Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Almonds

Cauliflowers – remember the days when it was overcooked by our Mothers, and a watery mush was slopped onto our plates? Eww! Or a dish of cauliflower, overcooked again, covered with cheese and baked? Oh maybe not, you might not be old enough. But thank goodness, the understanding of cauliflower has come a long way since those days. The things we can now do with a cauli! Roast it, grill it, rice it, fry it, deep fry it, the variations are endless.

This is a simple but beautiful soup, the recipe was given to me by the multi-talented Ilva, food photographer and former food blogger. It is so simple and so good, in a gentle sort of way. I have added almonds to her recipe and some white pepper which I love with cauliflower.

Similar dishes include A Plate of Cauliflower, Cauliflower Walnut Cream Soup, and Cauliflower a la Grecque.

Browse our Cauliflower dishes and all of our delicious Soups. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

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Fennel with Almonds and Raisins

Fennel is one of our favourite winter vegetables, and we use it raw in salads, and also cooked. In this recipe the fennel is braised with garlic but remains crisp. It is then mixed with almonds and raisins, and its dressing is orange-based. Orange and fennel is a classic pairing.

This recipe was given to me by a friend some years ago. I didn’t record which friend! 😦 If it was you, let me know.

Similar recipes include Swede, Fennel and Apple Salad, Fennel and Potato with White Beans and Garlic,Β  Slow Baked Fennel with Chilli, Garlic and Lemon, Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Or browse all of our Fennel recipes, all of our Fennel Salads, and our complete set of Salad recipes. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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Persian Barberry Saffron Rice with Almonds and Pistachios

We are so in love with our long stranded saffron from Saffron Only. With our delivery we also received several recipe cards including the recipe for this rice dish which has also been mentioned by an Irani work colleague. As beautiful soft barberries are available at the local Afghan shop, the recipe was added to our must-cook list.

The recipe simmers long grained rice until al dente, then steams it on a bed of potatoes or pita bread (optional) until the bottom is crispy and the rice is perfectly cooked. It is then served with saffron water, the toasted barberries, almonds and pistachios.

Berberis, commonly known as barberry, is a large shrub that has yellow flowers and red or blue-black berries. The berries, rich in vitamin C, have a distinct sharp acid flavour. The country in which they are used the most is Iran where they are used in rice pilafs.. Due to their inherent sour flavor, they are often cooked with sugar before being added to rice. Iranian markets sell barberry dried. In Russia they are sometimes used in jams and extract from them is a common flavouring for soft drinks and candies/sweets. They are rarely used in Europe in modern times. (Thanks wikipedia.)

I notice that Ottolenghi has a similar recipe on his website. I mention it only as we have an Ottolenghi Project happening, cooking from his book Plenty More. You can check his recipe out, but I like this one better. πŸ™‚

Barberries are also such a beautiful colour that they make a great garnish to any rice dish or salad.

Similar recipes include Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, and Golden Saffron Tea.

Browse all of our Saffron dishes and all of our Persian recipes. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
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Saffron, Date and Almond Rice

Goodness, what a beautiful rice dish. Ottolenghi again creates magic with this Iranian recipe that he credits Claudia Roden’s classic A Book Of Middle Eastern Food. He believes that Irani people cook the best rice, and I have to say he might be right.

This recipe takes a bit more effort than banging some rice into the rice cooker, but for special occasions, and for weekends, it is definitely worth it. The rice grains are beautifully separated and soft. The dish has a sweet overtone from the dates, and conjures up beautiful Middle Eastern feasts on low tables in tents with thick rugs covering your legs.

This dish is cooked like a biryani, in layers. It needs a very low heat – raise the pot above your heat source a little if you can (eg place a roasting rack or heat diffuser over the heat source). It could also be cooked in a very low oven, but you’ll miss the crunchy rice that forms at the bottom.

Recently I needed to replace my saffron, so I ordered some from Saffron Only. It is the most beautiful saffron! Far better that what I had been using. If you love saffron, check her out on Instagram. (I only recommend products when they are excellent, and am not recompensed for my recommendations.)

Similar dishes include Saffron Rice, Kosheri, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, and Rice with Orzo.

