Purslane Salads | How to Use Purslane in Salads

Purslane, Portulaca Oleracea, is an edible succulent plant that spreads vigorously. The leaves are crunchy with a tangy lemon-peppery flavour. It pops up in gardens here from December (early Summer) through to Autumn. It is prolific in my garden, so much so that I can pull the whole plants out when young, nip off the root and use the stem and leaves. For larger plants, stems are picked and leaves removed. You should always wash it really well as it is such a ground-hugging plant.

Pick them early in the day for best flavours. If I need to pick them later in the day, I will cover them in water for an hour or so until they perk up and lift their heads. Don’t soak any longer, they turn to mush (being a succulent).

In some parts of the world you can buy Purslane in green groceries but in Australia that is not the case. So you can forage alongside footpaths and in parks and green areas, but always be careful that it has not been sprayed. The best way is to purchase some seed, or gather it from flowering foraged plants, and grow in your own garden. Once you have planted it in your garden you will always have it. It grows best in warm to hot, dry climates.

It is used around the world, from Greece to Mexico, South Africa, India and Turkey. It is a nutritional medicine cabinet in a plant with remarkable amounts of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. It is mainly used raw but is also cooked in some places, such as India.

We’ve put together some of our favourite salads using Purslane to inspire you. Be sure to let us know how you use it and which salads are your favourite. Don’t forget that you can use Purslane to replace other sour or lemony ingredients such as sorrel in salads and other dishes.

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Three Ways to Caramelise Figs

The beauty of caramelised figs is that they can be used in any sweet or savoury application. Serve just with icecream and scattered with toasted slivered almonds, for example. Or pair them with a Wintery rich dark pudding. Serve with yoghurt and drizzle with honey.  Ricotta and marscapone, or a double cream, also make perfect accompaniments. Use them in a pavlova, or make a caramelised fig tart. Caramelise some oranges too and serve on top of a beautiful custard or autumnal trifle. Pair with some sweet French Toast. Bake them in a cake. Top your Tiramisu with them.

For savoury uses, serve in salads, accompany with blue cheese, goat’s cheese, creme fraiche, burrata or feta. Caramelise them with a little balsamic vinegar and use in sandwiches on dark rye bread with goat’s cheese and greens (I like radish greens straight from the garden). Make a salad with roasted sweet potato. Pair them in salads with pistachios, slivered almonds or hazelnuts. Make an almond butter dressing for a salad with rocket, watercress or baby spinach. Use them on bruschetta. They pair well with baked feta.

Here are 3 different ways to caramelise figs.

Similar recipes include Baked Figs with Thyme, Boozy Fits and Roasted Sweet Potato with Figs.

Browse all of our Fig recipes, or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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A New Approach to Vegetarian Stocks – How to Make Really Flavoursome Vegetarian Stocks

My thinking about broths or stocks for soups has changed over the years. Once I regularly made vegetable stock from off-cuts and peelings, supplemented by chopped vegetables to get the right balance. I made loads of light Asian style broths and more layered all-in stocks for soups, risottos, and the like. There were miso based stocks, SE Asian coconut-curried stocks and Indian flavoured stocks. Keeping them in the freezer meant that they were always at hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use these regularly, but more often I use a different technique, and one that does not require additional work. I make the stocks in the dish I am cooking. More often than not this is soup but it can be any dish – risotto, braises, bean bakes, veggie casseroles, sauces, veggie stews, etc.

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Quick, Deeply Flavoured Stocks

My thinking about broths or stocks for soups has changed over the years. Once I regularly made vegetable stock from off-cuts and peelings, supplemented by chopped vegetables to get the right balance. I made loads of light Asian style broths and more layered all-in stocks for soups, risottos, and the like. There were miso based stocks, SE Asian coconut-curried stocks and Indian flavoured stocks. Keeping them in the freezer meant that they were always at hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use these regularly, but more often I use a different technique.

By the way, you can see all of our Soup Recipes here.

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English Mashed Potatoes

When I need comfort food, mashed potato it is.  Reminiscent of childhood — large plates of mashed potato, buttery and herby, steaming hot from the pan and piled with other vegetables — it takes me back to days of large gardens, lazy days, and few cares.

As simple as mashed potatoes is to make, some care is needed otherwise a gluey mash or a dry flavourless pile of potatoes is the result. Here are some tips that might help you to find the perfect mash.

We have three different mashed potato recipes for you:

Similar recipes include Crushed Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes and Eggplant, Indian Mashed Potatoes and French Mashed Potatoes.

