Tian time!

I’ve been slicing and stacking and playing with vegetables over the last week, and producing various versions of a ‘tian’. Not to be confused with a traditional ratatouille, which is often presented in the same way, my tians have included not the courgettes, aubergines and tomatoes sitting on a base of onions and garlic of a ratatouille, but my version based on whatever I had to hand! 

As is my way, I was already knee deep in making dinner for my boys when I decided to give a tian a go, so it was a bit of a rush job..


This was sliced aubergine, courgette and sweet potato sitting on a slick of one of my homemade Mexican chilli sauces. I put a lid on the pot and baked it for half an hour, then removed the lid, sprinkled over it all some spices and grated cheese and cooked it further..

And it was good!!! Maybe not very pretty, but very tasty.

The leftovers were even tastier the next day..

I tried again a few days later but this time with aubergine, sweet potato and tomatoes – and this one was even better. The added moisture of the tomatoes is definitely a winner..

I decided to line the slices up in a rectangular pan which worked just as well, even if it doesn’t look as pretty. I also baked it uncovered for the whole time and sprinkled a smaller amount of cheese over it all 10 minutes before it was finally removed from the oven..

It really is a winner, I’ll be making this more and more often!

I think they look great when you serve them up, definitely a great option for Christmas if you’re looking for a side dish or vegetable based main dish. You could always replace the cheese topping with something else, or just leave it off, for a vegan. And try serving it with a dip, sauce or homous.

If you’re going to have a go yourself:

I would allow an hour to bake the dish 

Try and slice everything thinly and of even thickness, you could use a mandolin or slicer if you have one, I don’t!

Slice up all of the your chosen vegetables and create piles

Then start by stacking them, holding them in your hand to create a starting stack, before sitting them into the cooking pot, then start adding the rest

Include tomatoes

Sit the slices on a bed of something with some flavour 

Try mixing up the vegetables 

Keep it as colourful as possible 

Always make enough to have leftovers!!! 

I’ve had lots of fun making these – and eating them🙂

If you celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday, I hope you had a great day. Now let’s join Fiesta Friday, with our lovely co hosts Julianna and Hilda, and see what everyone else is up to…

Daily fresh bread…my secret…

I’ve been doing something different with my breadmaking recently that I’d like to share..

In my house, my son loves my sourdough loaves (I make 3, sometimes 4, sourdough loaves a week for him), whereas my husband prefers a basic white loaf, and neither of them is keen on the other one’s choice! 

A recent sourdough loaf 

My man also prefers his bread no older than 1 day, so making an actual loaf for him doesn’t really work, it needs to be something smaller. So I’ve started making bread rolls or baguettes on a daily basis – but I’m NOT making the actual dough on a daily basis, which is what I thought I’d share with you. I find this method so useful..

On a Saturday morning, and again midweek, I make up a pretty standard bread dough (details below), leave it to rise briefly, maybe up to an hour, then put it in the fridge

That’s the key: the fridge. 

Bread dough will continue to prove in the fridge but at a much slower rate. And it can be in there for days, all week if you like!

When I am ready to bake, I take out a couple of handfuls of the dough and shape them, place them on baking parchment on a baking tray, cover the whole thing with a plastic bag, and leave them to come to room temperature and prove for one last time for 1-2 hours. Then bake. Done!

Having the dough readily available also means that you could utilise some for pizza bases, or to make a slightly larger loaf on occasion, as I did last Friday evening to accompany their dinner..

Or knock up quick baguettes to accompany soup..

I have been including fine semolina flour in my dough to add some crispness to the crusts, but you don’t need to. I’ve also been adding olive oil for the flavour and goodness instead of butter. 

I also have portions of dough in the freezer; these are unlikely to rise enough to make a loaf but can be defrosted and used for flatbreads and pizza bases.

The recipe I use is below…place the ingredients into your mixing bowl in the order they are written..

1tsp salt

450g strong white flour

50g fine semolina 

1/2tsp dried yeast 

20g olive oil

280ml water 

Please note: flours around the world behave differently, some require more liquid than others, you may need a bit more water, see how your dough feels.

AND: the yeast does not need any special attention, it does NOT require sugar or warm water to activate it, all you need to do is sprinkle it across the flour then add your liquids. 

Squelch all of the ingredients together so that the flour is all incorporated, cover the bowl and leave it for an hour. 