Also try Saffron and Rose Scented Aubergine, Golden Saffron Spiced Tea, and Dates and Saffron Soaked in Spiced Ghee.

Browse all of our Rice dishes and all of our Ottolenghi recipes. Or take some time and explore our Mid Spring collection of dishes.

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Three Citrus Salad with Green Chilli, Ginger and Crunchy Almond Salsa

It’s late Autumn, and it is such a beautiful season. Included in the abundant bounty available before we head into Winter is the first of the citrus. As soon as they are available, we look for Pomelo and Ruby Grapefruit for some tangy salads before the blanket of Winter douses all thoughts of salads and other cold foods.

Nopi, a different style of book from Ottolenghi, one based on recipes from his restaurant, has a Citrus Salad perfectly suited for this season. It pairs the citrus with bitter greens and a salsa made from some oven-toasted almonds whizzed with spices and seeds into a salsa. Perfect! He calls it a punchy, crunchy salsa.

This would make a perfect pre-cursor to a main meal, or as a side salad to other dishes – try it with dishes that incorporate grilled items, simple tofu dishes, or a soft and gentle grain or lentil dish.

Are you looking for other Pomelo recipes? TryΒ  Pomelo with Avocado Salad, and Pomelo Salad with Asian Flavours. You will also love Pink Grapefruit and Sumac Salad.

Orange Salads include Orange and Walnut Salad, and Beetroot, Orange and Black Olive Salad.

Or would you like other Belgian Endive (Witlof) dishes? Try Belgian Endive Cooked in its Own Juice and Butter, Grilled Witlof Salad with Dill and Shallots, and Caramelised Belgian Endive with a Cheesy Topping.

Browse all of our Pomelo recipes, all Orange recipes, all Belgian Endive dishes, and all of Ottolenghi dishes that we have tried. All of our many many Salads are here. Or enjoy our collection of easy Late Autumn dishes.

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Fig Salad with Almond Butter Dressing and Slivered Almonds

Autumn means Figs

As I write it is a quiet Autumn morning – the first day of Autumn and it feels peaceful.

Figs come into their own at this time. So delicate, I only bring 3 or 4 home with me at a time, and we eat them one at a time. A delicate thing needs delicate treatment.

For this salad, you can make your own nut butter, or purchase from a good providore or grocer.

Are you looking for fig recipes? You might like to tryΒ Figs with Basil, Goat Curd and Pomegranate Vinaigrette,Β  Fig and Fennel Salad with Vin Cotto, White Fig and Rocket Salad, Figs with Rosewater and Almonds,Β Fig Salad with Blue Cheese, Fig and Pecorino Salad, and Fig and Almond Salad.

Browse all of the Fig recipes here. Find out how to make Nut Butters here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Figs with Rosewater and Almonds

A precious gentle sweet dessert.

Figs are one of the most special fruit. This simple dessert combines flavours that go so well with them – rosewater, honey and almonds. There is no cooking involved, so the dessert (or midnight snack) is ready in minutes.

Are you looking for Fig recipes? TryΒ Roasted Sweet Potato and Fresh Figs, Fig and Almond Salad, Fig and Almond Salad, and Fig and Pecorino Salad.

Browse all of the Fig recipes here. Our Dessert Recipes are here. Or enjoy exploring our Early Autumn dishes.

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Fig and Almond Salad | Prune Plum and Almond Salad

Figs have an affinity for balsamic vinegar. There is something special about that combination. Add red onion, celery and almonds.

There is something about eating healthily that you can feel. It manifests quite tangibly in your body. Strong fingernails, healthy shiny hair. And in your emotions – more positive, more energy, more focused. Healthy for me means eating a constant variety of fresh tasty ingredients, little (almost no) alcohol, almost no caffeinated coffee and being vegetarian. I love the Indian focus on including the six tastes in each meal. There is little take away food in my diet and little processed foods, although my weaknesses are potato chips, corn chips and chocolate.

It does take a focus on food shopping and preparation – the cycles and rhythms of the kitchen – but I can see the difference in those periods where I am eating less fruit and vegetables and more junk food. Thankfully I love to cook.

You might also enjoyΒ Roasted Plum Icecream, and Fig Salad with Blue Cheese.

