Herby Chickpea Tabbouleh with Oven-dried Tomatoes

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (September 2015) taken from In the Mood for Healthy Food by Jo Pratt

Tabbouleh, a Middle-Eastern parsley salad, contains very little bulgar wheat and is served as part of a mezze platter. However, the increased amount of bulgur wheat and added chickpeas and feta, make this a more filling salad. This can be made a day or so ahead of time and stored in the fridge.


Serves : 4

12 smallish (golf ball size) ripe tomatoes, halved
25g bulgur wheat
400g tin chickpeas, drained
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 bunch of fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
Seeds from 1 pomegranate, or 100g ready-prepared pomegranate seeds
3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
200g feta cheese, broken into small pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step One : Preheat the oven to 120oC. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthways, sit on a baking sheet cut side up, and bake for 1-2 hours. This is just enough time for the tomatoes to start to dry out and begin to shrivel around the edges, which will intensify their flavour, making them wonderfully sweet and juicy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Step Two : Cook the bulgur wheat according to the packet instructions, then rinse under the cold tap to cool it down. Drain really well, shaking the sieve to separate all the grains, then tip into a large mixing bowl.

Step Three : Add the chickpeas, herbs, spring onions, pomegranate seeds, olive oil, lemon zest and juice to the bulguar wheat and season with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the feta, spoon onto plates, and serve with the tomatoes.

Buttermilk Chicken Shish Kebab

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine and taken from Berber & Q by Josh Katz.

Shish kebab is commonplace to all the cuisines across the Middle East.  Most use chicken breast meat, but chicken thighs is good in this recipe for its juiciness and flavour.

IMG_1006Ingredients (Serves 2-4)

• 100ml buttermilk
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp sweet paprika
• ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp Garlic oil or olive oil
• 1 tbsp hot red pepper paste (biber salcasi))
• Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
• 1 tsp salt
• ¼ tsp coarse ground black pepper
• ½ onion, sliced
• 8 chicken thighs, deboned, skinned and quartered
• 2 green peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
• 2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
• 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
• Pittas or flatbreads
• 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to brush
• 1 tbsp thinly sliced spring onion
• 1 tbsp picked oregano leaves

Step One – Put the buttermilk, spices, garlic, Garlic oil, red hot pepper paste, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper and onion in a bowl and stir together to combine. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and massage the mixture into the chicken to ensure it’s evenly distributed. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for 4-6 hours, or preferably overnight.

Step Two – Skewer the chicken pieces intermittently with the red and green peppers and red onion. Warm up your barbecue so you are cooking on medium-hot embers. Grill the skewers directly over the burning coals, turning frequently to ensure both sides are well-coloured and the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Step Three – Brush the pitas or flatbreads with a little olive oil mixed with a few drops of water, and warm through briefly on the grill. They can be placed directly on top of the skewers if there isn’t sufficient room in the barbecue.

Step Four – Remove the pitas and transfer to a serving platter. Place the skewered chicken thighs on top, brushed with olive oil. Scatter the spring onion and oregano leaves liberally over the skewers.

Slow-cooked Lamb with Pomegranate

slow cooked lamb with pomegranateThis recipe is courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Serves: 6   –   Prep time: 10 mins    –    Cook time: 4 ½ hours plus 20 mins standing time

Cals per serving: 258   –   Fat: 15g

Ingredients: 2kg (4 lb) lamb shoulder (with bone); Olive oil; ½ tsp ground cardamom; 1 tsp ground cinnamon; ½ tsp crushed chillies; salt and pepper; 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled; 1 long red chilli; 3 tblsp chopped fresh mint; Seeds from 1 pomegranate; Crushed or ground sumac; 2 tblsp pistachios

  1. Heat the oven to 150oC (gas mark 2).  Rub the lamb with a little olive oil.  Combine the cardamom, cinnamon, crushed chillies, salt and pepper and rub over the meat.  Place in a roasting tin and add enough boiling stock or water to come to a depth of 5mm (¼ in), then add the garlic and whole long chilli.  Cover with foil and cook for about 4 hours.  Check every 30 minutes to make sure the stock hasn’t evaporated, adding more water if needed.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 180oC (gas mark 4).  Return the tin to the oven, uncovered, for a further 30 minutes.  Remove and allow the lamb to rest for about 20 minutes.
  3. While the lamb is resting, if you wish to make a sauce to accompany the lamb, reduce the cooking liquid by a third by boiling it.
  4. Shred the warm meat and arrange on a platter. Stir through the chopped mint and top with pomegranate seeds.  Sprinkle with a little sumac and the pistachios and season to taste.
A contraption to make preparing Pomegranate easy 🙂

Fattouche (Middle Eastern crunchy salad)

This recipe is courtesy of Easy Living Magazine and taken from the book Arabesque by Claudia Roden.   

Serves: 4-6   –   Prep time: 25 mins, plus standing time   –  Cook time: 5 mins
Cals per serving: 161 cals   –   Fat : 8g

2 pitta breads or Lebanese breads; Olive oil for brushing; 3 baby cos lettuces; 1 red onion, finely sliced; 4 radishes, sliced; 200g (6 ½ oz) cherry tomatoes, halved; 1 cucumber, peeled and diced; 1 red pepper, finely diced; 4 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped; 4 tbsp mint, roughly chopped; 1 tbsp ground or crushed Sumac; ¼ tsp allspice; Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

For the dressing: Juice of ½ lemon; 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; 1 clove garlic, crushed; 1 tsp Ras el Hanout (optional)


  1. Heat the oven to 180oC (gas mark 4).  Split the bread in half and brush each piece with olive oil.  Bake for 5 minutes until crisp.
  2. Slice the lettuce crossways into 1cm (½ in) strips and place in a large bowl with the onion, radishes, tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, parsley and mint.  Season well.  Sprinkle the sumac and allspice over the top, then drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.  Toss well and set aside for 10 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
  3. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small screw-top jar and shake to combine.
  4. Pour enough dressing over the salad to lightly dress it, and toss it through.  Break the bread into pieces and mix through the salad.  Divide the salad between four plates and serve immediately.