Browse all of our Potato recipes and some other Mashes. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. See the Retro Recipes series of recipes which contain some of our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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How to Make Eggless Mayo from Milk

I have a recipe from my Mum for an eggless mayonnaise that is made from condensed milk. It is pretty gorgeous, and I love it. There is also a cream based dressing that can be used in many cases as a replacement for egg based mayo. Even this Yoghurt based dressing will substitute for mayo. There is a fourth way of making eggless mayo – from an emulsion of milk and oil  (you can make it vegan by substituting soy or nut milk). It is not as flavoursome as my favourite one and is less sweet, but it contains a lot of oil. However it is easy to make and lighter in texture than the condensed milk one.

Use as you would use mayonnaise. It makes a great dip as well.

Similar recipes include Eggless Mayonnaise from Condensed Milk, Creamy Horseradish Dressing, and Tahini Yoghurt Dressing.

Browse  all of our Dressings, and all of our Salads. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Indian Essentials: What is Kosumalli aka Koshambari?

Kosumalli (aka Koshambari) is a simple spiced yet cooling salad. There are many varieties, but the most common is made by mixing soaked mung dal or channa dal with cucumber and/or carrot, with coconut, and tempering the salad with spices.  It is a South Indian specialty, eaten as a snack or made to accompany a meal. The crunch of the cucumber, the sweet flavour of coconut, and the tang of lemon balances the sweet earthiness of the lentils for a deliciously flavoured and textured salad.

It is rather rare to have raw ingredients in South Indian cuisine. At the least, most ingredients are sautéed. There are a couple of exceptions including  Kosumalli which is closer to a Western version of a salad than Sundals and Pachadi  and Raita dishes which are often referred to as salads but differ from their Western counterparts.

While Western salads depend on their dressing – primarily oil, vinegar, mayonnaise and herbs – to make the collection of raw ingredients interesting, Kosumalli salads use texture and simple layering of flavour to achieve the same thing. The salad has a characteristic aroma which makes your mouth water even before it is seen.

The ratio of ingredients varies from household to household, and perhaps even season to season. Hot weather? Increase the amount of cucumber. Cooler weather? Make it heavy with lentils and eat with a cup of hot chai.

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How to Search a Life Time of Cooking on a Mobile Device

Unfortunately, WordPress.com does not provide a search facility that is easy to find when using mobile devices. The SEARCH function is still available but it is at the bottom of the page. Scroll down, past the comments, past the PREV, NEXT and/or the OLDER POSTS buttons, and you will see the SEARCH Box. My apologies that they make it so difficult to find.

You can also search for recipes using any of these other methods:

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Common Rices of India

There are hundreds varieties of rice grown around the world. Rice is a staple in India, Asia, Middle East and parts of the Mediterranean. Yet, for all this, few know of the different types of rice.

Rice originated in India, and it is first mentioned in the Yajur Veda (c. 1500-800 BC) and then is frequently referred to in Sanskrit texts. In India there is a saying that grains of rice should be like two brothers, close but not stuck together. This holds true until you come to South India, where Pongal is a porridge-like rice dish.

Rice is often directly associated with prosperity and fertility; hence there is the custom of throwing rice at newly-weds. In India, rice is also the first food offered to the babies when they start eating solids or to husband by his new bride, to ensure they will have children.

Additional Reading

For completeness, this article shares some information with that post.

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How to Get Extra Smoky Flavours When Roasting Eggplants, Tomatoes and other Vegetables using a Home BBQ

Sometimes we need extra smokiness in our foods – making Middle Eastern eggplant purees such as Babaganoush is a perfect example. Traditionally char roasted over coals, that natural smokiness is missing when we char the eggplants over gas flames or in the oven. The difference in these dishes when using smoky eggplant is remarkable.

Not all vegetables take readily to smoking – some, like aubergines and tomatoes, absorb the flavours well, while others such as carrots, absorb just a little. Oiling the vegetables before cooking helps the process, and experimentation is encouraged.

We smoke them outside, so there is no danger of smoke alarms being triggered, or spoiling your beautiful wok, or leaving a smoke stain on the kitchen ceiling. Our equipment includes a covered BBQ, foil trays and kitchen foil. It is interesting and exciting, and makes a palpable difference.

Some recipes using smoked vegetables include Smoky Eggplant and Tomatoes, Smoky Eggplant with Tahini and PomegranateSmoky Roasted Eggplants in Yoghurt, Smoky Aubergine and Asparagus, Smoky Punjabi Eggplant Curry,

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