Pasta and Roasted Sweet Peppers Salad with Walnuts

A pasta salad! Some may say this is corny, but we love them, and they are also such a good way to use up left over cooked pasta. This one takes some sweet roasted peppers – at least some red ones, but add green, yellow and orange if you have them, and tosses them with any cooked and cooled pasta and toasted walnuts. Goats cheese or Persian feta is optional. Today we left it off, but it does make a good addition to the salad.

Are you after other Pasta dishes? Try Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper, Hand Made Pesto, and Light Pasta Lunch Salads.

What about other Capsicum dishes? Try Roasted Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Tomato and Red Pepper Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Lime and Chilli, and Roasted Peppers and Eggplant Salad.

Browse all of our Pasta dishes, and all of our Capsicum dishes. Our Italian dishes are here. Or explore all of our Late Autumn recipes.

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Tomato Salad with Lemon or Lime

Tomato Salads can be quite simple yet pack a flavour punch. In this world of complex recipes, it is worth having dishes that you can get onto the table in less than 5 minutes – dishes that will compliment the rest of your meal.

Recently we have been making tomato salads – we love to make them in Autumn as Autumn tomatoes are so flavoursome. Today’s recipe is a reminder that simple is often the best. Oh yes.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean and Tomato Salad, Tomato Salad with Green Olives, and the Best Tomato Salad.

Browse all of our Tomato salads and all of our Salads. Or browse our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Mysore Rasam | Second Method

This is our second version of Mysore Rasam from Meenakshi Ammal. It varies slightly from the first version, but as we know with Indian cooking small changes can make significant taste differences.

Mysore Rasam is similar to Kottu (Plain) Rasam, in that it includes toor dal to give the rasam a beautiful silky texture. It also uses the water from cooking the dal to round out the flavours. It is also rather like Plain Dal Rasam with different spices. And in this recipe, rasam powder is not used, rather the spices are sauteed and ground while the toor dal cooks.

You might also be interested in reading about the difference between Rasam and Sambar.

Similar recipes include Cumquat Rasam, Spicy Tomato and Dal Soup, and Pepper Rasam.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Cream of Asparagus Soup

Asparagus has that gentle flavour that makes it an ideal Spring vegetable, especially for soups. Asparagus soups do not have the heaviness of Winter soups, and as we emerge from jumpers, scarves, hats and overcoats, it is a delight to have its gentleness.

I don’t mean to imply that this soup should be kept only for Spring – indeed it will be a staple in your kitchen from Spring right through to the end of Autumn, at the times you can source decent asparagus. This recipe is a take on the recipe that appeared in Moosewood all those years ago – you Woodstock fans will know what I mean (and I am not referring to the bird!). It is a little different to the French Cream of Asparagus that we have also been making for quite a number of years.

This soup can be made in a high speed blender, one that heats the soup as it blends. While it misses the sweetness that can only be found in slowly cooked onions, sauteed asapragus and toasted roux, it is still a great option for evenings after a long day at work.

Similar recipes include the French Cream of Asparagus Soup, Chilled Asparagus Soup and Gentle Asparagus and Turmeric Soup.

Browse all of our Asparagus dishes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Uppadam | Okra Kuzhambu with Sundakkai Vatral

Uppadam is an older recipe, one which people recall their Grandmothers or perhaps Mothers making, but which seems to have lost favour in the current generations. It is generally made with okra, and, as Uppadam means something that is preserved, with vatral, sun-dried vegetables, as well. Manathakkali vatral is traditionally used, and I searched high and low for it. It is difficult to obtain here, it seems, so Sundakkai is the recommended alternative. Sundakkai is sun-dried Turkey Berry/Pea Eggplants.

There are a few ways of making Kuzhambu style dishes with okra, but I particularly like this way. It has that sense of connecting one with past generations of women cooking in the kitchens of South India, or directing the making of similar dishes with a specialist’s hand. The okra is cooked with spices and the vatral, before tamarind and a paste of toasted rice, fenugreek, and chillies is added. This thickens the dish, so it is half way between a Rasam and a Sambar. Meenakshi Ammal has a similar recipe, and I will share that one too, in due course.

Roasting the rice will interest you. It releases more moisture that you thought possible, and the grain itself therefore changes somewhat. Roast until it is aromatic.

Similar dishes include Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Vatral Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Okra dishes and all of our Kuzhambu recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho

Cold soup is a treasure of Summer weather. Some countries (eg India and the Middle East) have a whole cuisine of cold drinks that are sipped in the extreme weather of the hottest periods of the year, and countries such as Spain have a cuisine of cold soups to slurp in similar weather. Here, we have neither although our weather in Summer equals or exceeds that of those countries. It is a puzzle why that is.

Never fear, here in our little patch of Australia, both cold soups and cold drinks prevail in hot weather.  From the simplest (juice tomatoes with a tiny piece of chill, serve as a soup with basil, spring onions, black pepper, sea salt) to beautiful but out of fashion vichyssoise varieties.

