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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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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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 Crispy 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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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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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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Begun Pora with Bori | Bengali Eggplant Puree with Fried Urad Dumpling Crumbles

Begun Pora is the Bengali rustic cousin of the Punjabi Baingan Bharta, less well known than Baingan Bharta but no less well loved. This has the tastes of Bengal and is totally different in flavour to its cousin. We have already posted one recipe for Begun Pora – but today’s recipe is a different version of that dish.

The idea for this particular dish came from Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals, a wonderful and highly readable book on the amazing food of that state. The author describes how he uses bori in his Begun Pora. What a great idea! It may not be traditional, but it is full of flavour.

Similar recipes include Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate, Begun PoraBaingan Bharta and our Wadi recipes.

Are you after Eggplant recipes? Try BabaganoushSaffron and Rose Scented Eggplant, and Japanese Baked Eggplant.

Or perhaps you would like other Bengali dishes. Try Bengali Vegetable Kitchari and Bengali Rice Kheer.

Have a look at all of our Eggplant recipes, and all of our Bengali recipes. Perhaps you want more Indian dishes. Or simply explore our Early Autumn feasts.

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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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Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil

Italians and Greek people have a wonderful approach to produce, treasuring the flavours of the individual items and almost reverently preparing them. Traditionally, the approach has been seasonal, and many of the practices continue even today. I love my semi-local Greek Warehouse and their range of not only produce but also equipment – for baking, drying, preserving, squishing, squashing, rolling, and flavouring. From there I get the best jars for all sorts of storage, but also for my pickles and preserves. Recently they also gave me a small booklet of preserving recipes, Mediterranean style.

The recipes are very simple, but it prompted me to share one or two with you. For example, this one. We dry tomatoes routinely – it is a great way to use up excess produce – and often use cherry tomatoes. Sometimes we keep them dried in a jar, ready for nibbling or for intense flavour injections into dishes. Other times we put them under oil, where the tomatoes flavour the oil and the oil flavours the tomatoes.

Now, there is nervousness in the US about keeping foods under oil. Certainly do your research, I won’t recommend a practice one way or the other. It is up to you.

Preserving this way is a traditional and very common practice in parts of Europe. In the rest of the Western world sun dried tomatoes came into fashion in the 1990’s, went out of fashion by 2000 due to over production of poor quality dried and semi dried tomatoes, and are now, apparently, making a comeback. In my kitchen, they never went out of fashion, but we make our own. We do use the dehydrator at times, but I find the moist atmosphere of a low gas oven gives a much better result. Using sun power is the best of all.

Similar recipes include Semi Dried Tomatoes with Pomegranate Molasses, Oven Dried Tomatoes with Sumac, and Dried Okra Snack.

Browse our Preserves and Pickles. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Broth and Dipping Sauce for Japanese Noodles and Tofu

We don’t often make bowls of noodles, but really, I don’t know why. This broth (or dipping sauce) is delicious. Topped with fresh greens, mushrooms, spring onions, the noodles are far too good to ignore. Although we used Japanese noodles for today’s dish, we used Chinese Spinach as our greens, along with cute little pieces of yuba (dried beancurd) tied in knots. I know that you will enjoy this dish.

Use this broth or dipping sauce for any noodle dish or tofu dish, or for anything else that you would like to use a broth or dipping sauce with. Kept fairly thick, it makes a great dressing too, for Asian style salads.

Japanese Noodles are served cold in summer and hot otherwise, in a broth or with a dipping sauce. The broth or dipping sauce can be made up to a week before use. We make our own vegetarian dashi (stock) for the sauce with handful of dried mushrooms, some dried seaweed and light miso paste.

Similar recipes include Soy and Sesame Dipping Sauce, and Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce.

Are you looking for other Noodle recipes? Have a look at the wealth of noodles available. Try Persian Noodles with Eggplant, Saffron and KashkKitsu Udon.

You might also like our to explore our Dipping Sauces, Noodle recipes and  Japanese dishes. Or check out our collection of Late Spring recipes.

This recipe is from our Retro Recipes series, vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006. It is a recipe we still use often, when we feel in a noodle mood.

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Cauliflower, Mango or Papaya and Curried Chickpea Salad

Curried chickpeas, ie chickpeas with Indian spices, are always delicious, no matter what form they take. Here, we are not constructing an Indian dish but using curried chickpeas in a salad that you are going to love. The curried chickpeas are mixed with browned onions, cauliflower florets, and either mangoes or papaya, – truly a delicious salad that can be eaten warm or cold.

The recipe is from Ottolenghi. In the original dish he uses Alphonso Mangoes, those intensely flavoured Kings of Mangoes available in India during Mango season, and shipped to some countries outside of India. Sadly and despite the large Indian population here, it is rare to find them. I have only seen them once, and promptly bought a whole tray.

Use any other ripe mango if you can’t get Alphonso. Or if you want to make this outside of mango season, our substitute is to use papaya. It doesn’t bring that same intensity of flavour that mangoes do yet it is surprisingly delicious. We always feel free in Ottolenghi recipes to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. Add plenty of lime juice to the salad, it makes a difference.

Always taste as you go, and particularly so with this recipe. Ottolenghi specifies curry powder in the ingredients, but curry powders range from very hot to quite mild. You might like to adjust your green chilli level, for example, if you are using a hot curry powder. Also add more lime if this is the case – perhaps some lime zest too.

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 Cauliflower ShawarmaCauliflower with Lime and Spices, Green Salad with Chickpeas, Preserved Lemon and Feta, and Chickpea Tabbouleh.

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

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

Continue reading “Cauliflower, Mango or Papaya and Curried Chickpea Salad”

Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup

Recently in the kitchen we have renewed our love affair with miso soup. While others will tell you to spend time making stocks and broths for miso soup, and cook any number of ingredients, I have a wonderful, never-fail, 5 minute approach to making miso soup. The secret is, there is little that needs to be pre-cooked for miso soup. The most I do is to soak some cute little beancurd bows (but even the pre-soaking can be skipped), and perhaps some noodles. They soak while the kettle boils and the ingredients are sliced. Mix miso with hot water until dissolved, pour into a lovely bowl, add the thinly sliced ingredients and a few other flavour enhancers (see my post), the noodles if using, the beancurd perhaps, and sip contentedly. Deep flavours, comfort and nourishment. What more could you want?

Ottolenghi’s approach to what I consider to be his version of my miso soup (without using miso, let me be clear). Yet his is faaaar more complicated. It is a kitchen-sink style approach. Perhaps he should use miso! He considers this recipe to be a variation on Asian soups such as Thai tom yum or Vietnamese pho. The key is the stock, which must be rich and hearty, with many layers of flavour. And, miso or not, the broth is extraordinary! Hot and sour as promised. Earthy and deep, yet with a lightness too. It was a real surprise.  Make double and freeze half.

He doesn’t add noodles, but you can. I recommend making double the amount of broth, make the mushroom soup as-is, then decide how to use the second half with the noodles. Mushrooms and noodles. Greens and noodles. Fried tofu and noodles.

It’s interesting to me that he doesn’t include dried shiitake mushrooms in the stock (and sliced for the soup). Dried Shiitake are a vegetarian’s best friend when it comes to dark, flavoursome broths. Anyway, this is how I make an Asian Stock that is so delicious it is worth keeping some in the fridge and freezer, and using it for whatever you are making – rice, risotto, noodles, …. Ottolenghi’s is rather similar, come to think of it. But my broth is light and summery, his is deep and earthy.

You’ve guessed it, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More. In fact, 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 – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu, and Slightly Pickled Mushrooms with Tamari and Sesame.

Browse all of our Soups and all of our Mushroom 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.

