If you like the sound of this, please vote for my recipe on twitter or clicking here (using @gastrogeek @McArthurGlenUK #LeCreuset #CastIronChallenge) , to be in with a chance to win yourself a Le Creuset voucher worth £50.
One pot mussel wonder
1 kg mussels
40g butter plus a splash of olive oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
15-20 curry leaves
2 onions (about 225g) finely chopped
3 bay leaves
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
1-2 dried red chillies
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. tamarind paste
200g wholegrain/brown basmati rice
300ml dry cider
400ml coconut milk
200ml vegetable stock
150g frozen peas
fresh coriander and lime wedges to serve
- check over the mussels, ripping out any beards, chucking away any that are broken, or that refuse to close despite being given a good tap against a hard surface. Stick the rest in a colander and wash under cold running water for a couple of minutes.
- Melt the butter over a medium heat and add the olive oil to prevent burning. Once it’s hot add the curry leaves, mustard and cumin seeds and allow to spit and crackle. Add the onion, bay leaves, garlic, chilli powder, curry powder, turmeric, salt and dried chillies and reduce to a very low heat. Allow to slowly brown and caramelise for a good half an hour or so.
- Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes. Glug in the cider and tamarind paste and turn the heat up to reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the coconut milk, stock and sugar. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is almost cooked through (this took about 25 minutes, but it depends on your rice).
- Remove the lid and add the peas and mussels. Turn the heat up fairly high and put the lid on. After about 10 minutes they should all have opened (discard any that haven’t).
- Ladel the rice into warm soup bowls, pile the mussels on top, squeeze with plenty of lime juice and strew with the coriander.
Ever find yourself wanting to trash your local fried chicken shop? Feel yourself coming over all Taxi Driver when you’re sat next to selfish gits stinking out the train with their big macs? Or are you just a bit worried about the bloated, degenerative way in which we’re collectively sleep-running towards obesity and type 2 diabetes? Jamie’s Food Revolution Day takes place next Friday (17th May) and I’ll be doing my little bit by hosting an interactive sushi rolling session for toddlers at the Toy Library in Walthamstow.
We’ll be rolling up our maki with a selection of the following treats: brown sushi rice, miso roasted salmon, avocado, cucumber, crab sticks, pickled carrot, spinach, spring onion, daikon, steamed asparagus and sesame-yuzu cream cheese.
It’s going to be brilliant, messy and chaotic fun. Sign up here to host your own event.
Now that we’re finally onto salad weather, I find myself hankering for nice bit of smoked mackerel. Not that flabby rubbish they vac pack in supermarkets but a proper whole smoked specimen from the fishmongers. For something cheap and delicious that will last for ages in the fridge you can’t do much better than one of these golden beauties.
salt and pepper
- mix the dressing ingredients adjusting the levels of horseradish, chilli and lime to your personal preference.
- combine the salad ingredients. Mix with the dressing just before eating.
Larb, larp, laap whatever you call it, this Lao mince salad has started regularly presenting its zingy little face at our dinner table. Hot, caramelised meat plus frying pan juices poured over crunchy herbal salad, sharply dressed, sprinkled with toasted rice and skinned up with a crisp iceberg leaf. Mmmm.
The “khao khua” or roasted rice powder is a must and as easy as toasting some Thai sticky (or in my case pudding) rice in a dry frying pan and then pounding to grit (or you could just buy a pack from an Oriental supermarket). I marinated chicken thighs overnight before chopping into teeny tiny pieces, pre-minced meat would of course be the more convenient, if less texturally fine option.
There are no claims to authenticity here; I prefer to see larb as a truly magical way of saving salad drawer remnants from the bin. After six months of Winter comfort food the freshness factor has been a welcome relief.
4 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
The juice of one lime
1 shallot or small onion, finely sliced
A little neutral oil (groundnut’s good)
For the salad
3 fat spring onions, finely sliced
½ a yellow, red and green pepper, thinly sliced
A few big handfuls of beansprouts
2 handfuls of coriander, finely chopped
1 handful of mint, finely shredded
1 -2 fresh red Thai chillies, finely chopped
For the dressing
4 tbsp. fish sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. Thai chilli jam/sauce
Pinch of palm/brown sugar
The juice of a lime
3-4 tbsp. uncooked sticky rice or khao khua powder
1 iceberg lettuce
Mix the chicken thighs with the oyster sauce and the juice of one of the limes. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or even overnight if you can.
