Heatwave food – Spoonable ricotta

Heatwave food - Dorie Greenspan's spoonable ricotta Vegetarian summertime eating

I haven’t posted anything for a long time – first there was Christmas, then summer holidays and going back to work, but mainly I haven’t posted because… the heatwave!! I always complain about the heat this time of year. Sydney in February is always hot, humid and horrible but January was the hottest month on record and now we’ve rolled into February there has been no relief.  Despite the humidity there hasn’t been an awful lot of rain (apart from a couple of epic storms) Historically a typical summer in Sydney usually brings a lot of storms and what is the point of body drenching humidity without the relief of a storm at the end of the day.

On the weekend I went temporarily crazy and made manoush (Lebanese za’artar pizzas) for the first time. I baked the manoush in our Weber barbecue and we ate them with chopped salad and babaganoush. It was a pretty simple meal but it was only my niece showing up unexpectedly and making the salad, which motivated me to bake the manoush. Otherwise I would have thrown the dough in the freezer and postponed the whole enterprise.  As it was we didn’t end up eating until about 9-30, which blew out the night so I didn’t end up getting to sleep until 2 o’clock in the morning.

This heatwave has been so long and relentless, that you can forget the basic tenants of heatwave survival. Number one is don’t do crazy shit like bake anything. It is, just not worth it. Even if, freshly baked, homemade manoush is pretty awesome and delicious. Things I have re-learnt or learnt in this history making heatwave are – never bake anything, salad, bread and a dip is a deliciously complete meal and most importantly grain based salads rock and are the ultimate heatwave bowl meal.

Cooking during a heatwave is more about assembling food and this spoonable ricotta from Dorie Greenspan is a very versatile addition to your heatwave menu. It can be smeared on bread and eaten with salad, dunked from with vegetable crudites, dolloped on top of a bowl of grain salad or pasta and it’s great as a sandwich spread instead of butter. It’s light, lemony and spoonable and could be the ultimate heatwave sanity saver.

Use this recipe as a rough guide. Everything is to taste, add more olive oil, lemon and herbs if you desire. If there is water at the bottom of your ricotta drain it off before making the spoonable. This is best the day it is made (but it will keep up to two days in the fridge) so adjust the quantity to your needs.

Dorie Greenspan’s spoonable ricotta

Adapted from Dorie Everyday

  • 2 cups of ricotta cheese (about 400- 500 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons of minced shallots or 2 green onions minced (just the white and light green parts)
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • About third of a cup of finely chopped mixed soft herbs – Whatever you have to hand basil, dill, mint, parley are all good
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Stir lemon juice and zest through ricotta. Add herbs along with the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I use Australian Bush pepper mix)
  2. Place in a bowl and drizzle with some extra olive oil just before serving.


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