Tag Archives: Recipe

Butternut squash kibbeh…

A typical middle eastern ‘kibbeh’ dish would include meat; this being my blog, and me being wholeheartedly vegetarian, this version does not…it is however, a really simple dish to make, eminently useful if you have any vegetarian guests at any time, and great for leftovers and weekday lunches. 

Of course, I threw mine together, but for more detail, you could refer to this recipe for a sweet potato version. 

In essence, this is a bake, almost a cake, utilising the grains to draw moisture from the vegetable of choice as it cooks, to create a finished article that holds together when you cut into it. 

I made my kibbeh in the photos using butternut squash that I had previously baked, mashed with a bulgur wheat and red and white quinoa mix, ground cumin, ground coriander, finely chopped red onion, olive oil and a pinch of salt. 

This was spooned over a bed of sliced red onions drizzled with olive oil, and baked for 25-30 minutes. 

And it’s done! 

You could easily add other spices and/or herbs to create your own flavours, I think some ras el hanout or baharat would be good. You could also play with using other vegetables and grains; I’ve made very similar dishes using a spiced tomato base and quinoa, I think it’s an easy basis to experiment with.

This was another one I’ve made recently using only bulgur wheat, and you can see how it keeps its shape when cut. 

It’s easy to cut into pieces and serve slices, when it’s hot or cold. And very tasty with any array of homous, dips, salsas, chimichurri…

I had some leftovers with extra caramelised onions and a dressing of buttermilk, tahini, garlic and lemon juice. The sweetness of the butternut squash/sweet potato, however you make it, works well with slightly tart of acidic flavours. Goats cheese would be perfect! 

I hope you like my offering for the week, I’ll be bringing it over to Fiesta Friday to see who I can tempt 🙂 

Have a great weekend, and happy Easter! 

Savoury granola..

Apparently savoury granola is all the rage…who knew? Not me!! Apparently it’s all about creating a sweet and savoury element, hence, the recipe I read using soy sauce and maple syrup together..

Having read this in a current food magazine, I decided on a whim to make some last weekend, I always have oats and seeds and nuts of some sort in my cupboards, so it was easy to throw stuff together; however, I don’t like maple syrup or honey, and I’d rather just go for full on savoury, so I skipped any sweet element at all for my taste. 
My mix therefore included oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflowers seeds, linseeds, black & white sesame seeds, cashew nuts, fennel seeds, chilli flakes, olive oil, soy sauce & egg whites. This was all mixed well together then baked at 160C fan for 15-20 minutes, shaking & stirring it up halfway through to stop it all sticking. (Pretty much how you’d make any granola, just without the sweet sticky stuff.)

The challenge was then to leave it to cool! I have to admit that I did pick at it whilst it was warm, but the actual magic happens when it cools down as it then becomes crunchy, and the nuts harden up. 
And I liked it. It was indeed nice and crunchy, and without that excessive sweetness that often comes with granola, that puts me off it. I’ve eaten it on its own, with yoghurt, and with finely chopped apple & Greek yoghurt, and it all works. It would probably be good with salad or roasted vegetables, it’s just a case of viewing granola in a different way. 
If I made it again I’d probably add some different nuts too, maybe try leaving out the chilli flakes, add more fennel seeds and add in other warm spices. I think it would be good with my chai spice mix, or other mixes of spice seeds like caraway, anise, cumin and/or coriander. 

The possibilities, as they say, are ENDLESS! 

I wonder what Mollie and Ginger will make of my offering at this week’s Fiesta Friday

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!

Rose harissa spiced chunky homous…

I’ve been playing in my kitchen…nothing new there, I know… 🙂 

Last week I made up various fresh spice mixes including my rose harissa spice mix

I love it for how it smells as much for how it tastes, and the rose petals are just beautiful…

I will use it in all sorts of dishes and the first experiment was this one…a chunky homous…

Typically homous is made with chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and maybe some water if necessary – this is my holy grail homous recipe – I made this version with chickpeas, tahini, my rose harissa spice mix and Verjus. I also kept it pretty rustic as opposed to blending it to completely smooth…(as homous means chickpeas in Arabic I think I can still call this homous 😉 ) 

With the use of Verjus instead of lemon juice, plus the spice mix, it created a lovely warm, mellow flavour…

A nice experiment and always lovely using the dried rose petals 🙂 

What would you feed me…Diana?

This week I bring you a recipe from a non food blogger! Meet Diana from the blog ‘5 minutes more please’, Diana is a writer and animal lover and wife and mother, and in her blog she shares news and chat from her life in Australia with her three children as well as her love of animals. She is also my friend – another lovely friend that I have once again made via our blogs that has spilled over into our non blog worlds 🙂 we even swapped voice messages last week and marvelled at each other’s accents! 

I invited Diana to take part in this series as sharing a virtual meal might be the closest we ever get to sitting down together, and I was so happy that she said yes immediately, especially as she isn’t a food blogger. 

So, Diana, what would you feed me…

When Elaine asked me to take part in her ‘What would you feed me’ guest blog, I said yes of course . Elaine is one of my closest and dearest wordpress friends. I have been following her blog for a while now and I love the way she cooks and the things she makes, she has inspired me to be so much more adventurous in the kitchen.