After an hour, fold and knead the dough until it is a smooth ball. 

Leave to prove for an hour, then either take some out to use immediately or put the whole bowl in your fridge and use at will. 

I bake these rolls or baguettes, whatever I’ve decided to make, in the evening whilst I’m making dinner. If I’m roasting vegetables I bake at the same time and utilise the steam the vegetables create instead of putting a bowl of water in the oven. I leave them to cool, then bag them ready for the next morning for my husband to take to work. 

As a guide, I preheat my oven to 200C fan, put a bowl of boiling water in to create steam, and bake my rolls for 13-15 mins, and my baguettes for a bit longer. I tend to do it all by eye. 

I hope you find this useful too🙂

Happy Friday! I’m taking my bread ideas along to Fiesta Friday to join my roasted vegetable soup🙂

Rolls and sourdough baked last Sunday all ready for the start of the week  

Roasted vegetable soup..

Yes, another thick soup from my kitchen. This one is really simple, just several trays of vegetables, all baked/roasted, then puréed together..

This includes butternut squash, sweet potato, red onions and garlic. I chopped up the butternut squash, sweet potato and red onions, split a whole bulb of garlic into cloves, and roasted/baked them all separately on large trays. (I say baked because I didn’t put any oil with the butternut squash, I think it cooks well chopped into huge wedges and baked, whereas the other elements I drizzled with olive oil.)  Once cooked, I removed the skin from the butternut squash, left the skin on the sweet potatoes, squeezed the garlic out of their skins, and added them all and the onions and all of the oil and juices from the pans, to a large pot over a medium heat. 

I added some water and chilli flakes and started to mash it all together, then blended it with a stick blender. Done! 

I froze batches for my lovely man to take to work, and saved some for me, which I ate with Moroccan spiced homous stirred through it and topped with seeds and slivered almonds…

Yum!

 I’m bringing my soup along to this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the amazing Petra, and Antonia :) 

Happy weekend!

My version of butternut squash soup..

I’m not a big soup fan, but when I do make soup, I like it thick! And I mean THICK! Like baby food :) 

This is also how my husband likes soup, which is why I made this last week, to make portions for him to take to work. Although I did keep a bowl full aside for me, which I ate with a swirl of yoghurt and some of the butternut squash seeds that I’d toasted (above). 

Making this was really simple, the hardest part was not eating the lovely roasted squash when it came out of the oven..

I found a wonderful HUGE butternut squash at Costco, which I cut into wedges, sprinkled with cumin seeds and chilli flakes and drizzled with olive oil, then roasted it all…

It came out so so tasty!

Whilst the squash was roasting, I chopped up 3 medium red onions, and a few cloves of garlic. In a pan over a medium heat I cooked the onions with a splash of oil until they started to soften and caramelise, then added the garlic and cooked it through. 

Once the butternut squash was cooked and slightly cooled, I peeled off the skin and added the chunks to the pan with the onion and garlic, along with some ground roasted cumin, ground nutmeg, pepper, salt and lots of Aleppo chilli flakes..

I could have happily eaten it like this!

But I managed to force myself not to eat it ALL….!

I cooked it all together for a few minutes, mashing the squash as I did so. I added some water and stirred it through, then using a stick blender, started to blend the mixture, adding water as I needed it, until i got the consistency I wanted..

Thick and luscious :) 

Obviously, you can make it thinner or thicker, to suit your taste. I served a portion to my man that evening with a baguette I had baked, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing him enjoy it – I’m easily pleased! 

As with so many dishes, the flavour of this soup has developed as the days have gone on. The husband had a portion from the freezer today, and the heat of the chilli had strengthened nicely🙂

I hope you’ve had a great week, happy Friday! Let’s head over to Fiesta Friday and see what everyone else has made this week :) 

Beetroot & preserved lemon, sabja/basil seed ‘risotto’..

Today I am sharing a new creation that I am loving…I’m so chuffed with it, I hope you will like it…it’s not here though…you’ll find it and all the details over on the lovely Suzanne’s fabulous blog, do pop over and check it out and let me know what you think…

And then pop over to Fiesta Friday where Suzanne is co hosting, along with Margy,  and see what everyone else has been making recently. Happy Friday everyone!

A new dip born of leftovers…

Just like the dip I recently posted, this one (the orange one sitting within the straight homous above) was the result of blending leftovers from a recent meal. And will now form a dip recipe in its own right in my kitchen. 

