Thursday, 22 January 2015

Ash Reshteh - Ottolenghi

So, following the Middle Eastern theme I've been on recently, tonight I made Iranian Ash Reshteh soup from Ottolenghi's Plenty More. Ash Reshteh is made with chickpeas, lentils and noodles, served in a thick soup, with lime juice and sour cream. 

Apparently, the reshteh noodles bring good luck, and are often eaten before a big decision or journey, like the one to Mecca. I used soba noodles in my dish, as they were the only ones I had. This was fairly easy to make, as I already had all the ingredients - my favourite kind of recipe! (Well, except for some parsley that I borrowed from a friend.) 

The soup is very rich, a small bowl was enough to satisfy me. I think this will be a good standby for the cooler months. As you can see, Plenty More is easily veganised, and definitely recommended! 

Recipe follows: 

Serves 8

125 g dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight with 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
[Note: I cheated and used two cans of cooked chickpeas instead.] 
125 g dried butterbeans, soaked in water overnight with 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
2 large onions, thinly sliced
10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
80 g clarified butter
1½ tsp turmeric
Salt and black pepper
225 g yellow split peas
Roughly 2 litres vegetable stock
35 g chopped parsley
35 g chopped coriander
15 g chopped dill
100 g spring onion, thinly sliced
150 g baby spinach
100 g reshteh (or linguine) broken in half
150 g soured cream, plus 1 tsp per portion to finish
1½ tbsp white wine vinegar
4 limes, halved

Drain and rinse both the chickpeas and butterbeans, then either boil them separately in lots of fresh water until almost cooked – anywhere ­between 25 and 55 min, or cook under low pressure for around 2.5 min for the chickpeas and around 5 min for the butterbeans, once they come to pressure – and drain. Reserve a few of each legume as a garnish

In a large, heavy-based pot, sauté the onion, garlic and butter on ­medium heat for 20 minutes, or ­until soft and golden-brown. Stir in the turmeric and some salt and ­pepper, then lift a third of this mix from the pot and transfer to a dish for use later.Add the chickpeas and butterbeans to the pot, then add the split peas and stock. Simmer for 30 minutes, skimming off the froth occasionally, or until the peas are tender. Add the herbs, spring onion and ­spinach, stir and cook for 15 minutes more; add extra stock (or water) if the soup is very thick. Taste and season generously.

Add the noodles and cook for about 10 minutes, so that they are just done. Stir in the soured cream and vinegar, adjust the seasoning and serve at once, garnished with extra soured cream and the reserved cooked onion mix. Serve lime halves to squeeze over every portion.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Smith and daughters

Tonight we went back to Smith and daughters for dinner, and they had a new menu! Exciting for new foods, but also slightly disappointing there's no paella anymore.

We had a taster plate of the tapas, mushroom pate, and crab cakes with mango salsa. Followed by chocolate torte with avocado ice cream (way better than it sounds, creamy and subtle).


Thursday, 15 January 2015

Big Vegan Borscht

This week's organic veggie box had beetroot, potatoes and carrots, so I decided to make a dish I've been thinking about for a while -  borscht!

It's been a relatively cool summer week here in Melbourne, so rich earthy soup really hit the spot, with some dill sour cream left over from the latkes.

I know that borscht is supposed to be more of a chunky soup, but despite liking the taste of beetroot, I'm not really a fan of eating big chunks of it, so I blended this a little, leaving a few chunks for texture.

Such a hearty soup, but so many vitamins! I love when healthy things are also yum.

Monday, 12 January 2015


Another dish I made this weekend was the Burnt Aubergine and Mograbieh Soup from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem. I've become a little obsessed with Ottolenghi recently, after getting Plenty More for Christmas. I love the simple but rich dishes, and the Middle Eastern style of cooking, so sumptuous.

The soup is a little time consuming, but worth it. I just wish aubergines were cheaper, I want to make all his aubergine recipes!

First you need to roast the aubergines on an open flame or under a hot grill (this is what I did as we have an electric stove) until the skins are burnt, and meanwhile also fry some extra diced aubergine for texture and garnish. After making the tomato base for the soup, you add the burnt aubergine flesh and blend it all up, then add the diced aubergine and cooked mograbieh (Israeli couscous). It's pretty simple in terms of ingredients, but turns out really creamy and filling. Yum.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

I'm back!

So after a loooong hiatus, I'm back! One of my news year's resolutions is to start cooking new recipes again, so here I am.

Maybe it's the Irish in me, but I've always loved potato dishes. So today I made Isa's latkes! With dill sour cream and apple sauce, so yum.

Recipe from the ppk (I used breadcrumbs instead of matzoh meal):

2 1/2 pounds starchy white potatoes, peeled (russets, idaho, et al)
1 small yellow onion, peeled
1/4 cup potato or corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups matzoh meal

Lots of vegetable oil

If using a food processor:
Use the grating blade to shredd the potatoes and the onion.

If shredding by hand, use a grater to shred all the potatoes. Dice the onion as finely as possible.

Have ready brown paper shopping bags or paper towels for draining the oil from the latkes. You may also want to have the oven on at 200 F to keep the latkes warm until you’re ready to serve. If serving immediately then just have a baking pan covered with tin foil ready to keep the finished ones warm after they’ve been drained.

In a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon or your hands (I use my hands, it’s faster) mix the potatoes and onions with the potato starch until the potatoes have released some moisture and the sornstarch is dissolved, about 2 minutes.

Add the salt and pepper to combine. Add the matzoh meal and mix well. Set aside for about 10 minutes. The mixture should get liquid-y but sticky.

In the meantime, preheat a large preferable cast iron but definitely non-stick skillet over medium heat, a little bit on the high side. Add about 1/4 inch layer of vegetable oil to the pan. The oil is hot enough when you throw a bit of batter in and bubbles rapidly form around it. If it immediately smokes then the heat is too high and you should lower it a bit. If the bubbles are really lazy then give it a few more minutes or turn the heat up a bit.

With wet hands (so that the mixture doesn’t stick) roll into small golf ball sized balls. Flatten into thin round patties. I do about 4 to six at a time. Fry on one side for about 4 minutes, until golden brown. Flip over and fry for another 3 minutes.

Transfer to the paper towels and proceed with the remaining latkes. Once latkes have drained on both sides, place in a baking pan to keep warm.