Are you looking for other salads? These will be just what you are looking for. Browse all of our Fig recipes here and our Almond recipes here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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How to Make Nut Butters

It is good to minimise the use of margarine type spreads because none of them are very healthy. Still use them, of course, but aim for moderation. It is easy to replace margarine at times with pureed avocado or hummus or other bean-based spreads (home made). Check out our growing list of purees of all sorts, dips too, that can be used in place of butter. Nut butters are another alternative.

Cashew butter, almond butter, pistachio butter and peanut butter can all be made – all so very delicious and useful in many ways, not just for spreads. For example, try cashew butter on porridge with some coconut oil and fruit. Very good! Use almond butter with sherry vinegar to make a salad dressing. They can be used for dips, or spooned into soups and wet curries. They good well over steamed vegetables. You can mix them with lemon juice or vinegar and thinned with water to make a great dressing.

Are you a peanut butter addict? The peanut butter is so fresh and vital made this way, I urge you to try it and compare the taste with your purchased one.

It is so easy to make them. Imagine the kids coming home from school and you say “let me whip you up a fresh batch of peanut butter for your snacks!”

Similar recipes include Fava (Split Pea Puree), White Bean Puree with Harissa, and Spiced Tomato Puree.

Also try Fig Salad with Almond Butter Dressing and Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread.

Check out our growing list of purees of all sorts, dips too. Browse some more How To recipes here. Or find inspiration in our Late Spring recipes.

Cashew and Peanut Butters

Nut Butters

Take a cup of raw, unsalted nuts (cashews, walnuts, peanuts, macadamias, pinenuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, or a combination) and place into the food processor. Let the processor run for 2 minutes or so until the nuts are ground and forming a paste. They will look a little grainy. At this point, add a little oil and a pinch of salt (optional), and then continue to process until ground and creamy.

Almond Butter | Nut Butters | Vegetarian | A Life Time of Cooking

Use a tasteless oil if you can – grapeseed or peanut oil would be fine. Cashews will take 1 – 2 Tblspns of oil, but peanuts, being oilier nuts, may take less. Pistachio butter is quite dry and grainy but can be combined with thick yoghurt or cream cheese.

Cashew and Peanut Butters

Nut Butters in the vitamix

Nut butters are especially easy to make if you have a high speed blender like a Vitamix. Place 1 – 4 cups of nuts in the Vitamix – use the smaller jug if you have one for smaller amounts. Blend on high for 1 minute, using the tamper to keep the nuts moving. Switch the machine off if it begins to labour – it is time to add the oil. Almonds will take 2 minutes of grinding.

Add the oil (canola, grapeseed or peanut), according to the nuts, and blend on high again for 30 seconds.

As a guide, use 15-20ml oil per 1 cup nuts for almonds, and vary the oil level according to the oiliness of the nuts. Pistachios might need more – 15-25ml per cup nuts, less for peanuts – about 0.5 Tblspn per cup nuts.

What is the best way to clean a Vitamix after making nut butters? Make a smoothie.

Almond Butter

recipe notes and alternatives
A little sugar or honey can be added with the oil, but is not strictly necessary.

Nuts can be roasted or toasted prior to blending into butter for a deeper taste.

A pinch of salt can be added per cup of nuts, but is also optional.

Try making peanut and sesame seed butter.

This is cross posted to our sister site, Heat in The Kitchen. It appears there as part of the Tips and How To’s series.

browse some recipes with Nuts and Seeds

 

 

Kabli Chana Til Sas | Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread / Sauce / Dip

A dip, a sauce a spread.

Chickpeas really are little balls of sunshine. This recipe is extremely versatile – make it thicker or thinner to suit your use from a thick spread to a thin dressing.

Using chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and sesame seeds, it is an Indian take on Hummus. It takes about 5 minutes to make. Easy. Perfect for a such a lazy Sunday afternoon at home.

You might like to try Turmeric Hummus, Chickpea and Ginger Salad, Celeriac Hummus with Cauliflower Tabbouleh, and Channa Sundal.

Browse all of the Chickpea Recipes, and all of our Dips. Find inspiration in our Late Summer recipes too.

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