The weather’s taken a serious downturn, so we are being treated to several thunderstorms each day, with short periods of sun in between the downpours. A perfect excuse to light the fire, stay indoors and catch up with a few chores.
Post-trip laundry and ironing are finished, so now I can turn my attention to using some of the produce from the garden. Our Seville orange trees are groaning with fruit, so I will make some more marmalade to share amongst my family next time we go back to the UK and I plan to make a Seville orange drizzle cake today, to take with us when we go out to dinner this evening. Our friend Cafer and his wife Sultan, who own our favourite restaurant in town, have just had a baby, so they are pretty busy with the new arrival, as well as chasing after their six-year-old and running a restaurant. All food treats are being gratefully received!
We also have loads of limes and some of them are beginning to turn yellow, so they might find themselves made into lime marmalade, which is one of my absolute favourite preserves. As I have a bean sprout and coriander stash, I fancy a few of them will get used up in some Thai dishes over the coming weekend. Robin gave me Sabrina Ghayour’s ‘Persiana’ cookbook for a present last year, and I have been waiting for a glut of limes so that I can dry a few for some of her Iranian recipes, so I might need to find out how to do that too.
We have arrived at Day Four of the great vegan adventure. Last night, I made the most delicious falafel – a recipe I found on Dana Schultz’s minimalistbaker website. They were extremely easy to make and were definitely better than anything I’ve ever been served in a restaurant. The only change I made was to add a hefty pinch of chilli, and I did include all of the other spices that she suggested.
To serve with them, I did a huge trayful of herb-roasted vegetables – they were absolutely delicious and could honestly have been served as a main course in their own right, just with some crusty bread to mop up all the lovely juices. As the vegetables are quite squidgy, I didn’t serve a sauce with the falafel, but I think the leftovers might be heading for a wrap with some piccalilli for Robin’s lunch a bit later on… They would also be good dipped into some mango chutney or sweet chilli sauce (I am talking about the falafel here, not the veg).
So back to the vegetables, these are great served with roast chicken or sausages too. This is the amount I made last night, but we do have leftovers for lunch, so this would feed at least three people – more if serving with meat or fish. Feel free to vary the vegetables – parsnips or turnips would also be good – the tomatoes are essential.
Serves 3 – 4
1 medium potato, washed
2 medium carrots, washed
1 onion (red if you have it)
Half of a fennel bulb
1 red or yellow pepper
A couple of handfuls of small tomatoes, halved (or you can cut larger ones into chunks)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon chilli flakes (or a chopped fresh red chilli)
Fresh herbs, chopped – rosemary and thyme are good – or a couple of teaspoons oregano or mixed dried herbs
Plenty of freshly-ground black pepper and salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
You will need a shallow-sided roasting tray, large enough to take the vegetables in a single layer, lined with non-stick baking paper
Pre-heat the oven to 210C.
Cut the potatoes and onions into wedges and cut everything else into bite-sized chunks (not too small of it will all turn to mush). If your tomatoes are small, halve them, otherwise cut into large chunks.
Scatter the vegetables over the baking tray, then sprinkle over the chilli, herbs and garlic, then season generously with salt and pepper. Pour over the oil, then give everything a really good mix (you’ll find it easiest to do this with your hands).
Put the vegetables into the pre-heated oven and roast for 45 minutes to an hour – until the vegetables are brown and sticky.
Serve immediately. (These are also delicious cold the next day).