For the last two years I have been honing something involving roasted veg, whole grains and cooked cheese and I eventually came up with one of the most complicated and convoluted plates of wonder you'll eat in a long time.
This has the imaginative title of Cous Cous (so good they named it twice) with roasted vegetables and haloumi.
This is one of them recipes that requires common sense and imagination. The roasted veg isn't cast in stone, you can use whatever floats your boat; so if you like roasted Brussell Sprouts then good for you (just don't come near me).
I have taken a number of photographs to help you (now that I have the technology for this sort of bollocks), they'll be posted somewhere in this...
A flame proof dish full of vegetables - here you have: butternut squash, red and green peppers, onion, garlic hidden away at the bottom and most importantly quite a few cherry-styled tomatoes. Glug some decent olive oil over this and some sea salt and black pepper.
This needs to go into the oven at about 150 degrees for between 90 minutes and two hours.
While this is cooking, weigh 200g of cous cous and stick into a Pyrex bowl with: a teaspoon of paprika, a teaspoon of vegetable stock powder; ½ teaspoon of chilli flakes, ½ teaspoon of garlic granules and 2 teaspoons of black/brown mustard seeds.
Also, prepare some beans: I've discovered that green beans and broad beans work best. I also would wholeheartedly recommend buying frozen broad beans because they are simply better, cheaper and more convenient. Fiddly thing: skin the broad beans, the light green husks are tough.
Meanwhile, prepare some mushrooms. You can do one of two things here; you can chop a quantity of mushrooms and mix with chopped onions to make a duxelles; or you can fry the mushrooms about five minutes before the rest is done.
Season the mushrooms and put them in with the roasted vegetables to keep them warm (don't oven roast mushrooms, they just don't work very well).
Chop the onion, fry the mushrooms and boil some water. Now, take some sunflower and pumpkin seeds (or alternatively chop some nuts) and when the onions are softening, add the seeds.
Add 250ml of boiling water to the cous cous; stir vigorously and then cover with a tea towel and set 5 minutes on a timer.
Mix the bean, duxelles and seed mixture into the cous cous at the five minute stage. Grab a bunch of coriander and chop some leaves. Put this in about 20 seconds before you dish up.
Cover over with the tea towel again and shove in the microwave. Take a pack of haloumi (not thallium) and split into half and season with lashings of paprika; add a glug of olive oil to the pan and fry the cheese!
Microwave the bowl of cous cous mixture for about 30 seconds - just to ensure that everything is thoroughly hot and then on heated plates begin to dish up.
Once you've taken all of the roasted vegetables out of the dish and placed them on the plate, there should be an olive oil/vegetable juice mixture left - tip this into the cous cous mixture and mix in.
Mix in your coriander and plate up, ensuring you can mix the veg and the grain together however much you want.
You can use all manner of vegetables; you can use paneer instead of haloumi, or quinoa, buckwheat or whatever takes your fancy. It is just really delicious.
Recipe #2 is my version of a kofta.
I have continually had little success cooking with gram flour, but I don't give up. My koftas are often stodgy or doughy, never fluffy and light. So I sat down and thought about it and this is what I came up with:
Take about four heaped tablespoons of gram flour and place in a bowl; add coriander spice, cumin, salt, cinnamon and about 10 raw cashew nuts ground roughly. Mix together and then add a small onion finely chopped.
If you have a mini-blender for spices, then blitz a thumb of ginger, 3 garlic cloves, a seeded chilli and some salt and then add this to the mixture. Grate approx a 4oz slab/chunk of squash or pumpkin and thoroughly mix all the ingredients.
Take approx 2oz of lentils (red preferably) and put just enough water in to cover and set to cook. 15 minutes later you should have an orange mush, much the consistency of pease pudding. Add this to your gram flour and vegetable mixture. Add some bicarbonate of soda (½ teaspoon), plenty of salt and black pepper and a little more gram flour if you think the consistency is a little too 'wet'.
You will have something the consistency of very thick porridge. Put about 1cm deep of oil into a small frying pan and heat; place teaspoon sized balls of the mixture into the hot fat, turning every 20 seconds of so, so that they keep as round a shape as possible.
When they are golden brown take off the heat and place on greaseproof paper or kitchen paper towel to drain off any excess fat.
You can eat these as a mouth-sized bite or mix with a Malai sauce (creamy curry sauce with cloves, cinnamon and coriander) - they keep their shape and consistency very well considering how light and crispy they are.
You can use all manner of vegetables - Indian or local from carrots to doodi or bitter gourd and pumpkin (in the autumn) works exceptionally well.
These also work as alternatives to falafel and go extremely well with salad.
And that is that as they say. I'm going to go and do something illegal...