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Posts Tagged ‘spicy’

Oh my- It has been a while hasn’t it. Hopefully this recipe sparks the dawning of a new (regular blog-posting) era.  This recipe would work with chicken too, or  tofu (and if you replaced the honey with dark brown sugar it’d be vegan). In terms of the veggies- I threw in what we had in the fridge, so it is very much up for interpretation, peppers, peas and courgettes would all taste great! If you can’t find/don’t have mirin, replace 2 tbsp mirin, 2 tbsp soy sauce and  1 tbsp honey with 5 tbsp ready made  teriyaki.

teriyaki salmon on brown rice

teriyaki salmon, with flavourful brown rice and veggies (serves 4)

  • 4 salmon fillets (skin on)
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 green chilli, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 small broccoli, broken into florets, with the heart saved and diced
  • handful of green beans
  • 2 carrots
  • 3/4 cup frozen sweetcorn
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 300g brown rice
  • 650 ml chicken/vegetable stock

Mix  3 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp mirin, 1 tbsp soy sauce , 1 1/2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp sesame oil and 1 clove finely chopped garlic in a bowl (you might need to warm it slightly in a microwave to combine the honey). Pour into a flat dish that all the salmon fillets will fit into, place the salmon fillets in skin-side up and make sure they are well coated in the mix. Cover and place in the fridge for a minimum 20 minutes- you can do this overnight if you wish.

Combine the rest of the mirin, soy sauce and honey in a small bowl- teriyaki mix. Prepare the vegetables including the onion, ginger, chilli and the rest of the garlic.

Rinse the rice and place in a heavy based pan. Add the two carrots, peeled and chopped,the broccoli heart, diced and the stock.  Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer on low. It should take about 30 minutes but this might depend on the type of rice you are using. Preheat the grill to a medium temperature.

In a wok, heat the remainder of the sesame oil and fry the onion, ginger, chilli and garlic until the onion starts to brown, add the teriyaki mix of soy mirin and honey. If you have a firm vegetable (like the broccoli) add this to the wok with a few tbsp of stock from the rice then turn down the heat, cover and allow to steam for a few minutes. Whilst this is happening, put the salmon fillets under a medium grill skin side up. Cook until just done- this will completely depend on the thickness of the fillets so keep checking! Once cooked remove the skin, if they cook before you’ve finished the rice, cover with foil and keep in  a low oven.

Add any softer vegetables to the wok, in my case green beans followed by sweetcorn, and cover until cooked. Once the rice is finished drain any stock if it is still above the rice, if not combine with vegetables in the wok. Stir in the lime juice and coriander and you’re done!salmon on rice

On a looking to the future note- lent is coming up and after my vegan experiment last year I’m looking for a new challenge- any suggestions?

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So I have to admit, I made a variation on this several times during lent as it is super easy and quick if, say, your family is having fish and chips and you have to concoct something for yourself at speed. It may not be the most inspired vegan meal, but man is it good, especially if you use a good quality paprika that makes it extra smoky and fiery (definitely something I was craving on the occasion I was cooking chorizo quiche for the fam).

veggie/vegan chilli

Serves 4 – for a tart filling which serves 2, see below

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped/minced
  • 500g tin beans in water (any variety or mixed)
  • 500g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 250 ml  apple juice
  • 160 ml (about a third of the tomato tin) red wine
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon/1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tbsp cous cous (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1tsp white wine vinegar
  • pepper and salt to taste
Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry off the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the beans WITH THEIR WATER, tinned tomatoes, wine mushrooms and apple juice. Bring to the boil and add the spices, stock cube and purée. Allow to simmer with the lid off for 15 minutes. Depending on how thick the sauce is looking, or what you are serving it with (I was serving it with soft tortillas so I didn’t want it to be too runny, but if you were serving it with rice or a baked potato, you’d want a bit more sauce) add the cous cous to thicken. Simmer for a further 15 minutes, lid on. Right at the end, stir in the sugar and vinegar. Taste and then season. Serve with nachos, tortillas, baked potato or rice and a crispy green salad.

