from one generation to the next
We have a wonderful independent bookstore in Melbourne named “Readings.” They have survived and grown in spite of the digital book age and were glorious victors in a full frontal attack from the American book giant Borders.
Reading’s focus is on Australian authors and small publishing houses, literature and academia, politics, art, travel, food and music. I love Readings because nothing is dumbed down. They stock books that respect an individual’s intellect, book’s that challenge and inform, books that feel good to hold, books that invite you to turn the pages.
My Chief Taster can spend hours in Readings browsing through books about economics, the stockmarket and politics, but if he wants to buy me a gift he will ask the staff for recommendations. This is how I came to receive Greg and Lucy Malouf’s latest book “New Feast.”
I wrote at length about Greg Malouf when the Cookbook Guru was cooking from his book Saha last year. Greg was at the height of his career in Melbourne in the 1990s at the same time as I was cooking professionally. I became a great admirer of both the man and his palate.
Like many of us, Greg has reached a stage in his life where he’s reassessing his diet and lifestyle and the affect it may have on his longevity. The recipes in “New Feast” are in Lucy’s words “modern, Middle Eastern vegetarian.”
The cover is embossed linen, with gold highlights, the pages are edged in sunny yellow and while this book is in coffee table format, the recipes are for simple, honest family food.
My 8year old grand daughter was looking over my shoulder the first time I turned the pages. As I ran my eye over the recipe for “baby carrot tajine with yoghurt and honeyed pine nuts” she asked me about the round things in the photo. This little girl loves hummus, but she’d never eaten whole chickpeas. Being the manic foodie Nana I am I felt compelled to give her an immediate chick pea experience, albeit from a can.
I found this dish a little too sweet but the kids loved it. I tweaked the recipe to suit my palate better when I made it for the second time, omitting the honeyed nuts and introducing some acidity with preserved lemon. I also made a couple of minor changes to comply with my dietary restrictions.
2 tablespoons olive oil
30 g butter
4 spring onions, sliced
1 large carrot grated
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
400g carrots chopped into bite sized chunks (or whole baby carrots)
600ml vegetable stock
200g natural yoghurt
1/2 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon preserved lemon rind, finely diced
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Heat the oil and butter in a wide deep dish. Add the grated carrots, onion, garlic, spices and honey and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the carrot meltingly soft.
Add the chick peas, carrot chunks and stock. Bring the pan to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Stir the yoghurt until smooth then vigorously stir through the cornflour.
Add the yoghurt mixture to the pan stirring constantly until the sauce thickens slightly.
Stir through the preserved lemon, then season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Stir through the coriander leaves.
Delicious served with millet and bitter greens.