Eggplants come in all shapes and sizes, colours, tastes and textures. Sadly, we only get to cook with a few varieties through our Green Grocer and 1 or 2 more through our Asian Grocers. Thai Eggplants are a particular favourite, a little crunchier in texture than the European variety, and a real affinity with Asian flavours such as toasted sesame and soy.
Radishes at their most soft and gentle
Growing radishes must be the easiest thing under the sun. They don’t need a lot of attention, and suddenly, they are fully grown and fully flavoursome. Sliced thinly and salted is our favourite way to enjoy them, although they go into salads and sandwiches too, and sometimes they go into a quick pickle to have with rice or other dishes.
Today, we are treating them French style, cooked in a little butter. This removes the heated tang from the little bulbs, leaving them soft and tender in texture and taste.
Today’s salad takes some olive tapenade and olive oil and smothers bread in it. As it soaks in, cubes of the bread are mixed with tomatoes to make a gorgeous salad. A fun alternative to including olives, and adds a bit of bulk to the dish.
This is also a great way to use up left over bread that might be only good for toast. The firmer texture of this bread is perfect for salads as it soaks up the juices of tomatoes and dressings.
A salad perfect for late Winter and early Spring – and the rest of the year too.
Salads, what wonderful variety they add to life. The number of salads on this blog (150 different salads either posted or scheduled to be posted) says something about our commitment to them. Hot or cold, cooked ingredients or raw, we adore the variety, usefulness, tastes and textures of salads.
I find Dal the most comforting of dishes, and it is no wonder that it is eaten on most days throughout India. Spices are used to vary the flavours, – some for the heat of pre-Monsoon Summer, others for the cool of the Monsoon rains.
Dals always begin the same – boiling one or more lentils until soft, with the thickness of the dal being a personal preference. Some areas of India make them thick, others prefer them thin and soupy. In this household, we have the choice, so it depends on the cook, and the day, and the weather.
Inclusions also vary. Some dals contain onions – in some parts of India, the onions are cut long and thin – the chillies too. In other parts, the onions and chillies are cut minutely, almost a paste – garlic too – and this is all fried in ghee or oil.
Mung dal (split, hulled Mung Beans) is good for any time of year – and particularly good in summer. So is Toor dal. In Winter it is good to roast the mung dal before cooking as it helps to heat the bodily system. Toss it in a frying pan until a gorgeous aroma arises, then add to water to cook. In Summer, it is preferred kancha or unroasted, as it is lighter and easer to digest. Thanks to the excellent book Bengali Cooking for the lovely chapter and information on Dals.
Some time ago, one of my social media connections, dee, suggested that I cook okra with mustard oil. This is her recipe. We were discussing mustard oil and okra – there is such a natural affinity. When we are drying okra, for example, we mix the okra halves with mustard oil and spices before drying.
You’ll love this recipe – simple, quick, easy and deliciously flavoured.
We are back to beetroot again – and home grown beetroot is simply the best. As soon as you begin to work with it, that earthy beetroot scent invades the kitchen. Raw beetroot, not often used, is not only good for us (lots of roughage), its texture and taste is perfect for salads. Crunchy! Plus beetroot salads add such a colourful element to the dinner table.
This is another Bittman Salad, adapted from his 101 Salads. We have a project to make them all, at least the vegetarian ones, as they are all very healthy and amazing salads. You can browse other ones we’ve made here.
This salad I have adapted quite a bit, adding ingredients from my garden.
We don’t often cook radishes, but they can be sautéed or braised easily. Most people prefer them raw, but for a change, braising them can be an exciting alternative.
This recipe braises them with raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar, with sugar added to make a sticky glaze. It is rather interesting.
My radishes are home grown and quite small this year, so I reduced the cooking times. They are topsy turvy and not uniform in size, and I quite like the variation. We have round ones and long ones.
A surprising little tarte, intense in flavours, perfect Sunday Lunch or picnic food. Serve with a green salad.
This is an amazing little tart, layered with caramelised onions, oven dried tomatoes and feta. I make it as 4 individual tarts and serve with a green salad and a vegetable salad.
Not only does it taste sensational but it looks simply stunning and unusual.
The taste of the tomatoes is intense, due to the very slow drying of them beforehand. The pie is fragrant with fresh basil, sumac and parsley. Delicious!
Not a fast food, this one. It does take some time to prepare, due primarily to the slow baking of the tomatoes. Best to prepare the tomatoes, pastry and onions the night before and assemble and cook when you need it.
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series.
Once again we head to Ottolenghi land, and again play with that delightful and under-used fruit, Pomelo. This time the pomelo is complimented by the sweet-tart pickled carrots and heaps of Asian green herbs. If you can’t find Pomelo (Asian groceries often have them), use Pink Grapefruit.
This is a lovely side for a vegetarian BBQ, a herby bowl of steamed rice, or some Japanese Noodles. Pair it with some freshly deep fried tofu or grilled halloumi. It is a very special salad.
An unusual salad indeed! The sweet and tart strawberries with the creamy avocados and the fresh herbs, together with the onion-walnut oil dressing, it is simply delicious!
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2005. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series.
The thing about Vegetarian food is there is not much that is fast food, unless you look in the processed aisle of the supermarket. But if you are cooking from scratch, there is generally a reasonable amount of time needed to soak, bake, cook, spice, grind, roast, toast and so forth. Pasta is one laudable exception, and masoor dal (split red lentils as they are called here) another. They are fast in as much as 20 – 30 mins can be called fast. Longer than it might take for some non-veg meals, but quick in the terms of veg feasts.
This dal, made from masoor dal, is as quick as it gets. I hope you enjoy it.
A delightful pachadi with texture. From Tamil Nadu.
There are North Indian and South Indian versions of Boondhi Yoghurt – those little crispy balls made from chickpea flour. The North Indian version is chock full of spices, but the South Indian version, as with so much of their food, has pared it back to essential flavours and textures to let the ingredients shine in the undercurrent of spice. Boondhi Yoghurt is very cooling – a great summer dish.
Boondhi is chickpea flour crispies deep fried with spices. You can buy Boondhi in Indian grocers, or you can make your own on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
We have other Boondi recipes scheduled, so check back here later.
Are you looking for Tamil Pachadi recipes? You will enjoy them. Or perhaps Andhra style Pachadis? They are here. All of our Yoghurt dishes are here, and our Indian recipes are indexed here. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer recipes.
Strawberries! It is Wimbledon time, and great strawberries are still available in our greengrocers, so we mix them up with some lemon or lime juice and munch while we watch replays.
A gorgeous carrot pickle that will last in the fridge for a week.
Here is another quick Carrot Pickle, quite different to the last Quick Carrot Pickle which had dark Asian flavours. This one is bright and fresh with a touch of sweetness, and the tartness that only cider vinegar can provide. I hope that you enjoy it.
This pickle is lovely with a bowl of steamed rice drizzled with the marinade juices.