Spicy Chickpea Puree

I have always been a huge fan of the combination of cumin and coriander which works very well with both eggplants and chickpeas. There are many Middle Eastern dishes using these ingredients.

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I actually made this as a stuffing for baked eggplant and ended up with left-overs –don’t worry, I’m working on the recipe so stay tuned for the recipe peoples. Naturally, the next day, it became my lunch; served on rice cakes with fresh tomato slices. If you are looking for a light lunch option, this one is just right for you!

1x can chickpeas, drained and rinsed and drained again
4 rice cakes
1 small tomato, washed and sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3 generous tbsp Tofutti Sour Supreme
Juice of ½ lemon, freshly squeezed
Handful flat-leaf parsley, washed and finely chopped

• Process the chickpeas, vegan sour cream and lemon juice in a food processor. Scrape the sides and pay attention to the area under the blade –this is usually where you get not so processed bits and pieces. Transfer into a bowl.
• Add the remaining ingredients; parsley, cumin, coriander and salt.
• Spread evenly and generously over rice cakes. Top with sliced tomatoes and enjoy!

Vegan Pad Thai

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Until I have my husband here as a guest writer with his fantastic Pad Thai recipe, I thought I’d better share May Kaidee’s recipe for the time being. Without being biased, I think his Pad Thai is way better than every other Pad Thai I have ever had so far, including the ones in the land of Pad Thai; Thailand.

Ingredients for Peanut Sauce:
1 tbsp oil
1 small tomato, peeled and chopped
1 tsp chilli paste
6 tbsp coconut milk
1 tbsp unsalted peanuts, toasted and chopped
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp lime juice
2 tsp vegetarian fish sauce or dark and light soy sauce mixture (half and half)

• Heat the oil in a wok. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes start to lose their shape. Lower the heat and add the chilli paste. Stir and cook until fragrant.
• Add coconut milk, peanuts, brown sugar, lime juice and vegetarian fish sauce and stir until the sauce is thick and glossy.

Liquid Sugar
2 tsp raw sugar dissolved in 8 tsp hot water

Pad Thai ingredients:
1 tbsp oil
1 garlic, crushed
1 small onion, sliced
1 small carrot, cut into small sticks
1/3 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1/3 block firm tofu, cubed (we use Earth Source firm tofu)
2 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced
6 kaffir lime leaves, cut into ribbons
3 tbsp each dark and light soy sauce
1 tbsp liquid sugar
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 pack Pad Thai noodles (200gr), pre-soaked
½ cup bean sprouts, rinsed and drained well
1 tbsp ground peanuts
Peanut sauce for topping
Sesame seeds

• First you prepare the tofu by squeezing as much moisture out as possible with a clean tea towel. Cut the tofu into cubes and fry on high heat until crisp. Set aside.
• Heat the oil in a wok. Add the garlic, chilli paste, onion, tomato and tofu.
• Add mixed vegetables, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves and stir fry.
• Add vegetarian fish sauce or dark and light soy sauce mixture, liquid sugar and rice vinegar to taste.
• Add noodles and bean sprouts and a little water if needed.
• Add the ground peanuts and tofu. Stir fry.
• Serve on a plate, topped with peanut sauce and sesame seeds.

Lamyong Vegetarian Soy Nuggets


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This is probably the most versatile product from Lamyong range. Lamyong Vegetarian Soy Nuggets are made from high quality textured vegetable protein –mixture of soy protein, wheat flour and vegetable oil. Made in Malaysia. Ingredients: • Textured vegetable protein (50%) … Continue reading

Turkish Borlotti Bean Stew or Barbunya Pilaki

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Barbunya Pilaki is one the classics in Turkish cuisine. Barbunya is the name of bean, pilaki is the name of a certain group of dishes –plaki in Greek–which are cooked in sauce made out of onion, potato, carrot, tomato or tomato sauce (or in some cases both), garlic and olive oil. Pilakis are always served cold, garnished with parsley and slices of lemon and the olive oil which is used in all cold dishes in Turkish cuisine is processed olive oil, not the raw variety. Other beans prepared in this style is cannellini beans.

1 tin borlotti bean(approx. 420gr), rinsed and drained
1 brown onion, chopped finely
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1 small potato, peeled and diced
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp. light olive oil
Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 ½ cup water
1 tsp sweet paprika
Lemon slices to garnish

• Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onions, salt, carrots and potatoes. Cook until all the vegetables are soft, stirring continuously. Add the tomatoes and crushed garlic and cook until they are also fully cooked.
• Add the beans, sugar, more salt, sweet paprika and water. Give it a good stir without mushing the beans and turn down the heat. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes.
• Remove from the heat and cool. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.

