Wednesday, 31 October 2012

MoFo Day 31/3: Radish and Carrot Salad

On one  visit to Turkey we were staying in a hotel in Ankara where there were bowls of olives and glasses of carrot sticks in lemon juice in the hotel bar. That was the first time I discovered that I love olives and that raw carrots were not only edible but positively enjoyable. I found a recipe for this salad here and after a minor adjustment, here is my final MoFo post as a tribute to that experience.

Havuklu Turp Salatasi (Radish and Carrot Salad) 

1 carrot, peeled and grated 
4-5 radish, sliced and cut into half moons

2 Tbsp vegetable stock
2 Tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 

Combine grated carrot and sliced radish. Mix together vegetable stock and lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over the carrot and radish and leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with sumac and top with chopped parsley. Top it with some herbed olives for the complete experience.


MoFo Day 31/2: Shepherd's Salad

My second salad for today is a very simple but tasty salad of tomato and cucumber which I first came across in Istanbul. I subbed the olive oil in the recipe with some vegetable stock for the dressing. It works surprisingly well. The vegetarian version of this salad contains feta cheese but marinated tofu is a tasty sub.

Çoban Salatasi (Shepherd's Salad)

60 g tofu, diced
Half a cucumber
10-12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 small green or orange bell pepper, diced
3 spring onions

1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped

2 Tbsp vegetable stock
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Marinade the diced tofu in dressing for at least 30 minutes. Combine the diced cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions and pepper, mix in the marinated tofu, stir in the dressing and top with chopped herbs.


MoFo Day 31/1: Beetroot and Apple Couscous

I'm finishing up MoFo with a trio of posts of salad recipes. The first is a recipe I learned from my cousin Janet whose husband is Turkish. The raw beetroot in this salad gives it a jewel-like quality, the cooking apple and red wine vinegar make a nice sharp contrast to the sweetness of the beets and the bland taste of the couscous. Janet uses cooked beetroot in this recipe. I misread the recipe the first time I made it and used raw beets and it tasted so good I've used raw beetroot ever since. 

Beetroot and Apple Couscous

1 medium red beetroot, peeled and grated
1 medium cooking apple, peeled and grated
50 g couscous

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp vegetable stock
2 Tbsp soya yoghurt
salt and pepper to taste

Cover couscous with boiling water and set aside for about 5 minutes. Stir in the grated beetroot and apple. Combine dressing ingredients whisk well and stir into the couscous mixture.


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

MoFo Day 30: Red Lentil Kofte

I haven't been eating enough raw veg over the last week or so. I really don't much care for salad - it always seems too boring and there is something much more comforting about hot food.  I really need to find a way of eating more raw food though so I decided to focus on finding one new salad recipe each of the next few days. 

I'm starting out with lentil koftes. Always served in a lettuce leaf, these would form the centre of a good salad dish. I found a number of recipes for this dish - one in my Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookery cook, another at Almost Turkish blog and yet another at Hayriye's Turkish Food and Recipes Mine is a hybrid mix of all 3 recipes, subbing the olive oil with vegetable stock and

Red Lentil Kofte

1/2 cup red lentils, well rinsed
1 onion finely chopped
1/4 cup bulgar wheat
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Little Gem or small Romaine lettuce

Cover well rinsed lentils in water, bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes, until lentils are soft but still holding their shape, adding more water as necessary. Remove from the heat season with a little salt, stir in bulgar wheat, cover and leave for at least 10 minutes.

In another pan saute the onion in a little vegetable stock for 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste, cumin and paprika and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the the lentil mixture. Add lemon juice, parsley, mint and chopped spring onions. and combine well. When the mixture is quite cold, serve wrapped in lettuce leaves.


Monday, 29 October 2012

MoFo Day 29: Green Lentil Stew

I adapted this recipe from one I found at the Almost Turkish blog. (Do check out this blog it has some great traditional and contemporary Turkish recipes.) The recipe as given there looks really good but my failure to cook much over the last few days meant that my body was crying out for leafy green veggies (who'd have believed that possible?) so I raided the fridge and added the last of the curly kale and some spinach. I also added some sumac, which isn't really necessary but added another taste dimension. Do add the sauce - it really brings a zing to the flavour.

