Warm(ish) Salad with Tahini Dressing

It occurred to me that it was a while since I’d made hummus, and as I had a brand new jar of tahini, I thought today might be the day to put that right. Then, I noticed that there were a few odds and ends in the fridge this morning and I decided to combine them in a salad and use the tahini in a dressing.

So this is what we ended up with:

Tahini-Dressed Salad

Warm(ish) Salad with Tahini Dressing

1 400g Can of Chickpeas

1 Courgette

1 Red Bell Pepper

3/4 Bag of Rocket

8-10 Leaves of Mint

1 Clove of Garlic

2 Tablespoons of Tahini

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Squirt of Honey

Juice of Half an Orange

Zest of a Lemon

Juice of Half a Lemon

Salt & Pepper to Taste

Open the can of chickpeas and toss them into a sieve.

Rinse them under running water and leave to drain.

Peel and finely grate the garlic.

Cut the courgette into small, thin, bite-sized pieces.

Cut and core the red pepper.

Make the dressing by combining the tahini, garlic, honey, zest, orange and lemon juices.

Mix gently and add a drop of water until it’s slightly runny.

Add the olive oil.

Whisk gently with a fork until you have a runny consistency.

Leave to one  side.

Gently heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan and add the courgette pieces.

Fry them over a medium heat until they start to brown (about 10 minutes).

Add the pepper pieces and fry them for a further five minutes.

Turn the heat off.

Get out a large bowl and throw in your chickpeas, rocket and the fried vegetables.

Pour the dressing over the combined vegetables and toss the lot together.

Scatter a few mint leaves over the top and tuck in!


Stone Soup

These days, the anxiety is worse than it has been for a while. Actually, it’s worse than it’s ever been – anxiety is a new one for me; I’ve only been dealing with it for a few months. But I’ll tell you this much – I wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy. This isn’t a mental health blog, so I won’t go on about it, I’m only mentioning it because sometimes it keep me from leaving the house, answering the phone or engaging with anyone at all. Today is one of those days – the idea of leaving the house is too much for me. I can’t do it. I still, however, have kids to feed and that means I need to rustle something up with what’s in the house when that is, actually, very little.


So this is another version of stone soup


400g Salad Potatoes

4 Carrots

1 x 400g Tin of Chickpeas

300g Fresh Spinach




1 Litre of Stock

600mls water



Wash and chop the potatoes.

Peel and chop the carrots.

Peel and chop the onion.

Drain the chickpeas.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.

Add the onion, potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper and a good handful of the dried sage.

Sauté the lot for about five minutes, until the onion is softened.

Add the stock and about 600mls of water.

Bring to the boil.

Turn the stove down low, cover the pot and let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the spinach and stir through for about two minutes – until the leaves are just wilted.

Blend with your stick blender, adding more water if necessary.

Toss in the chickpeas and heat through for about another five minutes

Serve with pasta, bread or rice to make a complete, filling meal.



Store Cupboard Recipes

Yesterday was the first day of half-term, which meant the girls and I had a lie-in that we very much enjoyed. Even though I was up at 7.30am, I didn’t feel like getting out of my pyjamas, much less like leaving the house.


I hadn’t done a proper shop at the weekend, however, and was resigned to the fact that I might have to actually leave the house; but then I cleared out some cupboards (chucking millet flakes with a best before date of June 2008 and other delicacies in the process!) and realised that, actually, we had plenty. Yaay! I could stay in my jammies and not bother sticking as much as my nose outside the door!


So, here are the recipes I rustled up by just using the bits and pieces I found in my cupboards (and fridge!).


Frittata Feb 2014Vegetable Frittata


8 medium eggs

2 Beetroots

8 Salad potatoes

2 Onions

2 Red chillis

2 Carrots

30g Ginger-Garlic paste

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

20g Hard cheese

½ Tablespoon of mixed herbs

Salt & Pepper to taste


Heat your oven to 180 degrees.

Beat the eggs with the herbs, salt and pepper. Leave to one side

Chop the onions, beetroot, carrots and potatoes (or about 750g of whatever root vegetables you have handy) into chunks.

Toss the vegetables with oil, and garlic-ginger paste.

Pop the oiled vegetables into an oven-proof dish.

Tuck a red chilli in at each end.

When the oven is ready, put the veggies into the oven and roast them for about 40 minutes, tossing them halfway through the cooking.

When the vegetables are cooked properly, pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and scatter the cheese over the top.

Pop the dish back into the oven, and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.


I know that with 8 eggs in this dish – at 29c each – this is not exactly a cheap dish, but it is very filling and we got a eight generous servings from this amount. The frittata can be eaten hot or cold, with bread if you have it, and a green salad if you happen to have some leaves in your fridge.


Also in my cupboard-rummage, I found the end of a bag of rye flour that was two weeks shy of its best before date. An opened bag of ground almonds lay beside them and I decided they might make an interesting pairing.


Rye & Almond ShortbreadRye Almond Shortbread


75g Rye flour

75g Ground almonds

75g Light brown sugar

75g Butter


Cream the butter with the sugar.

Add the rye flour and the ground almonds.

Mix the lot into a dry-ish dough.

Press into an oven proof dish.

Pop in the oven for 30 minutes.

While it’s still warm and still in the tin, score the shortbread into eight pieces.

Leave to cool in the tin.

As you can imagine, this was quite dry, so one of my girls had it with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt. I enjoyed mine with a cup of Earl Grey tea.


While I was at it, I used up the end of my besan (chickpea flour) and made flatbreads.


Chickpea Chapatis


2 cups of besan

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 Tablespoon of curry powder



Add the oil to the besan.


Carefully, add enough water to draw the mixture into a pliable dough.

Chickpea flour is of a very different texture to wheat flour, and this can quickly become a sticky mess, so be sparing with the water additions.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes an leave to one side for 20-30 minutes.

Break off a lime-sized piece of dough and flatten it out on a wooden board. I didn’t roll it because I didn’t have any rice flour to dust it with in order to stop it sticking. I did have wheat flour, but I’m wheat-intolerant so chose not to use that.

Dry-fry the bread over a medium heat – about 30 seconds each side.

Keep warm in tinfoil lined with kitchen paper (the tinfoil keeps it warm, the kitchen paper stops condensation forming as a result of the steam from the bread).

Eat warm.


I also realised I had one blood orange left from last week’s shopping and four carrots that were just a few days short of rubbery. I was going to make soup, but Ishthara begged me to find some other way to use them up. So I grabbed a tin of chickpeas and made this:


Carrots & Chickpeas Feb 2014

Chickpea, Carrot and Orange Fry.


1 Tablespoon of oil

1 Tablespoon of butter

4 carrots

400g Can of Chickpeas

2 Teaspoons of cumin seeds

3 Cloves of garlic

Zest of 1 orange

1 Tablespoon of freshly-squeezed orange juice

2 Teaspoons of smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste.


Melt the butter in the oil over a medium heat.

Add the cumin and cook for about 2 minutes, until the cumin releases its aroma.

Tip in the carrots and cook for 8 minutes or so – until the carrots are softening and starting to brown.

Add the garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, orange zest and chickpeas.

Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas have been heated up (about 5 minutes).

Remove from the heat.

Pour the orange juice into the pot and stir to mix.


This was yum – and very filling – served with the chickpea chapatis.