Bannock | Scottish Girdle/ Griddle Oatcakes

Bannock, or Scottish Girdle (aka Griddle) Bread, is cooked in on a griddle or in a skillet from a simple dough. They can be cooked on the stove, on the BBQ or on a campfire! It is similar to a griddle baked scone – it has a fluffy centre that is slightly crumbly – and is best eaten with lashings of butter and jam. It can be cooked cut into circles, squares, wedges or left as a whole “bread”.

The word bannock comes from a Latin word that means “baked dough”. It originated in Scotland, where it was first made as a quite heavy and dense loaf with a barley or oatmeal dough and no leavening. As leavening agents were introduced, they began to be added to these skillet breads, making them fluffier. We keep somewhat traditional and make them with oatmeal and a little plain flour, but you will find modern recipes that use only flour.

So easy to make, so delicious, good weekend food.

Similar recipes include Griddle Scones, Singin’ Hinny, and Home Made Crumpets.

Browse all of our Oat recipes and all of our Griddle cooking recipes . Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

This is a vegetarian recipe from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can browse other recipes from this blog in our Retro Recipes series.

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Greek Chickpeas Slow Baked in Stock and Olive Oil with Herbs and Tomatoes

These will have to be the softest chickpeas ever. They are par boiled then baked in a slow oven for 2.5 hours. The dish is served either hot, warm or cold – it will make a meal in itself with a little feta and a green salad or some cooked greens. The recipe is adapted from Ikaria, by my favourite Greek cookbook author, Diane Kochilas.  It is a dish that can be made at any time of the year.

Similar recipes include Softest Chickpeas, Baked Dakos with Chickpeas, Feta and Tomatoes, and Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas.

Browse all of our Chickpea recipes and all of our Greek dishes. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

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Plantain Chips

One of my enduring memories of Kerala is the proliferation of freshly cooked plantain chips – delicious deep fried slices of raw banana, crispy and salty. Even when I was staying in Mylapore in Chennai, the wallah was making huge woks-full of fresh plantain chips right there on the street, so you’d get them straight from the pan.

They can be made at home of course – quite easily in fact. Just like the street wallahs, you can slice the plantain right into the hot oil if it is safe to do so. Otherwise slice them onto a plate and add to the oil. As they cook the flavourings are added to the layer of chips, or they can be salted as they come out of the pan. Madhur Jaffrey also adds curry leaves and green chilli to the oil before removing the chips – the oil does erupt a bit when you do this so I often leave it out. You can add chilli powder to the chips as they come out of the oil if you wish.

Similar recipes include Paprika Oven Chips, Polenta Crisps and Potato Wedges.

Browse all of our Indian Snacks and all of our Plantain recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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A Collection of 30 Salads for MID WINTER

Early Winter sees the arrival of rains and cold weather. While the beginning of Winter can be mild, by mid season the chilly weather has usually arrived. In a good year it can rain almost daily. Gardens are not yet devoid of colour. Bougainvillea, cumquats, rosemary flowers, diosma, amaranth and bulbs of all sorts add welcome relief amongst the green weeds. Speaking of greens, all sorts of green leaves and salad leaves lose the limpness of Summer and are lush and abundant in the vegetable garden.

Salads generally have more substance now. Grains and beans creep in. Light salads no longer appear on the table. Although salads are served at room temperature they are still common but add substance and nourishment to the meal.

Okra is back in the shops, and an abundant array of other winter vegetables and fruits –  daikon, cauliflower, broccoli, pears, oranges, grapefruit, cumquats, pomelo, carrots, beetroot, mustard greens and other beautiful greens, cabbage, such beautiful beetroot, pumpkins, marrows, juicy radishes.

Similar posts include What to Do with Daikon Radish.

Here are 30 of our best salads for Early Winter.

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Wintery Carrot and Parsnip Turmeric Soup

When you have the Winter blues, when the Winter Lurgy has you in it’s grips, when you dream of sunshine because it has been absent for so long, it is time for soup! Soup restores sanity, spirits, optimism and health.

This soup takes a tray full of roasted vegetables and whizzes them into a soup. I’ve layered flavours with roasted onions as well as butter-sweated leeks, white pepper and black pepper, and the tiered flavours of Garam Masala. Underpinning it all is a healthy dose of turmeric and garlic, ingredients that will keep you healthy, or make you better when you are not at the top of your game. Into it all goes the sweet-tart caramelised flavours of roasted lemon for that needed hit of “sour” that enlivens any dish. It also balances out the sweetness of Winter carrots.

Carrots are best in winter. There is something about the coldness of Winter that intensifies the flavour of carrots. How precious they are in their sweetness and affinity for a range of vegetable combinations.

You might like to read more about the Spice mix, Garam Masala. As mentioned, it is used in this recipe to add layers of spice flavours which are warming without necessarily being hot in the chilli-hot sense. The spice mix for garam masala varies from region to region, so if you have not used it before, add a little at first, taste, and add more until it suits your spice comfort levels.

