Green Puy Lentils, Asparagus and Watercress

Green lentils, brown lentils, red lentils, black lentils, yellow lentils, split peas, dried peas – the world of Western lentils is quite different to the world of Indian lentils. It presents a challenge to your pantry space if you commonly cook lentils from both cuisines. Two of the coloured lentils we adore and keep in our pantry each winter – the green French or Du Puy lentil, and the black Beluga lentil.

This salad is terrific, mixing hot green lentils with parmesan and asparagus with a dressing made from watercress and parsley. In many ways, this dish is about the parmesan rather than the lentils, dressing or asparagus. That yeasty, earthy umami flavour with the lentils and dressing as a base will have you coming back for more and more. The asparagus offers a delightful crunch.

It is an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty. Currently we are cooking from his book 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.

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.  For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

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

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

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Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato

We have been making this dish for ever and a day. We make all sorts of variations. Sometimes we use Trecce, the plaits of Mozzarella, or really large balls, and tear them apart, drizzling with a grassy extra virgin olive oil and tossing tomato wedges, cucumber slices and basil leaves on top. It is divine, and ready in 5 minutes. Salt and pepper, and it is done.

Sometimes we use tiny bocconcini balls, cutting or tearing them in halves and marinating them, or using them as-is. Add some spring onions to the tomatoes and cucumbers. Drizzle with even more olive oil.

We can’t even remember where we first came across this practice but it is common. Ottolenghi has a great recipe where large balls of Buffalo Mozzarella are marinated in some spices, herbs, garlic and oil, before tomatoes are added. This is probably one of the simplest yet finest suppers you can make. It is a great summery meal to eat on the couch watching your favourite show.

Use only ripe summery tomatoes, juicy and sweetly intense, straight from the garden if you can. Get the best-quality buffalo mozzarella you can find. Serve with good crusty white bread. Enjoy!

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.

Are you looking for other Mozzarella recipes? Try Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Lemon and Caperberries, and Mozzarella with Crispy Tomato Crumbs.

We have lots of Tomato Salads. Try Tomato Salad with Lemon or Lime.

Browse all of our Ottolenghi recipes, and all of our Mozzarella dishes. Our Tomato recipes are here and our Salads here. Check out our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More.Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate

There is a marriage made in heaven, and that is eggplant and tahini. Oh, goodness, how magic happens with that combination. There are a quadzillion recipes that feature that specific combination, and it is no wonder. We have quite a few on this site too. They tend to be Middle Eastern in origin, or in style.

This recipe is no exception – it is Middle Eastern, it is magic, and it is delicious. The combination features pomegranate molasses, and the usual garlic and lemon juice. You will adore it.

It is an Ottolenghi treasure, from his book Plenty. We have a small project at the moment, to cook from his books, and currently we are cooking from Plenty More but not ignoring his other books altogether. I have to say, this is one of his simpler recipes, easy to make without too many processes. It can be made in just a few minutes after the eggplant is charred. This contrasts with the Persian Noodle dish we made yesterday, which contains 7 different processes and 5 different elements. Its a pleasure to cook such a simple dish after that one!

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 – 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 Quince Molasses and Tahini Dip, Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Chilli-Garlic Kale, Babaganoush, Persian Style Eggplant, and Begun Pora.

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

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

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Potato Salad with Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella

New potatoes in Autumn deserve special attention. They are simply gorgeous simmered, unpeeled, until tender then tossed while hot with butter, seasoning and finely chopped parsley.

Here we ramp up the flavours a little by tossing the cooked potatoes in pesto and mixing in smoked buffalo mozzarella. It is a magical combination, and gorgeous on a sunny Autumn day, sitting under the last of the grapevine leaves enjoying the sun and a bottle or two of wine.

This is my take on an Ottolenghi recipe in Plenty. He makes the salad with quail eggs. We do not use eggs in our kitchen, but we have found that either a good quality, soft and oozy buffalo mozzarella or some burrata are wonderful alternatives.

It is Ottolenghi Cook 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 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.

Similar recipes include Beautiful, Simple Potato Salad, Grown Up Potato Salad, and Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayo.

Browse our Potato Salads and all of our Potato recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn 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.

Similar recipes include Fig and Halloumi Salad, 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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Baked Yoghurt Encrusted with Vine Leaves

Ottolenghi believes that Turkish cuisine is one of the most exciting and accomplished in the world. I would argue that Indian is, but the cuisines between Indian and the Mediterranean definitely come close. Ottolenghi’s Book Plenty contains this unusual savoury cake (perhaps a pie) from the Turkish part of Northern Cyprus (where it is called Kibris Böreği).  A version of this dish is also known in Greece, being made in the Drama Region of Greece’s Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, where it’s known as Asmapita. The name comes from the Turkish word Asma, which means grapevine.

Ottolenghi credits a book Classic Turkish Cooking by Ghillie Basan, so I borrowed the book to browse through. It is a great book if you are looking for Turkish recipes. I recommend it.

