Tag Archives: chickpeas

Paprika and Chickpea Soup (with Built-In Poached Quails Eggs)

Fact: I have made this soup before.

Fact: it is delicious.

Fact: this time I added quails eggs and it was amazing.

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The beauty of this soup, as I was at great pains to point out in my last post about it, is its versatility. You can add whatever ingredients you happen to have knocking about the cupboards, or starting to go wrong in the fridge. This time, I added a chili that was getting wrinkly round the edges, swapped a normal onion for the recommended red onion and added some lemon juice from the lonely half lemon in the picture above. The resulting soup was very spicy, so I added a splash of creamy whole milk before I served it. This time, i really have shaken the habit of eating half a loaf with every bowl of soup, and had some tiny little oatcakes with it instead. It was aces.

Now, the reason that I’m reblogging about this recipe – which isn’t even one of my own – is that I had a culinary brainwave while I was making it. Last time I said that a poached egg on top sounded like a great addition. That was over a year ago, and I’d never revisited this recipe in order to try that out. This time I gave it a go – but I didn’t just add any old poached egg.

Oh no.

I added poached quails eggs. And I poached them RIGHT IN THE SOUP. I still feel like a braniac for having this idea.

A few minutes before I was ready to serve the soup, I cracked my eggs onto the surface. This is one of those soups that is almost thick enough to stand your spoon up in, so the egg initially rests almost on the surface.

After a minute, the egg had started to sink. ‘Hm,’ I thought. ‘We may have a situation here.’ I carefully lowered a spoon in under the egg – I could still see the top of the yolk – and lifted it upwards again. It seemed to be doing OK, the white hadn’t completely dispersed through the whole pot, so I let it go for another three minutes, watching and occasionally encouraging it back up to the surface.

The end result was something between a fried egg and a poached egg, flavoured by the soup and ready to carefully scoop out and garnish my dinner with.

I gently pushed the two poached eggs off to the side of the pot, and ladled out enough soup from the other side to fill a bowl. I added a splash of milk and swirled it through, then scooped the eggs from the pot and delicately laid them on top. The final touch was a scattering of spring onions, a late addition but one I was really glad of.

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You now have two choices, if you’ve poached some eggs in your soup. You can burst the yolk and let it mingle with the rest of the soup:

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Or you can scoop the egg up on your oatcake or other dipping implement and enjoy it in one mouthful:

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I got to do both, since I had two eggs. It’s a win/win situation.

Mushroom and Spinach Falafel

I know you’ve all been eagerly awaiting to find out what was on those tortilla/wrap/flatbread sandwiches last week. Your wait is now over.

These guys!

I’ve never made falafel before, and when the opportune moment arrived I decided to mix it up a bit and add in some more flavours to the little chickpea ‘meatballs’. I love mushrooms in any form, so that seemed like quite a good choice, and from experimenting with curries in the past I know that mushroom, spinach and chickpea is an absolutely killer combination. I thought it might be time to try that combination in a different form, and thus the mushroom and spinach falafel was born.

Mushroom and Spinach Falafel (makes 14 falafel):

  • 2 small blocks frozen spinach
  • 125g button (or other) mushrooms
  • 2 spring onions, sliced into rounds
  • 1 clove smoked garlic
  • 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp water (taken from the defrosted spinach)
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp brown rice flour (ground in spice grinder from brown rice)

I started by putting the frozen spinach in a little bowl and covering with boiling water. I left that to defrost while I set about finely chopping the mushrooms and sauteeing them with the spring onions and garlic.

When the mushrooms were cooked, I put them into my food processor along with all the other ingredients and processed until a paste was formed. I didn’t discard the water from the spinach straight away, instead keeping some of it to loosen up the falafel mix a little – I figured I may as well keep as much of the spinach flavour as possible.

I shaped the mix into fourteen balls. The rice flour holds the mix together really well – it’s absorbent without being gluey or chalky as other flours can be. Rice flour can be a bit gritty but when it’s mixed in to something like this that’s not a problem. I made my own by simply grinding the grains of brown rice until they were a fine powder – you can see a little more info here.

