Kasa Kasa Payasam

Poppy Seed Payasam is a nutty and creamy sweet dish made with white poppy seeds, coconut and saffron simmered in milk and topped with toasted cashews. Payasam is a typical Indian traditional sweet usually made for festivals and as a sweet treat in homes.

Poppy seeds are tiny seeds known as kasa kasa in Tamil. Indian recipes usually use white poppy seeds rather than the black ones, so look for them in your Indian supermarket. They are used for their flavour, texture and thickening qualities.

Did you know that poppy seeds calm the mind and stimulate the digestion? In Ayurveda the taste is pungent, astringent and sweet. Its heating action acts as a vata calmer. Used with nutmeg or valerian they can induce relaxing sleep.

Similar recipes include Char Grilled Stone Fruit with Scented Yoghurt, Sago Payasam, Vermicelli Payasam, and Besan Payasam.

Browse all of our Payasam recipes, and all of our Desserts. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Sweet Barley with Ginger Poached Rhubarb

We’ve never had barley as a sweet dish before (apart from this mixed grain/lentil congee), so when I saw this Barley Pudding recipe from The Guardian, I was intrigued. It also hit the spot with rhubarb which is shaping up to be the fruit of the season in our kitchen.

I made some adjustments to the original, as is my want. The original used A LOT of sugar, and I cut it by almost a third. That is plenty for our tastes, but feel free to add more if you prefer. Also I used far less water than indicated, and it was enough, but do keep a careful eye on the barley and the rhubarb as they cook, to make sure there is enough liquid.

Similar recipes include Char Grilled Stone Fruit with Scented Yoghurt, Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam, Beetroot and Rhubarb Salad, and Black Pepper Rhubarb with Gin Soaked Cumquats.

Browse all of our Barley recipes and all of our Rhubarb dishes.

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Char-Grilled Summer Stone Fruit with Scented Yoghurt

This is a recipe that epitomises the height of Summer in Australia. Beautiful sun ripened stone fruits, grilled on an Aussie BBQ, and drizzled with a sweet scented yoghurt. It really is the best of recipes for this time, perfect perhaps for an Australia Day BBQ.

It is an Ottolenghi recipe, from his beautiful Plenty More book. We’ve cooked most of the recipes from this book, and have loved them all. In this recipe, Ottolenghi uses Lemon Geranium Water – a Tunisian ingredient that is more difficult to find locally. Orange Blossom Water is a good substitute (as is any other floral water).

We feel free to make substitutes in Ottolenghi’s recipes. See notes below the recipe about the fruit combination that we used. We are lucky enough to have lavender growing in our garden, but if it is not available to you, please omit it. I’ve also used Tulsi and mint leaves today, as sweet basil was not available. Mint is a really nice substitute.

Similar dishes include Blueberries with Bay Custard and Gin. Strawberry and Peach Lassi, Peaches with Asian Flavours, and Watermelon and Peach Salad.

Browse all of our Peach recipes, Fig Recipes and our Desserts. Or browse our Mid Summer dishes.
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Coconut Sticky Black Rice Pudding

I was fortunate to have holidays in Bali before it became a tourist nightmare. Back in the days when the culture was still strong and visible and the rowdy tourists were fewer and stuck to the beaches. Back in the days when it was possible to see forbidden villages, inner sanctums of temples, people making tofu and tempeh in their back yards and to come across beautiful cultural performances without tourists.

Also to come across a range of ingredients and cooking techniques that were at the time fairly unknown outside of Indonesia. Amongst those was the afternoon servings of locally made sweet items including a coconut black rice dish (Bubu Injin).

I tried to bring some local black rice back with me, but of course it was not permitted by customs. Luckily, glutinous rices are now available from Asian shops, as are pandan leaves and palm sugar.

Similar recipes include Char Grilled Stone Fruit with Scented Yoghurt, Balinese Sweet Red Rice, Black Rice with Chinese Flavours, Black Glutinous Rice Congee, Mushrooms with Black Glutinous Rice, and Pandan Rice Pudding.

