Chick Pea and Beetroot tagine

Beetroot is a misunderstood thing. Gorgeously purple. and almost the entire plant is edible….but more on that at another time. Seeing as today we had potatoes at lunchtime (see “Roast Potato and Onion Soup) then it seemed too-much-of-a-good-thing to have a starchy vegetable at dinner time. Hence…beetroot.


  • 2 medium beets. Top and tail, scrub and segment into smallish wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas (“garbanzo beans” if you’re a seppo)
  • 1 small onion. Thinly sliced.
  • 1 clove of garlic. Chopped.
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder.
  • 2 teaspoons of ground pepper.
  • Olive oil.
  • Sesame oil.
  • 2 tablespoons of light tahini.
  • Water.

What to do..

  • Preheat oven (I also put the empty tagine in straight away to begin to heat, while I get on with the preparation. As it is very heavy pottery it takes a long time for the tagine container itself to come to heat, and until it does the food inside is not cooking one little bit. Preheating the tagine can save you 30 minutes cooking time later)
  • Combine all ingredients except for the sesame oil into a tagine. If you don’t have a tagine then use any covered baking tray that is about 30cms in diameter.
  • Add water until the level is about 1cm below the edge of your tagine.
  • Bake on high for 45 minutes to 60 minutes
  • Lightly drizzle on the sesame oil before serving

Nice with couscous (or other grain), or some steamed vegetables.

Roast Potato and Onion Soup

Cold, grey, dreary English days call for a hearty winter soup to take the chill out of the bones. SheWhoMustBeFed had been out doing errands and came home looking all blue and frigid around the edges, so I made this soup to thaw her out. The roasted vegetables add depth of flavour and texture. This recipe will feed two very hungry people, and it takes about half an hour from clicking on the oven to sitting down to eat.


  • 4 medium spuds – a type that roasts up nicely
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • fresh bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, parsley, dill
  • black peppercorns (to taste: I would add about 3/4 teaspoon)
  • white miso
  • olive oil

What to do (important to do in this order if you do need to make this in less than 31 minutes)

  • crank up the oven (to whatever tempurature suits your oven for roasting vegetables)
  • top and tail the onion, remove the outer flaky skin. Place in a small roasting dish with olive oil and place in the hottest part of the oven
  • reserve one and half potatoes
  • do not peel the remaining potatoes. Dig out any nasty bits. Cube. Place in a roasting dish with olive oil and place in the hottest part of the oven
  • de-skin the garlic, place in a small covered baking container with olive oil and get that in the oven too.
  • Dry roast the peppercorns
  • ** Note: I leave it to you to remove the onion, garlic and spuds from the oven at the right time. In my oven, the onion would take the longest, followed by the spuds. The garlic would be ready in about 15-20 minutes while the peppercorns would be (dry) roasted in 5 or 6 minutes.
  • Meanwhile….peel the reserved spuds. Cut in to smallish pieces and boil together with the bay leaf and the miso paste. Once the spuds are soft, gently mash them. This forms the basis of the “soup”
  • Once the peppercorns are roasted; crush them in a mortar and pestle
  • Once the garlic is roasted, puree it together with some of the soup and add to saucepan. At this time also add the chopped rosemary and thyme, and fish out the bay leaves.
  • Once the spuds and onion are roasted… the outer skin of the rost onion will be chewy and needs to be removed. Stand the onion on one end and slice in half with a very sharp knife (a blunt knife will make a right mess of this as the onion should be very soft). Lay down the halves on their cut side. Using whatever implement is to hand, “pinch” off the outer layer and discard. Cut the roast onion into largish pieces.
  • Add roast potato, onion, pepper, chopped dill and parsley to the soup.
  • Stir
  • Eat – note that the longer you delay the eating now the less the roast spuds will have a nice crispiness to them

Nice with chunky bread…