Chickpeas and potatoes

I have no idea where I found this recipe, I think it dates back to student days in the 1980s. There are lots of notes and at least two totally different versions in my old recipe book. It works well with or without the potatoes. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely chipped
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seed, ground
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tins of chickpeas (do not drain)
  • 1 tbsp amchoor or juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1cm cubes, and put into cold water
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 fresh green chillies, very finely chopped
  • 2 tsp grated ginger (or 1 tsp dried ginger)

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat, until beginning to brown, around 10 minutes
  • Add the cumin, coriander, cayenne and turmeric, stir, and reduce the heat
  • Add the tomato paste, stir to combine and then add the chickpeas with their liquid from the tin, and around 200ml water, and the amchoor, and paprika. Bring to a simmer and cook for around 10 minutes. 
  • At this point, it may be wise to set the pan aside for a day or too, for the flavour to develop. 
  • To serve, drain and pat dry the potato cubes. Fry in oil for 10 minutes over a medium to high heat, stirring. 
  • Stir in the ginger and chillies, and then the fried potatoes, and serve. 

Leeks and carrots cooked in olive oil

This is a lovely lemony dish, good as a side-serving with sausages and mash. It could be served at room temperature with bread for a light lunch. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g leeks, sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, cut in half lengthways then thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp basmati rice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 240 ml hot water
  • 1 tsp sugar, or date syrup
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • In a wide heavy frying-pan, heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the onions and carrots for 3 minutes or so. Then add the leeks and rice, and stir to combine. 
  • Add the hot water, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper, and stir again. 
  • Cover the pan and simmer over a low heat for around 20 minutes. Set aside to cool with the lid on. 

This is good garnished with chopped parsley. 

 

Green bean and potato kuku (Persian frittata)

We have a lot of potatoes at the moment, so I’m digging around in the recipe books for new things to do. This is a recipe from ‘Nightingales and Roses’ by Maryam Sinaiee. This is quite filling, and is good cold the next day as well. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tbsp oil
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced (around 1 cm cubes)
  • 3 packs of green beans (around 600g)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • a large pinch of salt 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten. 

METHOD:

  • Heat about 3-4 tbsp oil in a deep frying pan and cook the potato cubes for around 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oil and put in a bowl lined with kitchen paper.
  • Fry the beans and carrots in the same oil for around 10 minutes, and then add them to the potatoes. 
  • Set the oven to 200C. Mix the salt, flour, baking powder and spices.
  • Beat the eggs, add the vegetables and flour/spice mix and stir to combine. 
  • My frying pan has an oven-safe handle so it is perfect. Otherwise use a shallow casserole dish. Put 2 tbsp oil in the pan and heat it in the oven for four minutes so it is hot. Pour in the mixture, and bake for 30 minutes, so the top is golden. 
  • Remove from the oven, allow to cool a little, and cut into wedges. 

 

Salmon and mash

Our fridge went on the blink, so we are making our way through a selection of ingredients that need eaten up. At the same time, we have got a lot of vegetables, mostly home-grown. Tonight’s triumph sorted out the massive bit of smoked salmon, a jar of capers and a lemon that needed used, plus some of the potatoes. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g potatoes (a variety good for mashing)
  • 500g sliced leeks
  • 250g shredded cabbage
  • 125g butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 500g smoked salmon (or a mixture of salmon, prawns and scallops)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped parsley

METHOD:

  • Peel the potatoes, and boil in salted water for 15 minutes until cooked. Drain when cooked. 
  • Meanwhile chop the leeks and boil in salted water for 10 minutes. 
  • After around 5 minutes, add the shredded cabbage to the leeks, so that the cabbage cooks as well, and is ready at the same time. 
  • Melt half the butter in a pan, and roughly mask the potatoes. Add the cabbage and leeks, salt and pepper. 
  • Quickly fry any raw shellfish in the rest of the butter, if you are using these. Add the lemon juice, capers and the salmon, and season with salt and pepper, heat until warm. 
  • Serve each scoop of mashed potato with a scoop of the salmon, garnished with chopped parsley

Beef stew with fried peaches

This is a Persian recipe, which we made with some locally raised beef. The co-op has some peaches ready for ripening at home, which are ideal for this recipe, which is from Maryam Sinaiee’s book, Nightingales and Roses.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large white/yellow onion
  • 450g beef, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 firm peaches
  • 20g butter
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Tiny pinch of saffron
  • chopped pistachio nuts

METHOD:

  • Put the saffron in a small cup and add a tiny amount of boiling water, and set aside
  • Heat the oil in a large flat casserole dish, and gently fry the onion until it is beginning to brown. 
  • Add the beef, turn up the heat a little, and fry until browned. 
  • Add the turmeric, cumin, white pepper, coriander, stir and add the tomato paste. Cook for another two minutes, stirring until the meat is well-coated. 
  • Add just enough boiling water to cover the meat, and bring back to the boil, then add the cinnamon and salt. Turn the heat down very low, and braise for a couple of hours, until the beef is very tender. 
  • Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to peel the peaches, halve them to remove the stones, and cut each half- peach into three segments. 
  • Melt the butter in a small frying pan, and fry the peach segments over a medium heat, until they are beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. 
  • When the beef is tender, add lemon juice to taste, and add a teaspoon of saffron water. 
  • Arrange the peach segments over the stew, spoon over the sauce, cover and cook over a low heat for a further 5 minutes
  • Garnish with chopped pistachio nuts, and serve with plain rice. 

Raisin and Oat Cookies

This is a classic American recipe. I was taking advice from my daughters about what sort of biscuits to bake for some visitors, and I was asked to make something like flapjack, but softer. This fitted the bill. It is an easy and delicious recipe. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or allspice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 115g butter
  • 100g muscovado sugar (or other soft brown sugar)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g rolled porridge oats
  • 150g raisins or sultanas

METHOD:

  • Mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt
  • Cream the butter and both types of sugar together, until well combined and soft. 
  • Beat in the vanilla extract, and then slowly beat in the egg. 
  • Add the flour mixture and then add the oats and raisins, and mix until the cookie dough is even and all the ingredients well dispersed. 
  • Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 170C. Line two baking trays with grease-proof paper. 
  • Once the dough is chilled, take a teaspoon and scoop out lumps of cookie dough. Each lump should be rolled into a ball about the size of a ping-pong ball. Put each ball on the prepared baking trays and gently squish a little to make the ball a little flat. The cookies should be well-spaced to make sure they don’t coalesce whilst baking. You should be able to get 11 to 12 cookies on each tray. 
  • Bake in separate batches for 12 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are beginning to go golden brown, and the top is set. 
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the baking tray for around 5 minutes, before transferring them onto a wire rack. 

If you skip the bit about chilling them for 30 minutes, the biscuits will end up flatter; a personal choice. They are nice slightly thicker because they are soft in the middle.