Season’s greetings from Knidos Cookery Club! Whether the Winter Solstice, Christmas or New Year tickles your fancy, celebrate in style with our festive feast.
When preparing this meal, a minor disaster struck – the knob that controls our oven broke. So, Plan B had to be enacted, with all the food prepared on the stove top.
For the feast, we’ve adapted our mungo pumpkin patty recipe by replacing the bulgur wheat with 50 g of crushed walnuts and 100 g of breadcrumbs, otherwise prepare as instructed.
We came across what we thought to be some beetroot in the market, but on closer inspection they turned out to be, so the seller said, red turnips. Intrigued, we bought them and, on peeling the reddish skin off, discovered a white turnip lurking underneath.
The original plan was to oven bake the turnips, but after the knob malfunction we had to fry them instead and, in the process, created the turnchip.
Peel and slice the turnip into wedges and boil for 30 minutes. Then fry in olive oil sprinkled with rosemary until the outsides are golden brown.
We steamed some pumpkin and broccoli, and then made a sauce from red wine and vegetable stock to pour over the top and, voilà, Knidos Cookery Club’s Festive Feast was born!
This time out on Knidos Cookery Club we’re going to make muhammara, a spicy roasted red pepper and toasted walnut dip. Originally from Syria, this spread made its way onto Turkish tables via Antakya, which is located at the easterly end of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
This delicious dip was brought to Knidos Cookery Club’s attention by our good friend Tolga, who introduced us to the method of roasting the peppers over an open flame on our gas hob.
Put some tin foil under the burner to stop your hob getting all messed up and cook the peppers over a medium-high flame. Using a chopstick or a wooden skewer can make the peppers easier to manoeuvre on the flame.
You can also grill the peppers or roast them in the oven, but the open-flame method gives them a smoky flavour that combines excellently with the toasted walnuts and chili flakes.
one lemon – use the juice of half the lemon for the dip and use the rest as a garnish
two teaspoons chili flakes
two teaspoons pomegranate sauce or molasses
25 ml olive oil
Roast the peppers over an open flame, under a grill or in a hot oven until all the skin is blackened. Turn them round regularly to ensure they are cooked evenly.
While the peppers are roasting, toast the walnut pieces in a frying pan over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan regularly. Don’t overcook them as they can taste bitter if you do.
Place the peppers in brown paper bag and allow to cool – this will make it easier to peel the peppers. Now remove the outer skin from the peppers then halve and de-seed them. Be careful when cutting the peppers as some hot liquid may spurt out if they’re not cooled down enough.
Cut up the peppers and put them with half the walnuts and other ingredients into a blender and mix until you have a smooth paste. Add the rest of the walnuts and give the dip another blast – but not for too long as you want some of the walnuts to still be crunchy.
Garnish with slices of lemon and fresh mint (if you have it) and serve alongside other dips with pita bread and/or slices of raw carrot, cucumbers and green peppers.
This week on Knidos Cookery Club we’re looking to Central Asia for inspiration in the form of the noodle, which, Marco Polo legends aside, is thought by some to have originated in this part of the world.
While the question of who first came up with the idea of combining wheat flour, water, egg and salt to make pasta is still being debated, one thing is certain – the dish (most likely) came from somewhere in Asia!
The noodle probably came into Turkey with the nomadic tribes who swept across the Eurasian steppe, located between China and Eastern Europe, in the wake the Mongol invasions of Anatolia from the 13th century onwards. Pasta dishes in Turkey include manti, small meat-filled dumplings and erişte, thin strips of pasta dressed with cream and walnuts or added to soups and stews to add body.
Another name for erişte is kesme – this caused some confusion when researching this article as kesme can be a negative (do not cut) or the ‘-me‘ ending can turn the word into a noun – in this case it’s the latter as the name refers to a large sheet of pasta cut into strips. Erişte, by the way, is from the Persian reshteh, which means string or thread.
We’ve decided to stick with the Persian vibe – a popular dish in Iran is ash reshteh, a vegetable and noodle soup, and make a version of this hearty soup cum stew with chickpeas, pumpkin, tomato and noodle strips.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
For the noodles:
If you have time and want to make your own noodles, follow this link, otherwise use about 100 g of shop-bought dried egg noodles, broken up into 2 cm strips.
For the stew:
100 g egg noodles, broken into 2 cm strips
400 g pumpkin
200g dried chick peas, soaked overnight and cooked for an hour or so until tender but not mushy
25 ml olive oil
one medium-sized onion
three medium-sized tomatoes
500 ml vegetable stock or reserved cooking water form the chick peas
one clove of garlic
one teaspoon coriander seeds
one teaspoon red chili flakes
one teaspoon cumin seeds
salt and black pepper to taste
dollop of sour cream
Cut the pumpkin into 2 cm chunks and roast in a baking dish in an oven pre-heated to 220 c /gas mark 7 for 30 minutes or so. If you have any seeds from the pumpkin, place these on tin foil and roast alongside the pumpkin until turning brown.
Chop up the onion and fry in the olive oil in a heavy-based pan with the garlic and spices on a medium heat until beginning to brown. Turn down the heat, add the chopped up tomatoes and stir.
Cook for five minutes and then add the chick peas and 200 ml of the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes. Add the roasted pumpkin and the rest of the stock and bring to the boil again. Add the broken-up noodles and cook for five minutes until the noodle pieces are cooked.
Serve in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and sprinkle some roasted pumpkin seeds over the top.