Spiced Chickpeas | Component Cooking

Spiced Chickpeas | Naturally Ella

Given I don’t eat a lot of stand-in meat products, I rely heavily on legumes to be the star of my meals (and protein filler!) If you’ve hung around long enough on the site, you probably know that chickpeas are my favorite. These versatile legumes can transform into so many different meals and they soak up flavor to push vegetarian meals over the top. I’ve been making spiced chickpeas in some form or another for as long as I can remember. They are simple, ready in 20 minutes or less, and can be a dinner saver when I have nothing planned. I still remember my first version of these chickpeas contained buffalo sauce (delicious still) but I’ve found the recipe below to be more adaptable to spices and meals. A perfect addition to component cooking!

Read more and see the recipe.

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Homemade Tarragon Soda

Not everyone loves tarragon, but I do. When you steep sprigs of it, take a deep breath over the sauce pan, its like falling into a cloud of anise, and fennel, and green-ish black licorice, if there was such a thing. So, I buy it. Not as often as chives or basil, but more often than parsley, which I purchase just about never. So, I noticed the remnants of a small bunch of tarragon was starting the slide towards the compost bin the other day, and instead of letting it go I made a quick tarragon syrup. A tiny splash in sparkling water with a squeeze of lime or grapefruit makes a favorite not-too-sweet afternoon soda. I’ll post that recipe down below. But, you can also build on the general idea. Add some coins of smashed ginger along with the tarragon to steep in your simple syrup, and you’ve got a bit of spicy kick to play off the tarragon notes. Other ideas? Drizzle a thread of the tarragon syrup across goat cheese or strained yogurt on a cheese plate. Or over ricotta. It plays well with citrus, so you could do a little drizzle across your oatmeal (or baked oatmeal), and then add a good amount of lemon or orange zest. Or drizzle it over broiled grapefruit halves. Or use it to sweeten your lemon/ limeade this summer. I sometimes add a tiny hint to the bottom of my espresso cup in the morning before Wayne pulls a shot for me – it adds that je ne sais quoi. I’m just going to keep going. The smallest splash in a glass with a sprig of fresh tarragon before pouring a glass of prosecco is fragrant and nice. You can do an “adult soda” with a splash of gin. Or use the syrup in a sorbet. You get the idea. Use the syrup to make a soda like this, and experiment with the leftover syrup. And let me know if you stumble on any favorite uses! xo-h

Homemade Tarragon Soda
Homemade Tarragon Soda
Homemade Tarragon Soda

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Spelt Spaghetti with Parsley and Garlic Oil

Spelt Spaghetti with Parsley and Garlic Oil from Eat this Poem

I’ve mentioned before on the site, I judge a cookbook by the recipes that appear simple. If a recipe developer cannot nail a recipe light on ingredients, I lose trust in the rest. It’s a fine balance when you have only a few ingredients- each one plays an important roll and too much of one or not enough of another can ruin a dish. This spaghetti with parsley and garlic oil is a wonderful example of a recipe light on ingredients done right. The balance of the garlic oil with plenty of cheese and herbs- it’s such a hearty meal (especially with homemade spelt spaghetti!)

This spaghetti comes from Nicole Gulotta’s book: Eat this Poem. I’ve been lucky to know Nicole for a few years and watch the process she went through with this book. If you’re looking for summer reading, add this book to your list. It’s a book filled with recipes inspired by poetry and Nicole’s writing is beautiful. Her love and attention she gave this book really shines on every page. I don’t see her often but having her book makes me feel like I can have dinner with her.

Read more and see the recipe.

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Cashew Carrot Ginger Noodles

Cashew Carrot Ginger Noodles | Naturally Ella

I’ve taken a firm stance with my son- vegetables are not to be feared. I’m firmly against the idea of hiding vegetables in meals (my husband might say otherwise- but his firm stance on disliking squash isn’t good for me). Vegetables are something to be celebrated, something we should be excited to eat. I think so many of us grew up against vegetables because they were not cooked well. It’s been an evolution of poorly cooked vegetable recipes because sure, we can eat boiled broccoli but why should we?

That being said, the carrot may look hidden in this recipe but the sauce wouldn’t be the sauce without it. Roasting the carrot brings out the flavor and allows it to hold even with the stronger ginger flavor. These carrot ginger noodles are a lovely go-to fairly quick meal. I mentioned my love of cashew cream in the component cooking series but it’s recipes like this that help to show why I love keeping a jar in the refrigerator every week. Read more and see the recipe.

