Archive | January, 2013

Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

30 Jan

How good did Alice’s Chickpea Hash look last week?? I’ve resolved to keep a few cans of chickpeas in my pantry at all times just to be prepared in the event of a chickpea hash craving.

In the spirit of improving my diet steadily while still eating really good food, I was inspired to make a batch of these roasted chickpeas this week.

1-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas_in bowl

These are a nice change from the regular texture of beans, as they get nice and crunchy like snack nuts when roasted, but with all the fiber and protein of the beans. So you can snack without feeling like you’re cheating and eating junk food.

It’s an easy recipe that even the kids will love.

1-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas_in bowl w girls

…waiting impatiently to dig in!

First get your ingredients together.

1-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas_ingredients

I used an assortment of spices from my cupboard that gave it a bit of a Moroccan flavor. You can mix up this spice mix and maybe go with some chili powder or garlic salt…play with the flavors to find your favorite combination.

Place the chickpeas in a colander and rinse under running water for about 30 seconds to remove most of the goo from the can.

1-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas_rinsing4

Then pour them out onto paper towels and dry them off. I had some great help patting them dry.

1-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas_helpers2

Measure out your spices

1-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas_spices

Once your chickpeas are dry, pour them into a plastic bag with the spices and a drizzle of olive oil and shake until they are all well coated

1-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas_shaking

Pour onto a baking sheet

1-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas_on pan2

Then place in a 375°F/190°C pre-heated oven for 40-60 minutes depending on how crispy you’d like them to be. I wanted them very crispy, so I kept them in for the full hour.

1-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas_on pan roasted-001

Pour them into a bowl and let the snacking begin!

"I want THIS many!" June

“I want THIS many!” -June

Spiced Roasted Chickpeas
(inspired by this recipe and this one and this one too)

2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 – 1 teaspoon spice mix below
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Spice Mix:
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
Drain chickpeas into a colander and rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears. Let beans drain for 5-10 minutes, then pat dry with a cloth of paper towel if they still look wet. While beans drain, make spice mix. This is great on roasted veggies or chicken, so make the full amount and store in a glass jar.
When beans are well drained and dried, toss with olive oil, spice mix, and salt. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet. Roast 40-60 minutes, or until they are slightly browned and make a rattling sound when you shake the baking sheet.  Serve warm or let cool.

Spiced Chickpea Hash with Soft Boiled Eggs

25 Jan


You know those mornings after the night before? The ones where you wake up feeling a bit worse for wear, and knowing a good hearty breakfast is pretty much the only way forward?

On New Year’s Day, we sat around, bleary eyed and nursing cups of tea, hoping that our favourite café would be open, and describing the perfect breakfast food they make in Trinidad.

doubles doubles2

It is called Doubles, and is a chickpea curry, indelicately slopped on to two pieces of eggy roti. Getting it in to your mouth and not down your front has a high degree of difficulty, but they are quite delicious. I have spared Jason the indignity of the photos showing him attempting to eat this little package. Let’s just say… action shots.

Back to New Year’s morning, the café was closed, and wonderful Karen volunteered to make a chickpea breakfast of her own styling, which was of course spectacular. And then she was generous enough to write it down for us all to keep. Here is my re-make.

So following on from B’s comfort food, here is a wonderful, spiced, comfort food for breakfast.

In addition to olive oil and salt…


Chickpeas, eggs, tomato, potatoes, red onion, cumin and sweet paprika and chilli powder.

It goes a little like this…


To get boiled eggs, with yolks not set hard, I put the eggs in a pot with cold water and brought it to the boil. Then turned off the heat and left to sit for four minutes. Then I ran them under cold water to stop them cooking further, and peeled.

For the chickpea hash, I started  with a generous amount of oil, and sautéed some chopped garlic and onion until translucent. I then added in the cumin and cooked a further 5 minutes until it was aromatic. Then I added potato, which I diced into chickpea size, and continued to cook over a medium heat until they were almost cooked through. This took around 15 minutes. I then added the chickpeas and the salt and sweet paprika. I let it cook for another 15 minutes or so. And tasted it for spice. I added a little chilli powder for some more kick. In the last couple of minutes I stirred through a diced tomato. I placed the quartered eggs over the plated servings, Karen was more daring and mixed them through.

