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 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.

Continue reading “The Perfect Shiitake Mushroom Sauce”

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 and here. Or enjoy our easy Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Zhug | Zhoug | Skhug | A Coriander-Chilli Paste, Dip and Sauce”

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.

Continue reading “Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato”

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.

Continue reading “Tao Hou Tod | Thai Deep Fried Fresh Beancurd with Sweet Nut Sauce”

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.

Continue reading “Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce”

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.

Continue reading “Italian Tomato Sauce”

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. Continue reading “Tomato and Chilli Jam”

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.

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

Continue reading “Cacik | Turkish Cucumber and Yoghurt Mezze”

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.

Continue reading “Asparagus Pesto”

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.

Continue reading “Yoghurt, Feta and Mustard Dip”

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.

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.

Continue reading “Tahina Tarator | Tahini Spread | Tahini Dip or Dressing”

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.

Continue reading “Maintano Yiahni | Parsley Braised with Tomatoes and Olive Oil”

Salsa Verde | Greek Style Sauce and Dip

Sometimes the old, the traditional, the simple, the uncomplex is truly wonderful. Salsa Verde is a classic Greek sauce of parsley, capers and olive oil.

Are you looking for other Dips, Sauces, Purees or Salsas? Browse our collection here. Our Greek dishes are here and here. Have a look at other Parsley recipes here and here. Our Winter recipes here and here might offer some inspiration.

Continue reading “Salsa Verde | Greek Style Sauce and Dip”

Kabli Chana Til Sas | Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread / Sauce / Dip

A dip, a sauce a spread.

Chickpeas really are little balls of sunshine. This recipe is extremely versatile – make it thicker or thinner to suit your use from a thick spread to a thin dressing.

Using chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and sesame seeds, it is an Indian take on Hummus. It takes about 5 minutes to make. Easy. Perfect for a such a lazy Sunday afternoon at home.

You might like to try Chickpea and Ginger Salad, or Channa Sundal. Browse all of the Chickpea Recipes here and here, and all of our Dips here and here. Find inspiration in our Summer recipes here and here.

Continue reading “Kabli Chana Til Sas | Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread / Sauce / Dip”