Posts Tagged With: chickpea

Rainbow Chard & Red Lentil Harira

P1220319

Harira on the hob

We regularly have an identity crisis with dishes, turning traditional fare on its head, ‘Beach House-ing’ things you could say.  We don’t mean it, no offence to the original recipes and food heritage in question, its just we like to play in the kitchen.  Here’s another traditional recipe we have messed about with, thankfully the results were rather delicious.

The best harira I have ever had was for breakfast (regularly) in the village of Chefchaeoun, known to many a traveller for its exceptional soup, jalaba (hooded cloak garment worn by most Moroccans) production and wonderful mountain location.  Its small winding streets hide many a wonderful eating experience, rows of blue houses (yes blue!) make this one of the most distinctive and stunning villages in that vast old land.

I moved there for a while, took up residence in a room situated on the walls of the Hamam (the communal bath), the warmest room in town.  You see its high up there and you wake chilled to the bone and needing a serious bowl of spicy sustenance.  Abdullah provided.

He was a wonderful cook, in nothing more than a space between two buildings, a few squat tables and two gas burners with huge steel pots, Abdullah created the authentic Moroccan dining experience for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It was like a French Bistro without the pretense and price tag.  My kind of joint for sure.

For a few pennies, Abdullah would dish you up an epic bowl of full-on morning ammunition, sometimes with a tooth-less smile that shifted the early morning fug.  This hearty soup fuelled me on many a hike around the Rif Mountains and also on days spent lounging around playing card games with other punks holed up there. It came with a wedge of steaming flat bread, fruity olive oil and a small bowl of freshly ground cumin to use liberally.  I sat wearing my Jalaba (the over enthusiastic tourist that I am) eating with the local men in silence, canteen style.  No women.  In Morocco cafes and restaurants seem to be a male only thing.

Chefchaouen

I like cooking soups, its a soulful pursuit.  You don’t have to be to precious, there are rules, but not many, a little like Morocco itself.  This is the situation where I feel nice and comfortable.

Recipe Notes

Add just  2 cups of water to make this a hearty stew.

As with all soups/ stews, depending on the quality of your veggies, you many need to add some vegetable stock if the flavour is thin on the ground.

Here’s to you Abdullah.  Peace be with you.  Hamdullah!

P1220315

Rainbow Chard and Red Lentil Harira

The Bits – For 4 bowls

1 1/2 cup dried chickpeas (soaked and cooked)

750ml fresh water (or vegetable stock)

1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2  inch fresh ginger (finely diced)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 large onion (finely diced)

1 yellow pepper (diced)

3 ripe tomatoes (with flavour)

3 cups chopped rainbow chard (stems separated from the leaves)

1 teas ground turmeric

1 1/2 teas smoked paprika

1/2 teas ground cinnamon

2 teas cumin seeds

3 tbs tomato paste

1 lemon (cut into wedges)

2 tbs gram flour (or flour of your choice)

1 handful fresh coriander leaves (leaves picked, stems chopped)

1 cup red lentils

3 dates (finely chopped)

1 teas fresh ground pepper

2 teas sea salt

 

P1220292

Harira bubblin’ away

Do It

Soak your chickpeas overnight in a saucepan.  Drain and refresh with new water, well covered.  Add 1/4 teas bicarb of soda (this makes them soft and cook quicker), bring to a boil and lower heat.  Vigorously simmer for 20 minutes or until chickpeas are tender.

Warm the oil in a thick bottomed sauce pan, add your onions and cumin seeds and saute the onions for a few minutes until glassy, add garlic, pepper and ginger, stir for a couple of minutes and then add all chard stems (add earlier if they are a little tough), flour and spices, stir and warm through for a minute and now add your tomatoes, dates, lentils, tomato paste, warm through for a minute then add your water/ chickpea juice. Bring to a rolling boil and turn down heat to the lowest setting, add your chickpeas and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

When ready to serve, bring back to just about boiling, add your chard leaves and coriander stems.  Re-cover and allow to cook for a few minutes.  Check seasoning.

Serve

A lemon wedge, topped with coriander leaves and a good glug of good olive oil.  Add green olives and brown rice to the table if you’d like to make this dinner.

For a special touch, we have it sprinkled with roasted and chopped almonds.

We Love It!

With winter lurking up the hill, we are getting back to our hearty soups.  Harira is definately one of our fav’s and it is very cool when you have pleasant memories attached to a dish.  Food has amazing transporting properties, the sights and tastes so evocative and alive in memories.

