Pita Bread

Although the precise and detailed science of bread making has never been adopted in this household, there was a time that I baked bread every day. We had everything from brioche to focaccia. Honestly, any yeasted dough that I could mix in the morning so that it could prove during the day, and be cooked in the evening as the rest of the meal was prepared was fare game in our Kitchen in the mid to late ’90s. We would have never won prizes for our bread making but we loved it, and it was much cheaper than buying bread in those days (these days it is better than the horrid cheap breads that are available – I can hardly recognise them as bread).

I loved cooking Pita Bread and watching it puff up in the oven as it met the heat. It was a magic that I never tired of. The recipe we used was from the much loved cookbook of those times, Moosewood Cookbook.

It is easy to make bread if you have a machine with a dough hook, or if you are used to making bread by hand.

Other alternatives are -Use a food processor. Mine comes with a dough blade, but many people say that using a metal blade is just as effective (if not more so). Mix your dry ingredients with the food processor first, then add the wet ingredients and pulse about 12 pulses to combine the wet with the dry. Then process for 15 seconds 3-4 times. In between, stop the processor, lift out the dough and turn over. After 3 or 4 times, the dough will have come together nicely. It will also be warm from the heat of the processor. Hand knead the dough for 3 – 5 mins until smooth and elastic.

You can also use your Vitamix blender to make the dough. It comes with a “Dry” container with a special blade, with which the dough is pulsed and scraped. It mixes the dough nicely and reduces kneading time. Use a similar process to the one mentioned above for the food processor. If the blender seems to be labouring, turn it off immediately, turn the dough and try again.

Similar recipes include Spelt and Cider Loaf, Pol Roti, Quick Roti, and No Knead Focaccia.

Feel free to browse our Retro Recipes series. You might also liked our other Bread recipes. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

This recipe is part of the Retro Recipes series of recipes that contains some of our vegetarian recipes from our first blog in the 1990’s.

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

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Hungarian Style Mushroom Soup

Well I have to call it out. The genesis of this dish (we have changed it a bit) is from Moosewood by Molly K. It is a cracker soup, so the recipe is all over the internet without attribution.  We have been making this soup since the good old days but it has changed a little from the original – just modernised a little so the ’70s style does not show through so much. There was so much good food in those days, it just needs a tweak to bring it into the 2020’s.

We saute the mushrooms then cook them in a light vegetable stock or just water, flavoured with dill and paprika, then mixed with sour cream – all to give it that Hungarian touch. It takes a fair amount of black pepper and sea salt – so season slowly and taste as you go. We like to drizzle the soup with a paprika oil.

Similar recipes include Baked Black Chickpeas,Eggplant and Tomatoes, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s Slow Cooked Creamy Mushrooms, Stuffed Mushrooms on the BBQ, and Mushroom and Carrot Salad with Mung Sprouts and Ginger Vinaigrette.

Browse all of our Mushroom recipes and all of our Soup recipes. Or explore our easy Mid Autumn dishes.

You can see more of our Retro Recipes series here, our vegetarian recipes from our first blog.

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White Bean, Basil, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Turmeric Spread

You know we like our spreads and dips, especially classic Italian ones. Here is a simple recipe for pureed beans seasoned with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and fresh basil that can be made mostly out of cupboard ingredients. It is divine in flavour and texture, with a multitude of uses. It is difficult to get fresh ingredients during this CV-19 lockdown, I know. If you don’t have basil, use parsley, coriander or chives. I have even used rocket and baby spinach (use a little less). Or simply leave the basil out.

The optional tomatoes and fennel seeds is an idea from one of the Moosewood cookbooks of long ago – we adopted it and use that combination in all sorts of things now.

Similar dishes include Guacamole, White Bean Puree with Harissa and Rosemary, White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, and White Bean Soup.

Or browse all of our White Bean recipes and all of our Spreads.

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Cream of Asparagus Soup

Asparagus has that gentle flavour that makes it an ideal Spring vegetable, especially for soups. Asparagus soups do not have the heaviness of Winter soups, and as we emerge from jumpers, scarves, hats and overcoats, it is a delight to have its gentleness.

I don’t mean to imply that this soup should be kept only for Spring – indeed it will be a staple in your kitchen from Spring right through to the end of Autumn, at the times you can source decent asparagus. This recipe is a take on the recipe that appeared in Moosewood all those years ago – you Woodstock fans will know what I mean (and I am not referring to the bird!). It is a little different to the French Cream of Asparagus that we have also been making for quite a number of years.

This soup can be made in a high speed blender, one that heats the soup as it blends. While it misses the sweetness that can only be found in slowly cooked onions, sauteed asapragus and toasted roux, it is still a great option for evenings after a long day at work.

Similar recipes include Sweet Cashew Cream, French Cream of Asparagus Soup, Chilled Asparagus Soup and Gentle Asparagus and Turmeric Soup.

Check out our collection of:

Browse all of our Asparagus dishes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Italian Tomato Sauce

A very versatile Italian Sauce

This is a gorgeously herby tomato sauce with an Italian swagger. It cooks slowly down then is blended well (using a blender) or coarsely (with an immersion blender), and the sauce can be frozen. It pairs delightfully with cheeses like fontina, can serve as a fresh chutney, used as a spread in layered sandwiches and toasties, and of course serves as a sauce as well.

I have a few of “go to” tomato recipes that I make and freeze for the winter months. This is one of them, Tomato Paste is another, and I like freezing tomatoes whole, to throw into dishes as they cook. I also make Spiced Tomato Puree, and Tomato and Chilli Jam. And just for luck, I throw some tomatoes through the juicer and freeze the juice. We have a splendidly tomato-ey winter. I love that this recipe is part of our tomato-y stash.

It was my daughter who first pointed out how good this recipe is. It has been in use in our household since 1998. That is how good it is!

Similar dishes include Umbrian Cure-all Sauce, Salsa Verde, Tomato and Chilli Jam, Tomato Paste, and Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Tomato recipes here. Or you might like to browse Sauce recipes here. Check out our easy Autumn recipes here.

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Sesame-Lemon Bread

Here is another recipe from Moosewood, from the days when I cooked bread every day. I would put the dough on to rise in the morning, and cook the bread at night for dinner.

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