Freekeh is young green durum wheat which has been toasted to give its unique smoky nutty taste. It is often cracked to shorten cooking times, but I recently held a Whole Foods class so I opted for the uncracked freekeh. It was as simple as placing one cup of freekeh into a saucepan with 2 cups of water, bringing it to the boil and simmering for 45 minutes. I then stirred, turned off the heat and alllowed it to sit for 10 minutes to absorb the final moisture. When cool, it can be refrigerated for many days making it a quick and easy source of protein and fibre (in fact, twice the amount than quinoa).
Here are one of the recipes that I used in the Whole Foods Vegetarian class:
Roasted Cauliflower with Freekeh, Almonds & Pomegranate Serves 3-4
1 small head of cauliflower, broken into approx. 2cm florets
1 tspn cumin seeds
3-4 tblspns olive oil
½ cup cooked Freekeh (follow packet instructions)
½ cup finely chopped parsley and chives (or a mix of your favourite green herbs)
2 large green shallots, finely sliced white and green sections
½ cup almonds, roasted in 180C oven for 10 minutes
Pomegranate (You will need approx. ½ cup of arils. See note below)
Extra 2 tblspns olive oil
1 tblspn lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat oven to 180C
To Roast the Cauliflower: In a bowl, mix together cauliflower florets, olive oil, cumin seeds, salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked to desired texture. (Toss halfway)
To Make the Dressing: Mix together 2 tblspns olive oil, 1 tblspn lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
To Compile the dish: Roughly chop the almonds in half diagonally.
In a large mixing bowl, place cauliflower, cooked freekeh, herbs, shallot and pomegranate arils. Mix together with dressing and just before serving, fold through half of the almonds, reserving some for a crunchy topping.
Tomato and Goats Curd Tartlets - Makes 16
Deliciously light and fresh and so simple to make for larger numbers
1 sheet frozen short crust pastry
250g fresh goats curd
2-3 Roma tomatoes, ripe but firm
1 small brown eschallot, peeled and finely diced
1 tspn finely chopped chives
Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
16 small basil leaves
Heat the oven to 180 deg C.
Cut rounds of pastry and lay them in a greased tartlet tray (for 5cm tarts). Prick the bases with a fork and bake for 10 mins until golden brown. Cool on a rack. (When cool, these can be kept in an airtight container for a couple of days or frozen).
Slice off the base of the tomato and cut the tomato in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the inner membrane, seeds and excess juice. Now thinly dice the remaining flesh and place into a mixing bowl.
Add the diced eschallot, chives and seasoning and mix together. (Can be prepared a couple of hours in advance).
Place a teaspoon of goats curd into each pastry shell, top with tomato salsa and garnish with a basil leaf.
Saddened to hear the loss of Anthony Bourdain. He was such an inspiration to me with food, wine, travel, people and the quirky little bits of other cultures. He has made me smile, frown, look away in disgust and laugh out loud. My favourite episodes of his shows were definitely Romania, Rome and uncannily, Paris, where his life ended. Who would've thought that someone who loved life so much could end it?!
I always said that the 'Deconstructed Dish' phase was ridiculous! Just an excuse for a cheesecake that didn't turn out. Well, Have a look at these ridiculous Decontructed Dishes: