Strawberries are very very cheap at the moment, and it is the perfect time to make a few strawberry dishes. Here we are marinating them in Kewra Water and Rosewater, and they will be served with a thick, drained and sweetened yoghurt. It is a delicious Summer dessert. Pop the colours further with a few blueberries and a couple of basil leaves or shreds of kaffir lime leaf.
My Mother would make two salad dressings – one an eggless, mustardy mayonnaise made with condensed milk (its a beauty) and today’s recipe, a creamy salad dressing that is also eggless. It is not that she was against using eggs (we had several dozen chooks), but she had a number of things influencing her cooking – her experience in the tough times of World War II as she was growing up, living in an isolated part of South Australia, her Germanic influences from her parents and grandparents, and a preference for things to be easy in the Kitchen as she didn’t really enjoy cooking.
I am glad that these things all came together to produce both of these dressings, because I keep my Kitchen meat-free and egg-free. So these two recipes are heaven-sent, ready to use whenever mayonnaise style dressings are required. The other one that is handy is this lemony yoghurt dressing.
This creamy dressing always appeared on my Mother’s tomato salads, and it well suits both tomatoes and cucumbers. Who thinks of putting mayo or a creamy dressing on tomato salads these days? My mother always did. And they were delicious, our favourite.
But it is also versatile, useful for all sorts of salads. It can be flavoured, eg with mustard or garlic or capers or spring onions, and this is done so easily. Try it on a raw vegetable salad, crunchy shredded root vegetables, a green lettuce based salad, over salad bowls, and with roast vegetable salads.
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.
Other Potato dishes include Saag Aloo.
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!
A modern take on an English classic.
Everything old is new again. This is definitely a retro English recipe, the sort of recipe that screams of the cold weather and the need for cream to make you feel comforted and warm and nourished. But it is also a lovely recipe that can be modernised to suit today’s palates.
Also, feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series, vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006.
Another warm day, and cooking on the BBQ seems like a good idea. It is quite easy to cook these pastries in a covered BBQ.
Another warm day, and cooking on the BBQ seems like a good idea. It is quite easy to cook these asparagus pastries in a covered BBQ. But it does need good quality asparagus – stringy stalks spoil the experience. You can, of course, cook these in the oven as well, at about 200C.
Use in place of cream and sour cream for a delightful difference.
If there is a secret to French Cooking, it is to be found in crème fraîche. Never be without it. I make my own regularly at home for those times when we eat more desserts – winter for baked dishes, summer for fresh fruit. It is a wonderful alternative to either cream (adding a little amount of soureness) and more flavoursome than sour cream.
Crème Fraîche is a heavy cream slightly soured with bacterial culture, but not as sour or as thick as sour cream. Originally a French product, today it is produced by a process similar to that of sour cream, with the exception that no ingredients are added. Crème Fraîche can be made at home by adding a small amount of cultured buttermilk or sour cream to normal heavy cream, and allowing it to stand for several hours at room temperature as the bacterial cultures act on the cream. It has several advantages in the kitchen. Unlike sour cream, crème fraîche can be mixed with air to form whipped cream, and it can be cooked without curdling.
In the North of India a similar product is made, called Khatte Malai. Often made with buffalo milk, the cow’s milk version is milder in taste. And the best ghee is made from cultured cream such as crème fraîche.
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can find more of these recipes in our Retro Recipes series.