Chickpea, Spinach and Harissa Stew (4)

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Harissa paste is a staple of Tunisian cooking and is their equivalent of tomato ketchup. It is made from a combination of chilis, roasted red peppers, spices, herbs and garlic. It adds a zing to soups and stews. My recipe can either be served as a vegetarian or vegan main course or as a side dish.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium sized onion – finely chopped

1 large garlic clove – grated

1 tbsp. harissa paste

1 and 1/2 cups passata

1 cup chicken/vegetable broth (add more broth at the end of cooking if you want a thinner sauce)

4 oz. baby tomatoes

1 x 15 oz can of chickpeas

5 oz baby spinach

Heat seasoned olive oil in a cast iron casserole dish with a lid and when sizzling add onion and let soften and brown, then add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add harissa paste, passata, broth, tomatoes, chickpeas and spinach. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer with the lid on for some 20 minutes until tomatoes are bursting their skins.

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Spicy Chickpea and Avocado Dip (at least 4)

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Healthy, healthy – mashed chickpeas and avocado with some cayenne pepper and a little lemon juice (to stop the avocado from discoloring).

1 avocado

1/2 can chickpeas

1/4 lemon

Salt, freshly, ground black pepper and cayenne pepper

Mash avocado and chickpeas together in a large bowl, then add the juice of a 1/4 of a lemon along with salt, pepper and two pinches of cayenne pepper (adding less or more depending on how spicy you like things.

Roasted Chickpeas

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Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Roasted chickpeas are great as a nibble instead of peanuts, etc. and they add crunch when sprinkled over a salad or soup. One way to serve them is to toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper along with cumin and curry powder. The aim is to get them crunchy all the way through so roast in an oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour and taste to see if thoroughly crunchy, if not leave in oven and keep checking.

1 x 15 oz. chickpeas – rinsed and drained

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. curry powder

Place chickpeas in an ovenproof dish, pour over the olive oil and toss.

Add salt, pepper, cumin and curry powder.

Toss again and place in oven.

Check oven once in a while and stir the chickpeas so that they get evenly browned and taste one every so often until they are crisp like a nut.

Tamarind Lamb Chops on a Bed of Moroccan Vegetables (4)

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Lamb is a frequent feature in North African dishes such as stews and tagines and I have borrowed some flavors from the area – cumin, cilantro and harissa paste – to bolster this dish.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

4 x lamb chops drizzled with oil

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 of a large yellow onion – chopped

1 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. harissa paste

1/2 a medium size cauliflower – cut into smallish florets

6 fl. oz. water

1 x 15 oz. can of chickpeas – rinsed and drained

1 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

Tamarind paste – for spreading on cooked lamb chops

Place the lamb chops in oven and cook for 30 minutes.

While the chops are cooking prepare the bed of vegetables.

Heat seasoned oil in a skillet and when sizzling add onion, turn heat down a little and soften.

Add cumin, harissa paste and cauliflower florets and stir. Then pour over the water, cover skillet, bring to boil and simmer for a few minutes until cauliflower is just tender. Pour in chickpeas and cilantro and heat through.

Place vegetables on a serving dish, top with lamb chops brushed with tamarind paste.

 

Chicken, Arugula, Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Mustard and Anchovy Dressing (4)

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I love this salad!  There are lots of textures and flavors, none of which dominate the other and they seem to complement each other too. I poached the chicken in my usual way which gives the chicken more flavor (place chicken on aluminum foil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, drizzle over 1 tbsp. olive oil and juice of half a lemon and cook for half an hour). When making a dressing I like to put the ingredients in a jar with a screw top lid and give the ingredients a good shake until they emulsify.

1 large chicken breast – poached (see above) and cut into bite size pieces.

1/2 a cauliflower – cut into smallish florets, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 oz. arugula (it is more than it sounds)

1 x 15 oz. can of chickpeas – rinsed and drained

1/2 a shallot – finely chopped

Place dressing in a large mixing bowl.

Add arugula and toss well.

Then, in order, add chicken, cauliflower, chickpeas and shallot one by one tossing well before adding the next ingredient. This ensures a good, even coating of dressing.

Lemon Anchovy Dressing

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 – 4 anchovy fillets (try 2 to start with a taste) – finely chopped

Mix lemon juice and mustard until smooth then add oil and anchovies.

 

 

 

Fried Chickpeas on Bed of Spinach (2)

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A vegetarian/vegan delight full of goodness and iron with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Couldn’t be simpler.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 can chickpeas – drained and rinsed

10 oz. baby spinach – rinsed

Pinch of two of cayenne pepper

Heat oil in skillet/frying pan and when sizzling add garlic – let cook for a few seconds, then add chickpeas and cook until golden brown.

Remove chickpeas from pan and add rinsed spinach (there should be enough water left on leaves to wilt the spinach). When spinach is cooked wrap in a clean T-towel to get rid of excess water.

Place spinach in a serving dish, top with chickpeas and sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

 

 

Herby Hummus

This is really moreish. You can, of course, serve it as a dip with chips or veggies, but I served it as part of a main course by placing slices of lemon juice-poached chicken breast on top of it.

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When I make hummus the most annoying part of it is stirring the separated Tahini until smooth. This time I placed the whole can of Tahini in the food processor and once it was thoroughly mixed I placed the whole lot back in the can and measured out the amount I needed.

1/4 cup of smooth Tahini (see above)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves of garlic – roughly chopped

1/2 cup of chopped parsley (I used Italian flat parsley as it has a smoother texture)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 teasp. cumin

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 can of chickpeas – drained

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

4 tbsp. boiling water

Add the ingredients to a food processor one by one in the order given above. When you get to the chickpeas add them a tablespoon at time and then drizzle the oil and water in. This gives the mixture time to get well blended.