Normally cheesy gratin dishes would be Winter fare in this house, but it is late Spring as I write, and we have the heating on and three layers of clothes. It is cold and wet. It might be 10 days from Summer but it feels like mid Winter. It HAS to be potatoes and cheese. Plus the oven warms the kitchen nicely.
If Focaccia is half way between pizza and bread, then Schiacciata is half way between Focaccia and Pizza. It is flat and usually infused beautifully with olive oil.
Originally cooked in the ashes of the hearth, schiacciata, meaning squashed, is flat and 2 – 3 cm thick (but can be thinner). Variations of the bread are made throughout Italy. In Tuscany, it is simply brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Herbs such as rosemary can be added. A sweet version with grapes and sugar is also made.
This recipe with onion and cheese is great weekday lunch-at-home fare, even for Sunday night supper. It is great with a hearty soup. Maybe Onion Soup would be fabulous. In late Summer, pair it with ripe, bursting figs and celebrate the end of summer.
You might also liked our Focaccia recipes. Our pizza recipes are here. If you need pizza dough, the recipes are here. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.
Risotto is such a comfort dish, packed with flavour. For us it is a Wintery night time dish that we love to eat in relaxed style with the fire going and the talk about family and life.
This risotto is creamy and beautiful, with heaps of cheese including some Gorgonzola. You know how you love that Four Cheese Pizza? You will love this Three Cheese Risotto. It really is white on white on white on white on white (onion, rice, milk, cheese, plate).
One thing that is a must read if you are cooking your first few risottos. How to Cook Risotto – it also explains which rices to use for the best results in making risotto.
Yay for simple pasta dishes. We have a few recipes for such dishes, and most of them feature tomatoes in some form. Tomatoes are so easy to chop and add to pasta with some olive oil, garlic and basil. A bit of parmesan. And a tasty dish is born.
While the base ingredients are almost the same in the simple dishes, the way they are treated will vary, and that changes the dish. This recipe uses those base ingredients but they are chopped finely to make a sort of uncooked sauce. It is mixed with ricotta and left for an hour for the flavours to develop. Easy. Good.
This dish goes well with any pasta, really. Use short ones, curly ones or long strands. Spaghetti and bucatini are particularly good, and I love it with Penne. It is best made in Summer, or early Autumn, when our Australian tomatoes are at their best.
And why not make your own Pasta? How to Make Eggless Pasta.
There is a beautiful Tuscan Spring time tradition of serving Broad Beans with a fresh pecorino cheese. The cheese is sliced and served with the beans. If the beans are young, the guests get to pod their own as they eat them. There is a saltiness in the fresh pecorino that matches the sweetness of the broad beans. And the crispy texture of the beans with the melting softness of the pecorino is divine.
After a seasonal slow start to the tomato season this past Summer (poor setting of flowers all over Adelaide), as I write this in late, late Summer, they are ripening in abundance. How special that is – teeny little cherry tomatoes and little egg shaped ones, juiced, cooked, made into salads. Yum.
This salad, another from Bittman as I journey through his 101 salads, is a wonder – a toasted sandwich made into croutons, then mixed with the classic tomato and basil salad. How good is that! Combining 3 loves – basil, tomatoes and cheese toasties. I have added some green tomatoes to the salad, as I love their tang and use them whenever I can.
Have a look at our Toastie Sandwiches. All of our Tomato Salad Recipes are here, and the complete compendium of Tomato dishes are here. Would you like to browse all of our Salads? Or spend some time to explore our Late Summer dishes.
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.
Cabbage and Carbs always go well together, right? And this dish of cabbage with pasta is divine. It is a great cold weather dish, and perfectly good for any time of the year as a Sunday Supper. It is a rustic dish, but don’t let that dissuade you.
Sometimes I cook this dish and the family aren’t home yet, and I pick at it in the kitchen until there is a definite hole in the side. It is so delicious with the nutty, slightly stretchy Emmental cheese. So easy to make just 3 ingredients – I cook the pasta and use the pasta water to blanch the cabbage. A few minutes assembly and into the oven it goes for about 20 mins – faster if you have a good fan forced oven. Take it bubbling to the table – your family will be begging for it again and again.
