Stuffed peppers

Here’s a recipe for stuffed peppers. The thing is though that when we ate them, nobody really liked the peppers but but loved the filling, so this is the inside bit.


Cook 2 cups brown rice in 4 cups water with two teaspoons of veg stock powder. Throw in a palmful of currants. While the rice is cooking, roast 2/3 cup of cashews for about 15 mins until brown but not burnt. Chop these roughly. Chop 1 red onion finely, chop 2 cloves garlic finely and soften in a tbsp olive oil. Add 12 baby plum tomatoes halved and let them sweat with the onions/garlic. Add 1 tsp curry powder to the chopped cashews, add the cooked rice and onions and mix all the ingredients together. Stuff this mixture into halved pepper and top with cheese and slices of chorizo if wanted.

Sourdough recipe

Akhil Malhotra‎ to Perfect Sourdough
2 hrs ·
Morning All,
I’ve pulled these suckers out of the oven this morning and thought I’d share the method and get some thoughts from all of you.
Normally I feed my starter the day I mix, but due to new constraints I had to feed it the afternoon before – so here we go.
5pm – feed starter (60% hydrated starter, 100% WW)
9am – Mix Dough, (100% white, 72% hydration, 20%starter, no salt yet)
9:30am – Add 2% salt
10:00 am – first fold
10:45 am – second cold
11:30 am – final fold
11:45 am – preshape
12:20 pm – final shape and retard
10 am next day – Bake at 230 for 20 with steam and 190 for 30 without steam
Bulk was done at roughly 28-29 degrees C (aiming for final dough temp of 26 degrees C)
Retarding was at anywhere between 3-5 degrees C
Any questions fire away
For more images follow me on instagram, akhilmalhotra

Adventures in sweet potato rösti

I’ve been thinking that sweet potato might make a good rösti, so I’ve started experimenting. 

Variant 1

1 sweet potato unpeeled, then grated. 1 scallion sliced and added to the mixture as well as a level tsp caraway seed. Formed into a chef’s ring and not packed too tightly. Small knob of unsalted butter on too. Baked in top Aga (180C) for 40 mins. 

Kept its shape coming out of the ring but was easily squished, not weight-bearing so couldn’t support something piled on top. Caraway overpowering, will omit for next variant. Also, I’ll squeeze out excess water. 


Barley Risotto


Here’s something that I borrowed and adapted from Jerusalem from Ottolenghi – adapted because I have issues with the amount of butter, salt and oil used in the original and also because I didn’t have all the ingredients.

Barley is pretty nutritious and a good source of dietary fibre amongst other things (copper, selenium) and it is suggested that whole grains can help reduce the likelihood of developing various unpleasant conditions.

So here’s my version, it’s a lot more low fat/waistline friendly and it’s probably quite good for you.

Serves 10 or more, it’s pretty heavy so a little goes a long way.

500g pot barley
2 tbsp olive oil
5 sticks of celery, finely chopped
3 red onions, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
10 sprigs of thyme, stripped
1 tsp berbere/smoked paprika/paprika
3 bay leaves
rind of a small lemon, very finely shredded
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1500ml stock
700ml passata



Combine the onion, celery, thyme and garlic with the olive oil and cook over a low heat in a large pot for 5 minutes or so, or until the onions are softened. Meanwhile, rinse the barley and drain and add to the pot. Then add all the other ingredients. Cook on a low simmer, as stated in the Corrie Cooks blog, for about 45 minutes or until the barley seems cooked, with a little bite still in it.

I served this with a bit of grilled chicken and steamed broccoli and a little feta cheese which had been marinated in olive oil and caraway seed. The pictures above don’t really do the meal justice, in fact it looks a bit like roadkill, but it tasted pretty good.

Curry leaf

I really love the sourness of curry leaves in cooking, I’m adding them to a batch of curry paste I’m whipping up for Xmas from the fantastically titled ‘Best Ever Indian Cookbook’. Recipe is here.

adventures in Berbere

I arrived back from Ethiopia, last Saturday Dec 7th after a long and tiring journey from the South, but sadly my luggage didn’t make it back with me. It got lost in the bowels of Heathrow somewhere – I had landed in London in the midst of an ATC nightmare, where pretty much all of the south of England was at a standstill. After an exasperating few days trying to get through to British Airways lost luggage department in Heathrow and their conterparts in Dublin Serviseair, it transpired that the luggage had been forwarded to Dublin alright, but the paperwork had been mixed up with another set of luggage, and the people in either office didn’t seem to have the gumption to check the clearly labelled tag with my name, address and phone number printed on it in an attempt to reunite me with my possessions. Anyhow, last night it arrived, nearly six days later with everything intact. Thanks be.

