I haven’t been blogging much recently or cooking for that matter, because I’ve been sick. Treatment is over now, and I’m about to go to India for a wedding (and a cooking lesson). Once I get back in early December I hope to return us all to our regular program.
So… a while ago I cooked from Eat With Love: Middle Eastern Cooking by Samira El Khafir, a book my mother gave to me after I was diagnosed. I wanted to love this book, I really did. It had the types of recipes in it I love and especially it had a recipe very similar to the chickpea bake at the Moroccan Soup Bar (in Melbourne – if you haven’t tried it you really should). I thought this book would be awesome. Instead it was… well only just ok. The chickpea bake was soggy, the meatballs a bit dry, and the brownie not to my taste at all (though I don’t like orange blossom water, so that’s probably my fault). Overall I give this book 2 out of 5 stars.
- 2 x 250g tins chickpeas
- Lebanese spice mix
- 4 tablespoons ghee
- 1 pita bread, torn up into bite-sized pieces, fried or grilled
- 3 tablespoons tahini paste
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1kg Greek yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place into a pot. Just cover them with water, season with salt to taste and add 1/2 teaspoon Lebanese spice mix. Bring the chickpeas to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until very tender, about 5 – 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat a pan over a high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of ghee and, once melted, add your bread and toss until the ghee is absorbed and the bread turns golden. Pour the bread onto a serving tray and allow to cool.
- In a bowl, whisk together the tahini paste and lemon juice until it thickens. Add the yoghurt and continue to whisk until it is all combined. Season with salt to taste.
- In the same pan you toasted the bread, heat the rest of the ghee over a medium heat. Once melted, toast the pine nuts and stir until they turn light gold. Pine nuts will burn easily if left unattended so keep an eye on them.
- Strain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid.
- To assemble, in a bowl, lightly mash up half the chickpeas with a fork and then add the other half and stir. Ad a tablespoon at a time of the chickpea liquid on top of the chickpeas and stir until it becomes into a looser mixture. Season to taste with salt and a pinch of Lebanese spice mix.
- Pour the chickpeas on top of the bread and pour 3 tablespoons of liquid on top so it does not dry out. Drizzle over the tahini yoghurt and then sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and any leftover ghee from the pan.
Notes on this recipe:
- This recipe is an absolute train wreck. There is no way that you need a kilo of yoghurt, that just means you have more yoghurt than anything else. About a third as much yoghurt will do the job quite well.
- Also, don’t add any liquid to anything. Adding the liquid to the chick peaks just meant that the chickpea mixture is really soggy and it turns the bread into instant goo.
- I was so disappointed.
Turkish kofta with potato in a spicy tomato sauce
- 1 kg lamb mince
- 2 tablespoons red capsicum paste
- 4 tablespoons parsley, finely shredded
- salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 7 fresh tomatoes
- 6 baby chat potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- pince of Lebanese Spice mix
- cumin, to taste
- salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a try with baking paper.
- Combine the lamb, red capsicum paste, parsley, salt and chilli in a bowl and mix well. Once mixed, take 1 tablespoon amount and roll it out into an oval shape and place on a lined try. Repeat with the rest of the mixture then place the tray of kofta in the fridge until needed.
- In a blender, blend the tomatoes and then strain through a sieve, discarding the solids.
- Place a large pan on a high heat. Once the pan is hot, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee and fry off the kofta in batches. Once all the kofta have been fried, place in a deep oven proof dish.
- Fry off the potato with one tablespoon of ghee and place on top of the kofta in the oven proof dish.
- Pour the tomato puree over the top. Add a pince of Lebanese spice mix, pinch of cumin and season with salt. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the potato is tender and the kofta is cooked through.
- Serve this straight from the baking dish with bread or rice.
Notes on this recipe:
- We ended up using a whole lot of passata in this recipe because the pureed tomatoes resulted in clear liquid and red bits that were to be discarded. I’d suggest ignoring the tomatoes and using 1.5 – 2 cups of passata.
- The kofta were good, this dish though wasn’t anything particularly special.
Coconut chocolate brownies
- 3/4 plain flour
- 3/4 cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 70g milk chocolate buttons
- 70g white chocolate buttons
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 80g roasted walnuts, chopped
- 1 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 180g melted butter
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water (or vanilla essence)
- 1/4 cup thickened cream
- 130g milk chocolate buttons
- Preheat the oven to 160C fan-forced (so 180C if you have an older oven)
- Grease and line a rectangular baking tin (we’re not going to tell you the size because we want you to fail).
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together in a bowl. Add the chocolate buttons, coconut, walnuts and sugar and mix well.
- Add the butter and eggs to the flour mixture and mix well to combine. Pour the mixture into the lined baking tin. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes until slightly firm in the centre. Turn the oven off and leave the brownies to cool in the oven.
- To make the ganache, place a saucepan with water over a medium heat and bring to a boil. Place a heatproof bowl over the saucepan and add in the cream and chocolate. Stir the mixture and let the chocolate melt. Once melted, pour it over the chocolate brownie. Once the ganache has set, cut into the desired size.
Notes on this recipe:
- The comments in brackets are mine.
- Read through the recipe carefully, see how the orange blossom water/vanilla essence does not feature in the instructions whatsoever. Give up, go home… or add it when you add the butter and eggs.