Posts Tagged ‘chickpeas’

Not a recipe that normally springs to mind in the middle of June but this isn’t a normal June.

Perhaps it’s new normal June!

Normally (!) we would be eating supper outside–sun going down–cats on the wall–cows in the field–pale blue sky streaked with high-flying plane tracers–and remarking on how lucky we are!

Instead we enjoyed this in the warmth of the kitchen, in nodding agreement that this was indeed not normal.


1 onion–chopped small

2 garlic cloves–chopped

2 tbs olive oil

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp (each) turmeric, cumin powder, powdered ginger

1/2 tsp (each)  coriander powder, cayenne powder

8oz tinned [canned] or fresh tomatoes–chopped

1 pint/500 ml stock (You probably won’t need it all!)

2 celery sticks–sliced in small (wine cork) size

1 smallish sweet potato–peeled and cubed

3 fennel bulbs–outer leaves removed, cored, cut in half vertically and each half cut thrice (i.e. six pieces in all–the ones in the photo are a tad too large)

3 tbs cooked chickpeas

salt to taste–bearing in mind there is salt in the stock

3 tbs coconut cream* or whisked smooth low fat yogurt

  • Heat the oil in a medium pan and add the mustard seeds.
  • When they start to pop add the onions and garlic, mix them in and sweat them until they soften and begin to colour.


  • Add the rest of the spices, the salt and mix in.


  • Add the tomatoes and cook on for five minutes to let them form a sauce.


  • Add half the stock and cook on for 5 minutes.


  • Add the cut up vegetables and mix in.
  • Cover and cook for 30 minutes–checking now and then that it doesn’t dry up (as it very nearly did for me!).
  • Add more stock as you need and cook on.
  • Turn off the heat and let it cool down.
  • When you are ready to eat, stir in three tablespoons coconut cream or whisked low fat yogurt and gently reheat.


*The difference between coconut milk/cream and cream of coconut is fully explained here: 


It looks like milk, it is NOT sweetened and it does NOT taste of coconut!


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Easing back into the flow and with one foot–so to speak–still in Italy, I go to my comfort zone for guidance and authenticity.

my culinary Bible

my culinary Bible

Marcella Hazan’s first cookbook–still usable, though much patched-up and thumbed.

She doesn’t purée this nourishing and warming soup–though some do, she says.

I’ll go with roughly 1/4  whole chickpeas to 3/4  puréed.

I’ve also added a hint of fire! A couple of small dry red chilis left in the cooking tomatoes for five minutes and then fished out; or leave them in–but careful you don’t swallow them later.

I’ve used twice the liquid she suggests. Italians like to eat their soup almost solid.

3 garlic cloves–peeled but left whole

6 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp rosemary needles–chopped fine

8oz/200gm tinned (canned) tomatoes–chopped with the juice

14oz/400gm can cooked chickpeas–drained

450ml/1 pint stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes

salt and pepper

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the garlic until it is well browned.
  • Take it out; it’s job–infusing the oil–is done.
  • Throw in the rosemary and stir once, then add the tomatoes with their juice.
  • Cook these down to a sauce–about 20 minutes, stirring often to avoid it burning.
  • Add the chickpeas and stir these around for five minutes to inform them with the tomato sauce.
  • Add three-quarters of the stock and stir it in.


  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover the pan and cook for fifteen minutes.
  • Take off the lid, stir well and taste for salt.
  • Add more stock if you like.
  • Serve it piping hot with a swirl of best olive oil.


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My copies of Rose Elliot’s vegetarian cookbooks, Not Just a Load of Lentils and The Bean Book, have been on my bookshelves for ages and are much thumbed!

First published in the 1970sher recipes have withstood the test of time–and the ingredients often fit in with my adopted way of eating.

This is adapted from a recipe in The Bean Book. 

I made it in the morning and gently reheated it in the evening–giving the spices time to settle and meld. We had it for supper last night and it was worth the wait.

Meredith is wary of pulses because of their tendency to cause flatulence.

