Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Pumpkin Spice flavoured Cookies with White Chocolate Chips, and some M&Ms – Perfect easy bake for Halloween! I posted my recipe for my Raspberry and...

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spicy jambalaya with shrimp + sausage

Well, I woke up sick this morning with some plague-esque situation, which is especially a bummer since I’m on day three of my ‘funemployment.’ I start a new and exciting gig on Monday, so I suppose I’ll spend the rest of my time curled up with some tea […]
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Courgette, Sweetcorn and Chive Fritters with a Soft Boiled Egg

How does a fuss free vegetarian breakfast sound?

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I know, I know it’s what you’ve been waiting for all these years…

In Britain we pride ourselves on our hearty, greasy, naughty breakfast (the full English) and I have to admit that I am partial to one every now and then – particularly when battling a hangover. Most of the time however I crave something a little lighter and kinder to my body – something fresh and delicious and devoid of processed meat. These sweetcorn fritters fit the bill perfectly – whip up a batch of batter at the start of the week, keep it in the fridge and you can enjoy genuine and healthy fast food every day.

Add to the recipe if you wish – grilled halloumi or smoked salmon would make a wonderful addition to the dish and could fill you up a bit more if you wanted to serve this at lunch time.

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Serves 4 

Prep time – 10 minutes 

Cooking time – 15 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 2 corn on the cob
  • 2 courgettes
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tbsp flour (of your choice – I used plain)
  • 1 large bunch chives, finely sliced
  • 4 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 4 tsp sesame seeds
  • olive oil
  • chili flake (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Use a sharp knife to shave the corn kernels off of the cob. Cut the ends off of the courgette and then grate it. Place the grated courgette in muslin cloth or a tea towel and squeeze it until all excess moisture has been drained out – the dryer the courgette the better the fritter.
  2. Place the corn kernels, courgette, 1 egg, plain flour and 3/4 of the chives into a food processor and blend until fully combined. Season the mixture generously with salt and pepper – it should have a loose consistency.
  3. Place a large frying  pan on a medium heat and drizzle it with olive olive oil. Cook several fritters at a time by dropping ladles of mixture onto the pan and frying them for 4 – 5 minutes on either side until the surface is lightly browned and the fritter is solid.
  4. Meanwhile boil four eggs (or an egg for each person eating). Everyone has different techniques for boiling an egg and how well done they like it: for reference I like to place a room temperature egg in boiling water and cook it for 5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pan and place in cold water to cool them down so that you can remove the shell.
  5. Now to layer up the plate – place several fritters on each plate, spoon over natural yogurt and top it off with the boiled egg. Sprinkle over the remaining chives, sesame seeds and chili flakes if you are using them. Finally drizzle over salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil.

Thank you so much for reading this post, I hope that you enjoyed it! Please let me know what you think in the comments as I love hearing from you and do not forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and and Pinterest (my username is wishtodish) plus subscribe on here to see more recipes and foodie musings from me. 


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How to Make Sri Lankan/ Southern Indian Sambar

So how have you been getting on with making ‘hoppers/appam’ at home? Has anyone been brave enough to give them a whirl? I would love to hear how you got on. You do need a special pan mind you, but they are easy to source on the web – I think this is the one that I bought. Perfect christmas gift for anyone with a keen interest in cooking? If you do give them a go PLEASE can you post it up on Instagram and tag me @chilliandmint and #chilliandminthoppers. Thank you.

As promised todays post is all about the sambar. Sambar is very similar to a dal, the main difference is that it is more of a lentil based vegetable stew, whereas dals tend to be more of a lentil soup with maybe one of two vegetables incorporated within it. Sambar often has a tamarind broth as its base note, which can also be found in dal – for example toor dal – but not exclusively. It is eaten in both Southern Indian and Sri Lanka and once you have made the spice blend you can keep making it in a relatively short space of time. I hosted a Sri Lankan lunch recently where I basically fed my pals a typical Sri Lankan breakfast…but I gave it to them for lunch (they weren’t to know). Egg hoppers, sambar, pol sambol (similar to a dry coconut chutney) and an onion relish. I think it was a hit.

When you make sambar you can use any vegetable that needs using up. Unless you live near an Asian grocers you are unlikely to come across ‘drumstick’ which is fairly typical to see in a sambar. Don’t worry, just pop in marrow, courgette, pumpkin, squash, green beans – anything that needs using up will work a treat.

Sambar Powder

50g chana dal (split husked Bengal gram)

50g urid dal (split husked black gram)

30g coriander seeds

2 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns

10 dry red chillies

12 fresh curry leaves

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp asafoetida/hing powder

1 tbsp desiccated coconut (or fresh of course!)

