Baked Okra with Tomato and Ginger

You either love okra or hate it, but this dish is sure to convert all of the okra haters, or those hesitant to try it.

The okra is baked whole with a little olive oil until it is tender. Then it is mixed in a light and fresh tomato and ginger sauce. It is a surprise – the sauce with the okra is wonderful, and the baking of the okra gives a slightly different flavour and texture to it.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, so of course the flavours are magical. It is from his first cookbook Ottolenghi. It is an easy dish, taking 15 mins to cook once you’ve prepared the okra.

Are you looking for more Okra dishes? Try Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seed, Lemak Style Vegetables, and Avial.

You can browse all of our Okra dishes here, and all of our Ottolenghi recipes too. The dishes from Ottolenghi are here. Or take some time to enjoy our Late Autumn collection of dishes.

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Fava | Split Pea Puree

Fava is a puree or spread made from yellow split peas, not Fava Beans (Dried Broad Beans).  The naming of these Mediterranean dishes is a mine field! A puree made from dried Broad Beans is known as koukofava.

There are many versions of Fava, some with cumin and sumac, but this one is made from split peas which are topped with capers and caramelised onion, eaten warm and served as a starter dip. Ottolenghi, whose recipe this is, says the dish is soothing yet exciting. It is indeed. It is a delight to see Ottolenghi use white pepper in several of his recipes – a rare thing these days but an exquisite taste.

You know we love pastes, purees, dips and spreads here and this is a delightful addition to our collection.

Similar recipes include Green Olive Tapenade, Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, and Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil.

Browse more of our Purees and Spreads. Our Greek dishes are here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Fennel and Lemon Quick Chutney

I am writing this in early December, and I must have the last reasonable fennel bulb before Wintery cold weather comes again. Rather than make a salad from it, we thought that a fennel chutney would be nice. It is a quick chutney, one that you can eat almost immediately and will keep only a week or two in the fridge. The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Guardian column.

We always regret not using Fennel enough. It seems to be a summery vegetable with that cooling aniseed taste, but in fact is difficult to find at decent prices once Winter is over – and by the end of Spring good fennel is definitely unavailable.

Similar recipes include Roasted Eggplant Chutney, Onion Jam, and Cumquat Chutney.

Or for Fennel dishes, try Slow Baked Fennel with Chilli, Orange and Garlic, Fennel and Apple Salad, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Browse all of our Fennel recipes and all of our Chutneys. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Baked Yoghurt Encrusted with Vine Leaves

Ottolenghi believes that Turkish cuisine is one of the most exciting and accomplished in the world. I would argue that Indian is, but the cuisines between Indian and the Mediterranean definitely come close. Ottolenghi’s Book Plenty contains this unusual savoury cake (perhaps a pie) from the Turkish part of Northern Cyprus (where it is called Kibris Böreği).  A version of this dish is also known in Greece, being made in the Drama Region of Greece’s Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, where it’s known as Asmapita. The name comes from the Turkish word Asma, which means grapevine.

Ottolenghi credits a book Classic Turkish Cooking by Ghillie Basan, so I borrowed the book to browse through. It is a great book if you are looking for Turkish recipes. I recommend it.

The recipe caught our attention because we have a Vine Leaf thing going at the moment, using them in a number of ways. We haven’t made dolmades yet, but they are on the list. Have a look at what we have made so far. There are more to come.

This is a dish where a shallow layer of yoghurt mixed with herbs and thickened with rice flour is baked wrapped in vine leaves! Grape leaves impart their exceptional flavour and aroma to the filling as it bakes. The breadcrumbs and sesame seeds add a crunchy layer to each slice. How very delicious! This recipe comes together in minutes, tastes great, and can be eaten warm or cold. It is an excellent contribution to a table of mezze.

Have I mentioned too, how the grape vine leaves are scented, and the kitchen begins to smell like a grape arbour. As you scald them, they release the fragrance. As I dry them in the sun the outside deck is scented with grape vines. As they bake, they have a lovely woody, grapevine aroma.

Similar recipes include Burghul Dolmas, Grape Vine Leaf Powder, Grilled Pecorino in Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves.

Browse our Turkish dishes and all of our Vine Leaf recipes. All of our Yoghurt dishes are here. Or explore our other Early Summer recipes.

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Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes with Caper Vinaigrette

This year it is a long cold start to Summer. As I write, I sit here in a jumper in January, thinking of putting a rug over my legs rather than turn the heater on. So, needing something to warm the kitchen, I popped some roast veg in the oven.

Not any roast vegetables – this is an Ottolenghi dish, one that takes a common dish and makes it extraordinary. It is a favourite, and I don’t know why I haven’t posted it before. My note in the cookbook is “Magnificent” pencilled in the margin.