Although we live millions of miles away from each other we have developed a friendship which is so special to me, we are very similar but also so different. Unlike Elaine I am not a good cook, but what I do have is an amazing mother who is. So if Elaine was to come to my house for dinner and I so hope that she will one day, I would ask mum to make this meal, for various reasons. One, Elaine loves eggplants (just like me), two, Elaine loves Middle Eastern food (me too) and three, this is yum, light and full of flavour. 

So here it is my mums twist on eggplant Imam Biyaldi


Ingredients 
 4 eggplants
4 medium size onions
4 cloves of garlic
3-4 diced tomatoes
Salt 
Pepper
Olive oil
Canola oil to fry in
Parsley

Method
Cut eggplant and place in salty water for an hour.

Remove from salty water and set aside for about half to hour so in order to drain any excess liquid. 
Fry eggplants  in canola oil white side down.  
Drain on paper towels 

Cut /slice onions and place in pan, rub in salt, add olive oil and cook slightly till wilted.

Then add garlic and tomatoes, season with  salt pepper and finish with some parsley. 

Cook in preheated oven till lovely and golden.

Enjoy 

Lovely Diana, and lovely Diana’s Mum, thank you so much, I love this! Its perfect for me 🙂 xx

My veg box..part 3: roasted kohlrabi & root vegetables with two new dips 



Kohlrabi is a new vegetable to me, I know I’ve read recipes from some of you who have used it, but I’d never tasted it. I looked up what it tastes like and decided to do my favourite thing with new vegetables: roast it and check it out! 

So I peeled and chopped it and threw it in a bowl with peeled and chopped butternut squash plus the carrots and shallots from the veg box, then tossed it all in Mrs Middletons rapeseed oil with some of my own moroccan spice mix..

Having tried a bit of the raw kohlrabi it seemed to me to taste a bit like a mild radish, with an element of parsnip to it. It was nice 🙂 

I roasted the vegetables at 200C I until I deemed them nicely done then mixed them with yesterday’s leftover quinoa and topped it all with flaked roasted almonds. It was wonderful tasty already but I decided to add some moisture with some dips..

I made a version of ‘toum’, the Lebanese garlic sauce I mentioned in yesterday’s post; this version includes greek yoghurt and a lot less garlic that is typical – so it doesn’t burn your mouth out!! 

I blended together:

400g 0% greek yoghurt

40g olive oil

30g lemon juice

1/2 – 1tsp salt (to taste) 

2/3 cloves raw garlic

Lovely!!!! Drizzle it over everything!! 

The other dip was an experiment: I had some leftover shawarma vegetables and quinoa from yesterday, so I whizzed them up with a good couple of tablespoons of greek yogurt plus some olive oil and it was so tasty!! Definitely worth having leftovers!! 

What a lovely lunch! And what fun I’ve had with my first veg box..:) I hope you’ve been inspired x 





Look what my son made for me!!!

IMG_7171My lovely boy, Ben, (12 years old, soon to be 13 in 3 weeks time), has been doing food tech at school recently, and was tasked with bringing in his own recipe and cooking it at school on Friday.

The dishes they have made up until now have been packed full of sugar and flour and various things I would prefer not to eat, although I have of course been a good Mum and tried little bits; the things he has made has taught him all sorts of the same methods that I also learnt at school at his age so it’s all positive, but what he really wanted to do was cook a dish that I would like to eat. So I took into account what I had in the house and in the fridge and set him the task of making me a vegetable curry.

People often fear making Indian food because they think it will be complicated, or they feel it requires too many ingredients; I think you just need to be fully prepared, have all of your ingredients ready and follow the steps of the recipe until you feel confident enough to go it alone. This is the task that I set Ben; I provided everything he needed, I measured out all of the spices and made sure he had a clear recipe and method to follow.

IMG_7139I found him this recipe for Gobi Matar (cauliflower and pea curry), added a few extra steps for him (i.e. Step 1: chop up the cauliflower..) and replaced the tomatoes with tomato purée, and replaced the oil with coconut oil. The recipe is from a blog I had never visited before and proved to be a perfect level for him, thank you, Kanan.

IMG_7166He enjoyed making it so much that he texted me from school after the lesson full of excitement! His teacher thought it looked great and his dish was awarded second best in the class, the first place being given to a leek pie with gluten free pastry. He didn’t get time to fully cook the cauliflower so we put it on the hob, cooked it through and added the garam masala and coriander once it was ready.

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IMG_7172I can absolutely honestly tell you that it tasted absolutely fabulous! He did such a brilliant job 🙂

I was so proud of my lovely boy, and he was so proud of himself. He now wants to cook it again and again for everyone we know! My budding chef in the making xx

Check back on Wednesday to see what the wonderful Sonal has created for this week’s ‘What would you feed me?‘ post.

