Tag Archives: turtle doves

Cauliflower in turmeric chickpea batter and flights of fancy

About seven years ago, Léo found an abandoned baby turtle dove under an oak tree. I have fond memories of him/her sharing our mealtimes, sitting and pecking in a cardboard nesting box on the kitchen or terrace table. Léo fed him different grains, but he had a particular penchant for couscous. The baby dove grew big and strong (all the couscous), and upped and left us in September to migrate with his family for the winter.

Turtle doves come back to their birthplace, and every Spring I imagine I see our grown-up baby, especially when one approaches the house. Today I’m pretty sure my wishful inkling is spot-on; this lunchtime, while we were enjoying lamb tagine on the terrace, a very self-assured adult dove perched himself at the end of the table and looked pointedly at my plate. It was a look that definitely said: ‘and where is my couscous?’

The Bells, Edgar Allan Poe

Turmeric (more information here), or Indian Solid Gold’, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years for its wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties. It is prevalent in Indian cuisine and is believed to be one of the reasons that cancer rates in India are significantly lower than in Western countries.

Curcumin is poorly absorbed by the body, but research show that cooking it in liquid, with added fat and black pepper facilitates absorption.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

150g chickpea (gram) flour

1 pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (or better, crushed fresh turmeric root)

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

150ml lukewarm water

4 medium-sized cauliflower florets

Olive oil

Sift the flour, seasoning and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl, and add the water, mixing well to form a batter. Leave to rest for about 30 minutes. If the mixture thickens too much, add more water.

Rince the cauliflower and slice into pieces roughly 4mm thick. Coat well with the batter and fry in olive oil until golden.

Easy crab pâté and independence for bairns

crabpate2

Somewhat symbolically, on the day of the Scottish independence referendum, without so much as a by your leave, little turtle dove reclaimed her freedom. With an elegant and meticulously coordinated flap of her tiny, delicate wings, her bid for independence was successfully completed in under 20 seconds. Poor Alex Salmond’s rowdy, slightly blundering flapping has failed to achieve as much in years! She seemed to know exactly where she was going too:  She headed straight for a mid-section branch of the tree where the local turtle dove community hangs out in the evening. I have a suspicion that she’d be planning this mission for a while as she’d been paying close attention to the comings and goings in the tree for the past few evenings. I like to think she was greeted with open wings – there was certainly a crescendo of chirping upon her arrival. In any case, she didn’t come back for the couscous that I had left out in a bowl on the terrace last night just in case. Turtle Dove: 1, Alex Salmond: 0.

Ingredients (serves 6)

400g white crabmeat (I used tinned, in which case make sure it is well drained)

2 tablespoons of Greek Yoghurt

20g butter, melted

1 clove garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons of horseradish

Juice of 1 lemon

1 fresh chilli pepper

1 teaspoons of paprika

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Chill for at least two hours and serve with either bread or raw vegetables (carrots, celery, fennel…) and a slice of lemon.