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Artichoke Hearts with Mozzarella and Candied Citrus

Artichokes are not something that appear in our kitchen, ever. But they are used by Ottolenghi quite regularly in his recipes, so the hearts from the deli section have made an appearance. Recently we found a large jar of the best artichoke hearts, reasonably priced, in a crazy Vietnamese-Eastern European shop close by to my home. Fresh artichokes are still waiting to be braved – we can’t yet see the value-add for the work and price involved, to be frank.

This lovely recipe, from Plenty More, is one of Ottolenghi’s easiest if you use hearts or bases rather than fresh artichokes, and forgo candying the lemon rind. Then it takes just a few minutes to put the salad together. It is fresh and delicious. Frozen, jarred or deli-section hearts or bases can be used.

But we mixed it up (of course). The mozzarella we used is smoked. And we candied the peel and segments of cumquats from our cumquat tree using palm sugar. The result is dark peel and syrup but oh so very delicious. It takes about 15 mins to candy citrus peel, and it is worth doing for this salad. The sweetness contrasts well with the artichokes.

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 dishes include Mograbieh and Artichoke Pilaf, and Artichoke Hearts and Feta Salad with Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Artichoke recipes and our Mozzarella dishes. 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 “Artichoke Hearts with Mozzarella and Candied Citrus”

Paprika Oven Chips

One of our favourite things to do with potatoes is to cut them into wedges, coat them in cumin powder, black pepper and oil, and bake until crispy. Ottolenghi has a variation on that theme in his book Nopi which are equally delicious. They are easy to make, a Friday night delight if you make a large plate of them. Munch in front of a streamed movie, perhaps with a salad, or some salsa verde. Of course they also go very well with any main dish or Summer lunch. Under the gum tree. Or just with some yoghurt or even pickle as a snack. Any which way.

These chips are SO amazing, if you haven’t made them yet, put them on the list for this week.

Similar dishes include Salt and Vinegar Kale ChipsCumin and Black Pepper Potato Wedges, and Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemongrass Creme Fraiche.

Browse all of our Potato recipes, and all of our Ottolenghi dishes. Or explore our Mid Summer collection of recipes.

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Jicama or Radish and Cabbage Salad with Avocado

Have you tried Jicama yet? It’s crisp crunchy nature and apple-like taste makes it such a winner in salads. It is most easily found in Asian shops that have a large fruit and vegetables section. My local Asian grocery stocks them at most times. But if you haven’t any jicama, this salad is just as good with Radishes. In fact I really like the bite of the radishes with the sweetness of the mirin dressing.

This salad has a lovely Asian-influenced dressing of mirin and soy, and you can add wasabi for a heat hit if you wish. The flavours of the wasabi and mirin and soy are marvellous. I am sure that you will enjoy it.

Are you looking for other Jicama Salads? Try Jicama and Green Mango Salad, Pickled Jicama and Jicama Salad with Coconut Milk.

Or are you after Radish Salads? Try Mung Sprout, Edamame and Radish Salad, Tofu Salad with Radishes, Wombok and Radish Salad with Peanut Dressing and Cucumber and Radish Slightly Pickled Salad.

Why not have a look at our Bittman Salads, or explore all of our Jicama Dishes and all of our Radish Recipes. All of our large collection of Salads are here. Or alternatively, check our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk

Okra features strongly in Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. In Sri Lanka both the Singalese and Tamil communities have similar okra curries that feature coconut milk.

This one uses the common Singalese Sri Lankan Curry Powder called Badupu Thuna Paha – a simple roasted mix of somewhere between 3 and 8 spices depending on your household. It’s a great idea to make it yourself, but if you prefer, you can replace the Badupu Thuna Paha with any other roasted curry powder.

Are you looking for other Okra recipes? Try Vendakka Khichadi, Pickled Okra, Okra with Sambar, and Avial.

Perhaps you are browsing Sri Lankan dishes. Try Mung Dal with Coconut Milk, Thattai Vadai, and Carrot Sambol.

Or browse all of our Okra dishes, all of our Sri Lankan dishes, and all of our Indian dishes. I know you will love them. Or simply take some time to browse our Mid Autumn recipes.

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