Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Beans-Pulses’ Category

The addition of orange and mint to the mixture makes this couscous recipe both colourful and refreshingly delicious.  It has a summery look and taste, although it originally appeared in a winter magazine and would be perfect served as part of a summer buffet or BBQ.  It was originally designed to be served with Moroccan Style Marinaded Lamb Steaks which would be perfect cooked outdoors, although I grilled them in the kitchen.  There is already a recipe for the much less sweet Coriander & Chickpea Couscous Salad on this site, using preserved lemon and flavoured with fresh coriander.

The original recipe came from the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of the Tesco free instore magazine and there is also a link to Moroccan Lamb Chops with Couscous online.  The couscous recipe below is my own variation with slightly adjusted quantities and the addition of a tin of chick peas to make it more substantial. The original recipe included halved red peppers which were grilled alongside the meat and then added to the couscous mixture, but I simply used a diced ungrilled red pepper.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Orange Couscous
(Serves 4)

3 oranges
250g/8oz couscous
handful mint leaves – reserve a little for final garnish
50g/2oz black olives
1tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper
1 x 400g tin chick peas
150ml/¼ pt boiling water
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1.   Peel two oranges and remove all of the white pith.  Holding the oranges over a bowl to catch any juice, slice them between the membranes with a sharp knife and carefully divide into segments.  Once the segments have been removed squeeze any remaining juice from the orange membranes before discarding.

2.  Cut the remaining orange in half and squeeze out the juice, adding it to any already collected.

3.  Drain and rinse the chick peas.

4.  Halve, deseed and finely slice the red pepper and cut into small pieces of around 1 inch/2.5cm. Alternatively the pepper can be grilled alongside the meat, as in the original recipe, and then sliced and stirred into the couscous mixture at step 7.

5.  Place the couscous in a heatproof bowl along with the chick peas, red pepper pieces and the olive oil.  Pour over all the orange juice plus the boiling water.

6.  Cover and allow it to stand for 5 minutes, until the couscous has absorbed the liquids.

7.  Chop the mint and gently stir most of it into the couscous along with the orange segments and the black olives.  Be careful not to break up the orange pieces.  Season well to taste.

8.  Serve the meat on a bed of fruity couscous, scattered with a little extra chopped mint.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

With just a few days to go before our holiday the fresh contents of the fridge were run down to almost zero … but we still had to eat.  Half a dozen tomatoes and some sad looking carrots were all I had left, after which we would be on to frozen and tinned vegetables for the last day or so.  Then I remembered this recipe on a card I had picked up in the supermarket a few weeks before.  It was just the right dish to serve with Marinaded Pork, oven tomato roasted tomatoes and some crusty French bread (flatbread or pittas would have been another option).

The recipe card for Indian Chicken with Carrot & Chickpea Salad came from Tesco supermarkets.  The chicken is pre-marinaded and then simply grilled or fried – something to make on another occasion. The salad was prepared as instructed by the recipe except I halved the quantity of carrot to serve three/four whilst still using a whole can of chick peas.  I would have liked to add more mint but there was not much in my garden – well, I was just about to go away and I do use quite a lot – however the 2-3 sprigs I used was adequate.  I am not sure that this would be enough to serve six unless it was with another vegetable or salad side dish in addition to the rice or bread recommended.  Our verdict on the recipe, however, was a resounding ‘more please’ so I shall be making this again.  At some point I will certainly be trying it with a tikka style chicken recipe as suggested by the original card date.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Carrot & Chickpea Salad
(Serves 4-6)

1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
3 medium carrots, coarsely grated
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
½ lemon, juiced
2-3 sprigs mint, chopped
1.  Put the carrots, chickpeas, honey and olive oil together in a bowl.
2.  Heat the coriander seeds in a dry frying pan and toast until they start to release their aroma.
3.  Add the toasted coriander seeds to the bowl.
4. Stir in the lemon juice to taste – less than the specified quantity may be enough.  Add the mint and season to taste.
5.  Serve with grilled or cold meat.  Original recipe was served with spiced chicken. flatbread, mango chutney and Indian beer.

