Pearl barley tabouleh with marinated feta

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A bit more nutritious and wholesome than regular tabouleh, but a very interesting spin on this dish. The kind of stuff that makes you look forward for your lunch box…

Pearl barley tabouleh with marinated feta (adapted from Yotam Ottolengi’s column in The Guardian)

Ingredients 

  • 40g pearl barley
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 80g parsley, leaves and stems
  • 4 spring onions (about 40g in total), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 40g cashew nuts, lightly toasted and crushed roughly
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into 1cm dice
  • ½ teasponn ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 60ml olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

Put the pearl barley in a small saucepan, cover with water and boil for 30-35 minutes, until tender but still with a bite. Drain into a fine sieve, shake to remove all the water and transfer to a large bowl.

Break the feta into rough pieces about 2cm in size, and mix in a small bowl with the olive oil, za’atar, coriander seeds and cumin. Gently mix together and leave to marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Chop the parsley finely and place in a bowl with the spring onion, garlic, cashew nuts, green pepper, allspice, lemon juice, olive oil and cooked pearl barley. Mix well together and season to taste.

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Chickpeas and feta cheese patties

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Super healthy, gluten-free and  protein packed. Also very tasty… The perfect thing  to have on stand by for a weekday meal or a snack.

Chickpeas and feta cheese patties (adapted from Mafalda Pinto Leite’s blog)

 Ingredients

  • 100g feta cheese
  • ½ grated onion (optional)
  • 1 small courgette grated
  • 2 small carrots peeled and grated
  • ½ teaspoon cumins, roasted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon (or lume) zest
  • 2 400g chickpeas tin, drained and washed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

To serve

  • leafy salad
  • plain yoghurt

Method

Put the cheese, cumin, lemon zest, chickpeas, and the grated onion, carrots and courgette in a mixer. Mix until you have a coarse consistent puree, still with some chunks.

Make small patties with your hands.  Put in the fridge and let them cool until cooking time.

To fry, heat the olive oil until pipping hot and drop in a couple of  patties. Be careful not to add too many, otherwise they will boil. Sauté about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brow.

Serve with a leafy salad and plain yoghurt.


Grilled lettuce and asparagus with feta cheese

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Probably the last asparagus of the season, as they are slowing disappearing from the supermarket shelves. So many recipes, so little time… Nevertheless,  I wish I had tried this one dish before. As easy as it seems, it is a very sophisticated plate of salad. And, these days, nothing seems as satisfying as the flavour of grilled asparagus, with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled liberally with salt… Happy moments in an ever so stressing last stretch before the summer break.

Grilled lettuce and asparagus with feta cheese (adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s column in The Guardian)

Ingredients

  • About 500g asparagus
  • 4 little gem lettuces
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Around 100g of feta cheese

Method

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and drop the spears into the boiling water. Blanch for a minute or two, until al dente. Remove from the fire and then drain. Let cool aside and pat with a tea towel until dry.

Meanwhile, cut the lettuces in half down the middle, leaving them joined at the root end. Add two tablespoons of olive oil, season generously and toss to coat, working the oil and seasoning into the lettuces a little with your hands.

Heat a ridged griddle pan or heavy-based frying pan until very hot. Add the lettuce halves cut-side down, cook for two minutes until golden brown and wilted on the base, then turn over and cook for a minute or two more. Remove from the pan and put on a serving dish.

Now add the asparagus to the frying pan and cook for about four minutes, turning occasionally, until tender and patched with brown. Put together with the lettuce.

Crumble the goat cheese and arrange over the grilled grennies. Sprinkle with a little more oil and serve at once. Serve while warm.


Roasted sweet potatoes pan fried with roasted red onions, pine nuts and feta cheese

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I have already mentioned it a few times: Tapas – Simple Flavours, Striking Combinations, by Carlos Horrillo and Patrick Morcas, is one of my favorite cookbooks. And, the  roasted sweet potatoes is one of my favorite dishes. It looks a bit laborious, but most of the roasting can be done in advance.

Roasted sweet potatoes pan fried with roasted red onions, pine nuts and feta cheese

Ingredients

  • 3 large sweet potatoes cut in 3 cm slices
  • garlic infused oil (I normally out 4 crushed cloves in 100ml olive oil and let it rest for a while)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 red onions cut into quarters
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of pine nuts
  • 75g of feta cheese

Method

The stove goes at 200oC (mark 6).

Put the sweet potatoes in roasting tray and drizzle generously with garlic oil until they are well coated. 2 pinches of salt and 3 pinches of pepper and then mix well. Put in the middle of the stove for about 1h, and mix every now and again to ensure they don’t burn.

Put the onion quarters in a small roasting tray and drizzle with garlic oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place them at the bottom of the stove and cook for 20min.

For the pine nuts, get a small frying pan and put it at low heat. Do not add oil. Drop in the pine nuts and fry gently stirring constantly until they are golden brown. Reserve.

When the onions and sweet potatoes are ready, place a large heavy based non sticky frying pan on a medium to high heat and put enough garlic oil to cover the bottom Drop in half the roasted sweet potatoes and fry until they start to break. Add half the roasted onions and give everything a good stir. Cook for 5min, stirring the whole time to avoid burning. Take it out from the pan and keep it hot. Repeat with the remaining roasted potatoes and onions.

When the second batch is almost ready, add the first batch to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Carefully stir in the feta cheese and the pine nuts and continue cooking until the feta is almost melting. Serve straight away.