 variation for tart filling

serves 2

I halved the ingredients  and omitted the tinned tomatoes, couscous, sugar and mushrooms adding an extra squirt of tomato purée and a squirt of tomato ketchup cooking quickly (probably only 10-15mins simmering) until it makes a drier sauce. I then put the mixture into pre-blind baked pastry cases (Jus-roll short crust pastry cooked at 200C for 15 minutes) and baked for 10-15 mins with a dollop of vegan “cheese” (more of a cheesey dip, the consistency of hummus)  on top from this recipe. I particularly like this fake cheese recipe because it doesn’t use soya milk and I find I don’t like the strong soy-taste in fake cheeses using soya milk.

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Spicy Aubergines

Last weekend I invited some friends over, only there were a lot of last minute emergencies and it ended up shrinking from a party of eight guests to three. Fortunately it meant I got to eat (incredibly garlicky)leftovers for lunch, which may be slightly antisocial but I always find leftovers much more satisfying than a sandwich don’t you?

Aubergines, I love you.

I love aubergines. Along with buttternut squash they are very high on my list of favourite vegetables, and this, or variations on this, is my favourite way to eat them. The best thing about this dish for me, is the meaty and smooth texture of the aubergines against the sharp tangy spicy sauce. Not only does it taste amazing but it is super quick and versatile. When I cooked this at the weekend it was for more of a middle eastern Mediterranean meal, so I left out the seeds (apart from the coriander) and the ginger, added a teaspoon of ras al-hanout and served it with koftas, (recipe to come), a yoghurt sauce, salad and flat bread. I cannot sing this recipe’s praises enough , it is my food heaven, and such a reliable staple.

A lot of recipes tell you to fry aubergines, but this makes them absorb a huge (read:disgusting) amount of oil, and I’ve found roasting them gives them just the right colour and flavour. Just a quick disclaimer, I haven’t suddenly got amazing at food photography, my sister was one of the three people who got to eat the dinner, and she took some snaps for me. Thanks sis!

Spicy Aubergines

serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish

  • 1 large or 2 medium aubergines
  • 1 carton of pasata
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • olive oil for brushing
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped/minced
  • 1cm grated ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp kalonji/nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • cayenne pepper to taste (I go for 2 tsp, but I do like it hot!)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 200C and then cut the aubergines into even sized wedges, I do this by cutting thick slices and then quartering/sixthing them. Put into a baking tray and brush or spray with olive oil. Roast for about 20 minutes,  giving them a shuggle (somewhere between a shuffle and a jiggle) after 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok or heavy based frying pan and fry the seeds until they begin to pop. You might need to take off the heat to cool a little before adding the garlic and ginger as it might spit at you otherwise. Fry them until brown and then add the pasata and all your other ingredients, bring to the simmer. Once the aubergines are cooked stir them into the sauce, adding water if it is a bit thick and cook simmer with a lid for 5 minutes. Check for seasoning, I tend to make it quite salty, especially if it is a side dish and you didn’t season the aubergines before roasting.

 

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Did I mention I like cooking for people…oh I did? Well last Thursday I cooked for the alpha course at my church, so I happily pootled around in the kitchen the day before preparing 20 portions of tagine. For your convenience, I’ve shrunk the numbers (you are welcome), though if you did want to make this for 20 it’s a pretty simple “chuck it all in the pot” endeavour. Also I’d like to take this opportunity to sing the praises of butternut squash, which is definitely in my top ten vegetables. One of the best things about it is the smell when you cut it open, all sweet and autumnal; I actually find it quite a wrench to have to cook it. Just as well it tastes good too, eh?

Oh and sorry for the lack of photos, I just didn’t get round to snapping the food what with all the talking and that…

lamb or lentil tagine with butternut squash

serves 4

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon or a whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp Moroccan spice mix (ras el hanout)
  • just under 1/2 tsp of harissa
  • 200g diced stewing lamb or 1/3 cup of red lentils
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp/a squirt of tomato purée
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into 3cm cubes
  • 300ml lamb or vegetable stock
  • 70g dried apricots, diced finely
  • 1tsp honey
  • ground pepper and salt

Preheat your oven to 170C and then find a heavy based oven proof dish with a lid. Heat the oil in it on the hob and fry the onions and garlic until softened. Add the powdered spices (NOT the harissa!) and fry for another two minutes. Then add everything else and stir until well mixed. Plonk on the lid and pop it in the oven for 1.5 hours, then check seasoning, and how watery it is and the tenderness of lamb (unless its the veggie version of course). Put back for another 30mins for the veggie version and 1hr for the meat. If it looked a bit watery to you when you pulled it out take the lid off for the last 30 mins. Another easy peasy crowd pleaser done.

Serve with couscous. Follow the instructions on the packet to work out quantities but before I pour on the hot water, I like to add a pinch of salt and about 1/2 tbsp of olive oils and 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice stirred into the dry couscous to coat it and give it a bit of extra flavour.

I would also say that any root vegetable like sweet potato, carrot or swede would work well here. I was going to put other veggies in when I made this but the butternut squash I had was so mammoth nothing else would fit in the pots!

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fish stew and harissa

I served the fatayer from my last post with this fish stew and having vaguely referenced bouillabaisse recipes, I made my own version of the spicy “rouille” it is normally served with. Ever the over ambitious I even decided to make my own harissa which is an ingredient in the “rouille”. This comes with a serious health warning, I saw a recipe that told you to cut up dried whole chillies which I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND. Just buy chopped dried chillies unless you want to end up breathing in chilli dust and nearly choking to death as your lungs burn. Even wrapping my scarf over my face like a kitchen ninja didn’t help.

The fish stew became a bit of an exercise in how many herbs I could throw in a pot, to which the answer was: lots. If you wanted to simplify it I’d say the parsley is the priority, followed by the bay leaf, then the thyme and the fennel last. You could use any white fish instead of the tilapia  like cod or pollock, and any smoked fillet instead of the smoked haddock.

fish stew serves 4 generously

for the stew

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 anchovies
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tins tomatoes
  • bunch of parsley finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • a handful of fennel fronds
  • a few strands of saffron
  • a bay leaf
  • 1 satsuma or clementine
  • 1 fillet haddock
  • 2 fillets of tilapia
  • 1 fillet smoked haddock
  • 1 fillet of salmon
  • a handful of prawns
  • salt to taste
for the rouille
  • 2 tsp harissa (see recipe below, or use a pre-made paste)
  • 1 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 bunch coriander finely chopped
Skin the fish fillets, and chop into bite size chunks. Select a heavy based pan and fry the anchovies, garlic , onion and the chopped stalks of parsley until the onion and parsley are softened.  Then throw everything apart from the fish in, and make sure you cut the satsuma in half, squeeze the juice in and then add the two halves to flavour the stew more. Rinse out the tomato tins with water and add the water to the pot. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, remove the satsuma halves and then add the fish. Simmer for a further 15 minutes until the fish is cooked through and season to taste. To make the rouille just stir all the ingredients together. Serve the stew in hot in bowls, with a dollop of rouille on top and fatayer or hot bread.
harissa makes 1 jar
  • 50g dried CHOPPED chillies
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp wholle coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp whole caraway seeds
  • 3 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 50ml olive oil
Soak the dried chillies in boiling water for an hour and then drain. After that I was really lazy and didn’t chop anything just chucked it all in a blender and blitzed it until it becomes a rough paste.  Store it in a sterilised jar in the fridge with a layer of olive oil on top to seal it. It should keep for 6 months. To sterilise a jar  preheat the oven to 120C, wash the jar soap and water, then rinse with very hot water, place in the oven until completely dry (roughly 20 minutes). Alternatively take hot from a dishwasher, in both cases just make sure you don’t dry it with a tea towel.

