Archive | February, 2011

Persian Spiced Lentil and Herb Soup with spinach and noodles

4 Feb

I love this weather we’re having here at the moment. It’s cold but sunny. Clear blue skies and you can see the snow on the mountains in the distance. It’s great for walking because you don’t get too hot and the views are spectacular…

You’ve got the snow on the Sierra de las Nieves on one side and the view down to the sea on the other…….

 And a lot of fragrant pines in between…

When I get back from walking I want something hearty, healthy and delicious for lunch. I have been meaning to try this soup for a while, it has all my favourite things in one dish. Lentils, Middle Eastern spices and loads of fresh herbs and greens. I’ve reworked a Persian recipe I found for Aashe Reshteh. Aashe (soup) Reshteh (noodle) is made with Sabzi (fresh greens) which can include parsley, coriander, mint, spinach, spring onions, dill and whatever else green you have. I used lentils and kidney beans but you could use chickpeas, white beans or whatever you have. The original recipe I found cooked this for 3-4 hours, I have no idea why it was ready as soon as the pasta was cooked. It took about half an hour in total and the greens are still fresh and delicious…

Persian Lentil & Herb Soup with Spinach & Noodles

serves 4 vegetarian

  • 175 gr (1 cup) brown lentils (uncooked)
  • 1-1 1/2 litres veg stock 
  • 200 gr cooked kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 leek, rinsed & sliced
  •  2 stalks celery & leaves chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or 1 garlic shoot
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cored & shredded
  • a big pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sumac (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp  Ras al Hanout (a Middle eastern spice mix)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • a bag of spinach (300 gr) I used frozen chopped spinach which comes in portions I used about 6 squares.
  • a big handful of parsley, chopped
  • a big handful coriander chopped
  • 2 or 3 spring onions, chopped
  • salt & black pepper
  • 100 gr dried noodles (I used wholemeal spaghetti broken but you can use fine vermicelli, like you would for a minestrone)
  • 4 tsp greek yoghurt or sour cream

In a small pan cook the lentils in 600 ml (3 cups) liquid (I used 400 veg stock 200 water). Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat some olive oil in a big pot over a medium heat. Cook the onions, leeks & celery for about 8 minutes until they start to soften then add the garlic and cook for another minute. If it gets dry at any time add a splash of veg stock. Add in the spices and dried herbs then pour in the lentils and their cooking liquid. It doesn’t matter if the lentils aren’t cooked they will carry on cooking in the soup. Add in about a litre of stock, the cabbage, frozen spinach(if you are using fresh leave it till later) and the cooked beans. Bring to the boil add in the broken pasta/ noodles, lower the heat and simmer until the pasta is cooked (about 10 -15 minutes). About 5 minutes before you want to serve the soup add in the fresh spinach & half of the fresh herbs and spring onions.

Ladle the hot soup into warmed bowls and garnish with a dollop of Greek yoghurt/sour cream and the rest of the chopped fresh herbs and spring onions…..

I served this delicious soup with some Halloumi Cheese & Garlic Pull- Apart Bread (which tastes as amazing as it sounds) and I will be posting the recipe tomorrow……… Hasta Manana!!

 

    

Banana, Date and Hazelnut Oatmeal Cookies

2 Feb

 

These cookies are like little mouthfuls of happiness. Imagine a cross between a banana bread and an oaty flapjack, add in some sweet sticky dates and crunchy hazelnuts and smile. Smile because there’s no flour and no added sugar but you really wouldn’t know. Soft, sweet, delicious and good for you, now come on, how often does that happen…..?

Banana, Date & Hazelnut Oatmeal Cookies

make about 16-18, vegetarian, gluten-free. Adapted from a Kahakai Kitchen recipe

  • 65 gr butter, melted
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 8-10 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 35 gr (2/3 cup) rolled oats
  • 65 gr (1/2 cup) toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped (or other nuts)
  • 65 gr (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 65 gr (1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • a few drops of almond extract (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  •  1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 18o C and line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Mash the bananas in a large bowl with a potato masher or fork, and stir in the melted butter and vanilla. In another bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, dates, coconut, ground almonds, baking powder & salt. Then add this to the banana mix and stir until just combined.

Take tablespoons of the mix and put them on the lined baking tray a few inches apart, flattening them out slightly.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack with a spatula to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Serve with tea or coffee, as a mid morning/afternoon treat or as a lunchbox filler. The house will smell amazing while these are cooking, your mouth will water and people will befriend you….

 Beware they are addictive and don’t last very long, you have been warned…..!

It’s that time again, the end of another month and Nancy at Spicie Foodie hosts a round-up of January Best Recipes from around the food blogging community. My Thai Squash Wonton Soup is featured as well as loads more delicious recipes with beautiful photos. Just click on the YBR (Your Best Recipe) badge above and have a look around….

 I would just like to thank Mateja at Indulging Life for giving me my first Stylish Blogger Award and for her continuing support and foodie friendship. Below is a list of blogs that I think deserve this award as recognition for their creativity, passion and, of course, delicious food! 

 Mateja @ Induging Life

Lindsay @ Kitchen Operas

Lauren @ Corridor Kitchen

Roxan @ Kitchen Meditation

Denise @ Bread Expectations

Tiffany @ Como Water

The Bee & The Fruit in the Kitchen

Nadia @ For the Love of Yum

Jouamma @ Taste of Beirut

Medeja @ Cranberry Jam

Kita @ Pass The Sushi

Nancy @ Spicie Foodie

Tes @ Tes at Home

Kara @ Happy When Not Hungry

Thanks everyone for the constant inspiration, keep it coming!! Copy the award above to display on your blog if you want and you can pass it on to people who you think deserve some recognition..!

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