  1. Heat a dry frying pan over a low heat and dry roast both dals until they turn bronze slightly – a couple of minutes max. Place in a bowl to one side.
  2. Using the same pan add the coriander, cumin, fenugreek, black peppercorns and dried chillies and move them around the pan for 30 seconds. A wonderful aroma will be released.
  3. Add the fresh curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric and desiccated coconut and mix it all around the pan for another 20 seconds and then place in the bowl with the dals.
  4. Let it all cool and then whizz it up in a spice grinder. I have this one and it works a treat.
  5. Store in an airtight container and use as and when you need it.

 

Sambar

You can make it with a range of different lentils but I find that red lentils work really well as they take the least amount of time to cook.

200g red split lentils, washed under cold water for a couple of rinses

water to cover the lentils about an inch above (you can always add more if it dries out)

2 green chillies, sliced lengthways and seeds kept in

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

******

250ml tamarind water (use a walnut size piece of tamarind – see notes below)

2 tbsp oil (rapeseed/vegetable)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

7 fresh curry leaves

2 dried chillies (split in two)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

80g of pumpkin/squash, cut into 1 cm pieces

80g carrots, cut into 1 cm pieces

80g aubergine/green/runner beans, cut into 1 cm pieces

1 large drum stick, washed and part of the outer green skin removed, chopped into 1 inch pieces, optional

250ml tamarind water (use a walnut size piece of tamarind – see notes below)

1 tbsp sambar powder

salt to taste

  1. In a deep pan add the lentils, chillies and turmeric powder and cover with water. Simmer gently, removing any scum that may form, for 10-15 minutes, by which time the lentils will have completely softened. Do not drain, instead leave to one side whilst you work through the following steps.
  2. Take a generous walnut size piece of tamarind and place in a bowl and add boiling water to cover it. Leave to rest for 20-30 minutes then strain. Using the back of a spoon push through any of the tamarind pulp. Discard the stones. Place the liquid in a measuring jug and leave to one side.
  3. In a large frying pan/skillet heat the oil and then add the mustard seeds and allow them to gently pop before adding the cumin seeds, curry leaves and dried chillies. Move around the pan for 10 seconds and then add the onion and garlic. Leave to soften, stirring occasionally for around 7 minutes.
  4. Add all the vegetable pieces (they should all be around the same size, other than the drumstick) and mix in with the spices and onions.
  5. Add the sambar powder, salt and tamarind water and bring to the boil.
  6. Lower the heat and place a lid on the pan and allow the vegetables to soften completely – this will take  around 12 minutes. Check that they have softened completely before adding the lentils.
  7. Add the lentils and stir in well to the spices and vegetables. Add more salt if necessary and allow to simmer further for another 5 minutes.

It makes a wonderful ‘soup/stew’ as the days get shorter and the weather colder. If you are living in a warmer climate then sambar is equally good for you all year around.

Have a good week folks.

 

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Pasta alla Vodka a with Parmesan Rocket Salad

Autumn is upon us and what better way to celebrate than cooking rich and creamy pasta?

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If I was forced to chose one cuisine to eat for eternity it would have to be Italian. Partly because a world without pasta or pizza is not a world that I wish to inhabit but also due to the Italian’s approach to food – simplicity and quality ingredients are the key to deliciousness. Penne alla vodka is a case and point to this culinary philosophy; in it’s simplest form it requires only five ingredients (tomatoes, onions, vodka, cream and pasta) but if the quality of these ingredients are up to par then that is all you need for sheer delight!

Although I do often adhere to and certainly adore this philosphy I have made a few additions to the ingredients list in today’s take on penne alla vodka – most notably crispy parma ham and a kick of heat from some dried chili flakes. I also use a mixture if rigatoni and penne – any pasta would do in theory but a tube shaped pasta is best as it allows the sauce to run through each bite! I have also created this incredible and very simple salad to garnish the pasta with that requires only rocket, parmesan and olive oil but it really brings a lightness to the dish.

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Serves 4 – 6 

Prep time – 10 minutes 

Cooking time – 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 100 g parma ham
  • 400 g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 150 ml vodka
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 100 g rocket
  • 75 g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 450 g pasta

Method

  1. Place a large pan on the hob at a medium heat, tear up the parma ham into bite sized pieces and fry for a few minutes until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ham and place on a plate lined with kitchen towel to absorb excess oil.
  2. Using the same pan heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat, add the garlic and onion and fry for 5 minutes until softened. Add the chili, oregano, sugar and tomato puree to the pan along with the plum tomatoes. Fill the tomato tin with water, swirl it around and add this to the pan as well, use the back of a spoon to crush the plum tomatoes and stir everything until combined. Season generously with salt and pepper and leave this to simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to its packet instructions.
  4. Toss together the rocket with the remaining olive oil and parmesan, season with salt and pepper and leave to one side.
  5. Pour the vodka into the tomato sauce and turn up the heat so that it comes to the boil for five minutes – this will evaporate the alcohol from the sauce enrich the dish with a delicious and unique flavour.
  6. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the parma ham and double cream until everything has combined evenly. Season to taste and pour into a serving dish, sprinkle over the rocket salad and serve with extra parmesan and a drizzle of oilve oil.

