Cheesy Butternut Bake in Creamy Sauce with Quince Paste

This is an unusual dish of butternut pumpkin, roasted, then cooked in a creamy cheese sauce with quince paste (membrillo) for a great festive dish.

It is a twist on a quiche in Ottolenghi‘s Plenty More. As we do not cook with eggs, I made this into a dish that is simply the roasted pumpkin baked with cheese and quince paste in a rich creamy sauce. It has been cooked until the top is bubbling and golden. The original recipe is here if you want to make the original.

Similar dishes include: Congee with Butternut, Butternut Tataki with Udon Noodles, and Pumpkin Soup with Lentils.

Or browse all of our Butternut dishes.

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Cauliflower and Parmesan Farinata | Egg-Free

I haven’t cooked Farinata for so long, years in fact – so long that I have forgotten how good it is. So it is back on the menu, with cauliflower, onions and parmesan. Farinata tastes a little like an omelette, and cooked right, it will slide right out of the pan. Served in wedges or squares with a salad (and some Celeriac Chips!), it makes a lovely lunch or light evening meal.

The idea for this farinata came from Ottolenghi’s recipe for Cauliflower Cake in Plenty More. That recipe uses eggs and I wanted to make something with similar flavours. So this recipe for farinata was created.

Ottolenghi says that cauliflower needs more attention. He says that it’s one of the most magnificent of all vegetables and is as versatile as potato. I reckon he is right.

Similar recipes include Farinata with Tomatoes and Cheese, Farinata with Onions and Tomatoes, and Making Socca, Pudla and Farinata.

Or browse our Farinata dishes, Cauliflower recipes and all our dishes from Plenty More.

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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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Parmigiana di Melanzane con Ricotta | Eggplant Parmigiana with Ricotta

Oh the rich traditional Calabrian Eggplant Parmigiana! So very rich with fried eggplant and a mountain of cheese. But lighter and vegetarian versions exist, using ricotta for some of the cheese and instead of fried eggplant, using grilled or baked. That is what we have today.

Eggplant Parmigiana is actually a Southern Italian version of the original Northern Italian classic. Serve as a side dish or the centre piece of a meal. Crusty bread and a green salad is all that is needed.

Similar dishes include Three Cheese Eggplant Bake, Eggplant Kuku with Cauliflower Puree, Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce, Cheesy Baked Eggplants, and Caponata Siciliana.

Browse all of our Eggplant dishes and all of our Italian recipes. Or explore our Mid Spring collection of recipes.

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Fennel a la Greque with Parmesan

When I had a fennel bulb sitting in the bottom of the fridge, my friend Jude came to the rescue with this easy cooked-in-the-oven dish, a la Grecque in style, melt-in-the-mouth in texture and oh-my-goodness flavour-wise.

The fennel, topped with parmesan cheese, is slowly cooked in wine and olive oil until achingly tender, then uncovered and left to crisp and caramelise. It is perfect either hot from the oven or at room temperature. It works well as a side dish, starter or part of a mezze, tapas or grazing plate.

Similar recipes include Fennel Jam, Baked Fennel Stuffed with Feta, Fennel and Potato with White Peas and Garlic, and Braised Fennel with Capers, Olives and Ricotta.

Browse all of our Fennel dishes and our A la Grecque recipes. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

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Roast Mushrooms with Burrata and Baked Toast Soldiers

Roast Mushrooms -a breakfast of champions. These mushrooms are perfect for the morning meal, for brunch, as a first course later in the day or as a BBQ in the evening. Spiced oil is spooned into large mushrooms which are then roasted before some creamy burrata is placed on the warm mushrooms. I know that you will love this dish, especially if you like egg-free breakfasts.

The idea for this dish comes from Ottolenghi’s Simple. He tosses sliced mushrooms in the oil before roasting them but I have a love of whole roasted mushrooms. The oil mix he uses is pure genius!  As always, I never feel constrained by Ottolenghi’s recipes and will adapt them to what is in our kitchen, pantry and garden. As we do not eat eggs, I make our usual stunning substitution – burrata. Its outer layer has the texture of cooked eggwhite and the inside is soft and creamy.  If you want to check his original recipes, see his books and his Guardian column.

By the way, these mushrooms are great in burgers – pair them with halloumi, grilled zucchini, cos lettuce and onions caramelised with a touch of brown sugar. Add slices of tomato and pickled beetroot if you wish.

