Usually I don’t follow recipes when cooking lunch or dinner. Meals are a question of how much time there is to prepare and cook, what ingredients are in the house and then making choices based on experience. With this shift to a plant-based diet, however, I have been making forays into new recipe books and blogs to expand my understanding of nutrition and flavours, with a fair degree of success and a few mishaps along the way.
The latest mishap relates to my oven. Cooking is not just a question of having the right ingredients in the right proportions at the right time but once they are brought together they are nothing until the alchemical agent of heat is applied, unless of course you are making salads or doing fridge-bakes. Stove-top meals are no problem as I am usually in attendance to the pots and can adjust heat from boil to simmer or sweat to fry as necessary but, as the charcoal encrusted results of my experiment with “Spicy Roasted Chickpeas” tell me, my oven’s 180 degrees is clearly way hotter than Deliciously Ella’s. The small beads of protein nuttiness, that I had sprinkled with a rich blend of dark red paprika, grey-green cumin and a shy spoonful of chilli flakes, that I had drizzled with honey and lemon juice, were ruined 10 minutes before they were meant to be just right.
They did smell so good before the singeing though, that I am undeterred and will try again but sadly this batch is unfit even for the garden birds. As for my burnt baking tray, will it see another bake? Who knows.