurt sauce? Often cucumber is added, but this recipe is simple and directly garlicky.

Similar recipes include Umbrian Sauce for a Cure, Roast Capsicum Dressing, and Lemony Yoghurt Dressing.

You might like to explore our other Yoghurt recipes and our Dressings. Our Salad Dressings are here. Or simply explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Mysore Rasam | First Method

In the end, rasam is just flavoured water. But as Indian food is the most refined cuisine in terms of the layering of flavours to achieve complexity and exquisite balance, flavoured water is amazing! Hot, spicy, tangy, salty, herbaceous, it hits the palate like a flavour bomb, and stimulates all aspects of digestion. I am a lover of Rasam, and am generally found having multiple servings.

Mysore Rasam is similar to Kottu (Plain) Rasam, in that it includes toor dal to give the rasam a beautiful silky texture. It also uses the water from cooking the dal to round out the flavours. It is rather like Plain Dal Rasam with different spices. And in this recipe, rasam powder is not used, rather the spices are sauteed and ground while the toor dal cooks.

In order to cook the toor dal while I potter around the house and garden doing other things, I have a little trick that I will share with you. I don’t have a pressure cooker, so first thing in the morning I rinse the dal and pop it into a saucepan with ample water. Then it is placed on the stovetop on the lowest heat available. Covered, I know that the dal will be perfectly cooked in 1 hour without me thinking about it. I do check the water level about half way through, but other than that, I can get on with the day without having to watch the pot. Perfectly cooked dal will be ready to make rasam for lunch. Or pop it on when you first get home from work or picking the kids up from school, and it will be easy to make rasam for dinner.

You might also be interested in reading about the difference between Rasam and Sambar.

Similar recipes include Tomato Rasam, Tomato Lemon Rasam, and Garlic Rasam.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Balinese Sambal Iris | Onion, Tomato and Chilli Condiment

An Indonesian sambal is a fiery blend of fresh hot chillies and other seasonings which are used as relishes or condiments throughout Indonesia. There are dozens of different sambal recipes; some raw, and some cooked. A sambal is served and used in much the same way we might use Sriracha or tabasco sauce.

They are generally easy to make, especially the raw ones, and this sambal takes no more than 5 minutes. The onions and chillies cure in the lime juice, making it incredibly delicious. Drizzle it over everything for spicy hot flavours.

Of course, our ingredients here are different to the ingredients available in Bali. Our chillies are different, our onions are different, rices are different, and so forth. So when we cook Balinese dishes there will be a difference to the traditional ones. But the flavours will still be so good. Plus, that gives us some leeway to play with the traditional recipe, adding freely available, local ingredients. I love to include cumquat juice and zest and kaffir lime leaves. Coriander and/or Basil leaves go nicely too.

Similar recipes include Chilli Jam, Chilli Paste, Sambel Tomat, and Sweet Chilli Sauce.

All of our Chilli dishes are here, or you might like our Balinese recipes. We have some Sambals here too. Or explore our Late Spring collection of dishes.

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Schiacciata with Cheese Topping

If Focaccia is half way between pizza and bread, then Schiacciata is half way between Focaccia and Pizza. It is flat and usually infused beautifully with olive oil.

Originally cooked in the ashes of the hearth, schiacciata, meaning squashed, is flat and 2 – 3 cm thick (but can be thinner). Variations of the bread are made throughout Italy. In Tuscany, it is simply brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Herbs such as rosemary can be added. A sweet version with grapes and sugar is also made.

This recipe with onion and cheese is great weekday lunch-at-home fare, even for Sunday night supper. It is great with a hearty soup. Maybe Onion Soup would be fabulous. In late Summer, pair it with ripe, bursting figs and celebrate the end of summer.

You might also liked our Focaccia recipes. Our pizza recipes are here. If you need pizza dough, the recipes are here. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Tulsi, Mint and Lemon Verbena Tea

A Herbal Tea, great any time.

