This meal means a lot to me. Not because I’ve made it for someone special in the past – I’ve actually never made it before. I’ve tweaked the recipe a little bit, but mostly I have just adapted it to be done in the Thermomix, from Turkish Flavours by Sevtap Yuce. Sevtap’s restaurant Beachwood originally opened in Angourie, but these days is located in Yamba.
For those of you who follow me on facebook, you would know that I went up to Yamba in July. Yamba means so much to me. My Grandma bought a house there decades ago, and it was left furnished but empty – so that her kids (my dad, and his brothers and sister) could holiday there and take her young grandkids (me, my sisters, and my cousins) up there for family holidays whenever they wanted. We had so many holidays in Yamba as kids, and I have since taken my son up there for holidays too. It is the most amazing place. It has fantastic beaches, but Gran’s property was right on the Clarence River. You get the best of both worlds in Yamba – oceans and rivers. It’s a fishing village, predominantly. I rarely ever fish when we are in Sydney, but put me in Yamba and I get this longing to fish every day. It’s a cute little town, but it’s getting busier in Yamba every year – there is both a McDonald’s AND a Subway now (but the only health food store in Yamba has shut down, sighhh). There was no McDonald’s or Subway there when we were young, but Yamba is still Yamba and holds the same memories for me regardless.
Most of you would know that my beautiful, amazing Gran passed away in June. I just had to squeeze in one last holiday before the property disappears to a stranger. We went up there, and had a wonderful (yet highly emotional) time. We went fishing in Yamba (on the beach and on the river), we did an awesome 8km walk and fished on a beach in Angourie, and we just hung out and had lots of fun. We played chess and completed a ridiculously hard 1000 piece puzzle. I even got to see a good friend who had moved to Brisbane, she came down to Yamba for the weekend. I absorbed as much of Grandma’s spirit as I could – even though she lived in Manly and hadn’t been to Yamba in years, the house was still so full of her essence, right down to the ‘retro’ decoration and the choice of paintings on the wall. Locking up the house and leaving Yamba for the last time was very difficult, but I don’t regret for a second that we went up there.
Anyway, emotional avalanche aside, and back to the cookbook. I received a signed copy of Turkish Flavours as a birthday present from my folks just two days before Gran died. Needless to say, the book was put in my bookcase and forgotten about while I dealt with my grief. I actually haven’t picked up any of my non-Thermomix cookbooks for some weeks, which is pretty rare. But today I was drawn to them again, particularly this one. I hadn’t cooked from it yet, just due to the timing of receiving it. I think I was drawn to it because T and I were having a difficult day, and Gran was very present in our minds. I just had to cook something from this book tonight, and believe me, it wasn’t hard to find something I wanted to cook! In fact, it was hard to choose just one thing – I actually did end up combining two of the recipes. Everything in this book looks beautiful and tasty, and it is filled with gorgeous photos taken in Yamba – which I will readily admit made it difficult for me to flip through at first, but as I kept flipping the pages I was able to focus less on my own personal loss and more on the tempting food.
I landed on a couple of recipes that would be just the go for tonight. I wanted something with turmeric, as we are both a bit snuffly at the moment and can use all the help we can get fighting the snuffles off. I wanted something satisfying. I wanted something fun! And I wanted to use up some things I had in the fridge – the broad beans, spring onions and lettuce needed using.
The two recipes I chose: Braised Broad Beans, and Turmeric and Chilli Chicken in Flatbread.
I am having issues with pretty much all grains, so the flatbread was out. But what better use for my lettuce leaves than as parcels?! It fit the bill perfectly. And it was A-MA-ZING. We absolutely stuffed our faces. Our hands and chins were bright turmeric-yellow by the end of the meal, but we were so satisfied. It was messy, and it was fun. It was light, but warm and nourishing. And I just had to share it with you ASAP!
1 small onion, peeled and halved
1 spring onion
few pinches of dried chilli flakes
1) Put diced chicken thighs into a bowl, mix in turmeric and marinade in the fridge for 2 hours. Or however much time you have – I only did 1 hour, maybe not even that long, and it was still seriously scrumptious.
2) Put cumin seeds in TM bowl. Dry roast for 4 mins, 100 degrees, reverse, speed 1. Set aside in a little serving bowl. While the cumin seeds are toasting, shell and peel the broad beans.
4) Wash and dry bowl (or don’t bother). Add onion and chop for 3 seconds on speed 7.
6) Add broad beans and cook for 6-8 minutes on 100 degrees, reverse, speed soft with MC on. Set aside in serving bowl (or in Thermoserver to keep warm).
7) Meanwhile, prepare other extras: dice the tomatoes and put in a small serving bowl, wash the lettuce leaves and put on a plate, slice the spring onion and put in a small serving bowl, put the chilli flakes in a small serving bowl.
8) To make the garlic yoghurt: in a mortar and pestle (or a serving bowl and the back of a serving spoon…), bash the garlic clove and a pinch of sea salt until you get a paste. Add the yoghurt and mix in. If it is too garlic-y for your tastes, add more yoghurt. You can use whatever is left as an accompaniment for other dishes or dolloped on top of soups.
10) Chuck all the fillings in a lettuce leaf and devour!
NOTE: This recipe only serves two people. To serve four, double the ingredients (but you may need to increase cooking time, especially for the chicken).
It is so worth the clean up, and this is coming from someone who haaates to clean.
For little kids who aren’t quite ready for the lettuce parcel juggling, you could serve most of the toppings separately on a plate (e.g. chicken, tomatoes, broad beans, a dollop of yoghurt with some of the cumin seeds and mint mixed in… you could also add some cucumber to replace the lettuce, or put a little pile of shredded lettuce on the plate if they will eat it).
Just another note on this cookbook: I love it! And no, I’m not being remunerated in any way for this post – I just love good cookbooks! Unfortunately, I didn’t even get to meet Sevtap or dine in her restaurant when I was in Yamba, as she is currently overseas and the restaurant is closed. Sad! Next time we go to Yamba I will dine there, for sure. Not sure where we’ll stay, as Gran’s property will be gone by then, but I know where we will go for a meal!
Sevtap’s cookbook has a huge focus on fresh produce. One thing I noticed almost straight away was the lack of canned ingredients! The recipes calling for tomatoes call for fresh tomatoes rather than tinned. Even the Turkish Baked Beans recipe calls for dried kidney beans to be soaked and pre-cooked, rather than tinned kidney beans. I love cookbooks like this, where fresh foods are the number one priority. I mean, really, fresh foods are the biggest factor in good health and good taste. Have a browse of this cookbook if you see it in your local bookshop – it is well worth having a glance!