After repeatedly fending off  verbal barbs from a group of friends, that I upload pictures of food that I cook, onto my Facebook page, but never bother to invite them over to try some of it, I set about planning a weekend brunch. Now here’s a thing about me, close friends will tell you that if something catches my fancy, I’ll try my best to replicate it. Now was a good time for a good recipe to catch my eye. After a good hour of browsing for recipes, nothing really whet my appetite. Here’s another thing albeit a tad quirky about me. At times I give my thoughts a free rein, and go gamboling from one bubble to another, each connected to the previous by nothing more than a fine thread.

 I sat back, switched off and let my mind wander. It was drizzling out the window as I sat on my bed musing. It was the same sort of drizzle that blighted my first few months in Melbourne (About six years ago now. wow! time flies). Back then, being homesick, any sight of warm food with spices would get the stomach rumbling. One of the first few restaurants I went to in Melbourne was a Moroccan restaurant. Bingo! my eyes lit up. I knew what to look for now 🙂

 A few educated searches later, I finally had a rough idea of what I’d make for the weekend – Moroccan Pumpkin Soup and  Moroccan Stuffed Capsicum.

 I must throw in a note on my coterie of friends, here. Most of my road trips, travels around Australia has been in the company of these usual suspects – D, M, N. N the only non-vegetarian in the group has to bear being the minority for a change, loves his wine and is the philosopher. M who loves good music, also doubles up as an entertainment unit. If you want to master the hip and leg movements of Elvis, get M on high ground and get him to look below. D who also serves me admirably well as a lab rat for my baking experiments, has the most pronounced sweet tooth that I know of.

Here’s us walking the skies in Sydney on one of our trips.

View of the Coat hanger from Sydney Tower.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Atop Sydney Harbour Bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moroccan Pumpkin Soup

Moroccan Pumpkin Soup.
Ingredients (serves 6) 
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red birdseye chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3cm piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1.5kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded (see note), cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1/3 cup (70g) yellow split peas
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Coriander sprigs and soup sprinkles, to serve
Method
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over low-medium heat and cook leek, garlic and 2 tsp salt, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until soft.
  • Add chilli, cinnamon, ginger and cumin and stir for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Add carrots, pumpkin and split peas. Stir to coat in onion mixture.
  • Add 1.5 litres water to saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 50 minutes or until split peas are soft.
  • Remove and discard cinnamon stick from soup.
  • Add lemon juice then process or blend soup, in small batches, in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  • Return soup to pan and reheat over medium heat.
  • Serve topped with coriander sprigs and soup sprinkles.
Notes
Reserve 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds for soup sprinkles. Mix 1/2 Tbsp butter and pumpkin seeds and bake in the oven till golden brown.
 

Morrocan Stuffed Capsicum

 

Moroccan Stuffed Capsicum.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
Capsicum stuffing
  •  2 large red capsicums
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 vegetarian stock cube (alternatively use 1 cup stock)
  • 1/2 cup sultanas or chopped dried apricots
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 250g cubed or crumbled feta
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Moroccan spice blend (below)
Moroccan spice blend
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 deg celsius
  • Mix the spices for the Moroccan spice blend and set aside.
  • Break up the cube into a measuring jug. Add boiling water and stir briefly till dissolved.
  • Add couscous and sultanas and cover jug. Set aside.
  • Wash, halve and clean the capsicums for stuffing, removing the stem and seeds.
  • Transfer couscous to a mixing bowl. Add walnuts, feta, garlic and parsley. Mix well.
  • Add Moroccan spice blend and mix to combine.
  • Fill capsicum halves with the couscous mixture.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and place the capsicums on an oiled tray.
  • Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until top is brown and crunchy.
 
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