Browse all of our Balinese recipes, our Glutinous Rice dishes and our Rice Puddings.

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Stewed Blueberries with Bay Custard and Gin

This is a pretty wicked Summer dessert, definitely for hot Summer days. The beauty of it is that the custard and blueberries can be prepared ahead of time – eg the day before – and then it takes but a few minutes for the dessert to come together.

As the title suggests, blueberries, slightly stewed, are served with icecream, a bay-flavoured custard, and savoiardi biscuits soaked in gin, rosewater and blueberry syrup. It sounds amazing, right? And it is (the gin-soaked biscuits are out of this world), but the title belies the ease with which this dish is created. Best to note that it is an adult dessert only!

Of course, it is an Ottolenghi dessert, from his book Plenty More which we are trying to cook all the way through. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit our preferences and what is available from our garden, fridge and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column. In the recipe below we have substituted a custard made with custard powder for the egg-based one, as we don’t cook with eggs. It sounds horrific, I know, but I assure you it tastes just as good. Feel free to use your favourite method.

Also, blackberries are originally used by Ottolenghi but they are notoriously difficult to find here, so we have used blueberries. It might be Ok to use frozen blackberries – but warm them through with the sugar rather than cook them.

Similar recipes include Strawberry and Black Pepper Icecream, Poached Oranges with Vanilla Ricotta, and Sweet Rhubarb with Cloves and Black Pepper.

Browse all of our Blueberry recipes and all of our Desserts. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Tre’s Date Loaf | A Cake Full of Love (No Eggs)

Tre is my Sister in Law’s sister, and a more generous and loving person you might not meet on this earth. A couple of years ago, in the mad mad lead-up to Xmas, I was holidaying on an island that is not very far from her place – just a ferry ride. It is a remote island without power, just gas bottles and solar energy, on a mountainous island with no amenities. Just beach. Water and sand. Small shacks on the hilltops. Privacy. Great views. No shops, parks or amusements of any kind. It was bliss.

Tre sent over, via ferry, a wonderful date loaf, so fresh it was still warm as it arrived, wrapped in foil and still in the tin. My heart melted. Such thoughtfulness and love in the midst of her family pre Xmas chaos. Not only that, as I returned from the island, refreshed and peaceful, she took me and my family into her house for 5 days of Xmas celebrations and cheer. My heart overflows.

This is Tre’s Date Cake. Easy, delicious and full of love.

We so rarely bake, there are no other cakes on this site to share with you!! In over 2,000 recipes – no cakes!!! 😱 🤨☹️

But you can browse our few Desserts, some Date recipes, and explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Balinese Style Sweet Red Rice with Sweet Spices and Coconut Milk

Recently I’ve been playing with some of the recipes from the week-long cooking school in Bali. This red rice dish mimics the spices and leaves used in Balinese cuisine and serves the rice with coconut milk, mango puree, toasted coconut and roasted slices of lime. However, you can top the rice with any number of things – dried mango or other dried fruits, diced rockmelon, ripe papaya for example.

Just a note about the rice – this is Balinese, Indonesian or Thai style red rice, not the red rice of Sri Lanka or Kerala. These rices might also make a great dish but I have not tried them in this way. Suitable rice can be found here in Australia in red packets and called Forbidden Rice. The Black Forbidden Rice might also be suitable, and dramatic, to use.

Similar recipes include Sago Payasam, Sweet Congee with Poached Oranges, and Warm Rice Pudding with Orange Star Anise Sauce.

Browse all of our Red Rice recipes and all of our Rice Puddings. Or browse our Early Winter Recipes.

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Frozen Berries with White Chocolate Cream

In the extreme weather of Summer in Australia – temperatures of 47C in Adelaide and catastrophic fires across Australia – we made this beautiful dish. It was a change from consuming copious amounts of icecream and fruit lassi. It really is beautiful – sweet, chocolaty with overtones of the bitters used to dress the fruit. It is my new favourite Ottolenghi dish.

