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 Creamy Potato Cheese Gratin, Potato Bake with Cheddar,  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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Grape Leaf Encrusted Rice Pie | Layered Rice with Vine Leaves

We are fascinated with using vine leaves for cooking. While everyone is familiar with dolmades, there are quite a number of dishes that are complemented by the flavour and aroma of the grape vine leaves.

This recipe is sort of a lazy man’s dolmades – a rice mixture baked in layers with vine leaves, and encrusted with vine leaves. It comes out as a pie, and is cut into wedges to be served with lemon and pomegranate molasses. The rice is herby, nutty, and slightly sweet from the currants. Some Middle Eastern flavours there. The recipe comes together easily, tastes great, and can be eaten warm or cold. It is an excellent contribution to a table of mezze.

Similar dishes include Grape Vine Leaf Powder, Grilled Pecorino in Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves.

Browse our Rice dishes and all of our Vine Leaf recipes. All of our Yoghurt dishes are here. Or explore our other Early Summer recipes.

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Poritha Kootu

We have been posting some Poritha Kootu recipes recently and (at least for a while) this is our last recipe for a Poritha Kootu that does not include tamarind. In the future we will post a few recipes that do contain tamarind, but for now our focus has been with those that don’t, as it is the most common way to make this dish.

This version uses toor dal for a change. Our previous recipes have used mung dal, but Meenakshi Ammal recommends toor dal for this one as it is a better fit for the flavours used.

Are you after other Kootu recipes? Try Poritha Kootu without Tamarind, Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices and Poritha Kootu with Sambar Spices.

Are you after Sambar and Kuzhamu recipes? Try Moar Kuzhambu (with yoghurt), Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu (Lentil Balls in Spicy Gravy). Try these Sambar recipes: Classic Seasoned Sambar Version 1, Version 2, Version 3 and Version 4. You can also try a Buttermilk/Yoghurt Sambar.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes, all of the Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Toor Dal recipes. Our Indian Dishes are all here and our Indian Essentials are here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Quick Okra with Coconut and Yoghurt | Okra Raita

A delightfully quick okra dish where okra is sauteed with turmeric and other spices and mixed with yoghurt. There are a lot of dishes originating in India that combine okra and yoghurt in some way. It is such a special pairing. This is another recipe that celebrates that combination.

It is a really quick dish. By the time you have the yoghurt ready, the okra have nearly finished cooking. This time I have used the tiny Egyptian Okra that I get from my local Afghan grocery, no bigger than a thumb nail, and I use them whole. If using the larger okra, halve them lengthwise.

Similar recipes include Okra and Coconut Milk, and Okra Pakora.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. We have some Yoghurt dishes. Or explore our Mid Spring collection of recipes.

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Yoghurt and Kaffir Lime Leaf Spread

We have always loved dips and spreads, despite the dodgy connotations of previous decades. In fact we hear that they are definitely in vogue again. They never went out of fashion in this household, and I have posted many on this site. Share with friends as a snack or mezze dish, and they are also the ultimate comfort food – eaten on the couch binge watching Netflix, with crackers, flat bread, or vegetable sticks. Dips spread easily on toast, or in sandwiches, wraps and tostadas or Quesadillas.

And we adore yoghurt based dips and spreads. What a way to begin a meal!

This Ottolenghi recipe is a take on tzatziki but it includes zucchini, is spiked up with lime juice and kaffir lime leaf, and uses mint or coriander rather than the traditional dill. It is gorgeous and delicious. It is from his book Plenty More.

In fact it is our 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.

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

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Figs with Basil, Goat Curd and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Late Summer and Early Autumn are peak time for figs. Any other time of the year, you will probably be getting fruit from great distances and, as figs don’t ripen after picking, this normally means that they are bland and dry. A great fig should look like it’s just about to burst its skin. When squeezed lightly it should give a little and not spring back. It must be almost unctuously sweet, soft and wet. Once you’ve managed to find a fig that meets all these criteria, I guarantee a heavenly experience.

