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, Cauliflower Slow Cooked with Lemon and Spices, 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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Georgian Coriander and Walnut Sauce or Dip

Coriander and walnuts – who would have thought the zingy freshness of coriander would pair well with the earthy brown flavours of walnuts? It seems they do, with a plethora of recipes around for pastes and sauces containing the two ingredients.

This recipe is a little different than most. I first saw in The Guardian newspaper. It includes dried apricots. The sauce is both slightly sweet from the apricots, a little peppery and fragrant from the herbs with a pinch of heat from the chilli and, well, garlicky. This sweet, pungent sauce is a mainstay of Georgian national cuisine. It works beautifully as a marinade – try rubbing it on vegetables before baking or BBQing. Stir into cooked red beans. Marinate some tofu in it. Glaze cooked carrots with it. Put it in your soup. And it is rather good with roasted summer vegetables too. It is great included in your salad dressing. Spread it on your salad sandwiches. You will constantly find more and more ways to use this glorious paste.

My most favourite way to eat it is as a dip. It is non-traditional, but I have to let you into a secret. This is very good with some Middle Eastern flatbread. Put it on your next mezze or tapas plate.

According to Georgian legend, God took a supper break while creating the world. He became so involved with his meal that he inadvertently tripped over the high peaks of the Caucasus, spilling his food onto the land below. The land blessed by Heaven’s table scraps was Georgia.

Georgian of course refers to the country in the Caucasus rather than the southern U.S. state or the period of time when knights roamed England.

Are you looking for other coriander recipes? Similar recipes include Coriander PasteZhoug, the Middle Eastern Coriander Paste and Dip, White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, Coriander Pesto, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney. Also similar is an Apricot Chutney that can be made with dried apricots.

Or try these: Carrots and Green Peas with Green Coriander, Coriander and Lemongrass Vichyssoise, Pudla with Green Coriander, or Urad Dal with Tomato, Coconut and Green Coriander. Coriander Fritters are pretty good too.

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Green Tahini Sauce | Dip | Dressing | Spread

Tahini, aah, such a wondrous ingredient, made from sesame seeds and not understood or used enough in this country. One of its properties is that it thickens in the presence of acid, so you can add lemon juice to it to thicken it as well as flavour it, and gradually thin it with water or milk until you get to the right conistency (depending on what you are using it for).

This classic green sauce includes garlic and parsley as well, for a great dip, spread, sauce or dressing. It is Middle Eastern in flavours, so pair it with pita bread, falafel, herby salads, or any flatbread. It is great in salad sandwiches and wraps. Dress vegetable salads with it, pair it with some steamed beetroot. Dip crackers and crudites into it. Spread tiny toasts and top with chopped cucumber or chopped tomato and chilli. You are going to love it.

You might like to try some other Tahini recipes. We have Crushed Du Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin, Yoghurt Tahina Dip with Herbs or Tahina Tarator | Tahini Spread, Dip or Dressing.

Try these spreads too: Avocado Mash, and Broad Bean and Butter Bean Spread.

All of our recipes featuring Tahini are here. Feel free to browse our Middle Eastern recipes, or our Salad recipes. Or all of our easy Mid Summer Recipes.

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The Perfect Shiitake Mushroom Sauce

Shiitake Mushrooms in a creamy sauce

Who does not like a mushroom sauce? Over toast, with mashed potato, poured over steamed vegetables, it is a winner in any language.

This sauce is made with shiitake mushrooms cooked in a creamy sauce with tamari. The sauce is thickened with kudzu, a Japanese starch used to thicken sauces. It is available in supermarkets, Asian grocers and health shops. It makes the most beautiful, smooth and glossy sauce. But if you can’t find kudzu, use cornflour.

Looking for Mushroom recipes? Try Achari Mushrooms, Mushroom and Carrot Salad with Mung Sprouts and Ginger Vinaigrette, a Mushroom Curry, and Mushrooms for Toast.

