A few of my favourite things

Bean pattiesThere exist millions of interesting  blogs out there. Billions of wonderful recipes. We can’t reasonably try them all. Of those that we do try,   just a few enter into the ‘all time favourite’ list. Others, you make a couple of time, and then you forget. Then a year goes by, and something reminds you of that great recipe that would just be perfect for the particular occasion.

Sometimes you remember it all: who where and when posted it. Maybe you made a bookmark or a clipping or whatever. Then you go there, and the blog is gone.

However, that is not what usually happens, for me at least. Most of the time what happens is that I simply forget where the recipe came from. Even if I did save the recipe in my ‘ to do ‘ list, well, the list is a bit too long to find it easily.

Sometimes I like the recipe so much, or I tweak it so much, that I like to actually rewrite the recipe here, in my space.

But sometimes the original post is so good and clear that there is really no need for that. So I thought that for me it is going to be useful to post a roundup of my favourite recipes, now and again. I also thought you might like me to share it, just to get a few new (at least double tested) ideas. I’ll start with a few recipes I’ve been collecting in the last months – I hope this becomes a regular habit.

All the recipes I am featuring today are very quick and quite healthy and balanced, perfect fare for weekday dinner, when that extra idea might be very welcome.

Shakshuka, or eggs and tomato mess: from Deb. It quickly became one of the staples in the very restricted realm ‘comfort food that takes less time and effort than ordering a pizza’ favourites in this house. A spicy tomato sauce base, topped with eggs, topped with cheese. I still cannot decide whether I prefer feta or halloumi on top, but I surely like it with some fresh chopped cilantro, if I have some. And plenty of crusty bread. Also my new cooking companion (will I ever get tired of Ottolenghi? Will he ever stop being so incredibly interesting and creative?) gives a recipe for it, that contains bell peppers, less tomato, chopped coriander, saffron and (!!) optional cheese (!!). Believe me, you don’t want to let feta or halloumi out, if you have some. It’s funny how you never ever heard of a dish for years, and suddenly, it is everywhere.

I always double the sauce. I always wish I had done more. And it does not even have too many calories!

Strawberry, feta and rocket salad. Amazing. One of the best salads I’ve ever tasted. I love to add a few drops of orange blossom water to the dressing. Also, I never bother to sieve out the strawberry seeds. The only things I don’t like is that it looks a bit ‘pulp’, all that strawberry sauce spilling all over. It looks much prettier in Magda’s pictures than all the specimen I have produced here, also because I love the dressing so much that I always put a lot of dressing over a little salad. It makes a great quick bulk up for a family dinner, but also a side or a starter when you want to posh up dinner. And the combination ginger-strawberry is really interesting, sooner or later I’m going to make something with it…

Spicy lentils snacks: I have also restarted making lunches to take out. I love doing them even if it adds some work to the daily chores, especially organisation wise:  home-made bentos are healthier, cheaper and I love to be out and have some home-made food to nibble, especially if other food options are pretty depressing. This recipe has been a favourite of mine for more than a year, I do it regularly, and I have tweaked it in any possible way. The little spicy patties are just perfect fare for lunch in a box.

The picture above presents a variation on the theme. I often make bean patties, by processing cooked beans; they don’t require any rice for consistency and they turn out with even a meatier texture than lentils. On the other hand, when I make the original snack with lentils, I always add some grains, usually bulgur or couscous. I often cook red kidney beans for salad and used leftovers to make these for lunch the next day; I love them also with soy beans, which I normally dont’ particularly like. My favourite flavourings in this case are plenty of fresh coriander, spring onions and a hint of ginger and garlic.

Here is a skeleton of my variation’s recipe. Feel free to experiment, it works.

Bean patties

300 gr cooked beans,
small bunch of coriander, stalks included
1 teaspoon ground cumin,
1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
1 spring onion
1/2 garlic clove

1 tablespoon each of sesame seeds, nigella seeds, line seeds, or optionally breadcrumbs

Method: Process beans with all ingredients but the seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning. You should get a thick paste.
Mix the seeds on a flat dish. Line a baking tray with paper and preheat the oven to 200. Form patties or little balls with the bean paste, using a couple of spoons that you can now and again wet. Roll them in the seeds and lay them on the baking tray. Let them toast for about 15 minutes in the oven. Eat at room temperature.


6 Responses to “A few of my favourite things”

  1. At first I thought they were falafel, but close enough-these bean patties look amazing! I like the sprinkiling of sesame.



  2. These bean patties sound so delicious. I usually make meat or vegetable patties but I’ve never made bean patties. I’m going to give this a try very soon. Great recipe!

  3. I was so surprised to see that my recipe is one of your favorites. Thank you 🙂 I love this salad too.

    I like bean patties a lot, though I’ve never made them myself. Love the flavor of the spices in your recipe and I’m sure the sesame seeds on top add a pleasant crunch.

  4. I tried the bean patties (using lentils – canned ones, I am afraid ;-)) and they were great! Thank you very much!


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