Asian Kale with Sesame and Crispy Shallots

The curly kale in the shops right now is magnificent. Here it is cooked simply but with strong flavours – kecap manis, garlic and sesame oil – to counteract its intense greenness. For texture, sesame seeds are stirred through and crispy onions are layered on top.

It is an Ottolenghi recipe. He has several kale recipes in his books, promoting it a decade or so ago when it wasn’t as popular as it is today.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cooking 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. 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 Garlic Chilli Kale, and Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips.

Browse all of our Kale recipes. 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.

Continue reading “Asian Kale with Sesame and Crispy Shallots”

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Sweet and Sour Leeks with Burrata

Leeks are not often the primary ingredient in a dish, but just occasionally, and justifiably, they are the centrepiece. Their creamy flavour when slow cooked or braised is a delightful Winter element that is best appreciated outside of the soups and purees that they usually inhabit. The sweet oniony flavour is a surprise to people who have not experience it before.

These leeks are braised in wine and olive oil, then sautéed a little to give colour to the pieces, before being served with a sweet-sour sauce and creamy cheese.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book and have written about our experiences. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cooking 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. 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 Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque, and Cream of Tomato and Potato Soup with Leeks.

Browse all of our Leek recipes and recipes using Burrata. 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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Turnips with Quince Molasses

Our focus this Winter is to cook more Winter vegetables. We love them, but our Winters are usually filled with the same old culprits – carrots, potatoes, greens, eggplants, and so forth. The great produce of Winter – swedes, turnips, parsnips, the huge variety of greens, daikon – appears less often on the kitchen bench. So our focus this year is to include them more often.

In the Middle East it is common to cook turnips with Date Molasses, and it is the time of the year (Ramadam) as I write, where date-anything is available in the local Middle Eastern shops. But having just made our Winter batch of Quince Molasses, we used this instead, and the result is truly delicious. I have heard that this dish is common in Iraq and that Iraqi Jews can serve it as a dessert. It is not surprising -it is that sort of dish that can be served either as a savoury one or sweet one.

It is an easy dish to make, and the resulting sauce – turnipy and quincy – is perfect. I can also imagine that a dish of turnips slow cooked with fresh quince fruits would be spectacular too!

Similar recipes include Quince Molasses, Turnips with Mustard Greens in a Creamy Sauce, and Turnip Soup.

Browse all of our Turnip recipes and all of our Quince dishes. Or browse all of our Late Autumn Dishes.

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Mustard Greens with Mooli | Daikon Radish with Mustard Greens

Our local green groceries, run by a cohort of Vietnamese and Middle Eastern families, has recently begun stocking Mustard Greens. So we are making the most of them. Today’s recipe pairs them with daikon, the Japanese white radish that is also used extensively in India. When it is cooked, it loses the intensity of its bite and becomes soft and textural with a slight bitterness that is delightful. Matched with some chilli and the mustardy overtones of these greens, the result is a very morish side dish from India.

Similar recipes include South Indian Daikon DalMooli and Pumkin Curry, and Daikon Salad.

Browse our Mustard Greens recipes and our Radish dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Cauliflower with Ginger, Garlic and Green Chillies | Sukhi Gobi | Cauliflower Fry

This cauliflower dish is a simple, every day but glorious dish. Allowing the cauliflower florets to brown slightly brings that beautiful depth of flavour to the dish.

Cauliflower is such an under-rated vegetable. Cooked well, it really is a vegetable to yearn for. Recipes from the sub continent and the Middle East are especially respectful of cauliflower, bringing out its flavours and adding interest with spices and herbs.

This dish is simple, yes, but it lets the cauliflower shine. Serve with Lemon Rice.

Are you looking for more Cauliflower recipes? Try Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf, and Cauliflower Walnut Cream Soup.

For Indian Cauliflower Dishes, try Cauliflower Pilaf, South Indian Cauliflower Soup, and Aloo Gobi.

Would you like other Indian Vegetable dishes? Try Eggplants in a Creamy Peanut Sauce, Crispy Okra, and Spinach Thoran.

Browse all Cauliflower recipes and all Indian dishes. Or take some time to browse all of our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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Mushrooms in Terracotta

Mushrooms! They are at their best baked in the oven, especially when the weather is still cold in the evenings – there is something about their earthiness that is filling, warming and comforting. Our most favourite baked mushrooms are with vine leaves, but this recipe comes a close second, and is perfect for Autumn and early Winter, when fresh vine leaves are no longer available.