It takes sweet potatoes and parsnips and roasts them with garlic and (later) some cherry tomatoes, before dressing them with a tangy vinaigrette that is both sweet and sour, full of capers for a saltiness. It’s the perfect dish for any festival, celebration, Sunday lunch or any day of the week is born.

Ottolenghi says “The addition of a vinaigrette to freshly roasted vegetables gives them a freshness and juiciness they don’t normally have; the acidity brings out new shades of flavour, too.”

You might also like Roasted Beetroot with Cumin Seeds, Perfect Roast Potatoes, or Hot Roasted Carrot Salad.

Try some Parsnip recipes too: Roughly Mashed Parsnip with Parmesan and Olive Oil, and Parsnip and Carrot Mash.

Take some time to explore the Ottolenghi recipes we have tried. Our Sweet Potato recipes are here and our Parsnip recipes here. Or browse our Mid Summer collection of easy recipes. (You might prefer our Mid Winter recipes!)

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Waldorf Salad, Sort of

We delve into the Ottolenghi library again for today’s salad, and it is this twist on the Waldorf Salad that takes our fancy. With some red cabbage sitting neglected in the fridge, it is an ideal way to put it to use.

Ottolenghi twists up the classic Waldorf Salad, created by Oscar Tschirky, the maître d’hôtel of the Waldorf Astoria, and we make some changes too. Our changes are to accommodate readily available ingredients and our preference for eggless mayonnaise. Healthy and tasty, what could be better?

Similar Salads include Celery Yoghurt Salad, Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Mustardy Yoghurt, and Quick Tomato Salad with Mustardy Mayo.

Browse all of our Salads, and all of our Cabbage dishes. Our Ottolenghi recipes are here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Red Radish and Broad Bean Salad

Here we are with broad beans again (my favourite), and paired with radishes. Both are so easy to grow, so this really is a from-the-garden salad. But when broad beans are out of season, use frozen ones. You can make the all-too-short broad bean season last longer this way.

A friend living in Tasmania still picks Broad Beans at the end of December, so if you are in a cooler climate, how good is it to have broad beans through mid Summer. I still have a few on my bushes, not many, but enough to make the occasional meal.

Light, refreshing and perfect for a warm weather day, this recipe can also be a light lunch with some beautiful flat bread and maybe a wedge of pecorino cheese. It brings together my two favourite ingredients of Spring – Broad Beans and Radishes. It’s another Ottelenghi beauty.

Now to the question of whether to double peel the broad beans. While very young pods can be cooked and eaten with the beans, this is not the recipe to try that. Should you peel the individual beans? It is a personal preference. I almost always peel them, but younger beans can be eaten as is. I find popping broad beans out of their individual skins can be meditative, and I prefer the taste and texture of peeled broad beans. But many people can’t be bothered. If you’re one of the latter, skip the skinning stage – you’ll need to cook the beans for a minute longer and you will lose the light texture of the naked beans.

You might like other Broad Bean recipes – try this Tawa Broad Beans, and Five Bean Salad.

Are you looking for Radish recipes? Try Chinese Cabbage and Red Radish Salad with Peanut Dressing, and Red Radish and Green Mango Salad.

Our Radish recipes are here and Broad Bean recipes here. Take some time and explore all of our Salad recipes, and explore our Easy Early Summer dishes.

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Beetroot Salsa with Yoghurt

The first beetroot from the new garden had me looking for a simple yet dynamic way to treat them. This tangy salad has the wonderful flavours of cumin and coriander, and has yoghurt rippled into the salad. Treat it like a salsa, as a side to your main dish or curry. Summery and special, I love this fusion of east and west flavours.

You might also enjoy Slightly Pickled Beetroot Salad with MustardBeetroot Risotto, Beetroot, Orange and Black Olive Salad, Cherry and Hazelnut Salad, and a Warm Carrot and Beetroot Salad with Spices.

Our Beetroot recipes are all here and our Salsas here for you to explore. Or try our easy Early Summer recipes.

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Quinoa, Parsley and Lemon Salad with Cannellini Beans

Today’s recipe is for a common style of salad around the Mediterranean – it is light and full of sunshine! Herby and lemony, it feels so healthy and is ideal for outside eating in Summer.

The Mediterranean style salad of quinoa and cannellini beans is quick to put together. Super simple once the beans and grains are cooked, it is ready in minutes and very delicious. It is an Ottolenghi recipe that does not have a mile-long list of ingredients or dozens of steps in the recipe. Tucked away in a corner of a page in his book Plenty More, it is a salad that should not be missed.

