Hazelnuts are one of our favourite nuts here in the kitchen and at the table. There is nothing that quite matches its nutty, slightly dry flavour and crunch. We have used them quite a lot in our recipes, so we’ve brought together a selection for you to try. Enjoy!
Mid Summer to Early Autumn are peak time for figs. Boy, do we look forward to that time. And even luckier that we have a green grocer 30 – 40 mins drive from us, who stocks figs from the first moment of ripening until the last fig of the latest fig variety falls from the tree. We make the trip if there are no local ones, to grab some and indulge (they are not cheap). Also, there is a Pick-Your-Own place we visit at least once during the season, especially if we want to make jam (fig jam is my favourite jam).
This is an Ottolenghi recipe – we have been working with all of his Salads from his book Plenty More. It pairs figs with hazelnuts, which we have used before – it’s a great pairing. He also adds the sweetness of roasted onions to the salad, and it’s a great innovation. That sweetness of the onions and figs bounces off the bitterness of the radicchio and watercress. (Add some purslane too, if you have it.) Not only does the salad look terrific, it works well flavour-wise too.
A great fig should look like it’s just about to burst its skin. When squeezed lightly it should give a little and not spring back. It must be almost unctuously sweet, soft and wet. Once you’ve managed to find a fig that meets all these criteria, I guarantee a heavenly experience. – Ottolenghi
The Salad is best made directly before serving. It makes a great entree (starter dish), and also a fantastic salad for bring a plate lunches with the girls, or BBQ family gatherings.
Browse all of our Fig recipes, and all of our many many Salads. All of the Ottolenghi dishes that we have tried are here. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.
Winter brings more substantial salads – no more Summery cubes of tomatoes tossed with cubes of cucumber and a layer of red onion rings. Enter salads with noodles, grains, lentils, dried beans. Barley, freekeh, chickpeas – all perfect during winter.
Today’s salad uses Burghul or Freekeh. I really recommend exploring your local Middle Eastern shop for their varieties of Burghul – there are at least half a dozen. Select one type that you want to experiment with. There are several varieties of Freekeh too, and you can mix Freekeh and Burghul together if you like.
This salad, almost a pilaf, is tremendous, and the combination of lemon, mustard, garlic and crunch of nuts makes it. It is based on a Bittman Salad. For three years (2016 – 2018) we had a project of cooking through his 101 salads, and this one is in the 90’s. We made all of the vegetarian ones and modified as many of the non-vegetarian ones as possible. After making so many salads, we became committed daily salad eaters.
Are you after other Burghul dishes? Try Burghul, Walnut and Yoghurt Salad with Pomegranate, Burghul and Chickpea Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Burghul, Walnut and Tomato Salad, Quick Burghul Salad, Cauliflower and Burghul Kitchari and Mung Bean and Burghul Kitchari.
Also check out Delightful Pilaf Recipes.
You can check all of our Bittman Salads here. All of our Burghul dishes are here, our Freekeh dishes are here, and all of our many many Salads are worth browsing. Or eat seasonally and explore our Early Winter dishes.
Xmas and Cherries, they just go together, like birds of a feather – right? At least in Australia they do. The juicy succulent cherries help to define that early Summer time. You eat them sitting outside on the verandah or deck or balcony, even just under a tree in the hot sun, sucking that juicy flesh, spitting the seeds and throwing them as far as you can. The little stems make a pile at your feet. Sooner than you care to mention your bag of cherries is empty.
In our house, we never ever have enough cherries left to cook with. Even though there are great cherry desserts, we never seem to have enough. Anyway, most of those Cherry Desserts are European and a little heavy for the heat of this time of year. However, this year I managed to secret a few away to make a salad, one where the sweetness of the cherries goes so well with bitter greens and Hazelnuts. I do hope that you enjoy it.
While we don’t have any other cherry recipes for you to browse, we do have a few Salad recipes that use fruits. Orange and Olive Salad, for example, or Fig Salad with Almond Butter, Tomato and Strawberry Salad, or Watermelon and Peach Salad.
Fig Salads are extremely Autumnal, and beautiful, enlivening. They make you forget about the cold weather to come, and just add joy to the table.
Figs and almonds go very well together, and so do figs and hazelnuts. In this salad, hazelnut oil is used to sizzle some sliced hazelnuts before adding them to figs that have been warmed through in the oven.
Similar Salads include Locquat Salad.
Muesli is a breakfast and brunch dish of raw rolled oats and other ingredients including grains, fresh or dried fruits, seeds and nuts, and may be mixed with cow’s milk, soy milk, almond milk, other forms of plant milk, yogurt and/or fruit juice. (Thanks, Wikipedia.)
Bircher Muesli was developed around 1900 by Maximilian Bircher-Brenner, a Swiss doctor and nutritionist, for his patients at his Zurich sanatorium as a way of getting more raw fruit into their diets. It is still a very popular breakfast in Switzerland and Germany, as well as many other parts of the world. The original recipe called for a higher ratio of fresh fruit to grain, and soaked the raw oats overnight since they took some time to soften. Each day the patients began their day with this mushy fruity mixture. Perhaps it was not an inspirational dish at the time, but in the past 12 decades, the dish has been refined and is an attractive start to the day.
Bircher Muesli traditionally contains a lot of apples, by way of juice and grated fruit. Bircher-Benner believed apples cured him of jaundice in his youth, and he strongly advocated the healing powers of diets high in fruit and vegetables. Thus originally it had few oats (about 1 Tblspn per person) and lots of fruit.
