Strawberries! It is Wimbledon time, and great strawberries are still available in our greengrocers, so we mix them up with some lemon or lime juice and munch while we watch replays.
Quince paste is as old as the hills, being made in the Middle East and slowly spreading across Europe and indeed into Australia, primarily through our foodie icon, Maggie Beer. It must be one of the best uses of quinces.
You will find quinces in the green grocers in Autumn and again in Spring. They are long-keeping, so the appearance in the shops in Spring is a bit of an artifice, I am afraid, as their fruiting time is Autumn. I have such a love of this fruit – perhaps they remind me of my Grandmother. Years ago, I knew of a wonderful, neglected quince tree in the Clare Valley in South Australia, and each Autumn I would spend a weekend in this delightful region and come home with a bucket of quinces. One year, the tree had been removed, and I was devastated.
Since then, I have found that one of my friends has a quince tree, and every Autumn I still get my bucket of quinces. I feel blessed at this time of year, there is such an abundance of produce. It is as though nature is also preparing for Winter.
There are many recipes for quince paste. I use this one. I like the way that the long cooking intensifies the flavour. Serve with the creamiest of cheeses, or eat on its own as a sweet – sneak some for your midnight snack.
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2005, and is part of our Retro Recipes series.
Beautiful raisin flavoured baked pears for wintery nights.
Aaah, the thought of these makes me feel hungry. First made in our household about 20 years ago they still feature occasionally in our kitchen, especially in winter. They are a great way to take the evening chill off of the kitchen – turn the oven on, pop in the pears and perhaps some parsnips to roast, pour the wine and put some Italian music on in the background.
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2005. You can browse more of those recipes in the Retro Recipes series.
A quick dessert celebration of Autumn. Apples, Pears and Pomegranates are brought together with yoghurt and a touch of spice for a quick, easy and delicious dessert. It’s also wonderful at breakfast time (top your cereal or oats with it) and an any-time snack. Try it also with our Bondi Bircher Muesli.
Rice pudding is such a traditional dish, born from Mother’s, Grandmothers’ and Great Grandmothers’ Winter collections of recipes. I always know when the best of Glorious Autumn is over because I bake a rice pudding. It varies every year – sometimes it is as early as early April, and sometimes as late as mid May here in the Southern Hemisphere. A dish of extreme comfort and warmth, there is something about it that connects me with my great line of ancestors.
This old fashioned, rustic dish is rather dark from the cinnamon and the brown sugar. Use white sugar if you prefer a lighter version.
Looking for more? Explore all of our Rice Puddings and all of our other Desserts . Feel free to browse other vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006 in the Retro Recipes series. Or try our easy Mid Autumn recipes.
Sakkarai Pongal is short grained, raw rice cooked in jaggery and milk with mung dal, simmered until thick and then garnished with ghee, cashew nuts and raisins. It is not the traditional Milk Pongal cooked completely in milk, but is a definite favourite. It is a distinctive dish from Tamil Nadu, and also cooked in Sri Lanka and some other states in South India.
Pongal is a festival in January where we thank the Sun for the bounty that it brings us. Sakkarai Pongal is cooked in the morning as the sun rises and is presented as part of the devotions. Read more about the Pongal Festival here. And all of our dishes for the Pongal Festival are here.
But Pongal, the dish, can be made at any time. There are sweet versions like this one (called sakkarai), and you might like to try the other versions: Sakkarai Pongal from Jaffna; and Sakkaria Pongal without Milk. Check to see if we have since posted other version.
I recently read this characterisation of hot drink imbibers:
Tea drinkers are golden oldies fans. Those who take it from a pot, never from a bag, are classical music snobs. Instant coffee drinkers go for hits from the ’70s and ’80s. Short black aficionados turn into whatever is new and funky. The only people who drink herbal teas are folk singers and old hippies.
That makes me a fan of golden oldies and an old hippie folk singer, yet a lover of the new and funky.
Thank goodness that characterisation is not true today, and along with good espresso coffee, tea has found a rightful place after losing out to coffee for a while. Herbal teas are available in cafes and restaurants, chai is a perfectly acceptable cafe-based low-caffine drink for non-coffee drinkers.
They say tea was discovered in 2737BCE when Chinese Emperor Shen Ning infused dried camellia leaves in water to make a pleasant drink that gave him vigour and focus.
Thank goodness for that. Today we use tea in preparing a dessert or breakfast dish with tea and prunes. You can also browse other breakfast dishes or our deserts here and here. You might also like to check out our tea and chai recipes.
