Collection: Watermelon Salads to Beat the Heat

Watermelon has this household hooked in the Summer hot weather – that luscious pink colour going looking so good in the heat, and the juices running down onto one’s plate (or down one’s chin). Eaten with a sucking noise, to extract every piece of juice, it cools and supplies a sugar energy boost at the…

Ingredients: Purslane | Pigweed

Purslane is that ubiquitous weed that grows almost anywhere, but it is mostly weeded. It is persistent, with seeds being able to germinate even when 40 years old, and plants will spring from tiny pieces of leaf. What is not commonly known is that Purslane is delicious and highly edible. But before you go foraging…

Indian Essentials: How to Dry Chillies and How to Make Chilli Powder

Chilli powder is ubiquitously available in Indian groceries, so little thought is given to grinding your own. But the benefit of making our own chilli powder is that we know that it is unadulterated. Chilli powder is used in many parts of the world, from South America and Mexico, to Italy, through Spain into Hungary…

Recipe: How to Make Your Own Mustard Seed Paste

At one time in Britain, whole swathes of Lincolnshire & Yorkshire grew black mustard seeds, and acres of Cambridge and Essex grew yellow. But today the major producers of mustard seeds include Hungary, Great Britain, India, Canada (90%) and the United States. Thank goodness! The black and brown seeds are used mainly across India, while…

Ingredients: Mango Season! | 16 Locally Available Mango Varieties

In Australia, we (sadly) don’t go much for knowing the varieties of fruits and vegetables sold in our Green Grocers and Supermarkets. In fact, some vegetables, like potatoes, are sold under one varietal name, but the suppliers use different potatoes  with similar characteristics, depending on the time of year. But visit a large Asian grocery,…

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…

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…

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…

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 | Kewra

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…