A beautiful refreshing tea, excellent in Spring and Summer, and especially nice in Autumn. Minty, health giving, and relaxing. If you don’t have fresh Tulsi, tea bags are easily bought and some places have dried Tulsi leaves. The other day I saw dried Tulsi leaves at my Indian Grocer’s. Or failing that, using Basil will give you a lovely, relaxing tea.

Similar teas include Green Tea, Apple Juice and Strawberry Cooler, Ginger Root and Turmeric Tea, Longan and Young Ginger Tea, and Lemon Verbena and Lavender Tea.

Browse all of our Tea recipes and our Tulsi recipes. Or take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Locquat Salad

Locquats ripen in early November, perhaps late October if the weather is good. That is Spring time here in the Southern Hemisphere. They are so beautiful, picked straight from the tree, still warm from the sun, eaten as they are. They don’t keep well or long inside, they bruise easily, but can be poached and served with icecream and a liqueur poured over.

Cutting them up is a chore. Starting with a basketful, you might end up with a small bowl of flesh. The stones in the middle are huge, and by the time you remove the stem and tail ends, and peel them, there are only small amounts of flesh left per locquat.

One other way that we use them, laboriously cutting and peeling, is in a simple salad with ingredients from our garden. It is lovely and refreshing on a sunny Spring day.

Similar recipes include Green Guava Salad, Pomegranate Salsa, and Peach Salsa.

Our Locquat recipes are here. Browse all of our Salads too, or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing

Such a wonderful earthy flavour, Freekeh, that strange sounding name (to Western ears) belonging to the nutty grain. Sold whole or cracked, it is easy to find at Middle Eastern stores, some providores and some bulk lentil and grain places. Freekeh actually means rubbed – the process of removing the grains from its husks.

Like quinoa, freekeh is full of protein, with a beautiful smokiness, and is dead easy to cook. It is Middle Eastern duram wheat that is picked while unripe then traditionally roasted over wood fires to burn off the husks – hence its wonderful smoky flavour. Surprisingly it is also a little sweet, so a squeeze of lemon or lime always does wonders to a freekeh dish.

Freekeh is so unusual as generally the grains we use have been allowed to mature and dry on the head.

This dish is a take on an Ottolenghi dish from his book, Plenty, but has some minor variations. It is beautifully cooked by simmering for 15 mins and then leaving covered, to steam until cooked. Then it is tossed with herbs and topped with garlicky lemon yoghurt before serving.

Similar recipes include Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.

Browse all of our Freekeh recipes and all of our Pilafs. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or browse our Late Spring collection of recipes.

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Broad Bean Puree with Chilli Oil

As broad beans get older, they suit purees and spreads really well. It is very simple – simmer them for some time, peel each bean, and then puree them with herbs. It makes a delicious snack on toast – I love it at morning tea time with a good cuppa. Or use the puree to make a fresh, spring soup by adding some stock or water and thinly sliced spring vegetables.

Are you after other Broad Bean recipes? Try Broad Bean and Mint Mash, Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and 13 Treasure Happiness Soup.

You might like to look at our other Broad Bean Purees here, and all of our Broad Bean recipes. Browse our Italian recipes as well. Or take time out and explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Fiona’s Beautiful Chai

A recipe that has formed a chain as it goes from one person to another

Fiona was a twitter friend some time ago. As often happens, life changes, and it had been some time since we have connected,. But a quick search located her in Berlin! Today I came across her recipe for Chai which she sent to me in 2009! It seems so long ago. Fiona made a note that this recipe was given to her by her friend Peta. I love how food and recipes create this chain of people across the world. I am now making you a link in the chain!

So, with great memories of Fiona, I made her chai again this afternoon. The recipe is for a mix, which you can then use to make your chai each day. It is unusual in that it includes dried orange peel and a vanilla bean as well as the usual spices.

Are you looking for more Chai recipes? Try Chai Masala for Relief of Colds, Peppery Chai, and Illaichi Chai.

