Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Bulgar tabbouleh with harissa spiced kebabs and harissa dressing.

I've been trying to use up half-used jars and packets as my larder is stuffed full. I just can't resist buying something new and interesting but then we only seem to use half and stash it away for another time. You may have realised I don't generally repeat meals very frequently, so I either need something new to do with the ingredients or for something to have been really popular to repeat it!

This dish used up an open pack of bulgar wheat and a jar of harissa, and it also used a good portion of the parsley I bought in the corner shop the other day.  I also had some celery going a bit floppy which was chucked in too.

I began by cooking the bulgar wheat for the tabbouleh. The one I have is cooked in a pan with double the volume of boiling water and simmered for 7 minutes. I then fluffed it with a fork and emptied it into a large salad bowl.  I then added finely chopped parsley leaves, and finely chopped cucumber and celery and stirred it all through.

So as not to waste anything, I put the stalks of the parsley, chopped finely, into a bowl with a pound of lean beef mince. I then added a teaspoon of salt and one of ground pepper. Next, I added a couple of tablespoons of harissa and a teaspoon of cumin powder also.  I mixed this all very thoroughly and left it to marinade.

Using the tablespoon or so left in the harissa jar, I added the juice and chunky flesh of one lemon, half a teaspoon of salt, and a teaspoon of honey.  I shook this all together in the jar to make a dressing.

Finally, I divided the meat between 12 skewers making either 3 walnut sized meatballs per skewer, or a long thin sheekh kebab shaped "sausage" - many cultures would call these "kofte".
I like how these turn out in the halogen oven, but a grill would also have a similar effect. They took about 12 mins to cook in the halogen, and I love how the edges get crispy.

The littler 2 kids don't like anything even slightly spicy, so they "dressed" their tabbouleh with lemon juice from a bottle, but Big'Un and I enjoyed liberally drizzling the harissa dressing onto ours.

Vegetarians could try the tabbouleh with griddled halloumi and vegans could easily use harissa brushed tofu, or just some tasty crunchy baked chickpeas - and omit the honey from the dressing, of course.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Slimming World "Heinz-style" Tomato Soup

This is such an easy, filling, comforting soup. Yes, it is probably healthier than actual Heinz tomato soup, and it's not much harder or slower to prepare than the real thing either. It's quite disarming as to how close this tastes to the real deal, but you will feel more full, and your kids will be a bit more vegged-up than with the real deal. To increase the fat content for children, serve with a swirl of cream and well-buttered bread. 


I can't claim the original recipe, but I think it should be more widely known, and this is my "in a pinch" variation.

You will need:

1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of sliced carrots
1 tin of baked beans
A slosh of vinegar 
2 tsps Marigold (obvs, wouldn't be my cooking without it!)

I bought the 3 main ingredients on the way home from school in our corner shop and it came to under £1.50. this served 5 hungry people. 

I made this extra hands-free and simple by using my Lakeland MultiChef (heated blender/cooker) but you can either blend and heat or heat and blend, with a normal saucepan and your preference of blender - whatever is easier for you! 

1) Open all 3 tins.
2) Drain the carrots.
3) Don't drain the other 2.
4) Lightly spray the pan/MultiChef with cooking spray.
5) Empty the tins into the pan/blender.
6) Add the Marigold and half fill the tomato tin with water, swirl to get the bits and juices and pour in also.

7) If using a MultiChef or ThermoMix or similar, follow the instructions for a similar soup.
My method was to heat to 90°, blend speed 3 and cook for 10 mins. It probably didn't need that long.

If using a standard blender, whizz it up and then pour into a pan and warm through til hot.

Alternatively, simmer the contents of the tin in a large saucepan and then use a stick blender to make it smooth. 

8) Finally, add a slosh of vinegar. I used some of the vinegar from a jar of silver skin pickled onions. This is because the original Slimming World well-known recipe uses a few actual pickled onions, but we had run out -until but had kept the vinegar. When we made it with the pickled onions before, I actually found they didn't blend brilliantly, so I actually preferred the taste and texture when just using the vinegar! Stir it through until well mixed in, and be sure the soup is hot when you serve.