Tasty Borek (Sigara Boregi or cigar-shaped pasties) with Spicy Potato filling


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Frozen Sigara Boregi with spicy potato filing from The Authentic Pastry Company –the same company that does frozen Gozleme. Company details are at the end of this post. It is made from yeast-free pastry. There are other varieties around however; … Continue reading

Smoked Eggplant Salad or Közde Patlıcan Salatası

Smoked Eggplant Salad or Közde Patlıcan Salatası

This is something I make if I have a gas kitchen. These days, there is this barbecue option as well. For as long as the flame is touching the eggplant skin, you’ll be fine. Some people cook the eggplant in their oven but you clearly do not get that distinctive smokiness from the oven. To solve this problem, either you could buy smoked eggplant in a jar from a Turkish grocery store or an online shop or bake the eggplant and add a dash of liquid smoke like hickory before mixing it with the other salad ingredients.

Smoked Eggplant Salad Közde Patlıcan Salatası

Smoked Eggplant Salad or Közde Patlıcan Salatası

1 round eggplant
1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
A few twigs flat leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• Barbecue the eggplant for 15-20 minutes, turning to char on all sides until the skin blisters and the eggplant is completely soft.
• Allow to cool, then peel and roughly chop the eggplant.
• Place the eggplant in a food processor with lemon juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper.
• Process until smooth, transfer to a bowl and stir through chopped parsley.

Recipe Notes:
• Do not use too much parsley as the salad gets a little bitter.
• Round eggplants are the best varietal for smoking as you need more flesh in this type of recipe.
• Alternatively, you could add other salad ingredients such as sweet or hot green peppers, fresh mint, chopped tomatoes or pomegranate molasses.

Turkish Stuffed Vine Leaves, Zeytinyağlı Yaprak Sarma or Dolma

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After seeing quite a few bad examples of stuffed vine leaves or even Greek dolmades, I thought it’s time I did something about it. I always have a jar of the leaves in my pantry just in case I get in to the mood. Yes, it is time consuming and getting it right is difficult especially if you don’t have gas kitchen but once it is done properly, they are just divine.

There are many different styles of stuffed vine leaves in Turkey. One of them is the mince one and that one is served warm with garlic yoghurt. Non-meat version on the other hand is light and lemony although in certain parts of Turkey many use chickpeas, bulgur or even lentils instead of rice. From the area where my father’s family come from, there is even a semi-raw version. Actually, best leaves come from that area too.

33 pieces vine leaves in brine
1 cup medium-grain white rice, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp dried currants
½ tbsp dried spearmint
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley (leaves only), finely chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil or processed olive oil (the variety that you can cook with, not extra virgin)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

• Place the vine leaves in a large bowl and fill it up with hot water. Soak them for 20 minutes.
• To make the filling; place the rice, onion, oil, parsley, mint, pine nuts, currants, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well.
• Remove the leaves and squeeze any excess water out, cut off any stems –some leaves come with stems still attached and some don’t. Reserve 3 leaves to line the saucepan.
• Get yourself 2 large flat plates; one for the rolling process and the other one for rolled ones. I actually don’t like to work on a chopping board as it is messier that way.
• Lay a leaf glossy/smoother side down on the plate –stalk end should be at the top. Place 1 tbsp of filling at the base of the split and spread the filling, making sure that it is a long line, not a fat and short one. Fold the tops over the filling –they should overlap a little–then the left and right sides into the middle. Roll firmly towards the tip. Pop it onto the other plate and repeat with the remaining filling and leaves.
• Judging by the number of stuffed leaves; choose the right size of a heavy-based, stainless steel saucepan. Mine was 18cm in diameter. Line the bottom of it with the reserved vine leaves. Drizzle with a little bit of oil. Pack the dolmas tightly in one layer and then another. Boil some water, pour it over the dolmas and cover with an inverted plate although I used 2 saucers as my breakfast plates are a little big for the job. The reason for this is that you need enough water to cook the rice in the filling but once it starts boiling dolmas start to float around. To make things worse, it doesn’t matter how tightly they are wrapped, they release their content into the water.
• Put the lid on and bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until all that water is absorbed and the rice is cooked thoroughly.
• Pour freshly squeezed lemon juice over and set aside to cool. Remove the dolmas with fork and spoon once they are cool. Arrange them on a serving plate and serve cold with lemon slices.

Note: Any unused leaves should be stored in brine in the fridge. Depending on the salt content they last for quite some time until you are brave enough to make another batch of stuffed vine leaves.