FOODventures

& more chickpeas please

My obsession with chickpeas is truly endless. Will I ever tire of them? Probably not. They’re perfect.

Here’s a beautiful little salad from Green Kitchen Stories that I tweaked to my own liking, perfecto for a little lunch or dinner. I present to you the Chickpea Za’atar salad:

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We mentioned Zatar in this episode of Flavour¬†and I can’t get enough of it, seriously lifted the aubergine and made what really could have been a boring salad into something summery and exotic. I also have a deep love of aubergines (something I’ll come back to in the next few weeks – have been craving an eggplant parmiggiana sandwich for moons…I tried wording that¬†with aubergine, I swear but this is the one¬†time eggplant works better, I swear.) so trying it with a new spice was exciting and wonderful. Kind of like when you start dating again after being in a boring relationship and a whole new world is introduced.

So, you will need:

Two beautiful aubergines

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Za’atar (the green) and Sumac (the red)

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Roasted red peppers (yes, this time I used a jar mostly because I love the oil they use in this for a dressing BUT roasting them and using THOSE oils is wonderful too.)

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Feta – or any other soft goats cheese, I just love the sharpness of feta and it’s my personal favourite cheese.

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Prepped and ready chickpeas (this includes canned because they are as prepped and ready for 80p as you can get) however feel free to click the picture below to see how to do it from scratch.

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Dice the aubergines and coat liberally in olive oil and the spices and then whack into the oven for about 40 minutes or until they look browned and beautiful.

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Then of course, once that’s done it’s off to just whack it all into a bowl together, top off with the feta and some¬†greenery, usually parsley, but I used spinach (because I had a craving) and happy days! The original recipe calls for tomatoes, but I didn’t have any so used the roasted red peppers HOWEVER I tried it the next day with both the peppers and some tomatoes and it was pretty sexy, so would also recommend that, but if you’re Gwyneth Paltrow and have decided tomatoes are bad for you (say WHAT?!) then this is just right.

Happy eating!

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FOODventures, TRAVELventures

samovar tea house

Once upon a time I thought Ely was terribly boring and there was nothing interesting about it. When my family first moved here, I was still living in London, so to me – ever the city girl – Ely¬†was entirely too¬†small¬†(even though it’s really not.) But much like Cambridge, there’s been a change in the air. It’s no longer just families and old people about but younger folk are trickling in, bought out by Cambridge’s rising prices in rent/buying.

That can only mean one thing, fun things are on their way.

There’s of course long standing places to go such as the Peakcocks tea rooms, the river, an excellent antiques emporium (aka, Ruth’s favourite place on earth), the cathedral amongst many other things, but I always felt it was a bit lacking in places for the younger folk that were not still in school (i.e 20-30 somethings like myself). In the past year or two though, we welcomed a beautiful new boutique hotel, a new food and drink festival that happened this weekend past, a pop up deli/feast and my favourite tea house ever, Samovar Tea House and gallery.

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Down the hill past the high street and market area where there used to be a bead shop (who needs a bead shop?) is the sweetest tea house in all the land. Boasting loads of teas, many of which are unique to Samovar – lovely specialty blends, cakes (some gluten free for those inclined) and breads it’s a beautiful¬†little mecca with a gallery that is rarely the same when I go in.

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It’s everything I ever really want in a cafe ¬†– tonnes and tonnes of great and different teas so you’re never bored, books, comfy couches and a really chilled out vibe, it almost doesn’t feel like you’re in England. They hold little events, a sci-fi book club (uh, yeah, AWESOME) you can buy the art on the walls, but I think most importantly, they know their shit. Speaking to Marta, one of the co-owners, everything about the teas is just in her head and she’s more than happy to help with explaining anything. It’s important that they love tea the way they do, because then this small, beautiful, gem of a place wouldn’t be so perfect. When I was last there, I had a chance to try the Moroccan Chai, specially blended for EAT Cambridge – a mix of green tea, Samovar Chai blend, Moroccan mint and cinnamon – resulting in a wonderful and delicately spiced tea. You get a full pot plus some extra water on the side to top it up which essentially means you can have at least four cups of tea (if not more) and each is different due to teas¬†brewing process (also, you can sit there for ages with a good book and not even worry the whole time about making sure you drink your tea super slowly.) None of this standard¬†bag, milk, mug, done.¬†situation – tea is¬†an art, and Samovar is Van Gogh.

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 presetI chatted with Marta form Samovar for my radio show, Flavour which you can listen to the episode by clicking the picture below:

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