All photographs copyright © Heather Wilkinson 2012
I was supposed to put up this post last week, but sadly it got eaten before I had time to photograph it (a good sign I think!) and I ended up having to make it again.
I think I must have cooked almost all the recipes from John Gregory-Smith’s Mighty Spice book when I purchased it a few months ago. It really is a fantastic book, full of simple, honest, flavour-packed recipes – the type of food I could pretty much eat every day. I really enjoyed the introduction where John talks about the impact travel has had on his life and how it has influenced his cooking.
For me, there were definitely a couple of standout recipes: Falafel Burgers with a Yogurt and Tahini Dip and the Bulgur Wheat Salad, (shown in the above pictures.) I’d never actually tried bulgur wheat before making this recipe, and I was pleasantly surprised by how simple it was to make – very similar to cous cous. I have to say that I did add make a couple of my own amendments of to the recipe: lemon zest and a huge handful of fresh mint.
I also made the mango, orange and nutmeg cheesecake. Sadly, this wasn’t very successful, hence I haven’t posted a picture. It wasn’t much of a looker, especially after I dropped it on the worktop while trying to get it out of the tin (whoops). It was supposed to have a delicate mango drizzle on the top of it, but I totally fudged it up and it ended up like mango mush that made the cheesecake a bit wet and sloppy. Not nice.
Anyway, I loved the book and I’m looking forward cooking many more meals from it. With any luck the weather will warm up here in the UK and we’ll be able to eat outside – yeah right, who am I kidding…
You can find a link to the book here.
All images © Heather Wilkinson 2012
I’ve really got into combining sweet and savoury flavours recently, and I thought I’d use these as a basis for creating a dish for Meat-free Monday. This is a Moroccan-inspired bean stew, healthy, tasty and incredibly simple to prepare. I made sure to make plenty so there was enough left for lunch the next day. I really wanted to try making flat breads but ran out of time, so I served the stew with toasted wholemeal pittas and a yogurt dip.
You will need
400g (dry weight) of mixed beans and pulses (I used chick peas, kidney and flageolet beans)
400g of good quality chopped tinned tomatoes (+ half a tin of water)
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp dried chilli flakes (or fresh chilli if you prefer)
½ tsp paprika
A handful of sultanas
1 handful of dried chopped apricots
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp dried powered ginger
1 tsp tomato puree
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 generous glug of olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1.)Heat the oil in a large pan. Add your onion and allow to soften before adding your garlic, carrots, cumin, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, chilli and coriander. Cook for about 3 minutes.
2.)Add your beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, sultanas, apricots and half a tin of fresh water. Stir gently to combine all the ingredients together.
3.)Leave on a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 mins to allow the stew to cook down.
All images © Heather Wilkinson 2012
The temperature has really plummeted here this week. It’s the kind of cold weather that means you have to hop from foot to foot just to generate enough heat to stop your toes going numb. I basically live off soup when the weather’s like this, and I luckily had enough root veg to whip up a batch today. Soups of this nature can be a tad bland, so I add just a pinch of dried ginger to give it a subtle lift.
You will need
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 stick of celery, sliced
1 leek, sliced
150g potato, peeled and diced
150g swede, peeled and diced
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½ tsp dried ground ginger
1 litre milk
1.) Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and fry until soft.
2.) Add your garlic, carrot, leek and celery, stir it all together and continue to fry for about 5 minutes.
3.) Next, add your swede, potato, nutmeg and ginger, salt and pepper. Add the milk, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer for 25 minutes, or until all the vegetables have softened.
4.) Add your soup mixture to a liquidiser and blend together until it is smooth. You can run it through a sieve if you want it extra smooth.
5.) Return the soup to a clean pan, add a little cream, mix and heat thoroughly. Serve with fresh crusty bread.
In my last post, I promised recipe ideas for leftover roast chicken. So, here goes with the first, ideal for this time of year when you want something warm, satisfying and healthy. This recipe serves two people.
You will need:
2 pints of chicken stock (read my last post for a how-to)
1 tsp caster sugar
half a red chilli
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 tbps of dry sherry
2 portions of dried egg noodles (thick, thin, or whatever you prefer)
½ small leek, shredded
Leftover roast chicken, cut into small slices or bite-sized pieces
2 tsp sesame oil
A handful of fresh coriander
Add the stock, a mug of cold water, soy sauce, chilli, sugar, star anise, cinnamon and sherry to a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat right down and allow to simmer very gently. In a separate pan, cook your noodles, drain and then toss in the sesame oil. Remove your soup mixture from the heat and sieve it over a bowl or pan.
Divide your noodles between two big bowls, ladle the soup over the noodles and then add chicken. To finish, add shredded leeks and coriander and, if you’re feeling adventurous, some thin slices of red chilli too.
Keep your eyes peeled over the next few days for the final roast chicken recipe.
I almost forgot to mention that I was really chuffed to be featured on Fiona Beckett’s (Guardian food and wine columnist) lovely blog recently. Thanks Fiona!