After 100 hundred years of inactivity I am back! Blame the new job and the house move for keeping me just soo busy with no computer or internet connection for quite sometime. The stress of the move also put me off cooking new things and blogging about food. It was an email from Johanna inviting UK bloggers to some food/cooking events that had me salivating and spurred me on continuing my food blog. Needless to say I am keen in joining them especially in that Christmas market in Bath. Oooh how exciting!
Less exciting is my growing discovery that this part of the West Midlands has been left out from the blessings of the patron saint of foodies. There is quite a dearth of good food markets, shops, delis or restaurants (except baltis). I think I will have to do the 45-minute drive to central Birmingham, Ludlow, Shropshire, and nearby counties to avail me of these. Though mind you, I haven't explored the farm shops that dot the rural areas near us. Not to worry, this all means that I'll just have to cook and bake more at home to make up for the shortage, isn't it? Always spot an opportunity in adverse conditions, that's what I say.
So what's cooking now? Before we left our dear Surrey, our friends hosted a little potluck barbecue for us. I've always been wanting to try this chickpea salad from Jenny of Pertelote (thanks Jenny!) ever since she brought it in our very first London food blogger soiree in Johanna's place last year. I did it the same as in her recipe except I changed the order of adding things with a plus in salt and black pepper as well.
This is the first time I've worked with chickpeas (garbanzos in Spanish and Tagalog) and was quite fascinated the morning after soaking them to find that they've swelled up more than double its dried state. I was very tempted to remove the skins after cooking them but I have to add the vinegar and oil before it cools off completely. So I just let some of the skins remain for the sake of taste. One thing I have to say is don't skimp on spices like paprika because the chickpeas are quite bland and needs a lot of flavouring to balance it out. On a whole, this is great to have with some bread and of course the barbecued meats.
500 g dried chickpeas
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 x 185 g jar roasted peppers - chopped
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 big onion - chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 x 180 g can of tuna chunks in oil - drained and flaked
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Put dry chickpeas in a bowl and cover with lots of cold water. Stir in bicarbonate of soda and leave to soak overnight.
- Next day, drain and rinse and drain again the chickpeas. Put in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until well cooked.
- While it's cooking, whisk the olive oil and vinegar in a small bowl, set aside.
- Once the chickpeas are cooked, immediately drain into a bowl and mix in the vinegar mixture while still warm.
- Add in the roasted pepper, salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Fry the onions gently until soft and translucent. Add the cumin, fennel, chilli, and half the paprika. Set aside.
- You can do things up to this point and keep in the fridge until half an hour before serving.
- Before serving, mix everything in a big bowl including the parsley and the rest of the paprika. Take care in mixing so as not to break up the tuna too much. Serve as part of buffet or with bread.