Cauliflower and chickpea ‘shish taouk’…so much fabulous flavour…

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I’ve had this recipe ready to share for the past week, but I was so happy with it, I kept it to myself all week, almost to protect it in case none of you liked it!!! I do hope you like the look of it and maybe give it a go, the flavours and textures are so good, this is definitely food straight from my heart, food that feeds my soul, and makes me smile :))

Following on from the success of my cauliflower and chickpea dish last week, a plan started forming in my mind…I regularly make ‘shish taouk‘, Lebanese marinated chicken kebabs, for my menfolk and friends and family; I love the smell of the marinade, even more so as it cooks, and everyone I’ve ever made it for has loved it, but I’ve never had the chance to enjoy it too.

I’ve tried out marinating aubergines and mushrooms with the same mix but without major success, so having realised what great carriers of flavours the cauliflower and chickpeas have been recently, it struck me that I should try them out with the shish taouk marinade…and, oh yes, it works! It works REALLY well!!!!

This makes a wonderful main dish for us vegetarians, or could be used as a side dish; I ate it hot on the day it was cooked and cold the next, and then even more magic occurred when utilised the leftover chickpeas…read on for the details…

Here goes..

For the marinade:
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and left whole
3/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 3-5 lemons
1 heaped tablespoon paprika
1/2 tube/100g of tomato purée
2 heaped tablespoons sumac
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 heaped tablespoon mayo or plain yoghurt

To be marinated:
1 whole cauliflower, peeled and broken into florets of medium to large size
2 cans chickpeas, drained and washed

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together, then add the chickpeas and cauliflower and mix as much as possible to spread the marinade all over the cauliflower, maybe cover the pot and give it all a good shake.

Put it in the fridge for 24 hours with a lid on and keep shaking it and stirring it up to spread the flavours around.

Heat the oven to 190C, cover the pot with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. When the cauliflower starts to soften, remove the foil and roast until the cauliflower slightly chargrills and the garlic is roasted and the chickpeas are browning. I reckon to do it justice you need to allow another 20-25 minutes once the foil comes off to allow for things to get properly roasted and lovely and crunchy.

You’ll know when it’s done when the cauliflower looks a bit chargrilled and the chickpeas have a crunch and the remaining marinade is bubbling away.

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Yum yum yum!!!

And with the remaining chickpeas…you guessed it, I turned some of them into yet another homous recipe, mixing them with tahini sauce.

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And with the final remainder of the chickpeas, I laid them out in a single layer on an oven tray and put them back into the oven until they roasted some more and turned them into snack chickpeas.

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20140216-154105.jpgSo much flavour! So much fun :))

Cauliflower and chickpea magic..

20140210-153559.jpgYou have seen me rave about the same marinated chickpea and potatoes dish a couple of times now, and I do truly love the dish, but I do struggle with the carb on carb element of the potatoes and chickpeas all in one dish, so for this week’s Fiesta Friday party held by The Novice Gardener I thought I would try out an alternative….

Introducing marinated and roasted cauliflower and chickpeas…oh yes!!! Big yum!!! It worked a treat, the cauliflower became infused with the flavours and I caught it just when it was sufficiently cooked and roasted and before it got mushy, whilst being soft enough to soak up some of the sauce as we ate it. Click back to the original recipe for the breakdown and just add chunks of cauliflower in place of the potatoes, or as well as if you fancy!

NOTE: If you follow the original recipe and cover the tray with foil and put it in the oven at 190C, after about 30 mins check on the cauliflower and make sure it’s cooking. Once it starts to soften, remove the foil and let it all get browned and slightly chargrilled with crunchy edges. Just watch it so that the cauliflower doesn’t get too soft and overcooked. Don’t cut the cauliflower chunks too small otherwise it will cook too fast for the chickpeas and garlic to roast nicely.

You’ll see from the photos how the marinade started to seep into the cauliflower by the change in colour, I kept giving it all a good shake as it marinaded to ensure the flavours spread all over the florets..

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20140210-153648.jpgThe odd bit of chargrilled cauliflower just added to the flavour..

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Lebanese inspired marinated and roasted chickpeas and potatoes. Warning: it’s soooooo tasty you’ll want to eat it all in one go!!!

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I could literally eat this very single day!!! The marinade becomes the juice that the chickpeas and potatoes are cooked in and it’s BEAUTIFUL!!! There’s a lot of lemon in the sauce and mixed with everything else, it’s impossible to describe just how tasty it is. The key to success is to cook it long enough for the chickpeas to get crunchy.

Ingredients
900g floury potatoes (I use Maris Pipers and they work well and I just chuck in as many as I fancy really!)
3-5 lemons juiced
16 whole cloves garlic
150ml olive oil
1.5 tsp soft light brown sugar
3 tsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Harissa paste
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 x 400g tin of chickpeas (NOTE: if you’re a meat eater you can replace one of the tins of chickpeas with chicken breasts)
Salt and pepper

Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks, drain the chickpeas.

Mix all of the other ingredients together in a large oven proof dish, I use a large Pyrex dish that I can put into the oven, then add the potatoes and chickpeas and mix it all together well.

Put a lid on it and put it in the fridge for 24 hours.

The next day, preheat the oven to 180C in a fan oven. Cover the dish with foil and cook for 45 then remove the foil and cook until the potatoes are crispy and cooked through and the chickpeas get crunchy.

Lovely!

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