It is a very white salad, so it looks great served next to a salad with lots of tomato or pomegranate seeds. If you use red quinoa, it looks very elegant against the cannellini beans!

Similar dishes include White Bean Salad with Tahini, Grilled Eggplant Salad with White Beans, and Roasted Red Pepper Salad with White Beans.

You might like to see our other Quinoa recipes and Cannellini Bean recipes. All of our Salads are here. Browse all of our Ottolenghi recipes here, or explore our collection of easy Early Summer dishes.

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Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing

Such a wonderful earthy flavour, Freekeh, that strange sounding name (to Western ears) belonging to the nutty grain. Sold whole or cracked, it is easy to find at Middle Eastern stores, some providores and some bulk lentil and grain places. Freekeh actually means rubbed – the process of removing the grains from its husks.

Like quinoa, freekeh is full of protein, with a beautiful smokiness, and is dead easy to cook. It is Middle Eastern duram wheat that is picked while unripe then traditionally roasted over wood fires to burn off the husks – hence its wonderful smoky flavour. Surprisingly it is also a little sweet, so a squeeze of lemon or lime always does wonders to a freekeh dish.

Freekeh is so unusual as generally the grains we use have been allowed to mature and dry on the head.

This dish is a take on an Ottolenghi dish from his book, Plenty, but has some minor variations. It is beautifully cooked by simmering for 15 mins and then leaving covered, to steam until cooked. Then it is tossed with herbs and topped with garlicky lemon yoghurt before serving.

Similar recipes include Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.

Browse all of our Freekeh recipes and all of our Pilafs. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or browse our Late Spring collection of recipes.

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Saffron, Date and Almond Rice

Goodness, what a beautiful rice dish. Ottolenghi again creates magic with this Iranian recipe that he credits Claudia Roden’s classic A Book Of Middle Eastern Food. He believes that Irani people cook the best rice, and I have to say he might be right.

This recipe takes a bit more effort than banging some rice into the rice cooker, but for special occasions, and for weekends, it is definitely worth it. The rice grains are beautifully separated and soft. The dish has a sweet overtone from the dates, and conjures up beautiful Middle Eastern feasts on low tables in tents with thick rugs covering your legs.

This dish is cooked like a biryani, in layers. It needs a very low heat – raise the pot above your heat source a little if you can (eg place a roasting rack or heat diffuser over the heat source). It could also be cooked in a very low oven, but you’ll miss the crunchy rice that forms at the bottom.

Recently I needed to replace my saffron, so I ordered some from Saffron Only. It is the most beautiful saffron! Far better that what I had been using. If you love saffron, check her out on Instagram. (I only recommend products when they are excellent, and am not recompensed for my recommendations.)

Similar dishes include Kosheri, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, and Rice with Orzo.

Also try Saffron and Rose Scented Aubergine, Golden Saffron Spiced Tea, and Dates and Saffron Soaked in Spiced Ghee.

Browse all of our Rice dishes and all of our Ottolenghi recipes. Or take some time and explore our Mid Spring collection of dishes.

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Roasted Cauliflower and Hazelnut Salad with Pomegranate

In this memorable salad from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem, roasted Cauliflower, Celery and Hazelnuts are combined with Pomegranate, fresh Parsley, and warming spices. A sweet-tart vinaigrette finishes it off.

When we roast cauliflower, we make a whole lot, often 2 – 3 trays, and it is used for Cauliflower Soup, Crispy Cauliflower with Tahini Yoghurt Dressing, and this salad. Roasted cauliflower is one of the best ways to use this gorgeous winter vegetable.

Similar recipes include Roasted Cauliflower, Grape and Cheddar Salad, and Slow Cooked Cauliflower with Spices and Lime.

Browse all of our Cauliflower recipes, all of our Ottolenghi dishes and all of our Salads. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Kosheri | Lentils, Rice and Vermicelli with Onions and Spices

Kosheri (also spelled Koshari) is a dish with its genesis in Egypt, although it now traverses many time zones. We have some similar recipes, but this one from Ottolenghi (in his book Ottolenghi) is another of his dishes that perfectly layers spices with other ingredients. It is a bit intense, this dish, with several cooking processes on the go at one time, but the effort is worth it. Cook the sauce, cook the lentils, cook the rice and vermicelli, cook the onions – then bring them all together.

Frankly, I love how North Africa, the Middle East and India are much more adventurous with their rice dishes than our English-based cultures. Who would have thought of cooking lentils, various pasta, burghul and/or vermicelli with rice? It seems to break all of our Western rules of food composition. Yet here they are, these mixed rice dishes, such a delicious alternative to plain white rice.

