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Have a go at cafe's flavoursome vegetable dish with herbs and spices

Gemma Parker. Picture: Archant.

Gemma Parker. Picture: Archant.

Archant © 2007

Over the years I've really come to love Middle Eastern food; encapsulating so many interesting flavours and combinations.

Nowhere in British cuisine do we experience this delightful use of herbs and spices to create flavoursome and deliciously scented food. Just eating and enjoying the dishes transports you to a warm, sunny, bustling continent. We love putting a selection of these dishes on our specials board at Earsham Street Café in Bungay in addition to incorporating them into our special event evenings.

One of the dishes we’ve made recently is a Vegetable Kalinti - a quiche like dish made from chickpea flour, eggs and milk, we accompanied it with a carrot, cumin and preserved lemon salad. The closest thing I can compare the kalinti to is a frittata in Spain. Don’t you find though that wherever you are in the world we can find something familiar in the food you are eating; take a stew, in England it’s a hearty winter dish topped with dumplings, in the Mediterranean it’s a summer celebration and in Morocco it’s a tagine with dried fruit.

Vegetable Kalinti

Serves 8

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

150g/5oz broccoli, cut into very small florets

1 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Handful sunblush tomatoes, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon harissa

2 medium free range eggs

750ml/26floz milk

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4.

Lay the broccoli on a baking tray, drizzle with two tablespoons of oil and cover with foil. Roast for approximately 15 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile heat the remaining oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes on a low-medium heat until the onion is translucent, stir in the garlic and cook for another two minutes.

With greaseproof paper line the bottom and sides of a 23cm/9” square baking tin. Spread the onions, broccoli and tomatoes evenly over the bottom of the tin.

In a large bowl place the remaining ingredients and blend together with a stick blender until smooth. You can also do this in a food processor. Ensure you have been generous with the salt and pepper seasoning as the finished dish can taste bland otherwise. Tip the bowl’s contents into the baking tin.

Bake for 30 minutes until the top is starting to brown and the middle is set. Leave for 10 minutes before slicing.

You can also make ahead and then reheat in the oven when required.

Serve with a mixed salad or as part of a mezze selection.

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