Yeşil Mercimek (Green Lentils) 

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 dssp flour (I used chickpea flour)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 can (265g drained/cooked weight) green (Continental) lentils 
2.5 cups water
50 g chopped curly kale and/or fresh spinach (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh dill 
pinch of sumac (optional)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp chilli pepper flakes

Saute onion and garlic in a small amount of water for around 5 minutes until softened. Stir in flour and tomato paste and cook for a few minutes more. Add cooked lentils and water and cook for 20 minutes. Add kale and/or spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add chopped dill and a pinch of sumac if desired and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve topped with a spoonful or two of the sauce. I served mine with steamed veggies - broccoli, romanesco, petits pois and baby corn. It would be good with rice or bread as recommended in the original post.

serves 3 


Sunday, 28 October 2012

MoFo Day 28: Sweet Couscous

I'm still not feeling great so here's another quick and easy dessert. I found a recipe for sweet couscous using dried fruits but I'm trying to make the most of the last of this year's soft fruits so here is my version.

Sweet Fruit Couscous

110 g couscous
120 mls hot water
juice of 1 clementine
juice of half a lime
200 g mixed soft fruits - I used strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and redcurrants
small handful of flaked almonds

Put couscous into a bowl and stir in the hot water. Leave for 10 minutes and then put the couscous into a colander and steam over a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes. Leave to cool and then stir in the clementine and lime juice, pile on the soft fruits and flaked almonds. 
serves 2


Saturday, 27 October 2012

MoFo Day 27: Rice Pudding

One of the things I remember most clearly about my first trip to Turkey in the early 80s was the rice pudding, fragrant with rose water.This is my veganised version. I didn't have any pudding rice in the cupboard so I had to use white basmati instead which added yet another dimension of flavour. I replaced the sugar in the recipe with around one and a half teaspoons of agave syrup - you might want to add more but I found that sufficient. I know that agave is highly processed and not much better than sugar but dates or date syrup just don't look good in this recipe.

Rose-Fragranced Rice Pudding 

55 mls water
180 mls almond milk
33 g white rice, basmati is really nice
1.5 tsp agave syrup
1 tsp rosewater or orange blossom water
pinch of salt
freshly grated nutmeg
toasted almonds

Put water, almond milk and rice into a small saucepan. Add agave. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for around 15 minutes stirring occasionally until it thickens and the rice is cooked. Add rosewater and a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes more. Serve  topped with freshly grated nutmeg and some toasted flaked almonds. I served mine with some additional almond milk and a splash of cherry juice. 

serves 1


Friday, 26 October 2012

MoFo Day 26: Apple, banana and lemon dessert

I wasn't feeling too great today, with not much energy for cooking, so I decided to try a simple dessert recipe from my Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookery book. I tried to make this as suitable for Eat To Live as possible by replacing the sugar in the recipe with dates.  I used a Granny Smith apple. Together with the lemon juice it gave the dessert a sharp flavour and the cinnamon gave it a taste of Christmas. 

Apple, Banana and Lemon Dessert 

55 g dates, finely chopped
55 ml water
1 tart apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped 
1/2 banana, peeled and sliced
grated rind and juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Put finely chopped dates and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add chopped apple, banana, lemon juice with grated rind and cinnamon.Simmer, stirring well all the time, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick. Cool and serve with some cashew creme, yoghurt or ice creme.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

MoFo Day 25: Turkish Apple Cake

Today's is a recipe that is still a work in process, but I thought it was worth posting anyway. I found a recipe for Turkish apple cake in my Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookery book and was drawn to the recipe by the fact that it contained no oil - a great start in trying to make a recipe Eat To Live-friendly. Replacing the 50 g of sugar with finely chopped dates and a wee glug of date syrup wasn't entirely successful and the finished cake wasn't beautiful but it tasted just fine eaten as a dessert with some cashew creme and I really liked the fact that it wasn't overly-sweet. I obviously need to do some more research into fat-free, sugar-free baking, but in the meantime I will definitely make this again - I think it would be fabulous made with rhubarb or gooseberries. The original recipe called for the cooking apples to be peeled, cored and chopped which is what I did. I think perhaps I should have either chopped them finer or grated them, so I'll try that next time and see what difference it makes. The flour makes it unsuitable for the Eat To Live 6 week plan, which is what I normally eat but it's not too bad as an occasional treat.

