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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Steamed Broccoli Scattered with Pine Nuts

We love broccoli any which way – roasted, grilled, steamed, sauteed, pan roasted. Today’s dish is incredibly simple. Broccoli is steamed, buttered, peppered and scattered with toasted pine nuts. Simple. Incredibly delicious. The buttery pine nuts pair so well with the tender yet crunchy broccoli. Butter is best for this dish – try not to be tempted by other oils.

Imagine this with pasta too! Oh my!

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can see more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

Similar dishes include Black Pepper Garlic Broccoli, Broccoli with Orange-Verjuice-Butter Sauce, Broccolini with Sweet Tahini, and Smashed Chickpeas with Broccoli.

You might also like our Broccoli recipes and our Salads. Check out our easy Mid Winter recipes.

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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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Guacamole | Avocado Dip and Spread

This household was eating avocados long before they became de rigueur in the Australian cafe sub-cuisine. This is how we have been making guacamole since the 1990’s.

The most basic guacamole is simply avocado mashed with garlic, lemon, salt and pepper. The velvety texture of avocado, and the zing of the lime that cuts through the smoothness just as you’re getting comfortable with it. Then comes the bite of the garlic. The flavours  blend beautifully together and yet at the same time, all flavours are distinctly identifiable.

The good thing is that the basic recipe can be endlessly varied. We include a number of variations in our recipe below – tomato, coriander, chilli, sour cream, yoghurt – all manner of things can be added to the basic blend. You can vary guacamole so each time you make it, it is different.

Some say that leaving the avocado stone in the puree will prevent discolouration. My view is that if the guacamole’s around long enough to find out, you’re not doing it right.

Are you after other Avocado dishes? Try Cold Avocado Soup, Avocado and Strawberry Salad, and Avocado Smash with Radishes.

You can browse all of our Avocado recipes and Salsa dishes. Check out our easy Late Summer recipes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series.

Guacamole

Guacamole | Mexican-Style Avocado Salsa

basic recipe
2 ripe medium avocados or 1 very large one
juice 1 lemon or 1 – 2 limes
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and black pepper to taste

optional additions prior to mashing or blending – if mashing, dice or grate the onion, fresh chilli and tomato finely, or if blending, chop coarsely
mayonnaise, creme fraiche, sour cream or yoghurt
1 small tomato
chilli powder to taste, or 1-2 fresh green chillies
a little white onion
leaves from 4 – 5 springs fresh coriander, chopped

optional additions after blending
0.5 – 1 green or red pepper, diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 small cucumber, finely diced
pitted olives, chopped
1 tomato, diced

method
Gather together the basic recipe ingredients and any additions to be added prior to mashing or blending. Mash or blend in a food processor or blender until creamy.

Add any further additions after blending (if any) and stir. It is best not to double up on ingredients – for example, if you add onion prior to blending, don’t add chopped onion after blending.

Taste, and adjust seasonings (chilli, lemon, salt, pepper). Serve with tortillas and corn chips.

Guacamole | Mexican-Style Avocado Salsa

recipe notes and alternatives.
Mashing the avocado with a fork or back of a spoon can produce a chunky guacamole (I love it!), or use a blender or food processor for a smooth one.

12/96

 

Bannock | Scottish Girdle/ Griddle Oatcakes

Bannock, or Scottish Girdle (aka Griddle) Bread, is cooked in on a griddle or in a skillet from a simple dough. They can be cooked on the stove, on the BBQ or on a campfire! It is similar to a griddle baked scone – it has a fluffy centre that is slightly crumbly – and is best eaten with lashings of butter and jam. It can be cooked cut into circles, squares, wedges or left as a whole “bread”.

The word bannock comes from a Latin word that means “baked dough”. It originated in Scotland, where it was first made as a quite heavy and dense loaf with a barley or oatmeal dough and no leavening. As leavening agents were introduced, they began to be added to these skillet breads, making them fluffier. We keep somewhat traditional and make them with oatmeal and a little plain flour, but you will find modern recipes that use only flour.

So easy to make, so delicious, good weekend food.

Similar recipes include Griddle Scones, Singin’ Hinny, and Home Made Crumpets.

Browse all of our Oat recipes and all of our Griddle cooking recipes . Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

This is a vegetarian recipe from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can browse other recipes from this blog in our Retro Recipes series.

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Saar | A Goan Rasam

By the late 1990’s I was beginning to cook Indian food or at least attempting to make a fair representation of some dishes. Many of my early attempts came from Goa as that was my first port of call on my first trip to India. Later I expanded my love of Indian food to Tamil cuisine and South Indian in general.

Saar is similar to the Tamil dish Rasam, but with Goan twists. The recipe is from Tasty Morsels; Goan Food Ingredients and Preparation by Maria de Lourdes Bravo Da Costa Rodrigues. I picked it up on one of my early trips to Goa. It is like the Green and Gold of Goan Cuisine. I love to look through the book and remember my many visits to Goa over the years. I adore exploring the different areas of Goa, away from the tourist attractions, and dive into the different cultures. There were many times I travelled with a friend on his motorbike, exploring off-road areas and little-known beaches, as well as the local food markets, food stalls and tiny shops. Sleeping in thatched huts, eating at restaurants right on the beach, talking to women on the beach picking up inhabited shells to cook with rice. The smell of morning fires ready for cooking the day’s meals, the pink sands on the beaches, the sunsets, spice farms, hills, temples, music. Oh, Goa – I miss you!

