Chickpeas and chard stew

This is an easy and quick summer stew, ideal for a mid-week supper. It goes perfectly with some crusty bread on the side too. The original recipe by Waitrose magazine has you making your own pesto but you can use ready made one for an even easier option.

More with chickpeas: Chickpea, pepper and tomato currySweet potato, ‘Nduja and chickpea hashVegan chickpea & squash ‘meat’ balls with vegan mayo

Chickpeas and chard stew


Serves 4 | Prep 10 mins | Cook 30 mins
Easy | Vegetarian | Gluten-Free

Tip: Use free-from pesto for a vegan version.

You’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil;
  • 1 onion, chopped;
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced;
  • 2 rosemary sprigs;
  • 2 x 400g cans chick peas;
  • 3 large tomatoes, tough core removed, and roughly chopped;
  • 2 tsp vinegar;
  • 200g pack swiss chard, woody stalks removed and leaves roughly shredded;
  • 4 tbsps pesto, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook gently for 10 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden. Add the garlic plus the rosemary sprigs; continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add the chickpeas and their liquid, the tomatoes and 300ml water; season and simmer briskly for 15 minutes. Break up some of the chick peas with a potato masher.

Just before serving, stir the chard through the stew, wilting for a couple of minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tsp vinegar, then ladle into shallow bowls and top with a table spoon of pesto. Serve with crusty bread, if liked.


Modified from this recipe by Waitrose Magazine, Issue August 2018, available online here.

2 posts have been published to the site Food Notes on Jul 30th in previous years:

== 2018 ==
* Lentil, squash, halloumi and bacon salad
* Yotam Ottolenghi’s Caramelised Onion Crostini

Vegetable Jalfrezi Curry

One thing you might know about me is that I’m really passionate about our environment and working towards a sustainable future. And, as sad I am to admit this, the meat industry, unfortunately, is too big a factor in today’s pollution that we can ignore. Hence, you are seeing more and more articles about the ‘planet diet’ and such. I don’t believe in being preachy, and I won’t be – so meat eaters don’t worry! But I did decide to make some changes in my lifestyle to start doing my bit beyond using reusable cups and avoiding plastic and such. I might write a proper post on the changes I’ve made if you would be interested but for now just a quick one: I’ve stopped eating meat every other week, therefore massively reducing my consumption. This is one of the best recipes I’ve made in this period (and in general!)

More in vegetable curries: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Hawaij root vegetable stew with whipped fenugreekChickpea, tomato and spinach curryQuick spinach, sweet potato and coconut stew + bonus Korma Paste recipe

Vegetable Jalfrezi

Serves 4 | Prep 25 mins | Cook 50 mins
Easy | Gluten-Free | Vegetarian


Tip: I made my own Jalfrezi paste, but if you’d like to make this even simpler, just use 175g. Jalfrezi Paste from a jar.

You’ll need

For the Jalfrezi Paste:

  • 2 cloves garlic, pealed;
  • 5 cm piece of fresh root ginger, pealed;
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric;
  • 2 tablespoons groundnut oil;
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree;
  • 1 fresh green chilli;
  • 15g fresh coriander;
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds;
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds;
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds;
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds.

For the Curry:

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil;
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced;
  • ½ butternut squash, cut into chunks;
  • 1 small head cauliflower, broken into florets;
  • 1 vegetable stock cube;
  • bunch coriander leaves, picked and stalks finely chopped;
  • 500ml passata;
  • 1 red pepper, sliced;
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced;
  • 400g can chickpea, drained and rinsed;
  • 100g natural yogurt;
  • 1 fresh green chilli, sliced;
  • boiled rice, to serve;
  • naan bread, to serve.

First make the Jalfrezi paste. Put a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the cumin, fenugreek, coriander and mustard seeds to the dry pan. Lightly toast them for a few minutes until golden brown and smelling delicious, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the toasted spices to a pestle and mortar and grind until fine, or put them into a food processor and whiz to a powder. Either way, when you’ve ground them whiz the toasted spices in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and ½ a teaspoon of sea salt until you have a smooth paste.

For the curry. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onions and cook over a low heat for about 8-10 mins until soft, stirring them often and adding a splash of water if they start to stick. Add the Jalfrezi paste and mix well, then add the squash, cauliflower, stock cube, coriander stalks, passata and 500ml water. Simmer for 20 mins, adding some more water if it gets too thick.

Add the peppers and chickpeas, and cook for 15-20 mins more, until all the veg is tender. Stir in the yogurt and most of the coriander leaves. Serve scattered with the rest of the coriander and the sliced chilli, with rice and naan bread on the side.

Original recipes: Jalfrezi Paste by Jamie Oliver, available online here. Vegetable Jalfrezi recipe from BBC Good Food magazine, issue May 2013, available online here.

