Baked Garlicky Eggplant with Feta or Burrata

Perfect eggplants are a glory to look at. Shimmering purple, with a promise of so much under that sometimes tough outer purple layer. Then ther are the Thai globular eggplants, gorgeous again in their sheer perfection. It is rare that a week goes by without us slice or dicing, baking or grilling eggplants. Japanese cuisine, Indian dishes and Middle Eastern food are just rife with the best of ways to use eggplants.

Nigel Slater though, is generally purely British in his approach to food, and unashamedly so. He doesn’t like to steam eggplant, for example (one of my favourite ways with this vegetable. However I love his books and his one-eyed approach. At the moment I am finding Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries I and II very inspiring for evening supper-type meals. Quick to cook, open to adjustment, not too many steps or ingredients, his (vegetarian) food is my food at the moment. I am often home late-ish, so something quick and healthy is perfect for me.

And just to break the stereotype, this dish have overtones of, perhaps, a combination of Greek, Italian and Middle Eastern food.

Are you looking for similar dishes? Try Baked Feta with Tomatoes, Cheese and Eggplant Torte, Baked Eggplant Stuffed with Cheese and Tomatoes, and Roasted Eggplants with a Garlic Sauce, Pinenuts and Basil.

Our favourites are Brinjal Fry (Indian Deep Fried Eggplant) and a Persian Saffron and Rosewater Scented Eggplant. Or try Lauki Melon with Tomato and Feta.

You might like to browse all of our delicious eggplant recipes and other dishes from Nigel’s books. Or find inspiration in our Late Autumn recipes. Continue reading “Baked Garlicky Eggplant with Feta or Burrata”

Tray Baked Spicy Chickpeas | Chickpeas Roasted with Spices

Spicy chickpeas to satisfy the munchies.

Baked chickpeas are a delicious, easy and healthy snack You can eat these chickpeas just as they are, or throw them into salads on top of pasta with vegetable sauces. Eat them sitting out on your lovely table in the sunshine. Take them in your backpack on long walks. In your bento box for an office lunch. They are a great pre-dinner munchie. Or a late night TV snack.

Have a look at our Tray Baked Turmeric Spicy Chickpeas, too. Similar recipes include Tray Baked Veg with Pomegranate Molasses.

Continue reading “Tray Baked Spicy Chickpeas | Chickpeas Roasted with Spices”

Broad Bean and Butter Bean Puree with Horseradish | A Mash, Spread or Dip

The secret to great tasting broad beans is double peeling

It is easy to develop an aversion to Broad Beans. Prolific bearers and easy to grow, they are an easy choice for home gardeners and country kitchen gardens. Yet the poor bean is often misunderstood. Instead of being treated tenderly, cooks mistakenly overcooked them to a green-grey mush with a strong taste only masked by other strong tasting ingredients. Unaware that each individual bean has its own skin that needs to be peeled, they were being boiled until that outer skin reached a level of tenderness – and that mean that the inner bean was overcooked.

Yes, the secret to broad beans is that they need to be double peeled. First the fury pod is removed, and then, after blanching, the skin of each bean can be easily slipped off. Young beans are preferable to their older counterparts as their flavour is gentler.

What a difference a peel makes! You might like to read more about broad beans.

Are you perhaps after Broad Bean recipes? Try Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Broad Beans with Fresh PecorinoTawa Broad Beans, and 13 Treasure Happiness Soup.

Or are you looking for Dips and Spreads? Try Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, Spicy Moroccan Carrot Dip, Thick Yoghurt Tahina Dip, Avocado Mash, and a Quicky Hummus.

You might like to browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and our recipes for Dips. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Broad Bean and Butter Bean Puree with Horseradish | A Mash, Spread or Dip”

Golden Saffron Spice Tea and Kashmiri Kahwa Tea

I first came across this beautiful tea in a small shop in a village in South India.

There are certain “C” words that I love when in the kitchen. It is especially true when it comes to spices. My favourite and indispensable spices all being with C — Cloves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coriander seed, Cumin.

If you have these in your pantry, you have some of the Indian cooking Essentials. For example, Garam Masala uses them as a strong, warming basis.

But did you know that you can also make a very special infused tea from these same spices?

You might also like to try Phanta (Basil) Tea, Ayurvedic Teas, or Herbal Teas. Try Saffron Rice with Dates and Almonds also.

Or browse all of our Teas. Our Indian dishes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Late Spring Recipes.

Continue reading “Golden Saffron Spice Tea and Kashmiri Kahwa Tea”

Indian Essentials: How to Make Garam Masala

Garam Masala is a wonderfully warm and versatile mix of spices used in a range of Indian dishes.

If you are even the smallest bit familiar with Indian food, you will have heard of Garam Masala. It is a wonderfully warm and versatile mix of spices used in a range of Indian dishes. Not necessarily spicy hot, it consists of spices that warm and nourish the body, such as cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.

Garam Masala is a mixture of spices, and the combinations vary with each household. They say it is basically Persian in origin, but is now indispensable in North Indian cuisine.

Garam Masala is particularly loved in the North where the winters are cold. It is not a prescriptive mix – it is open to interpretation with each region of India creating distinct blends with flavours characteristic of the region. A teaspoon of Garam Masala gives a North Indian character to any dish – try it with Basmati rice, or sprinkle it over cooked dishes.

The variety in recipes is easily explained. The cuisine varies so much across India that the spices in Garam Masala are chosen to best compliment the local foods. Each region and each family adjusts their mix to suit the flavours of the cuisine, personal preference and the dish being made. When you have such a large canvas of spices to choose from, why would you not do that?

Generally, but not always, Garam Masala is sprinkled over food towards the end of the cooking to retain its aroma.

The garam masala spices can also be used whole, but more traditionally, they are ground together in a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have one, a blender or spice grinder will do. If you want to use whole Garam Masala, try a rice dish in which you grind only the nutmeg and add the other spices into the rice water as it boils.

Are you looking for spice blends? Try Sundakkai Podi, Rasam Powder, Sambar Powder, Malaysian Curry Powder and Sri Lankan Thuna Paha.

Browse our other Spice Mix recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Indian Essentials: How to Make Garam Masala”

Warm Olives with Spiced Oil, Lemon and Herbs

Serve with crusty bread, chargrilled eggplant and other vegetables, and/or a range of antipasto or grazing dishes

I spent January in London this year. There was a baby on the Horizon, and I was there to see his transition into this life. It was a beautiful thing. He is a beautiful being.

I was chief cook and bottle washer during the month I was there. And best of all, it was so luxurious to cook from (mainly) one cookbook. The book was a Xmas present to my daughter from a good friend. The author is an Australian, but the book itself is full of recipes so very suited to the Street and Farmers’ Markets in London. Despite a baby in the house we ate so well that month. Continue reading “Warm Olives with Spiced Oil, Lemon and Herbs”