Similar recipes include Mushrooms with Barley and Preserved Lemon, Pan Fried Mushrooms in Butter, Roasted Mushrooms with Butternut and Spinach, Mushrooms and Black Rice, and Mushrooms in Terracotta.

Browse all of our Mushroom dishes and recipes using Burrata. Ottolenghi recipes are here – just those from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Date Tahini Biscuits | Egg Free, Sugar Free

The Summer of 2019/2020 was a terrible hot Summer with temperatures up to 47C. The whole country was alight with bushfires. It was terrifying as loved ones were caught in the fires and some lost everything. The trauma of those fires lingers. It will take years to recover. As a country we don’t learn to manage our beautiful bush well, and our government will not act.

Later came COVID-19 and the trauma of those days. But before we had even though of that, on the cooler days, I wanted to bake. Anything to take my mind off the horror of the lives lost and the ongoing loss of property and animals in the fires. A need to feed people, to keep them safe and close to home. I am not a baker, but these became usual fare at our place for a while, along with scones, tahini biscuits, date loaf, ANZAC biscuits, and many other old fashioned but comforting foods.

Similar recipes include Semolina Butter Biscuits, Date Loaf, Tahini Biscuits, Scones, and ANZAC Biscuits.

Browse all of our Biscuits or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Roasted Eggplant with Saffron Yoghurt

Eggplant and Yoghurt is very common, even eggplant and saffron yoghurt is not unusual. Ottolenghi has his version in his first cookbook, Ottolenghi. This book is still one of my favourites, given to me as a gift when I was spending a couple of months in London. Lucky for me I was so very close to Islington, and so Ottolenghi’s became my usual haunt. This was long before anyone in Australia had heard of him. So this book brings back many joyful memories.

As usual, I feel free to massage his recipes to suit my preferences at the time and the availability of ingredients. Today I had a deep sticky sauce that I had made sitting on the kitchen bench, so the eggplant slices got smeared in this before roasting. You don’t need to do that, though. This recipe is actually very very simple to make (Yay!) and it is perfect for evening suppers. It doesn’t seem that it has appeared in the Guardian column, so you will need to check his books if you want to check the original.

Similar recipes include Eggplant Kuku with Cauliflower Puree, Noodles with Fried Eggplant, Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce, and Cheesy Baked Eggplants.

Browse all of the recipes from Ottolenghi, and all of our Eggplant dishes. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Gigantes or Lima Beans Baked with Tomatoes and Pomegranate Molasses

I have a few loved recipes where beans are baked in stock and a drizzle of oil. We make them all Winter because they are so easy to make, so delicious, and they can accompany almost anything. Both the Italians and the Greeks are specialists at baking beans.

In this recipe we use Lima beans as a substitute for Gigantes which we cannot get locally. They have a shorter cooking time, so if you are lucky enough to have true Gigantes, cook for a little longer.

We have used our home made molasseses in this dish and love it with our home made pomegranate molasses and our quince molasses. I have used Hawaiian Chilli Water too. Use Grape Molasses if you have it for an authentic Greek touch, or try other available types – date molasses or even tamarind molasses. When the molasses has been too sweet I have added sour grapes from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern stores. Each variation will give the beans a different flavour, so you will never get bored with this dish. Diane Kochilas, in her book Ikaria, says she has made this dish with pine honey and orange juice! Diane is my go-to person for Greek recipes.

Similar recipes include Lima Beans Baked with Spinach and Feta, Tuscan Beans Baked with Sage and Lemon, and Spicy Baked Butter Beans.

Browse all of our Lima Bean recipes and all of our Pomegranate Molasses dishes. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

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Greek Chickpeas Slow Baked in Stock and Olive Oil with Herbs and Tomatoes

These will have to be the softest chickpeas ever. They are par boiled then baked in a slow oven for 2.5 hours. The dish is served either hot, warm or cold – it will make a meal in itself with a little feta and a green salad or some cooked greens. The recipe is adapted from Ikaria, by my favourite Greek cookbook author, Diane Kochilas.  It is a dish that can be made at any time of the year.

Similar recipes include Baked Black Chickpeas,Eggplant and Tomatoes, Softest Chickpeas, Baked Dakos with Chickpeas, Feta and Tomatoes, and Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas.

Browse all of our Chickpea recipes and all of our Greek dishes. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

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