Read Full Post »

A few years ago we visited the Basque region which straddles the South Western French and Spanish borders but although we went into Spain we spent most of our time in France.  One French place we visited was Espelette, home of the famous pepper Piment d’Espelette (Espelette pepper), some of which I brought back from holiday.  I am always looking for ways to use some of this mild dried pepper mixture.  Not long ago I was directed to another post about Piment d’Espelette by London Eats, when it was used as an ingredient in a Spicy Mixed Bean Stew.  I now know I am not the only person (in London too) with a jar of this delicious pepper looking for suitable recipes!

Back in November I came across a quick and easy recipe called Spanish Gammon Hotpot from The Vicar’s Wife.  (Just a few weeks ago I re-posted her wonderful recipe for Whole Orange Cake.)  The word hotpot, however, is a bit too English for me and reminiscent of Lancashire Hotpot, which is something entirely different, so I have renamed it.  Amanda (the Vicar’s Wife) suggested that it was an adaptable recipe, so that is just what I did.  I am not a great fan of baked beans, though I admit they have their uses, instead using a chick peas plus some mushrooms and garlic. (Amanda suggests haricot or cannellini beans as alternatives.)  For the meat content I used a thick bacon steak, but it could just as well be diced bacon or the leftovers from a piece of gammon, or even chunks of lean belly pork, plus some Chorizo sausage added for extra Spanish authenticity.   As well as the smoked paprika I included a small amount of the piment d’Espelette for a little extra heat.  I liked the idea of adding olives – rather sadly I am the only person in our house who likes them – and had intended to do so, but forgot.  There will, however, be a next time.  The meal was served with crusty bread and green salad.  This speedy supper is definitely a meal for my ‘make in 30 minutes max’ category.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Spanish Style Gammon Stew
(Serves 4)

1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
8ozs chopped bacon or leftover ham/gammon
25g/1oz piece chorizo sausage
50g/2ozs button mushrooms
1 x 400g tin tomatoes, slightly chopped
1 x 400g tin chick peas (originally baked beans)
½-1tsp piment d’Espelette or dried chilli to taste (optional)
1tsp smoked paprika
12-15 stoned halved black or green olives (optional)
Salt/black pepper to taste

1.  Gently fry the onion in the olive oil until soft and translucent.  Stir in the garlic and mushrooms.

2.   If using cooked meat reserve it until later, but uncooked bacon should be added now.  Mix in well and cook for 5 minutes.

3.  Add the chopped pepper, tomatoes and chick peas (or other beans) along with the piment d’espelette and smoked paprika.  Cover with a little water.

4.  Simmer for about 20 minutes until the peppers have softened.

5.  Serve with rice or crusty bread and a green salad.

Read Full Post »

Liver is often connected with jokes about shoe leather, mainly because it can be so tough when poorly cooked.   Like badly cooked green vegetables, poor cooking of liver has added to its unpopularity, however cooked well it can be extremely tasty.  Its strong flavour can take some getting used to and it is often difficult to get children to eat it, which is a pity because it has good nutritional value, with a high iron and Vitamin A content.  I found two solutions to this problem with my children.  Firstly, I made sure that I cooked bacon & liver (as opposed to liver & bacon) using a higher proportion of bacon, reasoning that getting my family to eat some liver was better than none.  Secondly, the biggest objection was to eating lumps of liver so I chopped it so finely that when it was cooked it disappeared virtually completely into the tomatoey sauce, giving flavour without texture.  I never lied about what I was serving, but gradually I cut the pieces larger.  I really recommend this method to any family who find liver difficult to serve.  Cooking it in a well flavoured sauce, such as a rich tomato, along with plenty of flavourful vegetables is also a great help.  This dish has now become a family favourite and the news that it is on the menu is always well received:  result, I think!

