I have been reading Claudia Roden’s book Tamarind and Saffron. It’s full of easy Middle Eastern recipes, very simple and straightforward. The cover of the book is bright blue with a stunning bowl of lemons. It looks very modern but the book is actually quite old, it was first published in 1999 and cookbooks have changed a lot since then. The content is mostly text with a couple of pages of photos tucked in here and there. It takes a bit of reading and imagination to get through the recipes which is not a bad thing if you have time.
I came across a recipe titled ‘haricot bean and spinach omelette’. This didn’t sound particularly inspiring but it had an interesting collection of ingredients and when I read the text I discovered that it was a Tunisian vegetable tajine modified to be cooked in a frying pan. I decided to give it a go as I’m a fan of one pot dinners. I deviated from the recipe as usual by using what we had in our store cupboard. In Tunisia this is cooked in an earthenware casserole. These can be put on a gentle heat or in the oven. Cooking it in the pan made it look like a giant tortilla, it wasn’t particularly beautiful looking but it tasted great and had an interesting texture.
This is what I used:
a slightly sad bunch of spinach
a piece of butternut squash-peeled and diced into 1cm pieces
an onion-peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic – I probably would have used another one or two but that’s all that was in the house
2 tomatoes -grated on the coarse side of the grater
harissa – a good squeeze
1 jar/can canelinni beans
about 100g feta -crumbled
salt and pepper
Cook the onion and pumpkin gently in olive oil with a little salt until the pumpkin is tender then add the chopped garlic, give it a few stirs and then add the beans. Once everything is sizzling away stir in the grated tomato and season with a little more salt.
Wash and trim the spinach, then put it into a large sauce pan with a knob of butter, a little salt and cover with a lid.
Cook on a medium heat until the spinach is tender. When the spinach is cooked put it into a colander to drain and press it with the back of a wooden spoon to give it a hand.
Crack three eggs into a large bowl, beat them together then add the feta, a good squeeze of harrisa, all the other ingredients and gently stir them together.
Clean the frying pan, gently heat it and add a little olive oil – just enough to barely coat the bottom and sides of the pan then pour in the mix. Cook it on a low heat, covered with a lid until the mix has set enough to become mobile from the pan at the bottom, it may need a little help with a spatula to release it from the sides of the pan. When the egg mix moves freely flip it over with the help of a large plate and cook the other side.