A wonderful Winter salad is apple and celery with walnuts – seasonal, healthy, crunchy and delicious. This easy salad has a blended dressing made with seeds (sunflower or pepitas – pumpkin seeds), miso and umeboshi plums.
Gigantes are Greek Giant Beans (the name always reminds me of Jack and the Beanstalk). You can get them from Greek shops, or Lima Beans (Butter Beans) are wonderful substitutes.
Recipes for Gigantes abound across Greece, and they often involve baking. If soaked, cooked and then baked, the beans are so soft and creamy. Often they are cooked in a terracotta pot.
Our recipe today, a traditional one from Greece, bakes the beans with celery and a tomato base. It takes some time to make – soak the beans overnight, simmer for 60 – 90 mins, then bake for 60 – 90 mins. I recommend it for a quiet Sunday morning (for lunch) or afternoon (for dinner). Slow, wonderful cooking. However, each step is easy, with hardly any oversight required.
The success of this dish depends on each step – soak well, cook the beans until tender but not completely cooked, bake until creamy. And it depends on the quality of the olive oil – ensure current season, good quality oil if you can. And always store your oil in dark bottles or tins in a dark cupboard away from heat, light and the sun’s rays.
This is a beautiful dish with Roman origins, from Sicily. There is something beautifully different about some of the taste combinations you’ll find in Sicily, especially the tendency to combine sweet and sour – a legacy, they say, of ancient Roman days when sweet dates were used instead of tomatoes and sugar.
La caponata, one of the most famous Sicilian dishes, is a good example. It’s a cousin to the ratatouille of Provence. Caponata features eggplant, with celery, tomato and onions along with capers and olives. These are typical Southern Italian flavours. And it has that sweet-and-sour touch that perfectly balances out the flavours. It layers different flavours one upon the other, and, if you care to cook it for 30 mins or more, the flavours are deep and glorious and the consistency almost jam-like.
Serve Caponata on its own, hot or room temperature, on a Sunday afternoon (with a glass of wine, of course), or in the traditional manner as an antipasto. Caponata can be served on bruschetta, with flatbread or with salad leaves, and it’s also perfect as a side dish or even as a relish.
Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray note warily in the River Cafe Classic Italian Cookbook that “there are as many ways to make caponata as there are cooks in Sicily”, a fact confirmed by Giorgio Locatelli, who claims that “in every house and in every restaurant you will find a different version and opinion.”
There are many versions of Caponata on Sicily – apparently 37 official versions, depending on local customs. The differences lie in the addition of different vegetables, for example potatoes, bell peppers, zucchini.
We have other Celery recipes too. Try Celery Yoghurt Salad, Spicy Celery Salad, and Chickpea, Celery and Carrot Salad with a Curry Dressing.
This is a recipe from our first blog which ran from 1995 – 2006. You can browse all of the vegetarian recipes from that blog in our Retro Recipes series.
They say that Burrata is the best thing since sliced bread. And certainly it is very very good. A delicious mozzarella shell filled with thick cream. Has your mind gone to heaven? Indeed. It is simply the dreamiest. Creamy, luscious – burrata is Italian for butter, if that gives you any clues on how beautiful it can be.
Burrata is quite difficult to find here, in our little outback town of Adelaide. Not so in other cities, where it perches on the shelves of every supermarket. I had to search hard to find it within reasonable driving distance of my home. It took some time – distributors and cheese makers were not willing to help – I contacted several – but persistence paid and I found a reliable source not far from my work. That is Adelaide for you.
One of the great things about Burrata is that it is perfect for replacing coddled or poached eggs in salads. Thus for those who, like me, avoid cooking with eggs, the creaminess of the interior with the soft mozzarella coating brings that something that soft cooked eggs give to salads and baked dishes.
Celery salads are so rare, but I love one particular recipe, it is my favourite use of celery. I have modified it here to include the burrata. I hope you enjoy it. The origin is an Ottolenghi salad but the recipe keeps morphing into a dish that is appearing more and more often on our table.