If toasting your own rice, heat a dry frying pan and tip in the rice. Once it turns golden and smells popcorn-like, remove from the heat and grind to a coarse powder. Keep in an airtight jar, ready for your next fix.
Mix the salad ingredients. Separate the iceberg leaves out. Combine the dressing ingredients and adjust until you’re happy with the sour, salty, hot balance.
Finely chop the chicken and mix well with the marinade.
Heat a frying pan and add just a little slick of oil. When it’s hot, add the shallot and fry until almost crisp. Tip in the chicken and cook until it starts to caramelise in places.
Pour the hot chicken into the cold salad and mix well. Dress, sprinkle with the toasted rice, wrap in leaves of iceberg and eat immediately.
It’s been one of those months. One of those endless months where every cupboard is ransacked for pulses and grains to eke out. One of those never ending months where unlabelled plastic boxes are hopefully defrosted and root vegetables are repeatedly experimented with. And one of those long, long months where we squint at the shopping receipts again and again and wonder if we dare stick the heating on.
We rarely argue, but all of a sudden, our differences in priorities over the food shop slip from teeny fissures into yawning, great chasms. Like most people that just aren’t that fussed about what canters down the cakehole, my OH is content to blithely lob Cathedral City and caged eggs into the basket, whereas I will forego new threads and lather up with budget shampoo in order to eat well. And so we bicker and then we compromise and what we’re left with is a schizo fridge where organic whole milk rubs shoulders with basics Mozarella next to locally grown kale next to a jar of ready made pasta sauce next to a pan full of the stuff I’ve made myself from scratch. We’re both convinced the other has got it completely wrong and we’re enjoying a particularly heated conversation to this effect, when the doorbell goes and it’s like all my religious festivals have come at once.
When Farmison asked if I wanted to review some of their stuff, I wasn’t expecting an entire fortnight’s worth of gourmet delights. But hallelujah here they are, the magnificent fruit and veg box (red skinned potatoes-check, properly sweet oranges-check), the meat box brimming with Dexter veal and salt marsh lamb and the most amazing cheese box we’ve ever had. Even better than our wedding cake.
Farmison deliver seasonal, local produce that they’ve lovingly sourced from the farm to your doorstep within 48 hours. If ever I win the lottery I am going to order my food from them all the time and exile crappy Cheddar from my fridge forever. Until then I’ve got the memory of this incredible lot to feast off.
The veal and lamb go straight in the freezer and I joint up the chicken. The breast goes into Fuchsia Dunlop’s celestial gong bau chicken and the legs and thighs make a killer tikka masala, padded out with plenty of vegetables. The carcass forms the base of a chicken and vegetable soup with parsley dumplings, so that chook alone keeps us going for a good 3 days. And the cheeses, oh the cheeses! The cheeses are a revelation.We spend a couple of days just looking at them, calculating in which order to demolish. We tussle over the Bluemin White and inhale the whole thing with crackers in front of the iplayer. The only duff note is the Caboc, which is almost aggressively cloying, it’s basically a cylinder of double cream rolled in oats. The Harrogate blue is one of the most exciting examples of immortalised milk I’ve ever sampled. My new happy place consists of buttercup golden saltiness shot through with the tangiest of moulds. I single-handedly pick at the entire wedge one exhausted evening.
The Monk’s Folly is sliced into a potato, caramelised shallot and sundried tomato tart. The Yorkshire Blue is crumbled into a sharp dressing which we fork through the remnants of the cabbage. The Dexter veal is languorously pot roasted for hours with sage,oregano, parsley, garlic, wine and cream. We watch the snow fall and have it sliced thickly with creamed turnips and potatoes. The salt marsh lamb is baked to tenderness in a salt dough crust. The apples go into a sticky toffee date and apple pudding. The Marie Flower goes into some decadently oozing little feuilletés . We make it through to payday. Just.
