Saf­fron pep­pers, toma­toes and lab­neh

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - FOOD -

WHAT YOU’LL NEED 4 red pep­pers, halved and de­seeded Large hand­ful of small mixed toma­toes Few sprigs of thyme 1tbsp harissa Large pinch of saf­fron threads 2 cloves gar­lic, sliced into thin chips 4tbsp olive oil, plus a glug for fry­ing 1tbsp bal­samic vine­gar 1tbsp soft brown sugar 1/2 x 400g tin chick­peas, drained and rinsed (120g drained weight) 2tbsp buck­wheat Small bunch of co­rian­der, chopped Sea salt and pep­per For the lab­neh: 1kg nat­u­ral yo­ghurt 1tsp sea salt For the spicy nuts: 4tbsp olive oil 1tsp fen­nel seeds 1tsp nigella seeds 2tsp co­rian­der seeds, crushed 1tsp cumin seeds 2tsp roughly chopped pine nuts 2tsp chopped hazel­nuts 1tsp chilli flakes METHOD 1. For the lab­neh: line a deep bowl with a dou­ble layer of cheese­cloth (or a clean dish­cloth). Stir the yo­ghurt and salt to­gether and place in the cen­tre of the cloth. Pull the cor­ners of the cloth up to make a ball and tie closed tightly with string. Set in a sieve over a bowl to drain. Best left in the fridge if the weather is hot. 2. Pre­heat the oven to 180°C/gas 4 and line a bak­ing tray with bak­ing pa­per. Place the pep­pers and toma­toes on the lined tray and scat­ter with the thyme sprigs. Mix to­gether in a bowl the harissa, saf­fron, gar­lic, olive oil and bal­samic vine­gar and sea­son well. Driz­zle this over the pep­pers and toma­toes, mix­ing in with your hands. Fi­nally, sprin­kle the sugar over the top and roast in the oven for 45 min­utes. 3. Heat a good glug of olive oil in a large fry­ing pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the drained chick­peas and buck­wheat with a sprin­kle of sea salt and fry for five min­utes, stir­ring, un­til crisp. Re­move with a slot­ted spoon and drain on kitchen pa­per. 4. For the spicy nuts: heat the olive oil in a small fry­ing pan over a medium heat and add all the spices, chopped nuts and chilli flakes. Siz­zle for five min­utes un­til the spices have crisped. Re­move and set aside. 5. When the pep­pers and toma­toes are out of the oven and cool enough to han­dle, peel the skins off the pep­pers and place the flesh in a mor­tar and pes­tle with the juices col­lected in the tray. Pound to­gether to form a coarse, loose paste. 6. Serve by dol­lop­ing the lab­neh onto a large plate. Spoon the pep­pers over, then dot the toma­toes abouty, fol­lowed by the crisped chick­peas and buck­wheat, then the spicy nuts (with the de­li­cious oil). Gar­nish with chopped co­rian­der. SERVES 6-8 AS A STARTER

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