Foodie Fact

Spices are much more than just incredible tasting, the vast majority boast some quite brilliant health properties (as long as we don’t burn them in the pan).

Turmeric is a root similar to ginger and in its raw state has very potent flavour, its wonderful stuff.  Dried is the best we can normally do on this island.  It is peppery and sweet, warm and bitter and has even been likened to orange peel (if very fresh indeed).

Now the nitty gritty and real magic.  Turmeric is anti-microbial, anti-flatulent and strongly anti-bacterial. POW!

P1220327

Heavy plate version with rice, olives, fresh coriander and lashings of olive oil

Categories: Autumn, Recipes, Soups, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Cashew Hummus (Raw)

Raw Cashew Hummus

Here’s a quick little pot of goodness, so rich and so healthy. I love making hummus, mainly because it is so easy and tastes so much better homemade than out of a plastic tubs from a plastic shops.  You can get to play around with the flavours and really tailor your hummus to your taste.  And as we all know, hummus is important!

This hummus requires a little preparation, you do need to soak the chickpeas and cashews overnight, but its well worth it.  It’s healthy hummus.  Most hummus has alot of fat, due to the large amounts of oil used, this hummus uses a little oil (possibly none) and loads of raw cashews and chickpeas that are jam packed full of good things.

The chickpeas just need to be plump (and well rinsed) to use.  They don’t need to sprout, if they do, that’s a bonus!

You can make this with just cashew nuts (just double the quantity of nuts) but I like it with the chickpeas.  It’s slightly more traditional and after a night in the fridge, it takes on a lovely ‘cheesy’ quality.  ‘Cheesy’ is the best way I can describe it, basically, it matures nicely and gets more flavoursome.

Cashew are a real gift from nature, one nut grows on the end of a fruit (called a cashew apple, see below) and they’re really difficult to harvest.  The tree gives off toxins, it doesn’t want to let go of its precious nuts!

Cashew apples growing in Wat Suan Mok Monastery, Thailand

This will make a decent tubful:

The Bits 

1 cup cashews (soaked in filtered water, they will swell a little overnight, rinsed), 1 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight in filtered water, rinsed), juice of 1 lemon, 3 nice tablespoons of tahini (unroasted is milder, roasted is full on), 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 teas cumin, 1/2 teas paprika, pinch of rock salt, a little water/  oil to form a nice paste.

Do It

Place all ingredients in a sturdy blender, blend until smooth, adding water/ oil if needed.  You may need to stop a couple of times and scrape the mixture back into the centre.

Serve

As you like your hummus, we had ours on chicory leaves, which make a great little ‘boat’ for dips and the like.  They also look cool.  In a warm wrap is something quite special!  We suggest topping it with a little more oil, especially if it’s been in the fridge for a while.

We Love It!

This hummus has added lovely richness to our raw salad meals.  Always a brilliant addition to add a different texture to the plate.

Foodie Fact

Although high in fat, cashews boast mono-unsaturated fats, meaning in moderation they’re good for you.  Cashews are packed with soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and numerous health-promoting phyto-chemicals that help protect from diseases and the big ‘C’.

 

Categories: Raw Food, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sweet Onion Hummus

Sweet onions (with a touch of celery)

This is a staple wonder paste at the B.H.K.  I make hummus at least once a week and in my many experimentations with pulverized chickpeas, I can say that this is our fav.
It is nice and simple, lightly spiced and has the lovely sweetness of well-stewed onions.  Not your conventional hummus and I don’t like to use loads of oil, I use the chickpea cooking juices and this makes the hummus lighter and lower in fats.

After tasting this recipe, the hummus from your local supermarket will seem salty and stodgy in comparison, and expensive!

We make a big batch that lasts us a few days.

