Friday, 22 October 2010

Chickpea fritters with Minted yoghurt dressing

For some unknown reason I have been really wanting to make this recipe since I first got my hands on the great book "In The Mood for Entertaining" by Jo Pratt and it did not let me down! These are the easiest, quickest fritters I’ve ever made! Everything goes in the mixer, couple minutes in the pan and voila!

Gorgeously bite sized, tasty bites! What more can you want in an appetizer?

This is a definite keeper of a recipe and will be featuring in my repertoire a lot! All of it can be prepared hours ahead which makes things even easier too!

Serves 6 as an appetizer – makes approx 30

Easy - requires food processor


150ml natural yoghurt
1 bunch roughly chopped mint
Sea salt (I added a little black pepper too)

Chickpeas Fritters:

400g tin of chickpeas, drained
1 roughly chopped onion
1 garlic clove
1 green chilli, roughly chopped (I used red as had no green ones left!)
1 egg
75g plain flour
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 litre sunflower oil

To serve (As per the book, though optional, I omitted as had lots of other things!)
4 spring onions, thinly sliced at an angle
Handful mint and coriander leaves
1/3 cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
6 small wedges of lemon

Make the dressing by blending the mint and yoghurt together and season to taste, place in fridge until needed

To make the super easy fritters, place all the ingredients, bar the oil into a food processor and blitz to form a thick paste/ batter. This can also keep in the fridge until required

Heat the oil in a large suitable pan, place teaspoonfuls of the mixture into the hot fat, I found using 2 teaspoons best for shaping, working in batches, fry for a couple of minutes or until golden, drain on kitchen paper.

Optional: To serve, arrange on plates a small salad of the spring onions, mint and coriander and divide the fritters amongst them, serve the dressing in small bowls if wanted and a wedge of lemon. As I had lots of other things going on with our dinner, I served the fritters on a large platter and a bowl of the dipping sauce for my guests to dive into!

We enjoyed the fritters alongside a sort of Mediterranean feast, I will be posting the other dishes shortly!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Spooky Halloween Baking!!

I can't take any credit for these wonderfully creepy cakes for Halloween as they were iced by my niece Alice - hasn't she done a fantastic job!!

The fairy cakes were made to the standard fantastic fairy cakes recipe, found on the Silverspoon Website. It works every time and makes great little cakes! Its not very clear from the pictures but I used both red and blue food dyes from Silverspoon, they look great when cut open!

I really like the new style dropper caps on these dyes, makes adding to mixtures much easier!

Many thanks to Silverspoon for sending the dyes, designer icing pens and sprinkles!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Finally back and a comforting Orzo Ragu!

Finally! I am back blogging! A month later than planned but hopefully back in the loop. I know its been a while sorry!

Since my last posting, we have been on our summer holiday to Turkey, the weather was beautiful every day but the hotel not quite so beautiful....won't be staying there again!! The food was of limited choice and I can't blog anything particuarly amazing but I did enjoy a lovely chicken salad one day at a nice little cafe:

Unfortunately, upon returning I have been plagued by a recurring nasty tummy bug amongst other health issues, which completely wiped both me and my appetite out! However this does now mean I can eat cream every day this week to get my weight back up!!

Fortunately my appetite is now finally returning, and I managed to actually cook a meal yesterday for the first time in weeks! I recently discovered Orzo, which is a type of pasta and have become a big fan of it. If you have not tried it before, its a similar texture to pasta but shaped like very large grains of rice. Some supermarkets stock it (My local ASDA has it in the world foods aisle!) but if not try a deli or similar shop. I've made a similar dish to this with Orzo before but without the meat and by roasting fresh peppers and tomatoes to make a sauce which was delicious, will remember to take a picture next time as I forgot!

This comforting, simple dish is ideal for the cold nights that are now drawing in, and depending on your supplies, you can probably make it without needing to visit the shops! I used a mix of frozen and fresh vegetables, though you could use whatever you prefer or have at the time. Whilst its not probably everyones choice, I did use Aberdeen Angus frozen minced beef for convenience, though you could just as easily use fresh if you prefer. A bonus is that its all cooked in one pan, so less washing up afterwards!

As with a lot of my recipes, some of the weights are approximate as tend to go by eye, rather than scales..I use a small soup bowl* normally when prepping, roughly 1 large cup sized...

Orzo Ragu
Serves 2-4
1 hour

200g Orzo
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped (or blitzed in food processor!)
1 onion, finely chopped
500g passatta (sieved tomatoes)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 tsp dried italian herb mix, some fresh basil is good to add if you have any!
1 soup bowl* of frozen minced beef (or fresh, if you prefer)
Handful (or bowl) frozen green beans
Handful (or bowl) frozen garden peas or petit pois
Big handful grated cheddar

Boil the Orzo as per packet instructons until al dente in a large pan, for the last minute add the green beans, drain well in a colander and refresh with cold water. Leave to one side.

Using the same saucepan, return to the heat and gently fry the mince, onion, garlic and carrot (add a little olive oil if needed) until the vegetables have softened. Add 1/3 of the passatta, herbs to taste and mix well, cover and gently simmer for 15 minutes, add more passatta if it looks dry.

Now add the remaining passatta, the orzo, green beans and peas, mix really well, season with s&p and simmer for a further 15 minutes or until the orzo is soft and cooked through, stir in the cheese and serve in nice deep bowls. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

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