Truly, this dish almost needs a wood fire and a large glass of red. Eat on its own, with salads, or as an accompaniment to other dishes. Left overs are good fried up for breakfast! You could almost say that this comfort dish is NOT a Sydney dish. It is built for Melbourne and Adelaide, and all year round in Tassie. 🙂
Are you looking for Pasta dishes? First, check out our home made eggless pasta. Then try Pasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto, Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Pepper and Tomato, and Light Pasta Salad.
Also browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006.
As Winter marches on, we want dishes that we can cook in the oven, to add another source of heat to warm the kitchen. Baked dishes are also usually hearty, so they warm and nourish the body in a way that we only seek in Winter. Gratin dishes are so perfect, ticking every box.
This dish layers potatoes with cheese, covers them with milk and cream, and bakes it until bubbling and golden. Delicious!
Luxurious and nourishing, a Winter dish
Parsnips are a wonder in winter – slightly sweet, beautifully tender. Once Spring comes, parsnips become more woody and starchy and are less successful. Make this mash when parsnips are at their peak. It is deliciously indulgent and nourishing.
Try these other Parsnip recipes: Baked Parsnips with Parmesan.
Oh Figs! How much I love Autumn because of the produce (and the colours), and figs feature so strongly in that love. But what to do when the short Fig season ends?
Middle Eastern shops often stock dried figs, lovely whole round beauties that are different to the dried figs that you might find in the supermarket. They are lovely to snack on whole, but also, when they are soaked, they taste so much like figs, with a familiar internal texture.
This salad is wonderful with fresh figs, do try it. But today we made it with soaked, dried figs. It is different, but the sweet figs with the blue cheese is so lovely. And it is great to be able to make this salad outside of fig season.
Are you looking for other salads? These will be just what you are looking for – there are quite a few.
Simple is great, yes? Less is more. In this pasta dish, as with many others, it is the simplicity that shines and makes for a spectacular dish.
I have made it here with some home made eggless pasta that combines flour, semolina flour and chickpea flour and uses ground sesame seeds as a binding agent. It is pretty good, but of course this recipe can be made with any fettuccine or spaghetti.
Are you looking for Pasta dishes? Try Beautiful Buttered Orzo, Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, Penne with Broad Beans and Ricotta, Pasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto, Simple Pasta with Chilli and Olive Oil, and Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce. Don’t forget that home made eggless pasta.
I’ve been longing for a green salad. Having made (and eaten) too many ANZAC Biscuits, we needed something to counterbalance that wonderful sweetness of the biscuits. This salad did it. It combines greens from the garden (use what you have at hand) with some soft raspberries, crunchy crushed walnuts and tangy blue cheese.
This is another wonderful salad from Bittman. I am over half way through the journey of making his 101 salads (at least, the vegetarian ones). Each one has been wonderful and this one is too.
Why not try other Bittman Salads? Try Green Salad with Chickpeas, Preserved Lemon and Feta, Cucumber Salad with Capers and Ricotta and Watermelon and Peach Salad with Basil.
Yet another divine use for eggplant – such a versatile vegetable. This time it is a cheesy torte – eggplants layered, Italian style, with cheeses, baked, allowed to rest and firm up, then cut into wedges to serve. What could be better? It makes a great lunch or supper, or works very well in a tapas spread, mezze or antipasto. It even makes a great any-time snack.
Eggplant is so flexible, and very variation tastes so good. You can bake it, simmer it, stuff it, crumb it, steam it, BBQ it, grill it, roast it, saute it and deep fry it. I hope you try some of these recipes.
Goodness from Bill’s in Sydney
A delicious snack, filling and comforting, for a day when you are snuggled up on the couch reading a book, or perhaps before you rush off to the next football game. They are great for breakfast or brunch too.