The recipe caught our attention because we have a Vine Leaf thing going at the moment, using them in a number of ways. We haven’t made dolmades yet, but they are on the list. Have a look at what we have made so far. There are more to come.

This is a dish where a shallow layer of yoghurt mixed with herbs and thickened with rice flour is baked wrapped in vine leaves! Grape leaves impart their exceptional flavour and aroma to the filling as it bakes. The breadcrumbs and sesame seeds add a crunchy layer to each slice. How very delicious! This recipe comes together in minutes, tastes great, and can be eaten warm or cold. It is an excellent contribution to a table of mezze.

Have I mentioned too, how the grape vine leaves are scented, and the kitchen begins to smell like a grape arbour. As you scald them, they release the fragrance. As I dry them in the sun the outside deck is scented with grape vines. As they bake, they have a lovely woody, grapevine aroma.

Similar recipes include Dolmades, Grape Leaf Encrusted Rice Pie, Burghul Dolmas, Grape Vine Leaf Powder, Grilled Pecorino in Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves.

Browse our Turkish 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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Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes with Caper Vinaigrette

This year it is a long cold start to Summer. As I write, I sit here in a jumper in January, thinking of putting a rug over my legs rather than turn the heater on. So, needing something to warm the kitchen, I popped some roast veg in the oven.

Not any roast vegetables – this is an Ottolenghi dish, one that takes a common dish and makes it extraordinary. It is a favourite, and I don’t know why I haven’t posted it before. My note in the cookbook is “Magnificent” pencilled in the margin.

It takes sweet potatoes and parsnips and roasts them with garlic and (later) some cherry tomatoes, before dressing them with a tangy vinaigrette that is both sweet and sour, full of capers for a saltiness. It’s the perfect dish for any festival, celebration, Sunday lunch or any day of the week is born.

Ottolenghi says “The addition of a vinaigrette to freshly roasted vegetables gives them a freshness and juiciness they don’t normally have; the acidity brings out new shades of flavour, too.”

You might also like Roasted Beetroot with Cumin Seeds, Perfect Roast Potatoes, or Hot Roasted Carrot Salad.

Try some Parsnip recipes too: Roughly Mashed Parsnip with Parmesan and Olive Oil, and Parsnip and Carrot Mash.

Take some time to explore the Ottolenghi recipes we have tried. Our Sweet Potato recipes are here and our Parsnip recipes here. Or browse our Mid Summer collection of easy recipes. (You might prefer our Mid Winter recipes!)

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Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing

Such a wonderful earthy flavour, Freekeh, that strange sounding name (to Western ears) belonging to the nutty grain. Sold whole or cracked, it is easy to find at Middle Eastern stores, some providores and some bulk lentil and grain places. Freekeh actually means rubbed – the process of removing the grains from its husks.

Like quinoa, freekeh is full of protein, with a beautiful smokiness, and is dead easy to cook. It is Middle Eastern duram wheat that is picked while unripe then traditionally roasted over wood fires to burn off the husks – hence its wonderful smoky flavour. Surprisingly it is also a little sweet, so a squeeze of lemon or lime always does wonders to a freekeh dish.

Freekeh is so unusual as generally the grains we use have been allowed to mature and dry on the head.

This dish is a take on an Ottolenghi dish from his book, Plenty, but has some minor variations. It is beautifully cooked by simmering for 15 mins and then leaving covered, to steam until cooked. Then it is tossed with herbs and topped with garlicky lemon yoghurt before serving.

Similar recipes include Vegetable Pulao from the Beaches of Goa, Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.

Browse all of our Freekeh recipes and all of our Pilafs. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or browse our Late Spring collection of recipes.

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Jerusalem Artichokes with Halloumi and Basil Oil

A beautiful dish from Ottolenghi – one that takes time to produce a marvellous dish

Pottering in the kitchen today, I had a little more time so brought together Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem Artichoke recipe from his book Plenty. Simple to make, it takes just a little time as you need to roast the artichokes, make the charred tomatoes, blend up the basil oil and grill the halloumi. It appears a random combination of ingredients, but it is not so. A perfect combo of bitter, sour, sweet, crispy, crunchy, soft and creamy.

Sometimes bitter greens are not available, so I substitute nasturtium leaves which are always plentiful here. And some rocket leaves.

Are you after other Jerusalem Artichoke recipes? Try Jerusalem Artichoke and Cumin Salad. We have some others  planned, so check back here later for updates.

Or some Halloumi dishes? Try Halloumi and Orange Salad, Halloumi Pizza and Halloumi and Watermelon Salad.

Browse all of our Halloumi recipes, our Tomato recipes, and our Jerusalem Artichoke dishes. Explore all of 0ur Ottolenghi recipes. Or browse our Late Autumn dishes.

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Pomelo and Carrot Salad

Once again we head to Ottolenghi land, and again play with that delightful and under-used fruit, Pomelo. This time the pomelo is complimented by the sweet-tart pickled carrots and heaps of Asian green herbs. If you can’t find Pomelo (Asian groceries often have them), use Pink Grapefruit.