This warming stew recipe is my own invention and has lots of cheerful sunshine colours.  I have also included some home dried orange peel, which adds a faint but enjoyable orangey tang, however this can be omitted (see information about orange peel in the ingredients section.)  The root vegetables can be varied and the lentils replaced with a can of chick peas, red kidney or other beans.  In the past I have substituted a can of baked beans in tomato sauce, but their distinctive flavour is very obvious – which is fine if you like baked beans (I’m not especially keen) but could be useful when introducing liver to children.  The cooking time should be shortened if substituting tinned already cooked tinned peas or beans which simply need re-heating.  Serve with boiled or buttery mashed potato.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Liver & Bacon Winter Vegetable Stew
(Serves 4)

1tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4ozs/125g button mushrooms, quartered
1tsp dried mixed herbs
1lb mixed root vegetables: I used carrot, parsnip & swede (not potato), diced
1x400g/14oz tin of peeled plum tomatoes, chopped
½pint water, plus a little more if needed
1tbsp tomato puree
½tsp sugar
1tsp dried orange peel (optional)
2ozs/55g red lentils (alternatively add beans, see notes above)
175g-250g/6-8ozs smoked or unsmoked bacon – mixed bacon pieces are ideal
175g-250g/6-8ozs lambs or chicken livers (avoid strong flavoured pigs liver)
2 peppers (red,yellow or orange) single colour or mixed, diced
1tsp paprika plus a little to garnish
Salt & black pepper
Parsley (if available) to garnish

1.  Chop onions and garlic and gently fry in the olive oil for about 5minutes or until soft.

2.  Dice the bacon and add to the pan with the mushrooms and mixed herbs. Cook for a further 5minutes.

3.  Remove any connecting tissues from the liver and either cut into bite sized pieces or chop extremely finely, to allow it to virtually disappear and just flavour the sauce.  Stir the chopped liver into the pan and cook until it starts to change colour.

4.  Dice the root vegetables into equally sized pieces and stir in along with the lentils (if using), the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, orange peel, sugar and water.  Season and flavour with the paprika. Cook over a low heat for around 45 minutes until the lentils are cooked. If the mixture starts to go dry as the lentils soak up the liquid it may be necessary to add a little more water.  If use a tin of beans in place of lentils then the cooking time will be about 20 minutes.  Around 10minutes before the end of the cooking time stir in the chopped peppers, which do not take long to cook.

5.  Check seasoning and serve with simply boiled or buttery mashed potatoes to soak up the tomato gravy.  If you have some parsley, you can scatter a few green sprigs for added colour along with a dusting of paprika.

Read Full Post »

Dumplings, as I have recently commented, are a traditional extra cooked as part of a warming stew and good served as an alternative to potato (or as well as if you really must).  However plain dumplings, whilst being homely, are rather boring so various ingredients can be added to flavour, and improve, this useful little wintery filler.  I recently posted a recipe with dumplings flavoured with caraway seeds and perfect for the traditional Hungarian dish of Goulash.  I have also already posted my own Beef & Bean Casserole recipe, served with plain dumplings.  Last year I found a recipe at Mother May Have for carrot dumplings, which were served with stewed beef.  In that case the dumplings did not contain suet, but nonetheless an idea was born.  I successfully incorporated grated carrot into the basic suet dumpling mixture and on that occasion added fresh coriander, often used to complement carrot in soup though usually in its ground form.  Grated carrot and suet dumplings make a good marriage, so it makes we wonder which other root vegetables would also be good – parsnip and beetroot are two experiments I intend to try.  I have other thoughts as well: different herbs or spices, cheese, citrus zest ….! 

The minced lamb and lentil mixture here is one of our favourites.  I have been making it for some years, initially inspired by an idea in The Complete Mince Cookbook by Bridget Jones (nothing to do with the diarist, I’m sure!) but so much adapted it has long since become my own work.  The resulting stew is warm and comforting: as I have said before, I love the grainy quality of cooked red lentils and usually add pearl barley to the mixtured as well.  There are always carrots and often some peas too.  The quantities of the vegetables can, of course, be adjusted according to personal taste.  In the past I have served the dish with rice or boiled potatoes but recently have replaced them with the carrot dumplings: a perfect winter meal in a bowl.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Lamb & Lentil Stew with Carrot & Rosemary Dumplings
(Serves 4)