Super easy tomato pasta bake

If you have been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I’m a strong believer in making easy food that tastes good every day of the week. And you will know that midweek meals don’t have to be a hassle. This recipe, which is based on a Co-operative Food Magazine recipe that I ever so slightly tweaked, is perfect when you fancy some tasty comfort food but don’t want to/have time to spare. It’s ready in 30 minutes and it requires minimum effort. If you are feeding a family, you can just double the ingredients.

While the Co-op recipe only uses four ingredients, I took the liberty to add and change a couple of things to make this even tastier! I swapped the cheddar for creamy mozzarella, and added olives and fresh basil to add more flavour to the dish.

Super easy tomato pasta bake

Pasta Bake 2

Serves 2 | Prep 5 minutes | Cook 30 minutes
Easy | Vegetarian

Tip: If you like it spicy, add a few pinches dried crushed chilli to the tomato soup before adding it to the pasta.

You’ll need:

  • 150g fusilli pasta (or alternative pasta shapes such as penne);
  • 100g green beans, trimmed and roughly chopped;
  • 600g tomato and basil soup;
  • small handful pitted black olives;
  • 1 mozzarella ball, drained;
  • small handful fresh basil leaves, to serve;
  • grated parmesan, to serve.

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/Gas 6. Cook the pasta according to pack instructions. A few minutes before the end of cooking time, add the green beans to the pan. Drain the pasta and beans and put into an ovenproof dish.

Add the soup and black olives to the dish and mix. Shred the mozzarella over the pasta and bake for about 15 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan and a few shredded basil leaves.

Original recipe from Co-operative Food Magazine, available online here.

Now a short Food Notes story. Completely unrelated to the recipe, something fantastic happened today. For the first time since I’ve opened Food Notes, I met someone who reads the blog that I didn’t know! Thank you, David, for making my day – hearing that someone enjoys the recipes I put on really meant a lot and makes running Food Notes all the more special!


Previously posted on this date (Jan 14th):

== 2018 ==
* Pan-roasted ling with clams, perry & curly kale

‘Cures anything’ Chicken Soup

It’s the season of sore throats and runny noses. I’ve already had a cold twice, and so has my other half and my immediate remedy (or more likely comfort food) is a sturdy chicken soup.

In Bulgaria, every grandmother will tell you that the best cure for cold is the mighty Chicken soup. My grandmother used to always make it with chicken thighs or drumsticks because the bones made the stock even more delicious. So, this how I’ve started making my chicken soup – always with meat on the bone and never using chicken breast. It takes a little longer to cook but it’s well worth it in the end. I can’t really claim this to be a Bulgarian recipe as Chicken Soup isn’t particularly unique anywhere… But this is how we cook it in Bulgaria.

‘Cures anything’ Chicken Soup

Serves 4 | Prep 10 minutes | Cook 40-60 minutes
Easy | Gluten-free | Dairy-free

Chicken Soup 2

You’ll need:

  • 4 Chicken thighs or drumsticks (Or a mix of the two);
  • 1 onion, peeled;
  • 2 bay leaves;
  • 1 sprig of thyme;
  • 6 whole peppercorns;
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped;
  • 1 carrot, peeled roughly chopped.

Halve the chicken thighs (if using) following the bone. Put everything apart from the potatoes and carrot in a large saucepan and fill with water. Bring to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots. Season.

Cook for another 30-50 minutes until the chicken has cooked through (check it regularly after the 30 minute mark). When the chicken has cooked through, take it out of the pan, carefully chop roughly or shred and discard the bones. Return to the pan. Serve hot, with crusty bread on the side.

Anna Jones’ za’atar and garlic flatbreads

This is the first time I’ve made flatbreads at home and this Anna Jones recipe made it extremely easy. They will go really well with dips, or served alongside middle eastern food. As for za’atar, it’s a middle eastern spice mix made out of oregano, basil, thyme, savoury, cumin and sumac. It’s really aromatic and perfect for sprinkling over food for extra flavour.

Anna Jones za’atar and garlic flatbreads

Makes 6 flatbreads | Prep 10 minutes | Cook 15 minutes
Easy | Vegetarian


You’ll need:
For the flatbreads

  • 400g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting;
  • 300ml milk;
  • 1 tsp salt.

For the za’atar butter

  • 2 tbsp za’atar;
  • 100g butter;
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped.

Put all the ingredients for the flatbreads into the bowl of a food processor and pulse, until the mixture forms a ball. Alternatively, mix using a fork, to begin with, and bring together with your hands into a dough. Tip the dough out on to a clean work surface dusted with flour. Knead for a minute or so to bring it together. Divide the dough into six equal pieces. With your hands, flatten one piece of dough, then use a rolling pin dusted with flour to roll it into an oval shape about 4-5 mm thick. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.

Put the za’atar, butter and garlic in a small pan over a medium heat until bubbling. Remove from the heat and put to one side while you cook the flatbreads.

Warm a frying pan that’s a bit larger than your flatbreads over a medium heat. Once it is hot, cook each flatbread for one to two minutes on each side, until puffed up and charred a little. Slather the butter over the flatbreads with a spoon. Eat while hot.

Original recipe by Anna Jones from Feast magazine, available here