Something’s cooking

I’m not having a great time of it over here at the moment. Regular readers will know that my mental health state is very mixed, and right now is a bad time. I’m coping, just, but everything is harder work than it should be.

All my projects are kind of overwhelming me right now, and I’m getting bored of just showing you pictures of the same things from week to week. So part of my ‘keep things going’ plan is to finish something by Friday to write about – for you and me – probably by delving into my WIP bag for something small and easy.

In the meantime, I’m so in the habit of posting on a Wednesday that I didn’t want to break my routine. So ta-da! A recipe!

We haven’t done much shopping lately, so the conversation on Saturday went something like this:

Me: What are having for dinner?
Him: I don’t know. What do you want for dinner?
Me: I don’t know. What food do we have?
Him: Er… None?

Necessity being the mother of invention, I rummaged through the cupboard and came up with some tins of food. And then I rummaged through my brain (always a dangerous thing to do) and came up with the following recipe.

Laura’s Tinned Tagine

1 onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 chilli – I use Very Lazy Chilli and put in about 1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tin cannelini beans (this is what I had, but any would work)
1 tin chickpeas
1 tin cherry tomatoes [these things are fabulous – how did I manage without them??]
1 litre vegetable stock
Any veg you find in the bottom of the fridge. I added some green peppers that were going wrinkly, but whole tomatoes, courgettes or even chopped potatoes would work pretty well.
Salt and pepper

You’ll need a decent sized saucepan for this, so don’t underestimate – drag out your biggest one.

1. Put a good glug (technical term) of olive oil into the pan and heat gently. Don’t go overboard – you want to cook the onions not brown them. Add the onions and garlic at the same time and stir them so they get a good coating of oil. Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the onion is soft and golden.

2. Add the chilli, stir again and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the spices. Stir well so that all the onion is coated and cook for at least 5 minutes. I give mine more like 15 until it’s all dry and roasted. This stops the spices giving a raw taste to the finished dish. Okay, it doesn’t like much, but trust me on this one. Give them as long as you can!

3. While the spices are cooking, drain and rinse the beans and chickpeas. Once you’re ready, add them to the pan along with chopped tomatoes and the stock. I added half a litre with a stock cube, then topped the pan up with hot water until everything was fully covered. Season well, the dish can take it.

4. Bring to a light simmer, but don’t boil hard. Cook for 20-30 minutes – test the chickpeas to see if they’re cooked, and keep adding 5 minutes until they are. Nothing worse than crunchy chickpeas.

5. Check the seasoning before serving and adjust. Serve with fresh, crunchy bread or couscous (not crunchy) and sprinkled with fresh coriander.

If you can find rose harissa, a tsp of that would be even better than the chilli. It really does give a fab flavour to anything you put it in. And you can put it in everything.

We’ve been mostly eating vegetarian recently anyway, so this fits right in at the moment. It was pretty yummy, even if I do say so myself, and at least by writing it down while I can remember it, we can enjoy it all over again!

Do let me know if you try it, and any other variations you come up with. Share it around!


One thought on “Something’s cooking

  1. Sorry to hear you’re having a rough time again, Laura. Sounds like you need a holiday!
    The recipe sounds great. I’m terrible at improvising in the kitchen – I leave that to Andy when he’s around, otherwise I revert to baked beans on toast!!


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