Use a mix of mushrooms, or field mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms or Swiss brown mushrooms. They are tossed with rosemary, garlic, butter and oil, and baked in a terracotta dish which is the most perfect way to cook mushrooms.

Similar recipes include Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves, Caramelised King Oyster Mushrooms, Pearl Mushrooms with Thyme, and the perfect Shiitake Mushroom Sauce.

Browse all of our Mushroom recipes and all of our Baked dishes. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Garlic-Chilli Curly Kale

We are lovers of dips, as our recipe collection will attest and usually there is some dip, spread, sauce or puree in the fridge waiting to be spread, dipped, drizzled or smeared onto other food items – toast, bruschetta, soup, roasted sweetcorn, crudites, crackers, chips – whatever sits in the kitchen cupboards, fridge or on the stove.

This recipe makes its dip component from roasted garlic and charred spring onions mixed with cream cheese and sour cream (how 1970’s!!). Then the dip is served with some garlicky-chilly curly kale. But the dip can also be used for many other purposes – spread on bruschetta or corn, used with carrot sticks (Yum!), with juicy wedges of tomato – so many ways to use it.

The dip can also be made with salad onions or calcot onions. Remember when cooking the onions that they need to be really charred/burnt. The more burnt, the more flavoursome and smoky they will taste.

This recipe comes from Nopi, Ottolenghi’s restaurant in London. The book Nopi contains recipes from the restaurant, and many of them are adaptable to the home kitchen. Some are more complex, but all are inspirational. This particular recipe is very easy to make.

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. 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 Asian Kale with Sesame and Crispy ShallotsCrispy Kale Chips, and White Bean, Sage and Garlic Spread.

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

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Spinach with Roasted Sesame Seeds

Since beginning a vegetable garden around 11 months ago, we have been eating far more greens. All sorts of greenery thrives in the garden – dozens of herbs, lettuces, spinaches, chards and other spinach-like greens. Salads have become de rigueur, and delicious concoctions of green leaves appear more often on our table. I make a mean Spinach Rice, for example, a wonderful 1-pot dish that cooks itself in the rice cooker, and a beautiful Spinach Thoran from the West Coast of India.

But the recipe today is quite a straight forward dish that mixes Spinach with a dressing of soy and sesame seeds. It is really quite delicious and goes well with any meal. For meals at home on my own, I will even pair this with rice and eat it with chopsticks while watching my favourite night time TV drama. I must admit to often adding chilli as well. Sometimes I even forget the rice.

Are you after other Spinach/Greens recipes? Try Asian Kale with Sesame and Crispy Shallots, Malabar Spinach in Spicy GravyMushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad, Madras Sweet Potato, Spinach and Eggplant Curry, and Mung Dal with Spinach and Cumin.

What about Sesame Seed recipes? Try Steamed Japanese Eggplant with Sesame Seeds and Spring Onion, Warm Cucumber Salad with Sesame, and Dukkah and Zaathar.

Or you might like to browse all of our Spinach Recipes, or all of our Sesame recipes. Alternatively, take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Smoky Eggplants and Tomatoes

Adding a smoky flavour to vegetables and other foods – garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, beetroot, tofu etc – adds an additional flavour dimension to dishes. It is worth doing for a special occasion. Today’s recipe is a Greek-inspired dish. I have added the instructions for smoking the foods in the recipe, but if you are not inclined to go to this effort, chargrill your veg in your normal, favourite way.

Similar recipes include Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgar and Yoghurt, Smoky Aubergine with Tomatoes and Sweet Peppers, Smoky Aubergine and Asparagus Salad, Lebanese Roast Potatoes and Eggplants, Baked Eggplant and Zucchini with Chickpeas, and Roasted Aubergine with Garlic Sauce.

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes and Tomato dishes. Our Greek dishes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Kurkuri Bhindi | Crispy Spicy Fried Okra

This recipe is a variation of this other Kurkuri Bhindi recipe. Instead of carefully removing the seeds, this time the seeds are left in place, and the okra are halved or quartered rather than carefully splintered.

In this Rajasthani recipe, the okra slices are marinated in spices and, just before frying, are coated in chickpea flour and rice flour. The flours form a self-battered coating on the okra. After frying, they are a crispy snack that can be eaten with a meal or any time that you have the munchies.

Are you interested in Okra recipes? Read more about Okra here. And try Teeny Dried Okra Vathal, Crispy Okra in Yoghurt, Salad of Charred Okra with Tomato, Ladyfingers Recheio, Avial, and Spicy Dried Okra.

