Indian Essentials: What are Curry Leaves?

Curry leaves add that indefinable flavour to South Indian dishes, without which they are incomplete. Curry leaves don’t taste like curry – they assumed that name because of their ubiquitous use in the curries of South India. The leaves are from the native Sri Lankan Curry Tree (Murraya Koenigii) and have a citrusy aroma. It…

Spices: Seeds of Irani Hogweed | For making Golpar Koobideh

These are the seeds of the Irani Hogweed. Often they are called Angelica seeds, but this is a mistake. Angelica is a herb of another variety entirely. The seeds are available from Afghani and Middle Eastern groceries, and some groceries specialising in German and European products. They are ground into a powder, Golpar Koobideh, which…

Ingredients: How to Make Vegetarian Dashi | Japanese Stock

Many Japanese soups and noodle dishes require dashi to make their stock, and this makes Japanese cooking difficult for vegetarians (dashi contains dried bonito fish flakes). However, you may find that this simple recipe is sufficient to provide great broth and stock flavours for your Japanese cooking adventures. Similar recipes include a S. E. Asian…

Recipe: Two Ways to Make Quince Leather

Let’s get real about a couple of things. Fruit Leather is delicious.. Fruit Leathers can be made from scratch but are best made from leftover bits of fruit and juice from making pastes, jams, jellies, molasses, etc. And finally, and importantly, when you nibble on fruit leathers it is primarily fruit flavoured sugar. But then,…

Recipe: How to Make Dried Mango and Mango Fruit Leather

If you can buy mangoes by the box in peak season when they are at their cheapest, it is easy to dry them in a dehydrator to make sweet chewy snacks for the rest of the year. Two different snacks can be made at the same time. Slices of the mango cheeks are dried for…

Cooking: How to Freeze Okra

Okra piles up in Late Summer and Autumn – it is abundant and if you have your own plants there is more than you can eat. In the green grocers it is consistently cheap and plentiful, with my local green grocer having a large bin of it that is constantly restocked. One way to use…

Ingredients: Harissa | Chilli and Red Pepper Sauce

You think that you love Sriracha? I am sure that you have not tried Harissa yet. Harissa is a well-known hot sauce from the North African and Middle Eastern parts of this world. It is tangy hot, but tempered by the sweet red peppers, roasted for intensity of flavour. This aromatic and spicy chilli paste can…

Recipe: How to Make Asparagus Pesto

Isn’t it great that there are lots of ways to mush things together and the results taste spectacular? Soups, for example, smoothies, combination juices. The wonderful pesto and hummus. The wonderful mushing together of pastes, oils, nuts, seeds, cheeses, yoghurts, creams, fruits, herbs, spices and vegetables make for an endless variety of goodies. Even lentils…

Recipe: Autumn Freezing and Easy Preserving for Winter Use

Now is the time to be freezing the last of Summer produce so that you can continue to use them in winter. We adore all sorts of pastes and purees suitable for freezing that we can drop into Winter stews, coat Wintery pasta dishes, bubble in Winter Soups and chop into all sorts of dishes….

Ingredients: How to Freeze Garlic

Did you know that garlic freezes rather well? I have to thank Kathryn Elliott for bringing this to my attention. Garlic is a seasonal crop, and local garlic is cheap over summer. It begins to peak in price during late Summer and early Autumn, continuing to rise in price until late Autumn or Early Winter,…

Ingredients: Long Melon | Bottle Gourd | Lauki

Long Melon, Lauki, Doodhi, or the Bottle Gourd species produces fruit in a range of sizes and shapes, from long and thin, straight or curved to bottle shaped. But always the skin is smooth, tough and most commonly light green. When buying it is good to select the younger ones as they will be more tender…

Indian Essentials : Sabudana | Sago and Tapioca

In Asia and India, taste is as much about the texture of food as it is about the flavour. That is why such flavourless ingredients such as the wide range of grains used, and tofu are often the star of the dish, while the flavoursome ingredients play a back role. Sago and Tapioca fall into…

Recipe: How to Make Crispy Fried Ginger and Ginger Chips

Crispy Fried Ginger is a great garnish for vegetables and rice. It is easy to make and adds volumes of flavour. Keep a bowl of these, along with crispy garlic, curry leaves, sage and shallots, right next to your stove. You might like to also look at Crispy Garlic, Sage and Curry Leaves. Try this…

Ingredients: Bitter Greens: Radicchio

Well, Radicchio is not exactly green, rather it is a colourful member of the chicory family. It is an offspring of the weeds that used to grow around the Mediterranean. Radicchio is a specialty of the area around Venice in Italy. Radicchio is most popularly used outside of Italy in salads, but it can also…

Spices: Dried Curd/Yoghurt Chillies of Kerala

Dried Curd Chillies have been marinated in curd/yoghurt on and off for several days, to absorb the yoghurt, and then dried in the sun. The yoghurt tempers some of the spicy heat of the chillies, and they develop a tangy, yogurty flavor. They are commonly eaten alongside the dishes that form a meal, like a pickle,…

Spices: Talni Mirchi | Dried Stuffed Chillies

Talni Mirchi are dried chillies from Maharashtra. They are first stuffed with fenugreek and perhaps other spices, perhaps soaked in curd or yoghurt, and dried in the sun. To use them, they are deep fried or sauteed very briefly, then crumbled over dishes or eaten alongside the dishes that form a meal. They can also…

Ingredients: Try these Types of Pasta

Are you stuck in a pasta routine? Spaghetti, fettuccine, macoroni? And not much variation outside of these?  Then I recommend that you locate a great Italian grocer and experiment with other pasta types. Here are some smaller, shaped pastas to begin with.