Turkish Apple Cake

350 g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
juice of half a lemon
50 g dates, finely chopped
50 g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
25 g mixed nuts
25 g sultanas or chopped dried apricot
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg replacer
1 glug of date syrup

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 (350F/175C). Put chopped apples in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Put flour, dates and baking powder into a food processor and pulse so that dates are even more finely chopped. Add mixed nuts and sultanas or dried apricot  and pulse once or twice to distribute evenly. Add this to the apples, together with vanilla essence and egg replacer. Mix well and stir in a glug of date syrup. Pour the mixture into a lightly oiled cake tin (I lined my cake tin with baking parchment instead of oiling it)  and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned on top. Serve hot or cold with cashew creme.  


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

MoFo Day 24: Syrian Lentil Soup

I made another lentil soup today - a Syrian soup called Shurbat Addes. This one is heavy on the garlic and ground coriander which I like. I found the original recipe to be a little bit bland for my taste - perhaps it is in simple recipes like this that cutting out the oil makes the biggest flavour difference, plus I also cut back on the salt as one and a half teapoonfuls was more than I wanted to add, but undoubtedly was necessary to give flavour to the soup. I compromised by adding the juice of a lemon which pepped it up no end and adding a pinch of paprika and some dukkah to the top of each serving. 

The original recipe called for a garnish of Aleppo pepper. I walked down to Jordan Valley in the hopes they would have some, but alas no. Didn't help that I was searching for it under pepper rather than chilli. I shall have to try the Turkish deli the next time I'm over at Tollcross. At least I found some Turkish yellow lentils and I used them in place of the red ones. I will definitely make this again but would probably add some crushed chillies to the soup while it was cooking.

Syrian Lentil Soup

125 g  red or yellow lentils
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon
Saute garlic in a little vegetable stock for a couple of minutes. Add ground coriander and simmer for a few minutes more. Add the lentils and water to cover, bring to the boil, cover and turn down the heat. Add salt and simmer for around 45 minutes (stirring from time to time to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the saucepan and adding more water if necessary) until the lentils have turned into a puree. Add lemon juice, stir and cook for a few minutes more. Serve topped with Aleppo pepper, crushed chillies, dukkah, ground cumin or paprika, lemon wedges and/or chopped fresh coriander (cilantro).


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

MoFo Day 23: Red Bean, Lentil and Kale Soup

Too many of the soups I make have a tomato base so I am always happy to find a soup recipe with no tomato in the ingredients. This recipe is based on an Iranian soup, which is straying a little from my Mediterranean theme, but it looked too good to miss out on.

Red Bean, Lentil and Kale Soup 

1 onion, finely chopped  
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
110 g aduki beans
110 g red lentils
750 ml vegetable stock
50 g  fresh kale, finely chopped 
juice of 1 lemon
fresh spinach  
fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish 

Saute onion and garlic in a little vegetable stock for 3-4 minutes. Add turmeric and cayenne and cook for two minutes more. Add aduki beans and vegetable stock and cook for 20 minutes. Add lentils and kale and cook for a further 20 minutes or so until lentils and aduki beans are well cooked. Add lemon juice and cook for a further minute. Stir in a  couple of handfuls of fresh spinach, garnish with fresh parsley and serve.  


MoFo Day 22: Herbed Sesame Flatbread

Today's recipe was a herbed sesame flatbread - sounded great on paper but was a bit disappointing in practice so I'm not going to post the recipe until I get it to work out ok. I have a couple more bread recipes to try out this week so I hope that at least one will be a keeper.    
 One thing I need to work out is how to get the sesame seeds to stick to the top of the bread without using more oil - time to jump back into the recipe books again.                            

Sunday, 21 October 2012

MoFo Day 21: Israeli Breakfast Beans

I'm moving into the Middle East for the last week of MoFo and today I'm in Israel with a recipe for haricot beans served on Palestinian couscous. I found the Palestinian couscous when I was browsing in Real Foods on my way to work on Thursday. It's about 4 times the size of ordinary couscous and made from wholewheat flour. This is a really quick and easy recipe that I'll definitely be making again.