One of the things in my luggage was a half kg of Berebere, the red chilli spice which is an essential part of Ethiopian cuisine. In an attempt to remember Ethiopia through my tastebuds, I’m going to try to recreate a sauce I had many times with injera, the sourdough flatbread which is both eating utensil and tablecloth. I’m going to leave the injera for another time/experiment because it’s made from a grain called teff which isn’t available here (I think).

So, 1st attempt:

1 medium onion chopped
1 large clove garlic minced
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 level tbsp berbers
1 cup red lentils washed
3 cups water
2 tbsp tomato puree


Yeah, not that exciting, spice is good, needs a bit of salt. A bit bland, it would be inedible if it weren’t for the Berbere. Must try harder.

2nd attempt:
as above except chop in some chorizo.


Much better, the smoky tones of the chorizo really come alive in the lentil stew.

Sweet potato

So this was supposed to be sweet potato with figs and spring onions, but I didn’t have any figs or spring onions so used apple ad asparagus instead. It was delicious.

Heat oven to 220C
Halve about 1kg sweet potatoes around their girth and then half again lengthways.
Slice each of these quarters into 4 or 5 wedges and chuck into a bowl along with 1/2 tsp caraway seed, 2 tbsp olive oil and a grind or two of sea salt. Mix thoroughly and then put into a baking tray into the oven.

Bake for 25 mins. Then chuck in a bunch of asparagus, halved lengthwise, bake for another 10. In the meantime chop an apple into thin slices and make a balsamic reduction by adding a dessert spoon of sugar to 40ml vinegar to a put and boil gently for a couple of minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a large white bowl and serve warm.

rice and vegetable salad

Here’s a delicious and healthy brown rice and vegetable salad.

1 1/2 cups of organic short grain brown rice
1 courgette sliced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 yellow pepper chopped
sprig of thyme
small piece of peeled ginger, finely chopped
rapeseed oil
white truffle oil
cider vinegar
Dijon mustard
light soy sauce

Rinse the rice thoroughly
Cook the rice slowly (45mins) in double its quantity of water
Splash a bit of rapeseed oil into a pan
Chuck in the garlic, courgette and fry
Chuck in the chopped pepper
Chuck in the ginger and thyme

Separately, mix together another splash of oil, a tsp mustard, half splash of vinegar and a half splash of soy and add to this a few drops of truffle oil.Use this with best stationary exercise bikes and you are set. Whisk together, then add the warm vegetables and finally the cooked rice. Turn over gently and coat everything in the dressing.

Serve warm.

Spiced yoghurt

– 255ml/9fl oz natural unsweetened yoghurt
– 1 small Spanish onion, finely sliced
– 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
– 1 green finger chilli, finely chopped
– ¼ tsp salt
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil
– ¼ tsp brown or black mustard seeds
– 4 curry leaves
– 10 unsalted skinned peanuts (optional)

Smoked red pepper pesto

We were having a cook-in the other night and I’d had a hankering after some red pepper pesto. Luckily for me, my daughter Kaytlin is pretty enthusiastic about getting involved in cooking and I got her to make a batch while I did some other stuff. It was fab.

This has a wonderfully nutty, slightly burnt flavour which will brighten up your darkest winter evening. Great with fish or flesh, with fantastic peppery, smoky notes and a robust colour which looks great spread across a white plate.

3 large red peppers (capsicums), quartered
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 heaped tbsp pine nuts, toasted
50g Parmesan, grated
Best olive oil, a few splashes

Roast the quartered red peppers on a hot skillet until charred on both sides, especially the skin side. After a few minutes, put them in a plastic bag and seal, leave them cook a little longer in their own steam and ultimately cool off a bit. While this is happening, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan, being careful not to burn them, because they’re very easy to burn. Back to the peppers: peel/scrape off the skin and discard because it is somewhat indigestible. Put the flesh in a liquidiser, chuck in the pine seeds, garlic and cheese and liquidise, adding enough oil to lubricate the process but not so that it’s too runny. It needs to be thicker than cream but thinner than nutella.

Bottle up and refrigerate.

Some people recommend adding basil and walnuts, paprika and other spices, but I think it over-complicates the recipe. I think the fact that I have such a high percentage of toasted pine nuts is enough to satisfy the palette.You can find more of these on