Caprese Salad | Insalata Caprese

This is one of the most awesome Summer Salads, and, better still, it takes just a minute to two to prepare. Of course it is awesome, it originates from the Italian island of Capri, and you can just feel the summer sea and breezes in this salad. So simple – great tomatoes, sweet basil and fresh mozzarella. In Italy it is usually served as an antipasto, not a contorno (side dish).

The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo as a light lunch for regulars. They’d order a just-picked tomato and fresh fior di latte (cow’s-milk mozzarella — no buffalo on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of rughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products. Elsewhere in Italy it takes the form of just tomato, mozzarella and basil.

The dressing is always only a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Vinegar is thought to destroy the delicate flavour of the cheese and is never used in Italy. Because this salad is so simple, top-rate ingredients are necessary – floury tomatoes, rancid oil and rubbery processed mozzarella are unacceptable.

In fact this is so good that it is worth making double the amount, and using the remainder to pile onto flatbread, garlic toast or just on slices of fresh beautiful bread. Or turn it into another classic Italian salad by adding cubes of dried or crispy baked bread.

Similar dishes include Salad of Rocket and Radicchio with Parmesan, Ensalada, and Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads and all of our Italian recipes. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Caprese Salad | Insalata Caprese”

Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta and Basil

An Italian beauty – stuffed tomatoes with feta, basil, olives and wine. Stuffed tomatoes are a bit retro, yes we admit, but that does not mean that they are without flavour. Classic Italian flavours make this a great addition to our several Stuffed Tomatoes recipes.

Baked feta is a classic dish too, baked in a terracotta dish (if you have one) with olives, tomatoes and olives. A variation on this recipe is to use a vegetable – capsicums, pimentos or tomatoes, for example – to hold the feta and accompaniments as they bake. Totally delicious.

Similar recipes include Baked Feta, Baked Dakos, Baked Pimentos with Feta, and Baked Ziti with Feta.

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.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Stuffed Tomatoes recipes  or you browse Italian recipes . Check out our easy Early Autumn recipes .

Continue reading “Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta and Basil”

Indian Sweet and Spicy Tomato Chutney

Who can resist a sweet tomato chutney? This one is from India but with unmistakable influences from the British occupation. The result is a wonderfully sweet, rich flavoured chutney with hints of spice. Adjust the chilli levels to your own preference.

Serve the chutney with rice, idli, dosa, chapati or as an accompaniment to other Indian dishes. Great as a dip and with fried snacks.

Not only is this chutney great with Indian dishes, it also goes well with Western dishes. Serve it with vegetable pies, in sandwiches and wraps, and over deep fried tofu. Drizzle it over soups and baked vegetables. You are limited only by your imagination.

This recipe can also be made in bulk and frozen, to add to soups, stews, braises etc during the Winter months.

Similar recipes include Roast Tomato Chutney, Eggplant Chutney, Green Tomato Chutney, and Fresh Radish Chutney.

Browse all of our Indian Chutneys and all of our Tomato Dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Indian Sweet and Spicy Tomato Chutney”

Crushed Potatoes with Roasted Tomato and Roasted Eggplant | Aloo Baingan Bharta

I love a good mashed potato, don’t you? The English standard is potatoes mashed with milk or cream and lashings of butter and generously seasoned with salt and pepper. But France makes theirs a little differently. Where the English use floury potatoes, the French use waxy potatoes. In India, it is more usual to crush potatoes rather than mash them. Such a good idea, leaving texture in the dish while incorporating spices and herbs.

So I tend to collect mash potato recipes. This one has its origin in Vivek Singh’s (from Cinnamon Kitchen) book Curry. It is so simple but packs a punch of flavours. I adjusted it to our flavours. It is a variation of Aloo Baigan Bharta.

Similar recipes include Simple Indian Potato Crush, Garlic Potato Mash and Potato Pallya.

Browse all of our Potato recipes and some other Mashes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Crushed Potatoes with Roasted Tomato and Roasted Eggplant | Aloo Baingan Bharta”

Mixed Vegetables and Yoghurt with Green Chilli Oil

A glorious mix of fried vegetables in yoghurt – indeed exquisite, and direct from Istanbul (via Ottolenghi). Most of the veg are deep fried, but don’t let that put you off as it is indeed glorious. It works well with baked, roasted  and grilled veg as well.

