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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

Recipes with fresh thyme

29Jun 12

Falafel with Tomato Sauce

Chickpea meatballs with tomato sauceI remember loving the meatballs in tomato sauce that my mother used to make when I was growing up, so the other day I decided to try and make a vegetarian version.  This chickpea falafel with tomato sauce recipe was the result.  The texture is, of course, slightly different than the lamb-based or peri-peri meatballs my mother specialised in, but the lemon, garlic and Italian parsley give them a subtle flavour that  is offset nicely by the tomato and thyme sauce.  Enjoy!

What you’re going to need:

For the falafel:

  • 400g cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 1tsp grated lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the tomato sauce:

  • 500g tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1tbsp pine nuts
  • 170ml crème fraîche
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you have to do:

 

  1. Drain the chickpeas well.
  2. Peel and mince the onion and the garlic.
  3. Wash the parsley and finely chop the leaves.
  4. Place the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, and lemon zest in a food processor and blend to a paste.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Let the mixture stand for about 30 minutes.
  7. Form the mixture into walnut-sized balls.
  8. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat.
  9. Add the falafel and sauté for 10 minutes, shaking the pan at regular intervals so that they brown evenly.
  10. Remove the falafel from the pan and keep them warm in the oven at the lowest setting.
  11. While the falafel is frying, prepare the tomatoes for the sauce by removing the cores.
  12. Submerge the tomatoes in boiling water for a few seconds, then transfer to a bowl of cold water to loosen the skin.
  13. Remove the skin, cut into quarters, and chop finely.
  14. Wash the thyme and strip the leaves from the stems.
  15. Add the remaining oil to the pan.
  16. Add the pine nuts and thyme and sauté for 20 seconds.
  17. Add the tomatoes and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  18. Mix in the crème fraîche and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
  19. Arrange the falafel on 4 plates. Pour the sauce over them and serve.

 

Preparation Time:  15 minutes + 30 minutes setting

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

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10Apr 12

Asparagus and Cheese Pudding

Asparagus and Cheese PuddingThis creamy and savoury asparagus and cheese pudding is a great way to make use of yesterday’s leftover bread and impress even the most demanding gourmands at the same time.  I usually use ciabatta, but any rustic style bread will work just as well. (Also try this Asparagus Risotto.)

What you’re going to need:

  • 450g ciabatta bread, at least a day old, cut into 1cm thick slices
  • 375ml milk
  • 250ml double cream
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp pepper
  • 450g asparagus, tough stems removed, cut into 5cm sticks
  • 250g grated Manchego cheese
  • 250g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 1tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

 

What you have to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Lay the bread along the bottom of a large shallow dish and cover with the milk.
  3. Set aside and let the bread absorb the milk, about 30 minutes.
  4. Bring 3 litres of salted water to the boil in a large pot.
  5. While you wait for the water to boil, butter a 2 litre baking dish and set aside.
  6. Combine the double cream, eggs, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl and whisk together.  Set aside.
  7. Place the asparagus in the boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes, until it just turns tender.
  8. Drain and rinse under cold water then set aside to drain again.
  9. Combine the cheeses in a small bowl.
  10. Place a third of the milk-soaked bread on the bottom of the buttered baking dish.
  11. Lay half of the asparagus over the bread, sprinkle with a third of the cheese mixture and half of the herbs.
  12. Lay another third of the bread on top, cover with more asparagus, herbs and half of the remaining cheese.
  13. Cover with the rest of the bread and the cheese, placing the remaining asparagus on top.
  14. Pour the egg and cream mixture over the top.
  15. Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown.
  16. Use a knife to check if it’s done.  The egg and cream mixture should be set and the knife should come out clean when inserted into the centre of the pudding.
  17. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.

Preparation Time:  35 minutes

Cooking Time: 60 minutes

Serves:  6-8

Difficulty: Difficult

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