I put the falafel in a frying pan that I’d sprayed lightly with oil, over a medium heat, and cooked for about two minutes on all sides until browned – for these purposes, you can treat the falafel a bit like dice, so there are six ‘sides’.

When they’re browned all over, they’re ready to eat. You could actually eat them as soon as you shape them, there’s nothing raw in there, but cooking them firms them up a bit and adds some texture. Falafel are usually deep fried but I wanted to take a healthier approach. Plus I’m a bit scared of deep frying.

I served them with the tortilla/flatbread/wraps, some fresh lettuce (grown in Father Rock Salt’s garden), some cauliflower roasted in ginger oil and a quick lemon, coriander and yogurt dressing. A couple of the wraps were a bit on the crispy side, so they got torn up and tossed with the other ingredients to turn the whole lot into a salad.

And there we have it – an interesting and wholly successful experiment in falafel. I like the idea of trying different flavours in future, and possibly experimenting with the texture of the mix – leaving it coarser might be nice, but would they be too crumbly then? I think these particular falafel could stand to have more by way of mushroom flavour – either more mushrooms added to the mix, or a dash of mushroom ketchup might do the trick. I’ve often looked at mushroom ketchup in the shops but never bought it – does anyone have any experience of it?

Spicy Carrot, Coconut and Chickpea Soup

I started making this soup because I had some coconut cream left over from another recipe that I wanted to use up. Unfortunately, when I came to add the coconut cream to the soup, it turned out to be a bit, well, past its best. By which I mean multicoloured and almost ready to climb out of the tub and into the soup of its own accord. I had to wrestle it into the bin and slam the lid down in a hurry. I could have sworn it had ony been in there for a couple of days. If pushed, I may have realised that those couple of days were separated by up to a week’s worth of other days… It’s important to check the Tupperwares in your fridge regularly, readers. REGULARLY.

I’d started out wanting to make a Caribbean style soup, but it grew into a non-regionally-specific spiced soup instead. If anyone would care to give it a better name I’d be happy to hear it! This is the recipe for four big servings, and has a few customisable points where you can use different amounts of spice or choose different flavours. Mix it up!

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 spring onions, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 – 2 (depending how spicy you like it) dried birds eye chilis, stems removed
  • 1″ piece peeled ginger, chopped
  • 1 baking potato, diced
  • 700g carrots, diced
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 chicken stock cubes
  • 1  – 1 1/4 litre water (depending on how thick you like your soup)
  • 250ml milk
  • 6 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 200g tin of chickpeas
  • handful parsley, basil or coriander, finely chopped
  • cream for garnish

Begin by heating the oil, then cook the spring onions, chilis and ginger over a medium heat for a few minutes.

This soup starts out very green

Add the potato and carrots, season with a salt and black pepper (and fennel, garlic and chili if you have the same spice grinder as me, which you use to season everything) and cook for about five minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the allspice, cinnamon stick and star anise, mix through and then add the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour.

Add the spices...

...then the stock.

Once the veg is cooked, puree it using a stick blender, or in a jug blender, then add the milk, coconut and sugar. This was my alternative to coconut cream; you could substitute 250ml of coconut cream if you have it and its not gone ‘past its best’ in the fridge. Add the chickpeas, too. Bring the soup back up to a simmer, though not a boil, for ten minutes, then add the cream and the fresh herbs. I used parsley but I think basil or coriander would bring a lot more to the soup – parsley is a bit delicate. I think basil would be particularly good with the sweet, aromatic spices. Thyme might also be nice, or spinach. Something green, anyway. You can puree the soup again if you prefer it to be smooth; I like the added texture from the herbs and chickpeas.

Ladle the soup into bowls and use a pipette or a small spoon to draw pretty shapes on the top with some more cream. Mine went a bit spiderwebby.

Serve with some lovely bread (perhaps oaty sandwich bread) and you have yourself a meal!

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