1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
12ozs/375g minced Lamb
1 large leek, sliced into rings
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
400g/14oz can plum tomatoes
2ozs/60g red lentils
1oz/30g pearl barley
10fl ozs/300mls water (plus more if needed)
2 large carrots, cut in rings (or quartered lengthwise & chopped)
3ozs/100g frozen peas
Salt & ground black pepper
1-2 potatoes (optional – in small pieces or diced. See 6 below)
Dumplings:
1 quantity Basic mixture
1 medium carrot, grated (use around 2ozs)
1 small sprig rosemary, chopped

1.  Gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil until softened. 

2.  Add the minced lamb and cook until the redness is gone.

3.  Chop the plum tomatoes and add to the pan with the leek, carrot, pearl barley and lentils plus the chopped rosemary and the water.  Bring the the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the barley and lentils have started to soften.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

4.  Meanwhile mix together the dumplings using the basic recipe.  Grate the carrot and add about 2ozs to the mixture with the chopped rosemary (alternatively fresh coriander or other herb).  Any extra carrot can be stirred into the panful of stew.  Divide into enough balls for 2-3 per diner.

5.  Add the peas and then the dumplings to the pan.  Make sure there is enough liquid in the pan as the dumplings will steam so add more water if needed.  Bring to the boil and then turn down to simmer and cover with a lid.  Cook for 10-15 minutes more depending on size of dumplings. 

6. Check seasoning and serve in bowls.  Can be served with potatoes, or chunks of potato can be cooked into the stew (added at the same time as the carrot, or later if cut into small dice).

Read Full Post »

My last post was Chunky Vegetable & Pasta Soup: warming, satisfying and meat free.  I thought I would follow it with an equally warming and satisfying one that includes just a little meat: some chicken and bacon.  I am very fond of red lentils too, which cook down to give the soup a warming, slightly grainy thickness.  Although the original recipe specified fresh meat (a boned chicken thigh) I substituted leftover chicken, adding it later in the recipe as it was already cooked.  It is always good to have a variety of ways to use up the remains of a chicken – or even some of the Christmas turkey!  I suspect we will continue to have warming winter soups for some weeks yet so I am sure I will be making this again and very soon.

This is yet another hit recipe from my favourite soup recipe book, initially from the library but then bought with some birthday present money: Women’s Institute Soups for all Seasons by Liz Herbert. In the book it is called The Number One Winter Soup, a rather strange title and although I agree that it is a first class recipe, I did feel I wanted something more helpfully descriptive.  Apart from substituting leftover chicken as I had some available, in place of a chicken thigh, the recipe is more or less as it originally appeared.  I did add a few more lentils to make the portions a little more generous and I have included this information in the instructions below.  (The lower figure is the amount of lentils given in the original.)  This dish is easily adapted by adding a little more of any of the ingredients that are particular favourites plus, of course, it could be completely meat free if the chicken and bacon were removed, vegetable stock substituted and a tin of favourite beans added.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Winter Vegetable, Chicken & Bacon Soup (The Number One Winter Soup)
(Serves 4)

1tbsp olive oil
1tbsp butter
4ozs/125g streaky bacon (about 4 rashers)
1 boneless fresh chicken thigh
   or
4ozs/125g cooked chicken (or turkey)
2 onions, peeled & chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sticks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 parsnip, diced
2 leeks, sliced
3pints/1.7litres weak chicken (or turkey) stock
175g/6ozs red lentils (can increase to 225g/8ozs)
2tbsp chopped fresh parsley (plus a little to garnish)
¼tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1.  Heat the oil and butter together in a large saucepan.  Cut the bacon into small pieces and gently fry until golden.

2.  If using fresh chicken cut into small pieces and add now.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on a gentle heat until it starts to brown.  (Pre-cooked chicken is added later to prevent it from breaking up.)

3.  Stir in the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, parsnips and leeks.  Cover and cook over a low heat for about 10minutes until they are starting to soften.

4.  Add the stock, lentils, thyme, bay leaf and parsley (remembering to reserve a little parsley to garnish).  Bring to the boil, cook for 10 minutes uncovered, then put on the lid, reduce the heat and simmer for 30minutes.  If using leftover chicken add this 10minutes before serving, which gives enough time for it to adequately heat through.

5.  Before serving check and adjust the seasoning.  Serve in warmed bowls, garnished with the reserved parsley and with some crusty bread on the side.

