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 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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Mung Sprout and Edamame Salad

Sometimes I prepare to post a recipe and realise that it is for an ingredient that does not feature often in our collection of recipes over 12 years of posting on this blog (including some recipes from our blog that ran from 1995 to 2006). It is a surprise to find an ingredient not covered much in all of that time.

We do use Indian-style sprouts in some recipes – that is, the type of sprouts that are only just sprouted, with small little tails. But Mung Sprouts with long tails, Chinese style, feature hardly at all! So today we begin to remedy that.

The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More and takes long Mung Sprouts and pairs them with, of all things, Umeboshi puree, edamame beans and radishes!! It really works, and is a terrific combination. This recipe is part of our project to cook more dishes from our Ottolenghi collection of books, and we are beginning with Plenty More.

The salty-sour Umeboshi puree, made from pickled plums, can be found in the Japanese section of larger supermarkets, in Japanese groceries and in health shops. If you can’t find Umeboshi puree, substitute pomegranate molasses.

Make more of the dressing, if you want: it’s so tangy and good that you’ll be tempted to douse this salad; failing that, it’ll keep in the fridge for other dishes in the days ahead.

Similar recipes include Mushroom and Carrot Salad with Sprouts, Bean Sprout Stir Fry, and How to Grow Sprouts.

Browse all of our Sprouts recipes and all of our recipes from Plenty More. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here.

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Fennel and Quinoa Salad with Broad Beans

Time to get back to Quinoa – we cook with rice, bulgar, barley, lentils, beans, …., but Quinoa doesn’t often feature at our table. This salad helps to rebalance that dynamic.

It is a wonderful Wintery dish using fennel. It is the sort of dish that can form a lovely lunch or supper on a cold day. I always miss fennel in the Summer, and when it appears in shops again in late Autumn our excitement is evident.

The fennel is paired with Fava Beans (Broad Beans). Use fresh ones in the beginning of Spring when fennel is still available, or use frozen ones in Autumn and Winter. The best frozen Broad Beans are found in Middle Eastern shops – they are already peeled! Such a time saver. The fennel and beans are mixed with quinoa, spices and herbs. Don’t hold back on the black pepper, it really enhances this dish.

The recipe 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 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 Red Rice and Quinoa with Orange and Pistachios, Quinoa, Parsley and Lemon Salad, and Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette.

Browse our Fennel recipes and all of our Quinoa 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.

Continue reading “Fennel and Quinoa Salad with Broad Beans”

Cucumber and Apple Salad or Salsa

Salsas are supposed to be sauce-like, even though they might be chunky. Ingredients are chopped small, there might be some liquid involved, and a salsa is generally eaten poured or spooned over another dish. However, in parts of the world away from Mexico and the US, the term salsa is liberally used for salads that consist of some finely chopped fruit or raw vegetables with, commonly, onion, garlic, lime juice, chilli and coriander. Gradually even those composition rules are being relaxed.

So this salad can be called a salsa, having spring onion, coriander, lime and garlic, but perhaps it is a little too chunky. And it has olive oil with the lime juice. So, to be on the safe side, we have kept the salad label. You can call it whatever you wish, and chop it more finely if you prefer.

The recipe combines crispy apple with fresh cucumber. It is crisp and cooling. You can remove the seeds from the cucumber, should you wish to, but I can never see the sense in doing this. There is a cooling sweetness to the seed area which I enjoy in Summer.

This dish is especially good with Falafel and Baked Beans.

This is an Ottolenghi dish and in fact it is Ottolenghi Cook 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 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. This dish is from his Guardian column. 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 Green Tomato and Pineapple Salsa, Beetroot Salsa with Yoghurt, and Green Guava Salsa.

Browse all of our Salsas and our many Salads. Our Apple Salads are here. Our Ottolenghi dishes 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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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 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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Potato Salad with Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella

New potatoes in Autumn deserve special attention. They are simply gorgeous simmered, unpeeled, until tender then tossed while hot with butter, seasoning and finely chopped parsley.

Here we ramp up the flavours a little by tossing the cooked potatoes in pesto and mixing in smoked buffalo mozzarella. It is a magical combination, and gorgeous on a sunny Autumn day, sitting under the last of the grapevine leaves enjoying the sun and a bottle or two of wine.

This is my take on an Ottolenghi recipe in Plenty. He makes the salad with quail eggs. We do not use eggs in our kitchen, but we have found that either a good quality, soft and oozy buffalo mozzarella or some burrata are wonderful alternatives.

It is Ottolenghi Cook 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 books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking mainly 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 Grown Up Potato Salad, and Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayo.

