Algerian Eggplant Salad and Spread | Betanjal M’charmel

We love our pastes, purees, spreads, dips and powders, and the kitchen is always full of them. On a cold and rainy early Summer day, we wanted tea and snacks, so two spreads were created for the crusty bread from our Italian fruiterer, and life was good again. We no longer cared about the rain.

This spread (or side salad, mezze style), is made from sliced eggplant which has been baked until soft and mashed with spices. It is then gently fried until all moisture is lost, and served with harissa. Delicious! Sometimes it is referred to as a jam, rather than a salad or spread.

Similar dishes include Broad Bean Puree with Chilli Oil, White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, and Green Olive Tapenade.

Browse all of our Spreads, Dips, Pastes and Purees. Our Salads are here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Turmeric Chickpea Hummus

Hummus is pretty common in everyone’s home and in many a Middle Eastern restaurant. We make it a lot, whizzing it up in the food processor in a matter of minutes. There are many variations on hummus, but we now have our favourite way of making it, so it is a no-fuss, no thinking dish that can be on the table in under 5 minutes (if you have cooked the chickpeas ahead of time – we keep bags of them in the freezer).

Recently I came across Turmeric Chickpeas – chickpeas that have been soaked and cooked with a lot of turmeric. You can read about our experiments with them here or jump straight to the recipe (you will need it for the hummus).

For this recipe we use Turmeric Chickpeas instead of plain, ordinary chickpeas. It is the same recipe as our usual hummus, just that we are adding this twist. BTW, if you are interested in reading about the different thoughts about how to make the best hummus, check our usual recipe. It also has some variations that you can incorporate.

Similar dishes include Tray Baked Spicy Turmeric Chickpeas, Celeriac Hummus with Cauliflower Tabbouleh, Smashed Chickpeas with Dukkah and Brocolli, and Creamy Pearl Hummus Salad.

You might like to browse all of our Dips and all of our Chickpea recipes. Explore our Middle Eastern recipes. Or take some time and browse our Mid Spring recipes.

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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 Slow Braised Peppers in Olive Oil, 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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Marinated Eggplant with Tahini and Oregano

Fresh oregano must be one of the most underused herbs. It is rather potent, so must be used with care, similar to rosemary or sage. It’s a herb that can dominate if used too liberally. However, oregano is very versatile and works well in marinades or dressings for roasted vegetables or substantial salads. It also flavours gratins and makes a great addition to pasta sauces, pizzas, or over steamed potatoes.

Some combinations are just a match made in Middle eastern heaven. Eggplant and Tahini, for example. With roasted wedges of eggplant and a creamy tahini sauce, it’s hard to go wrong. The fresh oregano needs to be added with a little caution as mentioned, but adds a fresh herby note to the dish.

Wedges of eggplant are baked and then marinated in garlic, chilli, herbs and oil, before being dressed with the tahini sauce. Truly, the baked eggplant wedges are good enough to eat on their own, so make sure that you cook enough of them to have a quick snack while making the dish. For the finished dish, the play of the green flavours of the herbs against the eggplant and tahini is magnificent. And don’t you love the way that lemon juice works with tahini? I have always loved that.

It is a magical side dish, entree, mezze plate addition or salad, and can be made up to 2 days in advance. The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s book Ottolenghi.

Small eggplants such as Japanese or Chinese varieties are good to use for this recipe, as well as the globe varieties. If using white eggplants, perhaps peel them before roasting as the skin is thicker than most other small eggplants.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Ottolenghi. It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one day 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 Algerian Eggplant Salad/Spread, Lentil Salad with Pomegranate Molasses, Eggplant and Zucchini Baked with Chickpeas and Harissa, Eggplant Steaks, and Saffron and Rose Scented Eggplants.

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

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Quick Pickled Shimeji Mushrooms

Shimeji Mushrooms are those lovely tiny caps on a long skinny stalk that grow together on a base and are typically Japanese (although they also grow elsewhere). Sometimes they are just labelled as exotic mushrooms, but don’t let your green grocer get away with that. Enquire as to the exact type, you have a right to know.

The other day we made a dish of udon noodles and shimeji with a miso mushroom broth. The remaining mushrooms are made into this lovely quick pickle which will last a week in the fridge. Eat it as a pickle accompaniment to meals, as part of a mezze plate, in salads or piled on top of hot soups. I hope you love these little mushies* as much as I do.

Shimeji is often used as a collective term for about 20 or so different varieties of mushrooms. Although there are specific shimeji mushrooms, labelling or produce is not as specific,  and you will find that the collective term includes smaller mushrooms of different varieties. Never mind, though, they are all delicious.

