Thursday, 11 June 2015

A Magical Meal!

Insalata di Bulgur & Ceci con Erbe Miste & Baharat
Bulgur & Chickpea Salad with Mixed Herbs & Baharat


I know I am a little strange... I admit it! I have to say that I actually like getting to the point when I have next to nothing in the fridge to turn into dinner- which can't be normal now, can it? I just find it fun to take on the challenge of improvising SOMETHING... What can I do?!?! It's just the way I am!

But, holy-moly! This evening, all I had was plenty of herbs, a few cherry tomatoes, a little celery and some scallions and onions! Eeek! pretty drastic stuff! But was I going to let that stop me? Absolutely not!


There are not many things that I buy in cans... Tomatoes for sauce, of course, coconut milk for Thai dishes... Definitely no vegetables... But always, in case of emergencies like this, beans or other legumes, such as chickpeas.

With vegetables, I see no reason whatsoever, at any time to not use fresh... The only exception of course is tomatoes, as I already mentioned, for sauce. But chickpeas and beans that you normally have to soak overnight? They are not fresh in the first place! So yes... I get them in cans and I think that you should too!


So, let's take a look! I had... 1 can of chickpeas, 1 cup of bulgur, 1 shallot, 1 small, tender stalk of celery with plenty of the pale, inner leaves, 4 cherry tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of baharat spice, the juice of 1 lemon, a little salt, pepper and olive oil and a mixture of herbs- parsley, oregano, mint and thyme.


And as if by magic, a mildly exotic, delicious, filling and absolutely wonderful meal was suddenly right there out of nowhere! You se, you can always, always make something out of simple staples and even the most basic of supplies... When it comes to preparing a nice dinner on a shoestring... Where there's a will, there's a way!


Pluck the leaves from the celery stalk and set them to one side. Slice up the stalk very finely, do the same with the shallot, and cut the cherry tomato also into relatively fine slices, so that you get all of the ingredients well blended together.

Start off by frying the finely sliced shallot and celery in just a little olive oil, together with the thyme, which will soon begin to pop and to fill the oil with great aroma.


Next, add the chickpeas, the baharat, salt and pepper, along with about half of the liquid from the can. Stir together well and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.


Next, add the bulgur, stir it in and keep adding a little water, a bit at a time, until the bulgur soaks it up and the liquid in the pan becomes almost the consistency of a sauce.


Allow to simmer gently for 3-4 minutes, turn off the heat, put on the lid and allow to finish cooking and indeed to cool off considerably, for at least 15 minutes or so, until it is just lukewarm.

And in the meantime, get busy chopping up those herbs!


Spoon the chickpea and bulgur mixture into your serving dish and add the celery leaves, finely chopped mint, parsley and basil on top and sprinkle with the juice of a lemon.


Add the tomatoes, oregano and thyme, a little drop or two more olive oil and you are ready to get in there and toss that salad! And to enjoy!!!


So from such humble beginnings and with such a small amount of work or effort, a supper dish to be proud of was pretty easy to assemble after all... Of course! I wish you would all listen to me when I tell you this!!! Haha!

Perfect, pretty, summer food!

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