Lemon Meringue Pie

I was craving this and determined to make it, not sink to the depths of buying a Sara Lee lurid yellow and shaving foam meringue pale imitation. But I couldn’t find a decent recipe in the books I have! The Hummingbird bakery have a recipe in their book but I pulled a face when I read condensed milk needed to be added to the lemon (er I think not!). So in the end I found one in my trusty Rose Elliott New Simply Delicious book. And it was simply delicious. I remember my mum making this for pudding on a sunday, and all of us liking the combination of the light, slightly chewy fluffy meringue and the dense, sticky, sour lemon. Heavenly!

For about 6 portions you need:
300g plain flour
150g butter
cold water to bind

For the lemon curd:
Juice and zest of 3 lemons
3 egg yolks
450ml water
6 tbsp cornflour
45g butter
90g caster sugar

For the meringue:
3 egg whites
180g caster sugar

Make the pastry by blitzing in a food processor and then leaving to rest for about 30 mins. The roll out and line a pie dish. Prick, line with baking beads and bake for 20 mins at 180 degrees. Leave to cool.

For the lemon mix the cornflour with a bit of the water to slacken it and then place the remaining water in a pan with the sugar and bring to the boil. Once the sugar has dissolved add the lemon juice, zest and cornflour to the sugar syrup. Return to the heat and stir till thickened. Remove from the heat and add the butter and egg yolks. Leave to cool.

For the meringue whip the whites till really stiff then add the sugar. Mix till glossy.

Pour the lemon into the case and top with the meringue. Make sure you spread the meringue right to the edges of the pie case or it’ll go soggy.

Bake in a moderate (160 degrees) oven for about 45 mins. Try not to eat it all on one day.

Cous cous with almonds, pine nuts and cashews

This is another recipe which isn’t really a recipe, it’s more common sense. But I’ll blog it anyway…

For 4-6 portions you need:
1 cup cous cous
2 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp stock powder
2 tbsp pine nutes
2 tbsp flaked almonds
1/4 cup cashews

Soak the cous cous in the stock till fluffy. Toast the nuts in a pan and then top the cous cous with them just before you serve. This is a nice plain side dish to counter the richness of other dishes.

Toasted Pitta with Zatar

This is a lovely crispy accompaniment to houmous and other dippy things. Be careful not to cook it too much however or it will burn. And watch your teeth too – it’s very very crunchy!

Cut pittas in half and then split the halves. Sprinkle over zatar (a blend of herbs, spices and sesame seeds) and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a hot oven for 5-10 mins depending on the thickness of the bread. Yum.

Arabic Salad

This is based on Nadia Sawalha’s recipe in @bbcgoodfood magazine this month. But I have added corriander, left out the pepper (as this was used in the chilli, feta and parsley salad) and done different toasted pitta. It’s a lovely light and refreshing salad and makes a good contrast to the zaalouk.

For 4-6 portions you need
1 red onion, finely sliced
juice 1 lemon
2 tomatoes, diced (leave out the core and harder middle if they’re not as ripe as you’d like)
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1 small romaine lettuce, thickly shredded
1/2 bunch parsley and corriander, chopped
4 sprigs mint, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil

Place everything into a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Zaalouk (v)

This is my favourite ever aubergine dish. It’s so delicious it’s hard to describe. Yes it is a but of a faff to make but OMG it is soooooooooo worth it! And the recipe makes loads so you can over indulge to your hearts content. If you have argan oil it makes all the difference, but I am not sure where you can buy it from here (suggestions gratefully received as I am down to my last 1/4 of a bottle!). If you can’t get argan then good quality olive will do fine 🙂

For 4-6 portions you need:
2 large aubergines
6 tomatoes
1 large onion
5 cloves garlic
1 bunch corriander, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
2 large tbsp good quality harissa
juice 1 lemon
4 tbsp argan oil
4 tbsp olive oil

Begin by pricking the aubergines and roasting them in a hot (200 degrees) oven. Slice the tomatoes in half and place in a baking dish, drizzled with the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast the toms and aubergine for 45 mins till soft. Meanwhile saute the onion in a pan with a little more olive oil.

Cut the cooked aubergines in half and scoop the flesh out of the skins. Chop roughly. Scoop the toms out of their skins and chop. Add both to the onions along with the oil the toms were roasted in.

Add the harissa and garlic and cook for about 5 mins. Add a little water if it looks too dry. Turn off the heat and add the corriander, parsley and lemon. Check the seasoning adding more lemon or salt if needed. Pour into a serving dish and pour over the argan oil. Serve with toasted pitta and olives. Close your eyes and imagine the sun on your face!

Chilli, Parsley and Feta Salad

This is a Ghillie Basan recipe. And it’s amazingly good!

For 3-4 people as a side dish you need:
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 pepper, sliced thinly (I used orange as I don’t like the green which was suggested)
1 chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bunch flat parsley, chopped
1/2 pack feta, crumbled
2 large tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
juice 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
Barbere seasoning to serve

Place everything onto a plate and top with the feta. Drizzle over the oil and top with the barbere seasoning. Leave to settle for about 30 mins before serving.

Moroccan Feast

I love Moroccan food, and ever since we visited there a couple of years ago I like trying to recreate the food we ate. Especially when it’s cold here!

We had the following feast for lunch today. I’ll blog all the recipes separately to make them easier to search for later.

Chilli, parsley and feta salad
Zaalouk (aubergine and tomato salad)
Arabic salad
Toasted pitta with zatar
Cous cous with almonds, pine nuts and cashews

Followed by melon and of course mint tea!

Am pogged now! And have plenty of leftovers for lunch next week. Yum.

Root Vegetable Butter Masala

I am getting a bit fed up the last remnants of the winter root veggies, so fell back on my old friend curry to cheer them up a bit. This was OK. I wouldn’t rush to make it again but I think that was more to do with too much passata and a not that amazing curry paste. N seemed to like it enough…

For 6 portions you need:
3 carrots, diced
2 parsnips, diced
1/2 celeriac, diced
1 onion, chopped
4 large new potatoes, diced
1 carton, passata
250ml water
1/4 jar curry paste
2 inch piece ginger, grated
50g butter
75g ground almonds

Saute the veggies for about 10 mins then add the curry paste. Heat for 5 mins or so. Add the passata and water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer (uncovered) and cook for about an hour until the carrots and potatoes are done. Add the almonds and butter and heat gently for a further 5 mins. Serve with rice etc.

Corriander, Cucumber, Tomato and Mint Salad

This is also very good with anything Indian themed. It’s delicious on poppadums and is also nice as a side to a hot curry as the tomatoes and cucumber cool down the heat of the chilli in the curry.

For about 6-8 portions you need:
1/2 cucumber, sliced thinly (skin on)
1 red onion, finely diced
1 cup corriander, chopped roughly
1 tsp dried mint
1-2 tomatoes, chopped (no need to de-skin)
juice half lemon

Mix everything together and serve. Yum.

Coconut, Corriander and Chilli Chutney

I love this – it’s salty, tangy, searingly hot from the chilli and yet cooling at the same time from the yogurt. It’s the perfect partner for the onion bhajis or just some poppadums.

For about 500ml you need:
200ml natural yogurt
100g coconut
1 cup corriander
3 chillis
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

Lob everything into a food processor and blitz till smooth. Pour into a bowl and scoff with whatever you fancy.