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Cooking for my friends is my way of saying I love them (see my first post) and this week I was able to cook  my home friends a dish which had become a signature dish whilst at uni.

butter chicken

First stolen from one of my Dad’s plethora of Indian cookbooks and since adapted to suit budget student needs and my personal taste, it became my go-to dish when I was asked to provide visiting musicians a yummy curry. The prepare in advance nature means it is also the perfect dish for entertaining, not to mention the one pot wonder of it meaning less washing up and the ability to multiply the quantities endlessly with just a bit of simple maths (aided by my phone calculator…)

Serves 5-6 with a vegetable side dish, 4 alone

  • 2cm  ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic  chopped
  • 100g flaked almonds or ground if you don’t have a hand blender
  • 1 to 3/4 pot of Greek yoghurt (low fat if you’re feeling virtuous)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 stick cinammon
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • salt to taste (about 1 1/4 tsp)
  • 500g/6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion fine chopped
  • 6tbsp chopped fresh coriander
If you have a hand whizzer put the yoghurt, ginger, garlic and almonds into a tall pot (I used to use a jug) and blend until combined. If not, finely chop the garlic and ginger and use ground almonds. Combine all the ingredients apart from the onion and butter in a dish. Chop the chicken and stir into the mixture. Marinade in the fridge for a minimum of two hours, but preferably overnight. Preheat the oven to 170C and fry the onions in the butter until browned in an oven dish. The dish should  be shallow and wide, but anything will do. Add the chicken and marinade and stir to combine with the onions. Pop it in the oven for 1 and 1/2 to 2hrs, I normally go for 2 and turn it down if it looks like its going too brown/drying up, or cover it with foil. About 30 mins before it’s finished you can check if you put enough salt in. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before serving with a sprinkling of coriander, if you remembered to keep some aside…
chickpea and spinach vegetable side dish

This is vaguely based on a spicy aubergine recipe (which, by the way is THE most perfect way to eat aubergines ever ever ever) and was something I knocked up the other night with store cupboard ingredients to make the meal a bit less of a meat-fest. It was a hit and I was requested to write it down for posterity. As far as the seeds go, I tend to throw in whatever I can find in the spice cupboard, so don’t worry if you only have some of these or use others such as white mustard or cumin.

  • 1 tsp kalonji seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped or minced
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3-4 blocks frozen spinach or 300g fresh spinach
  • 1 tin chick peas
  • 2 tbsp vegetable/sunflower oil
  • Cup of water
Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan and put in all the whole seeds. Wait until they start to pop then add the garlic. Once the garlic as browned add everything else in no particular order, apart from the water, which you should add gradually as the sauce begins to dry up. Cook until the spinach has melted/wilted and then simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until everyone has arrived to eat!
 perfect rice for curry
I know everyone has their own way of doing rice and there are all sorts of tricks out there but this is my key to perfect fluffy fragrant rice using that new-fangled invention, the microwave oven. I have been forced by quantity to cook rice on a hob (for which I would employ a similar method using a heavy pan/oven dish on very low temperatures) but it was very much done under protest. As far as quantities go this worked well in a house full of hungry students, and I  blinking love rice, but others have been known to be strangely underwhelmed by its fluffy joys, in which case, follow the rule of 1:2 rice to water, but maybe reduce it by a third…
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice per person
  • 1 cup recently boiled water per person
  • 1 clove (per 4 people)
  • 2 cardamon pods (per 4 people)
  • 1 stick of cinnamon (per 4 people)
  • 1 tsp salt (per 4 people)
put it all in a microwave bowl, cover with cling film and pierce to stop it exploding. Heat on full power in the microwave for 10-15mins, or until all the water is gone. Stand for 2 minutes and fluff with a fork, removing the whole spices and serve.

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