I’ve never really gone for vegetarian-style burgers, and yet one evening I had a curious craving for a chickpea burger. With a rummage in the cupboards I pepped them up with some curry flavour and enjoyed a substantial and tasty meal which left all thoughts of minced beef behind.
Curried chickpea burgers (makes 4):
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
1 roasted red onion*
1 heaped teaspoon curry paste (I used Patak’s balti paste)
- Whiz all the ingredients together in a food processor and season to taste. With wet hands mold into 4 patties.
- Heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook for 4 – 5 mins on both sides until well browned. Serve in a soft white bap with sweetcorn on the side.
*I had a red onion leftover from this recipe, if you don’t have one then pop one in the oven for 30 mins or fry briefly.
Another year, another royal celebration, another round of special dishes by Heston Blumenthal. Following last year’s trifle to commemorate the royal wedding, this year Heston produced a panoply of picnicky treats. I’ve had a stab at one here: Diamond Jubilee Chicken.
I’m really not a fan of coronation chicken, the dish originally commissioned for the Queen’s coronation. For me the fruit in there just really jars. Thankfully this version dismisses all that and you get a lovely curried chicken mayo. I read the summary of the ingredients and given it a go myself. You can skip the brining if you like, but brining gives you succulence and depth of flavour, with a lovely finish of peppery nigella seeds which I adore.
I haven’t been able to try the shop-bought version. It may or may not taste like the Heston dish but it makes a great buffet treat regardless.
Diamond Jubilee chicken:
3 chicken breasts
For the brine:
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 star anise
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon golden syrup
For the dressing:
300ml mayonnaise (home made if you can)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon nigella seeds
Lemon juice, to taste
- Put the chicken and all the brining ingredients in a large bowl. Cover with water and add enough salt to make an 6% brine solution. Allow to brine for 6 hours, then drain, rinse and pat dry.
- Grill the chicken until cooked through (I used a George Foreman Grill). Allow to cool on a wooden board and then slice into bite-size chunky pieces.
- For the dressing blend all the ingredients together, then stir in the chicken. Dust with paprika and serve with toast, crudites or salad.
It’s long established that cocoa bean flavours work really well with chilli, such as mole, and coffee is often added out in Mid-West America to “a bowl of red”. So as part of the Lavazza Coffee, Set, Match challenge I thought I’d chuck some in a chilli today! It lends the spicy meat a dark and fruity tone, a really interesting character.
It was also handy using espresso for this chilli as this was all about speed: I got in late and needed to fix up a chilli on the quick. I used a couple of shortcuts to help me get there, caramelized onions and hot sauce to get me a few steps ahead.
To be in with a chance to win one the fantastic Lavazza Wimbledon prizes look out for promotional cups on take away Lavazza coffees, or enter online at http://promotion.wimbledon.lavazza.com/ Prizes include six pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, 90 Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition coffee machines and 500 sets of four exclusive espresso cups created especially for the tournament.
Express espresso chilli (serves 4):
800g beef mince
200g caramelized onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon chilli powder
100ml espresso coffee
1 tin tomatoes
200ml beef stock
- Get a large casserole pan really hot and add a splash of oil. Brown the mince, in batches if necessary. Add the onions, crush in the garlic and add the spices. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the coffee, tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, pop on a lid and simmer for about 20 -30 minutes until thick, rich and tasty – you may need to add a little salt or vinegar to balance out the flavours (or more chilli if you’re so inclined). Serve with flour tortillas, creme fraiche and a zingy salsa.
Image copyright flyingroc on Flickr
Worktime lunch is frequently a source of frustration for me. Sandwiches are OK for a while, but then I start to go stir crazy at the mundanity of them. Occasionally I’ll have a salad but there’s a lot of faff trying to keep the dressing separate until lunchtime.
Recently I was sent a compartmented lunchbox by Sistema. It’s genius: there are layers to keep different parts in, and a little pot for dressing, yet the whole thing slots back into a neat normal-sized lunchbox. In Heston Blumenthal at Home Heston clears up what destroys the salad leaves: surprisingly it’s not the vinegar component of the dressing but the oil. It seeps into tiny cracks on the leaves’ surface, and its for this reason you shouldn’t dress a salad until the last possible minute. With the separate pot for salad dressing this means you can dress the salad when you’re ready. This recipe shows it off really well: spiced chicken flavours with an Asian-style dressing. Nice and simple yet perfect for an office lunch.
Cumin chicken salad (serves 2):
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ cucumber, cut into matchsticks
½ iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
For the dressing:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon tomato ketchup
Dash of soy
Few drops of sesame oil
- Toss the chicken in the cumin and fry for a few minutes until cooked through. Toss in sesame seeds and leave to cool.
- For the dressing, combine all the ingredients together and season to taste.
- To serve, put the chicken with the lettuce and cucumber and toss with the dressing.
Unusually for me, I’m using someone else’s photo. I completely forgot to take a picture of lunch, but it looked a lot like this! Thanks Flyingroc.
I’ve made variations on this before, but the one killer ingredient I’ve added here that I wanted to shine a spotlight on is nigella seeds. I saw a Tweet from the excellent @pearcafe, and thought the addition of nigella seeds to their soup of the day was inspired. So I threw some into this stew and it was ace. Thanks ‘E’! I’ve never been to Bristol but if I do The Pear Café will be first on my list of places to visit :-)
Spiced chorizo and chickpea stew (serves 4):
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 onion, diced
200g chorizo, in chunks
1 tin of chickpeas
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tin tomatoes (I’ve got a bit of a thing for tinned cherry tomatoes at the moment)
250ml chicken stock
2 slices of brown bread
1 clove of garlic, peeled
- Get a large casserole on a high heat and add a splash of olive oil. When hot, throw in the seeds and allow to pop and sizzle for a minute. Add the onion and chorizo and stir often until the chorizo starts to bleed.
- Add the chickpeas (don’t bother to drain), tomatoes, paprika and stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.
- While that simmers throw the brown bread and garlic in a food processor and whizz to a powder with a pinch of salt.
- In a separate pan melt some butter and when foaming add the breadcrumbs. Toss often until browned all over, then drain on kitchen paper until the stew is ready.
- Check the seasoning on the stew. You may find in addition to salt and pepper you may need some red wine vinegar to balance it all out. Ladle into serving dishes and top with the breadcrumbs. If you have any, a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil would be brill.