I soaked and boiled some chickpeas on Wednesday, in preparation for a vegetable tagine. But then I didn’t fancy the tagine, and our schedule for the next few days doesn’t really accommodate it, and anyway, we had no soup left for lunch. Shocking, I know.
So into the medium slow cooker this morning went some chorizo, red onion and a bit of olive oil. An hour later, I added the cooked chickpeas, a little boiling water, some lemon juice, and some chicken Bisto granules. And some sea salt and black pepper. And then some Ras el Hanout, because it seemed to be lacking something. Left it another couple of hours, added some of the enormous bunch of parsley, chopped, and consumed it with a mini naan bread. And there’s enough for a second round tomorrow.
Tonight, I shall be experimenting with a Philips Airfryer; not sure it’s my sort of thing, but I’ve been given it to review, so it would be rude not to.
I love butternut squash. It has a lovely texture, and works in so many things: risotto, roast veg, Thai currys, soup, etc. But there’s no denying that it’s a faff to deal with due to the peel. So I did a little experiment.
I wanted some soup to come home to on Saturday, and astonishingly, there was no mongrel soup on the go (which I must address). And there was a squash in the fridge. I cut the top off the squash, and then chopped the rest in half, scooped out the seeds, and put it in the medium slow cooker with about ½” of wine (all there was left in that bottle, although obviously in this house, other bottles were available). I then added about 1″ further of water. Switched it on, went away. Returned after a couple of hours and added a diced and peeled Bramley, because it struck me that it would work rather well.
In the small slow cooker, I put a big onion, chopped, three cloves of garlic, and some chopped sage leaves from the garden. Half of this mixture went to make sage and onion tear and share bread (which I baked in the Remoska when we got home),
After four, or maybe five, hours, the squash seemed well cooked, so I scooped a bit out, and lo – even the skin was really soft. So I put it, the apple, the onion and sage mix, into the food processor and blitzed it all. Returned it to the pot with a bit more water, tasted it, and decided it needed some toasted cumin, which Pete obligingly provided. Switched the slow cooker onto medium, and it was all done and dusted when we got home, just half an hour to bake the bread. Splendid.
And then …
I had planned to make Anjum Anand’s Gujarati lamb on Sunday, and had removed half a shoulder of the relevant beast from the freezer. I usually add a squash to this, because the texture is so nice, but there was a bowlful of soup left and it seemed rude not to use that instead. So instead we had a kind of use it up Gujarati lamb, which went like this.
one shoulder of lamb, browned on all sides.
one onion, finely diced
some garlic (I used about six cloves) and a big piece of ginger, made into a paste with some water
a couple of handfuls of dessicated coconut
ground cumin, coriander, turmeric
some chilli flakes
leftover butternut squash soup (I accept that most of you won’t have this to hand)
some chickpeas (I always used dried, so had them cooking in the small slow cooker while this was going on)
lemon juice – about a tablespoon’s worth
salt and black pepper
Soften the onion in some vegetable oil, then add the garlic/ginger paste and fry for about three minutes. Tip in the spices (quantities here are very individual – we like our foot spicy). Fry a bit longer. Put the lamb in the slow cooker, tip the onion mix in, add the soup, and a little water if required – I wanted it to come about half way up the meat. I normally add sweet potatoes, but mine had gone mouldy (oh the shame).
Cooked it for about six hours (adding the previously cooked chickpeas about two hours from the end) and it was just beautiful. We gorged on it, and there was plenty left for today’s lunch. And indeed there’s still a fair bit of the sauce left, so I shall be adding red lentils and veg to that, and making it into this week’s mongrel soup.
So there you go – slow cook your squash, and no need to peel. Win win.
[Apologies: I really meant to take a photo of this, but now we’ve scoffed most of it]
As I’ve written before, I love pulses. I try to use dried ones, because they’re so much cheaper, and they cook up beautifully in the slow cooker, without filling the kitchen with steam or having to be watched in case they boil over. You just have to be organised enough to put them in to soak, which I actually managed this week.
