Tuesday, 26 August 2008

26.08.08: Chickpeas with cumin and sherry and salad with balsamic rose dressing

She fired up the wok for Nigella's chickpeas with cumin and sherry, served o'er brown and wild rice with a stir-thru of chili flakes. Not so unusual, is it? But the thought of orange blossom balsamic dressing for the pear, carrot, and toasted pine nut salad proved an itch She had to scratch. Unfortunately, Her supply of orange blossom water proved oddly insipid, with little actual orange flavour (it is set to expire in November...a clue?). Nonplussed but not defeated in the quest for a fun floral note, she reached for the rosewater, swirled it thru the vinegar, and took a pinky taste. Results below...

HE SAYS: This was a good batch of chickpeas, not too dry or chalky. I missed the harissa a bit but the chilli flakes nearly made up for it (although I added some more heat and vinegary goodness by a shake or two of hot sauce). The pear/carrot combo reappeared and again offered up a delicious sweet note offset by the tartness of the dressing (which I enjoyed but felt the rosewater seemed a little lost in the acidic balsamic

SHE SAYS: Balsamic rose is not quite the new wasabi lime, but it is exotic and bright on the tongue, and the floral mustiness immediately rises up after the acidity to balance it surprisingly well. Balsamic rose would complement a mild goat cheese like chevre superbly. Tonite, it added sweet complexity to a low-key salad and played nicely with the sugary pear.

Chickpeas were good and velvety, but I fear they will now always suffer in comparison to the harissa-dolloped or pomegranate-peppered versions. This near-naked variety was perfectly good filler, but I craved that sweet-tart juice popping and/or garlic-chili-mint stimulus.

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