When, I explain I like to cook to people, a common reply is “I would, but I don’t have time”, which is nonsense of course. I have no quibble with anyone whatsoever for not enjoying cooking, or even turning to convenience food, each to their own and all that. But, I believe that if you have the time to heat a packet or jar of something, you’ll have time to make a meal.
Take, for example, some fresh pasta, prawns, frozen peas, garlic and a little chilli and I’ll bet you could have a great pasta dish in ten minutes. A frozen pizza takes longer.
Tonight was a little like this, I was a little late in, but having been out for dinner on Wednesday and Thursday, we couldn’t make it a hat trick. Could we? No, no we couldn’t…
And so the cogs clunked and whirred. I didn’t want anything too unhealthy and I’m trying to keep the meat content down for a while. For me personally, there is nothing better for going meat free than Italian food.
This was kind of inspired by falafel, but with Italian flavours in the form of ricotta, sun dried tomatoes and basil oil. With it, some spinach and simple sautéed mushrooms. Simple and on the table in about 15 minutes.
My only reservation? The chickpea cake was a bit soft, but otherwise, the flavour was good. I think chickpeas cooked from dried work better and have a better texture.
- 400g cooked chickpeas – canned for speed, dried are better.
- 3 tbsp ricotta
- 6 sun dried tomatoes, drained and dried of oil
- 1 red chilli
- 1 tbsp grated pecorino cheese (or parmesan)
- A lug of basil oil (or olive oil and some torn basil leaves)
- A little lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- A little polenta for dusting
- Button mushrooms
- 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
- A couple of parsley sprigs
- Butter (optional as ever..)
- Vegetable stock
- Oil for frying
Blitz the chickpeas, cheeses, sun dried tomatoes, oil and seasoning in a processor (or just mash it with a fork).
Shape into two burger shapes and dust in the polenta.
Bring a small pan of vegetable stock (about 400ml) to the boil and put the spinach in. Turn off the heat and put the lid on. Meanwhile, in a heavy pan, fry the onions in the oil, and add the garlic. Fry for a few minutes more and stir in the butter and parsley. Turn the heat off, remove and keep warm.
Reheat the pan and add some more oil, fry the chickpea cakes for a few minutes on each side until the polenta crisps. Be careful not to break them – use a spatula!
And relax…..its the weekend 😉