You can serve this with a slice of toast if you like. Karen suggested ‘a bread without too much flavour’. It was perfect with a slice of white sourdough on New Year’s Day.


for three

1.5 Tbs olive oil
Half onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
1.5 tsp ground cumin
2 medium potatoes, diced to ‘chickpea’ size
1 tin chickpeas (garbanzo beans) well rinsed
1.5 tsp sweet paprika
.5 tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
1 medium tomato, diced
4 boiled eggs, cut in quarters
good pinch of salt

To cook the eggs, put in cold water in a pot and bring to the boil, turn off the heat and let sit for 4 minutes. Then run under cold water and peel.

Over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, until onion is translucent. Add cumin and cook a further 3-5 minutes until aromatic. Add potato and sauté until almost cooked through – lost raw firmness. Add chickpeas and season with salt and sweet paprika. Continue cooking further 15 minutes or so until all cooked through. Just before serving mix though the diced tomato, and pile the egg pieces on as you serve it up.

Serve with toast. I garnished it with a little mint, but Karen also suggests a little fresh thyme or oregano.


Sautéed Cabbage with Tomato

14 Jan

Let’s continue on this roll (hehe) with more cabbage! After seeing Alice’s last dish, I was so hungry for cabbage that I went to the store and made my go-to comfort food cabbage dish – sauteed cabbage with tomato.

Cabbage plated

This is a dish that I grew up eating on a regular basis. We had a huge garden and grew a lot of cabbage and had it for lunch and dinner quite often. It’s a simple dish that is great as a main vegetarian dish, perfect as a side dish with meatloaf or roast chicken or Brazilian beans and rice and delicious heated up and topped with a poached egg for a filling weeknight dinner in a flash. If you happen to be on a veggie kick, it’s right up your alley. The only non-vegetable ingredient is the olive oil used in the pan for sauteing purposes.


First, chop up your onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger

chopped ingredients

Slice your cabbage as thin as you can, by first cutting the cabbage in half


Then slicing each half very finely.

chopped cabbage

Heat up oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven.

First add your onions to the hot pan and let them cook for two to three minutes, stirring regularly, until they are softened slightly.

sauteed onions

Then add the garlic and ginger and stir before adding the tomatoes to the pan.

sauteed tomatoes

Add salt and pepper, or Arisco if you are lucky enough to have some. Arisco is a Brazilian seasoning consisting of salt, pepper, onion and garlic which adds a wonderful flavor to most savory dishes.


When the tomatoes have softened a little – about three minutes – add a cup of water and all the cabbage.

Lots and lots of cabbage

You may want to make sure your pan is large enough…mine almost wasn’t.

Lots of cabbage

Cover the pan for about five minutes, until the cabbage has softened a bit and is reduced

covered pan

Stir for a few more minutes while it continues to cook.

sauteed cabbage

When the cabbage is cooked, but still has a little bit of a crunch, serve.


If you’re lucky, you’ll have a good helper like I do.

Hattie helping

If you like a little spice, feel free to add some pepper sauce.


Alice, are you going to continue the cabbage roll?

Sautéed Cabbage with Tomato
Serves 4 as a main or 8 as a side

1 small cabbage, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ inch fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the onions in the hot oil until softened, about two to three minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and stir frequently before adding the tomatoes. Continue to stir until the tomatoes are softened, about three minutes. Add one cup of hot water to the pan and stir before adding all of the cabbage to the pan.

Cover pan for five minutes then remove cover and resume sautéing while stirring regularly until cabbage is softened, but still a bit crunchy. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.


Lahanadolmades – Greek Cabbage Rolls

6 Jan


Rice paper rolls are one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes, they looked great B.

I was given Tessa Kiros’ new Greek cookbook for Christmas, and began looking for a ‘wrap’ recipe to follow on with. I normally love Tessa’s recipes without any changes. One of the reasons it has taken me a while to respond to B’s last post, is that I wasn’t happy with my first attempt, and decided to make them again, and re-worked the filling. It may now be less traditional now, but hot damn, it is tasty. I found the savoy cabbage the best of the cabbages I tried, quite a hardy leaf to work with, and looks so pretty too.


I carefully cut leaves from the cabbage, and even kept the largest outer leaves, as I used them to line the base of the pot when it came to cooking. I gave them a good rinse. This amount of filling filled around 12 leaves, but I’d prepare a few extras just in case. I filled a large pot with water, added in a large pinch of salt and then boiled batches of around four leaves at a time. They took about 7 or so minutes before they softened. I then took them out and let them cool a little in a tea towel lined bowl. While they were cooking, I prepared the filling. I mixed together some mince beef, uncooked rice, grated onion, tomato passata, chopped parsley, minced garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder. I dotted some butter in to the base of a wide heavy based pan, and added a drizzle of olive oil. On to this I laid the largest leaves, as a protective base. To prepare the leaves I sliced across the thick rib of the leaf so that the leaves rolled easily.


