I’m like… eyebrow deep in a really cool writing project right now that’s taking up a lot of my cooking time. The process of recipe development means a lot of nights hovering around the Kitchen, a lot of scribbling on random scraps of paper around my Kitchen and then furious typing afterwards.
For people who write about food for their actual, proper job – what a beautiful phase of your project. As someone who works a full time job that has nothing to do with food writing, it means that my recipe development – and the writing it inspires – has to come late at night or in stolen moments on the weekend. I complain not though, because I love it. However, while I can’t wait to share the exact details of this project, what is sadly not getting the love it so deserves is this here blog.
So much of my recipe testing lately has been pumped into eBooks (I released two last year!) and anything that gets cooked in the meantime is either working towards a new project and therefore I can’t share right now or, if truth be told, I’m just eating beans on toast or having a takeaway. All of the recipes I so badly want to share with you are actually being stashed away for a later date, but like I said, it means the pages of this blog unfortunately remain blank.
NOT ANYMORE GOD DAMN IT.
I was playing around with some recipes this past weekend and found myself with a small amount of chickpeas and a random, idle courgette lying about and decided to put them to use. I had no idea what I was going to make or how I was going to get there. All I know is that I wanted it spicy and served in a bowl. That’s my usual go-to when I don’t know what to do. Just put it in a bowl. Everything is better in a bowl.
I had an internal fight with myself as to whether or not to isolate this recipe for my next project because, dear reader, it is SO good.
It looks like just a random bowl of red mush and the odd lump of chickpea and courgette which, to be fair, it is. But it is so deeply spiced, so rich and warm with a faint but loud spike of salty, bitter preserved lemons and it was exactly what I needed.
If you don’t have preserved lemons, don’t worry, use the zest and juice of one lemon but you may want to add some capers or maybe some finely chopped green olives, just so you can recreate that salty, briny note that preserved lemons offer this dish that a fresh lemon wont.
In a pan that comes with a tight fitting lid, heat a little olive oil and fling a finely chopped onion, carrot, some garlic and a red pepper. I didn’t mess around with a proper one, I took a roast red pepper from a jar. Salt them and cook on a medium heat for like 10 minutes or so.
Now add in a courgette which you’ve cut into half pound coins along with a teaspoon of cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and some black pepper and cook for a further 5 or 10 minutes. While this cooks, on a chopping board, deseed and finely chop up 2 or 3 preserved lemons.
To the pan, add in the preserved lemons and a handful of halved cherry tomatoes. Stir them in and cook for another 5 or 10 minutes, just for the tomatoes to soften a little. Meanwhile, open and drain a can of chickpeas.
Pour water into the pan, just slightly enough to cover the ingredients and then fling your drained chickpeas in. Bring the water to a boil, put the lid on the pan, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer away for about 40 minutes. I took a shower during this time and put a load of washing on.
Now take the lid off the pot, turn the heat up as high as it goes and let it bubble ferociously for about 10 minutes. Switch off the heat, let the pot stand off the heat for like 15 minutes just to cool and then empty into bowls.
Serve with parsley and buttered bread, or not at all.