Chickpeas & Pomegranate Salad with Lime Dressing

Super quick and easy, this colourful and delicious summer salad will surprise you with its flavour combinations – juicy pomegranate, crunchy peppers and soft chickpeas combine with sour lime, sharp mustard and sweet honey… and this is only the beginning…

Super quick and easy, this colourful and delicious summer salad will surprise you with its flavour combinations – juicy pomegranate, crunchy peppers and soft chickpeas combine with sour lime, sharp mustard and sweet honey… and this is only the beginning…Ingredients:

For the salad

  • 6 sweet colourful baby peppers
  • 1 tin unsalted chickpeas
  • 1 tin black beans
  • 1 large pomegranate
  • Handful of fresh curly parsley

For the dressing

  • 2 limes; juiced / ~40ml lime juice
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1tbsp raw runny honey

Method:

First let’s prepare the dressing.

Pop all ingredients into salad dressing shaker and mix well.

Put aside and let it “marinate” for a bit.

Super quick and easy, this colourful and delicious summer salad will surprise you with its flavour combinations – juicy pomegranate, crunchy peppers and soft chickpeas combine with sour lime, sharp mustard and sweet honey… and this is only the beginning…

Now, for the salad itself.

Open both the chickpeas and black beans and drain whatever liquid is in the tin, wash the beans well and then drain again to reduce liquids added to the salad.

Peel and deseed the pomegranate. Pop its fruits into the bowl you intend to mix the salad up in.

Wash and finely slice the baby peppers leaving them in rings.

Finely chop the handful of parsley stalks.

Finally add the drained beans.

Gently mix or toss all ingredients, add dressing to taste and enjoy!

If you are quick enough when dealing with the pomegranate this light meal shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes to prepare! Lately I am finding that I am going totally mad for pomegranates but I am still searching for the perfect way to peel and de-seed them.

Just in case you are wondering, I didn’t forget about adding salt, pepper or any other spices; it’s just that they simply aren’t needed here. The ingredients and the dressing work together so perfectly that there really isn’t any need for additional flavours.

Super quick and easy, this colourful and delicious summer salad will surprise you with its flavour combinations – juicy pomegranate, crunchy peppers and soft chickpeas combine with sour lime, sharp mustard and sweet honey… and this is only the beginning…

How to make Tea Smoked Peppers

How to make Tea Smoked Peppers

Here is a brilliant idea to help even the most rubbish cook elevate a dish to a gourmet level with hardly any effort but amazing results. Like all great ideas it is simple, straightforward and almost foolproof. I do not claim any fame or fortune for conceiving the idea I am merely the messenger helping to spread the word so that all can enjoy this technique.

As you can probably tell by now I am enthusiastic, correction very enthusiastic about tea smoking. Readers of my blog will know from historical posts that we are big smokers of food, but until now it relied on a massive effort to clean and fire up the Primo cooker in the garden and like all humans sometimes the will is willing but the flesh is weak. Now we have a quick and easy way to imbue our food with a vast range of smoky flavours inside, on the cooker!

So what do you need in the kitchen to join us in total appreciation of this technique? Not much as it goes….

How to make Tea Smoked Peppers - Ingredients List

  • A vegetable steamer or a saucepan with a colander that fits snugly on top with a lid and can be put on a hot cooker ring. Plastic isn’t going to get the job done it does need to be metal.
  • A strip of tinfoil
  • A small packet of loose leaf tea leaves (best quality you can find). We used Earl Grey Bravo from Adagio.
  • Something to smoke, we used peppers in this example but anything can go in…

Method:

Place the base of you steamer or saucepan on to the cooker.

How to make Tea Smoked Peppers.

Next you need to tap into you creative side and build a holder for the tea leaves out of the tinfoil.
We have learnt to use a small bowl as a mould as this helps a lot. The key part here is to form it in such a way as to have 4 legs to stand on as we don’t want the part with the tea leaves touching the base of the steamer.

Place you creation into the steamer base or saucepan, DO NOT be tempted to put any water in there!

How to make Tea Smoked Peppers..

Put your tea leaves into the bowl part of the tinfoil, a small handful is enough.

Place your colander or upper section of you steamer on top of the base.

How to make Tea Smoked Peppers...

Place in a single layer whatever you have chosen to smoke in the upper section, don’t stack them up if you can avoid it as this will impact on the ability of the smoke to get everywhere.

Lastly strap on the lid and turn the heat up to medium.

