White Bean and Vegetable Tagine

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I have a beautiful black tagine that I love using. I cook lots of things in it, not just Moroccan food. It makes everything cooked in it taste special. In Morocco, veggie tagines vary so much. They can be rich and oily or watery and tasteless. Generally, they are made only of veg though and we found it hard to find a tagine that used lentils or beans. This is a shame as the tagine is so ubiquitous, you end up eating one almost every day, as other vegan options are so limited in Morocco. A little extra nutrition in the way of pulses really helps to lift the dish.

I soaked and cooked my own beans here but tinned are almost as good.
Serves 6

Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour

Ingredients
A medium onion chopped
A large aubergine chopped
2 red peppers chopped
3 medium tomatoes blended with a large clove of garlic
A tin of white beans or equivalent in soaked and cooked beans
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme
A teaspoon of harissa
A teaspoon of ras al hanout paste or powder
A teaspoon of chermoulah paste if you can get it
Salt and pepper to taste
A tablespoon of olive oil

Warm the oil in the tagline and add the onion, aubergine and pepper. Cook gently until starting to soften. Then add the tomato mixture, beans, herbs and spices. Bring to the boil and turn the heat very low. Put the lid on the tagine or pan and simmer for about an hour until the vegetables are melting and the sauce is thick.

Serve with crusty whole wheat bread or couscous.

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Spicy Carrot and Peanut Soup with Coconut Milk

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It started to feel a little autumnal this morning and it was slightly chilly indoors, making me want to eat something warming. This soup has Asian influences but also reminds me of Africa where lots of peanuts are grown. This could be made with pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato, all of which would be delicious. As this is a blended soup, you do not have the chop the ingredients small and this saves on preparation time. I used pearl barley to thicken this but you could add red split lentils instead.

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes

Ingredients
3 medium carrot coarsely chopped
Two large shallots coarsely chopped
A clove of garlic chopped
750ml of boiling water
Two vegetable stock cubes
A large handful of pearl barley
100ml coconut milk
A handful of toasted peanuts finely ground
A handful of fresh coriander chopped
Half a teaspoon of cumin seeds
Half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the carrots, shallots, garlic, cumin, chilli, water, barley and stock cubes into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes until the carrots are soft and the barley is cooked. Add the coconut milk, half of the coriander and a dessertspoonful of the ground nuts and cook for a further minute. Blend the soup. Serve in a bowl garnished with more coriander, ground nuts and chilli flakes.

Tofu, Mushroom and Spinach Burritos with Raw Corn Salsa

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Burritos are a really quick midweek meal. I fry the filling in a cast iron pan which retains the heat evenly so you can cook your veg quickly without burning and while retaining their juiciness. You can use peppers, tempeh, other green veg like Pak Choy…just about anything will work. I used oyster mushrooms but any kind will work.

The fresh, corn salsa is my favourite part of this meal. I also love pineapple salsa.

Serves 2
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredients
For the filling
Half a packet of tofu cut into small chunks
A medium onion thickly sliced
A large handful of oyster mushrooms left chunky
A large handful of washed spinach leaves sliced
A crushed clove of garlic
Half a teaspoon of ground coriander
Half a teaspoon of ground cumin
Half a teaspoon of ground chilli
A tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the salsa
Two ears of raw, fresh corn
Two medium tomatoes
Two spring onions
Quarter clove of garlic
Two whole red chillies
A handful of fresh coriander
A teaspoon of lemon juice
Salt and per to taste

Heat the oil in a caste iron pan until it is hot. Add the onions and tofu with the garlic and spices. Stir continuously for a few minutes until onion are cooked but not soft. Add mushrooms and spinach. Stir for another two minutes and season.

Meanwhile place all salsa ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Season to taste.

Heat 4 tortillas. When warm fill with the burrito filling, fold and top with the salsa.

Roasted Butternut Squash Samosas with a Peanut Sambal

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I love freshly cooked samosas. The best veggie samosas I have ever eaten were in a petrol station in Mombasa, Kenya. An unlikely location for great food but that is often the case. Samosas need to be crispy but not fatty and have plenty of filling inside. I cook these in the oven rather than deep frying. I had some roasted butternut squash left over from the couscous salad recipe and decided to use that. It worked really well. Proper samosa pastry is thick and lovely but ehere I use shop bought filo pastry which is easier and lighter. It does take a while to make these but you get much quicke after the first one.

The sambal can be served with curries as well as used as a chutney with cold food.

Makes 6 samosas
Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes

Ingredients
For the samosas
A small butternut squash roasted with seeds and skin removed
Half a large onion cut into fine slices
A clove of garlic, a thumbnail size piece of fresh ginger and a small chilli blitzed into a paste or finely chopped
Half a teaspoon of mustard seeds and half a teapsoon of cumin seeds
Oil for frying
12 triangular sheets of filo pastry
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sambal
2 handfuls of roasted peanuts
A handful of fresh coriander
6 cherry tomatoes
1 chilli
A teaspoon of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the seeds. Allow to toast a little then add the onions and garlic, chilli, ginger paste. Cook until the onions are soft and starting to caramelise. In the meantime, mash the butternut squash in a large bowl and add the onion mixture when it is ready. Stir together well and season to taste.