Marie Flower and balsamic spinach feuilletés
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 nuggets of frozen spinach
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. finely grated decent cheddar
1 block of Marie flower (or other soft sheep’s cheese) rind removed and cut into 1cm cubes
Freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper
1 sheet ready rolled all butter puff pastry
1 beaten egg mixed with a little milk to glaze
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently soften the garlic and shallot. Add the spinach nuggets and the balsamic vinegar and cook until defrosted. Remove from the heat, cool and stir in the cubes of Marie Flower, sour cream and cheddar. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Flour your surface and roll out the pastry. Cut into 8 squares. Heap the contents of the pan equally in the centre of each square, leaving a thick margin all around. Brush the edges of each square with the eggy-milk wash and bring the corners in to the centre and crimp together to form a sort of envelope. Try not to leave any gaps or the filling will ooze out during baking. Brush liberally with the remaining egg-milk wash.
- Place each feuilleté on a greased baking sheet and bake at 200C for 20 minutes or until golden and puffy.
Chicken and vegetable tikka masala
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. curry powder, toasted
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
¼ savoy cabbage, shredded
750g skinless chicken thighs and drumsticks
125ml thick Greek yoghurt
125ml double cream
For the masala sauce
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, julienned
Half a bulb of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. coriander powder
½ tsp. turmeric powder
½ tsp. chilli powder
1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped
200g chopped tinned tomatoes
3 tbsp. tomato puree
½ tsp. garam masala
300ml chicken stock
2 tbsp. freshly chopped coriander
1 ½ tsp. salt
- Mix the lime, ginger, garlic, cumin, chilli powder, paprika and curry powder with the yoghurt and cream. Mix the chicken pieces in this coating well and leave in the fridge from anywhere between a couple of hours to overnight.
- Brush the the chicken pieces with a little oil and grill until slightly charred in places.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger. Add the potatoes and carrots and sprinkle over the coriander, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir in the carrot and fresh green chilli. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the tinned tomatoes, salt and tomato puree. Add the chicken stock and garam masala and reduce until you’re left with a thick sauce. Add the cabbage and cook until just tender. Fold in the grilled chicken pieces and eat with a stack of fresh parathas.
So the book’s been officially on sale for a week now, and amazingly has sold out not once, but twice already on Amazon, which has been pretty surreal to say the least.
If you’re interested, here’s what the Metro had to say about it, and even the Mail online voted it their food book of the week which was unexpected. I had a chat with Robert Elms about it on BBC LDN, and to my enormous surprise made the ‘British Bangladeshi Power 100‘ list which left me completely gobsmacked and very happy indeed.
Anyway here’s a nice recipe for some soup.
roasted carrot, red lentil and blood orange soup
750g carrots, peeled and chopped into big hunks
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
150g red lentils
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
cheese rind (optional)
the juice and zest of 3 blood oranges,
a big fistful of chopped parsley
- in a roasting dish, toss the carrots in half the shallots, 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes at 160C.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a saucepan and sprinkle in the cumin seeds. Once they release their fragrance add the second shallot, garlic and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.
- Tip in the red lentils and stir well for a couple of minutes. Pour in the stock and cheese rind if using.
- After about 30 minutes or when the lentils are tender add the roasted carrots and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Add the blood orange zest and juice and more salt if necessary. Remove the cheese rind an blend until smooth and stir in the parsley.
Sodium chloride fans everywhere, let us rejoice!! Yours truly has been featured on the side of Maldon Salt packets, and for a limited time only you can pick one up in your local herb and spice aisle.
As you can see in the photo they’ve grilled me for my Desert Island Dish, which would have to be coronation crispy duck. Here’s the recipe taken from my forthcoming book, out January 31st and available to pre-order here.
One of the main reasons I could never move to the countryside is because I seriously couldn’t bear to be too far from the ethnic shops and grocers I’ve grown up with in the smoke. I’m constantly amazed at the comedy prices supermarkets slap onto exotic ingredients like those miniature packets of okra, tiny bags of rootless coriander leaves, pickled lemons and tahini. But then, I am lucky enough to live near a Moroccan butchers where I can scoop up big bottles of pomegranate molasses, decorative tins of harissa and home made packages of nutty, herb flecked za’tar at about an eighth of the price. It’s always nice when you can make dishes that don’t ultimately taste of rip off.