The original recipe is one of Ottolenghi’s from Plenty More, but I have changed the cooking times and included some Thai round green eggplants. We always feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area, or to massage Ottolenghi’s recipes to suit our preferences and what is available in our garden and pantry. You can see the original recipe in The Guardian here.

Similar recipes include Avial, Winter Roast Veggies with Chickpeas, and Roast Butternut with Chilli Yoghurt Sauce.

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here and here are the recipes from Plenty More. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes

Continue reading “Mixed Vegetables and Yoghurt with Green Chilli Oil”

Çoban Salatası | Turkish Shepherd’s Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Olives and Feta

Çoban Salatası or Choban salad (Turkish for Shepherd’s Salad) is a Turkish salad consisting of finely chopped tomatoes (preferably peeled), cucumbers, long green peppers, onion, and flat-leaf parsley. The dressing is made from of lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.

It is another take on the ubiquitous global Tomato and Cucumber Salad. The lovely twist to this one is the finely chopped ingredients, the tang of lemon, and the peeled tomatoes. It is rare that I peel tomatoes, but for this salad I break my own rule. Today we only had large olives in the pantry, but normally I would use smaller ones.

Similar recipes include Caprese Salad, Tomato Salad with Lemon, Tomato Salad with Parsley Oil, and Warm Tomato Salad.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads and all of our Turkish dishes. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Çoban Salatası | Turkish Shepherd’s Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Olives and Feta”

Tomato Crème Fraîche Pasta Sauce (and Dip, Sauce and Salad Dressing)

Years ago, around 1998, I made a spur of the moment dish that turned out to be a winner.  It came together on a Spring evening while hunting around for something to serve with dinner. It is amazing!

The sauce for this dish takes about 3 minutes to prepare and 3 minutes to make – less time than it takes to cook your pasta. It is a dish that has multiple uses and you will love it for its simplicity, clean fresh taste, and versatility. You can even make your own Crème Fraîche.

I rarely use the microwave except for defrosting items from the freezer. You too? Yet this dish is so non-fiddly if it is made in the microwave I am loathed to change the method. 1 dish only – no oil, no sauteing, no mess. We need more such dishes!

Similar recipes include Avocado Salsa, Green Tomato Salsa, and Salsa Verde.

Browse all of our Salsa recipes and all of our Tomato dishes. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Tomato Crème Fraîche Pasta Sauce (and Dip, Sauce and Salad Dressing)”

Red Rice – Rice in Tomato Juice

Remember Rice-a-Riso? It seems it is still being made and sold in supermarkets, but only in Chicken flavour. As a teenager and young adult I loved the tomato one. Imagine my surprise when I first made this dish and it tasted exactly like tomato rice-a-riso. It was a nostalgic moment.

This recipe is very simple, but because it is versatile I need to walk you through a few things first.

Continue reading “Red Rice – Rice in Tomato Juice”

Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce

How we love the eggplant and its versatility. This recipe sautés the eggplant until it is golden and then immerses it in a tangy, spicy tomato sauce before serving garnished with herbs. It is easy to make and the perfect side dish or dish to eat just with rice for a light lunch, snack or supper.

Similar recipes include Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt, Smoky Eggplants and Tomatoes, and Babaganoush.

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce”

Burghul, Pistachio and Tomato Salad

Burghul seems to be used mostly a Winter grain, but I would like to reassure you that Summery Salads based on Burghul are terrific. Juicy with ripe tomatoes, fragrant with Pomegranate Molasses, crunchy with nuts, cooling with cucumber and herbs. A perfect fit for a lunch on a hot day, sitting under the grapevines.

Similar recipes include Çorban Salatası, Burghul Salad with Olives, Hazelnuts and Pomegranates, Cauliflower and Burghul Kitchari, and Burghul and Mung Kitchari.

Browse all of our Burghul recipes, our Burghul Salads and all of our Salads. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Burghul, Pistachio and Tomato Salad”