A classic dessert of Tamil Nadu
Sago Payasam is a classic dessert in Tamil Nadu in South India, along with Vermicelli and Rice Payasams. Payasams are sweet desserts, the milk condensing and thickening as it cooks and the sugar sweetens this thick mixture to a level almost beyond the experience of cooks outside of India. Hold back on the sugar to begin with if you do not have a sweet tooth.
Nigel Slater with a dessert of strawberries and raspberries.
I love Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries II and perhaps it is even better than the first volume. While browsing through the June recipes (ie those suitable for December in Australia), it was his pairing of strawberries and raspberries that grabbed my attention. The festive season is notoriously hot in many parts and it is beach and BBQ weather every day. Berries are prolifically available in Australia at this time, and their gorgeous colours and flavours suit the season well.
A cousin to Eliappe, the Surnoli is equally as delicious
Talking about Eliappe prompted Moni Bharadwaj (who is the daughter of one of the authors of Festivals of India) to remind me of Surnoli. Surnoli is a Konkani pikelet-like dish made from fermented rice batter in a similar way to Eliappe. How wonderful to have two very similar dishes, from different parts of India.
Surnoli is a Kokani dish from Goa eaten for breakfast or as a tiffin or even for dinner. Yellow in colour, they have a puffy texture with holes due to fermentation, and are eaten with home made butter. They can be sweet (as here) or made without jaggery for a savoury pikelet. When sweet, surnoli have a porous and soft texture due to the jaggery, and they taste very good.
This dish uses poha, an Indian rolled rice. It is easily obtainable from your Indian shop. There are several different thicknesses of poha – Nylon (very thin and crisp), Paper, Thin, Medium, Thick and Dagdi (thick and chewy). There are also poha types made from red rice and brown rice. For this dish, use a white, medium or thick poha for better results.
Have a look at our Sweet Dosa recipes. All of our Breakfast dishes are here. You might also like to browse all of our Desserts. Or check out all of our Poha recipes and Dosa recipes. All of our Goan dishes are here. Or simply explore our Mid Spring recipes.
A delicious, surprising Indian pancake style dish
This recipe is adapted from Festival Cookbook by Vilma Patil. Eliappe recipes vary wildly. Some cook Eliappe in molds, some in a wok, some cook them free-form. Some ferment the batter, some do not. Some cook over a very hot pan, some cook them more slowly. Some include additional ingredients.
This is my interpretation of Eliappe, sweet and delicious pikelet-like dosa snacks. If you cook it differently, I would love to hear. If you like this, you should also check out the Goan Surnoli.
This is especially good for Pongal Festival in South India.
Thankful to my friend for this wonderful dessert recipe
I have had this recipe since forever. It is the kind of dessert you want to eat on a night you are feeling a little vulnerable and out of sorts with the world. It will make you feel great again.
It is so easy, so simple, very wonderful, especially after a hot Indian meal. Given to me by an Indian friend, I believe this recipe is much much better than one published in a recent popular large book on India and Indian food. It is very special.
Nachi made this often and taught me to make it, although he was never too keen to have me cook it for him. He was very particular, and I was still learning, particularly about the precision needed in traditional Indian dishes. One cardamon pod either way, and you could spoil the dish. I had to lose my free-form, flexible Australian ways. We also often made his favourite vegetable dish, Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach Madras Curry.
A delicious dessert from a Parsi lady.
There is a fabulous cook in Sydney, a Persian (Irani) lady from the North of India, who cooks a mean yoghurt curry and this lovely dessert. She is an Ayurvedic healer and Bowen therapist and I love her work. You will enjoy this dessert.
A precious gentle sweet dessert.
Figs are one of the most special fruit. This simple dessert combines flavours that go so well with them – rosewater, honey and almonds. There is no cooking involved, so the dessert (or midnight snack) is ready in minutes.
This recipe combines 3 unusual items that go well with strawberries – balsamic vinegar, black pepper, and thyme.
Lately I have been able to get strawberries picked fresh that morning. They taste heavenly and I often eat them one by one as I am reading or working. But they also get made into strawberry jam, baked strawberries and now, this ancient recipe found in my pile of recipes – Strawberries with Sticky Balsamic.
This recipe combines 3 unusual items that go well with strawberries – balsamic vinegar which adds a sweet flavour with some tartness, black pepper adds some heat, and thyme or basil add a herby edge. Mostly unknown, these herbs go well with sweet fruit desserts including fruit salad.
Are you looking for more strawberry recipes? You might try these: Avocado and Strawberry Salad, Delicious Baked Strawberries and here, very pretty Fresh Pink Strawberry Frappe, Nigel’s Strawberries with a Mint Raspberry Sauce, and a wonderful Strawberry or Raspberry Sorbet. Then there is Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Syrup.