Thursday, 19 February 2015

Lubia bi Zeit with Maftoul & Spiced Roast Potatoes - Suma Blogger's Network

These recipes have been inspired by my recent delivery from Suma, for my second Blogger's Network post of the year. When I ordered Maftoul and Lebanese 7 spice, I had no idea what to do with them! After looking through my cook books and Googling for various Middle-Eastern recipes, I came up with this themed meal:

Serves 4

Lubia bi Zeit (Lebanese Green Bean Stew)
This vegan bean stew can be served hot or warm. The mushrooms and peppers aren't traditional, but I think they give the stew more flavour and texture. Serve with pitta, for an alternative, quick meal.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g/8oz fresh green beans, ends trimmed, cut in half
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 100g/4oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Alfez Lebanese Baharat 7 spice mix (use less if you prefer a milder flavour)
Heat the oil in a large pan.
Fry the onion gently for around 5 minutes, until golden brown. Add the tomato purée and spice mix and cook out for a further 2 minutes.
Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir together.
Simmer with the lid on for 20-25 minutes, or until the beans are almost tender. Uncover the pan and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes to reduce the sauce.

Maftoul with Chickpeas 
Maftoul, also known as Palestinian couscous, is similar to giant couscous, but is made from sun-dried bulgur wheat which is hand rolled, giving it an uneven grain size. This dish is traditionally made with chicken.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 125g/5 oz/¾ cup maftoul
  • 350ml/1½ cups boiling water/vegetable stock
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ tin of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 tsp  Alfez Lebanese Baharat 7 spice mix
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 cinnamon stick
Heat the oil in a pan, on a medium-low heat. Gently fry the onion for a few minutes, until softened. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir.
Simmer for around 20 minutes, with the lid on, stirring occasionally.

7 Spiced Potatoes
  • 450g/1lb baking potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges or chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp  Alfez Lebanese Baharat 7 spice mix
  • ½ lemon, cut into chunks
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6/400F 
Coat the potato wedges in the oil and spices. 
Place in baking dish, top with the lemon pieces and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, shaking occasionally, then uncover and roast for a further 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Labneh is a basic soft cheese, made by straining yogurt through muslin to remove excess water/whey and then adding flavourings. I didn't bother to strain my yogurt, as I used thick Greek yogurt.
     Suma Blogger's Network
  • 7.5cm/3" chunk of cucumber, de-seeded, diced and blotted dry on kitchen towel
  • 250ml/1 cup Greek yoghurt, or vegan plain yogurt - strained, if you have time
  • 1 tbsp fresh, chopped mint or 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
Mix all of the ingredients together. Chill until needed.

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Monday, 16 February 2015

Steenbergs Organic - A Review

I'm always keen to support family-run businesses, so when Steenbergs Organic asked me to review some of their products, I was delighted to oblige.

In case you don't know, Steenbergs are a small, family- run, artisan spice company based in North Yorkshire. They specialise in the ethical sourcing and hand-blending of spices, teas and home baking ingredients, with a focus on organic and Fairtrade and a passion for provenance, aroma and taste. They also stock a range of eco-friendly household and kitchen-ware products, including some beautiful, lacquered coconut-shell bowls. 
"Steenbergs Organic is a family-run, friendly firm committed to Fairtrade, the environment and people. It was set up in 2003 by Axel and Sophie Steenberg in North Yorkshire. We have moved three times since set up and are now in a purpose-built, ecofriendly factory, which is just 200 yards from where we started!"
 Coconut shell bowl Organic hot chocolateThey kindly sent me some organic Fairtrade Vanilla Extract, Organic Herby Lemon Stuffing and some organic Fairtrade Hot Chocolate. All 3 products were well packaged and presented, and tasted as good as they looked. I particularly liked the re-usable tin which the drinking chocolate powder came in, and the fact that it contained a hint of cinnamon, which made it particularly warming on a cold winter's day.

Steenberg products are stocked in various health-food outlets across the country and are available online, with free UK postage and packing on orders above £24.99

I received some complimentary Steenbergs products for review. All views expressed are genuine. 

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Saturday, 14 February 2015

Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Garlic & Chilli

Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Garlic & Chillli
Apologies for my recent lack of blog posts. Life, work and a bout of blogger's block got in the way for a few weeks! Anyway, I'm back with a delicious new batch of recipes to share with you...

My first one is for pan-fried gnocchi; I don't often cook gnocchi as Miss O isn't keen on its texture. As she was out with her boyfriend tonight (on her first Valentine's Day date!) I decided to experiment with a new variation of gnocchi, which I came across at a local Italian restaurant. I've never fried gnocchi before, but it gives it a totally different texture.

Serves 3-4 as part of an anti-pasti/tapas style starter. Double recipe to serve 3-4 as a main course, or as a buffet dish for 8.

  • ½ pack 250g/10oz of ready made plain potato gnocchi (check ingredients as some brands are vegan. I used Waitrose essential gnocchi which is vegan and only £1.75 per pack)
To coat
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika powder
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 mild-medium chilli, de-seeded and chopped finely (I used ½ a red and ½ a green chilli)
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, sage or basil (to serve)
Cook the gnocchi according to the packet instructions.
Drain, rinse in cold water and blot dry on kitchen paper.
Once cool, toss the cooked gnocchi in the seasoned flour mixture. Remove from the excess flour.

Meanwhile make up the dressing, by mixing all ingredients together.

Heat a further 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan, on a medium-hot heat.
Add the coated gnocchi, and fry for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally in the pan to cook evenly.
When lightly browned, remove from the pan and place in a bowl.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the dressing ingredients (except the parsley) to the pan.
Cook for around 30 seconds, to de-glaze the pan and cook the garlic and chillies.
Pour the dressing over the gnocchi, stir and sprinkle with the chopped herbs.

Serve warm with a squeeze of lemon juice or a sprinkle of vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese, yeast flakes or toasted pine nuts.

Gluten-free option: Use gluten free gnocchi and corn flour for coating.
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