Spring and Summer mean strawberries and blueberries, and often they are so cheap that it is worth grabbing several punnets when shopping. Ok, blueberries are never cheap, but sometimes they are cheaper. Both make great icecreams, jams, frappe, lassis and smoothies. And they are wonderful juiced.
Quick pickles are very fashionable now, and why not! They are both tasty and healthy. This is a Chinese recipe that produces a lovely, sweet-sour quick pickle of cucumber. Leave it to soak and pickle in the vinegar mix while you make the rest of the meal, and it will be ready to serve when you are calling the family to the table.
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.
This must be such a healthy dish, with the goodness of okra combined with heaps of garlic and some health-giving turmeric. The okra is cooked whole, steamed gently, until cooked and tender. The dish is served as a dry curry with lots of onion s and coriander leaves to garnish.
We have had a focus on okra for the past 12 months or so, and this is our latest dish in the series. The recipe comes from Madhur Jaffrey.
Oh the Greeks! How wonderful is their food. This recipe is a mustardy Quince relish where the Quinces are cooked in port or Marsala. It is divine, and we use it when we are making large plates of mezze style food – spreads and dips, pickles, olives, crusty bread, fruits, dried fruits, nuts, charred vegetables, and so forth. Recently we have been using our wonderful Cumquat chutney as part of this plate – a new batch was made late one night after a gift of these small tart globular citrus.
For this year, we had half a quince left after braising some Quince and Leeks yesterday (also very delicious served with our Cumquat Chutney). This is the very last of this year’s buckets of quinces from our good friend. Sadly, the house no longer is permeated with the glorious scent of quince, but our cupboards are full of pickles, chutneys, quince paste, quince leather, quince jam, quince vinegar and quince molasses. Glorious.
So, back to this half quince. It was cooked in Marsala, but sweet port can be used, or a sweet wine like Madrodaphne if you have access to Greek wines. The roots of this type of dish is probably English, but it is now common in parts of Greece. Dried fruits can be used in stead of Quince,or added with the quince.
It is glorious with cheese. Try some of this relish and some Quince Paste, with your favourite cheeses.
Amaranth is loved across India (and features strongly in a range of Asian cuisines). All parts are used – the seeds are well known outside India, and at the moment they are fashionable and quite popular. But in India the leaves are also used, and the young, tender stems as well.
Amaranth leaves are available in Asian shops so keep an eye out for them. There are different varieties – some are green, but others often contain a tinge of red. Beautiful indeed.
Meenakshi Ammal in her cookbooks Cook and See mentions Amaranth leaves and stems a lot in her sections on sambars and kuzhambu recipes. This recipe she calls (in English) Greens Soup with Tamarind and it sits in the chapter of Poritha Kuzhambu. It is an unusual name given that soups are not traditionally part of the Tamil cuisine (although they are popular more recently). I wonder if the name in Tamil is quite different. However, she certainly got the colour correct!
This recipe is a cousin to this one of the same name. While that one uses Pitlay spices but not a tadka, this recipe uses sambar powder with a tadka. Both are pretty special and you should try them both. This one is closer to this Poritha Koottu with Tamarind.
But why not browse all of our Kuzhambu recipes, and all Indian Soups? Or explore our Amaranth dishes, and our complete Indian Recipe Collection. Or take some time to check out our easy Early Autumn dishes.
Throughout Italy and Greece, dried bread is common – bread that has been baked, sliced, then baked again until very very dry. The most loved use of this bread, called Dakos or Paximadia in Greece and Friselle in Italy, is in salads where the juice of the tomatoes and oil and vinegar dressing soak into the bread, softening it and adding the flavours of Summer. They can also be used like a bruschetta as a base for a variety of Mediterranean toppings.
How I love Autumn. Small bulbs of beetroot hit the shops with their stalks and leaves on, and are intensely earthy and sweet. Trim the stems and leaves leaving a little of the root if you are going to cook them. But beetroot is also very very good raw. Julienne it, or shave it paper thin and use in salads – you will wonder why you have never done this before.
Today’s salad can be made either way – with wedges of cooked beetroot or slices of paper thin raw beetroot. Either way is delicious! I will leave it to you to decide. Beetroot and yoghurt are a great combination either way!
And by the way, the leaves of the beetroot are delicious too. Saute them in a little olive oil with garlic and caraway seeds, for example, and served with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream.
This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty. The photos today show the salad made with the slices of raw beetroot, but the original recipe chooses cooked beetroot. We have made it both ways, and can recommend both.
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 – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking mainly from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Browse our Beetroot Salads, and indeed, all of our Beetroot recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.
Spring is the time we bring out the juicer once more, and begin our routine of a daily juice. We are publishing a series of our common juice combinations, and today is focused on beetroot. Beetroot juice is a great Spring cleanser but is also great at any other time of year. It pairs well with other fruit and vegetables like apples and carrot. Try our delicious combos listed below.
Spring and Broad Beans go together like birds of a feather. But when the fresh green pods of these green-flavoured beans are no longer available, we are fortunate to have dried broad beans. These come in several sizes and colours – the main ones are large, unpeeled beans, and smaller, yellow, peeled beans. Both are great, slightly differently flavoured, and the yellow ones come with the advantage of not having to peel them before cooking.
This is another great puree made from the dried broad beans (fava beans) – use either type. Today, the puree is used as a dip and spread alongside roasted onions, wilted greens, roasted capsicums, and olives, with toasted ciabatta for spreading and piling on the accompaniments.