Keeping it Simple

After the indulgances of December and baking like a mad woman I decided that for January I was not going to use the oven.  And with soaring temperatures over 40 degrees or 105 in Fahrenheit there was a good reason.  Keep it cool as well as simple.

And that meant salads and simple pasta and rice dishes.  Mostly vegetarian but with some small additions of bacon or anchovies to ramp up the flavour.  Some cheese of course..where would life be without cheese and lots of fresh herbs.  Fortunately my garden provides abundant herbs….parsley, mint, basil, rosemary, thyme, and sage.  If only I had a lemon tree I would be in heaven though fortunately cat sitting for my next door neighbour provides a supply from their profolic tree in the city.

The first one was a simple carrot salad from one of my Christmas gift cook books which came from ‘The little Swedish Kitchen’ from Rachel Khoo.  She has recently moved to Sweden after marrying a Swede.  I spent many months in Sweden in my more youthful days and was familiar with most of her ingredients.  The addition of dill …a firm favourite herb in Sweden and capers with a pickled red onion gave it a really nice kick.  I grated the carrot instead of making matchsticks.  This also keeps well and has a addition of feta or as I used goats cheese.  I have also made this with beetroot.  A marriage made in heaven with the dill and I have to say this keeps well and is quite filling and one feels so virtusous eating a large dose of colourful vegetables. I am looking forward to trying more of the salad recipes too Poached chicken with quickly picked strawberry salad’ sounds interesting and a more substantial one of Midsummer salad sounds heavenly.

This recipe came from The Age Good Food section of the Tuesday paper more recently.  Again simple and delicious.  It was actually in an article about cooking something really nice when you are on holiday or in an airbnb with limited cooking equipment.  Large handfuls of freshly cooked green beans with currants…I added some pomegranate molasses.  Ricotta salata or salted and preserved lemon finely chopped added flavour.

I borrowed a recipe from Lorraine Elliott’s blog (@notquitenigella) for a pasta recipe with canned tomatoes, anchovies, garlic, capers, olives, chilli.  Simple but delicious.  Freeze leftovers and serve with parmesan using whatever dried pasta you prefer.  Thank you Lorraine.  One could ramp it up with some chopped up chorizo and leftover sausuage pork and fennel sausage

Zucchini and ricotta is a great match especially with lemon rind, garlic and some chilli or spice and makes a healthy pasta dish.  Leftovers on toasted sourdough is delicious.

Some organic beetroot….both orange and the more traditional colour when grated makes a delicious addition to risotto especially with a dollop of creme fraise or ricotta. Perfect to take to work the next day for lunch too.  I like to use leek instead of onion in a risotto as it has a more delicate flavour and a generous glug of dry white leftover from the weekend.

I am slowly working through my way through some of the recipes from my newest cook book from Christmas ‘ Simple’ from Yotam Ottolenghi.  I could not believe how delicious how his hot roasted tomatoes with lemon flavoured chilled Greek yogurt could be.  Simply delicious.  And speaking of tomatoes as we are in the middle of summer I made the Tomatoes with sumac onions and pinenuts from Simple.  So  tasty and with my haul from the Castlemaine Farmers Market at the weekend I made a Courgette, thyme and walnut salad.

Recently I read that Ottolenghi would take lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper if he went to a desert island or simply staples!  A lemon actually is on the cover of his latest book.  I wonder what ingredients you would take to a desert island!


And so the salads of summer contnues….

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