Two weeks ago I was interviewed by Lucy Dearlove, creator of the brilliantly-named podcast, Lecker. We went to the supermarket before I made lunch as 1) I love food shopping and 2) it’s where I usually think of what I’ll make. Speaking to Lucy while cooking ended up being a bit like therapy and I opened up more than I anticipated. The podcast features phallic aubergines, the moment I wrestled with the keys for ages and almost failed to get into our flat, raving about tinned tomatoes, a tribute to friendship, some serious Claudia Roden fandom, a breakfast egg-oriented proposal, me using the word magic a lot about vegetables… Recipes below.
Turkish Food Centre Lunch
Kohlrabi and Hazelnut Salad
a generous handful of hazelnuts, with or without shells
a few tablespoons of very thick Turkish or Greek yogurt
Peel the kohlrabi and cut into 1cm cubes. Toast the hazelnuts – there should be around half the volume of nuts to kohlrabi chunks – and rub off the skin in a dry tea towel. Mix the kohlrabi and nuts with a few tablespoons of thick Greek or Turkish yogurt, and a few really good pinches of salt. Eat immediately with some crispbreads, or unaccompanied. If you leave it too long, the salt will draw the water out of the Kohlrabi, it will become less crisp, and the yogurt will become watery.
Chickpeas in Tomato Sauce with Sheep’s Cheese and Dill
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas, or some you’ve soaked and boiled
2 cloves of garlic, sliced finely
2 tablespoons of chopped dill
roughly 100g sheep’s cheese
½ teaspoon of red wine vinegar
Place 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan with the garlic and turn the heat on, when the garlic is fragrant and sizzling, add the tomatoes and ½ tinful of water. Simmer on a low heat for ten minutes. Add the chickpeas, simmer for a further 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and the vinegar. Sprinkle over dill and sheep’s cheese.
Aubergine and Courgette with Hard Boiled Eggs and Fried Cumin
a few aubergines
a few courgettes (as small as possible), quartered lenthways
a few eggs
½ tablespoon of cumin seeds
½ teaspoon of chilli flakes
½ a lemon
Sprinkle some salt on the aubergines and leave for 10 minutes or so. Then bring some water to a simmer in a small pan and add the eggs and simmer for 8-10 minutes, just off the boil Then pat dry and brush of excess salt from the aubergines. Toss the aubergines and courgettes with 2 tablespoons of oil. Heat up a pan until it’s very hot. Add the aubergines and courgettes to the pan, so that it is not too full. You want the cut surfaces to touch the heat, when they are browned, turn over and brown the other cut surface. When they are browned all over, remove from the pan. Turn off the heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil, add the cumin seeds and fry in the residual heat. Lay the vegetables on a plate, squeeze the lemon over them. Top with the hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half, the cumin seeds and oil and the chilli flakes.
We ate this with Turkish sesame seed bread. Any bread will do really, or none at all.