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Savoury Yogurt Bowl

Savory_yogurt_bowl_1

We love yogurt in our family*. The unsweetened, thick, creamy and tangy kind.

We enjoy yogurt for breakfast (with fruit) and sometimes dessert (with dates + chocolate + nuts). We top our soups with yogurt, we add it to smoothies and ice pops and we also dress our salads with it (Isac likes to dress himself with it as well). Yogurt works remarkably well both with sweet and savory flavors. And yet, the thought of making a yogurt bowl with savory toppings instead of sweet, had never struck us before.

But as we were playing around with this crunchy cucumber and melon salad with spiced chickpeas, we (and with we, I humbly mean ME, MYSELF and I – as in, not David) had the simple idea to put them on a bed of yogurt instead of doing the usual yogurt dressing. In theory, it’s more or less the same thing but in reality it’s so much better. The warm spiced chickpeas on a bed of cold, thick and tangy yogurt, with the addition of a fresh salad with all that crunch. It’s simple but yet so very good. And quick too. I’m sure there are plenty of savory yogurt bowls all over internet, but now they are also in our kitchen.

*David and Isac are actually intolerant to dairy but yogurt is their weak spot. We buy oat yogurt for them but David often chooses a day of stomach ache just to enjoy a bowl of plain yogurt. And Isac has literally been caught with his hand in the yogurt jar more than once. Coconut yogurt has a fantastic taste and consistency but is simply too expensive to enjoy more than as an occasional treat (very keen on giving Ashley’s versions a try though!).

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Hey hey hey, wait a sec. This is David acting as proofreader today and I just noted Luise’s attempt at hijacking my idea. This recipe = my idea. Just wanted to make that clear. I’ll give the word back to her now.

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The salad is super quick, just chop everything up – we found that crunchy vegetables like cucumber, celery, sturdy roman lettuce and radishes work really well here, with the avocado and melon adding softness and sweetness. The yogurt is, well, just yogurt. It needs to be quite thick to hold up the topping – our preference is Greek yogurt but choose whatever you prefer. The only thing that needs a little more preparation and heat are the spiced chickpeas. Even if the ingredient list looks long, it’s simply spices, oil and chickpeas and the result tastes way better than just using plain chickpeas.

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VARIATIONS
There are plenty of ways to play around with this recipe and we’re going to leave you with a few ideas.
 Whisk some creamy goat’s cheese into the yogurt. It will dissolve, become smooth and give the yogurt a more mature flavor.
 If you don’t have all the spices at home for the chickpeas, use what you find. A bread spice mix works great along with a little cayenne. A turmeric or curry version would be interesting too.
 You can skip the salad and pour the yogurt into small sealable jars with spiced chickpeas on top. Store them in the fridge for a quick snack.
 Vegans can of course use a vegan yogurt option or simply settle for the salad with warm chickpeas stirred through.
 Roasting the chickpeas in the oven together with eggplant or pumpkin could be amazing on top of the yogurt as well.

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Savoury Yogurt Bowl with Spicy Chickpeas & Cucumber Salad
Serves 4, or 2 very hungry people

Cucumber & Melon Salad
1 cucumber
1 small (or 1/2 regular) melon (we used Piel de Sapo but honeydew would also work)
1 spring onion
2 celery stalks
10-15 fresh mint leaves
1 avocado
6 radishes
½ roman lettuce
½ lemon, juice
1 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil

Spiced warm chickpeas
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds 
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cardamom seeds
sea salt

1/2 tsp ground cayenne
ground cumin
ground paprika powder

1/4 cup – 1/2 cup cold-pressed olive oil
1 x 14 oz / 400 g can 
cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

For serving
2 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt 

For the cucumber & melon salad: Wash all produce. Cut cucumber and melon in large bite-size pieces. Trim and finely slice spring onion, celery and mint leaves. Cut the avocado in half and remove the stone, then cut into cubes. Trim the radishes and thinly slice them and chop the roman lettuce. Place all prepared ingredients in a mixing bowl, squeeze over lemon juice and drizzle with olive oil, give it a good toss and set aside.

For the spiced warm chickpeas: Add all seeds and spices (except for the ground ones) to a dry skillet, heat gently for a couple of minutes while stirring. When the spices starts to pop and smell fragrant, they’re done. Pour into a mortar and give them a few bashes with the pestle (alternative on a cutting board and use the back of a chef’s knife). Transfer the seeds and spices back to the skillet. Now add oil (start with the lesser amount and add more if it looks dry), ground spices  and chickpeas and heat on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir to combine. When the chickpeas are warm and covered and spices and seeds, remove from the heat.