The unctuous sweetness of a fresh fig, combined with its ripe-rich texture, is unbeatable. I have been picking figs from a local estate, to make jam, and can tell you that nothing beats them straight from a tree. This salad was made with the left over, over-ripe figs.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, from Plenty. Relatively easy, for an Ottolenghi recipe, it can be made at the last minute. Phew! So many of his recipes take an hour or 3 to make.

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. We have a project to cook as many dishes as we can this year from his books – currently we are cooking mainly from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Fennel and Fig Salad, Fig Salad with Almond Butter Dressing, and Fig Salad with Hazelnuts.

Browse all of our Fig Salads and all of our Fig recipes. Our Ottolenghi recipes are here (and just the ones from Plenty here). Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Silky Soft Eggplant in Tamarind Leaf Paste | Brinjal with Tender Tamarind Leaves

Recently Tamarind Leaves made an appearance in my local Asia grocery, much to my delight. Not only are they tasty, but they have many health properties. This is especially so for the Liver, or so it is claimed. Tamarind leaves are considered by some as the most effective treatment for liver problems.

Health benefits aside, today we are using the beautiful flavour of the leaves  ground into a paste to coat eggplant (brinjal), producing a great side dish or light meal dish to be eaten with rice. Yum! The eggplant is first sauteed for a few minutes and then steamed with a little water, so it is achingly soft. This dish can be described as hot, a little salty, and a little sour, a delicious combination. You know those Indian dishes that have a flavour party in your mouth? This is one of those dishes.

Just as a point of interest, tamarind leaves do not weigh very much. Stripping leaves from the bag of leaves, I ended up with just enough for this dish.

Similar recipes include Brinjal Chutney, Poritha Kootu (use eggplants), Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, and Aubergines in Coconut Milk.

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Green Tomato Pachadi | Green Tomato Chutney

This chutney is Indian in style and we make it in Summer when green tomatoes are available. We use home grown ones and our local green grocer also stocks them. Green tomatoes are tangy and have a beautiful crunch. In this dish, they are cooked down with green chillies before being blended with spices and some tamarind to form the chutney. It is generally made to be eaten on the day it is made, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It is delicious with any Indian meal, or just with rice and a dollop of ghee.

Similar recipes include Fresh Radish and Mint Chutney, Roast Tomato Chutney, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney.

Browse all of our Indian Chutney recipes, and all of our Green Tomato dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Khamang Kakdi Koshimbir | Maharashtrian Cucumber Salad

Another beautiful Koshimbir from Maharashtra – one that is cooling and exquisitely suited to hot summery days.

Koshimbir is Maharashtrian term for saladKosambari in Kannada and Kosumalli in Tamil are other names that you will see for Indian salads.

Many different combinations of vegetables are used to make different varieties of Koshimbir. In Maharashtra there are 2 main types of salads (although you will often see these confused, or equated):

  • Khamang Kakdi – a salad with roasted and ground peanuts, with yoghurt just as a coating or dressing
  • Kadichi Koshimbir – a salad without the crushed peanuts and with a reasonable amount of yoghurt.

This recipe is for the first type, made with cucumber, green coriander leaves, a touch of yoghurt and crushed peanuts. It is incredibly cooling, so is perfect for hot summery days. It can also be made with boiled or steamed pumpkin or potato.

Why not try some other Indian Cucumber Salads? Try Warm Cucumber Salad with Sesame (Cucumber Kosumalli), Kachumber (Chuchumber), Cucumber Kosumalli #2, and Cucumber Kosumalli #3.

Other Cucumber dishes you can try are Cucumber Raita, Cucumber Lassi and Olan (Cucumber and Coconut Curry).

Explore all of our Indian Salads, or all of our Indian recipes. Browse all of the Cucumber recipes too, or simply spend some time with our Early Autumn dishes.

