Butternut Coconut Curry

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butter 20/11/2018

I made this curry when my brother, who is vegan, cycled 200 miles to visit me. It can be easily made from store-cupboard ingredients and you can add whatever vegetables and spices you prefer (broccoli works well). The creamy coconut milk is soothing against the spices and the passata makes the sauce velvety and rich. I recommend roasting and grinding whole spices if you have time but for convenience sake, ground spice is lovely too.

Serves 4 (or 1 hungry cyclist)

Ingredients:

  • 600g-1KG butternut squash, peeled and cut into equal size cubes
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 1½ tsp each garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin
  • 1 tsp each turmeric, cinnamon
  • 1 tin full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 carton passata
  • about 1¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • lime wedges, to serve
  • handful of cashews, lightly toasted (to serve)
  • a handful of coriander leaves for serving

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Method:

  1. I prefer my pumpkin caramelised so instead of cooking it in the curry sauce, I roasted it in the oven. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, sprinkled with some salt and bake on a baking tray in a 200° C oven for about 30 mins.
  2. Heat up oil on a medium heat, in a heavy bottom pan. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and wait until they start popping, stirring from time to time. Wait another minute before adding onion.
  3. Add chopped onion, sweat it gently, stirring from time to time until it gets almost soft.
  4. Add garlic, ginger and fresh chilli. Cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently so that ginger does not stick to the pan.
  5. Now add all the ground spices and 1 tsp of salt. Reduce the heat to low and coat everything in the pot in spices. Stir frequently, cook for 1-2 minutes until all spices are fragrant.
  6. Add passata and 60 ml of water. Cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add coconut milk and the roasted butternut squash. Let everything come to a gentle boil and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes.
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and chopped cashews. Serve with basmati rice or a roti.
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Sticky Toffee Date Cake

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stick 26/10/2018

A fantastically easy and delicious recipe for a sticky toffee date cake here. This can be enjoyed hot or cold and keeps incredibly well for up to 5 days if you can resist it for that long. The dates turn into fudgy little nuggets in a moist caramel sponge for ultimate comfort. Great served with caramel sauce, custard, ice cream, yoghurt or even eaten on its own with a brew.

Ingredients:

  • 200g of dried dates, roughly chopped
  • 275ml of boiling water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 175g soft light brown sugar
  • 150g baking margarine, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • A pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Pour the boiling water over three quarters of the dates
  2. Leave to soak for 30 minutes
  3. Preheat the oven to 160C fan/180C conventional
  4. Blending together the butter , sugar and the soaked dates (including the soaking water)
  5. Add the eggs and finally stir in the self-raising flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda
  6. Finally stir in the remaining unsoaked dates
  7. Pour into a 30cm square cake tin lined with greaseproof paper
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until firm to the touch
  9. Allow to cool , cut into squares and serve

Caribbean Fish Curry

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fsh 05/10/2018

You can use any firm white fish for this – cod, haddock and hake all work well. Look for Dunn’s River Mild Caribbean Curry Powder in the spice aisle, or use a mild Indian curry powder instead. Such a simple dish and a welcome change from your regular curries.  

Ingredients: 

  • 4 large skinless white fish fillets  
  • ½ lemon, juiced 
  • 2 tbsp mild Caribbean curry powder  
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil 
  • 1 bunch spring onions, sliced 
  • ginger a small chunk, finely grated 
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed 
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli, finely chopped [omit if a wimp] 
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into chunks 
  • 1 tsp of thyme leaves, chopped, plus extra to serve 
  • 400g tin coconut milk 
  • cooked rice to serve 

 Serves 2-4

Method: 

  1. Rub the fish with the lemon juice, 1 tsp of the curry powder and some seasoning and leave to sit while you make the sauce. Heat the oil in a shallow casserole or deep frying pan with a lid. Cook the spring onions, ginger, garlic, chilli and pepper for 5 minutes, then stir in the remaining curry powder and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. 
  1. Add the fish, pushing down into the sauce, then cover with a lid and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Scatter with a little fresh thyme and serve with rice. 

Chickpea Dumplings in Curried Tomato Sauce

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ch 13/09/2018

Think of this as an Indian-curry version of stew and dumplings. Except the sauce plays a much more flavorful part than in a traditional comforting stew. The dumplings end up gooey and steaming them in the sauce means the dumplings soak up the flavors around them.

Ingredients:

CURRY TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 serrano pepper, grated
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1  tin whole tomatoes crushed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp peanut butter

CHICKPEA DUMPLINGS:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 serrano chilli minced
  • 1/2 onion grated
  • 1/2 fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup yogurt [dairy or non-dairy if vegan]
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp peanut butter [optional but recommended]
  • a pinch of baking powder

Instructions:

  1. CURRY TOMATO SAUCE: Heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add coriander, mustard and cumin seeds, and cook until seeds pop, about 1 minute.
  2. Add one serrano pepper, 1/2 the onion and curry powder and saute until softened.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes together with juice, water, turmeric powder and ginger powder. Cook until it has thickened up, about 10 minutes.
  4. CHICKPEA DUMPLINGS: Combine all ingredients. Form into walnut-size balls.
  5. Add chickpea dumplings to the sauce, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.

