While my lovely northern hemisphere readers are all huddled into their woolly sweaters, enjoying belly-warming soups and casseroles and sipping steaming mugs of hot chocolate we are cooking in an altogether different fashion down here in the wide brown land. This summer started off hot and fiery early in the season and shows no signs of changing it’s colours. There are terrifyingly huge fires burning in many regions of the country at the moment and hundreds of people have already lost their homes. Here in South Australia we have endured some scorching days of late, including one that went up to 45C last week – that’s over 110F in northern hemisphere-speak !
Needless to say, salads have been the only things to come out of my kitchen (once again) over the last week or two. These were initially augmented with the Christmas ham leftovers, cooked free-range chooks from the shop and seared flesh from the barbecue, but in 45C weather it is way too hot to be standing over a flame flicking sausages. However, there is only so many times I can get away with the regular repertoire that the family deems acceptable, so I’m always scratching around looking for something newish.
The hunt took on an added urgency a couple of weeks back when I invited my vegetarian friend Jennifer, from Delicieux, and her family over for a barbecue while they were visiting Adelaide. Now, I’m a resourceful cook and can churn out any number of respectable veggoe dishes, but this meal was going to be heavy on the meat – not least because Jennifer’s husband has two hungry boys! In light of that, I was very keen to find a dish that would be delicious and nutritionally balanced enough to pass the scrutiny of both a gourmet vegetarian and a bunch of blokes! I had a memory lingering in the back of my mind of a particularly good chick pea (garbanzo’s to you chilly northerners) salad that another friend of mine made for a group meal early in December. A quick email, a few tweaks and I was happy!
Using canned chick peas (not the imported ones, folks – pay the extra for the Australian grown) makes this a fabulously quick and simple salad – the spices make it a stand out one! I think this dish is truly embodies what I love about sharing food – a salad developed from a recipe by my friend Liz and made for my friend Jennifer. Perfect!
- 2 400gm cans chick peas (garbanzos) drained, rinsed & strained
- 6 spring onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup currants
- 1 preserved lemon, rind only, finely chopped
- Juice of 1 fresh lemon
- 200 ml olive oil
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbs paprika
- 1 Tbs ground cinnamon
- Baby spinach leaves
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 200-300 gms Greek-style yoghurt
- Pomegranate molasses
- Combine chick peas, onions, garlic, currants, preserved lemon, spices and olive oil, lemon juice and soy sauce in a large bowl. Mix and leave to marinate for several hours. The salad should look rich and red from the paprika.
- To serve, line a shallow dish with baby spinach leaves, pile the chick peas on the leaves, then dollop the yoghurt on top. Drizzle generously with pomegranate molasses (or honey) then sprinkle with parsley.
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