Quick pickles are very fashionable now, and why not! They are both tasty and healthy. This is a Chinese recipe that produces a lovely, sweet-sour quick pickle of cucumber. Leave it to soak and pickle in the vinegar mix while you make the rest of the meal, and it will be ready to serve when you are calling the family to the table.
Winter this year had cold cold nights, but there were many days that were warmish (by Winter standards), without much rain. I have a grape tomato bush that bore a few fruit till mid Winter, chillies produced fruit and eggplants still flowered. The cold nights turned the amaranth and the lemongrass the most gorgeous of colours, the grapevines too. There is always much joy in a garden.
Salads at the table go on and on, almost year round. Usually by Mid Winter we give up on salads until Spring, preferring hot dishes over room-temperature ones. But this past winter, the weather was such that we maintained our salad regime for longer than usual.
Today’s salad is one we made through the Winter – a salad using Kohlrabi, which can be thought of as a Wintery vegetable, and which is cooked for this dish. It is paired it with mint and cucumber.
Kohlrabi is protected by a thick skin, which is either purple or pale green. The outside layer is rather fibrous and unpleasant. It won’t break down after being cooked. If peeling before cooking, use a sharp knife to remove the skin, as it’s too thick for a traditional vegetable peeler. In this recipe, we cook the kohlrabi then peel it. It takes a long time to cook, so be patient.
Oh my, this miso flavoured bowl of rice and vegetables is gorgeous. We have made it with noodles too, with equal success. Vegetables are poached in a mixture of miso, soy, mirim and vegetarian dashi for a high flavoured stock. They are served on rice (or noodles) and dressed with sweet rice vinegar, peanuts and sesame seeds. Highly gorgeous.
The play of the crispy veg with the soft rice and of the sweet and tart flavours of the sauce and dressing, the contrast of the dark sauce flavours with the freshness of the herbs and veg, the rubberiness of the mushrooms with the crisp veg, crunchy nuts and soft rice – all make this a dish worth the effort. Each veg has to cooked briefly, the rice is cooked, the sauce is reduced, the dressing is made, and, if you are making your own dashi, that needs to be made too. A comforting and nourishing dish indeed, but one that needs some time devoted to it.
The vegetables used are broccolini, carrots, shimeji mushrooms, cucumber and snow peas. It is a perfect balance of flavours and textures. It is best to use this combo the first time that you make it. It is an experience. For future dishes, if you need to change out some of the veg, consider substituting small broccoli florets, asparagus spears, enoki mushrooms etc. We have added sliced, rehydrated shiitake mushrooms too (delicious), and even the carrot can be substituted with jicama or kohlrabi if necessary. It is a versatile dish – sometimes we also add a few small leaves of Asian greens, blanched quickly in the stock. But the very very best combo of veg is the one specified by Ottolenghi.
The recipe is an Ottolenghi one from Plenty More, his recipe collection that never fails to delight! Use a rice that is a little sticky. He suggests sushi rice, and that is easily available.
Browse all of our Rice dishes. All of our Ottolenghi dishes are here. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or browse our Late Summer recipes.
A herby noodle salad with a sauce that combines the creaminess of both peanut butter and coconut milk, bringing an Asian island flavour to this salad. It is fresh and inviting with a touch of heat and it deserves a place at your table.
Today’s salad is Middle Eastern in style – fresh ingredients, simply sliced and served at every meal. It features feta – get some of the creamy feta from your Middle Eastern shop if you can. We have used fresh herbs from the garden, but feel free to use baby spinach, rocket and any soft herbs that you have at your disposal.
You can add some olives too, to make it more of a Greek Mezze salad.
Ah, the wealth of noodles from all parts of Asia – Korea, Japan, China, South East Asia and India. An infinite number. Our local Asian grocery alone must stock over 100 different noodles. While traditional uses make fabulous dishes, using them in other ways is also delicious. For example, build salads around them.
Today’s salad is takes soba noodles as its basis and adds cooling cucumber, Japanese seaweed, miso and toasted sesame seeds. It’s a beauty!
You might also like to try Chinese Pickled Cucumbers.
Who does not like Summer Rolls, the South East Asian dish of crunchy ingredients wrapped in rice wrappers and served with a peanut sauce? They are so summery, refreshing and cooling.
This recipe deconstructs the Summer Rolls and turns it into a Salad. It is from Bittman’s 100 Salads. We are working our way through these and doing so has changed the way we eat quite significantly. Salads are definitely a part of our day now.
This is a simple Jicama Salad, easy and quick to make, which matches its crispy apple taste with the Summery freshness of cucumber. A little heat from chilli and a tang from lime juice, and a gorgeous salad is born.
Jicama, or Yam Bean, is a funny little vegetable, with papery brown skin that can be pulled off in layers. There is nothing there to suggest the beautiful white flesh below which is so crisp, juicy and a little sweet, with a taste hinting at apples. It is versatile, perfect in salads, making wonderful pickles, and can be cooked as well.
Cold soup is a treasure of Summer weather. Some countries (eg India and the Middle East) have a whole cuisine of cold drinks that are sipped in the extreme weather of the hottest periods of the year, and countries such as Spain have a cuisine of cold soups to slurp in similar weather. Here, we have neither although our weather in Summer equals or exceeds that of those countries. It is a puzzle why that is.
Never fear, here in our little patch of Australia, both cold soups and cold drinks prevail in hot weather. From the simplest (juice tomatoes with a tiny piece of chill, serve as a soup with basil, spring onions, black pepper, sea salt) to beautiful but out of fashion vichyssoise varieties.
Today we make a Gazpacho style soup with watermelon as well as tomato. It is delicious on a hot Summer evening, eating on the deck or verandah with friends and family. Serve as a soup, or even as a savoury drink, like you might serve a tomato juice – leave the bread out if you are going to serve it this way. Sipped or slurped, it is wonderful.
This is an Ottolenghi recipe, from Plenty More, although I have added some cucumber back into the recipe. I love its juice and can’t imagine a gazpacho without it. It makes a difference. Sometimes, I have also added the juice of zucchinis (surprisingly delicious and cooling) in the past too, because I had a glut of them, and it is delicious. It is such a light and delicious soup, and easy to make – you will want to make it all Summer.
In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – 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 Cold Soups and all of our Tomato Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
We use Australian measurements: 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
Salsas are supposed to be sauce-like, even though they might be chunky. Ingredients are chopped small, there might be some liquid involved, and a salsa is generally eaten poured or spooned over another dish. However, in parts of the world away from Mexico and the US, the term salsa is liberally used for salads that consist of some finely chopped fruit or raw vegetables with, commonly, onion, garlic, lime juice, chilli and coriander. Gradually even those composition rules are being relaxed.
So this salad can be called a salsa, having spring onion, coriander, lime and garlic, but perhaps it is a little too chunky. And it has olive oil with the lime juice. So, to be on the safe side, we have kept the salad label. You can call it whatever you wish, and chop it more finely if you prefer.
The recipe combines crispy apple with fresh cucumber. It is crisp and cooling. You can remove the seeds from the cucumber, should you wish to, but I can never see the sense in doing this. There is a cooling sweetness to the seed area which I enjoy in Summer.
This is an Ottolenghi dish and in fact it is Ottolenghi Cook 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 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. This dish is from his Guardian column. 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 Salsas and our many Salads. Our Apple Salads are here. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.