Cooking: 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…

Cooking: 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…

Cooking: 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.

Ingredients: What is Cocozella Zucchini?

Cocozelle is a type of Zucchini that is closer to a squash. It’s skin is medium-green with wide, light green or white stripes. The flesh is tender and its flavour is considered more pronounced than many other zucchini. Choose ones that are less than 35cm (14 inches), ideally around 18 to 30 cm long. Before…

Ingredients: Pandanus | Pandan Leaf | Screwpine Leaf | Rampe | Kewa

The stiff, bright green pandanus leaf is used for its colour and flavour in curries and rice dishes in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Chinese, Indonesia and the S.E. Asian countries.  There is no real substitute for the unusual nutty, grassy but sweet flavour of the leaf,  which is cut into pieces or tied in…

Ingredients: How to Preserve Grape Vine Leaves

If you are a fan of the Greek dish dolmada (dolma) – stuffed grape leaves – or of baked vine leaves with cheese, you will be glad to know that you can easily preserve the young and tender vine leaves for cooking with throughout spring and summer. They won’t be salty, like the store-bought tins…

Ingredients: How to Make a Deeply Flavoured Coconut-Curry Stock

Stocks are so important to the success of many dishes, but if you cook constantly with herbs and spices, it is easy to throw one together as needed. In the past I would always have a freezer full of vegetable stock, but these days I prefer the stocks made with the ingredients on my kitchen…

Ingredients: How to Make Malay Curry Powder

While India does not have a “curry powder”, it does have a range of masalas and podis that are used in specific ways or with specific dishes. For example, chole masala, chaat masala and garam masala. Not so in the Indian community of Malaysia. Influenced by Malaysian cuisine, curry powder is a common staple in…

Indian Essentials : The Difference Between Vathal, Vadagam and Vadam

South India, especially Tamil Nadu, has a culture of drying vegetables, mixtures of lentils and spices, and pastes made from rice, sago and similar. This is sensible of course – it preserves summer produce for use throughout the year, and thus in leaner seasons they extend freshly available ingredients and provide additional taste and texture….

Ingredients: How to Use Leftover Green Coriander (Cilantro)

Have you ever bought a few bunches of coriander with thoughts of herby salads and Indian dishes topped with coriander, and then found yourself with most of it left at the end of the week? We have your back – here are some ways to deal with that fragrant bunch of greenery. We have  hints…