Freekah with Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas (v)

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My mum made this for us over Christmas. It was delicious and the perfect antidote to all the rich food we had been eating. This is my version.

For 4-6 portions you need:

  • 200g freekah or bulghar wheat
  • 1 litre veggie stock
  • 300g cooked chickpeas
  • 3 mixed peppers, cut into rough chunks
  • 1 sweet potato cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 carrots cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 onions ditto
  • 1 aubergine ditto
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 pack each of flat leaf parsely and mint, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp baharat
  • salt and pepper
  • houmous to serve
  1. Begin by tossing the aubergine, carrot and sweet potato in 3 tbsp olive oil and the baharat. Roast in a hot (190 degree) oven for about 30 mins.
  2. Meanwhile place the freekah in a pan with the hot stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins. Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid and leave to steam for a further 15 mins. Keep warm.
  3. Add the peppers, onions, chickpeas and remaining oil to the roasting tin and continue to cook for a further 30 mins.
  4. Add the fresh herbs and pomegranate molasses to the freekah. Mix. Season to taste.
  5. Toast the pine nuts and mix into the cooked veggies and chickpeas.
  6. Serve with hummus, salad and pitta bread.
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Baklava

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I’ve been meaning to blog this for a while and just haven’t had time, sorry! I made a big batch for our engagement party and it got rave reviews. It’s dead simple to make but tastes far more complicated than it is! The recipe says it makes 30 pieces but that comes down to how big you make them. I prefer bite sized pieces to bigger chunks. The recipe is taken from Tess Malos The Complete Middle East Cookbook.

For 30 or so pieces you need:

For the pastries

  • 20 sheets of filo pastry
  • 3/4 cup melted butter (that’s 190g to you and me…)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pistachios
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

For the syrup

  • 1.5 cups caster sugar
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup runny honey – use a good quality one
  • thinly peeled strip of lemon rind
  • small piece of cinnamon bark
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 crushed cardamon pods
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  1. Butter the sides and base of a 33cmx23cmx5cm tin.
  2. Layer up 9 sheets of  filo pastry into the base of the tin, buttering each well before placing in the tin.
  3. Mix the nuts and sugar with the spices then sprinkle half over the pastry.
  4. Layer a further two sheets of pastry on to the nuts, buttering each as before.
  5. Spread the remaining nut mix on top of these sheets.
  6. Top with the remaining filo, buttering each.
  7. Trim the top and sides and tuck in neatly.
  8. Sprinkle some water over the top to stop it from crisping too much in the oven.
  9. Score into pieces, taking care not to cut all the way through to the base.
  10. Bake in the centre of a 180 degree oven for 30 mins. After 30 mins, move one shelf up and cook for a further 30 mins. You want the pastry to be golden brown and crisp all over.
  11. Whilst the baklava is baking make the syrup. Place everything in a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Once all the sugar has dissolved, boil rapidly for 15 mins until reduced and syrupy in consistency.
  12. Take the baklava out of the oven and drench in the hot syrup.
  13. Leave for at least four hours before eating. Then scoff!

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Sweet CousCous with Rose Jam and Cashew & Pistachio Caramel (v)

I made my first tagine in a proper tagine over the weekend and wanted something deliciously light and sweet to eat afterwards. This hit the spot perfectly and combined delicate middle eastern flavours with a light but tasty finish to the end of the meal. Serve with a light orange and cinnamon sorbet to really intensify the flavours if you want!

For 4 portions you need
CousCous
1/2 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp each of rose water and orange flower water
1/2 tsp each of ground cinnamon, cardamon powder and freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp sultanas
1 tbsp rose petal jam (optional)
A few rose petals to decorate

Place everything apart from the jam and rose petals into a bowl and stir well. Leave to steep for 5-10 mins until the water has been absorbed. Pack into a lightly greased bowl and push down well before inverting on a serving plate. Top with the jam and some rose petals.

Cashew and Pistachio Caramel
1 tbsp raw cashew nuts
1 tbsp raw pistachios
1 tsp agarve nectar (or honey if you’re not vegan)
2 tbsp vegan marge (or butter if you’re not vegan)

Place the nuts and butter/marge in a pan over a slow heat and gently toast the nuts. Add the nectar/honey and boil for 1-2 mins until the caramel is a light brown colour and the nuts are deliciously toasted. Take care not to burn or catch the pan! Tip onto a well oiled surface and leave to cool. Break into bite sized pieces once cooled and scatter over the cous cous.

Butter Cookies with Rose Water

I adore these. They are so meltingly delicious from the (copious) butter but have a lovely light and clean delicate flavour from the rose water. They are ridiculously easy to make and even easier to eat heh heh heh. The original recipe is adapted from one by Ghillie Basan in Modern Moroccan (p140).

For about 20 cookies you need
200g butter
130g icing sugar
10ml rose water
250g plain flour

Melt the butter then add everything else to it and mix to a smooth paste. Chill in the fridge for 30mins or so. Pull of pieces of dough about the size of a walnut and roll in to a ball. Squidge down on a baking tray and bake in a moderate (170 degree) oven for about 20 mins until lightly golden brown. Leave to cool on the tray for a few mins before transferring to a cooling rack and cooling thoroughly.

Baklava

This is not a dish for the faint hearted, cos when you see how much butter it uses you would be forgiven for having a heart attack there and then… But, you’re supposed to eat in teeny tiny slices so it’s all OK really. Promise. This has been made for the forthcoming Shipley Slump taking place on the 23rd Sept. Good job I’m on a diet or I’d be scoffing it all now and having to make another it smells SOOOOOOOOOOOO divine!!!!!

