Polenta Crisps with Avocado and Yoghurt

Polenta crisps and polenta chips are the modern way to cook polenta, and both are jolly good. The polenta is cooked to a thick mass which is spread out on trays to firm up. It is then cut to shape and fried. I can’t tell you how moreish they are, totally addictive. And when used to scoop up an avocado, yoghurt and lime dip they are even more so.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty More. In the scheme of Ottolenghi recipes, it is relatively easy, just needing time to let the polenta cool. We are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area, but the only change we have made to this recipe is to add some chopped curry leaves into the polenta. You can leave them out if you wish.

Not using polenta very much? Grab that packet from the back of the cupboard; these polenta crisps should do the trick: they’re very easy to make and even easier to eat.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking 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.

Similar recipes include Butternut with Buckwheat Polenta, Peter’s Wet Polenta and Tomatoes, and Pea and Mint Croquettes.

Browse our Polenta dishes, our Dips, and our Avocado recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Polenta Crisps with Avocado and Yoghurt”

Brussels Sprout Risotto with Blue Cheese

A sprout risotto? You’d better believe it. Brussels Sprout are such a controversial vegetable – you either love them or hate them. We grew up with overcooked and soggy sprouts that had the colour and natural sweetness leached out of them and left the kitchen with a cabbage-y sprouts aroma. So in our kitchen they are either eaten raw, roasted, fried, or sauteed with a little garlic.

Unusual pairings with sprouts include pomegranate seeds, pomegranate molasses or maple syrup. Salty, sweet and sour flavours are great – try lemon juice and lime juice, preserved lemon, capers, parmesan, chilli, almonds, barberries, pistachios, even tiny toasted croutons, all work very very well.

Today’s recipe uses Brussels Sprouts in a risotto. It is an unusual recipe but you will love it. It is an Ottolenghi recipe from Plenty More. It combines shredded sprouts and fried sprouts in the risotto with lemon, parmesan and the bite of Blue Cheese. How exciting! It is lemony, herby, cheesy, and of course, with the flavour of delicious sprouts.

In fact, 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 – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Brussels Sprouts Salad, Gentle Vegetables cooked in Wine, Three Cheese Risotto, and Asparagus Risotto.

Browse all of our Risotto recipes and Brussels Sprouts recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Brussels Sprout Risotto with Blue Cheese”

Mushrooms with Black Glutinous Rice

Black glutinous rice, available from Asian groceries, is actually a very deep burgundy colour. It is gloriously nutty in taste, beautiful to look at and has a soft, starchy texture that is slightly al dente, because each grain retains its integrity when cooked. Like brown rice, black rice is unmilled, and it is the dark outer husk that makes it so nutty and chewy. It’s also why it takes longer to cook than many other rices, and needs to be soaked before cooking.

Black glutinous rice works in both savoury and sweet dishes. It’s a popular pudding rice in South-East Asia where it is cooked with water, coconut milk and pandan. It is best known for this delicious dessert. However it can be used in savoury ways too, particularly as a striking alternative to other short-grain rices.

Continue reading “Mushrooms with Black Glutinous Rice”

Roasted Eggplant with Crushed Chickpeas and Herb Yoghurt

How comforting is a dish of eggplant, roasted in thick slices, with chickpeas and cumin, toasted, and a drizzle of minty yoghurt sauce. How satisfying.  The eggplant is darkly roasted but achingly tender, the chickpeas are mixed with lemon flesh for an enlivening tang, and the yoghurt adds a light freshness to the dish.

Of course, this dish is an Ottolenghi recipe – did you notice his signatures? It is from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking 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.

Similar dishes include Babaganoush, Baingan Pora, and Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate.

Browse our Dips and our Spreads, and our Eggplant recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Roasted Eggplant with Crushed Chickpeas and Herb Yoghurt”

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Miso Tamarind Mayonnaise

As I write, sweetcorn is very cheap, so we have been indulging ourselves in sweetcorn dishes. Such a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, simmered, grilled, roasted and pureed. In particular, corn on the cob is a special snack, bringing back memories of childhood and eating corn fresh from the vegetable garden, the juicy corns as sweet as sweet can be.

For this recipe, the corn is blanched then char grilled before being smothered in a mayonnaise with tamarind and miso. It is delicious. I use an eggless mayo as we do not cook with eggs, but use the base mayo that you prefer. I will leave that to your choice. The tamarind and miso mayonnaise is utterly delicious!

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking 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.

Similar recipes include Roasted Sweetcorn and Avocado Salad, and Sweetcorn and Tomato Salad with Greens.

Browse all of our Sweetcorn recipes and our Miso dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Grilled Corn on the Cob with Miso Tamarind Mayonnaise”

Dakos | Tomato and Bread Salad from Crete

Dakos, the salad, is a loved salad of Crete, made with rock hard crisp breads and tomatoes, feta and olives. Ottolenghi has a version in his book Plenty More, born of his stay in Crete where he fell in love with it.

Dakos is alsothe name given to  oven-dried breads (often called rusks), which are made with barley to make them sweeter, nuttier and more crunchy than their wheat-only counterparts. Spread out on a plate and covered with the best ripest chopped tomatoes, good olive oil, some crumbled white cheese and black olives, they are seriously addictive. (Confusingly, both this dish and the unadorned rusks themselves are called Dakos!)

Cretan barley rusks aren’t easy to come by (try Greek grocers or online), but the salad Dakos is easy to make with any dried bread, e.g. the Italian Frese Integrali (aka friselle, freselle, frisedde, fresedde, frise) or the Swedish wholemeal Krisprolls, which are more commonly available in some supermarkets and many specialty stores. The tomato juices and vinegar seep into and soften the dry bread as they mix with the creamy cheese and olive oil, to create a timeless Greek experience.

