Chickpea and Courgette au Gratin – Autumn Comfort Food

27 September 2018

This week we’ll be cooking something for the chillier autumnal evenings, a tasty bake that combines chickpeas, tomatoes and courgettes with a breadcrumb topping.

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Chickpea and Courgette au Gratin

The autumn months are always a busy time in the KCC kitchen with not much time for shopping so we dug deep into the kitchen cupboard and found some dried chickpeas and then located a bag of breadcrumbs in the freezer. After some googling, we came up with a recipe for this gratin.

If you’re using dried chickpeas, then we suggest soaking overnight in cold water and then simmering for an hour or so in fresh water until they are beginning to soften. You can even try this method that was featured in the Guardian recently, which soaks the chickpeas for 48 hours to make them ultra soft.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

75 ml olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

One medium-sized onion

250 g tomatoes

250 g chickpeas (cooked)

100 ml chickpea cooking liquid (or vegetable stock)

200 g courgettes

For the topping:

125 g breadcrumbs

15 g parsley

2 teaspoons red chilli flakes

Black pepper

Method

  1. Heat 25ml of olive oil in a frying pan and add the cumin seeds and finely chopped onion. Fry for 10 minutes or so over a medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add the peeled, chopped tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes and then add the chickpeas and stock and simmer over a low heat for 10 more minutes.
  2. While this is cooking, heat another 25ml of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the courgette (cut it into 0.5 cm rounds) over a medium heat, turn the courgette rounds over after five minutes so both sides are charred.
  3. Pour the chickpea and tomato mix into a greased oven dish, cover this with fried courgettes. Mix the breadcrumbs, the remaining oil and the herbs and spices together well and then cover the bake with this mixture.
  4. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 c for 30 minutes or so, until the mix is bubbling and the topping has gone a nice golden brown. Serve with a green salad and boiled or fried potatoes

 

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Piccata: a Zingy Sauce to Pique your Interest

31 May 2018

As the market stalls overflow with fresh spring produce, this time round on Knidos Cookery Club we’ve selected some zingy greens to make a zesty, lemony piccata sauce to go with pasta and some other leafy greens.

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KCC’s Chick Pea Picatta on a bed of sorrel

The piccata sauce comes from Italy and is a lemon-fuelled accompaniment to a variety of dishes. The name derives form the Italian word for ‘annoyed’, piccato, and it is from the same root as the word used in English expressions such as ‘a fit of pique’ or ‘to pique your interest’.

We’ve used jusai, garlic chives, to add more flavour to the sauce, along with white wine, capers and lemon zest and juice to give it a picquant bite. Add some chick peas and serve on a mound of pasta placed on top of a bed of fresh sorrel leaves for a tangy treat.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

250 g cooked chick peas

25 ml olive oil

50 g garlic chives

2 tablespoons flour

100 ml white wine

500 ml vegetable stock

12 capers

Zest and juice of one lemon

1 teaspoon dried thyme

black pepper

250g dried pasta (we used spirals) cooked according to instructions on pack

Bunch of fresh sorrel

Method

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat and then add the chopped garlic chives. Cook for five minutes and then add the flour and stir well. Pour in the wine and mix to a paste and then slowly add the stock, stirring all the while.

Simmer over a low heat until the sauce starts to thicken, then add the chick peas, capers and thyme and cook for three minutes. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta. Grind a generous amount of black pepper into the sauce along with the lemon juice and zest.

Tear up the sorrel leaves and scatter over a plate. Place a pile of pasta in the middle of the plate on the leaves, and then pour the piccata sauce over the pasta and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Pot Wonder: A Trip to Knidos

23 November 2017

Knidos Cookery Club recently entertained Professor Fox, that doyen of the Christchurch Antiquarians, who came over to Turkey to check out the ruins of Knidos and some archaeological sites in the Datça area such as Burgaz (Old Knidos).

Here’s a slideshow of our visit to Knidos:

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After the trip we needed something quick and filling so this time round on Knidos Cookery Club we’ll be cooking pasta in a tasty sauce using only one pan.

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KCC’s one pot wonder in progress

This one pot wonder saves time, energy and washing up, both important  considerations in the world of KCC after a busy day on the archaeological trail.

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KCC’s one pot wonder – the finished product

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

Three medium-sized tomatoes (approx 150 g)

50 g olives (any you have handy will do, we used some green ones)

150 g cooked chick peas

200 g pasta (penne, fusilli or spaghetti works well)

500 ml hot water

15 g capers

One garlic clove

25 ml olive oil

One teaspoon dried thyme

One teaspoon sumac

One teaspoon chilli flakes

Method 

Chop the tomatoes into quarters and add to a large, heavy-based pan with the olives, chick peas, minced garlic, olive oil, thyme, sumac and chilli flakes. Pour the water over the top, add the pasta, stir and bring to a boil.

Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the pack over a medium to high heat – you need to keep it bubbling away and stir occasionally. Keep cooking until the most of the liquid is boiled off, leaving the cooked pasta in the sauce.

The type of pasta we used took around 15 minutes to cook – try it as you go to get the type of taste you prefer. Don’t forget to stir in the washed capers to the pasta and sauce when it is cooked.

Serve straight from the pan and garnish, if you want, with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese.

Head to the Islands

16 June, 2016

This week Knidos Cookery Club is on location in Greece, on the island of Kos, which is a short hop by boat from the ruins of the ancient Carian port city of Knidos.

Turkey and Greece have a lot of similarities when it comes to food with both cuisines drawing on herbs and vegetables common to the areas around the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. Much of Greek cooking tends towards heartier fare, whereas the Ottoman influence on Turkish cooking lends it a more regal and refined air.

Historically, Greece’s islands have depended on what was grown and produced on the island. This sees the use of dried beans and pulses, olives, cheeses preserved in red wine and bread dried into rusks.

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Aegli restaurant, Kos Town

Knidos Cookery Club’s favourite restaurant in Kos Town is Aegli, glamour in Greek, which is a women’s cooperatve that employs single mothers and women over 50. It uses local recipes and serves dishes made from ingredients sourced only from the island.

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Aegli’s mixed starter plate

The excellent mixed starter plate came with fava, a mashed broad bean paste, a dip made from fresh aubergenes, a cheese and chili pepper blend, giant beans in a tomato sauce and two types of fritters – one made with mashed potato and onion, and the other with mashed chick peas.

This week, Knidos Cookery Club will serve up some revithokeftedes (ρεβυθοκεφτεδες), a chick pea fritter that is a mintier version of falafel.

Ingredients (for 10-12 fritters)

One can of chick peas or 150 g dried chick peas soaked overnight and boiled for an hour or so

Two spring onions

A bunch of fresh mint, sprinkles of salt and pepper

100 g flour

25 g sesame seeds

100 ml olive oil for frying

Method

Mash the chick peas with a potato masher or blender. Add the chopped spring onion, mint and salt and pepper. Mix in the flour and then shape the mix into golf ball-sized fritters and roll them in sesame seeds.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan then cook the fritters, flattening them with a spatula. Fry until a golden brown colour on both sides.

 

A Passion for Purslane

19 May 2016

This week on Knidos Cookery Club we’ll be looking at some ways of using purslane, our favourite weed. This highly-nutritious plant is called semizotu and is widely cultivated in Turkey, where it also grows wild. It’s used in salads, soups and stews.

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Freshly-picked purslane

Purslane has a crunchy texture and a lemony taste and can be used as a substitute for spinach and watercress. This superweed is packed with vitamins – it has the highest concentration of vitamin E of any plant and also contains a useful essential omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, reports motherearthnews.com.

In the Knidos area, it’s a mainstay of meze, or starter, combos when served with yogurt and a hint of garlic. The leaves and stems are also good as a simple but tasty salad dressed with a tahini sauce.

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Purslane in a tahini dressing

We’ve opted for a vitamin-packed spring stew, Semizotu Nohutlu Bulgur Pilavı with purslane, chick peas (garbanzo beans), tomato. carrot and bulgur wheat. Here’s what the finished dish should look like:

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Ingredients (serves3-4)

One bunch of purslane

One medium-sized onion

Two carrots

Four medium-sized tomatoes

100 g coarse bulgur wheat

One can chick peas or 150 g dried chick peas soaked overnight and boiled for an hour or so

One bay leaf

Fresh herbs – parsley and mint

A pinch of cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, red chili flakes, thyme and salt

250 ml warm water

25 ml olive oil

Method

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan and add the chopped onion, the bay leaf and a sprinkle of dried thyme.

Slice the carrot into 50 mm rounds then chop up the tomatoes. When the onions are translucent, add the carrots to the mix and after five minutes or so add the tomatoes.

Cook for another five minutes then add the chick peas, bulgur wheat and water and season with the fresh herbs and spices.

Stir well and bring to the boil. Then turn the heat down, add the purslane and cook over a low heat for 20-25 minutes until the bulgur wheat is cooked but still a bit chewy.

Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes then serve with yogurt and garnish with mint.

Afiyet olsun!