This is a great fasting dish if made without the asafoetida (hing) and coriander leaves.

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Cauliflower Roasted with Black Mustard Seed, Cumin Seed and Curry Leaves

Today we take some cauliflower and toss it in oil in which black mustard seeds and cumin seeds have been popped, and curry leaves which have been allowed to sizzle, then roast the florets until gorgeously brown. It is a little bit of South India on a Western plate.

What’s not to like about Roasted Cauliflower? This one is terrific. The hit of lime juice at the end is a winner, lifting and freshening the dish.

Similar recipes include Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Zaatar, Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.

Browse all of our Cauliflower recipes, and explore our Mid Spring collection of recipes.

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Purslane Salad

Our garden has a great Purslane patch, not planned but cultivated once we realised how precious these leaves are. Purslane, a native of India, now grows world wide thanks to the longevity of its seeds and the fact that a plant will spring from any small piece of an existing plant that might hit the ground.

Our plants, well watered, become quite luxurious, lifting its branches off the soil and showering us with both lovely tender leaves and, surprisingly, tiny seeds which are also edible. We don’t wash them away, but keep them to add to which ever dish we are making.

The easiest way to use Purslane, should you get your hands on some, is in a salad. Add the leaves to any salad that you are making, especially green salads, for a citrus, slightly sour tang. It will life your whole salad. It can also be used in place of watercress or with baby spinach in any salad.

Or make a salad from the leaves (rather than adding them to other salads), which is what we are doing today.

You can read more about Purslane here.

Similar recipes include Green Salad with Chickpeas and Feta.

Browse all of our Purslane recipes. Our many Salads are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Green Beans Braised in Tomato and Olive Oil

In Turkey, slow braised vegetables in olive oil is common. It’s a cooking method that creates fabulous flavours. These green beans are cooked with tomatoes, olive oil and onions until meltingly soft – and the sauce! Oh my!

The method of cooking is very similar to a la Grecque style of cooking, where wine and olive oil are used to slowly cook the vegetables. This dish  has no wine, but uses lemon juice instead.

Similar recipes include Green Beans with Freekeh, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Baby Sweetcorn and Green Bean Salad.

Browse our Green Bean dishes and our Turkish recipes. Our a la Grecque  recipes are here. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Orange and Date Salad with Fennel Orange Dressing

This is a delightful Moroccan Salad, simple to make and delicious to eat. Oranges and dates are both special in Morocco, and this brings them together in a vivid salad plate for the centre of the table. The dressing is one with spices – cinnamon, fennel, pepper, garlic – and orange blossom water to boost the orange flavour.

The recipe is one of Ottolenghi’s salads that is herb based (see Ettie’s Salad and Celery and Lemon Salad, from Plenty More, for example). Salads based on herbs are common from Afghanistan right around to Israel and Palestine, and through the Mediterranean across to the coast of Africa. Some are very simple – Irani Herbs with Radishes and Salt (no dressing), for example, and the Turkish Bowl of Herbs with a simple dressing. Then there is an Orange Salad, just with a simple dressing. This one is more complex and Ottolenghi has combined several of those simpler salads into one, very delicious, salad.

Similar recipes include Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, Halloumi and Orange Salad, and Chilli Orange Olive Salad.

Browse all of our Orange Salads and all of our Orange recipes. All of our Salads are here, all of our Date recipes are here, and our Moroccan dishes here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Cumin Seeds and Pepper Rasam

This beautiful  but very easy rasam recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. We have a project to cook as many of her recipes as we can, and currently we are making her classic rasam recipes.

This one is flavoured with cumin seeds and pepper. One option is to make it with pre-prepared rasam powder, but can be made without the rasam powder and with extra pepper. The option is explained in the notes following the recipe.

Are you interested in other Rasams? Try Tomato Indian Rasam Style, Kottu Rasam, and Garlic Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Our simply explore all of our Rasam recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer recipes.

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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 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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