I usually turn to mung beans when I feel like a bit of comfort and nourishment, but today it is whole red lentils, masoor gram. This recipe is very simple, very easy, very home-cooking style, and very delicious. It has the taste of coriander and cinnamon, and has green capsicums added for additional flavour and texture. This is uncommon, but not unusual, and we love the taste and texture.
A salad dressing in a whizz – and much more…
So simple, how have I never thought of this before? With a surfeit of roasted peppers, due to roasting them on the BBQ after a Sunday lunch, I whizzed them into a perfect salad dressing.
The puree can also be used as a sauce – use with halloumi, for example, or some lentil balls. Drizzle over steamed or roasted vegetables. Mix with stir fried greens. Drizzle a little in wraps and sandwiches, or use it thick as a spread. It could be a dip. Mix with yoghurt for a wonderful sauce, dip or dressing. Use as a pasta sauce. Use as a base for a cold soup. Use for a dressing on a cold pasta salad. It is a pure delight!
The BBQ is lit to make a quick lunch, so afterwards I roast some red capsicums while we eat. These will make a super salad to go with dinner. There is definitely something about roasted capsicums, skin removed, flesh soft. It evokes summer nights with its colour and utter deliciousness.
This recipe is a quick version of the delicious Peperoni in Padella.
Similar recipes include Sweet Onions with Roasted Peppers, Roasted Red Pepper with Mozzarella and White Beans, and Sweet Red Pepper Salads.
Perfect for a light lunch.
While this dish can be cooked on the stove top or in the oven, it is the perfect dish for a weekend BBQ. Served with yoghurt and flatbread, it is a perfect light weekend lunch.
Use either hot or mild banana chillies. Hot Banana chillies contrast well with the more mild filling. Mild Banana chillies have a mild sweet flavour, despite their chilli-related name. They are not at all hot or spicy. And we temper the heat of the spices in the stuffing by using warming spices and only a little chilli, adjusted to your taste.
Bharwan means stuffed in Hindi. The stuffing is made from chickpea flour and spices, moistened with tomatoes. You can basically add any ingredient of your choice into the stuffing. The combination of the banana chillies and mild tangy stuffing is quite flavoursome and this dish makes a great light lunch or side dish. It is a recipe from Rajasthan in India.
I am not sure where I first came across Ousback’s recipe — he was very popular with Vogue Entertainment Magazine around the mid 1990, so perhaps it was there. Anders Ousback was well known as a lover of food and wine, and this relish of his was also well known and loved. He was influential in the Sydney food scene, and influenced many chefs and restaurant owners. This recipe of his has stood the test of time, and is as wonderful today as it was back then.
There were several variations of the Grilled Pepper Relish. The one below is the one that I love because of its freshness and the wonderful taste of the spices it includes.
I am sure the recipe that Anders used has provenance. You can see the origins in Elizabeth David’s Red Pepper Relish. And there are infinite purees and pastes of roasted red peppers, such as Serbian Ajvar, an Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Relish.
Similar recipes include Harissa, Roasted Red Pepper Sauces, and Red Pepper, Eggplant and Tomato Pasta Sauce. Or try Fennel and Lemon Chutney, and Char Grilled Banana Chillies Stuffed with Tomatoes and Spices.
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can find other recipes from that blog in our Retro Recipes series.
I am on a mission – each day in the warmer months, I make a salad which we take to have with our lunches, or eat at home if we are home, and leftovers are used for snacks or with the evening meal.
The salads vary from day to day, and I get inspiration from all sorts of places. As I have mentioned before, I do love Bittman’s 101 salads, and am gradually working my way through the vegetarian ones. Others can often be adapted, leaving out or substituting the non-vegetarian ingredients. This is my second Summer using his beauties, and I am probably about half way through.
Today’s salad is an onion salad, with some roasted peppers. It is simple, but glorious on this 36C day (as I am writing this), and at those sorts of temperatures, all you want is simple. To make the salad, sometimes I have charred, roasted eggplant and capsicums that were cooked on the BBQ, and other times I slice the capsicums lengthwise into straight pieces which I grill on a grill pan on the stove. That is what I have done today, as I used the fully roasted ones to make Harissa.
Try some other Bittman Salads. There is a Glorious Five Bean Salad, Wombok and Radish Salad with Peanut Dressing, and Tomato and Strawberry Salad with Basil and Balsamic.
Or explore other Onion Salads. Try Sweet Onion Salad with Coriander Spice, the Cucumber and Red Onion Salad with Mustard, our Grilled Mushroom and Red Onion Salad, the beautiful Caramelised Onions and Greens Salad, and Indian Kachumber.
You might also like to try Roasted Sweet Pepper Salad.
I have had 2 revelations this week – firstly, how good rice salad is. It is a salad that my Mother made a lot in Summer but some how it has never ever made it onto my radar. Perhaps we ate too much of it as we grew up, perhaps hers never inspired me to make them myself (sorry Mum).
In this 42C (107F) heat, I made a rice salad on a whim, because all I had to do was turn on the rice cooker – no other hot steamy cooking steps required. And the salad was so good, we are now converted.
The other revelation is, how good idli rice is for both stir-fried rice, and for rice salads. Idli rice is the type of rice used in India for making idli, dosa and the like. It is rice with attitude – separate, independent grains, that retain some bite even after cooking (think al dente rice), and that have a bit of swag. Yeah. It is perfect for rice salad.
But any other medium to long grain rice will do – don’t use rice that is sticky when cooked. You are looking for separate grains.