You now need to construct the samosas by following the pictures. Use the pastry two sheets thick and keep the pastry moist by covering with a damp tea towel. Moisten the edges with water at each stage so they stick together well. Once this is done brush them all over with oil and place in an oiled baking tray. Cook at 170 degrees celsius for 20 minutes. Turn half way through so they are brown on each side.

While the samosas are cooking, make the sambal by combining all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitzing until it is smooth. Season to taste.

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Creamy Coconut Dahl

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It is so hard to get good, vegan, Indian food in Berlin. Dave and I have never eaten so little Indian food in the last 20 years. As I have said before, I love dahl for both feast and famine situations. This dahl is a more luxurious dish than the chana dahl with spinach. It has lots of coconut milk to make it creamy. If you can get fresh curry leaves it would taste even more authentic but I cannot get them here. This is just as nice served with rice or bread. We also ate the peanut sambal with this that I had made to go with the samosas.

Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour
Ingredients

200g of chana dahl precooked
A medium onion finely sliced
Oil for frying
A teaspoon of mustard seeds
Half a teapsoon of cumin seeds
A pinch of aniseeds
2 heaped teaspoons of garam masala
A paste made of a thumbnail size piece of fresh ginger, 2 cloves of garlic and 2 small chillis
125ml of coconut milk
2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
2 tablespoons of water
A handful of chopped frsh coriander

Heat the oil and add the seeds and garam masala and toast for a minute before adding the onion. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion is soft then add the tomatoes and the ginger, garlic, chilli paste and a tablespoon of water. Cook over a low light for about 10-15 minutes, adding more water if necessary. The tomatoes should be soft. Place the whole contents of the pan into a blender and blend with a tablespoon of coconut milk. Return the blended paste to the pan and add the dahl which has been pre-cooked. Add the rest of the coconut milk and half of the corainder and stir well. Bring to the boil then simmer for about another 15 minutes until it is thick and creamy. If it starts sticking to the pan, add a little water. Season to taste and garnish with the remaining coriander.

Roasted Corn and Butternut Squash Couscous Salad

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Couscous can be very dull and you need to add a lot of flavour to make it into something wonderful. This dish has sweetness from both the squash and the corn plus bags of freshness from the mint and coriander. We like our food spicy so you can also add chill like I did to give an extra punch but it can be left out. Chickpeas are added for extra protein but green lentils would also work.

This could be served on its own or as part of a vegan mezze platter. It could also be put inside a wrap with some red pepper hummus from the previous recipe. You could add a handful of toasted walnuts for extra texture.

Makes a large bowlful
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes

Ingredients
150g couscous
Half a small butternut squash
Half a tin of chickpeas
2 ears of fresh corn
A handful of fresh coriander chopped
A handful of fresh mint chopped
Half a clove of garlic
A tablespoon of honey mustard dressing
A teaspoon of dried chilli flakes (optional)
A spring onion finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste?

Cut the butternut squash in half and place on a baking tray with the corn ears. Roast in the oven at 170 Celsius. Remove the corn after about 10 minutes and remove the squash after a total of about 30 minutes. Leave to cool.

Place the couscous in a pan and add just enough boiling water to cover the couscous. Leave with a lid on for 10 minutes then remove the lid and stir with a fork. Put to one side.

When all the ingredients are cool, place the couscous in a large bowl and add the chickpeas, mint, garlic, coriander and onion. Chop the squash into bitesize pieces and remove the corn from the cobs. Add the squash, corn and dressing to the couscous mixture and season to taste. Add the chilli if using. Chill before serving.

Spicy Red Pepper Hummus Filled Jackets and Fresh Corn

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You cannot beat jacket potatoes baked in the oven. The microwave versions really are not the same. I roasted the corn and red pepper at the same time as well as some butternut squash for later to make it worth putting the oven on. Fresh corn is plentiful in Turkish grocery shops in Berlin at the moment. I bought 6 ears for 2 euros.

For this hummus recipe I used half tofu, half chickpeas. It creates a very velvety consistency that you do not get with chickpeas alone.This hummus, corn combination could be put inside a wrap with extra chickpeas and slices of tofu.

Serves 4
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour
Ingredients
4 medium potatoes for baking
A tin of chickpeas
Half a packet of firm tofu
A red pepper
2 ears of fresh corn
1 spring onion
1 small chilli
Half a clove of garlic
A tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
A handful of fresh coriander chopped

Prick the potatoes with a fork and place on a tray in the oven with the red pepper and the ear of corn. Remove the corn and pepper after about 15 minutes. To make the hummus, place the chickpeas, tofu, red pepper, garlic, chilli, oil and coriander into the blender. Blend into a smooth paste, shaking the blender and stopping to stir if needed. You can also add a little water to get the mixture moving. Season to taste.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, cut crosses in them and spoon in the hummus. Remove the corn from the cob and sprinkle over the potato. Garnish with a little chopped coriander, spring onion and chilli.