Israeli Breakfast Beans

225 g haricot beans, soaked and then cooked
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped
large handful of fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic in vegetable stock for 3-4 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and basil and saute for a few minutes more. Add cooked haricot beans with a small amount of the cooking water. Simmer for a further 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. serve topped with chopped fresh parsley.


MoFo Day 20: Dukkah

When I was a vegetarian during my student days in the 1970s we ate a lot of brown rice and vegetables, usually topped with tahini and gomasio. These days on Eat to Live I've had to cut back on the tahini and, ever since I discovered it, dukkah has replaced the gomasio. Seasoned Pioneers sell a tasty version but it's so easy to make your own. Dukkah is great sprinkled on top of a bowl of soup or stew or it you're not on Eat To Live, dip some homemade bread into a flavoured oil and then sprinkle it with dukkah - yummy.

100 g hazelnuts
100 g pistachios
50 g sesame seed 
1/2 Tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper

Spread hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven at Gas Mark 2 for about 20 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool. Dry toast spices in a frying pan until the coriander seeds start to pop and then crush with a pestle and mortar. Dry toast sesame seeds until they turn golden and begin to pop. Place the nuts and spices into a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped - be sure not to over-process.Stir in the toasted sesame seeds, mix well and store in airtight jars.

 Variations: Add 25 g toasted pine nuts, 
                 Add 1/4 tsp dried mint
                 Add 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
                 Replace the pistachios with pumpkin seeds


Saturday, 20 October 2012

MoFo Day 19: Egyptian Lentil Soup

I never got around to posting yesterday's recipe so I this will be the first of two posts for today.

I love lentil soup so I had to try this Egyptian Lentil soup. I adapted the recipe from A Vegan Taste of North Africa  I found the soup a bit bland until I jazzed it up with some chillies and extra lemon juice.

Egyptian Lentil Soup

1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
100 g red lentils
100 g ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp crushed red chillies 
600 ml vegetable stock
juice of half a lemon

Saute the onion and garlic in vegetable stock for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and spices and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add lentils and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until lentils are soft. Add lemon juice and blend with a stick blender.



Thursday, 18 October 2012

MoFo Day 18: Tunisian Vegetable Stew

After yesterday's disappointment I was feeling a bit anxious in case I produced another meal I didn't enjoy. I needn't have worried. This is a stew that I will definitely be making again. In some ways it's similar to the recipe I made on Day 15, but the addition of  sultanas and dried apricot give the stew an additional depth and together with the spices they give the stew a delightful fragrance. The lemon juice gives it a bit of a zing. I served mine on barley couscous with steamed green vegetables and topped with green baby leaves.

Tunisian Vegetable Stew                  

1 onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves of garlic, crushed  
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
200 g  kale or other green leafy veg, shredded

225 g cooked chickpeas
250 g (1/2 can) chopped tomatoes
150 ml vegetable stock
25 g golden sultanas and/or dried apricots   
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
pinch of ground cinnamon
100 g mushrooms, sliced
1 courgette (zucchini), cut into matchsticks

Saute onion and garlic in vegetable stock for a few minutes. Add peppers and chilli and cook for a few minutes more. Add kale, chickpeas, tomatoes and vegetable stock and spices and simmer for 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and courgette and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.


MoFo Day 17: Chorba Frik

Today I decided to tackle the Algerian frik soup from Chahrazed's website
Frik is green cracked wheat, which I was unable to get hold of so I used unroasted buckwheat instead. I halved the recipe, sauteed the onion and garlic in vegetable stock and I didn't replace the meat with anything. The light wasn't good for the photo and the soup looks rather washed out, although it is far more colourful in reality. Disappointingly, despite all of the spices, I thought that it tasted rather thin and insipid, so it's not a recipe I'll be adding to my repertoire.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

MoFo Day 16: Kessra - Algerian semoline flatbread

Only halfway through the month and already I'm flagging and wondering if I'll make it through to the end. Trying to fit in daily cooking plus work is a struggle. Usually I only cook on one or two days a week and then eat from the freezer the rest of the time - I'm usually too tired to spend much time in the kitchen when I get home from work. My freezer is already packed full of leftovers from my MoFo cooking so I shall either have to eat a lot more or start halving recipes. 

