Today salads can be particularly interesting with lots of different grains to choose from such as couscous, wild rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat and a fairly new addition to British kitchens, the ancient grain, freekeh. This is cracked roasted green or young wheat. Freekeh is low in fat and high in fibre and protein and can be mixed with vegetables, fruits and or meat.
Uncooked freekeh grains
I chose to serve my freekeh with roasted vegetables as a salad, suitable to accompany meat or flavoursome enough to serve alone for non-meat eaters. I used the AGA stainless steel saucepan to cook the freekeh, just rinse the cereal grains and place in the pan with the required amount of water and leave to soak for about 20 minutes then bring to the boil and place the pan and contents into the Simmering Oven. The benefit of the AGA stainless steel saucepans and casseroles is that they are designed especially to give the best performance on the AGA, or Rayburn, hotplates, with their tri-core encapsulated base – incidentally they can be used on gas, electric and induction heat sources too – and the flat lids are ideal for stacking both in the Simmering Oven and for storage in the kitchen cupboard. They have a 25 year guarantee, such is the manufacturers confidence in their quality, easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
The freekeh salad is made with the cooked grains mixed with roasted vegetables. The vegetables are excellent cooked on an AGA cast aluminium oven floor griddle, designed to use on the floor of the Roasting Oven (as the name suggests!!) and certainly gives a beautiful golden finish to the selection of vegetables. Vegetables good for roasting at this time of year are peppers – so colourful – red onions, fennel, courgettes, with garlic cloves as an excellent flavouring. Add some sprigs of fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme for extra taste and interest.
Selection of Vegetables
To make up the salad just mix the roasted vegetables, together with their juices into the freekeh with the addition of a handful of chopped parsley and some grated lemon zest. The recipe for cooking the freekeh and a suggestion for roasted vegetables is below.
The salad can be made the day before as it will develop in flavour by leaving it overnight in the refrigerator.
1 tsp sea salt
Sea salt flakes
Ground black pepper
Rinse the freekah, place in a 2 litre AGA Stainless Steel Saucepan and cover with 500ml water. Allow it to soak for 15-20 minutes. Bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute.
2, 3, 4 and 5 oven AGA: Cover and place in the Simmering Oven for 15 minutes until just tender.
Drain through a sieve and tip into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve mixed with roasted vegetables, see below for a suggestion, or fruit and nuts.
ROASTED MEDITERRANEAN VEGETABLES
2 courgettes, sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 red onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
1 orange or yellow pepper, sliced
Fresh thyme or rosemary sprigs
2-3 tbsp rape seed oil
Sea salt, optional
Place all the vegetables into a bowl and mix well together with the sprigs of thyme or rosemary, seasoning and enough rape seed oil to coat them. Transfer to the AGA cast aluminium oven floor griddle.
2, 3, 4 and 5 oven AGA: Slide the oven floor griddle onto the floor of the Roasting Oven (AGA Total Control, AGA60 and AGA er 3 Series owners may want to use their floor grid) and cook for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and just being to brown around the edges. Turn the vegetables occasionally during cooking.
Conventional cooking: Roast the vegetables at 200-220ºC, fan oven 180-200ºC, Gas Mark 6 or 7 for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.