Today we make a Gazpacho style soup with watermelon as well as tomato. It is delicious on a hot Summer evening, eating on the deck or verandah with friends and family. Serve as a soup, or even as a savoury drink, like you might serve a tomato juice – leave the bread out if you are going to serve it this way. Sipped or slurped, it is wonderful.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, from Plenty More, although I have added some cucumber back into the recipe. I love its juice and can’t imagine a gazpacho without it. It makes a difference. Sometimes, I have also added the juice of zucchinis (surprisingly delicious and cooling) in the past too, because I had a glut of them, and it is delicious. It is such a light and delicious soup, and easy to make – you will want to make it all Summer.

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 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 Coriander and Lemongrass VichyssoiseGazpacho,  and Cold Avocado Soup.

Browse all of our Cold Soups and all of our Tomato Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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

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Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato

We have been making this dish for ever and a day. We make all sorts of variations. Sometimes we use Trecce, the plaits of Mozzarella, or really large balls, and tear them apart, drizzling with a grassy extra virgin olive oil and tossing tomato wedges, cucumber slices and basil leaves on top. It is divine, and ready in 5 minutes. Salt and pepper, and it is done.

Sometimes we use tiny bocconcini balls, cutting or tearing them in halves and marinating them, or using them as-is. Add some spring onions to the tomatoes and cucumbers. Drizzle with even more olive oil.

We can’t even remember where we first came across this practice but it is common. Ottolenghi has a great recipe where large balls of Buffalo Mozzarella are marinated in some spices, herbs, garlic and oil, before tomatoes are added. This is probably one of the simplest yet finest suppers you can make. It is a great summery meal to eat on the couch watching your favourite show.

Use only ripe summery tomatoes, juicy and sweetly intense, straight from the garden if you can. Get the best-quality buffalo mozzarella you can find. Serve with good crusty white bread. Enjoy!

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’s 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.

Are you looking for other Mozzarella recipes? Try Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Lemon and Caperberries, and Mozzarella with Crispy Tomato Crumbs.

We have lots of Tomato Salads. Try Tomato Salad with Lemon or Lime.

Browse all of our Ottolenghi recipes, and all of our Mozzarella dishes. Our Tomato recipes are here and our Salads here. Check out our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More.Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Tomato and Lettuce Salad with Pickles and Croutons

Croutons make great additions to salads, as they add flavour, texture and bulk. A salad that might be light – easily made, quickly eaten and easily digested – can be beefed up (so to speak) with the addition of toasted croutons of any sort of bread. Crispy flatbread will work, rye bread, grain breads and normal white bread all add variety to salads. Or use the Italian Friselle or Greek Dakos, sprinkled with some olive oil and red wine vinegar to soften.

Here is another such recipe. It takes tomatoes and pickles with a little sliced chilli, mixes them with lettuce, tossed with croutons and dressed with a mustardy mayo or vinaigrette. What could be better? A perfect, beefed up salad for a BBQ or lunch.

Are you after other Tomato Salads? Try Quick Tomato Salad with Mustardy Mayo, Tomato and Strawberry Salad with Basil, and Tomato and Peach Salad.

Browse all Tomato Salads, our Lettuce Salads, and our many many Salads of various types. Or relax with a cuppa and explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Pimento Peppers Stuffed with Tomatoes and Feta

On a recent trip to our Central Adelaide Market, these most gorgeous pimentos were available from the organic vegetable store.  They are the sweet capsicum variety that is used to stuff olives. You’ve seen pimento stuffed olives of course. Did you know that in the 1800s, chopped pimento was shot by hydraulic pump into end of each olive, inserting the pimento while, at the same time, ejecting the pit out of the other end. Now pimentos are pureed then formed into strips with a natural gum, for the easy mechanisation of olive stuffing.

Pimentos can be stuffed too, and we do them  in the traditional way – filling them with tomatoes and garlic and topping with feta. The skin of the pimento is quite thick, so we slow bake them to allow the tomatoes to soften down and the pimento to also become tender. We love stuffed vegetables and are glad that they are making inroads again into the fashionable food world.

We have a similar recipe for stuffing capsicums, one that drizzles the cooked capsicums with a delicious herb oil. Other similar recipes include Capsicums Stuffed with Kidney Beans and Feta, and Banana Chillies Stuffed with Tomatoes and Spices. Also try Lauki Melon with Tomato and Feta.

Browse all of our Stuffed recipes, and our Capsicum dishes.  We have a couple of Spanish dishes to check out. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Every Meal some Simple Greens

Even Vegetarians need their greens, and sometimes, if we are truthful, we don’t place enough emphasis on bringing these various and beautiful vegetables into our diet. How are you going? Vegetarian or not, we can use some help to bring green beauty into our lives at the kitchen table.

If we look around the world, various cuisines use tricks (I prefer to call them habits) t0 increase our intake of elements that are healthy and perfectly compliment the cuisine of the area. The ubiquity of yoghurt in Indian cuisine, for example, the Salads of Thailand, the Salad course of France, and the Greens before Dinner custom of parts of Italy.

In a time where dimension and complexity are the buzz words of the food world, simple is a welcome point of difference. Simple, where the taste of the ingredients shine through strongly and identifiably.