You might like to browse our other Chai recipes – we have a few. Or explore our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. You might also like to browse our easy Mid Spring recipes. I hope you enjoy them.

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Bhindi Subzi | Stir Fried Okra with Spices

This subzi is a quick okra dish, ready in less than 20 mins, and layered with spices. Its a great tiffin dish and can be served with rice and a chutney for a quick meal. Or afternoon snack.

Are you after similar recipes? Try Okra with a Cumin and Yoghurt Sauce, Stir fried Okra with Sesame Seed, Okra with Onions and Ladyfinger Masala.

You can browse all of our Okra recipes and all of our Subzi dishes. All of our Indian dishes are here and Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Mid Winter dishes for warming inspiration.

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Umbrian Sauce for a Cure | Salsa di Curata | Herby Mustard Sauce or Dressing

This Umbrian Sauce is an approximation of an old recipe for a sauce which is said to cure many maladies, using modern day ingredients. It keeps very well in the fridge, so if you are feeling under the weather, make a batch and drizzle it on everything. I do love it on a green salad. Since moving into this house with its excellent back yard, we are never without greens suitable for salads.

It is herby and mustardy. You can imagine why it has a reputation of being a cure-all.

Similar recipes include Garlic-Yoghurt Dressing, Roast Capsicum Sauce and Dressing, Almond Butter Dressing, and Umbrian Broad Bean Puree.

You might like to browse our Dressings here and Sauces here. Our Italian recipes are here. Or browse our Late Summer recipes.

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A New Juice for Summer – Zucchini Juice

How hot can Summer days get! Even the days before Summer officially begins can have a real bite. On those days you can reach for the coolness of white wine, of course, and in this house we make a range of lassi drinks, fruit juices and iced cordials.

One thing we love is to reach for the Zucchinis and make a healthy and refreshing juice, guaranteed to combat the heat without putting a wobble in your step.

Who knew that zucchini juice is so good? I discovered it one recent summer when my neighbour kept gifting me huge zucchinis from their organic farm. There are only so many zucchinis a girl can eat! They don’t really dehydrate well, and I had made enough zucchini pickles and preserves to last all winter. So I decided to try juicing them. It was a revelation.

I am here to tell you that zucchini juice is amazing! On its own or mixed with other fruits and vegetables, it is pure refreshment in a glass on a hot morning, afternoon or evening.

Similar recipes include Watermelon Juice with Ginger and Mint, Green Tea, Apple Juice and Strawberry CoolerStrawberry Frappe, and Summer Cooling Drinks with Juices.

Browse all of our Zucchini recipes and all of our Juices. Our Cooling Drinks are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Umbrian Broad Bean Puree | Broad Bean Sauce

Traditionally an Easter dish, this Umbrian Broad Bean Puree is eaten on toasted crusty bread that has been drizzled with olive oil. But it is equally as good with vegetables, pasta and as a dressing in salads.

It is a simple but gorgeous, flavoursome dish.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean Puree with Chilli OilUmbrian Cure-all Sauce, Young Broad Bean Pod Puree, Broad Bean and Mint Mash, and Broad Bean and Butter Bean Spread.

You might like to look at our other Broad Bean recipes. Browse our Italian recipes here, and our Broad Bean Puree recipes are here. Or take time out and explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Grilled Pecorino Wrapped in Vine Leaves

Do you have a grape vine, or access to grape vine leaves? Then this is for you. A great tea time snack, they are definitely delightful.

Pecorino is wrapped in vine leaves and then grilled until the cheese melts and the leaves crisp a little. You can even cook these on a BBQ.

Grape leaves are best picked from grape vines in the Spring and Early Summer, while they are still tender. Select young whole, medium leaves. Make sure  that the leaves haven’t been sprayed.

Similar recipes include Mushrooms Baked in Grape Vine Leaves and Grape Vine Leaf Powder.

Browse our grape vine leaf recipes, our Italian dishes and our French recipes. Or take some time to explore our collection of Late Spring recipes.

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