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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

My first Ethiopian meal, courgette crisps, and the fourth known foodstuff

Some days, I just run out of cooking inspiration. Then I ask my other half what he wants to eat, and he says one of three things: Mexican, stir fry, or pasta. Without fail. In his culinary world, there are but three foodstuffs, and he's happy for us to eat all three in rotation forever. I try my best to come up with interesting, healthy, tasty vegan meals, but if I'm ever feeling fresh out of ideas, I just make Mexican, stir-fry or pasta, and I know everyone's happy.

Only the other day, the other half only went and blew my mind. I asked him what he'd like for tea, and he said "carrot and coriander soup". My first instinct was that he'd been bodysnatched and replaced with a replicant that hadn't downloaded the file on food preferences yet.

After satisfying myself he really was my other half, I made a carrot and coriander soup: sweated off onion and garlic with ground coriander, added some chopped carrot and stock, and when it was all done, blended it and topped with fresh chopped coriander.

I was surprised at how much more than the sum of its parts it was, it's not become a regular part of my lazy cooking rotation, sometimes with lentils or chickpeas added.

Behold, the fourth known dish in my other half's culinary taxonomy:


The next meal looks a little bit parsimonious, but I promise you again, it may be made of humble ingredients, but there's a lot more than that to it.

It's based on a recipe on The Telegraph here for roasted carrots and chick pea mash.

I didn't have any chick peas on hand, but butter beans soaked and boiled for a bit made an admirable stand-in, perked up with some fried leeks and tahini. Carrots roasted with a bit of coriander may not sound like anything special, but if you get the timing right, they become sweet and melty things of wonder.

I even had some radicchio to hand, and made a facsimile of The Telegraph salad with some quinoa, peas and mint. Oh, and then I chucked in some purple sprouting broccoli with tomatoes, because, well, when doesn't broccoli make everything better? (What? When you're making brownies, you say? Fair point.)

It may not look pretty (blame the low-lit phone pic), but it tasted pretty good.

Now this next dinner I'm blaming on you guys. On pretty much every blog I read at the moment, there's someone telling me how amazing Ethiopian food is and how I need to get involved. 

I finally took your advice, and found a nearby Ethiopian and Eritrean place that did a load of veggie food, most of which was vegan. Our eyes were taken by the veggie platter, made up of a little bit of everything served on enough injera to feed a football team that hadn't eaten all week. 

They were happy to dodge the dairy and make up a vegan platter for me and the other half, and this is what we got given:
Now I see why you guys have been getting so excited - this stuff's amazing!

Alas, I can no longer remember what we had on our plate, but there was a beetroot based dish, an okra one, three separate lentil dishes, something mushroomy, a fluffy gram scramble, and a load of other stuff that's escaped my memory.

What was perhaps more amazing than the variety of dishes was that they were all delicious. Even sharing this monster between two, me and the other half couldn't get through most of it, and we had to leave it. Lesson learnt - we'll be back, and we'll not be having a starter!

Finally, I've dug out the dehydrator again, and made up some courgette (or zuccini, if you're over the other side of the pond) chips. It was just a case of massaging the mandolined courgette with some chilli oil, ras el hanout and garlic salt, and dehydrating til crisp.


11 comments:

  1. There you go making me want a dehydrator again! You've also managed to make me feel EXTREMELY guilty for my run of canned soup dinners...

    So glad you enjoyed your first Ethiopian meal. Keep your eyes peeled for Kittee's vegan Ethiopian cookbook; you can be sure I'll be shouting from the rooftops when it's released!

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  2. That's cute that your other half could always eat Mexican, stir fry, or pasta. We have a regular rotation too. Ours is pizza, tacos/burritos, or salad. If nothing else sounds good, one of those three things certainly does.

    Yay!! I'm so glad you sought out some Ethiopian food and liked it! That looks like one delicious platter of goodness. I'm totally with you on turning down a starter where Ethiopian cuisine is concerned. I've made the same mistake and regretted it. As much as I like samosas, all of the wots & injera are already plenty.

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  3. Oh, Ethiopian food is so wonderful! I've only had it a handful of times but it's so flavorful. Looks like you even got a larger assortment than I've seen! And that spongy injera is fun stuff. A friend's mother owns an Ethiopian restaurant in Washington DC and I want to visit!
    What a funnily specific answer for yr partner to give! A good answer, though. Wonder if he's been sneaking through yr bookmarked recipes?

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  4. Jealous of your Ethiopian meal! I'm probably one of those annoying people who've been telling you to try all this time. I love it though I always feel like I need to be rolled home after eating at an Ethiopian restaurant.
    I had to chuckle at your man's dinner suggestion. For someone who doesn't sound all that fussed about food, carrot and coriander soup is rather specific a request!

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  5. The food all looks inviting — I'm a big fan of Ethiopian flavors. What I want to know is what criteria you used to confirm your other half was indeed the real deal. :)

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  6. I think I must be one of the few people in the world to taste ethiopian - despite all the wonderful things I read about it - your platter looks amazing - and I love your plate of vegies (surely you could have broccoli brownies - someone has already done it - I had to google) - and I love the taxonomy of your partner - my partner is a bit similar with his tastes

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  7. Ethiopia food is one of my favorite savory treats! It bums me out that it's so hard to find, and even though I can make all sorts of wat very easily, there's just no way for me to recreate the injera. I miss that chewy, sponge-y bread so dearly!

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  8. Love the look of that Ethiopian meal! And the soup. Funny reading about your partner :) my partner has had extensive training (by me) to broaden his food tastes!

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  9. I've only eaten Ethiopian food once, there just isn't any place nearby. But I've got a dehydrator. And it's almost zucchini season, just in time to make those courgette chips. :-)

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  10. Yay Ethiopian food! I've also noticed a lot of enthusiasm for Ethiopian around the blogs, and I've pretty much been craving it for weeks. Jealooouus.

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  11. Your partner thinks the same thing as my partner: Mexican, stir fry or pasta! He loves these three things while I love Asian, brothy noodle soups and creamy/cheesy stuff. But we both love pizza! Some recipes from The Telegraph are pretty good - your plate turned out delicious, I would eat that right away! Wow, I’ve never had Ethopian foods (I don’t think there is in Oregon…maybe I’m missing out), but that stuff look delicious!

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