This is a lovely side for a vegetarian BBQ, a herby bowl of steamed rice, or some Japanese Noodles. Pair it with some freshly deep fried tofu or grilled halloumi. It is a very special salad.

Similar recipes include Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomelo, Pomelo and Ruby Grapefruit Salad with Avocado, Pomelo with Avocado, Pomelo and Green Mango Salad, Glazed Carrots with Cumin and Ginger, and Three Citrus Salad.

Similar Carrot Salads include Chickpea and Carrot Salad, Moroccan Carrot Salad, and Carrot and Blueberry Salad. Or try Cherry and Hazelnut Salad.

Have a look at our other Pomelo recipes and our Carrot Salads. You might like to explore other Ottolenghi recipes. All of our Salad recipes are here. Or browse our recipes for Mid Spring.

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Beetroot, Orange and Black Olive Salad

A harmony of flavours.

Did I tell you just how good Ottolenghi’s Beetroot, Orange and Black Olive Salad is? It is amazing. From Plenty, a favourite amongst his books. It is a great salad for late Winter and early Spring, but can be made any time.

Our similar recipes include Orange and Walnut Salad, and Orange and Olive Salad with Mint and Basil.

Or are you looking for Beetroot Salads? Try Beetroot, Herb and Nut Salad, Roasted Beetroot Salad with Sweetcorn, and Beets in a Herb Dressing.

Also browse our other Ottolenghi dishes, all of our Beetroot Recipes, Orange Recipes, and Olive Recipes. We have a wealth of Salad Recipes for you to try. Or explore our Early Spring recipes for more inspiration.

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Du Puy Lentils with Feta and Tomatoes

Such a bang of wonderful flavours

This is another Ottolenghi classic. Ottolenghi’s recipes have a reputation for being rather involved but I have also found that the reputation for his recipes being involved is, in the main, unjustified.

This is from my favourite of his set of books – Plenty. It is a relatively simple dish, and adapts easily to some precooking. The tomatoes can be roasted beforehand, for example. You can precook the lentils and onions too, and leave assembly to just before serving.

You might also want to try Lauki Melon with Tomato and Feta, Puy Lentils with Asparagus and Watercress, Du Puy Lentils with Witlof and Honeyed Walnuts, , Puy Lentils with Ragout of Mushrooms, Cyprian Grain Salad with Freekeh, Du Puy Lentil Soup, and Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils.

Browse more of Ottolenghi’s recipes, and all du Puy Lentil recipes are here.  Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Black Pepper Tofu

With all of the SE Asian flavours that make great food, plus the tofu is deep fried, what is not to like?

Ever since I saw the Black Pepper Tofu in Ottolenghi’s Plenty, I have wanted to make it. It has all of the SE Asian flavours that make great food, plus the tofu is deep fried, what is not to like?

You might like to try Tofu, Spinach and Miso NapoleonsBaked Marinated Tofu, and What to Do with Deep Fried Tofu.

Or browse our Tofu recipes here and, and other Ottolenghi recipes. Our recipes from Asia are here. Or browse our easy Late Summer dishes.

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Smashed Garlic and Ginger Cucumber Salad

Serve as part of a summery luncheon spread. Yum!

At Xmas the fridge fills with all things wonderful, the exotic and the common. And then I spend the next weeks slowly working through the food left in the fridge after cooking a xmas meal for  the family.

This morning I am working with some pre-cooked white peas and cucumbers. The white peas were turned into a wonderful curry – North Indian in style with (seemingly) a million spices  and a tomato-y gravy.

It needed something light and airy to go with it, something to lift the “groundedness” of it, to bring a little tang and bite, to cut through the deliciousness but heaviness of that sauce.

Often in India a small bowl with pieces of raw onion, cucumber, maybe tomato, will be served with a curry for this same reason. The juxtaposition of the two types of tastes is amazing. But I opted for a cucumber salad that is almost pickled, and one which has the same bang and bite as the traditional accompaniments in India. Maybe more so as it also has some raw garlic!

Similar recipes include Cucumber, Feta, Mint and Dill Salad, Cucumber and Avocado Salad, and Cucumber Salad with Capers and Ricotta.

Looking for other cucumber recipes? You can find some here. And some other Ottolenghi recipes here. Wanting other salads? Try here. Or just browse the Cucumber Salads.

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Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemon Grass Creme Fraiche

Another Ottolenghi Classic.

One of our xmas lunch dishes came straight from Yotham Ottolenghi. Let’s be clear – most years we cook at least one dish from Yotham’s repertoire. Last year it was Potato Tartin. This year it was sweet potato wedges. They are surprisingly good.

The creme fraiche dressing was a bit heavy, I thought. Next time I might replace the creme fraiche with some thick yoghurt. Otherwise, the recipe was cooked mostly as detailed in Yotham’s book Plenty.

Have you also tried Potato and Sweet Potato Vindaloo or Madras Curry with Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach? Also try Chilli Soy Sauce.

Browse all of Ottolenghi dishes here, and all of our Sweet Potato recipes here and here.

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