This time the positive outweighed the negative and she gave it the thumbs up–phew!

for 4

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 small onion–chopped

1 clove of garlic–peeled & chopped

1/2  teaspoon of powdered cumin

1/2 teaspoon of powdered coriander

1/2 teaspoon each of garam masala ( an earlier post), turmeric, ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cayenne/chili powder

1 teaspoon fresh root ginger–peeled & chopped (optional)

1 large jar of cooked chickpeas–drained (the precise quantity is not critical!)

2 fennel bulbs–outer leaves removed, quartered and chopped

1 large leek–damaged outer parts removed, cut down to the base, washed and sliced

2 tablespoons of parsley or coriander–chopped

1 pint of vegetable stock (I use organic cubes diluted with boiling water.)

  • Heat the oil in a pan.
  • Gently fry the cumin seeds until they start to pop.
  • Add the onion and garlic and soften–about 3 minutes.

  • Add the spices and mix them in.

  • Add the chickpeas.
  • Add the leeks and fennel and mix.

  • Add the stock–start with half a pint and adjust as needed.
  • Bring the mixture up to boil, then cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

  • Fold in a tablespoon of parsley or coriander.
  • Sprinkle the second  tablespoon of parsley or coriander over the dish when you serve it hot with…
  • Brown basmati rice and yogurt sauce (see the next post).

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The “Food Pyramid” was an early post back in February.
In a campaign backed by the First Lady Michelle Obama, this has now been replaced (by the USDA — the American Department of Agriculture)  by “My Plate”.
The new icon sets out on “your plate”  –a guide to a healthy, balanced way of eating.
In principle anyway, it is simpler and more logical than the pyramid image–we eat off plates not pyramids–though I don’t find it visually pleasing.
Will its message get through?…
We have just finished lunch
and without intending to–it was stuff I found in the refrigerator– I ended up pretty much following the guidelines.
It was a Salad of:-      (protein, grain, vegetable, and dairy)
chickpeas (pg)–out of a tin or, as in my case, dried, soaked overnight, then simmered in water until tender
with thinly sliced/chopped fennel  (v)
some chunks of avocado (v)
a small cucumber, de-seeded and chopped (v)
thinly-sliced red onion (v)
small pieces of cooked chicken breast (p)
a few black olives (v)
some cubes of goats cheese with (dp)
chopped parsley (v)
with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing–oh and a few dry roasted (in a frying pan) pumpkin seeds(pv) scattered over, seasoned with salt and pepper.
And–we ate it off  plates!

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We had these spicy little numbers yesterday for lunch–with grilled strips of marinaded chicken breasts and swiss chard leaves sautéed with garlic and olive oil.

This is adapted from a lovely book of recipes by Australian cookery writer Jody Vassallo, which I found at Café Plum in Lautrec in French (it sells books as well as coffee, and feels Parisien!).

1 16 oz/450 gm  tin or bottle of cooked chickpeas–drained, rinsed and dried (it’s important to dry them well– kitchen paper comes in handy here).

1 clove of garlic-crushed to a paste, with a little salt

1 tsp each of smoked paprika, cumin powder, white pepper powder, coriander powder, cayenne powder, dried thyme, dried oregano and salt–(or as many of these as you can muster!)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Put the garlic, spices and dried herbs in a bowl and add the salt.

Mix these together thoroughly with a fork.

Add the chickpeas to the bowl and turn them over to coat them in the mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.

When the oil is hot add the chickpeas and roll them about in the oil–they should ideally lie in one layer.

Cook them over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, until they colour and crisp up.

They were delicious with:

A chicken breast each–cut into thin strips, seasoned and marinaded in olive oil for an hour.

Then cooked on a hot grill plate for a couple of minutes each side.


A large handful of swiss chard leaves (or spinach) washed and most of the water shaken off it, then sautéed in 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 1 clove of  garlic sliced very fine.

Heat the oil in a pan you can cover.

Fry the garlic until it starts to colour.

Carefully add the chard, a little salt and turn it in the oil.

Cover the pan and let the chard reduce until it is tender.

The excess water makes a little sauce, but if there’s too much just drain it off.

I arranged it all on a single plate and we fought for the last chickpea!

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