Black Beans and Quinoa (4)

Just as I substitute rice noodles for pasta, I do the same thing with quinoa for rice. It is like a blank canvas and soaks up flavors whilst at the same time providing protein. Tomatoes, black beans, garlic and some spices (dep

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ending on how spicy you like your dishes you can use less than I do) round out this recipe.

2 cups of boiling water

1 cup quinoa

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

1 medium onion – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – grated

2 cups of canned chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp. harissa paste (or less)

1 tsp. cumin (or less)

1 x 15oz. can of black beans

1 1/2 cups chicken or veg. broth

Pour the boiling water into a saucepan, add the quinoa, bring to a boil and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff through with a fork and leave to stand for 15 minutes.

Place oil in a frying pan and when sizzling add the onion and let soften and brown slightly, then add the garlic and cook for another few minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes, mix in the harissa paste and cumin , add the beans and broth and bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the cooked quinoa and serve immediately

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A Tasty Little Dipping Sauce

Instead of the usual shrimp cocktail sauce why not try this? Ratio is 3 tbsp. passata (strained tomatoes) to 1/2 – 1 tbsp harissa paste (depending on how spicy you like things. Definitely worth a try and can go with other ingredients – scallops or over zucchini noodles, etc.

 

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.

 

Mediterranean Eggplant (4)

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Many countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea use eggplant (also known as aubergine) in their cuisines: ratatouille (France); eggplant parmesan (Italy); moussaka (Greece). My recipe borrows ingredients common to these countries and combines them with harissa paste which is found in many Tunisian dishes.  The topping is melted feta cheese.

Makes  a nice side dish or a good vegetarian meal.

To prepare the eggplant and get rid of any possible bitterness, I peeled, sliced and chopped it into small pieces. Then I liberally salted it in a colander and left it for an hour. After that I rinsed it well and dried the pieces in a dry T-towel.

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

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 medium eggplant (prepared as above)

1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup roasted red peppers from a jar – roughly cut

1 – 2 tbsp. harissa paste (depending on how fiery you like things)

3 oz. feta cheese

1 tbsp. vegetable broth

Start by heating oven to 350 degrees.

Heat seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish on the stove top and when sizzling add the grated garlic and turn down the heat.

Let garlic cook but not brown, for a few minutes then add the eggplant chunks and cook for 10 minutes, stirring fairly frequently. They should be lightly browned by then

Add tomato sauce, red peppers and harissa paste. Stir well together and place in oven (with lid on casserole dish) for 20 minutes.

Five minutes before eggplant mix is ready place 3 oz. feta cheese (crumbled) in a saucepan and add 1 tbsp. vegetable broth. Heat on stove top and whisk till mixture is smooth.

Take eggplant mixture from oven and top with feta sauce.