Browse our Potato Salads and all of our Potato recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Potato Salad with Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella”

Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad with Greens

Sometimes you just want some greens. Steamed, wilted, sautéed or fresh, any type will do. This salad is for you.

It takes some sweet corn and tomatoes, and layers them on a bed of greens, with a dressing of lime and chilli. Nice!

Are you after other Salads? Try Charred Okra Salad with Tomato and Preserved Lemon, Onion Salad with Sesame Oil, and Glazed 5-Spiced Tofu Salad with Cucumber and Radishes.

Are you looking for other Sweet Corn dishes? Try Sweetcorn Sundal, How to Char Sweetcorn, and Roasted Tomato and Sweetcorn Cold Soup.

Or browse all of our Salads, and all of our Sweet Corn dishes. Or take some time to explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Asparagus Raita

This raita is a very simple one – the spices are in the tadka rather than layering them as powders in the yoghurt. But my, it is delicious. The recipe was given to me by a Maharashtrian friend who was making it for a special event at their home.  I do love to make recipes that are given to me, as the chain of links formed by people and recipes is something special and important. In days gone, the passing of recipes from person to person was very important – no social media, few books, rare magazines. So word of mouth was the conduit, along with the Saturday paper Ladies Section and locally printed books compiled by Women’s groups.

Enjoy this raita, it is special for several reasons.

Similar recipes include: Pomegranate Raita, Carrot Pachadi, and Bhindi Raita.

Browse all of our Raitas and all of our Asparagus dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Salad Dressing with Soy and Sesame | Dipping Sauce with Soy and Sesame

I call this sauce a drizzle sauce, because it can be drizzled into and over anything. When I first started making this as a dressing and a dipping sauce, it was quite unusual. That was way back in 2003. These days, Asian style dressings, broths and dipping sauces are reasonably common. This is a great recipe to play with – it makes about half a cup. Store it in the fridge and use for salads, noodles, dipping sauce, drizzle in or on soups, add a little to your bowl of miso, drip over a pile of deep fried tofu, a little over avocado on toast.

There are some other lovely dipping sauces and broths to try  Broth and Dipping Sauce for Noodles and Tofu, Ginger and Sesame Dipping Sauce, and Kitsu Noodles.

You might also like our other Dressing recipes, and our huge number of Salad recipes . Alternatively, explore our easy Late Autumn recipes.

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.

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Cauliflower “Shawarma” with Pomegranate and Tahini

Cauliflower has been used for ages as a vegetarian answer to the classic Middle Eastern Shawarma recipe. The cauliflower is roasted with a range of spices including toasted cumin and coriander, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and sumac. In this recipe, the cauliflower is then dressed with tahini, pomegranates, pine nuts and rose petals. Beautiful Middle Eastern flavours.

This particular recipe, they say, originally came from Josh Katz of Berber and Q, and it is such a beautiful dish. It has sweetness, tartness, creaminess, ‘burntness’ (umami), warmness from the spices and a fragrance that brings the bazaars of the Middle East to your table. Its such a great dish.

Are you looking for Cauliflower recipes? Try South Indian Cauliflower Soup, Cauliflower Kitchari and Slow Cooked Cauliflower with Lime and Spices.

Or some Middle Eastern recipes? Try Rice and Orzo, Saffron and Rose Scented Aubergines, and Semi Dried Tomatoes with Pomegranate Molasses.

You can also browse all of our Cauliflower Recipes, all of our Middle Eastern Recipes and all of our Pomegranate dishes. Or take some time to check out our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Vendakka Khichdi | Okra in a Coconut Yoghurt Sauce | Ladyfinger Pachadi

Vendakka Khichdi is a delicious and common side-dish from Kerala. It is crispy fried okra in yoghurt flavoured with a green chilli-cumin-coconut sauce. It is often included as a part of Onam or Vishu Sadya. Otherwise, it is often served with Sambar and beautiful Indian pickles.

The okra is sliced and fried and then mixed into a yoghurt base flavoured with mustard seeds, cumin, green chill and coconut. It is one delicious dish, served warm.

This dish, which is a Khichdi, should not be confused with Kitchari – the Indian dish of rice and lentils. Khichdi is a Kerala yoghurt-based style of dish, similar to a Pachadi or a Raita.

Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk, Bhindi Raita, and Okra in a Spicy Yoghurt Sauce (you can use okra in place of pineapple).

Or browse all of our Okra dishes here, and all of our Indian recipes too. And explore our Mid Winter series of recipes.

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Radiant Autumn Salad of Peppers

Autumn this year is late to show its most glorious colours. The weather hasn’t been cold enough to done its job – we are still waiting for the colours to be breath-taking.

BUT this salad is radiant with beautiful colours – capsicums of red, orange and yellow. It is a beautiful reflection of the colours we are waiting for outside.

