Baked Feta with Tomatoes and Red Capsicum

Baked Feta is a perfect mezza dish, served with crackers or flatbread. Flavoursome, soft, mouth watering, the baked feta is aromatic and elicits sounds of approval from your friends at your shared table. It is the sort of dish that you can make at the last minute – your friends arrive unexpectedly at meal time, as they do.

Or it is a great snack, mid afternoon, with a pot of mint tea. And it goes really well on Summery days when the BBQ is lit and people are milling around, nibbling, while the salads are made and the vegetable kebabs are cooking. We have also had it on a Winter’s day as we sit around the fire, reading, writing and chatting. Best of all, it is a perfect Summer Holidays dish, when no-one wants to cook much at all.

This recipe is a mish-mash of Italian and Greek. Definitely Mediterranean.

Similar recipes include Parsley and Barley Salad with Feta, Du Puy Lentils with Feta, and Baked Eggplant with Feta.

Browse all of our other Feta dishes, our Italian recipes and our Greek dishes. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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Avocado and Broad Bean Mash

Only in Spring could you get away with having a dish this green!

And what a great crop of broad beans we have had this year – they have grown extraordinarily well and we have had enough to freeze as well as make all of our favourite broad bean dishes. In the early part of the season we pick them small and eat them whole, or podded without being peeled. As the season continues, we let them grow larger for a different more meatier taste. This way we can have them for 3 – 4 months without getting sick of them. Today I picked 2.5 kg of the large ones. Podded and peeled, we are making this Avocado Bean Mash with some, and the rest go in the freezer for Summer and Autumn.

Note that, because my broad beans are home grown, they are still tender at this stage. Beans bought from a green grocer are likely to be tougher if very large. Look for the smaller beans. With my home grown beans, I used around 850g unpodded beans to get 250g podded and peeled beans. Yours might be different. Perhaps buy around 1kg to have enough.

This is another recipe from Ottolenghi’s new book Simple. It’s the second one we have made from his new book, and love the lightness and simplicity of this dish. It is a great dip and spread – use it as a mezze plate, a snack in front of the TV, or as nibbles with a glass of wine and group of friends before you head out on the town. There is no garlic in it, so you’ll be right.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of 1 or 2 days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s 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. We’ve been a bit distracted by Simple. 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.

Similar dishes include Broad Bean Spread with Roasted Garlic Ricotta, Beautiful Fennel Puree, Avocado Salsa with Deep Fried Tortilla Chips, and Fava Bean Puree.

Browse all of our Broad Bean dishes and all of our Dips. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Broad Bean Dip with Wilted Greens and Roasted Onions

Spring and Broad Beans go together like birds of a feather. But when the fresh green pods of these green-flavoured beans are no longer available, we are fortunate to have dried broad beans. These come in several sizes and colours – the main ones are large, unpeeled beans, and smaller, yellow, peeled beans. Both are great, slightly differently flavoured, and the yellow ones come with the advantage of not having to peel them before cooking.

This is another great puree made from the dried broad beans  (fava beans) – use either type. Today, the puree is used as a dip and spread alongside roasted onions, wilted greens, roasted capsicums, and olives, with toasted ciabatta for spreading and piling on the accompaniments.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Broad Bean Spread with Roasted Garlic Ricotta, Avocado and Bread Bean Mash, Dried Fava Bean Puree with Fresh Herbs, Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil, and Broad Bean and Butter Bean Spread.

Or browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and all of our Italian dishes. Alternatively, take some time to explore our Mid Winter collection of dishes.

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Beautiful Fennel Puree

In this recipe, fennel bulbs are cooked a la Grecque in olive oil and lemon juice until very tender and falling apart. They are then whizzed into the most beautiful puree, perfect for spreading, eating as it is, using as a dressing on salads or hot vegetables, or serving as part of a larger meal.

The puree has a wonderful mayonnaise type texture so it acts amazingly well as a dressing over salads, or over baked or steamed vegetables.

This dish comes from Italy, and it is the Italians who seem to use fennel the most. At one time, it was popular at the end of a meal, a delicious way to cleanse the palate. Parts of Tuscany still do this, I hear. The best salad is still fennel, sliced thinly and dressed with olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Just perfect. This dish retains those flavours but cooks the fennel to a soft and gentle puree.

Are you after similar dishes? Try Slow Baked Fennel with Chilli, Orange and Garlic, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Try some other purees too – Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean, Broad Bean and Butter Bean, and Spiced Tomato.

You can also browse all of our Fennel dishes, and all of our Puree recipes. You might like to check out our Dressings, Spreads and Dips too, and all of our Italian dishes. Or take some time and explore our Mid Winter menus.

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Avocado Salsa with Deep Fried Tortilla Crisps

Avocado has been so popular for the past decade that it is almost passé. But here we love the out of favour but full of flavour recipes, so in the dying moments of the avocado obsession, we bring you a keeper recipe – avocado salsa with the flavours of lemon, chilli, tomato and coriander. Enjoy!

There are oodles of ways to use this salsa – on toast, with corn chips, to top a lentil salad, for example. We have included 2 ways – serve as a snack or appetiser with fried tortilla crisps, or atop a salad of new potatoes.