*mushies is Australian slang for Mushrooms

Similar recipes include Chinese Cold Cucumbers, Carrot and Kombu Quick Pickle, Celery Quick Pickle with Chilli, and Cucumber and Radish Quick Pickle.

Browse all of our Mushroom recipes, and all of our Quick Pickles. Our Japanese recipes are here. Or take some time to explore our Late Winter dishes.

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Cauliflower Roasted in Olive Oil

I roasted cauliflower for my daughter one day and she was delighted. She was not a fan of cauli, but eating it roasted was another experience. It changed her cauli-eating life.

Roasted cauliflower has a sweet, intense, nutty flavour.

This is the barest of recipes, to give you the gist of roasting cauliflower. And then you can play with it in any way that you like. Add toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses. Throw tons of herbs at it. Roast garlic with it. Make a herb oil and drizzle over it. Eat hot. Cool it to room temperature and make a salad out of it. Add to pasta. Put it on a mezze or antipasto platter. Put in a tomato sauce. Or, eat it just as it is.

Are you after other Cauliflower recipes? Try Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Green Tahini Dressing, Aloo Gobi, Slow Cooked Cauliflower with Lime and Spices, and A Plate of Cauliflower.

You can browse all of our Cauliflower recipes and our roasted dishes. Or explore our Mid Winter dishes. Enjoy!

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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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Dried Fava Bean Mash with Olive Oil | Koukofava

Dried fava beans are loved in Greece. This is an exquisite yet simple dish. Simple food, simple execution, incredible flavour. Fava beans are never mixed with lemon in Greece, as might a puree of yellow split peas, confusingly also called Fava. Rather the acidic and other strong flavours are eaten alongside the puree. Lemon wedges, salty accompaniments, raw onion, olives, pickled peppers and parsley are very common accompaniments. It is rarely eaten on its own.

Fava (the dish) is made with yellow spit peas and the one made with fava beans is call Koukofava. So very confusing, what were they thinking! Koukofava is a favourite in Crete and in various islands in the eastern Aegean. It is often cooked together with a little potato, which gives a smoothness to the final texture but also uses more olive oil.

Similar dishes include Broad Bean Dip with Wilted Greens and Roasted Onions, Fava Bean Puree with Olive Oil and Dill, Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs, and Fava Bean Puree with Fresh Herbs.

Browse all of our Fava Bean recipes, and our Greek dishes. Or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate

There is a marriage made in heaven, and that is eggplant and tahini. Oh, goodness, how magic happens with that combination. There are a quadzillion recipes that feature that specific combination, and it is no wonder. We have quite a few on this site too. They tend to be Middle Eastern in origin, or in style.

This recipe is no exception – it is Middle Eastern, it is magic, and it is delicious. The combination features pomegranate molasses, and the usual garlic and lemon juice. You will adore it.

It is an Ottolenghi treasure, from his book Plenty. We have a small project at the moment, to cook from his books, and currently we are cooking from Plenty More but not ignoring his other books altogether. I have to say, this is one of his simpler recipes, easy to make without too many processes. It can be made in just a few minutes after the eggplant is charred. This contrasts with the Persian Noodle dish we made yesterday, which contains 7 different processes and 5 different elements. Its a pleasure to cook such a simple dish after that one!

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi 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 recipes include Marinated Eggplant with Tahini and Oregano, Roasted Eggplant with Chickpeas and Herb Yoghurt, Quince Molasses and Tahini Dip, Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Chilli-Garlic Kale, Babaganoush, Persian Style Eggplant, and Begun Pora.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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

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Broad Beans with Lemon and Coriander | A Mezze Dish

Broad beans are so good it is not worth going without them even when their short Spring season is over. Frozen broad beans are great substitutes for fresh – search for them in Middle Eastern and Afghan shops as they sell beans that are already peeled. Phew! It saves quite a lot of work.

This dish is a great mezza plate. The combination of coriander and the beans is divine, and imagine this dish with some falafel and hummus. Glorious!

It’s an Ottolenghi recipe, from his book 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 or in our kitchen. For this dish we stuck pretty close to the recipe.

In fact, Ottolenghi’s recipe is a take on an original old Jewish recipe from Aleppo, Syria, which is strongly flavoured with coriander powder. Ottolenghi swaps this out for paprika and allspice. I will post the original recipes soon, and update with a link here.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cook the Booksday 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 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 again 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 recipes include Broad Bean Salad with Asparagus, Olives and Black Garlic, Fava Bean Salad with Garlic and Dill, Braised Broad Beans, Peas and Lettuce with Parmesan Rice, Broad Bean and Dill Rice, Broad Bean Puree with Chilli Oil, and Broad Bean Mezze.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and our Mezze dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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