So, in they went for a soaking on Monday afternoon, and on Tuesday lunchtime I put them in the slow cooker, with a change of water. Then I forgot to turn them off again until we got back from the pub, but they had come to no harm.
On Wednesday, I chopped up the last of the agéd chorizo – so useful if you’re in a hurry: instant paprika and garlic! I put that to fry off in my huge cast iron casserole, with a little olive oil, and then hurled in two chopped aubergines, two chopped courgettes, and two roughly chopped red onions. Put it on low, and left it for a bit for the veg to cook down.
Remembered there was a tub of tomato and red wine sauce in the freezer, so liberated it and dunked it in a washing up bowl of cold water. After a bit, it slid out of its plastic tub and I dumped it in on top of the veg to continue thawing. About twenty minutes later, I added some chopped herbs, and Quite A Lot of chickpeas (I do tend to overestimate these things). Stirred it all round, added a splash of water and some salt and pepper, and left it for half an hour.
We snarfed huge bowlfuls for supper last night (with nothing else, it didn’t need it), and then we had slightly less huge bowlfuls for lunch today. And there’s enough left to – oh, I don’t know – possibly eat with a pitta or somesuch. I’ll work something out.
p.s. That tomato/wine sauce is a winner. I’m going to make more of that.
We had a cauli in the fridge last week. Now, I like cauli, and we make cauli cheese, or a cauli and lentil curry. Sometimes we even just have it as a side veg. But none of them appealed, so I went rummaging through the books, and came up with Satyamma’s cauliflower curry. I didn’t follow the recipe precisely – they’re guidelines, is all.
We added sweet potato rather than “ordinary”, and adjusted the spices a bit (but not enough – needs about twice as much as the recipe, to my mind), and added a can of chickpeas*; it was absolutely lovely, and I reckoned it at about 190 calories a serving, without rice or whatever. We had roasted peanuts left in from the festive season, and everything else was in the house already, so that was a win too.
I really must go through that book more, because I’m currently in a bit of a rut with cooking.
Also, note to self: take photographs!
*Yes, I know, but I do keep a few tins of pulses in for such occasions; normally I would have soaked and boiled. Mea culpa.
Chickpeas are splendid legumes. We always keep a couple of cans of them in (along with a variety of other beans), but I do prefer to soak and cook them myself, as that way they are far, far cheaper. However, I am a bit prone to just lobbing a load in a bowl of water, and then finding I have far many more of the little chaps to deal with than I had anticipated …
I soaked and boiled some on Sunday last week, and then on Monday I chopped red onion, yellow pepper, a tired aubergine, together with some garlic. Fried that off in olive oil, lobbed in a couple of teaspoons of Ras el Hanout spice and some lemon juice, added a load of chickpeas, and cooked it down for half an hour or so. Added some finely chopped flat leaf parsley, and had it with rice for supper. And there was enough to have for lunch the following day with some toasted pitta.
The remaining chickpeas went into the food processor with lots of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, and tahini, to make hummus. Hummus is ridiculously easy to make, I really don’t know why I ever buy it! Some of the parsley went in that too (and the rest? Post coming!).
We decided to christen the Remoska with roast veg, something I love but rarely manage to start in time to eat it at a reasonable time of night. Well, actually, we christened it with some potato scones – they worked beautifully, but I’m not sure that it’s not easier with a griddle pan on the hob.
Between us, we chopped two courgettes, half a butternut squash, a red onion, a red pepper and a couple of carrots. Bunged them in the Remoska with about 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped, some dried chilli flakes, and some thyme from the garden. Tossed it all about in olive oil, took a deep breath and switched it on. It cooked in about 50 minutes, and was totally lovely. So we’ll do *that* again.
While that was going on, I boiled up some chickpeas that had been soaking overnight and set them aside for today. There was about half the roast veg left, so this morning I seasoned a chicken breast with salt, pepper and cumin seeds, and quickly roasted it off in the small Remoska (no idea why I’ve never tried this before :). Then, today’s main meal was:
Remainder of the roast veg, chickpeas, cubed chicken breast, and a stir through of some Ras el Hanout. As always, I was unsure what to put in for some additional liquor, and then inspiration struck. I have a bad habit of buying chutneys, and never using them, so I bunged in a tablespoon each of apricot chutney, and tomato relish – it worked really well.
