Carrots roasted with pomegranate molasses and harissa

We live on a small island, and although our local shops generally do very well for range and price of stock, some ingredients are hard to come by. I have some rather exotic recipe books, and so I have become better at substituting and messing around with recipes to make them fit. 

Pomegranate molasses adds a fruity sharpness to the dish, and helps the dressing to stick to the carrots. The harissa is hot and fragrant at the same time. 

This time, I had some random carrots, so I turned to Ottolenghi’s book, Simple, and adapted one of his ideas, and I made this. I served it with bread, cheese, and an aubergine dish. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rose harissa (or ordinary harissa)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or 50/50 melted butter and oil)
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 400g carrot batons
  • salt
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to 220C
  • In a small bowl, mix the cumin, honey, harissa, oil and molasses with a good pinch of salt. It should be the consistency of mayonnaise. 
  • Add the carrot batons, and stir to coat in the mixture
  • Line a baking sheet with tin foil, and spread out the carrots. Roast them for 15 minutes or so, until they are beginning to brown but still have some ‘bite’ to them.

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves. 

Turkish red lentil kofte

This is the last of the five recipes that I learned in Turkey, at Cookistan. There was another recipe for poached stuffed artichoke hearts, but artichokes are not readily available locally, so I think I will stop with this one. This is so easy; filling, tasty and vegan. 

In this recipe, the addition of the wheat to the lentils adds texture to the mixture, so that it can be formed into small and tasty kofte balls. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g red lentils
  • 2 to 3 cups of water
  • 125g fine bulgur wheat
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp pepper paste
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 spring onions
  • a handful each of mint, parsley and dill
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Rinse the red lentils then boil them in the water; bring the water and lentils to the boil, then turn down to simmer, partially covered until they are soft. There should be a little water left at the top of the cooked lentils.
  • Add the bulgur wheat and mix well. 
  • Fry the chopped onions in olive oil until soft, then add the tomato and pepper paste and continue to fry for another minute, before adding the spices. 
  • Add the onion mixture to the lentil mixture and stir to combine. 
  • Chop the herbs and spring onions finely, and add to the lentil mixture, season and mix well. You might need more than a teaspoonful of salt to taste. 
  • Form the mixture into kofte balls; take large walnut sized pieces of the mixture, and shape into small ovals. 
  • Serve the kofte balls on a bed of lettuce leaves. 

These taste better the following day, when the flavours have developed. They are very filling, and completely vegan. 

 

Chickpeas in a tomato and onion sauce with baharat spice blend

This was a portmanteau of a recipe. I had several recipes that looked very similar, so I took ideas from each one. This tastes really good and it is filling. We served it with kale braised in butter and pepper. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp sweet pepper puree
  • 1 tbsp baharat spice mix
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp date syrup or pomegranate molasses
  • OPTIONAL – 2 green peppers, chopped, or 450g spinach, chopped and cooked
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped mint and parsley, to garnish

METHOD:

  • Chop the onions finely, crush the garlic, and cook slowly in the olive oil for at least 10 minutes
  • Add the Baharat spice mix. If you are using green peppers, slice them thinly and add them to the onions, and cook for a further 5 minutes. 
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, pepper puree, and bring to a simmer. 
  • Add the chickpeas, and simmer until they are hot and tender. 
  • Add the salt, pepper, lemon juice and date syrup or pomegranate molasses. Adjust the quantities to taste. If you are using spinach, stir this in now. 
  • Garnish with chopped herbs before serving. This can be served hot or cold. 

 

Beetroot dip/spread

I  made this dip from Ottolenghi’s book, Jerusalem. We had it as part of a meal that included a hot bean and leek dish, some salmon, and bread. This was the best bit. The spices I got mail order from Seasoned Pioneers

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium beetroot, about the size of a tennis ball
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 250g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1.5 tbsp date syrup 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 level tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp za’atar spice mix
  • 2 spring onions
  • 15g toasted hazelnuts, roughly crushed. 
  • 60g soft goat’s cheese or sheep’s cheese, crumbled. 

METHOD

  • Wash the beetroot, and cook without peeling. I boil them in water for an hour, but you can also bake them for an hour in the oven. 
  • Once they are cooked and cooled, peel them and chop them roughly. 
  • Put the garlic, beetroot, chilli and yoghurt in a blender, and puree. I used a soup wand to do this. 
  • Mix in the date syrup, salt, olive oil and Za’atar. 
  • Transfer the mixture to a serving dish, and garnish with chopped spring onions, goats cheese and toasted hazelnuts. A drizzle of olive oil is good as well. 

This is best served at room temperature, with bread. 

Circassian chicken salad

This salad is a rich paste made with chicken, walnuts, stock and breadcrumbs. It is delicious spread on bread, oatcakes and other savoury biscuits. I got this recipe from Cookistan, when we were on holiday in Istanbul. 

The Circassians were a tribal people who lived in the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian sea, north east of modern Turkey. They were part of the Ottoman Empire, and the dish has made its way into modern Turkish cookery. 

INGREDIENTS:

 
  • 2 chicken breasts, poached in 1 litre of well-seasoned stock
  • 250g walnuts
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 200g panko breadcrumbs, or other dried breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 12 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • Chopped dill, optional
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp sweet paprika, to taste
  • 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to taste (quite a lot of salt and pepper)
  • 6 teaspoons paprika (sweet)
  • Garnish: 1 tsp paprika in olive oil and whole walnut halves

METHOD:

  • Cool the poached chicken, and strain and reserve the stock. 
  • Shred the cooked chicken breast very finely. 
  • Roughly crush the walnuts and finely crush the garlic.
  • Soften the breadcrumbs with stock to make a soft paste.
  • Add the chicken, olive oil, mayonnaise, yoghurt, cumin, paprika dill, and salt and pepper to make a paste, and stir in the walnuts and garlic. Check the seasoning; this needs quite a bit of salt to bring out the flavour. 
  • Garnish with 1 tsp paprika fried in 1 tbsp olive oil, walnut halves, and chopped dill. 

Borecik

Turkish savoury pastries come in many flavours and shapes, using different pastries, fillings, styles and cooking techniques. These Borecik roses were one of the dishes we made in Istanbul, when we participated in the Cookistan cookery school. 

The pastry that we used was prepared in a small shop in a traditional way, sold as large round circles of thin and pliable pastry. These sheets are called yufka, and are a bit more robust than filo pastry. They are available from Turkishop, but you could substitute filo. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 sheet of yufka
  • 150g mince
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 150ml milk
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 250g plain yoghurt
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • Butter

METHOD:

  • Cut the sheet of pastry into four.
  • Kneed the meat with the onions, pepper and salt. 
  • Mix the milk with the olive oil, and use this to wet one side of the sheet of pastry. 
  • Put a quarter of the mince mixture in a line along the curved edge of each segment of the pastry sheet. Roll the sheet around the mince to form a snake. These snake pastries can be frozen for use later, handy for making a feast at short notice.
  • Coil each snake to make a snail shape. 
  • Put the snail shapes onto a greased baking sheet, brush with beaten egg, and bake in the oven at 200C for 35 to 40 minutes. 
  • To serve, mix yoghurt and garlic, and put a dollop on the top of each pastry. 
  • Next, melt the butter and fry the chilli flakes, and drizzle this on top of the yoghurt. 

Turkish stuffed vegetables

This is the first of several recipes from Turkey, from our cooking class at Cookistan. I was really impressed with the quality of food that we produced. Some of these recipes are seasonal, so if you were to book with them, you’re sure to learn something new. 

We made stuffed dried aubergines, stuffed vine leaves, stuffed courgettes. The dried aubergines, pepper puree and vine leaves are available from Turkishop online, but peppers, beef tomatoes, or onions could be used. 