Read Full Post »

The combination of pulses and root vegetables make delicious soups for the colder months and this thick golden bowlful certainly keeps out the winter chill.  The food writer Nigel Slater, who devised the recipe, writes that though this is a winter soup it is also ideal for a cold spring day: a way to use up the last of the winter pulses and a good use for those parsnips hiding in the vegetable rack.  It is certainly good for using up parsnips that are slightly past their best or the thin pieces that don’t roast too well!

The recipe comes from Nigel Slater’s column in the Observer Sunday newspaper colour supplement in April 2007 which can also be found online.  The other recipe that day was Beetroot Seed Cake, which I also made and have already written about on this site.  This soup is tasty and spicy, though for a less hot version use just half a dried chilli pepper, or even less, rather than whole one.  Nigel Slater prefers cooking the vegetables in butter rather than oil but I use both.  You still get a buttery flavour but the oil helps to prevent the butter from burning.  The recipe did not really need too much alteration, although towards the end of the cooking time I put in some fresh coriander, as well as adding some as a garnish to give its distinctive flavour which we love.  You can, of course, leave this out if you wish.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Parsnip & Split Pea Soup
(Serves 4)

2 medium sized onions
a generous knob of butter
1tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 parsnips
2tsp chilli crushed (I used 1 small crushed dried chilli)
1tsp turmeric
a large pinch of ground mace
2tsp ground coriander
125gyellow split peas
1.5 litres water
black pepper
Fresh coriander to stir through and garnish (optional)

1.  Peel and roughly chop the onions. Gently heat the butter and olive oil together in a deep pan.  (Nigel Slater prefers butter to oil but I use both as you still get the buttery flavour but the oil helps to prevent it from burning.) 

2.  Add the onions to the pan and start to cook gently.  Next peel and crush the garlic and peel and roughly chop the parsnips, adding both to the pan and mixing well. Cook gently on a medium heat. 

3.  When they are starting to show colour add the crushed chilli, turmeric powder, ground mace and ground coriander.

4.  Add the split peas and water.  Season with black pepper.  (The salt needs to be added later when the peas start to soften: any earlier and it will toughen their skins.)  Simmer gently for around 35 minutes until the peas are soft and can be crushed between your fingers.

5.  Add salt to taste.  Liquidise until the soup is smooth and thick, return to the pan and gently reheat.  Rinse the liquidiser with a very small amount of water adding this to the pan as well. 

6.  Chop the fresh coriander, reserve a little to garnish and stir through the soup as it reheats.

7.  Adjust the seasoning and serve with crusty bread.

Read Full Post »

One of the joys of the colder months, particularly just after Christmas when the food has normally been rather rich, is a simple bowlful of soup accompanied by some crusty fresh bread.  I was attracted to the flavour combination of the ingredients in this recipe: carrot always makes a delicious soup (at least I think so), butter beans add a smooth creaminess and rosemary gives both scent and flavour.  This is my final recipe this year for seasonal leftovers.  It was first made just after Christmas so I used Turkey stock, but the original recipe specified chicken stock (vegetable stock would be fine too).  Don’t worry if you are a bit fed up with turkey flavour as the main flavours come from the other ingredients so you won’t feel you are eating ‘that bird’ – yet again! 

The recipe comes from my soup book: the Women’s Institute Soups for all Seasons by Liz Herbert.  Butterbean, Carrot & Rosemary Soup, the original title, is listed in the Winter section and it truly is a warming bowlful for a cold lunchtime.  It was made and on the table in a very short time, which is always an advantage.  The recipe uses tinned beans.  Dried beans can be substituted (in which case the amount of beans used should be halved) and I have given details below, however the recipe will no longer be so speedy.  The carrot predominates and my version has the option of adding extra carrot, so I changed the title a little.  The word ‘Thatched’ is my addition, which I have used once before when I grated cheese onto Thatched Cauliflower Cheese Soup.  This time I suggest an additional small carrot is grated with most stirred in and a scattering on top for decoration, or if you prefer simply reserve and add a few strands for decoration.  Stirred though, without cooking, gives a crunchy texture to the otherwise smooth soup.  On first tasting the soup can taste a little bland so beware overseasoning and taste again before serving.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Thatched Carrot, Butterbean & Rosemary Soup
(Serves 4)

2tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
12ozs/35og carrots, diced
1 or 2 sticks celery, diced
1½pints/700ml turkey or chicken stock
2tsp fresh chopped rosemary (or 1tsp dried rosemary): more if you love rosemary
1 bay leaf
400g can butterbeans, rinsed & drained (or 200g dried butterbeans)
salt & freshly ground black pepper
sprigs of fresh rosemary to garnish (if available)
1 more carrot, grated (small: garnish only/medium: garnish & stir in) optional

1.  For tinned beans, start at step 2.
If using dried beans instead of tinned they should first be soaked overnight to soften or, if time is short, pour over boiling water and leave for 1 hour.  Bring to the boil in unsalted water, reduce heat and cook until soft, about 30minutes, before using in the recipe.  (Salted water will toughen the skins of the beans.)

2.  Heat the olive oil in a large lidded saucepan.  Gently sweat the onion, garlic, carrots and celery for about 10 minutes until soft but not browned.  Shake or stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

3.  Add the stock, rosemary and bay leaf and bring to the boil.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

4.  Stir in the butterbeans.  Simmer for a further 10 minutes.

5.  Allow the soup to cool slightly and purée, using a liquidiser if available.  Check and adjust seasoning.  I usually add a little more hot water to rinse the liquidiser once the soup has been puréed so I do not lose any of the soup.  Return the soup to the saucepan along with this extra soupy water and reheat.  If you are stirring grated carrot through the soup then add it just before the soup is served, reserving a small amount to garnish.  Do not reheat for too long as the grated carrot will lose its crunch.

6.  Serve in bowls, garnished with a thatch of grated carrot and a sprig of fresh rosemary.  The original recipe suggests that the pretty lavender flowers of rosemary, if in season, add to the appearance of the dish.

Read Full Post »

I wonder what you consider to be storecupboard essentials?  Which items do you always have available and make sure you re-stock almost before you run out?  Although my storecupboard is stuffed full of interesting ingredients there are those I make sure I never run out of and several of the ingredients below, including tins of tomatoes and beans which are a wonderful standby, appear in my Top Ten ‘must haves’!  I try never, ever to be without coriander leaves: fresh if possible, but when I have a part bunch left I transfer it to a box and store it in the freezer so I never run out.  It is better this way than not at all: the taste is the same it’s just  no good to use as a garnish! 

This recipe is my own and uses some of our favourite flavours.  It, or its variations, make regular appearances as a quick and versatile vegetable recipe and can easily be made in one pot to serve as a single side dish with a main course. We enjoyed it served with Roast Lamb with Chilli Sauce and North African dishes such as spicy Moroccan Style Fried Fish (a variation of a Nigel Slater recipe). Alternatively, for an ‘all  in one pot’ meal, stir in some more vegetables, topped if you want, with grated or crumbled cheese instead add or add chunks of meat (ham or bacon are delicious).  We love coriander leaves and it is particularly good if you have added some spices to the mixture, but it could be omitted or another herb substituted.  That’s the beauty of versatile recipes: they can evolve into something completely different!  It can be transformed into a soup too by adding some more liquid (you may have drained juices from the tin of tomatoes): for a chunky version liquidise about a third and return the mixture to the pan and liquidise more, say two thirds, for a less chunky version. See also Spiced Chick Pea & Tomato Soup.  This dish is delicious served hot or cold: filling and warming in the winter, but lovely as a chilled dish with a salad or on a buffet, in fact the flavours seem to develop in the fridge overnight.  Remember to save some coriander back as a garnish if using fresh.

Rather than spoil a whole meal as I once did, be warned that occasionally courgettes are bitter and it is best to try a small piece of each one before adding to a recipe. 