I guess Bircher Muesli was the original Overnight Oats! Here in Australia it is a perfect Summer breakfast. Fruit is plentiful in Summer – beautiful, perfect peaches, apricots, peacharines, nectarines, berries, plums, …. all and more freely available. This breakfast dish – the Australian version – celebrates our sunshine and Summer.
A salad comes together from almost nothing
The other morning, while making coffee and getting a quick breakfast ready, I got my lunch prep underway. In no time there was a small handful of burghul (Cracked Wheat) soaking in hot water. The last of some green olives, halved. Hazlenuts quickly toasted. Some left over slivered almonds. Onions soaking in red wine vinegar. The last of a jar of kimchi.
Burghul forms the basis of great, inspired salads made from left overs in the kitchen. You can use this recipe as a guide, and use what you have in your fridge and on your Kitchen Bench.
Are you looking for other Burghul dishes? Try Burghul, Pistachio and Tomato Salad, Burghul, Walnut and Tomato Salad, Burghul and Chickpea Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Burghul with Pinenuts and Sultanas.
A perfect spring or summer salad with a healthy grain and tastes of sunshine.
Such a healthy salad with the tastes of the sun. Buckwheat is new to me, so I relished this opportunity to cook with it.
While many people think that buckwheat is a cereal grain, it is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel, making it a suitable substitute for grains for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein gluten. Buckwheat flowers are very fragrant and are attractive to bees that use them to produce a special, strongly flavored, dark honey.
You can read more about buckwheat here.
You might also like to try Beetroot and Honey Salad, Charred Tomato Salad, Tomato and Peach Salad, and Carrot and Blueberry Salad. All of our Salads are here and here. Be inspired by our Spring recipes here and here.
A lovely Sunday Brunch.
I love to be inspired by reading recipes. I truly do. But unless I am making something quite new I don’t always stick to a recipe. I think that we all have that tendency, right? Adapt to our tastes, and to whatever is in our pantry and fridge.
Today I read an old NZ recipe from the magazine Cuisine and thought, mmm, yes, a lovely Sunday Brunch. And then I made it my style. We give you the two versions today, so that you can see how to adopt and adapt from within a recipe framework.
Our similar recipes include Orange and Date Salad with Fennel Orange Dressing, Orange and Walnut Salad, Jerusalem Artichokes with Halloumi and Basil Oil, and Three Citrus Salad with Chilli and Ginger.
It is good to minimise the use of margarine type spreads because none of them are very healthy. Still use them, of course, but aim for moderation. It is easy to replace margarine at times with pureed avocado or hummus or other bean-based spreads (home made). Check out our growing list of purees of all sorts, dips too, that can be used in place of butter. Nut butters are another alternative.
Cashew butter, almond butter, pistachio butter and peanut butter can all be made – all so very delicious and useful in many ways, not just for spreads. For example, try cashew butter on porridge with some coconut oil and fruit. Very good! Use almond butter with sherry vinegar to make a salad dressing. They can be used for dips, or spooned into soups and wet curries. They good well over steamed vegetables. You can mix them with lemon juice or vinegar and thinned with water to make a great dressing.
Are you a peanut butter addict? The peanut butter is so fresh and vital made this way, I urge you to try it and compare the taste with your purchased one.
It is so easy to make them. Imagine the kids coming home from school and you say “let me whip you up a fresh batch of peanut butter for your snacks!”
Take a cup of raw, unsalted nuts (cashews, walnuts, peanuts, macadamias, pinenuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, or a combination) and place into the food processor. Let the processor run for 2 minutes or so until the nuts are ground and forming a paste. They will look a little grainy. At this point, add a little oil and a pinch of salt (optional), and then continue to process until ground and creamy.
Use a tasteless oil if you can – grapeseed or peanut oil would be fine. Cashews will take 1 – 2 Tblspns of oil, but peanuts, being oilier nuts, may take less. Pistachio butter is quite dry and grainy but can be combined with thick yoghurt or cream cheese.
Nut Butters in the vitamix
Nut butters are especially easy to make if you have a high speed blender like a Vitamix. Place 1 – 4 cups of nuts in the Vitamix – use the smaller jug if you have one for smaller amounts. Blend on high for 1 minute, using the tamper to keep the nuts moving. Switch the machine off if it begins to labour – it is time to add the oil. Almonds will take 2 minutes of grinding.
Add the oil (canola, grapeseed or peanut), according to the nuts, and blend on high again for 30 seconds.
As a guide, use 15-20ml oil per 1 cup nuts for almonds, and vary the oil level according to the oiliness of the nuts. Pistachios might need more – 15-25ml per cup nuts, less for peanuts – about 0.5 Tblspn per cup nuts.
What is the best way to clean a Vitamix after making nut butters? Make a smoothie.
recipe notes and alternatives
A little sugar or honey can be added with the oil, but is not strictly necessary.
Nuts can be roasted or toasted prior to blending into butter for a deeper taste.
A pinch of salt can be added per cup of nuts, but is also optional.
Try making peanut and sesame seed butter.
browse some recipes with Nuts and Seeds
- Cucumber Salad with Sesame
- Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread
- Green Olive, Walnut, Pistachio and Pomegranate Salad
- Zahtar and Dukkah