Similar recipes include Cold Avocado Soup, Avocado Smash, and Pomelo, Ruby Grapefruit and Avocado Salad.

Browse all of our Avocado recipes, and all of our Dips. Or be inspired by our Mid Spring recipes.

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Orange and Pecan Cream Cheese

The problem with food fashions is that really useful ingredients get put aside, left behind, left on the shelf. Remember cream cheese? If you are of a certain age you will recall the cream cheese dips. I had a particularly flavoursome one that involved chilli sauce, a jar of sweet and sour vegetables and loads of coriander leaves. It was quick, easy and magnificent.

But over time, cream cheese has lost its appeal in the food world. It is pretty much ignored in place of feta, ricotta, cream, tahini, avocado and other creamy and fashionable ingredients. In our kitchen, however, cream cheese still has its place on the refrigerator shelf amongst these other beautiful ingredients.

It isn’t a dip today, but the recipe is for a spread that we are making with cream cheese. It is so easy it is hardly a recipe, but we share it in the way that we usually do, for consistency. It is cream cheese mixed with orange juice and pecan nuts. Yum.

Use the spread on crackers, or on slices of fruit. If you would like to use it as a dip, simply whip it until it becomes lighter.

Similar recipes include Black Olive and Herb Cream Cheese with Chilli Pine. Nuts, Quince Molasses and Tahini Spread, Miso and Tahini Sauce, and Yoghurt and Kaffir Lime Leaf Spread.

Browse all of our Cream Cheese dishes and all of our Spreads. Or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Yummy Zucchini Dip with Yoghurt Sauce and Buttery Chilli Pinenuts

Just when you had thought you had seen everything, charred/burnt zucchini crosses your path. In the same way that you would char eggplants for dishes like Babaganoush, zucchinis can be roasted and turned into delicious dips and spreads. After charring, the flesh is slippery, silky, smoky and delicious.

Then, in Middle Eastern Style, the mashed zucchini flesh is topped with a sauce made with yoghurt and Roquefort cheese. In the original of this Ottolenghi recipe, the sauce uses an egg to thicken it. As we do not cook with eggs, we use the age old trick of adding besan (chickpea flour) to the cheese-yoghurt mix, and let it cook out to produce the most beautiful sauce. It is tangy and intriguing, this sauce.

THEN, over the top of what already feels like a whole dish, chilli buttery pinenuts are drizzled, and that is scattered with za’atar. Divine. Inspired. Gorgeous. It challenges Baba Ganoush for deliciousness.

As mentioned (you could guess anyway, right?) this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking 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’s 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. 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.

Similar dishes include Orange and Pecan Cream Cheese, Babaganoush, Baingan Pora, and Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate.

Browse our Dips and our Spreads, and our Zucchini recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Creamy Horseradish Dressing or Dip

The garden has recently acquired a horseradish plant, so we are beginning to think about uses. It is commonly included in cocktail sauce, cheese sauces, specialty mustards, dips, spreads, hummus, relishes and dressings. It gives coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans an exciting new taste. Horseradish butter, horseradish mayonnaise, horseradish sour cream dip and horseradish barbecue sauce are common. It can be added to stock, even to pizza sauces! But most of all I am looking forward to liberally as a herb. It can be fermented as well.

If you are growing horseradish, it can be used fresh, but mostly it is grated and mixed with vinegar to maintain its fresh, spicy taste.

However, in these recipes, you can use store-bought horseradish, sold in jars at the supermarket.

Are you after other dressings? Try Yoghurt Tahini Dressing, Herb Dressing, and Almond Butter Dressing.

You can browse all of our Dressing recipes here. Or browse all of our Mid Autumn dishes.

This post contains one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can see more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Quince Molasses and Tahini Dip, Paste and Spread (or eat it by the spoonful)

Our Quince Molasses this year is awesome, tasting every so slightly of roses and with a tart-sweet flavour. We make a jar full in Autumn each year to last us through to Summer, but having discovered this recipe we may have to double the quantity in future.

Mixing Quince Molasses with Tahini produces a spread (or dip, or dressing) that could be used for sweet or savoury purposes. The tahini modifies the sour notes of the molasses to form something that is so moreish, I dare you to stop eating it by the spoonful.

In Iraq, this spread is called Ardeh Shireh and in Turkey it is called Tahin Pekmez.

Similar recipes include What to do with Quinces, Quince Pickle, Quince Molasses, and Pomegranate Molasses. Also try Miso and Tahini Sauce and Dressing.

Browse all of our Quince recipes and all of our Sauces, Spreads and Dressings. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Miso and Tahini Sauce, Spread and Dressing

Packets of miso often come with small recipes on or under the lid, and they are fun to try. Many of them are for Miso Soup, but I have that sorted already. Occasionally there is a recipe for a sauce or dip. This tiny but excellent recipe came on a pack of Shiro Miso. It mixes Shiro with Tahini – the taste is earthy, yeasty and awesome.

Similar recipes include Miso and Ginger DressingMiso Vegetables and Rice with Sesame Dressing, Creamy Horseradish Dressing, Quince Molasses and Tahini Dip, Miso Soup with Wakame, Miso Sesame Dressing, and Eggplant with Miso and Sesame.

Browse all of our Miso recipes and all of our Sauces, Spreads and Dressings. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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