Tag Archives: North African

North African Style Chickpea Soup

North African Chickpea Soup
North African Chickpea Soup with Sundried Tomato and Olive Bread
image: A Little Thought for Food

Carrying on with the health kick I made a soup that definitely hits the mark on all counts, a tasty filling and healthy soup that weighs in at a lowly 150kcal (approx) per portion! Try it and you won’t be disappointed.

It’s worth taking the time to skin the baby broad beans, as the soup looks and tastes nicer without the white sheaf that surrounds each green bean

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp Harissa
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 400g can chopped plum tomatoes
  • 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 100g frozen baby broad beans, skinned
  • zest and juice ½ lemon

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the onion, celery and the carrot. Cook on a low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the onions are soft.
  3. Add the cumin,  garlic, harissa and tomato puree and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes until the aromas are released.
  4. Turn up the heat, then add the stock, tomatoes and chickpeas, plus a good grind of black pepper.
  5. Simmer for 8 mins.
  6. Then throw in the broad beans and add the lemon juice,
  7. Cook for a further 2 mins.
  8. Season to taste, then top with a sprinkling of lemon zest.

Serve with a hunk of home made bread like my Sun dried Tomato and Olive or Roasted Fennel and Olive and enjoy…

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

Spiced North-African style eggs with homemade flatbreads

North African Baked Eggs image: The Sydney Morning Herald
North African Baked Eggs
image: The Sydney Morning Herald

This recipe is a breakfast and lunch favorite with my family and I, it’s a quick and easy and very tasty meal. Baking eggs in a spicy tomato sauce is very common in many parts of the world, most famously in the Mexican dish huevos rancheros. This version is topped with cheese for an extra treat.

Ingredients

For the flat breads

  • 250g/9oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • pinch salt
  • 1tbsp olive oil

For the eggs

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • ½ tsp crushed chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 x 400g/14oz tins chopped tomatoes
  • salt and black pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • 100g/3½oz feta cheese or Greek-style cheese, crumbled

Method

To make the flat breads,

  1. Sieve the flour and a generous pinch of salt into a mixing bowl.
  2. Make a well in the middle and add the oil.
  3. Mix into the flour then add 100-150ml/3½-5fl oz warm water until the mixture comes together to form a dough.
  4. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes, or until elasticated a little so that the dough springs back while you knead.
  5. Set aside to rest.

For the eggs.

  1. Heat a wide, heavy-based pan over a medium heat and toast the cumin seeds for a moment.
  2. Add the olive oil and gently fry the onion with a pinch of salt until softened and translucent. Add the green pepper, cover with a lid and gently fry for further five minutes, or until soft.
  3. Once the pepper is softened, add the garlic.
  4. Cook for two minutes, then sprinkle in the chilli flakes and add the chopped tomatoes. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  5. Cook over a medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and rich, taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Cook the flat breads.

  1. Meanwhile, divide the flat bread dough into eight balls.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each ball out to the thickness of a 50p piece (each flat bread should be approximately 12cm/4½in in diameter).
  3. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat.
  4. Cook a flatbread in the dry pan for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until slightly charred, cooked through and a little puffed up.
  5. Transfer to a plate and wrap in a clean tea towel. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
  6. Keep warm while you finish the eggs.

Finish the eggs.

  1. Make six wells in the tomato mixture and break an egg into each.
  2. Cover the pan and cook gently over a low heat for 3-4 minutes, or until the whites are set (cook for a further 2-3 minutes if you like your yolks set).

Sprinkle with the feta and serve with the warm flat breads on the side. If you are sort on time you can replace the flat breads with some warm pitta breads.

Jewelled Pumpkin Rice

Jewelled Pumpkin Rice
Jewelled Pumpkin Rice

We were sorting through the freezer this weekend working out what was stored in there and doing a bit of a rationalisation. I saw a bag of raw Pumpkin that had been saved this years Halloween ‘Jack O Lantern’. and wondered what I could do with it, maybe a Spiced Pumpkin soup or something more exotic. Sam and Sam Clarke at Moro, a Southern Mediterranean restaurant in London’s East End had a recipe for Jewelled Pumpkin Rice in their Moro East Cookbook, which looked stunning and defiantly one to try. The muted golds and yellow with the warming middle eastern spices are evocative of holidays in the North African side of the Med.

Serves 4 – 6 Gluten Free*

Ingredients

  • 500g peeled and seeded Pumpkin, butternut, or other winter squash, cut into dice
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • big pinch of saffron (about 50 strands)
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • cinnamon stick about 5 cms long
  • 4 allspice berries, crushed
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 15g dried barberrys (or currants)
  • 50g shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (freshly podded and ground if possible)
  • 300g basmati rice, soaked in tepid, salted water for 1 hour
  • 450ml vegetable/bouillon stock (use a Gluten Free stock for a Gluten Free recipe)

Method

Preheat the oven to 230 degrees centigrade/Gas 8. Toss the squash with half of the salt and the olive oil. Spread in a baking tray, and roast for 30 minutes. Mix the saffron with 3 tbsp boiling water, and add 25g of the butter. Set aside.

Heat the remaining butter in a medium pan with the cinnamon and allspice until it foams, then add the onion and remaining 1/2 tsp of salt. Fry over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to colour. Add the barberries (or currants), pistachios, and cardamom, and cook for 10 minutes more, until the onion is golden and sweet.

Drain the rice and add it to the pan, stirring for a minute or two before pouring in the stock. Taste for seasoning, scatter with the roasted squash, cover with greaseproof paper and a tight-fitting lid, and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a final 5 minutes. Remove the lid and greaseproof paper, and drizzle with the buttery saffron water. Replace the lid and leave to rest, off the heat, for 5-10 minutes.

 

It can be served as a vegetarian main or as a spiced side dish to a Tagine.

*Gluten Free - Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list 
are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change 
their base ingredients frequently.