Narangi Pulao with Pistachios

It is orange season and so all of our orange recipes come out to add delight to our kitchen menus again. This beautiful pilaf is so good – full of orangey flavours and a visual delight.

We made this recently in one of our late night COVID-19 lockdown cooking sessions, around 10pm after endless zoom meetings. Luckily the rice had been soaked and dried, so the cooking was not a chore. There are no photos for this recipe yet – almost a travesty in this visual era. But we wanted to share it with you and keep it on our blog as a record of our best loved dishes.

Similar dishes include Matar Pulao, Orange and Date Salad, Orange and Green Chilli Relish, and Quinoa Salad with Orange.

You can also browse all of our Pilafs and our Orange Recipes.

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Turnips and Onions in Olive Oil

Turnips, the forgotten vegetable of Winter. Yet they are divine either raw or cooked. We have quite a few recipes for you to experiment with. And to add to that list is a simple Turkish dish of turnips and onions simmered using an a la grecque style, and finished with herbs. It is a simple and easy recipe.

The dish is very gentle, some might think it is bland. But it marries beautifully with a host of other, more strongly flavoured dishes. Just don’t overcook the turnips or they will go watery. Remove from the heat when juuuuust tender enough.

Browse all of our Turnip recipes and our Turkish dishes.

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Two Bean and Two Lime Salad

We have a strange green bean growing – its pod is green with flecks of red. It is delicious, as all green beans are, and perfect for this salad from Ottolenghi. You can of course use any green bean – the beans are paired with either edamame, younger broad beans or even peas. The key to the salad is a beautiful dressing made with lime zest, lime juice, coriander, mint, garlic and chillies! Oh, yes, you just might get excited.

Once the beans are trimmed, it is quite simple to make. Of course it is, it is from Ottolenghi’s book Simple. 10 ingredients, quick and it can be made ahead (see the notes below the salad). Note that I often massage Ottolenghi’s recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Summery Grain or Lentil Salad, Sea Spaghetti, Cucumber and Edamame Salad, Italian Green Bean Salad, Green Bean Salad with Asparagus, Spring Salad, and Glorious Green Bean Salad.

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Black Pepper Garlic Broccoli with Mustard Seeds and Curry Leaves

If you follow our blog (hello to all of our lovely followers!) you will know how much we love broccoli. Particularly pan-roasted broccoli. This time we have turned it into an Indian style dish, with black pepper as its major flavouring.  It is delicious!

Similar recipes include Steamed Broccoli with Pinenuts, Broccoli with Orange Sauce, Bean Curd with Broccoli, and Sri Lankan Broccoli Curry.

Browse all of our Broccoli recipes. Or explore our Indian recipes and our Indian Essentials here. Alternatively, explore our Mid Spring collection of dishes.

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3-Cheese Eggplant Bake

This is a gorgeous baked dish with eggplants, cream and 3 soft cheeses. It is made without eggs and the result is an addictive dish with a thick set custard-like consistency.

The recipe is an adapted version of Ottolenghi’s Eggplant Cheesecake from Plenty More. I have made it egg-free. If you want to check the original recipe have a look here.

Like all good cheesecakes, tucking into this is so effortless and soothing that it’s easy to forget yourself and just gobble up more and more. And, like a sweet cheesecake, it’s also a bit of a no-brainer that yields very impressive results.

This is a soft dish, so is best spooned from the baking dish onto serving plates. A rustic alternative would be to bake it in a casserole and spoon out portions at the table.

Serve as a starter or for lunch with a lemony salad of bitter leaves and fresh herbs.

Similar recipes include Eggplant Kuku with Cauliflower Puree, Eggplant, Beetroot and Potato Bake, Noodles with Fried Eggplant and Walnuts, and Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Yoghurt Sauce.

Or browse our Eggplant recipes and our Ottolenghi dishes.

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Spelt and Cider Loaf

Coronavirus lockdown time had everyone baking bread. I was a bit of a laggard – we don’t eat a lot of bread so it was not my first thought. But, 4 months later than everyone else, I saw a recipe that had me visiting my secret supplier of bakers flour and fresh yeast (everywhere else was out of good quality product), and this beautiful loaf was born.

The recipe that excited my bread-baking genes was one from Nigel Slater that includes spelt flour and dry cider! The cider gives it a lovely, almost sour dough, tang. It is mixed with milk for a beautiful soft crust. This is Good Bread!