And there was another meal’s worth left, which I put in the freezer!
This follows on, really, from here. We had even more left over this time!
I cut up an onion and some garlic, and fried them off in olive oil. Then I added a heaped teaspoon of Ras el Hanout and fried that off for a minute or two. In went the meat, cut into smallish pieces, then some chickpeas. I’d put the chickpeas in to soak the night before, and boiled them up in the morning, because I am too mean to use a can unless I’m caught short (as it were).
There were, inevitably, more chickpeas than would fit in the pan.
I added about 2/3 of a carton of passata, and a slug of cider (as that bottle is still in the fridge and, you know, I don’t want to waste it ..). Tasted it, and it was a bit sweet, so I added the juice of half a lemming. Simmered it all for about 20 minutes, ate with rice. Made a nice lunch (as previously noted, we tend towards main meal at lunchtime on Tuesdays, due to Morris practice).
[Edited to add]
It made loads, and so I lobbed in the remainder of the chickpeas that were leftover, and put it all in the freezer!
We don’t as, as a rule, eat takeaway food. It’s cheap here in Hull, but it’s not terribly good for diabetics 🙂 But we did have a kebab on Saturday night. Now, this is not the sort of kebab you get from the corner van, that smells so inviting when you’re on your way home from the pub – this is from a Lebanese restaurant, Ranoosh, on Beverley Road, and their food is just gorgeous.
We had Makanek (Lebanese sausages flambeed in lemon), Halloumi Cheese, Mixed Grillof 4 skewers: Lamb meshwi, shish taouk & 2 kofta, and Mixed Chawarma – Slices of marinated lamb & chicken roasted on a skewer. It arrived with two portions of rice, salad and a selection of dips, and was delivered to the door for the princely sum of £21. And there was too much to eat, so we put the leftover meat into the fridge.
For today’s lunch, I chopped up the meat, and added radish, cucumber, red pepper, spring onions and half a can of chickpeas, plus lemon juice, black pepper and a little mayonnaise. Pete had some Indian flat bread too. ‘Twas lovely.
I bought a pound of diced chicken last Friday, and soaked and boiled some chickpeas, with the full intention of making a tagine with them on Sunday. Didn’t get to it, due to an unfortunate cycling incident (OK, I fell off), so I stole 30 minutes yesterday morning to make it.
Browned the chicken pieces in olive oil, and put them in the slow cooker. Cut two peppers (one red, one yellow) into chunks, and fried them off until they were just starting to blacken at the corners, added them to the cooker. Hurled in a sliced courgette which was getting a bit tired, a lemon cut into 8, salt, pepper.
Cut a red onion into chunks, and chopped four cloves of garlic, fried them off, added some ras el hanout to the pan and cooked it for a few seconds. Rummaged in fridge for ideas, and found a jar of tomato and pepper relish, so bunged in a couple of tablespoons’ worth, then a squirt of honey and some water. Brought all that to a simmer, hurled it into the slow cooker with the chickpeas, switched on.
The smell drove us demented all afternoon, and we ate some for supper with rice, and chopped coriander sprinkled over the top.
We had a load of cold cooked chicken left over from a roast, some rather tired coriander leaves, a wizened yellow pepper, so time for one of our favourites.
Roughly chopped two onions, several cloves of garlic and the yellow pepper, and sauteéd them off in some olive oil. Added some chopped chorizo and let it cook down, and then added some cumin seeds. Hurled in the chicken, a load of chickpeas (which I’d soaked and boiled, but tinned is fine).
Made a stock of Marigold bouillon powder (no home should be without it) and a teaspoon or so of arrowroot to thicken it. Squeezed in the juice of a lemon, and some salt and pepper. It looked a bit unbalanced, so I bunged in half a jar of roasted yellow peppers, sliced thinly. Left to cook for about half an hour with a lid on, then added the chopped coriander and cooked for another ten minutes.