The Greens before Dinner custom is one that resonates in this household. It is very simple:

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Jamie’s Pasta al Forno con Pomodori e Mozzarella | Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

During a delightful week at my daughter’s place, running wild with the two kids, we had an informal Sunday lunch with friends and made this baked pasta dish from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy. Jamie describes it as a wonderful dish which is simple to make, and he is right on both points.

He first fell in love with this dish in Italy, then tried to reproduce it in his school’s program for 37p per serve. He tells how he fell out of love with it because he had to use cheap pasta and cheap cheese. Back in Italy, he realised that the Italian government mandates organic pasta for schools, the mozzarella was always local and fresh and the tomatoes the best available. It makes all the difference! He says that this was the recipe that was made for 1,000 kids at the Italian school he visited.

The dish is very common in Italy, and can be eaten hot, warm and room temperature. Use the best ingredients that you can, and make two – you won’t regret it.

Similar recipes include Baked Ziti with Feta, Orecchiette with Broad Beans, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, and Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Pasta dishes, our Baked dishes and our Italian recipes. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Chermoula Aubergine with Bulgar and Yoghurt

Baked eggplant is gorgeous, transforming the vegetable into something quite different to our usual choices in cooking eggplants. It was Japanese cuisine that had me first baking it – I wanted to reproduce the flavours of my favourite Japanese dish of the moment, one with miso, sesame and mirin. And so this recipe was born, in the days before internet and food cookbook fashions. It has always been a family favourite.

Of course, it is more common to bake it these days, in all sorts of ways – stuffed, sliced, coated in breadcrumbs. Even Ottolenghi finds a way to bring his touch to it – by smothering it in chermoula and serving the gorgeous baked dish with burghul and yoghurt. Yum. It is a recipe from Jerusalem, and it is one that I have marked Magnificent. Eggplant and chermoula is a common combination from Morocco to the Middle East – Paula Wolfert also has a cracker recipe for eggplant slices that have been baked and then smothered with chermoula. It is in her book The Food of Morocco.

In this recipe, halved eggplant is coated in the chermoula – a mix of spices, lemon and garlic – then baked before being served with a tangy burgul (bulgar) mix of herbs, sultanas, olives and almonds, and a spoonful of yoghurt.

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.

“Served separately, both the aubergine and the bulgar salad from this dish are delicious with the accompanying Greek yoghurt, but all three together are a match made in food heaven. Chermoula is a potent North African spice paste that is ideal for smearing on your favourite vegetables for roasting.”

Similar recipes include Japanese Baked Eggplant with Miso and Sesame, Eggplant Baked with Harissa and Chickpeas, and Baked Garlicky Eggplant with Feta.

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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The Little Italy Salad | Tomatoes with Mozzarella

Where would we be without tomatoes? Here is yet another version of a Tomato Salad, one that pairs them with Mozzarella. Fresh or traditional mozzarella can be used – both are great. Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella and Boccancini balls go so well with tomatoes, but so does the traditional, drier Mozzarella. Normally associated with pizza, it is also nice eaten sliced or cubed as part of an antipasto plate or in a salad. That’s the one we use today, but you can choose either.

Are you after other Mozzarella Salads? Try Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato, Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella, Marinated Zucchini Salad with Bocconcini, and Mozzarella and Eggplant Torte.

Or other Tomato Salads? Try Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayonnaise, Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Chilli and Lime, and Cherry Tomatoes with a Soy Dressing.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads, our Mozzarella Salads, or indeed all of our many many Salads. Or take some time to explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Miso and Tahini Sauce, Spread and Dressing

Packets of miso often come with small recipes on or under the lid, and they are fun to try. Many of them are for Miso Soup, but I have that sorted already. Occasionally there is a recipe for a sauce or dip. This tiny but excellent recipe came on a pack of Shiro Miso. It mixes Shiro with Tahini – the taste is earthy, yeasty and awesome.

Similar recipes include Creamy Horseradish Dressing, Quince Molasses and Tahini Dip, Miso Soup with Wakame, Miso Sesame Dressing, and Eggplant with Miso and Sesame.

Browse all of our Miso recipes and all of our Sauces, Spreads and Dressings. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Kottu Rasam | Plain Simple Rasam | Third Method

This recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. It is a plain rasam, very simple and quick to make as it does not contain any significant amount of toor dal. She has three methods for making this rasam, each one treats the 1 teaspoon of toor dal that it does contain, in a different way. This is Method 3. Method 1 is here, and Method 2 is here. They are all very similar, but the taste and texture difference is subtle but noticeable.

This rasam may be simple and quick but it does not lose anything in flavour. It is amazing – tangy, spicy, and the taste of coriander complimenting the rasam. Make double the recipe, you might need seconds.

Just a note on Rasam powder – if you are going to make your rasam powder fresh for this recipe, make one without much toor dal. But, really, if you have some already made or purchased, it will still work well, so use whichever type you have. Even Sambar Powder will be Ok.

Are you interested in other Rasams? Try Mysore Rasam, Tomato Lentil Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, Cumquat Rasam, and Pepper Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Our simply explore all of our Rasam recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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