Last night I was searching online for Algerian recipes and came across this blog which has a wealth of North African, and more particularly Algerian recipes, that can be mostly be veganised.I decided to have a go at some semolina flatbread - you can find the recipe here. I decided to reduce the recipe by about three quarters which made for some interesting guesstimates of amounts. I ended up using one cup of semolina, a small glug of olive oil, half a tablespoon of dry yeast with half a cup of warm water and a handful of sesame seeds, which made 2 smallish flatbreads. I didn't use enough salt and my first flatbread was rather tasteless so before cooking the second, I ground some seasalt over it and pressed it down onto the surface of the bread, which worked really well. My frying pan was not happy about dry cooking the flatbread so I gave it a couple of sprays of lite olive oil which didn't make the bread too greasy but prevented the dough from sticking to the pan and burning. I could imagine flavouring these breads with spices - perhaps I'll try that next time. They were so quick and easy to make I'll definitely make them again. Mine weren't as beautifully shaped as Chahrazed's but here's a picture just to prove I made them!   

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

MoFo Day 15: Spicy Tunisian Chickpeas

For today I decided to make a recipe using the harissa paste I made yesterday. Using pre-cooked or tinned chickpeas makes this a really quick and easy recipe. I served mine with steamed veg but it would be good on a bed of couscous or brown rice.

Spicy Tunisian Chickpeas

1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5 cm fresh ginger root, grated 
1 pinch of saffron
1 small red pepper
1 small green pepper 
1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp harissa

225 g tomatoes, skinned and chopped
225 g cooked chickpeas
Fresh parsley, chopped to garnish     

Saute the diced onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp of water or vegetable stock for 3 minutes. Add ginger, saffron and diced peppers and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, lemon juice and harissa and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add chickpeas and  cook for a few more minutes. Serve garnished with chopped fresh parsley. 


Sunday, 14 October 2012

MoFo Day 14: Harissa

A couple of the recipes I want to make this week use harissa, which is a very spicy paste used in Moroccan and Tunisian recipes. In the past I've either bought a jar of harissa paste or used a harissa spice grinder which I bought from Oxfam a few years ago Today I decided to make harissa from scratch.  

I only had bird's eye chillies which are very hot. This was possibly a mistake. As I started to process the harissa, microscopic fragments of chilli were released into the air - my nose started to run and tears rolled down my face. Perhaps a mask might have helped! The resulting harissa is exceedingly hot - when a recipe calls for a teaspoonful I am going to try using half that amount and the next time I make it I shall use a milder chilli.


25 g red chillies, de-seeded and diced
1 small red bell pepper, de-seeded and diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed 
1 Tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped  
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp vegetable stock

Blend all of the ingredients together to form a paste.

Storage recommendation in all the recipes I've read is to put the paste into a jar and cover with a layer of olive oil. This would not be Eat to Live friendly so my plan is to store some in the fridge and to freeze teaspoonfuls  in an ice cube tray for storage in the freezer. 


Saturday, 13 October 2012

MoFo Day 13: Black-eyed Peas and Tomatoes with Spinach

I can't bring myself to move on from the flavours of North Africa so I'm going to have to revise my plans for MoFo. At current rate of progress I can't see myself making it all the way around the Mediterranean by the end of the month so I'm just going to take it easy and maybe I'll need to extend my virtual trip into November.

I have fond recollections of eating brown rice with a black-eyed pea and tomato stew when I was a student in the 70s - today's dish is a spicier version. I would definitely double the amount of spinach next time. Here is the recipe as I made it.

Black-eyed Peas and Tomatoes with Spinach

1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
100 g fresh spinach 
225 g tomatoes, skinned and chopped
350 g cooked black-eyed peas
1/2 tsp ground cumin
freshly ground black pepper
cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

Saute the onion and garlic in water or vegetable stock until softened. Add spinach, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, black-eyed peas, cumin and black pepper and cook for a further 8-10 minutes. Serve with a garnish of halved or quartered cherry tomatoes. I served mine with steamed green beans, broccoli and romanesco, topped with toasted almond flakes and paprika.