Manaeesh (Flatbread, also known as manakeesh)

manaeeshThis recipe is courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Makes: 4   –   Prep time : 15 mins, plus 2 hours standing time   –   Cook time : 20 mins

Cals per serving: 173   –   Fat : 2g

Ingredients: 7g (1/4 oz) sachet quick-acting dry yeast; 750g (1 ½ lb) white bread flour; 2 tsp salt; 2 tblsp olive oil

For the topping: 125g (4oz) za’atar spice blend mix

  1. Place the yeast, flour and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Add olive oil and 420ml (13 fl oz) of tepid water.  Mix using a dough hook for about 5 minutes until the mixture comes together and forms a really soft dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes, then shape into a large ball.  Place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth or cling film and leave in a warm place for 1 – 1 ½ hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Heat the oven to 240oC (gas mark 9). Punch down the dough with your fist to expel the air.  Knead on a lightly floured surface for 1 minutes and then shape into four balls.
  3. On a lightly oiled surface, use a rolling pin to shape each dough ball into thin 5mm (¼ in) rounds, then transfer to two baking sheets.  Make a few indentations in the dough with your fingertips.
  4. Brush the loaves with olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden and crisp.  Slide the manaeesh off the trays onto the oven shelves and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until crusty.


Other recipes for za’atar

Fast Hummus

humousThis recipe is courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Prep time : 5 mins   –   No cooking   –   Total Cals : 212   –   Fat : 15g

Ingredients: 400g (13oz) tin chickpeas; Juice of 1 lemon; 2 garlic cloves, crushed; 1 tsp paprika; 1 tsp ground cumin; 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) tahini (sesame seed paste); 2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place in a blender along with the remaining ingredients.
  2. Blend until smooth and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Taste the mixture as your go and add more spices if necessary.
  4. Serve with carrot sticks and pitta bread.

#humous #chickpeas #tahini



This recipe is courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Makes : 26  –   Prep time : 15 mins plus soaking  –  Cook time : 20 mins

Cals per Falafel: 80 cals;   Fat : 5g

Ingredients:  250g (8oz) chickpeas, dry and uncooked; ½ onion, chopped; 2 cloves garlic; 1 bunch parsley, chopped; 1 bunch coriander, chopped; ½ tsp salt; ½ tsp chilli powder; 1 tsp cumin; ½ tsp ground coriander; ½ tsp baking powder; 500ml (16 fl oz) vegetable oil, for deep-frying; ½ tsp ground or crushed sumac

  1. Soak the chickpeas in water overnight (for at least 6 hours), then drain the water.  In a food processor, grind the chickpeas on a low speed, slowly adding the onion, garlic, parsley and coriander until the mixture is coarsely ground.
  2. Remove half of the mixture from the food processor and set aside.  Re-grind the remaining part for an extra few minutes or until smoother than the other half.  Mix the smooth and coarse portions together.
  3. Mix the salt, chilli powder, cumin, ground coriander and baking powder together.  Add this to the chickpea mixture.  Add a little water if needed – the mixture may be a bit crumbly, but this is fine.  It is now ready for frying.
  4. In a pot or wok, heat the oil.  This will be used to deep-fry the falafel.  Use two tablespoons to mould the falafel.  Fill one tablespoon with the mixture, then use another spoon on top to shape it.
  5. Slowly drop the falafel into the hot oil, and repeat.  Cook each side for roughly 2 minutes (until it turns brown).  Remove from the oil onto a colander or place on top of a paper towel to soak up any surplus oil.  Sprinkle with sumac and enjoy while hot (it’s good served with humous)


Middle Eastern cook book:

Lamb Koftas

These tasty meat balls are great as either a main meal or as a party snack.

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion:  460

Ingredients:-  675g (1 1/2lb) lean minced lamb; 1 onion, peeled and grated; 5ml (1tsp) salt; 45ml (3 tbsp) fresh chopped mint; 30ml (2 tbsp) chopped parsley; 10ml (2 tsp) ground cumin; 10ml (2 tsp) ground coriander; 1 egg, size 1

Mint dip ingredients:  200g Greek yoghurt; 100g (4 oz) finely diced cucumber; 30ml (2tbsp) fresh chopped mint;

To serve: Warm pitta bread, salad, lemon wedges and sprigs of parsley.

  • Place the lamb, onion, salt, herbs, spices and egg in a food processor.  Whizz until well blended.  Alternatively, place the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly using clean, wet hands.
  • Shape into about 24 small balls.  Place under a medium preheated grill for 15-20 mins until golden brown and cooked through, turning frequently.
  • Place the yoghurt in a bowl and stir in the cucumber and nearly all the mint.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and garnish with the remaining mint.
  • Arrange the hot koftas on a platter with the warm pitta bread, salad and lemon wedges.  Garnish with parsley and serve with the mint dip.