I have tried several recipes and not all of them work. This one does! It needs a bit of preparation but it’s well worth it. Here are quantities to make a generous pile to feed four.
Either soak overnight, or cook for 5 minutes in your Instant Pot and leave for a further hour in the water.
- Optional – 1 small onion
- Bunch of parsley leaves
- 2 garlic loves
- 1 tbs chickpea/gram flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 0.5tsp ground coriander
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Black pepper
Put these and the drained chickpeas in a food processor with about 50ml water. Process to a coarse paste. Add a spash more water if necessary. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
Make little balls 2-3cm in diameter – you will make about 20 with this batch. A small icecream scoop is useful. Heat a pan full of oil to about 160degC and shallow fry the balls in batches. You may need to flip them halfway through cooking if your oil isn’t deep. They are cooked when the outside goes brown and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm until ready to serve.
An easy side for a Lebanese meal. This is nice and sloppy so it goes well with dry dishes like couscous and falafel. This serves 4 as a side.
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tbs oil
Saute gently until translucent.
- 2 courgettes, sliced thickly and quartered.
Add to the pan. Saute until starting to colour.
- Pinch of chilli flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 4-6 tomatoes depending on size, diced.
You could use a tin of chopped tomatoes if times are hard. Now gently stew all this in a covered pan for 15-20 minutes. Add a splash of water if it is drying out. That’s it! Job done.
This is very quick and you can make it in an Instant Pot or on the stove – both methods given.
- tablespoon of oil
- 1 onion, chopped
Saute in Instant Pot or gentry fry in the pan until translucent
Chop into florets, slice the stalk and pale leaves. Add to the pot and cook for a minute or two
Add to the pot and stir about
Stir in, cover and cook. Instant Pot Soup setting for 10 minutes or hob for 15-20 minutes until tender.
- 50g blue or cheddar cheese (or vegan cheese/equivalent)
Stir in and melt. Zip with a hand blender and adjust the seasoning, you might need a little salt and white pepper.
This makes a great main-meal dhal, which can be vegan, vegetarian or meaty depending what you put on top of it. It can also be a curry side. This serves 6 or more but you can scale it down.
- 1 Tbs oil
- 1/2 an onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1.5 Tbs ginger, freshly grated
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry unil soft. Add
- 1 heaped tsp turmeric
- 1 heaped tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground cumin
Fry for one minute. Add
- 3 cups split red lentils
- 2 courgettes grated
Fry one minute. Add
Simmer for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it and add water if it looks like it is drying out. Then add
- 3 cups roughly chopped spinach
- 1 x 400g can chick peas
- 1x 400 ml can Coconut milk
- 1 tsp tamari or soy sauce or salt
Simmer for another 10 minutes until thick. Adjust the seasoning, you may need more salt. Meanwhile, in another pan heat
- 1 Tbs oil
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
Fry gently until the aromas are released.
Serve into bowls, topped with the chilli/cumin oil. You can serve as it, with rice or breads (vegan), or
Top with hard-boiled egg and youghurt (vegetarian), or
Serve with a dry meat curry or tandoori grilled chicken or lamb
This is an easy lunch salad as long as you plan ahead with the bulgur wheat! You can us a variety of proteins for this to make it a more substantial dish, or you can use it as a side. For 2 portions (main) or 4 portions (side):
- 100 gm Bulgur wheat
- 400ml water
Simmer 15 minutes covered, turn off the heat and leave for 10 minutes. Meanwhile
- 1tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs tomato puree
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
Mix to make a dressing. When the bulgur is cooked, fluff it up. It should have absorbed all the water. Mix in the dressing and leave to cool.
- 2 dried figs or dates, chopped
- 2 spring onions chopped, or chives
- 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
- handful of mint leaves, shredded
- handful of parsley, chopped
- Optional – 1/4 cucumber cubed
Mix up with the cooked bulgur to make a salad. If you are serving this as a main course salad, you can top with:
- fried halloumi (vegetarian) or…
- Smoked mackerel fillets, or…
- Falafel (vegan), or…
- Grilled chicken breast, or…
- beef mince kofta, or…
- Lamb meatballs
and a few fancy lettuce leaves alongside. Pittas, yoghurt, hummus, Lebanese pickles all start to make this look like a feast.
