This comes from what I believe is the first cookbook I ever owned! Gifted to me by my mum, it’s called ‘5 Ingredient Fix’ by Claire Robinson, and it was indeed a good way to get started cooking, as every recipe is no more than 5 ingredients.
This one is a taste explosion, you’d never guess it has only 5 ingredients, and you will love the unusual combination of the nutty toasted couscous with the dried apricots and the pistachios.
It’s just delicious.
To make a full meal out of it I make chicken on the side- Miso chicken (there is another post on this) to be exact. You could go one step further and put it all on a bed of lightly dressed greens.
- A large glug of olive oil
- 2 cups pearl couscous
- ¼ cup roasted shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 1 ¼ cups hot water
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 6 dried apricots chopped
- 2 scallions, sliced
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When hot, add the couscous and pistachios and cook, stirring, until toasted and light brown. This should take about 10 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn!
- Once toasty, add the curry powder, water, salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid, stir in the apricots and scallions, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
Mung beans are hugely neglected, in comparison with other peas, and often confused with beans or lentils.
They are in fact peas, with lentil-like qualities when cooked for longer periods of time.
This is great, and I realize it looks like a lot of things I cook… so sorry for that, I do love a lentil/bean/pea stew/daal/casserole!
- 1 large tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
- 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3/4 inch/2 cm cube of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 chili
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 bell peppers (red and yellow, or any colors will be fine)
- 2 medium potatoes/or 3-4 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 cups mung beans, rinsed and picked over
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 500g fresh spinach, washed and chopped
- 3-4 tomatoes, chopped
- Juice of 2 limes,
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh cilantro/coriander to serve
- Heat the ghee or oil in a large pan, and throw in the cumin. Stir for a minute and then add the onion, garlic, ginger, chili, and peppers. Sauté until translucent and softened, stirring regularly.
- Add the potatoes to the pan together with the turmeric.
- After another minute or so, stir in the mung beans and the water. Bring to a boil and then turn down and let simmer for 45 minutes.
- While it's cooking, chop your spinach and tomatoes, and juice the limes.
- After it's cooked for 45 minutes, add in the spinach and tomatoes, and let cook for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and pour in the lime juice, and add salt and pepper until the flavor really pops.
- Serve sprinkled with fresh cilantro/coriander.
- If you want this to serve more people, just put it over rice.
*sigh* all I want to do is make ricotta cheese from scratch, but I cannot, for the life of me, find cheesecloth.
I’ve concluded that it doesn’t exist in Belgium. I spent all day last Saturday going to different stores to look for it, until the end of the day when I found myself in a pharmacy purchasing medical bandages, which is as close as we’re going to get.
Now, I had already purchased a range of other ingredients, assuming that it would be no problem to make the ricotta, so I wound up just buying ricotta and making this salad anyway. I WILL repeat with my own ricotta. Mark. My. Words.
- 5 medium-large red beets
- 1 small head of fennel (fronds reserved)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon balsamic syrup
- 2 navel oranges, segmented
- 1/2 cup fresh whole fat ricotta
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Roast the beets: Preheat the oven to 400f. Rinse and scrub the beets well under cold water. Place the beets in a large bowl and toss with the 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place on a large baking sheet. Roast the beets for 50 minutes to 1 hour (or longer, depending on the size of your beets) or until the beets can be easily pierced all the way through with a sharp knife. Once the beets are cooked through, set them aside on a plate (keep them wrapped in foil) until they are cool enough to handle. Trim the ends, peel, and cut into quarter segments. Place in a medium mixing bowl.
- Trim the tops and bottom of the fennel bulb, and slice the bulb in half lengthwise. Remove the core of the fennel bulb with a sharp knife, and slice each cored half crosswise into thin slices (roughly 1/8-inch thick). Place the sliced fennel in the mixing bowl with the quartered beets. Add the olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, balsamic syrup, salt, and pepper and toss gently to combine. Season to taste and set aside.
- Prepare the whipped ricotta: Combine the ricotta, olive oil, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a mini food processor. Pulse until very smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Distribute the tossed beets and fennel evenly, garnish with orange segments, fennel fronds, and a large spoonful of whipped ricotta cheese. Drizzle lightly with balsamic syrup and serve.
This was developed because I inherited some vacuum packed chestnuts. I confess, about 2 years ago. But I was confident that they were still good, and dying to get them out of the fridge.
A quick Google revealed some online remnants of a Nigella recipe, so I took the baton and ran with it- this is what came out!
It’s very hearty, a little sweet, and perfect for dinner on a cold night.
- 1 cup brown/blonde lentils
- 1 package vacuum packed chestnuts (or a can if you can find that)
- Sprinkle of dried thyme
- 1 small onion
- 1 leek
- 1 carrot
- A large glug of olive oil
- 2 1/2 liters stock (your choice what kind
- A splash of cream (optional)
- Chop the onion, leek, carrot and celery. Soften in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan with a large glug of olive oil.
- Add the lentils (rinsed and picked through) and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes until the lentils are very soft.
- In a separate bowl, add the chestnuts, and a few ladlefuls of hot broth. Puree with a hand blender until it's mostly creamy (there can be some chunks, that's fine too!)
- Add the chestnut mixture into the soup and simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Taste and season with salt, pepper, and dried thyme.
- You can add a splash of cream and a bit of chopped parsley as garnish at the table.
Everyone has granola with milk in the morning. BOOOOoooooRING.
Granola with apple juice is tangy, sweet, and refreshing. It transforms your regular granola or cereals into an entirely different meal.
Add a fruity assortment, and you’re off to a good start.
This recipe was brought to us by my favorite German chef.