Cheap, easy and filling, kosheri is ubiquitous on Egypt’s streets and thought to be an adaptation of Indian kitchari, brought to Egypt in the late 19th century during the British occupation of both countries. Egypt’s Italian community is held responsible for kosheri’s pasta factor. Lebanon and Palestine have a simple version, a rice with pasta dish that works on the principle that less is more.

The dish can be made with or without the tomato sauce. Although it is a good accompaniment, the kosheri is also good with a Cucumber Raita, or any other Raita, Pachadi, or Yoghurt based salad, for that matter. Or just plain yoghurt.

In Egypt, this dish is sold by street vendors, but it is also very welcome at the dinner table. It can be a side dish, but I prefer it as a main, with the accompaniments tailored to eat on and with the rice. I particularly love it with the tomato sauce, some roasted cauliflower and toasted hazelnuts.

Similar recipes include Orzo and Rice, Cauliflower, Mung and Cracked Wheat Kitchari, and Cracked Wheat and Mung Kitchari.

Browse all of our Egyptian recipes and all of our Ottolenghi dishes. Our Rice recipes are here. Or explore our Late Winter collection of recipes.

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Crispy Cauliflower with Tahini Yoghurt Sauce

This Cauliflower dish is a take on a classic Israeli and Lebanese recipe in Ottolenghi and Tammi’s book Jerusalam. I have twisted it up just a little to suit us and our friends, but I have to tell you that this is a favourite dish in our circle. I love it partly because it is very quick to make if you roast the cauliflower. Ottolenghi deep fries it (and that is delicious) but often time is a real factor in this household. So the cauliflower is roasted when we need awesome dishes in quick-sticks time. We can get on with other things while the roasting happens. I have to say, though, that deep frying gives the cauli beautiful crispy exteriors and cooks the interior just enough to be amazing.

Tahini features in creative ways in Israel, in both simple eateries and upmarket restaurants. For these types of dishes, grab good tahini from your Middle Eastern grocers – you won’t go back to the supermarket shelves, and they have a smoothness not available in the Greek brands. Choose a light-coloured tahini made from hulled sesame seeds.

The tahini sauce, thick and wonderfully rich, is the focal point of this dish. I use about 3/4 of Ottolenghi’s sauce with the cauliflower, and the rest is put to use as dips and salad dressings. This dish fits perfectly in any mezze selection, makes a great substantial meal when served with fresh tomato salad and a warm pitta, or is an excellent side for many meals.

Similar dishes include Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Hazelnuts and PomegranateRoasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree,  and Cauliflower Slow Cooked with Lemon and Spices.

Also try Miso Sesame Dressing, Green Tahini Sauce, White Beans with Tahini, and Tahina Tarator.

Browse all of our Cauliflower recipes, and dishes where tahini features. Our dips and sauces are here. Explore our Israeli dishes, all of our wonderful Salads, and check out or Early Spring collection of recipes.

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Pink Grapefruit and Sumac Salad with Nasturtium Leaves and Garden Flowers

Colourful, juicy, delicious.

It is Spring, and the nasturtiums have leaves as big as lotus leaves and flowers of all hue peaking out from beneath.

This dish is an adaptation of an Ottolenghi recipe – a salad using pink grapefruit. I had a dozen pink grapefruit and this seemed an awesome opportunity to play with this recipe. The original recipe uses watercress, which is difficult to find here – its not common and is expensive. Not having the inclination or the time to drive the 30 mins it takes to get to a green grocer that does stock it, I substituted with produce from my garden. Into the salad went baby nasturtium leaves, yellow and red nasturtium flower petals and marigold flower petals. It was extraordinary.

This is a salad that, even in its original form, appears on paper like it won’t come together with Ottolenghi’s usual balanced and banging flavours. It feels like too much sumac. There is a chilli in the dressing.  And crispy, sharp raw onion. But the flavours are massive and surprising! Bright, puckery grapefruit gently mixed with peppery watercress (in my case, nasturtium leaves), bitter Belgian endive, sweet leaves of basil basil, sharp red onion slices, and a tangy vinaigrette heavy with the lemony tangy sumac. Flavour clash? Not at all. A beautiful, balanced, juicy salad that is colourful and divine.

Pomelo can be used in place of the grapefruit. Pink Pomelo can be found over Summer in local Asian green groceries.

Similar recipes include Locquat Salad, Three Citrus Salad with Chilli, Ginger and Almond Salsa, Pink Grapefruit Salad with Avocado, and Pomelo and Green Mango Salad.

You might also like to explore our extensive Salad recipes and Grapefruit dishes. Our Ottolenghi recipes are here. Or browse our Early Spring dishes.

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