Similar recipes include Pita Bread, Sweet Potato Bread, Olive Oil Bread with Parsley, and Pane de Prato.

Browse all of our Bread recipes and all of our dishes from Nigel Slater.

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Broccolini Risotto

Risotto is a favourite dish – we don’t mind the stirring and find it most meditative. This risotto was made with broccolini from the garden. It is one of our few recipes without a photo – your imagination is required for this one. We have used some of our library pics instead.

Nigel Slater has a recipe in Kitchen Diaries II for Parsley risotto which is very similar to this one – simply replace the broccolini with the chopped leaves of 50g of flat leafed parsley.

Similar recipes include Brussels Sprouts Risotto, Beetroot Risotto, and Mushroom Risotto.

You can also browse all of our Risotto recipes and all of our Broccolini dishes.

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Purslane Salads | How to Use Purslane in Salads

Purslane, Portulaca Oleracea, is an edible succulent plant that spreads vigorously. The leaves are crunchy with a tangy lemon-peppery flavour. It pops up in gardens here from December (early Summer) through to Autumn. It is prolific in my garden, so much so that I can pull the whole plants out when young, nip off the root and use the stem and leaves. For larger plants, stems are picked and leaves removed. You should always wash it really well as it is such a ground-hugging plant.

Pick them early in the day for best flavours. If I need to pick them later in the day, I will cover them in water for an hour or so until they perk up and lift their heads. Don’t soak any longer, they turn to mush (being a succulent).

In some parts of the world you can buy Purslane in green groceries but in Australia that is not the case. So you can forage alongside footpaths and in parks and green areas, but always be careful that it has not been sprayed. The best way is to purchase some seed, or gather it from flowering foraged plants, and grow in your own garden. Once you have planted it in your garden you will always have it. It grows best in warm to hot, dry climates.

It is used around the world, from Greece to Mexico, South Africa, India and Turkey. It is a nutritional medicine cabinet in a plant with remarkable amounts of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. It is mainly used raw but is also cooked in some places, such as India.

We’ve put together some of our favourite salads using Purslane to inspire you. Be sure to let us know how you use it and which salads are your favourite. Don’t forget that you can use Purslane to replace other sour or lemony ingredients such as sorrel in salads and other dishes.

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Kasa Kasa Payasam

Poppy Seed Payasam is a nutty and creamy sweet dish made with white poppy seeds, coconut and saffron simmered in milk and topped with toasted cashews. Payasam is a typical Indian traditional sweet usually made for festivals and as a sweet treat in homes.

Poppy seeds are tiny seeds known as kasa kasa in Tamil. Indian recipes usually use white poppy seeds rather than the black ones, so look for them in your Indian supermarket. They are used for their flavour, texture and thickening qualities.

Did you know that poppy seeds calm the mind and stimulate the digestion? In Ayurveda the taste is pungent, astringent and sweet. Its heating action acts as a vata calmer. Used with nutmeg or valerian they can induce relaxing sleep.

Similar recipes include Char Grilled Stone Fruit with Scented Yoghurt, Sago Payasam, Vermicelli Payasam, and Besan Payasam.

Browse all of our Payasam recipes, and all of our Desserts. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Throw a Tray of Veggies in the Oven

One of the great things of life is that you can throw a tray of veggies into the oven and have a spectacular meal result.

Toss a collection of vegetables, cut to size to cook for similar times, with some olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and perhaps a spice or herb or two, spread on a tray and bake in a moderate oven.

Eat them hot – a bowl full of hot veggies on the table. Leftovers can be turned into:

  • a salad – chop and mix with fresh greens, or with a lentil or grain (my favourite is freekeh)
  • soups – blitz the veggies, adding your favourites such as herbs, spices, a touch of tahini, cream, yoghurt etc. Or chop and add to a tomato based stock. Lentils and or grains can be added – barley is especially good in Winter. Season well, heat and serve with yummy toppings like crispy garlic, crispy onions, chilli paste, pesto, chilli oil, finely chopped tomato, fennel, and/or onion – whatever you have right now in the kitchen.
  • pastes and spreads – puree with tahini, cream or yoghurt for spreads for sandwiches, toasted sandwiches, crumpets, wraps. Delicious with cheese.
  • dips – make a little thinner than the spreads, and snack with beautiful seeded crackers.

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