Ready for the oven

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 dried aubergines, or 8 good sized courgettes, or a jar of vine leaves in brine. If you can’t get vine leaves, then chard leaves would do. 
  • 100g mince
  • 50g rice or fine bulgar wheat
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp pepper puree
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder or chilli flakes
  • 1 handful of chopped parsley
  • Plain yoghurt to serve (you could add garlic, salt and pepper to the yoghurt)

METHOD:

  • If you are using dried aubergines, these need to be soaked in boiling water for around 5 minutes. They need to be weighed down to ensure they are completely submerged, and then rinsed in cold water. If you are using courgettes, use a teaspoon, melon baller (or a special Turkish courgette knife) to hollow them out. First, cut them in half across the way, not lengthways, and trim the end to make them steady to stand up in the pan. Then, hollow them out carefully. Other vegetables can be prepared in a similar way. 
  • Mix all the other ingredients, and mix them together with your hands.
  • Stuff the vegetables to about 3/4 full. During the cooking, the rice expands, so you need to leave a little bit of room. 
  • To stuff vine leaves, put each leaf shiny side down with the pointy bits pointing away. Put a line of mince about the size of your little finger across the bottom of the vine leaf. Start rolling the leaf round the mince, working away from you, folding in the sides as you go. There are lots of versions on youtube to check for the method. 
  • Put the stuffed vegetables in a casserole dish large enough for them all to fit with the open ends up. Put a plate over the top to keep them in place, smaller than the pan. Pour in around 500ml boiling water, and simmer the vegetables until they are cooked, around 45 minutes. 
  • Serve as a meze dish with yoghurt flavoured with garlic. 

Baked celeriac

So easy. Serve with anything. Ottolenghi SIMPLE. I grew the celeriac. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large celeriac, scrubbed clean and hairy roots removed. 
  • 50 ml olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed coriander seed
  • 1 lemon in wedges
  • salt

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 170C
  • Pierce the celeriac all over with a sharp knife. Rub with the oil, season with the salt and coriander and put it in a small baking dish. 
  • Roast for around 2 1/2 hours, basting with olive oil if required. 
  • To serve, cut into wedges and serve with lemon, a sprinkle of salt, a drizzle of olive oil. 

Roast cabbage with tarragon and pecorino cheese

Another wonderfully easy and tasty recipe from the Levant. This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s book SIMPLE. Best recipe book I ever bought, possibly. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 60ml olive oil (4 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cloves of garlic
  • 1 spring cabbage (the pointy kind) cut lengthways into 8ths. 
  • 5g tarragon leaves, or 3 tsp dried tarragon
  • 20g pecorino cheese
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 220C
  • In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, a good pinch of salt and a good grate of black pepper. Put 1 tbsp of this mixture in a separate bowl. 
  • Put the cabbage in a large bowl, season with a pinch of salt,  and pour the oil mixture over the cabbages, tossing well to coat. 
  • Arrange the cabbage in a roasting dish, and roast for 15 minutes, until the edges are getting crispy. Remove from the oven to set aside and cool a little. 
  • Add the lemon juice to the reserve tbsp of oil. Add the tarragon. 
  • Put the cabbage on a platter, drizzle over the oil, then add shavings of pecorino cheese and a good grating of black pepper. 

Menemen – Turkish dish of peppers, eggs and tomatoes.

We are about to go on holiday to Istanbul, so I was looking at Turkish recipes. This caught my eye, as I had a couple of green peppers from Tagsa Uist Grow your Community at East Camp. Very tasty, very easy. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 small green peppers, halved, seeded and sliced. 
  • 2 dried chilli peppers, crushed
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • Could include herbs such as thyme, oregano, spices such as cumin
  • chopped parsley
  • Sour cream or greek yoghurt

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, and add the onions, then the garlic, and then the pepper and chillies. Fry slowly until the onions are soft. 
  • Add the tomatoes and any additional herbs and spices, and simmer slowly to reduce the mixture. Season with salt and pepper
  • Make 4 holes in the mixture, and into each hole, crack an egg. Cover the pan and cook slowly for around 5 minutes to cook the eggs. (You can scramble the eggs into the mixture as an alternative.) 
  • Beat the yogurt or sour cream with salt and pepper. 
  • Sprinkle the menemen with parsley, and serve from the pan with the yoghurt or sour cream.