I made myself a meal of leftovers one evening…I started with chopped red onions, which I cooked in coconut oil, over a medium heat, until they became lovely soft and starting to brown; I then added chopped garlic and red peppers, and cooked for a bit longer; then added some of my rose harissa spice mix, and cooked for a minute, before adding washed and drained chickpeas, and cooked it all through together. 

I ate this with some freshly cooked farro and quinoa, but sadly I have no photos as I just got on and ate it!

I then put the leftovers into my blender with lemon juice and tahini and whizzed it into a smooth dip, and put it in the fridge overnight for the flavours to develop – the outcome is a lovely flavoursome homous. And I mean really REALLY tasty! 

There really is nothing better than leftovers, the flavours are always more developed!

I hope you’ve all had a good week, and have a lovely weekend ahead of you. I’m taking my dip over to Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the lovely Judi and Maggie, have fun!

Meet Hanady…and her fabulous food…


Today I am very happy to bring you a guest post from a lovely lady and great cook: Hanady and I met via Instagram and on our blogs; we live in such different parts of the world, but we are virtual food twins. We have literally coincidentally made the same meals, we share a love of the same flavours, we use the same ingredients, even though we reside thousands of miles apart. This is what I love about having my blog, meeting lovely people like Hanady and sharing our food loves, and so I asked her to share some recipes here on my blog, this is the first one, using my favourite grain, freekeh, I hope you like it too…have a great week x

Hello everyone! First of all, I would like to thank my friend, Elaine, for asking me to create a guest post for her blog. It is always so wonderful connecting with other culinary explorers through this platform. For many of you who are new to my blog, my name is Hanady and I’m the author behind the hanadykitchen.com site. I’m also an international affairs researcher and a human rights advocate. My relationship with food, however, has been a lifelong pursuit. As a child of Palestinian and Spanish parents, my experimentation in the kitchen often involved combining different culinary traditions. I learned that combining flavors of different worlds produced creations that were both unique and full of character. Having relocated from the United States to Palestine last year, I realized that my curiosity in the kitchen was just beginning to develop. My past year has consisted of exploring new foods and cooking styles through wonderful people, learning to cook straight from scratch, and developing recipes with a combination of unconventional ingredients. 

One such recipe is this okra freekeh, which is a combination of two different Palestinian dishes, okrah tomato stew and freekeh soup. While I love both dishes on their own, I find that their fusion makes for a blast of flavors. The smokiness of the freekeh, zesty sweetness of the tomatoes, and the freshness of the okra combined with aromatic spices and herbs, results in a most satisfying dish. The heartiness that the freekeh grains provide also make this recipe quite wholesome and fulfilling for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. I hope you will be pleased. And again, many thanks to Elaine and you all for sharing this lovely blog space. Sahtain and bon appétit! 

With love, 

Hanady Xx

Okrah and Tomato Freekeh


INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 3

1 large onion, finely chopped 

7 tablespoons olive oil, divided

generous pinch dried chili flakes, to taste

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds 

5 cloves garlic, minced, divided

5 medium/ about 460 gr. tomatoes, very finely chopped in a food processor 

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup/ 118 ml. water or vegetable stock

loose handful fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon smoky paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 

salt, to taste

good grinding black pepper

1 cup/ 150 gr. whole freekeh kernels, well rinsed 

1 bag/ 400 gr./ 14 oz. frozen okra, slightly thawed

METHOD

Sauté the onion, chili flakes, and cumin seeds in a large saucepan with 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes or until the onion is soft and transparent. Add 3 minced garlic cloves and stir for another 2-3 minutes. 

Pour in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water or vegetable stock, and stir in fresh coriander, paprika, turmeric, bay leaf, at least 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, set the heat to low, and leave to cook for 15 minutes. 

In the meantime, pour the freekeh into a medium pot with 2 cups / 470 ml. boiling water. Stir in at least a half teaspoon salt, bring to a simmer, cover, and leave to cook for about 15 minutes over low heat or until al dente. 

In another hot saucepan, sauté the the okra over high heat with 4 tablespoons of olive oil , salt, and 2 minced garlic cloves until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. 

Stir the okra into the tomato sauce and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stir in the cooked freekeh, and serve. Top with yogurt for some coolness and balance.