Deep-Dish Chicago Style Pizza Pie

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ppp 10/09/2018

Here’s how to make authentic-tasting Chicago deep dish pizza. Complete with the buttery crust, slightly sweet tomato sauce, and a thick layer of cheese.

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Ingredients:

Pizza Crust (makes 2):

  • For the pizza dough:
  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 2 x 7g sachets fast action dried yeast
  • 300ml warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons good olive oil

Tomato Sauce for Both Pizzas:

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, grated (about 1/3 cup)1
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, but recommended)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes1
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

Toppings for Both Pizzas:

  • 4 cups coarsely grated smoked Scamorza cheese (or mozzarella if you can’t find it)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • optional and what I use:handful of pepperoni or chorizo per pizza,
  • additional optional toppings, add enough to suit your tastes:cooked and crumbled ham, thinly sliced green peppers and/or onions, sliced mushrooms

Directions:

  1. You will need two deep dish 9×2 inch round cake pans if you are making both pizzas at the same time. You can also use 9 inch spring-form pans.
  2. For the crust: Place salt, garlic powder, dried thyme and flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and yeast but do not let the yeast directly contact the salt.
  3. Pour in the water and olive oil. Mix together with your fingers.
  4. Work the dough into a soft warm ball then slap it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled, large bowl and lightly oil the dough itself so a crust does not form. Cover the bowl with foil and leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. For the sauce: Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and allow it to melt. Once melted, add the grated onion, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Once the onion has slightly browned after about 5 minutes, add the garlic, tomatoes, and sugar. Turn the heat down to low-medium and allow it to simmer until it’s hearty, fragrant and thick- about 30 minutes. You’ll have about 2 and 1/2 cups of sauce at this point. If you have more than that, keep simmering until the amount has reduced. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to be used. You may store the sauce in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days if planning to make the pizza another day. You may freeze this sauce for up to 2 months as well.
  7. Preheat oven to 200C degrees.
  8. Assemble the pizzas: After the dough has risen, divide it into two halves. Keep one ball of dough in the refrigerator as you work with the first one. Roll it out on a lightly floured work surface, working it into a 12-inch circle. Using your rolling pin as a guide, place over a 9×2 inch deep dish cake pan. Using your fingers, press the dough into the cake pan. Make sure it is nice and tight fitting inside the pan. Trim any excess dough off the edges with a small knife. Repeat with 2nd dough. Brush the top edges of the dough with a little olive oil, which gives the crust a beautiful sheen. Fill each pizza with 1/2 of the cheese (about 2 cups per pizza), then your toppings which I’ve listed as optional in the recipe ingredients. On top of those optional toppings is the sauce. Pour about 1 and 1/4 cups of sauce on top of each. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.
  9. Place the cake pans on top of a large baking sheet, which will catch anything potentially spilling over the sides of the pans. Bake for 20-28 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Feel free to loosely cover the pizzas with foil after the 15 minute mark to prevent any heavy browning and uneven baking. Remove the pizzas from the oven and allow to cool in the pans placed on a wire rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, slice, serve, and enjoy.

Apple & Blackberry Flapjacks

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fff 05/09/2018

A visit from my family and a day spent walking around nature trails and foraging saw me gathering a rather large harvest of blackberries. Here is one of the ways I put them to good and tasty use.

Ingredients:

  • 100g blackberries
  • ½ Large Bramley apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g baking margarine
  • 2 Tbsp golden syrup
  • 85g soft brown sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp each ground cinnamon and mixed spice

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Method:

  1. Place the blackberries in a small saucepan and put over a very gentle heat. Allow the berries to soften slightly and the juices to release. Remove from heat, fold through the grated apple and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line and grease a 20cm square tin.
  3. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a large saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the porridge oats, salt and spices.
  4. Spoon just over half of the oat mixture into the prepared tin. Spread evenly with the back of a spoon and push the mixture into the edges and corners ensuring the mixture is level throughout the tin. Squeeze the blackberry and apple mix on the side of the saucepan to remove excess liquid then distribute evenly over the first layer of flapjack. Leave a small gap around the edges so it doesn’t ooze out during baking. Add the remaining flapjack mixture and distribute evenly, again pushing the mixture into the tin with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until the top of the flapjack is a rich, golden colour. Cut immediately into portions (I made 16). Allow to cool completely in the tin.
  6. Store in an airtight container.

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crunch Topping

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ba 22/08/2018

Another ripe banana recipe to add to the repertoire. This one comes in the form of banana bread with a sweet and crunchy cinnamon streusel topping.

Unlike my traditional go-to banana bread recipe, this loaf has Greek yogurt and sunflower oil incorporated as the moist-makers and wholewheat flour and cornflour for texture.

Ingredients:

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups wholewheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cornflour or more wholewheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the crumb topping:

  • 1/2 cup flour plain or whole wheat
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf tin.
  2. Whisk together all wet ingredients in a large bowl. Sprinkle flour, cornflour (or extra flour), cinnamon, baking powder and salt on top. Gently fold in, do not overmix!
  3. For the crumb topping, place the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until crumbs form.
  4. Place the batter in the prepared loaf tin and evenly sprinkle with the crumb topping.
  5. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.