It is a dish from the Dessert section of Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. We don’t often make dessert but this one is one of the best, now on our Summer rotation. With all Ottolenghi recipes I feel free to substitute whatever is in our fridge or pantry at the time. For this recipe, I bought a bag of mixed frozen berries, and used primarily the berries other than the strawberries. It was delicious and a cost effective way of making this dish in Australia. He suggests using a lot of red and black currents, but they are hard to get and expensive here. If you find your fruit too sweet with the chocolate cream, add some lemon juice to them.

You can check Ottolenghi’s original recipes in his books and in his various print columns.

The berries in fact are very useful for other dishes – serve them with Rice Pudding, Besan Payasam, for instance, or with French Toast.

Similar recipes include Blueberries with Bay Custard and Gin, Creme Fraiche Icecream, Junket with Macerated Strawberries and Passionfruit, and French Toast with Baked Strawberries.

Browse all of our Desserts, Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Banana Porridge with Glazed Apples, Golden Syrup and Passionfruit

Glazed apples are delicious and endlessly versatile. We have made them before, and used them to top porridge. They can also be used to top any pudding, syrupy cakes or endless desserts. Sit atop some junket, for example. Or over icecream, with grilled banana, on top of a fruit salad, topping a bowl of yoghurt. Any way you like.

Bill Grainger in his book Sydney Food has glazed apples with Banana Porridge. We hinted at it in our last recipe.  Today we get more specific about how to make that porridge, with our own twist, of course. It really is delicious, and so Australian!

One of the major changes is that we have added passionfruit. It is a very Australian thing, but also the sour notes of the passionfruit cut through the sweetness of the apples and porridge.

Try these as well – Rice and Raisin Porridge, Baked Apples with Star Anise, Apples with Lemon and Cinnamon, and Apples Baked in Marsala.

Browse our Apple recipes here, our Breakfast dishes and our Desserts too, or find some inspiration in our Late Winter recipes.

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Junket with Strawberries and Passionfruit

I think every country person of my era grew up eating junket as cows were aplenty and therefore milk was abundant. How easy to make a dessert with a couple of cups of milk, a junket tablet and some sugar? Easy, mostly healthy, cheap.

It is decades since I ate junket and, to be honest, I didn’t know if the supermarket would still stock the tablets. But they did, to everyone’s surprise! Junket is a little like custard, a little like flan filling, a little like sweet tofu, but it is none of these. It is a milk-based dessert, made with vegetable rennet, usually sweetened and flavoured.  Today I am topping it with some macerated strawberries and passionfruit.

I think it’s about time for junket to make a come back, for it’s a delicious dessert, with a fantastic texture. Junket can be flavored with a variety of milk spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, or allspice, ginger, and mace. It can be made with any type of milk, be it cow, goat or sheep. And it can be spike with cream or spirits to make a more celebratory dessert. – David Asher.

Did you know that junket actually used be served to the sick in hospitals? It is so nutritious and also easy to digest, so it was perfect hospital food. Why have so many hospitals changed to unhealthy desserts these days?

The name of junket comes from the fact that it used to be made in a rush basket, the Medieval Latin word for which is iuncāta, the French jonquette and the Middle English jonket.

Predecessors of junket were made as early as Medieval times where a cream-and-rennet mixture, sweetened and flavoured with rosewater, sugar, and spices, was an upper-class food, served to those among noble ranks. Since then it has fallen in and out of flavour. But I can tell you it is back in favour at our place!

Similar recipes include Frozen Berries with White Chocolate Cream, Warm Rice Pudding with Orange-Star Anise Sauce, Cold Pandan Pudding with Lime Syrup and Fruits, and Cumquats Poached in Syrup.

Browse all of our Desserts and all of our Strawberry recipes. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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