Where would we be without Chilli Paste? Our kitchen boasts 2 or 3 different ones at any one time, plus of course red and green chillies in the freezer, chilli flakes and 3 different chilli powders. We love a touch of heat in the kitchen, but not everyone has to go this far! A good chilli paste will be your godsend when you are looking to spice up a soup, sauce, pasta dish, dip, avocado mash, even a potato crush!
Green Tomatoes are around all season if you look for them, and particularly in Spring and Autumn. They are delicious – don’t stick them on the window sill to ripen. Slice them into your salads, or cook with them. Their slightly tart tomatoey flavour will surprise you. We adore them and you will too. Enjoy our collection of recipes from the US, India, Australia and beyond.
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Did you ever see the movie Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe? If nothing else, it’s title introduced fried green tomatoes into our life. I love green tomatoes (they make an amazing salsa, for example), and frying them with a crispy crust of polenta and parmesan is a great snack.
There are many different recipes for the crust – some use a batter – but I like this one. It is crisp and crunchy, and doesn’t have to be deep fried. Sometimes I use a batter of self raising flour, cornmeal and buttermilk.
Rice is of course a feature of our kitchen. Not every day, as we mix cuisines a lot, but often enough. Here is a delicious common South Indian rice dish that is rather divine. It does take a kitchen pantry full of ingredients, but they are all usual items in a kitchen that cooks a lot of South Indian dishes. So it should not be a bother.
Cooked rice is added to a spicy mix of tomatoes, onions and spices. Dal is added to the tadka for texture and crunch. This is a dish that will bring applause at the table.
Here is a tip. If you want to enjoy this dish in the middle of winter without using tinned, processed tomatoes, place some of the best of summer tomatoes in the freezer – you can freeze them whole – and use them for tomato rice in the colder weather.
Picture a Tunisian grandmother, a master at cooking kofta, making them with Ottolenghi. This scene from his Mediterranean series is a classic. She gets fully ticked off with his faffing around, the time he takes, the number of ingredients he uses. She sits on a stool in the corner, rolling her eyes and muttering under her breath. Ah, Grandma, we know, we KNOW.
It must have been a trial for Ottolenghi to bring out Simple, his latest book. Recipes pared down to their bare essentials. No more layerings of flavour upon flavour upon flavour. No more dishes that can be a meal in themselves. HE must have been the one rolling his eyes and huffing and puffing as testers and editors stripped yet another ingredient from a dish.
I am in 2 minds about Simple. Yes, there is a level of difficulty in his other books, and not all of those recipes are for typical week night cooking. But there is something in the Simple recipes that I miss. An undefinable something. It is as though every recipe in his other books stretches us in the kitchen somehow. A new ingredient, a new technique, a new way of cooking, a new combination of ingredients. Not so Simple. Some dishes are quite ordinary by comparison, albeit delicious.
Still, they are as visually pleasing as the dishes from his other books, and a delight in their own way (just a different way to the Ottolenghi we have been used to). This raita, a riff on an Indian dish, is quite good. I’ve said before that Ottolenghi does not yet understand Indian food very well – perhaps he doesn’t care about that. He has been known to use Indian ingredients in ways that don’t showcase them to their best. But in this dish, although not typically Indian, it is a pretty jolly good plate of food. Love the inclusion of preserved lemon in the chilli paste which is layered on top of the raita. Brilliant.
Raita is traditionally served with an Indian meal as a salad and as a cooling agent, contrasting well with the spiciness of the rest of the meal. Leave off the chilli paste if you want to serve it this way. But raita is very versatile. It is lovely as a dip, gorgeous with some warm pitta, and excellent spooned on top of spiced rice.
You can find the original recipe for this dish here.
Browse all of our Raita recipes. Our dishes from Simple are here, and all of our Ottolenghi recipes are here. You might like to check out our Indian dishes and our Indian Essentials. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.
Think outside the box for Breakfast, especially in Summer.
Prepare your breakfast dishes, make a large pot of coffee, set the table on the verandah, deck, or under the grapevines, take the newspaper or a book, and enjoy a leisurely Summer breakfast.
There is nothing better than balmy weather, and pineapples are in the markets! So we bring a slightly tropical feel to the table today with a special salad of cucumbers and pineapple.
Similar recipes include Carrot and Cashew Kachumber, Madhura Pachadi with Tamarind, Apple and Yoghurt Salad with Grapes, Kachumber, and Chickpeas and Ginger Kachumber. You might like to see our Collection of Kachumber Salads.
Here we are with another Okra dish, this time from the Parsi cuisine. It is a Patia, or Patio, dish, which cooks the okra in a thick tomato and spice base. In this recipe, we saute the okra before adding to the tomato base towards the end of cooking. You can also saute the okra quickly and add earlier in the cooking for a more traditional approach.
We took the outline of the Patia recipe from My Bombay Kitchen, and adjusted the recipe, substituting okra for the non-vegetarian items. You could also use eggplant with this recipe.
Today’s recipe is an Indian eggplant dish where eggplants are simmered in a tomato base until tender. It is quite simple to make yet yields a delicious result. Serve it with rice for lunch or with other dishes for an Indian feast.
It is an easy recipe – with few spices. A great recipe for people beginning to cook Indian dishes. Because it is easy, it is an perfect dish to cook for lunch, or even to cook early in the day to use with the evening meal.
Baked Feta is a perfect mezza dish, served with crackers or flatbread. Flavoursome, soft, mouth watering, the baked feta is aromatic and elicits sounds of approval from your friends at your shared table. It is the sort of dish that you can make at the last minute – your friends arrive unexpectedly at meal time, as they do.
Or it is a great snack, mid afternoon, with a pot of mint tea. And it goes really well on Summery days when the BBQ is lit and people are milling around, nibbling, while the salads are made and the vegetable kebabs are cooking. We have also had it on a Winter’s day as we sit around the fire, reading, writing and chatting. Best of all, it is a perfect Summer Holidays dish, when no-one wants to cook much at all.
This recipe is a mish-mash of Italian and Greek. Definitely Mediterranean.