This is a plate of goodness and deliciousness. I served mine with a raita but you can omit or use coconut yoghurt to make it vegan. For a crunch element, I roasted some harissa coated chick peas in the oven so they added a crunch element to the dish. Don’t let the long list of ingredients or elements daunt you, it is relatively easy to prepare. I chose to serve this way but you can mix and match the elements and for example pair the freekah and raita with fish or chicken. The oven roasted “popped” chick peas add a crunch element and textural variation to any meal. Freekah is green wheat that is toasted and crushed lightly.
FOR THE CAULIFLOWER STEAKS
1 medium sized cauliflower, washed and dried
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ras el hanout
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius fan bake.
Trim off the outer leaves of the cauliflower, then cut into 2 centimetre thick steaks, cutting from the top and through to the base.
Combine olive oil with the ras el hanout and brush over one side of the steaks. Season with salt.
Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until golden and there is still a bite to it. Set aside.
FOR THE FREEKAH
200 grams freekah
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 small red pepper, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
50 grams currants
75 grams mixed nuts, dry roasted (I used pumpkin kernels, sunflower seeds, pecans and almond slivers)
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
½ teaspoon ground all spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Juice of half a lemon
Handful mint leaves, sliced
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to finish off
30 grams butter
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
Rinse the freekah and put in a saucepan along with 400ml water. Bring to a boil and allow to cook gently on low heat for 15 -20 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Mix in the olive oil and salt and set aside.
In a clean fry pan, add the mixed nuts and dry fry them for a few minutes until they are crispy. Remove and set aside.
Melt the butter in a fry pan, and fry the shallots, red pepper and garlic on medium heat for three minutes. Add the chilli flakes, all spice and cinnamon along with the currants. Fry for a few minutes and then add the cooked freekah. Mix well, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Once cool enough, mix in the lemon juice, the nuts and sliced mint leaves. You may want to finish with extra virgin olive oil.
FOR THE MINT & BROAD BEAN SALAD
3 cups broad beans, frozen
½ cup cornichons, chopped
½ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon infused olive oil
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Cook the frozen broad beans as per the instructions on the packet. Peel to expose the tender and juicy “bean”.
Combine the prepared broad beans and cornichons. In a separate bowl, mix the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and the olive oil. Pour the dressing into the beans and cornichons. Stir to combine and just before serving add the mint leaves.
½ telegraph cucumber, peeled and deseeded
300 grams thick natural yoghurt (I use homemade yoghurt), whisked
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seed powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 -2 teaspoons sugar depending on how sour your yoghurt is to begin with
Salt to taste
Finely grate the cucumber and set aside.
In a large bowl, place the garlic, white pepper, cumin seed powder, salt and sugar. Squeeze the lemon juice into this and mix in well.
Add the yoghurt and mix in the grated cucumber. Stir to combine. Ready to serve
OVEN ROASTED CHICKPEAS
1 x 400 grams tin of chick peas, drained, rinsed well and rested for an hour
2 tablespoons harissa paste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
Prepare a shallow baking tray by lining with baking or oven paper.
Mix the harissa with the oil and coat chickpeas evenly with this mixture. Spread in a single layer on the prepared tray. Roast for 40-45 minutes until evenly crispy.