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squash and chickpea stew

Flatbread with ghee

Lavender Kale with garlic and lemon

Not sure how ‘Moroccan’ this is, but I like calling it that as straight away you know what flavors we’re talking about. Can I say how easy and simple this is? And I know my plate presentation skills aren’t that chic, but this was a hit with husband, son and me. Something about the lightness of the sauce, the airy flatbread and the fresh squash with whole wheat cous cous left us feeling healthy and buoyant. Good weekday meal.

If you don’t have the extra hour for the flatbread, just skip it. I don’t like bread with pasta dishes, but I love it with stews, soups and curries. Bread’s wonderful and special purpose is to wipe up the last delicious sauce from your plate. In my house, a little bread makes my young carbmonsters happy to come to the table even if they find the other dishes intimidating.

Start with the flatbread dough.

Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall has a cookbook called Veg, which I highly recommend. This is his ‘miracle bread’ recipe, as it can be used for pizza, flatbread, pita bread and bread sticks.

Ingredients

250g strong white bread flour *
250g plain white flour **
5g powdered dried yeast
10g salt ***
325ml warm water
About 1 tbsp olive oil
(I also added just a 1/2 tsp of sugar)

Here are the American conversions, based on this chart:

2 cups bread flour *
2 cups plain white flour **
1 tsp yeast
2 tsp salt ***
325 ml or 11 fl warm water
2 tbsp olive oil ****
(1/2 tsp of sugar if you follow my way)

* In England ‘strong’ flour can be replaced by American ‘bread’ flour
** I did not use plain flour at all. Just 500g of bread flour
*** I used one tsp of salt
**** English tbsp is an American dessert spoon, so I put 2 tbsp

1. Mix the dry ingredients together, make a well in the center and add the olive oil and warm water
2. Mix with a wooden spoon until you can’t anymore, then dump it on a clean counter and knead it until it’s smooth and pliant.
3. Put into an oiled bowl for rising (about an hour)

flatbread dough after kneading

The dough just after kneading

4. Cover with a tea towel and put someplace warm for rising (about an hour). I poured a glass of wine and prepared the rest of dinner while it was rising.

5. When it has doubled in size, punch it down and shape as many flatbreads as you would like. I chose to make mine into naan bread shapes. Roll them THIN as they will puff up under the broiler.

flatbread or naan bread

5. Place them on a baking tray and cook under the broiler–only a couple of minutes on each side. Watch them so they don’t burn. Brush them with melted ghee, butter or a flavored oil. Cook the bread at the last minute and take it straight to the table. Oh, how you will be adored!

The finished product. Can you spot the little corner I tore off and gobbled up?

Flatbread with ghee

Moroccan Squash and Chickpea Stew
with Whole Wheat Cous Cous

Another of my mainstays… which I have no written recipe for… but give it a try anyway as it is such a simple nutritious meal to make IMHO. Here’s my estimate of what portions I used for two adults and one 7 yr old (my daughter was at a friend’s).

Ingredients

1/3 of an acorn squash, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks (I prefer butternut when I have it)
1 large potato, diced and unpeeled. Chop it smaller than the squash as it takes a bit longer to cook
1 small onion chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tin of stewed tomatoes, chopped and a little of the juice
cooked chickpeas, about a cup or less
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
3/4 vegetable bouillon cube
pepper to taste
water as needed
olive oil
chopped parsley for garnish

1. Heat up olive oil in a frying pan or pot and saute the onion and garlic till soft

2. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix, cover with a lid and gently simmer until the squash and potato are tender. About 10 or 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be. You may want to add a teeny bit of sugar if the tomatoes are not very sweet. I have made this with cumin before but prefer it without.

For the cous cous
1 cup of whole wheat cous cous
1 to 1 1/2 cups of water
salt and pepper or 1/2 veg bouillon cube
1 tbsp olive oil

1. While the stew is cooking, boil the water for the cous cous and add in the seasoning and olive oil. Put the cous cous in a bowl and pour in enough water to cover the cous cous and then go over the cous cous just a bit. Less water than for rice.

2. Quickly put a lid on and let it steam. You can always add more water but you can never save it from too much water! When cooked, fluff with a fork.

Lavender Kale

One large bunch lavender kale
1 garlic clove, slivered
squeeze of lemon
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

I just love this kind of kale. It is dark and tender, not bitter at all. Because it is not tough, it requires very little cooking time and can be substituted for spinach.

1. Saute with garlic and olive oil. Season and squeeze a little lemon over

This was an easy quick meal which required a lot of time to write about. Enjoy!

squash and chickpea stew

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