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Antique German silver spoon on kind loan from The Collector

Well, it had to come to this.. me writing a post while waiting for the metro. Oops, now on the metro..! Lately it seems that time is running away from me, or rather sprinting away at top speed. Since my last post a couple of things have happened to keep me busy (a trip to a food & drink exhibition in England, burglars breaking into my flat, you know, everyday stuff) but mostly my energy is being sapped by The Day Job.

Anyway, yesterday I managed to go back to a recipe I tried a while ago. In my last post I mentioned trying something that turned out mediocre. Well, I fixed it! This time it’s good. And it’s ideal for this week as today is Holy Wednesday (for the Greek Orthodox Church) and we have decided to go meatless until Easter Sunday. Nice and traditional and a good opportunity to detox a little, with Revithia Soup from the beautiful island of Sifnos. Revithia is the Greek word for chickpeas or garbanzo beans. On Sifnos they cook the soup in clay pots that go in the oven overnight on a low temperature. So, guess where I cooked it? The slow cooker of course!!

I’ve tried cooking chickpeas in the slow cooker in the past, as I cook other types of beans, but the result wasn’t as nice as the tinned variety which has a lovely consistency. When I tried this recipe the first time, the soup was a little bland, but the actual beans were very nice. So I drained them and used them in a salad (the pretty picture below) and this gorgeous sandwich filling from Two Peas and Their Pod. This time round I thought I’d make a simple change and try it again as a soup. I substituted some of the water with veggie broth and it made all the difference. The soup turned out really tasty but it’s still nice and light, with a delicate flavor. If you make a big batch you can eat all the soup you want, then drain the rest of the beans and use them as you would the canned sort. Or divide them into cupfuls, stick them in plastic zip lock bags and freeze them for later. You could even keep the broth and use it in stews etc. How sensible is that?

Revithia from Sifnos (Traditional Chickpea Soup)
Serves 2 (generously)

What you’ll need
1 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) soaked overnight
½ Tbs baking soda
1 yellow onion (peeled and cut in half)
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt
4-5 grinds of black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 cups vegetable broth
2.5 cups water

What you do

1)      As I mentioned above, the chickpeas need to be soaked overnight before they are cooked. Stick them in a bowl, cover with loads of water and leave them for 8-12 hours.
2)      Drain the beans and discard the water. Sprinkle the baking soda over the beans and mix well. Leave them for 10 minutes or longer and then rinse really really well with fresh water. You need to the give them at least 5 rinses otherwise they go black (apparently).
3)      Put them in the slow cooker and add the rest of the ingredients. I don’t chop the onion because the bits annoy me, but you can if you want.
4)      Cook for at least 8 hours on low and check for doneness. Mine were on for 9.5 hours (because I was at work) and they were lovely.
5)      Chuck the onion if it wasn’t chopped.
6)      Serve with lots of fresh lemon juice and bread.

Colourful salad with lettuce, valeriana, red bell pepper, tuna and chickpeas

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