Warming pumpkin tagine with spicy chickpeas


So its been getting cold here, like really cold, and I’m not at all used to it after spending the last four years in the tropical city of Darwin. So today I warmed up from the inside out with this tagine. I also lit the fire so the house was pretty warm. But really the tagine did most the warming. This is the perfect warming dish that you can just set on the stove and forget about for the next couple of hours while delicious smells waft through your kitchen. It’s a must if your feeling cold.

The chickpeas are really worth turning the oven on for. They are crispy, salty and spicy and when they mix with the sweet creamy pumpkin its so delicious! Plus leftover chickpeas (if any!) would be a great snack anytime of day. Or tossed through a sale for extra crunch, yum.

It might seem like the ingredients list is rather long but its mostly spices, and the chickpeas can be roasted ahead of time and stored in an airtight jar for a couple of days. I would recommend preserving your own lemons, someone in your street probably has a tree dripping with lemons when in season. Jamie Oliver has a great recipe, otherwise, they are a small fortune to buy at the shops.

Now after eating this I’m starting to think that perhaps winter isn’t so bad after all!



Pumpkin tagine 

Serves four.


2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 t coriander seeds

2 t cummin seeds

1 t ground cinnamon

2 charred capcicums, peeled, deseded sliced (see note)

4 artichoke hearts in brine, drained, sliced

1/4 of a preserved  lemon, finely sliced

1/2 chilli, seeded, finely chopped

~1 kg kent or butternut pumpkin, cubed

1 C red lentils, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

1 tin whole tomatoes

1 t dried mint

a small handful of dried dates

2 C vegetable stock

a few sprigs of thyme

4 C baby spinach

1 lemon

a handful of parsley

Spicy chickpeas (recipe follows)



Heat the oil in a large cast iron pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or until soft and beginning to colour.

Meanwhile, roughly crush the coriander and cumin seeds in a pestal and mortar. Add the cinnamon and a dash of water. Add to the onion mix. Stir over the heat for another couple of minutes then add the capsicum, artichokes, preserved lemon and chilli. Continue to cook for a few more minutes before adding the pumpkin, lentils, tin tomatoes, dried mint, dates, vegetable stock and thyme. Rinse out the tomato tin with water, adding at least 3 C to the pot.

Bring to the boil then turn down to low and cover, simmering for 1 and a half to 2 hours. Give it a stir whenever you fancy and break up the whole tomatoes.

Just before serving stir through the baby spinach until just wilted. Slice the lemon and roughly chop the parsley.

To serve, place into bowls and top with spicy roasted chickpeas, lemon wedges and parsley.


To char capsicums simply place them whole under your grill and turn until all the skin is charred and black. Cover for 5 minutes then carefully peel off the skin.



Spicy chickpeas

1 T extra virgin olive oil

1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed a few times

2 T white sesame seeds

1 T nigella seeds

1/2 t ground cummin

1 t cinnamon

1 t chilli flakes


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Toss all the ingredients in a bowl then put onto the baking tray. Generously sprinkle over some Himalayan sea salt flakes.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Any leftovers can be stored in a airtight jar for a couple of days.






Roasted fennel, carrot and watercress salad


I have had a beautiful big bunch of watercress sitting in my fringe for the last couple of days. Whilst contemplating what to do with it I also picked up a big bulb of fennel, its the perfect time of year for these two contrasting vegetables. The watercress was just too fresh and lovely to be turned into a soup so I thought a salad would be perfect. Pairing the bitter watercress with sweet fennel and carrots turned out better than expected and the fresh orange dressing is pretty amazing! It’s like autumn on a plate!

Also, sorry about my lack of posts lately I have been bombarded with uni work but only a few weeks left then I’ll have all the time in the world to play in the kitchen!


Roasted fennel, carrot and watercress salad with an orange dressing


1 bulb of fennel

3 medium carrots

2 t extra virgin olive oil

1 t honey

a few sprigs of time

1 bunch of watercress

a handful of macadamias

a handful of pepita seeds


2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 t raw apple cider vinegar

1 t wholegrain mustard

the juice of 1/2 an orange


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Thinly slice the fennel and place in a bowl. Quarter the carrots and add to the bowl along with the olive oil, honey, thyme, salt and pepper. Give it a good toss then place on a lined baking tray in the oven. Cook for 30 – 40 minutes or until the carrots are tender and the fennel is starting to caramelise.

Meanwhile, wash the watercress and discard any thick stalks. Place on your serving dish.

To make the dressing place all the ingredients in a jar and shake it up. Season with salt and pepper.

When the carrots and fennel have 5 minutes left in the oven add the pepitas and macadamia nuts. Cook until golden brown. Rest the carrots and fennel for a few minutes before assembling the salad. Just before you serve pour the dressing over.