Or are you looking for Rajasthani recipes? Try Urad Tomatar Dal. We have more recipes planned, so check back here in the future.

Why not browse all of our Okra recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Have a look at our range of snacks. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Burghul or Couscous with Pine Nuts and Sultanas

An easy dish today, one to bring the Middle East to your table. It makes a great side dish to any meal, and can also be used in place of rice. It is quite pretty! Pine nuts are toasted for full flavour and crunch, sultanas are plumped for sweet lusciousness, and barberries or pomegranate kernels are added for colour.

The base of this dish can be couscous or burghul/cracked wheat, or any similar grain. Cook it, drizzle it with a little ghee or butter, add the ingredients and serve.

Similar recipes include Spicy Chickpea and Burghul Soup, Spiced Burghul Wrapped in Vine Leaves, Burghul Salad with Pomegranate, and Roast Pumpkin Couscous Salad.

Browse our Burghul dishes and Couscous recipes. All of our Middle Eastern recipes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Batata Harra with Eggplant | Spicy Lebanese Roast Potatoes with Eggplant

Looking for an alternative to chips for late night snacks or to serve with vegetarian BBQs? This is the recipe for you. Rather than cooking as chips, the potatoes here are cubed and roasted with garlic and capsicums in a traditional Lebanese and Syrian dish.  Ottolenghi shares it in his book Plenty More. I like to add eggplants as well – the texture of these is a great contrast to the crispy potatoes and the sweet capsicums. I have also added some curry leaf powder, but this is entirely optional. I like it it because it pairs so well with chilli powder and chilli flakes.

Make curry leaf powder by grinding dried curry leaves. If you have access to fresh leaves, toast them in a dry pan until crispy, then grind. If you’ve purchased dried leaves, grind them as they are.

Similar recipes include Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgar and Yoghurt, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Baked Parsnips with Parmesan, and Perfect Roast Potatoes.

Browse all of our Potato dishes and all of our Eggplant recipes. Other dishes from Plenty More are here, and our Lebanese dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Cauliflower Roasted with Black Mustard Seed, Cumin Seed and Curry Leaves

Today we take some cauliflower and toss it in oil in which black mustard seeds and cumin seeds have been popped, and curry leaves which have been allowed to sizzle, then roast the florets until gorgeously brown. It is a little bit of South India on a Western plate.

What’s not to like about Roasted Cauliflower? This one is terrific. The hit of lime juice at the end is a winner, lifting and freshening the dish.

Similar recipes include Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Zaatar, Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.

Browse all of our Cauliflower recipes, and explore our Mid Spring collection of recipes.

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Green Beans Braised in Tomato and Olive Oil

In Turkey, slow braised vegetables in olive oil is common. It’s a cooking method that creates fabulous flavours. These green beans are cooked with tomatoes, olive oil and onions until meltingly soft – and the sauce! Oh my!

The method of cooking is very similar to a la Grecque style of cooking, where wine and olive oil are used to slowly cook the vegetables. This dish  has no wine, but uses lemon juice instead. Indeed France, Italy, Greece, all over the Middle East and Sephardic Jewish communities all have similar recipes for long cooked beans with tomatoes and olive oil. No wonder! It is delicious, with the beans absorbing the flavours of the sauce as they soften and meld into the dish.

Similar recipes include Gujarati Green Beans, Green Beans with Freekeh, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Baby Sweetcorn and Green Bean Salad.

Browse our Green Bean dishes and our Turkish recipes. Our a la Grecque  recipes are here. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Crispy Cauliflower with Capers

This dish of deep fried cauliflower is from Spain. The cauliflower is dusted in chickpea flour (gram flour) and deep fried  until crisp. Then, like the old fashioned beach-made fish and chips, sprinkled with plenty of salt and vinegar. In a modern day twist, capers are added. It makes a great snack, mezze dish, entree (starter) or side dish.

There are a range of traditional dishes that deep fry cauliflower. Think of Cauliflower Pakora, for example. Even Ottolenghi makes a salad or side dish of deep fried cauli with a tahini sauce. There’s Southern Fried Cauliflower, Fried Cauliflower Steaks, Moroccan Fried Cauliflower, Cauliflower Tempura, and many more such recipes. There is a simple reason for so many dishes. It tastes very very good. This recipe will knock your socks off.

Similar dishes include Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips, Cauliflower and Okra Pakora, Roasted Cauliflower Soup, and Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree.

Browse all of our Cauliflower dishes. All of our Snacks are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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