Farinata | Socca | Chickpea Flour “Pizza”

Baked chickpea flour farinata with a pizza topping.

There can’t be a more versatile ingredient than the chickpea – whole, crushed, blitzed or ground; soaked, cooked, dried or tinned. But it is when they are dried and ground that the excitement really begins. Chickpea flour (also known as Bengal gram, gram flour and besan flour) forms the basis of some of my favourite comfort food.

Chickpea flour is used by cuisines from France through to India (from Socca in France to Farinata in Italy, to Iranian gondi dumplings, to pudla in India, for example), an beyond that as well. It is a versatile cooking medium, even lending itself to batters for deep frying vegetables and other snacks. There are also cardamom flavoured biscuits, pistachio studded fudge, sev noodle snacks, delightful yoghurt curries, In India its use is ubiquitous, and Italy seems to have a wonderful understanding of its properties too. This nutty-flavoured flour has grabbed the attention of cuisines around the world .

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Marinated Zucchini Salad with Bocconcini

Tiny zucchini marinated with garlic.

A very simple but delicious salad. Easy to make and a great Spring to Autumn salad.

Are you looking for Zucchini recipes – Try Quick Zucchini with Garlic, Zucchini, Lemon and Dill Salad, Zucchini Preserved in Olive Oil, Making Zucchini Juice, and Zucchini Rice.

Or are you looking for Salads? Try Pomegranate and Banana Salad, Halloumi and Orange Salad, and Kidney Bean Sundal.

Or browse all of our Zucchini recipes and all of our Salads. Our Italian recipes are here. Or explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Peperoni in Padella | Roasted Red Peppers Salad

A simple dish with sweetness of red capsicums for the heat of summer

On hot days you need quick and easy food that is light and cooling. Make some Red Peppers in Oil and then go to the beach.

You will also enjoy Capsicum with Feta and Kidney Beans, Grilled and Oiled Eggplants and Peppers, and Sweet Red Pepper Salads. Perhaps even try drying capsicums for winter snacks. All Capsicum recipes are here and here, and Salads here and here. Our Italian recipes are here and here. Find inspiration in our Summer recipes here and here.

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How to Make Italian Tomato Paste

Every Autumn the wonderful juicy autumnal tomatoes are used to make tomato paste, which is then frozen in small bits, ready to bring out and pop into any dish that needs it. It lasts all winter.

Ii is usually stored in individual small containers, but it could be frozen in an icecube tray and then put the cubes into ziplock bags. The cubes will be ready for you to pop straight into the pan when required.

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Pomodori con Riso | Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice

A wintery dish.

This recipe is really easy, and I love the textures. Served with a salad, or some roasted or baked vegetables, it is a delicious meal.

Stuffed vegetables went out with the Ark, but are coming back now. The rice is cooked in the juice and internal flesh of the tomatoes which adds a wonderful taste to the rice.

A Social Photographer once quipped “Life is too short to stuff tomatoes.” I am not sure what she was referring to, but I happen to like stuffed tomatoes.

Are you looking for Stuffed Tomato recipes? Try Tomatoes Gratinéed with Cheese, Tomatoes Stuffed with Olives and Ricotta, and Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta and Basil.

We have many Tomato recipes. Our favourites are Confit Tomatoes, Tomato Lassi and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayo, and Tomato Bharta.

You can browse all of our Tomato recipes here. Or see all of our Stuffed dishes here. Get some inspiration from our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Roasted Rosemary Pears

An unusual use of Pears, but delightful for Autumn and Winter, especially good for a Winter BBQ.

Holidaying at home is a little luxury for me. I can look at the yellow of the silver birch leaves across the road. Get the freshest of flowers each morning. Gaze at the clouds enveloping the hills. Listen to music. Read. Oh, it is so good to be home.

So, after glazing apples and draining yoghurt, both for a tomorrow’s menu, the weather is perfect for baking some pears with a little rosemary powder – ground by hand with a little chilli and dried capsicum and a minor pinch of salt. If you have not have this at hand :-), use fresh rosemary, some sea salt and add chilli if you dare. I have made this dish with pears and plums, so it is quite versatile.