- 2 Kiwis
- 1 Mango
- Seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
- A large shake of granola
- A glug of apple juice (get the high quality stuff, cloudy apple juice is the absolute best)
- A handful of almonds (slices or whole, we like the crunch of whole)
- Mix all ingredients except the apple juice.
- Stir in the apple juice (the amount depends on how liquid-y you like this dish), prepare it in whatever ratio you like!
This soup is so special. It’s got a nutty flavor from the tahini, combined with an unusual salty and deep flavor from the miso.
Then we layer onto this the surprisingly complementary combination of sweet squash and bitter turnips.
And the fixins make it really exciting. So many combinations. Everyone can personalize their bowl!
If you don’t already own a nori or seaweed sprinkle, invest in one now.
- 1 small-medium delicate or kabocha squash, or in a pinch you can use a pumpkin (seeded and sliced into small chunks)
- 3 small turnips, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 4 cups water
- 4 tablespoons white miso, or to taste
- 1/4 cup tahini
- zest of one lemon
- 3 cups of cooked brown rice
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 bunch of chives, minced
- Nori sprinkles
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Add the squash and turnips to a large pot, cover with the water, and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool just slightly.
- Pour a few tablespoons of the hot water into a small bowl and whisk in the miso. Stir the thinned miso back into the pot along with the tahini, and lemon zest. Taste, and adjust the broth to your liking.
- To serve, place a scoop of rice in each bowl along with some of the squash and turnips. Ladle broth over the vegetables, and finish with a few slices of avocado, a sprinkling of chives, toasted nori, and sesame seeds.
- If you have leftovers and need to reheat the soup, do so gently over low heat, to preserve the nutritional qualities of the miso. It is a valuable fermented food so you need to treat it delicately!
This was made during an amazing surprise weekend visit from one of my best friends from Sweden.
She is a genius in the kitchen and makes a few simple ingredients into the tastiest meal.
This would obviously be better with fresh cooked beans, rather than canned, but canned are obviously easier. Use whichever you prefer.
- 1/2 Large Fennel, washed and sliced as finely as you can manage
- 3 Carrots, washed and sliced as finely as you can manage
- 1 Bunch of Cilantro/Coriander
- 1 Can Red Kidney Beans (or cooked yourself if you find the time!)
- A Squeeze of lemon juice
- Olive Oil
- A Sprinkle of Cumin
- Salt & Pepper
- Mix all the ingredients together, toss, taste, and adjust the seasonings as you wish.
Who knew! Red lentil hummus is not… red. It’s not orange, nor is it pink.
So it’s a mystery where the color goes.
But man is it creamy. I’ve also used a Middle Eastern spice here called za’atar. It’s a mixture of sumac, sesame seeds, and thyme. It’s worth hunting down to give this a really tangy and fabulous taste. If you can’t find it of course you’ll be fine with just the tahini in the same way that regular hummus is made.
- 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked through
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 large spoonfuls of tahini
- A large drizzle of olive oil
- A big squeeze of lemon juice
- A large pinch of fleur de sel
- A large pinch of za'atar
- Cook the lentils with the water until mushy- about 10-15 minutes. Add a touch more water if you need to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan during the cooking process.
- When done, pull off the heat, and smash with a spoon to soften further.
- Mix in the remaining ingredients, in whatever ratio strikes your fancy, this recipe is very adaptable.
This is a Turkish soup, which is really somewhere between soup and daal.
It’s got rice and bulgar already in it though, so it’s a one-pot dish.
It’s hearty and comforting, and most importantly beyond simple, as long as you can wait for the lentils to cook themselves.
It’s originally from a book called ‘The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian’, by Sally Butcher (which is just a fantastic book- buy it now). In the book it’s called ‘The Soup of Ezo the Bride’, and the story behind it is that a woman named Ezo Gelin, who basically had two horrendous marriages, the first was a bum, and the second had a monster mother-in-law. This soup apparently stemmed from her efforts to please this mother-in-law.
I’m surprised it didn’t work- it’s amazing!
- Butter/oil for frying
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups red lentils, cleaned and rinsed
- 1/4 cup long-grain rice
- 1/2 cup bulgar
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- Salt & Pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- Melt then butter in a soup pot, and add a bit of oil. Fry the onion until it starts to soften, and add the garlic. After a minute or so add the tomatoes, cumin and paprika.
- Stir for another minute and add in the tomato paste followed by the lentils, rice and bulgar. Store in the broth, and bring to the boil. Turn down to a summer and cook for 30-40 minutes.
- Once cooked, season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the dried mint.
- When ready to serve, squeeze a half a lemon over each bowl, and stir. You can also top with a dollop of yogurt.
This is hearty and delicious, and comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson.
It should be noted that it’s topped with a salted lemon yogurt that is an out of this world combination with the deep flavors of the soup.
- Splash Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Large Onions, Chopped
- 1 Cup/125g peeled and diced sweet potato
- 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp Indian Curry Powder
- 2/3 cup/125g whole or semi-pearled farro
- 1 ¼ cups /255 g green or black lentils, rinced
- 7 cups broth or water
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- Grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
- Head the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and the sweet potato. Add a big pinch of salt, and sautee until the onions soften (a few minutes). Add the curry powder and stir until the vegetables are coated and fragrant.
- Add the farro, lentils, and broth. Bring to a boil, decrease to a simmer, and cook covered for 50 minutes, or until the farro is cooked through. Taste and season with more salt.
- While the soup is cooking, mix the yogurt with a large pinch of sea salt and the lemon zest and juice.
- Serve each bowl topped with the lemon yogurt, and a drizzle of olive oil.