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Ate, Cook, Food, Recipe

Zatar Roasted Carrot & Garlic Hummus.

There was a time when a tub of hummus and a stack of toasted pita breads constituted an evening meal for me. I’m rather glad to say those days are gone and I have moved on to a much more balanced diet, however, that being said… I could absolutely still do exactly that. I love hummus. In almost all of its guises, I love it. Most days it serves as a prelude to my desk lunch, with a pile of carrots serving as the vehicle for it’s salty, lemony tang.

In my quest of the perfect hummus recipe – something I have absolutely yet to find I might add – I’ve explored the world of alternative versions, with varying success. There’s thus far been everything from puy lentil editions to creamy butterbean variants. This roasted carrot version is one I shall certainly be returning to although I might add, it’s absolutely never going to replace the chickpea variety.

Roasting the carrots with the zatar spiked oil really brings out their sweet nature whilst adding a spark of flavour to the proceedings. I find also roasted the garlic in the same way produces a much more mellow tasting hummus, adding it in raw can leave a rather acrid taste in my experience, so I tend to always roast the garlic first. Serve it with some toasted pita chips (gluten free pitas will do just as well, don’t worry) and some fresh crudités like celery or chicory.

 

Ingredients

  • 8 carrots, cleaned and sliced in half
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, with more to serve
  • 2 garlic cloves, pealed
  • 1 tsp zatar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp of tahini

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Start by scrubbing the carrots thoroughly, you don’t need to peel them, just make sure they’re well and truly clean before slicing them in half.  

Add the carrots to a mixing bowl along with the two pealed cloves of garlic and drizzle over 2 tablespoons of your olive oil.

Next sprinkle over a pinch of salt and your teaspoon of zatar and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, give it all a good toss to make sure every piece of carrot is nicely coated and then arrange on your baking tray in a pleasantly hazard manor.

Remove the two cloves of garlic and keep to one side for now, they aren’t going to need as long to roast as the carrots. If any of the oil mix remains in the bowl, just pour this onto the carrots. 

Pop into the oven and leave to roast for around 15 minutes, at this point check on them and add the garlic to your baking tray. Pop back in the over for a further 10-15 minutes until everything looks caramelized and delectable before removing from the oven. Leave to one side to cool.

Once the carrots and garlic have cooled add them to your food processor with your lemon juice, tahini and remaining olive oil. Give it all a whizz until nice and blended, you might at this point need to add in some more olive oil if you feel the hummus is too thick. Give it a taste and season accordingly. If it’s a little sweet for you simply try adding a few further drops of lemon juice.

To serve, spoon into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil before adding a final sprinkling of zatar.

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Ate, Cook

Bitter Sweet Orange.

I like to cook dinner for people, it just makes me inexplicably happy. I enjoy a culinary challenge even more. For a number of years now my mum hasn’t been able to wheat; not a welcome ailment for someone with a sweet tooth. When she visits I like to try and cook something she won’t have had before, or at least something she won’t have had in quite some time.

This weekend my head was filled with the promise of spring, a curious thing amidst the snow and biting cold. Perhaps its simply optimism that spring is on the way or maybe it’s just because I bought myself some tulips for the dining table, but either way my head was firmly in the next season. For dessert I wanted to serve something fresh and citrusy, maybe even a little sharp. Over the Christmas period we seem to spend so long eating rich, complex flavours I felt I wanted the total opposite of for this week’s Sunday lunch.

Step forward bitter Seville orange tart. With a few adjustments to a recipe I’d bookmarked with a receipt sometime ago in Simply Nigella, the tart was made wholly appropriate for a celiac with a fondness for dessert. In lieu of a pastry crust there’s a ginger spiced biscuit crust, extra thick for a bit of texture against the creamy curd of the filling. There’s little denying that this is not one the healthier options I’ve cooked. Butter, sugar and a large quantity of eggs feature even if wheat and gluten are entirely missing. I’m not going to claim to have bettered Nigella’s recipe but I definitely don’t feel she’d scoff at the altered rendition. Short, sharp and filled with the promise of a warm spring day, the tart was swiftly demolished by all involved.

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Ate, Cook, Food

Clementines & Ginger.

The real reason I decided to play around with the idea of a ginger and clementine cake came from the fact I stumbled across some miniature bundt tins whilst wandering around a store last week.

As soon I saw them I knew something festive would evolve from their presence in my kitchen.

The cake itself has a darkly spiced flavour due to a blend of ginger, cinnamon and the all together not too healthy addition of Golden Syrup. The drizzle icing and candied peal on top deliver a sharper kick of clementine. Again, the sugar doesn’t exactly render this all that healthy however I’m convinced a more virtuous iteration of it can be discovered.

Bear with me. I’m working on it.

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Kale & Butterbean Falafel.

Kale & Butterbean Falafel

This combination was somewhat of a happy accident, occurring out of quite simply what was sitting in my cupboard and an amalgamation of several recipes I have stumbled across over the course of my culinary explorations. For me, the substitution of butter beans for chickpea makes for a lighter falafel than your average. Butterbeans come with a twinge of nostalgia for me, my mother having cooked them alongside potato waffles when I was a child. I can’t help but feel we don’t use butter beans enough personally, they offer a ready-made smoothness that combats the potentially grizzly nature or curly kale!

Kale & Butterbean Falafel

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of butter beans, drained
  • 2 handfuls of curly kale (the larger, tough stalks removed where possible)
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened peanut butter (I use Whole Earth)
  • Handful of freshly chopped coriander

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Start by adding the kale, coriander, crushed garlic and spring onion to the bowl of your food processor first and give it a good blitz till it’s finely chopped. 

Now it’s time for the tin of drained butter beans, cumin, cayenne, salt, paprika and peanut butter. As you blitz everything up add in the soy sauce, this will help it combine easier. You might find you need to blitz a few times, scraping down the food processor to make sure everything is well blended, if required remove the blades and give the mixture a quick combine with a spatula. It should be fairly firm in consistency and not sticky.

Kale & Butterbean Falafel

Take handfuls of the mixture and tightly squash it into gold ball sized balls. You could also try shaping them into patties at this point if you’d rather, a lighter option to your standard veggie burger. 

Arrange them on a baking tray and transfer to the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning mid way through to ensure each falafel is browned evenly.

These little balls of goodness should keep perfectly well in your fridge for 2-3 days, making them perfect for making ahead for the lunch times that invariably end up being spent at your desk.

I like to serve them sitting atop my own hybrid Greek-esque salad – pitted black olives, fresh tomatoes, capers, some mixed lettuce leaves and cucumber – with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to finish it all off nicely.

Kale & Butterbean Falafel

Kale & Butterbean Falafel

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