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Pomodori Gratinati | Tomatoes Gratineed with Cheese

In Autumn, tomatoes are at their best, especially for cooking.

In Autumn tomatoes come into their own. Not only are the tomatoes a little juicer, a little sweeter away from that hot sun, but the weather is a little cooler and so cooking tomatoes becomes an option again – baked, grilled, fried, sauteed, sauced, pureed – you name the cooking method and tomatoes will have it covered.

Gratineed tomatoes are filled with cheese, herbs and breadcrumbs and oven baked for slightly retro but awesome lunches or as a side dish to a main meal. They can be cooked in covered BBQs as well.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Creamy Potato Cheese Gratin, Oven Baked Tomatoes, and Baked Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice.

Or if you are after other Gratin dishes, try Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, Potato and Cheddar Gratin, and Caramelised Witlof with a Cheesey Topping.

You might like to browse other Baked Tomatoes here. All of our Tomato recipes are here and here, or Italian recipes here. and here. Or find inspiration in our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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Bruschetta al Pomodoro | Tomato Bruschetta

Bread, tomato and olive oil, a classic combination.

Just as I finished saying to a friend that I did not like raw tomatoes, I realise that I love raw tomatoes. What I do not like are those limp wedges of tomatoes that sit on top of limp greens in a salad that has been left too long in the heat. Or soggy tomato sandwiches. People! Will you ever learn to look after your food!

So, I confess. I L O V E raw tomatoes. But you can keep the wilted greens with wilted tomato salad.

There is a thing about Autumn and tomatoes, I am now realising. Sometimes these things are in your consciousness, but far far down below, and it takes something to prod us to dredge the depths of the fourth dimension of consciousness and bring to the surface something we have always known.

I L O V E Autumn tomatoes. I love them cooked and I love them raw, maybe with a little sugar because they are past their sweetness peak. But they are still high in taste and delicious in eating.

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No Knead Focaccia | Bread in an Hour

Sensational Bread in an Hour

I am a great fan of the slow rise, no-knead bread that takes all day or more to prepare and cook. Not that there is much to do to the bread dough during that time, but sometimes, just sometimes, all that fore planning, well, you know…. you just want bread NOW. Fresh. Hot. Just out of the oven.

Well, it is possible.

This is another of the recipes I have made for many many years. It makes a great central piece to a Sunday lunch with friends or a Sunday dinner in front of the TV. We mostly make it flat, stretching the dough out to fit our pan, but it can be cooked as a small loaf, as you see from the pics.

Similar recipes include Schiacciata with Cheese Topping, Cooking Focaccia on the BBQ, and Rosemary Focaccia.

You might like to browse our Bread recipes, and perhaps our Italian recipes. Find some inspiration in our Early Winter collection of dishes

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Pasta all’ Aglio e Olio | The Simplest of Spaghetti Dishes

It must be the simplest dish in the world.

Sometimes the simplest is just the best way of cooking and eating a dish. Elizabeth David, for example, was a great proponent of that style. And it is in the simplest of dishes that we train our palate, noticing slight nuanced differences in taste between, say, this olive oil with that pasta, or a different pasta. Or a different olive oil. I read about a cooking school once where they spend 3 weeks just on potatoes, so that the subtleties of the tastes variations became familiar to the students.

This recipe is the simplest of pasta recipes, and one that you will want to make often. There are no quantities given, you can alter them until you find the ratios that work best for your pasta and your olive oil.

Different versions of this can be found all over Italy – it is a dish that most families enjoy at least once a week – often it is a Monday night supper. We make it with spaghetti.

Are you looking for Pasta recipes? Try making our Home Made Eggless Pasta, and our Home Made Zeffirino Pesto.

Similar recipes include Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes, Capunti Pasta with Basil and Tomatoes, Penne with Broad Beans and Ricotta, Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper, and Orzo Pasta Salad with Spinach and Pine Nuts.

You might also like to read Why we Cook Pasta al dente.

Or browse all of our pasta recipes, and our Italian recipes. Or find inspiration as you explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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