Cooking

Cook once, eat all week: saffron peppers & crispy chickpeas with labneh

4th July 2018

Batch cooking needn’t be limited to hearty stews or restorative curries. Batch cooking can be fit for the summer season too. Isaac Parham talks to Jemima Jones and Lucy Carr-Ellison, the duo behind Tart London, for a healthy, zingy, light and fresh dish to last you the week.

Led by two friends, Jemima Jones and Lucy Carr-Ellison, Tart began as a catering company — earning the trust of top fashion brands and a host of A-list admirers along the way — but has become so much more. The pair recently released their first cookbook, A Love of Eating: Recipes from Tart London, and will open their maiden restaurant this summer. Here, they share an effervescent summer’s day dish that, depending on your appetite, should yield delicious labneh leftovers to use all week.

“We were working at home from Jemima’s when we realised we had a couple of people coming for lunch and we rushed over to the fridge and pulled out its contents, mostly leftovers from a catering job we had had the previous day. As per usual when in these situations we challenge ourselves on using up what we have. We happened to have a lot of yoghurt left over so strung it up in cheese cloth to make a quick labneh.

We then made a juicy marinade and poured it over the tomatoes and red peppers and put it in the oven to roast. We added a spicy crunch made from chopped nuts (also leftover from breakfast) and spices, as well as crisping up an open jar of chickpeas. The result plays on a wonderful complement of textures and flavours: smooth with a crunch, sweet and spicy, with a soothing labneh.”

TART London’s Saffron-roasted peppers and tomatoes,
crispy chickpeas and buckwheat with labneh

This is how we cook and there is something terribly rewarding about whipping up a fantastic dish out of what the fridge has to offer.

Serves 4

For the saffron-roasted peppers and tomatoes
– 4 red peppers, halved and deseeded
– a large handful of small mixed tomatoes
– a few sprigs of thyme
– 1 tbsp harissa
– a large pinch of saffron threads
– 2 cloves garlic, sliced into thin chips
– 4 tbsp olive oil, plus a glug for frying
– 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
– 1tbsp soft brown sugar
– ½ x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– 2 tbsp buckwheat flour
– a small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
– sea salt and pepper

For the labneh
– 1kg natural yoghurt
– 1 tsp sea salt

For the spicy nuts
– 4 tbsp olive oil
– 1 tsp fennel seeds
– 1 tsp nigella seeds
– 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
– 1 tsp cumin seeds
– 2 tsp pine nuts, roughly chopped
– 2 tsp hazelnuts, chopped
– 1 tsp chilli flakes

First make the labneh or follow this step-by-step guide.

homemade 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. Suspend over a bowl to collect the liquid (a cupboard handle works well) or set in a sieve over a bowl. If the weather is hot do this in the fridge. Let this hang while you get on with the rest of the recipe (or overnight if you have time).

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the peppers and tomatoes on the lined tray and scatter with the thyme sprigs. In a small bowl, mix together the harissa, saffron, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season well. Drizzle this over the peppers and tomatoes, mixing with your hands. Sprinkle the sugar over the top and roast in the oven for 45 minutes.

Heat a good glug of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the drained chickpeas and buckwheat with a good sprinkle of sea salt and fry for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

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 35 minutes until the spices have crisped. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Once 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.

Serve by dolloping the labneh onto a large plate. Spoon the peppers over, then dot the tomatoes about sporadically, followed by the crisped chickpeas and buckwheat, then the spicy nuts (with all the delicious oil). Finish with a scattering of chopped coriander.

Lucy and Jemima’s ideas for leftover labneh 

homemade labneh

1. Its delicious spread on bruschettas with fun toppings – roasted figs, roasted hazelnuts, honeycomb and truffle oil. Or just simply with fresh tomatoes, sliced chilli and chopped coriander.

2. Generously spoon it on top of hearty spiced soups, stews or curries – a slow-cooked lamb curry works wonders.

3. We also love labneh for breakfast with eggs, spinach and spiced tomatoes.

Jemima and Lucy’s new cookbook, A Love of Eating: Recipes from Tart London, is out now.

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