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Creme Fraiche Icecream | Egg Free

I once did an icecream making course with a renown chef in Adelaide, Mary Ziukelis, who specialised in icecreams and sorbets in her restaurant Neddy’s. This was a ground-breaking restaurant in Adelaide in the 1970’s and ’80’s, opened by Cheong Liew and Mary. It changed hands several times over the years, but was always ahead of its time. Some people will remember the restaurant and the female chef with an icecream obsession. Mary had some great tips, like always use glucose syrup, not (just) sugar. Truly, it makes a difference. Let me know if you remember the chef with a passion for icecream at Neddy’s Restaurant. She was brilliant.

This is an icecream recipe I have had for years, and it might be one of hers. It is quite divine. My note on the recipe reads Just make, eat and die. I think that sums it up. It is not as overwhelmingly hard when it freezes, as many egg-free icecreams can be.

You won’t find yourself eating large serves of this icecream – a couple of large spoonfuls is usually enough at a time. This is probably a good thing once you consider the amount of sugar that is used in icecreams! But in a heatwave you will find yourself having some with each meal. The tang of the lemon against the smoothness of the cheese is divinely wonderful.

If you are extra keen you can even make your own Creme Fraiche to use in the icecream.

Similar recipes include Strawberry and Black Pepper Icecream, Roasted Plum Icecream, and Strawberry Frappe.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can see more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

Browse all of our icecreams, or browse our Late Summer dishes.

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Most Heavenly Coconut Sweet Corn Soup with Chilli and Cumin

Tim was a great friend of mine when I lived in Sydney and we spent a lot of time together. Since I moved away, he has lived in Europe with only the rare visit back to Australia. Always a wanderer, Tim is also a great cook, a yogi and an ayurvedic master in the kitchen.

A wonderful light, healthy soup made from sweetcorn emerged from one of Tim’s  Ayurvedic cooking class. It is exceptional. It is so simple and cheap, but beautiful. Wonderful. Exceptional. Amazing.

Tim always warned that the coconut milk might split, and to be honest, I had it split on me once, many years ago. But, if you consider Thai cuisine, coconut milk can be boiled easily without splitting, and I have never had a problem with other recipes using coconut milk. So I believe it is more to do with the quality of the coconut milk – as this soup depends on the coconut milk for its intrinsic qualities, get the best that you can. I have also included a step in the recipe that will totally minimise any chance of splitting, if it is at all prone to it.

Similar dishes include Indo-Chinese Sweetcorn Soup, Baby Corn Soup, and Baby Corn and Green Bean Soup.

Browse all of our Sweetcorn recipes  and all of our Soups. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Thai Style Green Beans and Baby Sweetcorn in Coconut Sauce

Fancy something spicy, green and delicious? This is just the thing if you are feeling a bit jaded and under nourished. Ladle your bowl full of steaming rice and top with this coconut sauced Thai style Green Bean Curry, and enjoy your day.

Green beans are such a gorgeous vegetable, and one that we don’t use enough. We are working to remedy that! A quick and gorgeous curry in the Thai Style.

Our original version used only Green Beans, and feel free to do that. I love the crunchy addition of the baby sweetcorn though; it adds a colour and flavour contrast. We have also made it with bok choy and green beans – that also works very well. In today’s version coconut milk is added.

Similar recipes include Baby Corn Padoka, Green Bean Kootu, Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Avial, Lemak Style Vegetables, and Thai Eggplants with Sesame and Soy.

You might also like our Bean recipes, and SE Asian recipes. Our specifically Thai recipes are here. Check out our easy Early Spring recipes too.

This recipe is a variation on one from our first blog that existed from 1995 – 2006. Feel free to browse other vegetarian recipes from our Retro Recipes series.

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Zuppa di Zucca | Italian Pumpkin Soup

Today’s recipe is another Pumpkin Soup. This one is Italian in origin, with  potatoes and cannellini beans. It is a beautiful and velvety soup.

Actually, I am famous amongst my friends and family  for Soupe au Potiron and it remains my favourite Pumpkin Soup! However, I also love a little variety. I served it for my friend Angela recently, when she visited one day, after which we walked into the Botanical Gardens. She is a connoisseur of my Pumpkin Soups, and loved this one.

Make today’s recipe in very cold weather, and enjoy it with crisp crunchy bread! This recipe has been around in our Winter kitchen for many, many years, and the original inspiration came from the River Cafe Cookbook.

Similar recipes include Pumpkin Soup with Lentils, Minestra di Pasta e Fagioli Borlotti, Celeriac Soup with Cheese Croûtes, Soupe au Potiron, Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, and Adzuki Bean, Pumpkin and Barley Soup.

Browse all of our Pumpkin recipes, and our Soup recipes Our Italian recipes are here. Or check out our easy Mid Winter recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in our Retro Recipes series.

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