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.

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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?

You might also like What to Do with Deep Fried Tofu, Thai Eggplant with Sesame and Soy, or Chinese Anise Baked Apples and Pears. You may like to browse our other SE Asian recipes here and here, or our Summer recipes here and here.

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Broad Bean and Butter Bean 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.

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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.

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Tomato Paella | Vegetarian Paella

A Spanish hit

Maybe it is the soccer world cup being held in Europe that is turning my tastes that way. Maybe I am on a tomato and rice kick. Maybe RED is my colour of the moment. Whatever the cause, I found myself looking for a paella the other night.

There is a history to paella in my life. I first came across it at Carclew Arts Centre in North Adelaide years ago when my daughter was involved in some summer classes there. Carclew had an open day of food, performances and exhibitions. One food stall was cooking an amazing open pan rice dish – the wait was 15 minutes until it was ready to serve – and the taste of it was so fantastic it took me by surprise. Continue reading “Tomato Paella | Vegetarian Paella”

Tomato Rasam | South Indian Spicy Tomato Broth

Who can go past tomato rasam?

Yesterday I had made some Garam Masala and the house was full of wonderful aromas. As I worked at my desk I became hungrier and hungrier. What to do? I needed something wonderfully spicy.

After peeking in the fridge to see what was left after a hectic week, the solution was a wonderful, spicy tomato rasam.

One of the easiest way to describe Rasam is that it is a very thin, sometimes watery, spiced dish where lentils are used for flavour but are not obvious. Rasam is often confused with Sambar. Sambar is a thicker dish based on lentils. Traditionally both dishes are spiced differently. You can read more about the difference between Sambar and Rasam here.

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Golden Saffron Spiced Tea | An Infusion | The Five Cs of Spices

I first came across this beautiful tea in a small shop in a village in South India.

There are certain “C” words that I love when in the kitchen. It is especially true when it comes to spices. My favourite and indispensable spices all being with C — Cloves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coriander seed, Cumin.

If you have these in your pantry, you have some of the Indian cooking Essentials. For example, Garam Masala uses them as a strong, warming basis.

But did you know that you can also make a very special infused tea from these same spices?

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How to Make Garam Masala

Garam Masala is a wonderfully warm and versatile mix of spices used in a range of Indian dishes.

Make your own Garam Masala

If you are even the smallest bit familiar with Indian food, you will have heard of Garam Masala. It is a wonderfully warm and versatile mix of spices used in a range of Indian dishes. Not necessarily spicy hot, it consists of spices that warm and nourish the body, such as cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.

Garam Masala is particularly loved in the North of India where the winters are cold. It is not a prescriptive mix – it is open to interpretation with each region of India creating distinct blends with flavours characteristic of the region. A teaspoon of Garam Masala gives a North Indian character to any dish – try it with Basmati rice, or sprinkle it over cooked dishes.

Occasionally Garam Masala spices are used whole. Try a rice in whic you grind only the nutmeg and add the other spices into the rice water as it boils.

This is part of the Indian Essential Series on our sister site Heat in The Kitchen. You might like to browse the other articles. If you are looking for information on spices, our spice articles are here.

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Warm Olives with Lemon and Spices

Serve with crusty bread, chargrilled eggplant and other vegetables, and/or a range of antipasto or grazing dishes

I spent January in London this year. There was a baby on the Horizon, and I was there to see his transition into this life. It was a beautiful thing. He is a beautiful thing.

I was chief cook and bottle washer during the month I was there. And best of all, it was so luxurious to cook from (mainly) one cookbook. The book was a Xmas present to my daughter from a good friend. The author is an Australian, but the book itself is full of recipes so very suited to the Street and Farmers’ Markets in London. Despite a baby in the house we ate so well that month. Continue reading “Warm Olives with Lemon and Spices”

How to Make Ghee | Nature’s Fabulous Food

An Ayurvedic ritual

I have been making ghee for myself and others since around 2000. It does take a few practice attempts to perfect, but once you have done it you will never buy ghee again. It is quite different.

All it requires is butter and mindfulness – it does need to be watched continually. The end point tricky to judge the first couple of times that you make it. But after that, you are a pro. It takes about 30 minutes all up. The amount of time that it takes depends on the amount of water in the butter, and different brands of butter will take different times.

Feel free to browse our Indian recipes here and here. Or try recipes using ghee here and here. Our Spring recipes are here and here.

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How to make Eggless Pasta | Two ways | Semolina Pasta and Besan Pasta

Making pasta without eggs

Let’s be clear up front. No matter what other sites will tell you, it is not really possible in a home environment to produce the type of pasta that can made with eggs, or the commercially produced egg free pasta. We can make other pasta, however, that will good, and have a special taste and texture of their own.

I work with two different recipes. One with semolina flour, and one with besan, or chickpea flour. They give quite different results. It is good to experiment with both of them until you find a pasta noodle that you prefer.

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