For about 40 pieces you need
Baklava:
1 packet of filo or feuille de brick pastry
250g butter, melted
2.5 cups mixed nuts (I used walnuts, pistachios and hazlenuts)
1/3 cup caster sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Syrup:
1.5 cups caster sugar
1.5 cups water
3 tbsp rose water
3 tbsp orange flower water
3 whole cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup runny honey

Begin by brushing the sides and base of a swiss roll tin with butter. Lay 9 sheets of pastry into the tin, taking care to brush thoroughly and evenly with melted butter.

Take the nuts, sugar and spices (I can’t resist adding a picture here they looked so pretty!) and sprinkle half the mixture over the butter pastry.

Place another two sheets of pastry on top, again brushing each carefully with butter, and top with the remaining nut mixture. Place the remaining sheets of pastry on the top, buttering each layer. Trim the edges and brush the top with the last bit of butter. Cut into small pieces using a sharp knife.

Bake in a moderate (140 degree) oven for 30 mins. Check, rotate the tin to ensure even cooking, and turn up to 150 degrees. Cook for a further 30 mins until the pastry is light golden brown, crisp and fully cooked.

Whilst the baklava is cooking, make the syrup. Place the water, sugar, honey, cloves and cinnamon in a pan and slowly melt. Once all the sugar is dissolved, bring to the boil and boil fast for 15 mins until the syrup is reduced, thickened and gorgeous. Carefully add the lemon juice, rose and orange flower waters (it will hiss and spit when you do this) and leave to cool for a bit.

When the baklava is cooked, remove from the oven and pour over the strained, fragrant syrup. Leave well alone for at least 48 hours, preferably longer, to let the syrup steep into the nuts and pastry. Serve with very strong coffee and forget about the calories…

Canollini Bean Patties (v)

I fancied something middle eastern for dinner tonight, and pulse based so created these. Oh. My. Goodness they were good, even if I do say so myself 😉 Try them.

For about 6 patties you need:
1 can drained and rinsed canollini beans
1 onion
1 red chilli
1 tsp moroccan spices
salt and pepper
oil for shallow frying

Blitz everything together apart from the oil and salt and pepper. You want it pulverised enough to be sticky but still retain some texture. Season to taste and then form into small, flattish patties. Heat 0.5cm of oil in a pan and shallow fry for about 4-5 mins on each side till lightly browned and hot. They will begin to disintegrate if you cook them for too long! Serve with carrot, sultana and sunflower seed salad and some flat breads.

Bulghar Wheat Salad with Feta

I adore bulghar wheat, more so than cous cous, due to it’s chewier and slightly denser texture. This is a variation on tabbouleh, and made without the feta would be a lovely vegan dish.

For 4-6 portions you need:
1 cup bulghar wheat
1 tsp veg stock powder
1 cup boiling water
handful baby plum toatoes, cut in half/quarters depending on size
1 red onion, finely chopped
handful chilli olives, roughly sliced
1 pack feta, cut intobite sized chunks
1/3 cucumber cut into small dice (about the same size as the onions)
2-3 tbsp good quality olive oil
juice 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley and corriander

Place the bulghar wheat, stock and onion in a bowl and cover with the water. Cover and leave to steam for 20-30 mins. Once the wheat has absorbed all the water stir through everything else. Season to taste and then eat.

Baked Figs with Moroccan Spices (v)

I had a holiday of a lifetime in Morocco a few years back. I adored the sights, smells and of course THE FOOD!!! This is a Moroccan themed dessert to finish our Middle Eastern inspired menu for tonight.

For 2 people you need:
4 ripe figs
1/2 tub ricotta or 1/2 tub vegan cream cheese/silken tofu
1 tsp fragrant honey (preferably Moroccan but I’ll let you off if you can’t find that) or agave nectar if you’re vegan
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp flaked almonds
3 cardamon pods, seeds extracted and ground to a fine dust
1 tsp rose water
1 tsp orange flower water

Begin by cutting a cross in the top of the figs and gently squeezing the sides to make them open out. Place them in an oven proof dish. Mix together the other ingredients (aside from the pine nuts/almonds). Dollop a tbsp of the sweetened mixture per fig in the middle. Top with the pine nuts and almonds. Bake in a moderate oven for 15 mins or so until warmed and the fig juices are running. Serve.

Turkish Menemen with Sumac Yogurt

Yet another @deliciousmag recipe from their August edition… This is a lovely brunch dish. I love brunch…

For 4 portions you need:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp each of cumin seeds, mustard seeds and chilli flakes
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
400g tinned tomatoes (or about 8 plum toms) diced
4 medium eggs
small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

25ml olive oil
½ tsp sumac
1 clove garlic, crushed
100g yogurt
Squeeze lemon juice

Sautee the spices till they pop then add the ginger, onion and garlic. Fry till softened then add the tomatoes and pepper and a couple of tbsp water. Cook gently for 10 mins or so. Season.

Meanwhile make the sumac yogurt – mix everything together adding lemon juice and seasoning to taste.

Make 4 hollows in the veg mix and crack in the eggs. Cook gently till done. Drizzle with some more oil and scatter over the parsley. Serve with flatbread.

Spiced Chickpea and Parsley Patties (v)

Have you noticed I like Middle Eastern food?! Another gorgeous recipe here 🙂 this time based on one by Ghillie Basan.

For about 8 patties you need
1 tin drained chickpeas
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
large handful parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp each of ground cumin and corriander
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper
grated zest of a lemon

Whizz the chickpeas in a blender till smashed then tip into a bowl and add everything else. Squish together to form patties and lay on a greased baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 5 mins each side before serving with a selection of other mezze (we had olives, houmous, pitta, tapenade, tabouleh, tomatoes, garlic yogurt etc).