You will find other Mushroom recipes here and here. Or explore our easy Winter dishes here and here.

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Zhug | Zhoug | Skhug | A Coriander-Chilli Paste, Dip and Sauce

A versatile Yemini-Israeli paste made from green coriander (cilantro), green chillies and earthy spices

What to do with the left over coriander (cilantro) leaves and stems at the end of the week – a perpetual problem in a family that uses a lot of green coriander. One solution we have is to make Coriander Paste. Another is to make Zhoug, a Yemeni-Israeli sauce or dip full of spices. Traditionally a perfect accompaniment to pita with falafel, it also serves as a sauce, spread and dip. It can be stirred into soups and stews to spark them up. Zhoug can be fiery hot, depending on your chilli level, and Yemenites believe that eating zhoug daily strengthens the immune system, keeps away illness and strengthens the heart.

Once you have experienced the fragrant spiciness of Zhoug, you will be making this weekly with your left over coriander, or, indeed, buying extra coriander each week, just to make this pesto-like sauce. Actually, Zhoug is a green cousin to Shatta, which is a similar dish, except Shatta uses mild red chillies. Zhoug has also been called Israeli Chilli Paste, a green harissa, a Middle Eastern Gremolata and a hot chermoula.

Are you looking for other coriander recipes? Similar recipes include Coriander Paste, Coriander Pesto, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney.

Or try these: Carrots and Green Peas with Green Coriander, Coriander and Lemongrass Vichyssoise, Pudla with Green Coriander, or Urad Dal with Tomato, Coconut and Green Coriander.

Read some more about Green Coriander, and also How to Use Leftover Green Coriander.

You might also like other Coriander dishes and other Coriander Pastes. Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or enjoy our easy Late Autumn dishes.

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Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato

This dish combines the classic flavours of an Italian pasta dish.

Often a pasta dish is my go-to Saturday or Sunday night fare. With a friend from a good Italian commercial pasta making family, we are never short of good pasta. This dish combines the classic flavours of an Italian pasta dish. Use a great spaghetti, a thick one if you can, or thin if you cannot. Pasta shells work well also.

You might like to read Pasta with Soul – how long to cook pasta. Similar dishes include Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce, Pasta Aglio e Olio, and Pasta with Tomato and Basil. Explore our other Pasta recipes here and here.

Feel free to browse our Eggplant recipes here and here.  We have some Italian recipes here and here. Check out our easy Winter recipes here and here.

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Tao Hou Tod | Thai Deep Fried Fresh Beancurd with Sweet Nut Sauce

This is incredibly delicious. Even if you are not a tofu eater, this dish will convert you. Who could not love deep fried tofu with peanuts? The sauce is divine.

We have been making this since around 2002, so quite a while. It is a Thai style dish, simple in its construction and flavours, but that very simplicity gives it a punchy flavour. It is a perfect light lunch with a salad, or a mid afternoon snack when dinner is still a long way off.

The act of deep frying the tofu changes the nature of it, from something bland and lacking much texture, to a beautiful textural addition to other dishes or on it own.

You might also like our Tofu recipes here and here. Our Deep Fried Tofu recipes are here. Or you might like to browse SE Asian recipes here and here. Check out our easy Spring recipes here and here. Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – beautiful vegetarian recipes  from our first blog 1995 – 2005.

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Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce

How do we love tomatoes? Let me count the ways. We do eat them raw, of course, especially in the occasional tomato salad, and we love Tomato  and avocado sandwiches on thick slices of the freshest bread, or tomato and pomegranate salad, and tomato tossed through hot spaghetti with a chilli and some olive oil. But best of all we love the transformation that occurs when juicy Autumn tomatoes are cooked.