I wanted to try something more exciting with my za’atar than just dipping it in bread and these onion rings were the answer. Hot and crunchy with the fluffiest of fillings; we gingerly ate them dipped straight from the pan into cold, creamy yoghurt speckled with garlic, mint, cumin and salt.
1 large onion, sliced into rings and separated
100g rice flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. za’atar
a dinner plate sprinkled with panko breadcrumbs
oil for frying
parmesan cheese, finely grated
a wire rack placed over some foil/kitchen roll
- heat the oil
- mix the flour, baking powder, za’atar and salt in a small bowl and dip the onion rings in this mixture until well coated. Set aside.
- Crack the egg and whisk the milk into the remaining flour mixture in the small bowl and dip the floured onion rings into the batter, coating well. Place on the wire rack to drain.
- combine the panko crumbs and Parmesan in a shallow platter coat each ring thoroughly. Tap off any excess.
- deep fry the rings in small batches for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle over a little more za’atar and serve immediately.
Those nice people at Maldon salt sent me their frankly brilliant Desert Island Dishes cookbook. If you’d like to win a copy, just leave a comment below outlining what your desert island dish might be.
Those unbelievably generous folk at the Ginger Pig gifted me a couple of geese, one of which formed the centrepiece of my son’s first ever Christmas lunch this weekend. We invited a load of mates round and our friend Charlie (seen here making his cookery demo debut) helped out with the hacking duties; despite not really knowing his oysters from his eyeballs.
- Wash the goose and pat dry. Prick the skin all over (taking care not to puncture the flesh) especially targeting those ultra fatty pockets around the wings.
- Combine the five spice, sea salt, citrus zests and thyme and rub all over the skin and in the cavity.
- Chop the zested fruit up and mix with the sage, garlic and onion and push into the cavity.
- Roast the bird at 200C for 10mins, then turn down to 190C for 30mins per kilo. Baste every 30 minutes and pour off excess fat (to roast vegetables in).
- Wrap in foil and a bath towel to rest for 45 minutes (while you roast your veggies) and serve with roast apples, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, turnips, peas, stuffing and gravy.
*winner to be picked on Thursday 19th, goose to be collected from E17 by Sunday 22nd
I’m featured in tonight’s episode of Jamie and Jimmy’s Food Fight Club. Tune in to Channel 4 at 9pm to watch me stuffing my face with lamb’s testicles and bull’s pizzle pie. Yum yum!
I’ve written a piece about making your own Christmas gifts and whether or not it’s always the cheapest option for the Guardian. You can read it here.
It seems that the whole world and his wife have been struck down by the sniffles. Everyone I talk to sounds a bit bunged up, slightly red around the eyes and just a little bit blue. After working our way through some pretty vile cold powders, mugs of hot honey, lemon and ginger and inhaling endless bowls of steaming Vicks; it was this comforting soup, that finally put paid to monsieur lurgy. Sweet, spicy and ambrosial on the throat, this makes an immense tureen. Perfect for squirreling away freezer-friendly stashes ready for the next onslaught.
850g pumpkin, hacked into chunks
270g parsnip, peeled and chopped into chunks
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 large onion, finely chopped
75g ginger, peeled and finely chopped
150g brown basmati rice
145g/2 medium carrots, diced
110g celery sticks, diced
250g eating apples
4 green cardamom pods
1 tsp. turmeric
500ml chicken stock
400ml coconut milk
400g tinned tomatoes
2 tbsp. mango chutney
2 tbsp. fresh coriander
A big squeeze of lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 180C. In a shallow roasting tray toss the pumpkin and parsnip chunks with the garlic, curry powder, cumin, salt and half the olive oil. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until tender and charred in places.
- In a large saucepan heat the butter and remaining oil. Fry the onion and ginger for about 10 minutes over a low heat. Add the rice, carrots, celery, apple, cardamom and turmeric and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes or until everything is well cooked.
- Mash in the roasted pumpkin and parsnip along with the tempered oil from the roasting pan.
- Pour in the stock, coconut milk, tinned tomatoes and adjust seasoning to taste. Simmer until the rice is tender.
- Stir in the chutney and lemon juice. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with the fresh coriander and lots of black pepper.
The other day I overheard a posh lady explaining to her crestfallen toddler why she wasn’t allowed a cupcake. Not because they’re sugary or calorific, but because they’re “just so very unfashionable now darling” as she towered over her in her Ugg boots. Of course, I immediately bought four and bloody gorgeous they were too.
Gran luchito is one of the finest chilli tapenades I’ve been lucky enough to receive a free jar of and this recipe for cupcakes is well worth a shot. I love the way they’ve gone completely left field with their recipe suggestions and the combination of caramelised pineapples and smoky chilli-laced cream topping is pretty sensational.
I got slightly sidetracked and didn’t manage to make the chilli buttercream pate a bombe topping in their recipe. Instead I combined 300g icing sugar, 50g butter and 125g cream cheese with a generous spoonful of the smoky joy. These were fallen upon and instantaneously devoured by the mums at my local under one’s club. Thank god for fellow sleep deprived sugar-addicts who have more important things to worry about than the format of their cakey fix.
makes 16 cupcakes
155g plain flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
110g oil (vegetable or extra light olive oil)
for the caramelised pineapple
6 tbsp. butter, cubed
200g light brown sugar
15-16 pineapple slices
maraschino cherries to garnish
for the chilli buttercream
400g granulated sugar
700g butter, room temperature
6 egg yolks
Gran Luchito chilli tapenade to taste
- preheat oven to 180C. Mix the flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
- crack the eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for about 15 seconds. Add the sugar and continue beating on a medium speed for about half a minute. Add the vanilla and the oil.
- Reduce the speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour. Add half the buttermilk and the rest of the flour. Dribble in the remaining buttermilk and beat until just combined.
- Scrap down the side of the bowl. The batter will be thin.
- To make the caramel, melt the butter over a low heat in a small saucepan and stir in the brown sugar. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Spoon the caramel equally into 16 cupcake cases, top with a pineapple slice and a cherry.
- Pour in the batter until 2/3 full and bake in a pre heated oven for 12-14 minutes.
- Cool for 3-5 mins and then remove cupcakes from the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.
- To make the chilli buttercream, mix the sugar and water to the consistency of wet sand in a small saucepan.
- With a wet pastry brush, clean all the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan to prevent the syrup from crystalising, and cook to the soft ball stage without stirring.
- Prepare a pate a bombe by whisking the egg yolks in the mixer. When the sugar reaches the soft ball stage, pour the hot syrup carefully into the bowl of eggs as they whisk. Continue to whisk until the mixing bowl is completely cold.
- Change the whisk attachment from a whisk to a paddle and add the butter. Once this is fully incorporated add the chilli tapenade to taste. Pipe over the cooled cupcakes with a star tip nozzle and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
I can think of few things nicer to slowly crisp in the oven than char siu duck. Goose perhaps, but that’s trickier to get hold of.
By giving the tender, fatty poultry the same treatment as you would a more traditional bit of pork and smothering in garlicky, umami-rich condiments the flesh is rendered heady with aromatics. Char siu literally means “fork roast” in Cantonese and is typically a mixture of honey, five spice powder, red fermented bean curd, soy, hoisin and a drop of rice wine (I sourced a tin of the curd from my Taiwanese corner shop). After a quick blanch in boiling water, the duck was rubbed in a mixture of five spice and salt before being liberally anointed with the rest of the marinade ingredients. This doesn’t have the same maltose laquered gloss as those burnished specimens you see dangling from hooks in the windows of China town, but it’s still pretty special nonetheless. After a tantalisingly languid roast we devoured this with some stir fried greens and steamed jasmine rice. The dish that keeps on giving, the leftover carcass went on to form the stock base of a truly stunning ramen.
2-3 tsp. five spice powder
1 tsp. salt
½ bulb garlic, crushed
3 tbsp. honey
120ml hoisin sauce
2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 tbsp. mashed red fermented bean curd
2 tbsp. rice wine
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 lemon, halved
- at least 4 hours in advance or preferably the night before, prick the duck all over and blanch in a large pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Dry completely and thoroughly before rubbing all over with the five spice powder and salt.
- Combine everything else and smear over the duck, cover and leave to work it’s magic.
- Heat oven to 140C/gas mark 1 and stuff the duck cavity with the lemon halves and then roast on a rack for 2 and a half hours, basting every 20 minutes. Crank the heat up to 220C for the final 15 minutes.
In need of some Christmas gift inspiration? Want something that looks and tastes like way more effort than is actually involved? Look no further than home made piccalilli. Your lucky recipient will think you’ve injected literally hours of love and care – the reality is an inexpensive crowdpleaser that once you’ve salted your veg, you can whip up in less than half an hour.
- sterilise your jars by rinsing well in hot soapy water and then drying in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes.
- toss the vegetables thoroughly in the salt and leave in the fridge overnight in a colander with a bowl underneath.
- The next day, mix the rice flour, turmeric, mustard powder, mustard seeds, nutmeg, nigella, cumin and coriander together in a bowl. Mix the vinegars together and add enough to the turmeric mixture to form a runny paste. Stir in the fresh ginger.
- Heat the sugar, honey and remaining vinegar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. You might want to open a window at this point.
- Scrape in the turmeric mixture and boil for about 5 minutes.Stir well.
- Fold the hot vinegar mixture into the vegetables and load up the hot jars. Leave for 6 weeks. (If you can)
I’ve been featured in this month’s Red magazine (page 116 to be exact) along with the lovely Esther from Recipe Rifle (check out her frankly brilliant blog here) in an article on the things we’ve inherited from our dear old mums. There’s also an interview with everybody’s favourite chef Allegra McEvedy and Margot Henderson has some cracking laid back recipes. Plus an interview with Sam Riley. Oh, and there’s also a piece on where to go if you fancy a holiday in Vietnam that involves both pampering and a cookery course. Erm, hell to the yes. All excellent reasons to nip down to the newsagents quick sharp.
There’s a special place in my kitchen cupboard dedicated to all those crazy life-enhancing ‘restorative’ health foods I’ve purchased in a guilty haze after overdoing it or when I’m feeling under the weather. Zip lock bags of spirulina powder, maca powder, wheatgrass and wheatgerm all shoved to the back ready and waiting to anoint a bowl of porridge or salad. Endlessly waiting because of course, this is something I never, ever do.
2 tbsp. maca powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. honey
- In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, wheatgerm, spirulina powder, maca powder and wheatgrass powder. Add the salt and sprinkle over the vanilla extract.
- Mash in the peanut butter and honey and gradually drip in the apple juice until you’re left with a soft, slightly sticky play-doh like dough.
- Adjust the salt and honey to taste.
- Using a scrap of cling film shape tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls and dip in the sesame seeds
- Leave in the fridge for an hour or so to set before wrapping in cling film ready for the next time you need to snack on something insanely healthy.
“ahm joony faareigner ja git me yeah? Nooo. Naaaaah Jimmy I’ve nae idea wha’ ure sayin’” slurs the wild-eyed Asian guy with the Celtic scarf and hair like Jesus. The table of young office workers look shocked and slightly scared. I hold my head in my hands. It’s 2003 and I’m in The Cock with my mate Hermeet. We’ve just been working on the John Peel show and my Glaswegian Sikh colleague is pissed again. (Un?)fortunately nobody understands a word he’s saying. Earlier that day I watch him cheerfully trowel a good inch of butter onto his parathas. “Nobody does comfort food like us Punjabis” he tells me, or at least I think he does. He introduces me to the ambrosial delight that is chole bhature – or chickpea curry mopped up with deep fried bread. It’s basically the north Indian equivalent of beans on toast. Fast forward to now and it’s all I want to eat because it’s parky and I’m coming down with a treacherous cold.
Pairing up tangy, cumin-flecked legumes with crisp, puffy bhature equals pure magic. Traditionally these yeasty, slightly spongy orbs are deep fried. I prefer to cut down on the cholesterol overload by shallow frying, and I’ve made mine with spelt flour over plain, and with yeast over baking soda. So not really bhature in the sense your average North Indian might recognise, but still pretty damned tasty. You can of course make the curry beforehand, but it’s important to dish up the bread as you fry it, perhaps with a nice cool raita alongside, for that triple texture-taste delight.
Boiling the chickpeas with Assam or Darjeeling teabags, really encourages an authentic street-vendor mahogany hue. You could just chuck in tinned, but for me, nothing beats the nutty bite of raw to soaked and it’s hardly that much of a faff. With a bit of forward planning you’re looking at an unbelievably cheap eat with tons leftover to freeze.
For the chickpeas
250g dried chickpeas
3 large onions, finely chopped/blitzed in a processor
30g fresh ginger, finely chopped/blitzed
6-8 cloves garlic finely chopped/blitzed
1 ½ tsp. cumin seeds
1 black cardamom (use a couple of green if you don’t have any black ones)
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns, tied in some muslin/a baby sock
1 tsp. turmeric powder
½ tsp. black salt powder (‘kala namak’ is available in asian shops, use 1 tsp. standard white salt if not)
A fat slice of butter
1 tsp. curry powder
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
½ -1 tsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. dried fenugreek powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
250g fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
2-3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh coriander
Lemon wedges and v.finely sliced red onion to serve
For the spelt bhature
300g spelt flour
150g plain flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. nigella seeds
½ tsp. dried yeast
1 tsp. salt
150ml natural yoghurt
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Approx 300ml warm water
Oil for shallow/deep frying
- One or two nights before you want to eat this, soak the chickpeas in at least double the volume of water.
- Anywhere between 1-6 hours before cooking, (you could also start this the night before) get your bhature dough on by mixing the flours, sugar, nigella seeds, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the water, oil and yoghurt in a jug. Gradually add to the flour mixture until you have a smooth dough. Knead for 10 minutes until nice and elastic and then leave in the bowl somewhere warm covered with a damp cloth.
- tip the contents of the chickpea bowl into a large saucepan, adding more water if necessary until you have at least double the volume of water to chickpeas. Add the teabags, 1/3 of the onion, 1/3 of the garlic, ½ the cumin, the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, 20 peppercorns and the turmeric. Cover and simmer for an hour over a gentle heat and then drain and toss with the salt. Fish out the tea, cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns and bay but reserve the liquid.
- In another pan, heat the butter and add a splash of oil. Gently brown the remaining onion, garlic and ginger for a good half an hour.
- Stir in the curry, pepper, chilli, fenugreek and coriander powders along with the remaining cumin. After a few minutes add the fresh tomato and the chickpeas and cook for a minute or two.
- Add the cooking/soaking water and simmer until tender. Check seasoning and sprinkle in lots of fresh coriander.
- To make the bread, heat the oil to deep/shallow-frying temperature. Knock back the dough and tear off lemon-sized pieces. Roll each one out to the size of a small dinner plate and cover with damp kitchen roll.
- Gently slide the bhature into the hot fat, allow to brown, while pressing continuously down into the centre of the bread with a slotted spoon for about 45 seconds-this should cause it to puff up magnificently if you’re deep frying and more languidly if shallow. Flip over and brown the other side before draining on plenty of kitchen paper-lined plates.
- Serve hot with a well chilled cucumber raita, the chickpeas, red onion slices and lemon wedges.
aaah miso-cream cheese. My new addiction; this happy, happy accident has proved incredible on toast, in smoked fish sarnies, smeared over celery sticks and of course, straight from the spoon. It’s absolutely killer in this super-speedy tart. This has become the mid-week go-to dinner in our flat, when all I have to do is grab a pack of those ‘on-offer-due-to–massive-glut-season’ courgettes and some puff pastry. I find myself repeatedly turning to it on those afternoons when I have no idea what day it is let alone what the hell we’re going to eat. Such a lifesaver in pastry form, It ought to come with it’s own little fluorescent yellow security jacket. Although that would be a bit weird.
serves 2 with a salad
2 courgettes, sliced into thin discs
2-3 tbsp. grated Parmesan
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp.olive oil
1 pack all butter puff pastry
100g full fat cream cheese.
1 dessertspoon miso paste (I like barley miso)
- preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/GM6
- in a large bowl mix the courgette slices, half the Parmesan, half the garlic, all the onion and the olive oil.
- roll out the pastry into a big rectangle. Score an inner-rectangle ‘crust’ around the margin.
- In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, the other half of the garlic and the miso paste really well. Resist the urge to eat this on its own.
- Spread the miso-fromage over the inner rectangle of pastry. Overlap the courgette slices in layers over the top and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan (this shouldn’t be any more than a couple of layers deep, you don’t want soggy pastry or raw courgette).
- Stick in the oven for about 20 mins. Remember that it’s Thursday.