Gigglebeans in the sun

The Bits
Approx. 3500g dried chickpeas (soaked for a day, then cooked in slightly salted water on a low heat for at least an hour until tender. You can use canned, but their texture is not quite as good), 2 onions (organic if you can, finely chopped), 1 teas cumin, 1/2 teas coriander seeds, 1 teas paprika, 1 teas turmeric, 1 teas thyme, 1 teas rosemary, 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), 1 cup of olive oil, 1 big tbs dark tahini, zest and juice of 1 lemon (unwaxed of course!), s + p.
Do It
Good glug of oil in a frying pan, gently fry onions for 10 mins, season, then cover and lower heat.  Do not colour, gently cook.  Leave for 45 mins, stirring occasionally, then take off lid and add spices and herbs, cook for 15 mins more until golden and most of the juice has gone.
Take your cooked and cooled chickpeas and place them in a blender (you can do this by hand, but you need big muscles), add onions, garlic, lemon and tahini, season with s+p.  You should add around 1 to 2 cups of the chickpea cooking liquid here, use more later to make smoother.
Begin to blitz, adding a steady stream of olive oil as you go.  Stop regularly, taste, adjust seasoning, add more lemon, spice, s+p etc, get it just right for you. Remember that the flavours will come together when left in the fridge for a while, getting more intense, also the texture will stiffen so make it a little runnier.  A splash of water or chicpea stock is recommended to lighten your hummus.  You  know how you like it!  I like to be able to taste the lemon and tahini over the spices.

Oatcake anyone?

Serve
On anything!  Warm pitta of course, I normally finish it with another glug of olive oil and a dusting of paprika, maybe some sesame seeds if you’re feeling flash.

We regularly have it as a side with a main dish, it adds great richness and creaminess to anything it touches, especially when added to stews (normally just before serving).

Foodie Fact
The mighty Garbanzo (U.S.), Giggle bean (Germany) and Chick pea (other places) is a super legume. It is incredibly versatile, makes great flour and very good for us. What a natural beaut!
Chick peas are full of fibre, they actually lower our cholesterol and are full of antioxidants.  They are colon friendly having a lot of insoluble fibre. Love your colon!

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Eating, photography, Recipes, Sauces, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

El Limonar Stew – A Taste of the Spanish Sun

The 'El Limonar'

The ‘El Limonar’ is not an everyday stew.  It reflects the culture and produce of a special little corner of Spain, the Costa Calida.

This dish that would suit any occasion this summertime, especially a special time when you are eating outside in the sunshine with the people who you love, a time when you are planning to open a few bottles of good wine (it is a Spanish stew after all!) and let the world just pass you by.

‘El Limonar’ is the name of the place my parents have in Spain, its near Cartagena, Murcia, for me it is one of the worlds most beautiful and relaxing places.  The lifestyle in Spain is slow, steeped in history, with much fiesta and siesta.  Relaxing is a way of life and food and drink play a major role in everyday life and traditional celebrations.

When I am in Spain, more than anywhere else in the world, I can happily revert to the wise words below:

‘Sólo un idiota puede ser totalmente feliz.’

‘Only an idiot can be totally happy.’

Mario Vargas Llosa

The Mediterranean sun brings life to the dry red earth.   Murcia is the hottest and driest region in Spain, but the local farmers use a lot of new technology and plenty of old world know-how to make the most of the parched land.  The area is covered with lemon, almond and olive trees, many old and gnarled.  A whole host of incredible local produce blooms with stunning flavours.  This stew combines many of these treats, most notably the sweet and smoky local pimenton (paprika).  We use Coato Paprika, an excellent local co-operative (http://www.coato.com/en/about-coato/).  The figs and almonds reflect the Moorish (North African) influence who were here for hundreds of years.  You can hear the sound of North Africa in every flamenco song.

Being a veggie in Spain is tough, we eat at home most of the time, using the produce from the local markets.  Old men and women gather every Sunday in a car park down at  the port and sell their crops.  We have our favourite olive lady, pepper man, spice mama, knife gypsy, Moroccan mint seller etcetc.  There are an array of characters and smiles.  I love to browse a good market.  It is also very cheap, which makes it that touch more satisfying.

The occasion for the ‘El Limonar’ was a visit from Rob and Linda.  They are super foodies who we met in a local cafe.  These shiny people deserved a treat so I put together this deluxe version of one of my tried and tested simmered chickpea recipes.

The technique is to simmer the chickpeas down until only a little stock remains (chickpea stock is delicious, almost beefy!) then begin to add the ingredients.  I find this retains a lot of flavour and gently cooks everything.  This stew did have some added roast vegetables, but it was most definitely a special occasion.

The best way to recreate this is in a colder country is to buy as much organic produce as possible.  Beautifully ripe tomatoes and a good quality Spanish paprika will give this dish a real taste of the Med!

Local Murcian Pimenton from Coato Cooperative, Totana

This is enough for 4 with plenty for lunch the next day (we are bulk cookers at  the B.H.K).