100_7626 Spiced vegetables with chick peas

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Spiced Vegetables with Chick Peas
(Serves 4)

1 large onion: chopped fairly small
2 large cloves garlic: crushed or diced
½tsp/2.5ml ground cumin
¼tsp/1.25ml chilli flakes (I use Piment d’Espelette): adjust to taste
½inch/1cm piece of fresh ginger: finely chopped/grated (optional)
1tbsp olive oil
1 tin plum tomatoes: drained
   or
6-8ozs/150-225g chopped fresh tomato
1 large courgette: washed, split lengthways & cut in short pieces (or other vegetables)
14oz/400g tin chick peas
Salt & black pepper
1 bunch fresh coriander (or frozen if fresh unavailable)

1.  Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic along with the ground spices.  If using ginger put this in as well.  Cover and cook gently over a low heat until the onion is transparent but not browned.

2.  If using fresh tomatoes peel them if you wish beforehand by making a cross shape and plunging into boiling water for about 30 seconds, which makes the skins easier to remove.  Chop them well before adding to the onion mixture and if the mixture is a little dry add some of the reserved tomato juice or a little water.  Add the courgette pieces (or substitute a similar amount of an alternative vegetable: pumpkin, squash or sweet potato are good, though you may like to reconsider your choice of spices)  Cook for about 5 minutes.

3.  Add the drained chick peas and a generous handful of chopped fresh or frozen coriander (if you only have frozen then add a little more if you wish as you cannot use it as a garnish).  Sseason with salt and pepper and continue to cook.  For crisp vegetables do not need very long but this can take a longer cooking time as well so the texture is similar to Ratatouille.

4.  Serve sprinkled with more freshly chopped coriander if available.  If serving is delayed, it will be served cold, or turning it into soup, then reserve the coriander to add just before serving so it does not wilt.

Read Full Post »

We inherited most of a bag of nacho tortilla chips that were left over after a party and I managed to persuade the family to let me make this rather than just finish them up.  Just a few days before I had seen versions of this recipe in two different places but as we don’t normally buy crisps it was an ingredient I did not have. 

There were two sources for this recipe, both from Sainsbury’s supermarket.  The first is the Summer 2010 leaflet titled ‘Try something new’, the recipe was called Cheesy Nachos.  The second source was from a free instore recipe card, which adds beans to the mixture.  One recipe used salsa dip, which is available from the supermarket, but the other had instructions for a sauce.  My own basic Simple Tomato Sauce could be substituted or alternatively it would be a good way to use home made Tomato Relish.  Chilli powder or sauce can be added if not already in the sauce or relish used or this could be replaced with another spice such as cumin.  No need to buy expensive branded tortilla chips, the supermarket own brand ones are just as good.  Once cooked the top layer of chips are mostly crunchy, but the lower layers are less so.  Do not make this dish too long in advance as the tortilla chips will lose their crispness.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Cheese & Tomato Tortilla Bake
(Serves 4)

1 bag plain flavoured Tortilla chips/Nachos (about 100g/3½ozs)
1 125g ball Mozzarella cheese
2-3 chopped spring onions or ½ red onion
1 x 400g tin cannellini/red kidney/black eye beans or chick peas – optional
100g/3½ozs Salsa dip (approximate amount)
   or
100g/3½ozs Tomato Relish (approximate amount)
   or
1 portion Simple Tomato Sauce (approximate amount)
Chilli & or cumin powder or chilli sauce, unless relish/sauce already spiced, to taste

1.  Heat the oven to 200oC/Fan 180oC/400oF/Gas 6

2.  Finely chop the spring onions or red onion.

3.  Cut or tear the mozzarella ball into pieces.

4.   Reserving 6 unbroken tortilla triangles for the top of the dish, start to layer the Tortilla Bake nto an ovenproof serving dish.  Cover the bottom of the dish with about ⅓ tortilla chips and follow  with ½ beans (if using), ½ tomato sauce, ½ onions and ½ cheese.  Repeat (⅓ chips and remaining beans (if using), tomato sauce, onions and cheese). Finish with the remaining ⅓ chips placing the 6 reserved chips on top.

5.  Bake uncovered for 10minutes in the centre of the preheated oven.

6.  Serve warm as an accompaniment to a light supper, as part of a buffet or even as a starter.  Best eaten warm but could be served cold at a buffet as long as not made too far in advance.  It will be less crisp if cold.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: