I don't know what's happened to me lately - I've changed. I always used to live for the summer, and winter weather (especially here in the UK) seriously brought me down. I couldn't think of anything better than a lazy day spent lounging in the sunshine in the park.
But this year I'm almost sort of looking forward to autumn... maybe it's because the weather this summer has been pretty hit and miss, and at least in the autumn I've got an excuse to stay in bed eating chocolate all evening (uh, that's allowed in the autumn, right?). Or maybe it's because I've been working a lot this summer, instead of enjoying the long, looong university holidays I'm used to.
Whatever the reason, I'm totally craving autumnal food - stews and soups and stuffed veg and all sorts of comforting things.
Which is where this lemony chickpea casserole comes in.
I figured the rest of you were probably not sharing my weird cravings (although half of you bloggers seem to be pregnant at the moment so who knows), so although this is a hearty casserole, it's also light and lemony and totally tastes of summer. This was a huuuuge hit in my house. Whereas I often make a recipe once and then move on to think of something new, this will definitely be one I'll come back to again.
You may have noticed that I'm a little obsessed with the whole lemon-parsley combination (see: lentil and bulgur soup with lemon and parsley, peppery lemon chickpeas, feta and black olive dip, roasted garlic spaghetti with parsley and pine nuts, to name but a few). It works so well. Every ingredient in this recipe adds something special, and it all ends up just magical (yep... I said magical). The pine nuts and breadcrumbs add a nice crunch, the egg, milk and cheese make it deliciously creamy, the lemon and parsley keep it tasting light and fresh... I won't go on, but it's seriously good.
PS. Thank you all so much for helping me get to 250 Facebook fans! If you haven't already liked my page, you can do so here. To show my appreciation, I'll be hosting my first ever giveaway later in the week - I'm so excited, I feel like that irritating kid off the Disney adverts on the telly. Make sure you check back soon for your chance to win!
(and while I'm shamelessly plugging myself, I may as well mention my Pinterest page too)
Lemony chickpea casserole
Inspiration, but not recipe, from The Kitchn
400g tin chickpeas, drained (240g when drained)
1/2 onion, finely diced
3tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 vegetable stock cube, finely crumbled
3tbsp fresh lemon juice
25g pine nuts
50g cheddar cheese, grated
50ml semi-skimmed milk
4tbsp breadcrumbs (I used shop-bought)
Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F). Combine the drained chickpeas, diced onion, chopped parsley, crumbled stock cube, lemon juice, pine nuts and grated cheddar in a bowl, and stir to combine.
In a small bowl or mug, lightly beat the egg with the milk.
Transfer the chickpea mixture to a fairly small baking dish, and press it out so that it is evenly distributed across the dish. Sprinkle liberally with black pepper. Evenly pour over the egg mixture, and top with the breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. If you would like your breadcrumbs to be a little crispier, place the dish under the grill (broiler) for a couple of minutes.