I put a generous wooden spoonful of the mixture on to the centre of the thin part of the leaf, and then rolled it over, then tucked in the sides before rolling it again. I then laid them snugly in to the pot. Don’t do as I did and have the liner leaves coming up over the edge of the pan, best if they fit inside the pan too.


I dotted some more butter over the top and then put in some stock, filling to around 3/4 of the height of the cabbage parcels. I used liquid stock, but you could use the water from the cabbage leaves if you want to mix up a powdered stock. I then put the lid on, and brought to a simmer, for around 45 minutes. To check if they are cooked, I took out a roll and unrolled it to see if the rice was tender, then rolled it back up. As my pot was not very high sided, I found it easiest to remove the rolls to make the sauce. I whisked up some egg and lemon juice, and then added in a ladleful of the hot stock, and continued whisking. Then I poured this mix in to the pot over a very low heat. I stirred constantly in an attempt to keep the sauce lump free (cough, not entirely successfully). The odd lump is forgivable, I hear.

make_sauce whisksauce
I then placed the rolls back in to the sauce and on to the table to serve.


Over to you B!


makes around a dozen
1 Savoy cabbage, leaves carefully sliced from the stem
250g (1/2 pound) beef mince
1/2 cup medium-grain rice
1 large red onion, grated with a large holed grater
3/4 cup tomato passata. (Passata is a cooked and pureed Italian tomato sauce in a bottle, Hunt’s tomato sauce is runnier, but can be a substitute if you cook it down to around half its volume in advance)
4 generous tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley
around 1 litre (4 cups) warm chicken, or beef stock.
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
4 garlic cloves minced
zest of half a lemon
Juice of 4 lemons (3 are for the sauce)
20g (2/3oz) butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper and salt
4 eggs
The size of the cabbage will dictate a little as to how many rolls this makes.
Carefully remove the leaves from the cabbage head with a sharp knife, and wash well. Keep even the largest leaves, as you can use those for lining the pan. Small leaves you may use to patch holes in leaves should you find them. Cook the leaves in batches in a large a pot of salted boiling water for about 7 minutes or until soft. Set aside on to a dish lined with clean tea towels to cool a little. If you will be making stock using a powder, you can retain this water for it. To prepare the leaves for rolling, slice off the wide part of the rib at the base of the leaf.

In a bowl, prepare the filling. Mix together the mince meat, rice, onion, passata, parsley, paprika, chili, garlic, lemon zest, and the juice of one lemon. Season well with salt and pepper. Spoon a good sized wooden spoonful of the mixture in to the centre of the top of the leaf (the most flexible part) and roll up according to the images above, a full roll over the mix, then bring in the sides and roll it over again. It does not need to be super tight, as the rice will expand a little.

Dot half the butter, and all of the oil in the base of a large and wide pot with a lid. Place the reserved outer leaves on the base of the pan to protect the rolls as they cook. Place the cabbage rolls snuggly in to the pan in a circular pattern. If you need to go more than one layer up, that is fine.

Dot the rest of the butter over the rolls, and fill the pan with warmed stock, to around 3/4 of the height of the rolls. Should one litre not be enough, top up with a little more water. If it looks like the rolls will move around, invert a plate over the top, to hold them in place. Mine did not move at all. So I just put the lid on, brought it to a simmer, and cooked it for 45 minutes.

You can check if they are ready by unwrapping one roll, and making sure the rice is cooked.

To make the sauce, whisk up the eggs and the juice of three lemons. Add in a ladleful of the stock and continue to whisk. I found it easier to remove the cabbage rolls from the pot at this stage in to a tray, giving me good access to the remaining stock. I also discarded the large leaves that lined the base of the pot. Pour the egg and lemon mix in to the pot containing the stock. Continue to mix with a wooden spoon, over a very low heat. The sauce will thicken a little, but you want to avoid any lumps forming. If you need to add water to thin the consistency of sauce, go ahead, or you may want it even thicker, so mix a teaspoon of cornflour in to a ladleful of the sauce and then return it to the pot. The consistency is personal, as some people like it almost like soup.

Serve the cabbage rolls hot or warm, with a generous ladle of the sauce over the top.
%d bloggers like this: