Winter Ginger

Good general holiday season, everyone. I hope you’ve been enjoying it and that the coming turn of the year treats you well.

I’ll be making a vaguely themed review post then (and it’s going to be a goodie!) but, in the mean time, here’s a simple recipe to tide you over.

Not one for christmas food, per se, since I gave you that last month but one for some nice, warming, earthy gingerbread – A seasonal special all the same.

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The Jerk that Stole Christmas

Merry early christmas, everyone. It’s the end of november again and therefore time for another seasonal dessert. This time, a quick and easy take on christmas cake, with a blend of jamaican-style spices.

It’s not going to be a traditional jerk flavour, since it lacks any thyme, but it’ll still bring together the fragrant peppercorn flavour of allspice and black pepper with some christmassy dried fruit and the blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves that both influences share.

A real taste of the season but also of the caribbean.

Plus, I swapped out the chillies in my old “mincemeat” recipe for a couple of scotch bonnets to give this cake a little bit of extra jamaican goodness and I strongly suggest that you do the same. Continue reading

Passion Fruit Dansak

It’s that time again, everyone. Time for my recipe of the month. And this month, I’m going to be using one of the peppers that I picked up in challock.

Cereja

The cereja roxa*.

Why? Well, two reasons really. One, they’re starting to look a little old and wrinkly so I really do need to use up the last of them. And two, I was wanting to revisit this dish anyway and I thought that it would be the perfect fit for such a fruity chilli.

If, however, you don’t have access to the cereja roxa or its relatives, today’s curry will still work great with the scotch bonnet’s more savoury, earthy fruitiness. Just don’t expect it to have the same light and refreshing top notes.

Because, despite being a rather gentle flavour, this rare pepper really pulls its weight when cooked into my passion fruit dansak.

And yes, this is a dish that I’m rehashing but it’s one that you’ve never seen before. One that I first made for a shokugeki, prior to ever writing this blog.

It was formulated to showcase lentils as an ingredient, without sitting heavily on the stomach like a full on daal, and it was created to capture the hearts of vegetarian chilli lovers, without relying on overly rich additions like soy or black garlic.

It was a winner at the time but, with the light and refreshing quality of its new chilli and a few years worth of refined cooking techniques, today’s version is greater than it ever was before. I just know that you’ll love it.

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Lemon Spice Salsa

Hey there everyone, do you like mango, citrus and salsa? If so then I’ve got the perfect recipe for you!

Today’s is exactly that, with lemon, lime and the lemon spice jalapeño that I recently found all building on a smooth and fruity mango base. Naturally a little sweet but so fresh and tart that it’s definitely not dessert.

Instead, this recipe is an excellent dip for tortilla chips and samosas, a great way to liven up a salad or bean burger, a terrific topping for tacos or the perfect accompaniment to oily fish. Among other uses that I haven’t yet discovered, I’m sure.

And, while it does use a particular numex chilli that I found at challock chilli fest, you can make some substitutions if you don’t have access to it.

I don’t see the lemondrop/aji limon working here because, while it would compliment the citrus, it lacks the yellow pepper and jalapeño-specific notes that help it stand out. Instead, I would recommend the milder, 📽️ regular yellow jalapeños 📽️ if waitrose has them ripe again, orange or yellow habaneros if you want a bit more fruitiness and heat or any of the roxa family of peppers if you can get them, because they, too, are delightfully fruit flavoured.

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The True Vindaloo

Hey there spice lovers, this month I’m hanging out at my buddy Exban’s place for a nice romantic wine and dine.

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Why? Partially because his girlfriend dumped him but mostly because I felt like making a proper vindaloo and needed someone to finish off the booze with. An explanation that, if anything, only raises more questions.

Since when did a vindaloo have wine in it? Why is there alcohol in an indian dish when the nation’s religions are so against it? And why can’t I drink it all myself?

Well, for starters, the vindaloo, or vin d’ aloo, isn’t an indian dish. It comes from goa and uses indian spices, certainly, but goa wasn’t a part of india at the time. Goa was officially portuguese and portuguese cooking had no such anti-alcohol restrictions. They were more than happy to be working with wine.

Their earlier dish, the “carne de vinha d’alhos” from which the vindaloo was derived, got its name from its three key ingredients: Pork, wine and garlic. Three ingredients to which the goan people added coriander, turmeric, chilli and a whole host of other spices, along with potatoes to bulk it out and keep the heat from getting too high.

Because, unlike today’s vindaloo, their vin d’ aloo wasn’t meant to be the hottest dish on any menu. All they wanted was a full-on fiery flavour to their marinated meat.

And, while even most “traditional” recipes pull from a later date, once the wine had been swapped for vinegar, I’m going to be taking it right back to its origins, today, with a rich and fruity red wine.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

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Seven Pepper Tofu

Hey there everyone, it’s recipe time again and, this month, I’m keeping things simple. A simple recipe for one of my favourite chinese side dishes that shows off a non-chilli spice that I’ve not featured before.

But, more interestingly, today’s recipe doubles as a review. A test to see how other versions of the spice affect the heat and flavour of my dish. Because I bet you didn’t know that there were more than two breeds of pepercorn.

This time around, I’m going to feature a whopping seven in my salt and pepper tofu but don’t worry – I’m still going to make a batch with the standard black that we all know and love.

And, while I enjoy the dish as is, you can easily swap out the tofu for fried chicken bits if you fancy something with more meat. Or just a different texture since I know that, even at its crispiest, tofu isn’t for everyone.

I’m not going to tell you how to fry that chicken in this post but there’s always my chipotle korma one if you need some pointers.

And, with all that out of the way, let’s get started, shall we?

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Mexican Mango Sorbet

Hey there heat eaters, it’s the last sunday of the month and you know what that means. It’s recipe time and, being that it’s now the height of summer, I figure it’s time for some frozen dessert.

A delicious mango sorbet with a fiery mexican twist.

You will need:

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450ml mango pulp

1 tablespoon red chipotle powder (or 2 small dried)

125ml golden syrup

1 passionfruit

1 lime

And surprisingly little effort.

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Kitchen Alchemy

Hey there heat eaters, today I feel like baking something simple with Grim Reaper Foods’ Alchemy. And what could could be simpler than a microwave mug cake? A subtler take on a ginger steamed pudding, topped with that wonderful, sweet, lemondrop and cognac sauce.

Plus, not only is it simple but it also takes under ten minutes.

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Firenut Cookies

I’m sorry folks but I’ve messed up this month. I’ve been rushed off my feet with one thing after another while spending what little free time I’ve had either filming or writing upcoming reviews.

I’ve not had time to get together the recipe that I promised you but it will happen and I do have something for today. Just not something that I’d normally consider recipe of the month worthy.

Today’s post is a quick and simple one that uses a specific product but could easily be adapted to use any of its type. It’s chilli peanut butter cookies.

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Peri Peri Paneer Wrap

Guess what, everyone?

It’s another surprise recipe sunday and, this time, I’m working with one of Mahi’s samples for a simple, tasty, lunchtime wrap. Like the one I mentioned back in my review of their Peri Peri Marinade.

It’s a dish with a tiny bit of indian flare from its paneer cheese filling but also the crispness of fresh veg paired with a the smooth chilli taste that very product. Not that you couldn’t go a little bolder and more traditional with their tika if you really wanted.

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