The Bits

5 cups of fat chickpeas (pre-soaked overnight), 1 bay leaf, good veg stock (enough to cover the chickpeas in the pan by 1 inch, maybe 1 litre), one big red onion (all veg chopped into interesting looking chunks), 1 large sweet red pepper, 1 aubergine, 1 courgette, 5 sweet tomatoes, 1 handful of cherry tomatoes, 6 sundried tomatos, 5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), 2 tbs Coato paprika, 1 big glass of Spanish red wine (for authenticity), 1 sprig of rosemary, 2 teas of thyme, zest and juice of one large unwaxed lemon, 2 smoked dried peppers (if you can get your hands on them), 1 handful of roasted unsalted almonds (soaked overnight), 1 good handful of chopped dried figs, 1 good handful of pitted green olives (preferably manzanilla), chopped mint, coriander and parsley, s + p, olive oil to start and finish.

Do It

Most of these steps can be done beforehand and kept in the fridge overnight, the flavours will intensify.  Even better, cook everything for a little less time, get the stew together and re-heat it on the day. 

Add your pre-soaked chickpeas and one bay leaf to a pan of good veg stock, it should cover them by 1 inch.  Bring to a gentle boil then simmer until tender, normally 1 hour.   Skim of white froth regularly.  If the stock evaporates too quickly, put a lid on it.  After cooking the chickpeas should be just poking through the stock.

While they are simmering, chargrill in olive oil your large chunks of aubergine (should be well coloured and gooey inside), pepper, onion and courgette in a frying pan or griddle.  Best to do in batches and keep warm in a covered plate.  I chargrill my cherry tomatoes quickly to give them a little colour.

Add the paprika to the chickpeas and stir in well, then the tomatoes, rosemary, garlic, lemon zest and thyme, put the heat up and before it reaches a boil, add the rest of the ingredients except the wine, which you add just before the stew is about to boil.  Season.  Little finesse here, but maximum flavour!

Once the stew has reached a very gentle boil put the heat down to low and leave simmering, covered for one hour letting the flavours infuse nicely.  Check that the sauce has thickened and is not too thin, if so, turn the heat up and cook down.  Do not boil, this kills flavour.

Just before serving, check seasoning, add a glug of olive oil for shine and richness (or a glug of oil from your jar of sun-dried tomatoes as I did), the lemon juice and most of the chopped mint, coriander and parsley, mix gently in.

Serve

I topped it with a splash of olive oil, some of the left over herbs, finely sliced dried fig and a fistful of crushed almonds.

We ate our stew under the stars, over halved roasted butternut squash with brown rice, a spinach salad with a lemon and honey dressing and a cucumber and local spring onion (like wild garlic) yoghurt.  I think Rob and Linda were amazed at how much we eat!  It’s difficult for me to not get carried away with a kitchen full of amazing produce.

Jane having our 'millionare lunch' (which cost 8 euros)

Foodie Fact

Good old Christopher Columbus got his greedy hands on the pepper plant in South America and like everything else he found of value, brought it back to Spain (I’m not a huge fan of the behavior of these old explorer/conquistador types).

Paprika is made by grinding dried peppers, different paprika uses different peppers and can be sweet, smoked or spicy.  Paprika is used extensively in the cooking of Spain and also quite randomly, Hungary.  Good Goulash would be lost without it.  The name ‘Paprika’ actually comes from the Hungarian word for ‘Pepper’.

Paprika has a high sugar content which must be considered when cooking with it.  It burns easily.

By weight, Paprika contains more Vitamin C than lemon juice.

Boozy Bit

I haven’t had the chance to write about wine in a while.  Thank you Spain for giving me the excuse!

This is best with a wine from the south of Spain.  The stew incorporates many of the flavours of this evocative land, therefore the local wines compliment it perfectly.  We went for a young ‘Casa De La Ermita’ Organic Monastrell from Jumilla (a local wine region), with ripe fruits, lovely vanilla scented oak and dark violet colour.  Monastrell is generally a concentrated wine with good structure and this one held its own with this blockbuster stew.

Casa De La Ermita is a wondeful winery and you can buy the wine in the U.K., I think I even saw it in Tescos.  The Crianza is a very stylish example of the quality of wine now produced in Jumilla, formerly a very ‘rustic’ wine growing region.  They also make a great white and an interesting Petit Verdot.

Here’s their site:

http://www.casadelaermita.com/vinos/casadelaermita_tintoecologico.php

'Casa De La Ermita' Crianza, fine wine from Jumilla, Spain.

Categories: 'The Good Life', Dinner, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Lunch, Organic, photography, Recipes, Relax, Special Occasion, Travel, Vegan, Wine and Booze | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: