Spiced Butternut Squash & Coconut Soup


1kg peeled and chopped butternut squash
200g chopped onions
20g butter
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp garam masala
2 crushed cloves garlic


Put the ingredients above into a covered pan and fry for about 10 minutes. When the squash and onions are cooked, add about 700ml hot stock and a can of low fat coconut milk (400ml). Cover and gently cook for about another 10 mins, then blitz.

Serves 5-6, about 210 kCal per portion.

Millet & Brown

Experiment No. 1
1 cup millet flakes
1 cup barley flakes
1 cup quinoa
2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup sunflower and pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp caraway
2 level tsp baking powder
2 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup oil
3/2 cups water
1 tsp honey

Oven at 180C
cook for 45 mins.



saag aloo reinvented

I kind of invented this by mistake. Supplies were running down in the fridge and I found the ingredients below, assembled them into a version of saag aloo a la Hugh. I’m sure it’s breaking every rule in Indian cuisine by adding the rashers, but I suppose you could omit them if you want to make it vegetarian. Anyway, it’s delicious by itself. Really delicious.

1 kg baby potatoes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion
2 tbsp curry paste
1/4 tsp salt
two large handfuls spinach uncooked (I have big hands)
5 back rashers
large bunch of coriander chopped roughly, stalks and all
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

Chop the baby potatoes into cubes or crescents and steam for about ten minutes. Meanwhile chop the onion, garlic and rashers and fry in a tablespoon of olive oil or ghee if you have it for a few minutes in a heavy casserole or pot. Add the curry paste and keep everything on the move. Add the spinach. Toss in the can of tomatoes and bring everything up to a simmer. Then toss in the potatoes and stick a lid on your casserole and cook for another couple of minutes until the potatoes are tender. I poured in a few tbsps of the cooking liquor from the steamer. Season with the salt.

the return of the curry paste

Back in the kitchen again today, got a rush of blood to the head and decided on a curry. For curry, you need curry paste (which I’ve blogged about before) but this time I toasted the seeds before crushing them and fiddled with the proportions a little too.


1/2 cup coriander seed
4 tbsp cumin seed
2 tbsp fennel seed
2 tbsp fenugreek seed
4 dried red chillies
5 curry leaves
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp turmeric
2/3 cup wine vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil


Toast the whole seeds gently for five minutes or so to release their aroma, making sure not to burn them. The kitchen will be filled with an amazing assault on your nose, although my youngest kid finds it a bit overpowering. It’s an indication of what’s to come though, because this paste imparts a great flavour and is something which develops with age.

Grind the whole spices to a powder in a spice mill, or grinder. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining spices. Add the wine vinegar and mix into a paste. Add about 5 tbsp water to the mixture to loosen it a bit. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, and stir fry the paste for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool a bit before putting it into airtight jars and then refrigerating. It should last three to four weeks in an airtight jar.

salsa caliente


I really don’t know the first thing about Spanish or Mexico or salsa, all I know is I like eating it and here’s a variation of my own invention, hot off the press in that I’ve just come up with it now and haven’t eaten it yet. We’re about to have it with a ground beef curry and rice, hope it works …

about twenty cherry tomatoes, halved
about half a cucumber, thinly sliced diagonally
two satsumas or equivalent, sectioned and squeezed a little
two cloves of garlic, extra thinly sliced like Paulie
quarter of a preserved lemon, also extremely thinly sliced
a small red chilli, de-seeded sliced as thin as you can
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar

combine and leave to infuse for a little while.


quinoa surprise

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is the seed of a grain-like crop mostly grown in Peru & Bolivia and is a great source of protein. The surprise of quinoa surprise is that it tastes surprisingly good for something which is so healthy.

Here’s a delicious recipe which is a great accompaniment to poultry etc:


400g quinoa
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
3 spring onions, sliced
400g broccoli broken into florets
juice of half a lemon
60g feta cheese, cubed
dash of elderflower cordial (or similar)
2 small carrots, grated
1 tsp each of cumin and coriander seeds

Toast the quinoa in a dry pan over a low heat for a few minutes, then tip into a pan of boiling water for about ten minutes, turn down to a simmer and cover. Meanwhile, toast the cumin & coriander seeds in the dry pan until they smell amazing, then crush in a pestle & mortar. Break the broccoli into florets, steam briefly and then plunge into cold water to stop them cooking, they should be really crunchy.

Next combine the oil, soya, lemon juice, rice vinegar and elderflower in a jar, chuck in the salt’n’pepper, crush the garlic chuck it in too then put on the lid and shake it like there’s no tomorrow. This is the dressing.

When the quinoa is cooked, drain and allow to cool down a bit, put it in a serving bowl and add the crushed seeds, add the dressing, broccoli, cubed feta, grate the carrots, slice the spring onions and mix everything together.


preserved lemons redux


I had blogged about preserved lemons some time ago and had threatened to try a few variations. So now I have, I’ve added cumin, caraway and coriander seeds, the three Cs of cutting-edge preserved lemon recipe development. I’ve also tried using limes to see what happens. Counting down now, only six weeks to wait …

Tenterhooks isn’t in it.

A note on the daily agitation:
I find my daughter is pretty good at this, she has it down to a fine art 😛

spicy tomato soup

1 large red onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 rashers
3x400g cans tomato
3x400g tins of water / stock
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp caraway seed

Chop the onion finely, along with the garlic and rashers and sauté in a deep pot over a low heat for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the cans of tomatoes and bring to a slow boil. Add the water & stock to the 3 empty cans and add to the pot. Chuck in the rest of the ingredients and allow to come back to a slow boil. Let it cook away for about 15 minutes and then blend to your desired consistency.


If you’d prefer a vegetarian version, just omit the rashers and use vegetable stock instead.

chargrilled broccoli

Ubiquitous broccoli has the habit of ending up in the bottom of our fridge, neglected, unwanted, unloved and uneaten. Here’s a way to freshen it up (with thanks to Domini Kemp).

2 heads broccoli broken up into florets
100 ml olive oil (maybe too generous)
2 cloves of garlic sliced thinly lengthways
1 hot red chilli de-seeded & sliced
the juice of a lemon

In a large pot of rapidly boiling water, cook the broccoli florets for about ONE minute only and then plunge them into cold water to cool them very rapidly. Make sure they’re completely cold, then drain and pat dry. Put ’em in the fridge for a bit.

Meanwhile, get your skillet and heat to smoking. In a separate small pot, use half the olive oil to cook the chilli and sliced garlic, and then set aside. When you’re satisfied the broccoli is chilled, combine it in a bowl with the rest of the olive oil and season well.

Then chargrill the broccoli until blackened sporadically, combine with the garlic and chilli oil and add the lemon juice. Serve with pasta (or noodles or whatever).

yellow savoury rice

This rice dish has a sort of Indian theme, using turmeric, curry leaves and cumin for flavour and colour. Instead of beans, you could substitute peas or soya beans. Great with baked or grilled chicken, maybe some meaty white fish. And green tabasco. Enjoy …

Serves six.


2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 red onion
1 white onion
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp turmeric
12 frozen curry leaves
2 cups basmati rice
4 cups boiling chicken stock
17 string beans

The turmeric stains pretty much everything it comes into contact with, so be warned.

Peel and chop the onions and garlic, fry in a heavy pot in the olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the cumin seed, rice and turmeric and coat everything. Then add the 4 cups of hot stock, add the rest of the ingredients and bring back to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook very gently for about 20 minutes until all the stock is absorbed.

I suppose if you wanted to make a meal of it, you could add in some finely cut carrots at the onion stage or maybe some courgette. And a few cardamom pods or cloves.