Similar recipes include French Carrot Soup, South Indian Carrot Soup, Carrot and Roasted Tomato Soup, and Roasted Carrot and Apple Soup.

All of our Soup recipes are here, (specifically our Carrot Soups here) and browse our Carrot recipes.  Or explore our wonderful Mid Winter recipes, especially our Mid Winter Soups.

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Minestrone di Pasta e Ceci | Minestrone with Pasta and Chickpeas

I have always loved pasta with chickpeas – a pretty classic dish in this household. There is something about the texture of the chickpeas with the pasta that is wonderful. And of course a pasta dish seems really healthy with all those chickpeas.

This recipe brings pasta and chickpeas together again, this time in a classic Minestrone. Use smaller pasta for this soup – small shells or small rounds of pasta like anelli or ditalini.

Similar recipes include Genoese Minestrone, Borlotti Bean and Pasta Soup, and Chickpea and Parsley Soup with Turmeric.

Browse all of our Minestrone recipes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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White Pea and Potato Bhatura | Vatana Bhatura

Have you heard of White Pea Bhatura? Chole Masala is a very popular north Indian dish. White Pea Bhatura is very similar except that it uses vatana or dried white peas in place of the chickpeas. As you can imagine, it is very delicious! Bhatura – oh my, a delicious puffed bread.

White peas are very popular in North India. They are smaller than chickpeas, white in colour and smooth and round. Bhatura is a deep fried puffed bread made from a fermented dough.

Chole Bhatura is often eaten as a breakfast dish, sometimes with lassi. It is also a street food snack and even a complete meal. It is often accompanied by onions, tomatoes, carrot pickle, green chutney and pickles.

This is truly delicious! Even without the Bhatura, but especially with them.

Similar recipes include White Peas Curry, White Peas Sundal, and White Peas, Coconut and Green Mango Sundal.

Browse all of our White Pea recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

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Burrata with Leeks and Za’atar

The sad news regarding ingredient availability near my home is that the new huge supermarket that opened with an amazing array of cheeses has downsized that section to about 1/4 its original size. So cheeses like burrata – I was so excited when they originally stocked it – are no longer part of their inventory. This means it became a luxury item once again and I have to travel into the city if I need it. I adore burrata as a replacement for eggs in dishes where the eggs would be nestled into a base or served on top of, say, a salad.

I cannot complain too much, though. There is an extraordinary range of Asian, SE Asian and Middle Eastern ingredients available in this area, including hot Middle Eastern flatbread straight from the oven. I am blessed!

This is a quick way to get a very comforting meal on the table in a wonderfully short amount of time. It’s a dish as happily eaten for brunch, with coffee, as it is for a light supper with some crusty white bread and a glass of wine. The leeks and spinach can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge, ready for the burrata and feta.

After a trip to Adelaide’s Central Market and a fresh stock of burrata, I went back to Ottolenghi’s Simple to make his brunch dish of Leeks, Spinach and Za’atar. It is divine – you should try it. I made the usual adjustments, which I share below, but the link will take you to the original recipe.

Similar recipes include Sweet and Sour Leeks with Burrata, Celeriac Hummus with Spiced Cauliflower and Burrata, and Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas with Burrata.

Browse all of our Leek recipes and all of our Burrata dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Burghul and Beetroot

In the time of COVID-19 we are cooking very simple meals, and our routines have changed dramatically. We often cook late in the evening instead of early in the day. We are adjusting, but like it at a time where the rushed requirements of travelling to meetings, offices, and events have disappeared.

We, like everyone else, are scouring our cupboards and our challenge is really to reduce the amount of food we normally keep. Because I cook all the time we have so much in the pantry, and many ends-of-packets that haven’t been used up.

So today it is coarse burghul‘s turn. We cook this in a simple but special way – with butter and olive oil – then we let it steam off the heat for up to 20 mins. It is the way we love to cook it. Note that it needs different handling to the finer burghuls that are available. If you have never explored different styles of burghul, head down to your local Middle Eastern or Afghan grocery.

Anyway then we mix the cooked burghul with some cooked beetroot and eggplant, and toss through some gremolata. A worthy dish indeed. A plate of incredible tones of deep pink and purple—lurid colours indeed, but such warming, and super tasty flavours.

Similar dishes include Burghul, Pistachio and Tomato Salad, Burghul and Cauliflower Salad, and Delightful Pilafs.

You can also browse all of our Burghul recipes, our Pilafs, and all of our Beetroot dishes.

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Winter Teas to Cheer Your Day

Once the heat of Summer and the warmth of Autumn die away we stop making fruit juices so often and turn to miso soups, and teas and infusions to warm our days and provide relaxing interludes. Here are some more, mainly infusions, to spark up your cold wet winter weather and get rid of the rainy day blues.

Similar recipes include Fennel Tea, Tulsai Chai, and Garam Chai.

Browse all of our Teas and especially our Chais. Or explore all of our Late Autumn dishes.

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