Recently, I have been oven baking them into a wonderful sauce for pasta, for stirring through a vegetable hot pot, or for baking beans a la Tuscan Baked Beans (but use the juicy baked tomatoes instead of water). They are also great in curries – use them instead of fresh tomatoes when cooking Indian dishes. Blitz the tomatoes into a soup. The juicy roasted sauce can also be frozen for use in some later dish.

If you are looking for more pasta recipes try Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper, Pasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto, and Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce.

You might also like to read Why we Cook Pasta al dente.

You might like to browse all of our Pasta dishes and all of our Tomato recipes. Find inspiration in our Mid Autumn 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.

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!

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

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Tomato and Chilli Jam

A spicy sauce for all kinds of uses.

Welcome to the world of chillies. Where would I be without them? Indeed, lost in the culinary wilderness. A Tomato and Chilli Jam (jam in the loosest sense, more like a thick sauce) is another way to enjoy their wonderful heat, but with a touch of sweetness.

The jam is a great addition to any dish – tonight, for example, a pasta sauce of blended rocket, peas, grilled eggplant with a generous dollop of the Tomato Chilli Jam makes a wonderful, very late, Australia Day supper.

A wonderful accompaniment to dishes, served like a chutney. With dosa or other flatbread. With a stirfried vegetable or tofu dish, stirred into a soup that wants a little more spice, smeared over pizza or farinata.  Spread very thinly on toast and topped with bocconcini, fresh greens and herbs. Over plain rice. In a salad dressing. Drizzled over steamed or baked vegetables.

The possibilities are endless.

Although the recipe specifies fresh red chillies, for a layering of flavours I use 1 dried chilli, 1 red chilli and one green. I find using 3 chillies gives a wonderfully spicy sauce, but if you would like a milder sauce, use 2 chillies.

Are you looking for other Dips and Spreads? Try White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, and Salty, Garlicky Labneh. Ousbacks Roasted Red Pepper and Apple Relish is great too.

You might also like to browse our collection of recipes featuring chillies, and our tomato recipes. We have several tomato pastes and purees for you to try. Or see the things that we make from tomatoes and freeze for winter. Lastly, browse our Early Autumn collection of recipes.

Tomato and Chilli Jam Recipe

Tomato and Chilli Jam

Source : inspired by an old recipe
Cuisine: Italian?
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins
Keeps: 2-4 weeks in the fridge, depending how you use it. Unopened jars will keep longer. It can be frozen.

ingredients
1 kg ripe tomatoes
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 fresh red chillies, finely chopped, or 1 dried and two fresh chillies or to suit your taste
3 – 4 cloves, or medium pinch powdered cloves
1/3 cup (60g – 65g) firmly packed brown sugar or granular jaggery
0.25 cup white-wine vinegar
1 tspn sea salt
black pepper, to taste

method
Combine all ingredients in a large pan, including the salt and pepper. Stir over low heat without boiling until the sugar dissolves. Then bring to the boil and simmer uncovered over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly.

If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can blend the mixture using a blender, food processor or immersion blender.

Spoon into sterilised jars. Seal while the mixture is still hot, and store in a cool dark place or the refrigerator. After opening, keep in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Tomato and Chilli Jam

This dish has become a firm favourite in Autumn. A couple of kg of tomatoes take just 45 minutes to turn into Tomato and Chilli Jam, and much of that goes into the freezer. Some is gifted to friends, and some – well, it gets eaten by the spoonful. It also makes a wonderful chutney, tomato chilli sauce, and a spread on toast, topping (for example) some roasted eggplant.

Tomato and Chilli Jam | A Life Time of Cooking

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Cacik | Turkish Cucumber and Yoghurt Mezze

Cool off in hot weather with a classic yoghurt dip from Turkey.

Cacik is a wonderful dish, cooling in summer and endlessly versatile. It can be made very thick with thick thick yoghurt to serve as a dip or along side curries, rice dishes and pastry dishes. Make it with ordinary yoghurt as a sauce to drizzle over vegetables or salads or some filo pastry dish. Or make it thin with some ice cold water and eat as a soup.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Green Tahini Dip and Sauce, Yoghurt Tahina Dip with Herbs, and Green peppers in yoghurt.