Oh, and the other ingredient that is introduced in this salad, is Sour Grapes. Yes, I know, you all know those who are always full of sour grapes. But, it is also an exciting ingredient. Preserved sour grapes can be found in jars in Middle Eastern and Afghani groceries. They taste sour and briney, and a little like capers and caper berries. They are great in salads and in dishes where a sour taste is called for to balance other flavours. Pick some up today (or use capers in place of the grapes).
My beautiful Mahrashtrian friend makes this pickle that is amazingly delicious! Whenever we have big groups over for dinner, she makes this. The first time I tasted it, I begged her for the recipe. It was delicious and it turned out to be so very easy! She uses a store-bought Aachar Masala powder, and all it takes is some extra spices, the apples, some mustard oil and the powder.
I had forgotten the recipe as I hadn’t made it for a while, so I have to thank my twitter friend Dee, for helping me out.
You can also make this with cucumber, carrots, green mango, celery, lemons or caperberries too!
The spice mix is called Achar Masala and is the RamDev brand. This is the brand my friend recommends, and I do not receive anything for mentioning it.
This is a beautiful Autumn and Winter dish that can also be made with Spring vegetables. Today it might be Spring here, but leeks and carrots are still on the menu on the colder days of this transitional season. We have had such cold weather this year, even breaking records for the coldest November day in 50 years.
You can vary this dish. For example, use leeks only, or carrots only. Potatoes on their own are also very very good.
Read about Cooking a la Grecque Style.
This dish 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 the Retro Recipes series.
I am always looking for celery recipes to fill that void that a lack of celery dishes creates. An unassertive vegetable – it always plays second fiddle to other vegetables rather than feature in its own right – it deserves much more prominence.
This is a quick pickle is a perfect accompaniment to meals (I like to have a pickle with each meal, it balances the other flavours), and a perfect ingredient in other salads or even sandwiches. It keeps well in the fridge, so make a double batch. I like to add chilli and spring onions to the mix.
India knows the secrets of yoghurt used in dishes that are used as a salad might be used outside of India. Yoghurt is mixed with vegetables and spices and the dish accompanies the meal to add nutrition, cool the heat of spices and add a creamy texture to the meal.
Here we take the idea and create a Western salad with a yoghurt base. I am sure that you will enjoy it. The salad makes a great addition to BBQs.
It is quite a tart salad, and so goes well with dishes that look for something tart to cut through their flavours – fried dishes, perhaps. But most of all, I love it with a rice dish, a pulao for example. Or for a simple lunch, just with some hot rice mixed with ghee.
Are you looking for Yoghurt dishes? Try Minty Yoghurt-Tahini Sauce and Dressing, Garlic-Yoghurt Dressing, Beetroot with Yoghurt Tahini Dressing, Sweet and Sour Mango Yoghurt Curry, and How to Make Thick Thick Yoghurt.
Celery sort of misses out in the salad stakes. There are not so many salads that feature celery as its core ingredient. This salad changes that, it at least puts a stake in the Celery Salad map. Asian style in flavours with a little heat, it will be a classic at your place once you have tried it.
Are you after Celery recipes? Try Celery Salad with Sour Grapes and Burrata, Quick Pickled Celery with Chilli, Celery Yoghurt Salad, Celery and Avocado Cold Soup, Nashi Pear and Celery Salad, and Simple Celery Salads.
If you soak and cook some chickpeas and keep them in the freezer, you always have chickpeas for recipes that take your fancy. Or when you cook some, cook twice as many and then use them over the following week in salads, pasta sauces, bakes and other dishes.
Chickpeas are great in salads, and this is a simple, easy salad with celery and carrot – two ingredients usually in your fridge. The dressing has a bit of spice with the use of curry powder. I usually keep some Malay Curry Powder in the cupboards, for use in Malaysian dishes. If you don’t have a generic curry powder, use garam masala.
Have a look at some other Chickpea recipes: Chickpea Salad with Olives, Boondi Salad with Chickpeas and Coconut, Glorious Five Bean Salad, Chickpea Tabbouleh, or Chickpea Sundal. You can also make Baked Chickpeas as a snack.
Are you looking for some Carrot Salads? Have a look at Summer Roll Salad, Mung Bean and Baked Carrot Salad, Carrot and Blueberry Salad, and Carrot Sambol. Also try Celery Salad with Sour Grapes and Burrata.