I’d say I’m a decent cook, but only of certain types of food. I make pretty good one pot meals – like lasagna, moussaka, and shepherds pie – and I’m also not bad at cooking Mediterranean food or curries. I don’t know if it’s the influence from living in Turkey and I have a preference for that food or what…but when I try to attempt classical French cooking, it just does not turn out as nice. And I have yet to master a good tomato sauce so I leave Italian food to the pros.
The Sunday Times magazine several weeks ago had a few really good Turkish/Turkish-Cypriot dishes. I always, always tear out recipes from this magazine because they never fail to be absolutely delicious and usually easy to put together.
This past weekend I made Buttered Freekeh. There is way more to it than that – a cacophony of special ingredients like green olives, currants, shallots, pistachios etc. I served it with grilled shrimp and a lemon wedge, as the recipe suggests. I also used premade freekeh because that’s all I could find, and was still really good.
I think this would be a greaty dinner party meal as it’s really fast and easy to put together.
- 125g unsalted butter
- 50ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 banana shallots, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 250g freekeh, rinsed well under cold water
- 125g currants
- 200g good-quality green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- 400g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 150g pistachios, shelled, toasted and coarsely ground
- 1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 small bunch of mint, leaves only, shredded
- 1 small bunch of chives, chopped
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a medium pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and cook gently for about 10 minutes, or until browned. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Now add the freekeh, currants and olives, and season well with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour in 700ml water, reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little extra water if it seems a bit dry. The freekeh should be just tender, but still with a little bite to it.
- Finally, add the chickpeas, pistachios and herbs, check the seasoning and serve.