Here we love yoghurt, so there is quite a collection of yoghurt recipes, including drinks, dips, raitas, yoghurt curries and salad dressings. I hope something inspires you there. Or our Dips are here, Turkish dishes here and Middle Eastern recipes here. Or be inspired by our Late Spring recipes.

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Asparagus Pesto

A beautiful pesto from a gentle ingredient.

Isn’t it great that there are lots of ways to mush things together and the results taste spectacular? Soups, for example, smoothies, combination juices. The wonderful pesto and hummus. The wonderful mushing together of pastes, oils, nuts, seeds, cheeses, yoghurts, creams, fruits, herbs, spices and vegetables make for an endless variety of goodies. Even lentils and rice, ground together, make amazing fritters and even better fermented or unfermented flatbreads.

Especially great in all things mushed together is that the variety is endless. For example, in the warmer months, I am likely to be seen picking green things from my small pot-garden. Nasturtium leaves, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, cardamom leaf, parsley, curry leaves, basil, lemon  verbena, rosemary, thyme – whatever looks good on that day. My handful of herbs gets chopped finely with some nuts or seeds, maybe some cheese or maybe not, garlic, maybe chilli, sometimes some rocket or spinach, lemon zest and whatever else is fresh and on my kitchen bench at the time.

Asparagus can also be used. Steamed and chopped, it makes a very rustic Asparagus Pesto. Glorious. Gentle.

You might also like to read The Joy of Asparagus, Spring Salads, and Cream of Asparagus Soup. All Asparagus recipes are here and here, and our Dips are here and here. Be inspired by our Spring recipes here and here.

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Yoghurt, Feta and Mustard Dip

Take some yoghurt, feta and mustard and you have a dip for a Summery day.

Gathering the thick thick yoghurt, some home made mustard, a smidgen of honey, and a copy of Turquoise, Greg Malouf’s mustardy creation was manifested. It can be a dip, sauce or dressing and the combination of flavours is quite synergistic – beyond what you might expect.

You might like to try other Yoghurt dishes here and here, and other Dips here and here. All of our Turquoise dishes are here. Be inspired by our Spring recipes here and here.

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Tahina Tarator | Tahini Spread | Tahini Dip or Dressing

A taste of the Middle East

This is a wonderfully simple dip, spread, dressing or sauce, quick to make, healthy and delicious to eat while watching the share prices.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Green Tahini Dip and Sauce, Yoghurt Tahina Dip with Herbs, and Green peppers in yoghurt.

You can browse all of our our Dips are here, Lebanese dishes here and Middle Eastern recipes here. Or be inspired by our Late Spring recipes.

This time in other years I was making a Cucumber Olan Curry, Salt and Pepper Lotus Seeds, Marinated Zucchini, Dal Makhani Nilgiri, Green Mung Dal Soup, Lentil Dumplings in a Spicy Gravy, and Overnight Breakfast Oats.

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Maintano Yiahni | Parsley Braised with Tomatoes and Olive Oil

A not-so-beautiful but oh so wonderful dish – Parsley cooked a la Grecque.

We are obsessed these days with beautiful food. It’s a fashion. It will pass one day. We eat with our eyes before we eat with our tastebuds, because we no longer suffer from hunger or know what it is like to go without food.

This recipe isn’t beautiful, but it IS delicious. And it is a very versatile dish. Just right for those times when your parsley is overgrowing your back yard.

Yiahni means to cook in a base of good olive oil and tomatoes, an a la Grecque approach to slowly cooking the vegetable or bean in a flavoursome base and oil to produce an outstanding dish.

You can browse other Greek dishes here and here. Perhaps you are interested in Parsley recipes? We have them here and here. Perhaps try other a la Grecque recipes here and here.

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