One of my favourite recipe books is the Moro restaurant cook book. Sam and Sam Clark (yes, they are both Sam's!) restaurant in London produces the cuisine of Spain, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean following the saffron-cinnamon connection in our rather greyer and chillier climes. The robust style of Spanish cooking balances the lighter, more exotic dishes of the Muslim Mediterranean and creates a food experience that is exotic and charming to the palate.
Last weekend I was cooking for veggie friends, one of whom doesn't eat cheese or mushrooms or spinach - so out the window went my veggie mainstay of spinach and ricotta lasagne. Which was a good thing because veggie food is really interesting and just as flavoursome as the carnivorous variety - but for some reason it seems socially acceptable to be lazy about veggie food - and it inspired me to take a look through my Moro cookbook and dig out a new recipe to try.
I found an excellent dish called Turlu Turlu - great name - and the recipe is below with my variations from the original. I have substituted parsnips for turnip and extra peppers and potatoe for courgettes (I found the courgettes at this time of year to be just to insipid and Andy is not a fan of the turnip). The idea is that the veggies are large and chunky - not small wee bits - for both flavour and because you want them to retain their shape through the roasting and sauce process.
2 aubergines - halved then halved again, put in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 20 mins or while you are chopping rest of veggies then rinse under cold water (stops them getting to soggy)
3 parsnips - peeled, halved then halved again
3 carrots - as above
3 green peppers - de-seeded and cut into chunky slices
4 medium potatoes cut into 2cm cubes - I leave the skins on
Clove of garlic roughly chopped/crushed
1 medium white onion roughly chopped
A handful of roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
A handful of roughly chopped coriander
A teaspoonful of coriander seeds
Can of chickpeas, cooked and drained
A bottle of passata
A teaspoon of allspice
Several glugs of olive oil
Rocket and cherry tomatoes
Take the aubergines, potatoes, parsnips, carrots and peppers and put in a large bowl. I sometimes need to use two bowls. Then sprinkle with the chopped garlic, onion and allspice. Glug in some olive oil, enough to coat the veggies. Mix it all up well.
Split between two or three roasting tins. You want an even one layer so they roast evenly and without steaming. Put in a hot oven and roast for 45 mins turning every 15 mins.
Cook the chickpeas then drain. Put chickpeas back in teh pan and add the passata. You want enough that it will coat the veggies but not to make it soupy. It is quite a dry stew you are going for.
When the veggies are done, add the chickpeas and passata and give it a good but gentle mix (don't want to mush up the veggies).
Serve with crusty bread and a light rocket and tomatoe salad.
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