How long is it since you have had cauliflower with white sauce? Not since a visit to your Grandparents for Xmas in 1980? Well, I hope to change that with this baked dish – Cauliflower Gratin with Bechamel Sauce with Blue Cheese and White Pepper. It is topped with breadcrumbs which gives it a crunchy, delicious texture to contrast the softness of the cauliflower.
Thanks to the Swiss for beautiful, versatile, easy rösti. Beautiful. I don’t claim this as a traditional Rosti – my Swiss friend rolled his eyes in horror. However, I do claim that it is delicious.
I make small rösti, rather rustically – ragged and straw-like around the edges – but that is my nature. Using raw potatoes for the rösti is easy, though I hear that is typical only in the Zurich area – the rest of the country insists upon parboiling them first.
This can be used as part of a main meal, or as an any-time snack.
Winter brings that longing for hot, oven baked dishes that are filling and so comforting on a chilly night as the wind whistles around the house. The oven warms the kitchen and living room, and the aromas make everyone hungry (even the neighbours). How I love baked dishes in the cold cold days. I am warm and so is the kitchen, and I potter around doing this and that in my favourite room. The results are always delicious.
This is another baked eggplant dish, and it is layered with cheese and a tomato sauce. It’s great! Wintery and lovely – another quick and simple cold weather dish.
This recipe first makes a tomato sauce, and then layers golden eggplant slices with the sauce and cheese, before baking it until bubbling and browned. What more do you need in cold Winter weather? Serve with a salad for lunch, or as part of a larger meal for dinner.
Because it is Winter, tinned tomatoes might be your best option for making the sauce, but this year we’ve had really good quality tomatoes available all through Winter. Another option is to use those tomatoes that you threw into the freezer last Autumn. Also, if you made your own Tomato Pastes or Purees to keep in the freezer for Winter, now is the time to use them in place of the Tomato Puree. You can even make it with one that includes a little chilli! As little as 0.25 cup and up to 1 cup of puree is needed.
Are you looking for Eggplant recipes? Try Creamy Bake of Carrots and Parsnips, Eggplant and Zucchini Baked with Chickpeas and Harissa Sauce, Baked Eggplant Stuffed with Cheese and Tomatoes, and Cheesey Eggplant Torte.
There is so much to celebrate in Spring, so many Spring things that it is hard to keep up with them. One such abundant item in Spring is Grapevine Leaves. Of course you think of Dolmades, but there are also other ways to enjoy this green taste of spring. For example, Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves (delicious) and Grapevine Leaf Pecorino Parcels.
This recipe uses goat’s cheese – I love a goat’s milk feta especially – and wraps it in vine leaves before grilling. My preference is to make these when the BBQ is lit, perhaps to roast red peppers, and we make them as a snack with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Left over filling is wonderful in toasted sandwiches with tomatoes, or spread on crusty bread or crackers. Top the spread with thin slices of cucumber or tomatoes.
Similar recipes include BBQ’d Vegetables with Peppery Dressing, Vine Leaves Stuffed with Goats Cheese and Pine Nuts.
For a huge amount of time, gorgonzola was not available in Australia. It was a source of huge frustration for any foodie, particularly those who love cheeses. But over the years, the restrictions have been relaxed and gorgonzola now appears even on supermarket shelves.
Need I say that we love this cheese? Here is another salad that uses it. It is one of our simple salads and combines the cheese with some tomatoes and Chickpeas and/or White Beans. I like to use cannelini or haricot beans. If you can’t get gorgonzola, there are more cost effective Australian Blue Cheeses that are also divine.
Or other White Bean dishes? Try Greek White Bean Soup, Roasted Red Pepper Salad with White Beans and Mozzarella, Grilled Eggplant Salad with White Beans, and Easy White Bean Salad.
I had recently made Jamie Oliver’s Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, when I came across this similar recipe by Ottolenghi. The concept is the same – cheesey pasta in tomato sauce, baked until melty – the execution is different, with different pastas, different spices, cheeses and cooking methods. They are both great left-over-pasta-and-tomato-sauce dishes – layer with cheese and bake or grill – and hence they would make fabulous Sunday night supper meals.