Makes about 16 fritters: serves four as a main meal or eight as part of a brunch
- 3 cups (500g) grated courgettes, water squeezed out
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup (125g) plain flour
- 1/4 cup (15g) nutritional yeast
- 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic puree
- 2 spring onions chopped, or chives
- 1/4 cup (56g) meted vegan butter or spread
Mix that lot in a bowl. The batter should be fairly stiff, adjust flour or water until it is. Heat a frying pan, add
Put fritter-sized blobs of batter in the pan. Fry 2-3 minutes per side until brown and crispy, and cooked through. They will be crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. You may have to do this in batches. Keep warm until ready to serve.
This is a really “different” soup that is good for everyday and would stand up for a dinner party starter too.
- 100g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- Bunch of sage leaves (about 20)
- 500g parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
- 2 eating apples, peeled and cut into cubes
- 4tbs oil
Heat your oven to 200C. Reserve a few sage leaves, 1 tbs of oil and 15g of nuts. Toss the rest into and oven tray and roast for 30 minutes until tender and slightly charred.
Remove the sage leaves from the tray and discard. On the stove top, pour the stock into the tray and bubble until the charred bits in the tray have loosened and incorporated into the liquid. Blend until smooth. If it is too thick, add some more stock.
Fry the reserved sage leaves and hazelnuts in oil until the leaves are crispy and the nuts are brown.
- 4 tbs creme fraiche (or vegan alternative)
Serve the soup in bowls with a spoon of creme fraiche and a scatter of nuts and leaves.
- 200g dried chickpeas (or 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed) – dried chickpeas have a better taste and texture than tinned
If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight, covered, in a pan of lukewarm water. The next morning, drain the water and cover with fresh water. Add ½ tsp salt and boil until soft (about 1½-2 hours). Drain and set aside.
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Thumb-size piece fresh ginger, grated
- 1 medium green chilli, finely chopped
Put the garlic, ginger and chilli in a small bowl and mix together into a coarse paste.
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 400g tin chopped tomato
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion for 10-15 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Add the cumin seeds and the ginger, garlic and chilli paste, and cook for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes and stir for 2 minutes, adding salt to taste.
- 1 level tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
Add the turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, ground coriander and ground cumin and stir well, then add the chickpeas and cook for 15 minutes.
- Handful fresh coriander, chopped
- Natural yogurt and lemon wedges to serve (vegan yoghurt for vegans)
Stir in the chopped coriander and serve with a dollop of yogurt and lemon wedges to squeeze over.
Ten out of ten for this one. You can use any type of squash or pumpkin but butternut is the best.
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
- 2 celery stalks sliced
- 3 leeks sliced
- 2 carrots sliced
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 30g butter or Bertoli (or oil if you want vegan)
Chuck everything in a big pot and sweat gently for 10 minutes.
- 1.2L light chicken (or vegetable stock to make it vegan)
Add the stock and simmer for 25 minutes. Whizz with a stick blender. Adjust seasoning and serve.
Even more incredible with Gremolata sprinkled on top:
- 1 tbs parsley chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic chopped finely
- zest of one lemon
Mix the above. That is Gremolata. Sprinkle on meat and fish to zap it up a bit if it needs it.
Simple to make and flexible with main ingredients. Firstly make this awesome dressing which would go with other things too.
Boil 3 minutes. Add
Boil 2 minutes more. Drain, remove garlic skins and add to a blender (stick blender is best) with
- Juice of a lemon
- 2 tsp onion powder
- half a cucumber
Zap. Add the other half of a cucumber and zap again. You can experiment by adding herbs – tarragon, chives, etc but I am not sure that is necessary.
For the salad – you can swap vegetables around but I used the following:
- Red cabbage, cut into thin slices including the core so it stays together as a “steak”
- Sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
- Courgette, sliced
Fry in a hot pan until charred. Transfer to an oven 180C fan, season and roast 30 minutes. Less if your charring took a while. Take them out when soft all the way through, and cool for a bit. Meanwhile…
- Broccoli florets
- Chives chipped or spring onions in 3 cm lengths
In the same pan, add a bit more oil then toss the broccoli and chives around and char until bright green with charred bits. They should be still crunchy but not raw. Remove.
- Tofu (vegan) or halloumi (vegetarian)
In the same pan, sear until browned.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Lettuce hearts, quartered
Arrange the roasted and seared items with the fresh items in a tasteful display on your platter. Serve with the sauce.
You could also try asparagus, treated like the broccoli; button mushrooms left whole and fried with garlic and herbs in olive oil; swede or parsnip treated like the sweet potato.