However, if you don’t have access to Dakos or other rusks, try drizzling some medium thick slices of wheat bread with olive oil and baking for 10 – 15 mins in a 175C – 180C oven. They need to be hard, and the ingredients of the salad soak into the bread to soften it and make it addictively delicious.

The taste of any simple tomato-based salad is dependent on the quality of the tomatoes. There is a rich and beefy depth to end-of-season tomatoes that can exceed even those of high summer, but if yours are anything other than bursting with flavour, a pinch of sugar or a few drops of balsamic vinegar will help draw out their natural sweetness. And maybe mix your feta with some ricotta, to simulate the flavour of the sweet Cretan mizithra cheese, which is often served with dakos. (Thanks for this advice, Ottolenghi.)

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking 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.

Similar recipes include Simple Tomato Bread Salad, and Tapanade Bread Salad with Mozzarella.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads, and all of our Salads. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Dakos | Tomato and Bread Salad from Crete”

Broccolini with Sweet Tahini

A salad to convert even the biggest tahini-hater. It is a take on a Japanese favourite. Broccolini, or use sprouting broccoli, is mixed with other greens for a visually pleasing and refreshing blend of textures. The recipe can also be made with just broccoli, sprouting broccoli or broccolini, with just the dressing. Perfect. Even more perfect – the Broccolini can be char-grilled for the salad, should you so wish.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

Similar recipes include Smashed Chickpeas with Broccoli, and BBQ’d Broccoli.

Browse all of our Broccolini recipes and all of our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More. Dishes using Tahini are here. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Broccolini with Sweet Tahini”

Roasted Butternut with Chilli Yoghurt Sauce and Coriander Garlic Oil

Another cold winter morning, another zero degree morning, and another excuse to turn the oven on and get the butternut pumpkin out. We classify butternut as a pumpkin although elsewhere it may be called a squash.

Simply made, this is an easy recipe – the butternut is roasted and some pumpkin seeds are toasted in the residual heat of the oven. Yoghurt is mixed with chilli sauce and some coriander is whizzed with oil – both are drizzled over the cooked pumpkin. Quick and easy. It can be made early in the morning while the coffee is brewing the porridge bubbling on the stove, and then left until lunch time.

The toasted pumpkin seeds (the green inner ones, not the hard shelled, large pumpkin seeds) are wonderful – crispy and light. Make more of them and keep some for snacking during the day.

A dish to celebrate two of Turkish cuisine’s great gifts to the world, yoghurt and chilli.

By the way, the Chilli Yoghurt Sauce in this recipe is a winner. It is simply chilli sauce mixed with yoghurt (I used one of my slow cooked chilli jams). The truth be told, I could not stop eating the left overs. It was stirred into rice, dolloped on soup, and drizzled over steamed vegetables. The last spoonful was smeared on buttery bread and eaten with delight. I really advise you to make double recipe, and keep the remainder in the fridge.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking 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.

Similar dishes include Butternut with Buckwheat Polenta, Roast Pumpkin with Miso Sesame Dressing, and Caramelised Roast Pumpkin.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Roasted Butternut with Chilli Yoghurt Sauce and Coriander Garlic Oil”

Grilled Zucchini and Fennel with Saffron Crumbs

Grilled vegetables are commonly used in our kitchen to make simple and quick salads. Veggies are sliced thinly or cut into chunks and then grilled, usually on the BBQ, or inside on a ridged grill pan. Simply dressed with olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt, they make a flavoursome salad or side dish.

So trust Ottolenghi to take grilled vegetables to the next level by adding “crumbs” or croutons that have been soaked in saffron water then fried with garlic. These are scattered over grilled vegetables for a salad that has visual impact and tastes delicious. The crumbs have many uses, so make them in bulk and use them often.

The vegetables that Ottolenghi uses in this dish are zucchini and fennel, but don’t restrict yourself to this combination. Also, try scattering the crumbs over roasted vegetables too. And onto soups in place of croutons. My goodness, they are good.

The fried saffron crumbs in this add colour and a luxurious crunch to an otherwise simple looking dish. Make more than you need, and omit the garlic – they’ll keep in an airtight jar for a week or so.

The recipe comes from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. In fact, it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking 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.

Similar dishes include Marinated Zucchini, Zucchini in Oil with Mint, Chilli and Garlic, and Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella.

Browse all of our Zucchini dishes and all of our Fennel recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Grilled Zucchini and Fennel with Saffron Crumbs”

Yummy Zucchini Dip with Yoghurt Sauce and Buttery Chilli Pinenuts

Just when you had thought you had seen everything, charred/burnt zucchini crosses your path. In the same way that you would char eggplants for dishes like Babaganoush, zucchinis can be roasted and turned into delicious dips and spreads. After charring, the flesh is slippery, silky, smoky and delicious.

Then, in Middle Eastern Style, the mashed zucchini flesh is topped with a sauce made with yoghurt and Roquefort cheese. In the original of this Ottolenghi recipe, the sauce uses an egg to thicken it. As we do not cook with eggs, we use the age old trick of adding besan (chickpea flour) to the cheese-yoghurt mix, and let it cook out to produce the most beautiful sauce. It is tangy and intriguing, this sauce.

THEN, over the top of what already feels like a whole dish, chilli buttery pinenuts are drizzled, and that is scattered with za’atar. Divine. Inspired. Gorgeous. It challenges Baba Ganoush for deliciousness.

As mentioned (you could guess anyway, right?) this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking 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.

Similar dishes include Orange and Pecan Cream Cheese, Babaganoush, Baingan Pora, and Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate.

Browse our Dips and our Spreads, and our Zucchini recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Yummy Zucchini Dip with Yoghurt Sauce and Buttery Chilli Pinenuts”