Dollop the yogurt into four bowls. Use the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Arrange the salad on one side of the yogurt and the spiced warm chickpea on the other side. Drizzle a little extra oil on top. Enjoy immediately while the chickpeas are still warm.

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PS! > LONDON + BATH
In all my excitement over a simple bowl of yogurt, I almost forgot to mention that we are coming to London and Bath next week for a couple of book events. We’re very excited and can’t wait to meet all of you!

We’re having a supper club at Grace Belgravia on Monday 5 June, 7-10 pm. More info here.
We’ll do talk and Q&A at Whole Foods Market in Kensington on Wednesday 7 June, 6.30 pm. More info and tickets here.
We’ll also do a talk and cooking demo at Topping & Company Booksellers in Bath on Friday 9 June, 7.30 pm. More info and tickets here.
Finally, we’re having a hands on cooking class at Bertinet Kitchen in Bath on Saturday 10 June, 10 am. Tickets here (only one left).

Hoping to see some of you at these events!

Quick-ish Ricotta Dumplings in Tomato Broth

I posted a photo to Instagram over the weekend, and a number of you asked for the recipe. It was a bowl of ricotta dumplings in a simple tomato-shallot broth topped with a bit of arugula. I used potsticker wrappers for the dumplings (I keep a stack of them in my freezer). It’s sort of cheating, but I’m cool with it, and they’re delicious, so I don’t feel bad about not making my own pasta. The filling is good ricotta cheese mixed with a dollop of pesto and some olive oil. Season with salt, done. You can see how the dumplings come together in the video below. They’re actually quite quick to pull together, and they freeze incredibly well. Make some, and freeze some for mid-week dumpling nights!

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Quick-ish Ricotta Dumplings in Tomato Brodo

Quick-ish Ricotta Dumplings in Tomato Brodo

Quick-ish Ricotta Dumplings in Tomato Brodo

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White Bean Pizza with Arugula Salad

White Bean Pizza with Arugula Salad | Naturally Ella

I love playing with pizza combinations. I’m fairly certain if I had my own cafe, pizza/flatbreads would have to be on the menu because I have endless combinations to share. They are the perfect base for all seasons and with a little creativity, also for specific diets like gluten-free and vegan. This white bean pizza was born out of a love of this hummus dip. I wasn’t a big fan of warm bean dips before but over the years, I turn to them time and again. This pizza takes a similar approach. Instead of using marinara, I use pureed beans. The beans are lovely with the melted cheese and even better with the fresh salad on top. It’s a full meal in one bite! Read more and see the recipe.

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Nut Lentil Bites | Component Cooking

Nut Lentil Bites | Component Cooking

I feel there is no greater go-to recipe for a vegetarian kitchen than a fritter, cake, or bite. Legumes, nuts, and/or grains combined with vegetables in some arrangement that can be baked or fried; it’s easily the star of a recipe.

These lentil bites have been around on the site for a couple years now but I felt it worthwhile to share, in one spot, all the ways I use these. I stopped calling them meatballs some time ago, because for the obvious reason: there’s no meat. But also, these bites are so much more versatile than the term ‘meatball’ lets on. I keep all these ingredients in my pantry and more often than not, I have a batch of uncooked bites in the freezer. These are also toddler friendly (a big plus in my house!)

Read more and see the recipe.

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Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

I want to jump in here to highlight a ringer of a cucumber salad. There were four recipe contenders in the cucumber section of the book I’m going to reference, and if the other three are as good as this, it’s going to be a very cu-centric summer. The salad. It’s crisp and refreshing, beautiful, and surprisingly substantial. The main players: cucumbers, ice-bathed scallions, toasted walnuts, mint, rose, and a vinegar-spiked yogurt dressing. I’ve been adding a scoop of lentils and making a meal out of it all week. The recipe is from the new Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables cookbook by Joshua McFadden, and I knew the whole thing was going to be good when I saw who was working on it. If you know Tusk or Ava Gene’s in Portland you know the author. For the book he worked with Toni Tajima (design / you all know her from both Super Natural books, and Near & Far), Laura Dart did the photography (she took this shot of me & Wayne years ago at one of the early Kinfolk brunches), Martha Holmberg (former editor of Fine Cooking), and Melinda Josie (illustration). A lot of heart on this team. Keep your eyes peeled if you haven’t see it already – 400 pages of inspiration.

Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

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