Posts Tagged ‘chickpeas’

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

We spent last weekend getting our little balcony summer ready.We’ve had many wonderfully long sun-filled days – the neighbourhood is awakened, with the beaches and parks are bustling with people. It feels decidedly like summer now.

Our local farmers’ market started last weekend; that to me is the sign of summer’s start; the vibrant and cheerful energy of the open market, fresh local produce – colourful and abundant, it all just feels very summer-ry.

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad
Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

I snagged the most beautiful bunch of radish not quite sure what to make with them, I brought them home, saw my copy of Jerusalem and I just knew… I went back out and got tomatoes, cilantro and parsley – I was going to make Ottolenghi’s spiced chickpea and fresh vegetable salad again.

This is one of the very first recipes I tried from the Jerusalem cookbook; it seemed so simple and unfussy.
I was pleasantly surprised at how wonderfully the flavours melded.

I love this salad because it’s refreshing and tasty and plays well with the warm aromatic spices in the chickpeas.
I also love how easy it is to put together and the fact that it uses simple and nourishing seasonal produce.

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad
Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Colourful meals eaten on lovely sunny balconies will make for happier people…

I want to stretch out on my little patio with salads like this, enjoy the lovely views and perhaps fall in love with my quirky neighbourhood again

That’s my wish for this summer, and for unending bright days that make everything seem possible.

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Chickpea Ratatouille with Couscous

Ratatouille

I just realized that this is my second post about chickpeas in a row, but you’ll forgive me because you already know how much I adore chickpeas.

You know how certain foods are memory triggers? Well, ratatouille with couscous will forever remind me of a small gathering of friends, lively conversation, laughter, flickering candles, and stories… fascinating tales that make you homesick for places you’ve never been.

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I had ratatouille for the first time not too long ago…
It was a ‘welcome back’ dinner for a friend’s mom who’d come home from travelling the world; we ate roasted ratatouille on a bed of saffron laced couscous.

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This French vegetable stew with its vibrant colours and complex flavours… it’s all I talked about for weeks, until @adjoa took pity on me and started making this version of ratatouille – she got the recipe from a French newsletter and adapted it to include chickpeas.

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And when she occasionally makes this, it’s a delight; earthy chickpeas and a melange of vegetables simmered and stewed – it’s fresh, simple and tasty, full of happy memories.

To make the couscous that accompanies this ratatouille, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, stir in 1 cup of couscous, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of butter or olive oil. Remove from heat, cover and let the couscous sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve

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Chickpea and Salsa Bruschetta

 
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Boy, am I glad the weekend is here.
This week almost broke my will; I had so much going on while all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and never get up.
I think I may be coming down with a cold, or worse, the flu. Not that I know what’s what.
The universe seems to be in tune with my mood, it’s been gloomy all week, I haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or not.

The meals I’ve made these past few days haven’t been very exciting; that was until I stumbled into putting this chickpea and salsa bruschetta together.

The recipe got its start as hors d’oeuvres; an easy and tasteful starter @adjoa and I made a couple of months back.
I’d wanted to make it again, but the timing was always off, I always seemed to be out of an essential ingredient.

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 IMG_3231 Chickpea Bruschetta

I came home from another wearying day this week, and there they were; a jar of chickpeas and a bottle of salsa, side by side.
It’s a humbling and satisfying meal, quick and tasty; very delicious, kind of like fast food but good for you.

Did I mention it was easy? It’s basically sliced bread toasted and brushed with olive oil, with a generous heaping of salsa and crushed chickpeas and finished with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

As sad as it might sound, these were the highlight of my week.

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Airplane Food

 
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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to bring my own food on long flights, it’s usually when I’m sky-high, being served something I absolutely hate that I kick myself for not just doing it.
I assumed it was more trouble than it’s worth, and required the sort of planning and preparation I wasn’t ready to commit to. It turns out there isn’t as much effort involved as I’d imagined.

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For my flight to Paris, I made savoury hand pies with smoked trout and peas in a tomato sauce, using pre-portioned pizza dough I had in the freezer.
I also made baked chickpea patties (pakoras) with onions, carrots and sweet peppers. I packed some cookies, dark chocolate and Smarties too.
It took me all but two hours to make the hand pies and pakoras the night before; it came together easily and the reward of having them on that long uncomfortable flight was worth it!

Our flight was overnight, long and cramped with a short stopover at Heathrow; in coach (ahem… World Traveller class) our inflight dinner looked sad and unappetizing, and the breakfast pitiful, for once I was glad I had my own food.

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My airplane food fit in a nice sized two-layer stainless steel lunchbox, packed the same way I used to pack my bento lunches.
The lid is tight and secure and because it has no liquids, I could just throw it in my handbag; it cleared security easily with no issues.
It felt really good munching on something that I really liked for once.
It made the tight nine-hour long journey a little bearable
One of the stewardesses called our set up ‘an airplane picnic!’
It made me smile, I think we’ll be having lots of picnics up in the airplane from here on…
On the return trip, I plan on filling our little lunchboxes with the most deliciously delectable French pastries.

Recipes for the hand pies and pakoras coming soon

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Socca

 
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I heard about socca for the first time just a few years ago, I think it was back in 2010 when a friend’s mom, who’d just returned from living abroad for many years invited us to dinner.
We had roasted ratatouille and couscous, I remember the couscous had strands of saffron and the food smelled heavenly.

We drank wine from the Jura region (of France) while our host regaled us with tales of her travels; she was trying at one point to convince us that couscous was essentially ‘French food’ and some weren’t swayed, that threw the conversation into foods that didn’t’ necessarily seem French, like socca.

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The best socca, she explained, could be found on the streets of Nice from hole-in-the wall diners to fancy restaurants.
She described this humble street-food, made simply of chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt, transformed into a thin pancake-like flatbread with crispy edges – was the most exquisite thing she’d ever eaten.

I promised myself socca was the first meal I’d eat if I were ever lucky enough to go to Nice.
I didn’t’ give it much thought until a few months ago while flipping through a copy of David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris I’d borrowed from someone at work.
In there was a recipe for socca; plain, simple and very tempting.

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I made it on a Saturday morning, just before we were to set out on a hike, I’d heard it was filling, high in good protein and healthy carbs; I decided it was just what we needed. The hike, by the way, never happened – but our tummies were full.

It’s one of the easiest things I’ve ever made, it’s not a fancy or pretty looking dish… it isn’t superficial but it’s ridiculously delicious – almost addictive!
We ate it plain, right out of the pan, standing and not bothering to sit.
Naturally, it’s vegan and gluten free.

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