It’s another of our really simple but gloriously flavoursome dishes. Italian in nature, it celebrates the capsicums.

Similar recipes include Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, and Roasted Red Peppers Salad.

You can browse our Capsicum Salads, all of our Salads, and all of our Italian recipes. Or enjoy our Late Autumn collection of dishes.

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Sunday Brunch Cucumber Salad

Brunch, that late breakfast or early lunch, really a replacement for both, gorgeous on long lazy Autumn weekends. It’s blend of 2 meals means that it has elements of both. Whether you are doing more lunchy elements for your brunch, or more breakfasty elements, a salad always goes down a treat. Think Avo on Toast with a Brunch Salad. Perfect.

This is a Bittman inspired salad from his 100 Salads. You might like to try some of his other salads – for example, Roasted Beetroot and Garlic Salad with Walnuts, Grilled Eggplant Salad with Garlic and Pine Nuts and White Beans, and Charred Tomatoes with Mint and Lime.

Are you after just Cucumber Salads – try Cucumber and Red Radish Slightly Pickled Salad, Lightly Pickled Cucumber Salad with Tofu, and Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Caperberries.

You can browse all of our Bittman Salads, and all of our Cucumber Salads. All Salads are here. Or simply explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils

I enjoy living where I do, out in the boondock suburbs of my city, because it is so countrified. AND because of the bountiful and cheap produce of (nearly) all varieties here. When you live in an area with a fair percentage of migrants who love food – Indian, Nepali, S.E. Asian, Middle Eastern and various African people – then food is always going to be at the forefront of any shopping precinct.

But there are certain things that I can’t lay my hands on here. Good cheeses. Really good olive oils. Some lentils not common to those cuisines, like Puy and Beluga lentils. And definitely not Yuzu.

I have solved much of this problem with a 4 – 6 weekly trip into the Central Market, the main area of providore type shops in our city, stocking up on all sorts of things, and grabbing artisan bread, fresh cheeses, vanilla beans, horseradish root, organic vegetables and other not-to-be-seen-locally items that feel like a huge treat. But it also reminds me to be so grateful of where I live when I see tiny tomatoes selling for $9/kg inn the Market and I can get them nearby my home for $2/kg. Oh the great socio-economic divide!

So today’s recipe has its origins in one from Ottolenghi (in Plenty More), but Yuzu, a central ingredient in his recipe, is not to be found either locally or in the Central Market. So I have tinkered with it quite a bit, substituting cumquat juice and rind (as I have cumquats in my new garden — and they are readily available in the local Asian grocery), and lime juice. Use all lime if you can’t source cumquats. I also change out the greens. Ottolenghi loves to use baby spinach and rocket but I prefer to use leaves of herbs and vegetables growing in the garden, including peppery and bitter ones like nasturtium, moringa leaves, purslane and watercress.  Use soft herbs and leaves or substitute with the spinach and rocket, whatever is more convenient for you.

The salad uses beetroot simmered until tender then cut into wedges, along with raw beetroot sliced absolutely paper thin. I have to thank a new food processor for the paper thin slices – I was over the moon when I saw the result. Mandolins are also good for thin vegetable slices – I’ve been using mine for 25 years or so, and it is less washing up than a food processor!

By the way, I froze the horseradish from the market (after making Crushed New Potato with Yoghurt and Horseradish), and really can’t wait to make today’s recipe again with horseradish rather than citrus. Imagine!

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 Roasted Beetroot with Maple Dressing, Beetroot Salsa with Yoghurt, and Beetroot in a Herb Dressing.

Browse our Beetroot Salads, and indeed, all of our Beetroot recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils”

Crushed New Potatoes with Horseradish and Yoghurt

It is new potato season, and there are some glorious ones in the shops. I grabbed a bag full along with some fresh horseradish to make this salad which is a cross between potato salad and creamy mashed potatoes. Adjust your crush level to your own preferences.

The dressing is a yoghurt one, with horseradish and garlic. Some greens and spring onions add freshness, tang and bite.  The idea is from Ottolenghi’s Ottolenghi cook book, tucked away on a page without a picture. It is easily overlooked, but it is worth making.

I rarely have sorrel in the garden so I use the greens that I do have, and include watercress, purslane and nasturtium leaves to provide their peppery bite. I used parsley for the garnish, as it is prolific in the garden and I like the nostalgic touch it gives to the salad.

So, 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 primarily 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 site, books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Potato Salad with Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella, Grown Up Potato Salad, and Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayo.

Browse our Potato Salad recipes and all of our Potato dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Ottolenghi are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Crushed New Potatoes with Horseradish and Yoghurt”