I think Jamie’s recipe is a winner – easy to make and packed with flavour, and it has an honesty about its simplicity which shines through in the finished dish. Ottolenghi’s version layers the flavours with herbs and spices and uses the bite of feta and the umami of aged cheese and parmesan to add depth to the dish. It is different to Jamie’s in that the pasta is the focus and it is baked until the top layer is crispy and the cheese is golden brown. Delicious. Jamie’s recipe is pasta bathed in tomato sauce, Ottolenghi’s is pasta with a little tomato sauce.
I always preferred my father’s pasta the next day, when he’d put it in a hot oven with heaps of extra cheese. It would emerge slightly burned and very crisp on top.
This recipe serves a heap of people, up to 10, depending on how hungry the mob is. So don’t be afraid to halve it for a smaller family meal. Just note that the baking dish must be big enough to hold the pasta in a shallow layer. Or bake in separate dishes as I did.
I also have to mention that Ottolenghi grills this dish but I baked it. Partly because that is easier in our kitchen, but mostly because the recipe asks that the tomato sauce sits aside while the pasta is cooked, so it has lost heat. Baking heats the dish again beautifully.
As already mentioned, 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.
Browse all of our Pasta dishes, our Baked dishes and our Italian 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.
Simple salads are still coming – a few more yet – we are nearly at the end of our 101 Salads project. Simple salads can seem at first glance of the recipe to be incomplete, but put them together and the simplicity leaves the vegetables to shine gloriously. Whether it is tomato or Brussels Sprouts, or lettuce, or avocado, or whatever, simple salads remind us that it is Ok to leave ingredients alone, allow them their own space. Elizabeth David was a great advocate of this approach. Ottolenghi, conversely, breaks all the rules of simplicity.
This salad is shredded cabbage (Napa or Wombok) or some lettuce with some nutty Swiss cheese (I love Ementhal) and some rye bread croutons. Dress it with a dressing with a touch of heat. Nice.
During a delightful week at my daughter’s place, running wild with the two kids, we had an informal Sunday lunch with friends and made this baked pasta dish from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy. Jamie describes it as a wonderful dish which is simple to make, and he is right on both points.
He first fell in love with this dish in Italy, then tried to reproduce it in his school’s program for 37p per serve. He tells how he fell out of love with it because he had to use cheap pasta and cheap cheese. Back in Italy, he realised that the Italian government mandates organic pasta for schools, the mozzarella was always local and fresh and the tomatoes the best available. It makes all the difference! He says that this was the recipe that was made for 1,000 kids at the Italian school he visited.
The dish is very common in Italy, and can be eaten hot, warm and room temperature. Use the best ingredients that you can, and make two – you won’t regret it.
Similar recipes include Baked Ziti with Feta, Orecchiette with Broad Beans, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, and Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomatoes.
As Autumn arrives, even before, my Italian-owned green grocery is full of figs – green, black and in between. What a gorgeous time it is – the last of the summer stone fruits, grapes, plums – one of my 4 favourite seasons of the year!
I must admit to liking my fruit, any fruit, fresh. You will see that we don’t have a lot of fruit recipes in our collection because of that. But once in a while, we will bake, grill or roast, maybe poach, something sweet.
Figs are so wonderful in their natural state, and we have several salads that attest to that. They pair well with cheese, honey, and even almonds and pinenuts! Figs are simply gorgeous this way.
But roasting brings in another dimension. It is a different taste – just as fig jam tastes different to fresh figs. Roasted figs are soft, warm and sticky, and they shine with either savoury flavours, sweet flavours, or a mix of both. They can be mashed onto bruschetta and topped with pesto, without the honey they can be used with pasta, or top a green salad with them. Serve them for breakfast, lunch, dessert, a snack or supper.
As I write this we have had a long weekend of record breaking temperatures in the 40C’s, maxing out at 44C. Then this week we are experiencing record breaking low temperatures for January. It’s the weather that demands turning the oven on and baking something.
This year the zucchini crop has done much better, fruiting constantly. How gorgeous they are, direct from the bush – tiny, tender, with flavours of summer. But today, in this cold weather, I am regressing to the 1970’s by marinating the zucchini in herbs and garlic, smothering them with cheese and baking them like a gratin. Perfect for very cool Summer weather.
Browse all of our Zucchini dishes and our Gratin dishes. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.