As the colander gets hot the tinfoil and in turn the tea will get hot and soon it will start to smoke and fill the house with wonderful tea smells. As the heat works its way up it will heat up the veggies and help cook them. It will also help release essential oils that will greatly enhance the flavour of the vegetable, these oils help trap the smoke from the tea resulting in awesomeness.

Go have a cup of tea or prepare whatever you are going to have you lovely, tasty, smoked veggies with.

After 20 minutes turn the heat off, leaving it for longer will make the smoked tea flavour more intense if you prefer that, concurrently cooking for less time will make the flavour much more mellow. Only practise will give you the right level of flavour that suits your palette.

How to make - Tea Smoked Peppers

Place in your sandwich, or add to pizzas, with scrambled eggs, or as a topping with your favourite cracker, whatever your mind can dream up, and trust me you will be dreaming of countless ways to involve this technique in even the simplest meals from now on…

Go on… you know you want to try it…

What’s Cooking – Peri Peri Meat and Rice Stuffed Peppers

My Peri Peri Meat and Rice Stuffed Peppers
My Peri Peri Meat and Rice Stuffed Peppers

So the other day there I was hungry and as usual with no idea what to have for dinner when a distraction occurs, my dad calls… he is all glowing (I could almost feel it over the telephone lines) but what synchronicity as he starts telling me about some fantastic stuffed peppers he just made for his dinner. To make things worse he said “Just to prove how awesome they are I am sending you pictures”… I thought to myself “Great… just what I really need at this moment – some pictures of a  yummy dinner”. He was right though his dinner did indeed look totally fantastic and what was even more impressive – they grew the peppers in their garden!

I really did envy my parents at that moment – a nice, healthy meal, which is already cooked and ready for consumption… This gave me the idea for the next day’s dinner. I really wanted to recreate my own stuffed peppers which would look at least as good as my dad’s, and with some luck even better so I could photo him back all smug.

So off shopping I went…

2. IngredientsIngredients acquired:

  • 500g of minced pork
  • 6 large nicely shaped, equal sized “fat” peppers
  • 3 onions
  • A handful of mushrooms
  • 1 egg
  • 150g rice
  • Stock pot
  • Oil for cooking
  • Cheese – optional for the cheese lovers
  • Herb and spices to taste:

Salt and Pepper
Paprika
Mixed herbs
Peri peri seasoning

Method:

3. Making peppers bowlsObviously the starting point is your peppers – Give them a wash to make sure that they are clean and then cut the top off thus making a lid, remove all the seeds and pith creating a pepper bowl and replace the lids to stop them drying out.

4. RiceBoil the rice according to the packets cooking instructions but halve the cooking time – you don’t want your rice fully cooked as it will be cooked again later and you run the risk of it going very mushy later on.

5. StockPrepare 2 cups of stock (each about 150ml) – one will go inside the final stuffing mix and the second one will go at the bottom of your cooking dish, so peppers can get extra moisture while cooking.

6. Onions and MashroomsPrepare the onions and mushrooms – cut them into small pieces and fry a bit until lightly golden.

7. Herbs and spicesMix all your herb and spices in one bowl and give them a good stir.

8. Mixing upNow it is time to combine everything together; mix your mince meat with the rice, herbs and spices and egg; add one cup of stock (I used herb stock) and finally add your fried onions and mushrooms. Mix everything well but gently so it stays light, too much pounding and you will end up with a dense heavy filling that will not be pleasant, until all ingredients are well combined.

9. Stuffing timeNext step stuffing your pepper bowls – fill your peppers with the mixture and place in your final cooking dish. Ideally you want a dish that the peppers fit snugly in so they can support their neighbours and prevent themselves from falling over whilst cooking in the oven.

10. Lids back onOnce all peppers are in place put their lids on and add the 2nd cup of stock to the bottom of your dish.

11. Oven timeCover and cook in the over for about 1.5h at 180C.

12. cheese timeAfter this time if you are a cheese lover you can remove the peppers from the oven, take their hats off and sprinkle some cheese over them. Pop them back into the oven – uncovered – for a further 10 minutes.

Now it is time to dish up!

I served our peppers with a tomato sauce (ok, almost tomato sauce, it was a tinned tomato soup from Heinz with added spices for a more “posh” flavour).

So there you have it a nice easy recipe for a colourful and funky dinner.

Enjoy! We did…..

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I’ve received a selection of herbs and spices from QSpice so I can use them in my cooking. 

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