Or are you after some Capsicum recipes? Try How to Dry Capsicums, Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato, and Roasted Red Pepper Salad. Elizabeth David has a couple of Red Pepper Salads.
Perhaps you are looking for other Salad Recipes. Try Pasta or Couscous Salads, A Quick Burghul Salad with Olives, Pomegranate and Hazelnuts, and Thai Lettuce Wraps. Our Mid-Summer Salads are here.
You will really enjoy this recipe. Softened eggplants are slit and fanned, and its slices interwoven with cheese, tomatoes and peppers. They are then baked on a bed of the sweetest caramelised onions, and the cheese melts. If, like me, you use mozzarella, it oozes everywhere! Cheesey Eggplants – who can resist?
If you use a cheese that holds its shape during baking it won’t form a bed of oozy cheese but rather stay in the eggplant, but we love this oozing aspect of the dish. It is perfect for Late Autumn.
It’s a French recipe, so I suggest some French wine and a green salad, for a light lunch eaten outside on a gorgeous Autumn day sitting under a gorgeously coloured tree raining leaves. Do enjoy!
Feel free to browse vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006, in our Retro Recipes series.
Another beautifully coloured salad for Autumn, beautiful reds of the roasted capsicums. Here we toss them with white beans, fresh mozzarella and a little shallot.
Don’t you just love roasted peppers? While you are roasting them for this salad, add another 1 or 2 or 12, so that you can used them throughout the week. I find it easiest to roast peppers and eggplants on my covered BBQ, but you can also do it over a gas flame on your stove, under a grill or in the oven.
Would you like to try other Red Pepper/ Capsicum Salads? Try Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Chilli and Lime, Peperoni in Padella – Roasted Red Peppers Salad, and Sweet Red Pepper Salads. There is a Roast Pepper Relish too.
A Salad with the tastes of Mexico
What to do with left over flatbread or roti, no longer near its prime, but not yet ready to be allocated to the bin? Ah, I have the answer for you. Crisp it up in the oven and turn it into a wonderful, Mexican influenced salad.
Those organic corn chips can be used in this salad too – the ones without added flavourings. They are perfect. Also corn tortillas, crisped in the oven. You will love this salad.
While you are at it, crisp up a lot of the flatbread, rotis or tortillas. They are excellent with cheese or dips. Very crispy and crunchy.
Feel free to browse our other Salad recipes. We have a lot, so if you just want just Tomato Salad recipes they are here, and Red Pepper Salads here. This is a salad inspired by Bittman – have a look at his other superb salads. Or simply explore our easy Late Summer recipes.
The Middle East has a variety of flavours and dishes that are amazing and under-explored in other countries. And yoghurt, one of my favourite food stuffs, features strongly there as it does in India. The recipes using yoghurt are often simple – take a vegetable, some yoghurt, garlic, dried mint and some spices, mix and serve.
Traditionally it is used as a pre-dinner snack or appetiser, generally served with pita bread., but you can use any flat bread. We get a great Afghan flatbread cooked fresh on the tandoor from our local shop, and it is amazing.
You can use the Green Peppers in Yoghurt as you might use a salad. If you use thick, drained yoghurt they can be used as a dip or spread, or it can be used as a sauce or dressing.
Capsicum recipes you might like to explore include Grilled Peppers and Eggplant Salad, Roasted Red Pepper Salad, Char Grilled Banana Chillies Stuffed with Tomatoes and Spices, and Baked Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes.
Explore all of our Capsicum dishes, our Middle Eastern dishes and all of our Salads are here. Our Dips are here if you are after dips and sauces. Or simply take some time to explore our Mid Summer dishes.
This dish combines the classic flavours of an Italian pasta dish.
Often a pasta dish is my go-to Saturday or Sunday night fare. With a friend from a good Italian commercial pasta making family, we are never short of good pasta. This dish combines the classic flavours of an Italian pasta dish. Use a great spaghetti, a thick one if you can, or thin if you cannot. Pasta shells work well also.
A wonderful, smoky flavoured soup.
A dear friend was experiencing tough times, but he made this wonderful Autumnal Soup as one of his first experiments with cooking solo again! It was an instant success and did the rounds of many friends.
About 2 decades after first making this soup, I discovered its origin – it is from Cooking with Kurma by Kurma Das. Kurma is a Hare Krishna vegetarian cook and replaces all onions and garlic with asafoetida – that solves the puzzle of why this very Indian ingredient features in a Mexican-style soup. Feel free to replace the asafoetida in the recipe with onions and garlic.
Not a fancy dish, Capsicums Stuffed with Kidney Beans and Feta is a comfort dish. A dish for cold Friday nights in front of the TV.
With the remains of a bag of lentils sitting falornly on the kithen bench, I came across a recipe for Capsicums stuffed with Kidney Beans in my pile of hand written recipes saved over years. I am also a sucker for stuffed vegetables. So when this recipe turned up, I knew that I had lunch in the bag.
This isn’t a fancy dish. It is a comfort, homely, family dish that can be served for a quick, warming lunch or with a salad for a dinner eaten in front of the TV.
You might also like to try Drying Capsicums for Snacks, or Bhajji, Indian Vegetable Fritters. Or browse all of our Kidney Bean recipes and all of our Stuffed recipes here and here. Our Capsicum recipes are here and here. Find some inspiration in our Spring recipes here and here. Continue reading “Capsicums Stuffed with Kidney Beans and Feta”
A spicy cold tomato soup for the hottest of days.
Cold soups and salads abound during Summer. This is a cold soup made from roasted tomatoes and other vegetables. To shorten the time taken to make the soup, pre-prepare roasted garlic and roasted vegetables.