Thank you so much for reading this post, I hope that you enjoyed it! Please let me know what you think in the comments as I love hearing from you and do not forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and and Pinterest (my username is wishtodish) plus subscribe to me on here to see more recipes and foodie musings from me. 


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Apple Crumble Cheesecake!

Buttery Biscuit Base, Vanilla Cinnamon Apple Crumble Cheesecake Filling, and even more Crumble Apple Goodness on top. Soooo sorry if you don’t like crumble, because...

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Chocolate Fig Pudding Cake

Fig chocolate cake

Just a very quick recipe for a lovely seasonal dessert that’s as showy and fancy looking as it is easy to throw together – it only takes ten minutes or so to prepare, and another 20 in the oven and then it can just be left waiting patiently in its tin till you’re ready to serve it, making it a brilliant stress-free dessert option for an impromptu gathering with friends or family.

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What’s so great about it is that while it’s a classic chocolate cake at the edges, the further in to the centre you go, the more puddingy it is – like a chocolate fondant in a slice. Best of all, it’s actually nicest after being left to sit for a bit so by all means make it while the oven is on for dinner and then fling it out on the counter and forget all about it for as long as you like while you enjoy that second glass of wine and the best nuggets of gossip.

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CHOCOLATE FIG PUDDING CAKE

Like your dinner party conversation, this is a dessert that very much improves over the course of an evening. When you’re ready to serve it, just warm it up again in the oven for a few minutes before serving with whipped cream or good quality vanilla ice cream on the side.

If you’re feeling creative (read: moving around the kitchen somewhat tipsily), you could decorate the top with silver balls; sugared almonds; rose petals or other pesticide-free edible blooms, cocoa powder, icing sugar etc – whatever you think would be pretty. This dessert is yours to put your own stamp on, so go for it!

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Full disclosure: I added a little grated beetroot to mine, and while it did add a nice earthy, almost peanutty flavour to the cake it wasn’t really necessary so I won’t bother the next time I make this. That said, if you wanted to add a little cognac or some chopped nuts to yours they’d be lovely – just stir them in at the end before transferring to the tin for baking.

170g semi-sweet dark cooking chocolate (I usually use Bournville)

115g salted butter

115g caster sugar

115g self-raising flour

2 medium figs, quartered

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of water

Preheat your oven to 180°c. Line a medium sized circular springform cake tin with parchment (cut short darts at a few intervals around the piece of parchment to make it easier to line the circular sides). Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a large saucepan with the water and butter over a low heat. Add the vanilla extract and sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Sieve in the flour then beat in the eggs till the mixture is smooth and glossy. Tip into your lined baking dish. Press the fig quarters into the centre of the mixture in a flower shape and sprinkle the slices with a very small amount of caster sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted around the edges of the cake comes out mostly if not completely clean; you don’t want to overbake it as these kind of cakes always cook on a bit after coming out of the oven. Once ready, leave the cake to cool in its tin for a little while if possible, as doing so will allow the figs to release their sticky juices, thereby making the puddingy bits in the middle. When you’re ready to eat, warm the cake up again in the oven for a few minutes then serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 


Filed under: Autumn Flavours, Baking, Comfort Food Classics, Dessert, Dinner Party Ideas, More Than The Sum Of Its Parts, Party Food, Sunday Lunch, What's In Season: Autumn Tagged: Chocolate Fig Pudding Cake
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Spiced Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

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This butternut squash and lentil soup is here to remind you that fall is the best season of all. Golden sunsets, crisp air, and the many shades of golds, yellows, and reds show us the beauty of letting things go. They keep us grounded and help us better appreciate the present and all its splendor. This soup is for those who believe in savoring the moment, paying attention to the small things, and indulging in soul food.

The recipe calls for comforting butternut squash, hearty lentils, warm spices, and herbs – all complemented by a tahini and garlic sauce that is drizzled over the served dish. The end result makes for pure satisfaction, especially for the gloomy days ahead.

I often make this soup a day in advance. As with most stews and soups, its flavors tend to develop more overnight.

INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 4-6

2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 generous pinches red chili flakes
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 butternut squash (2 pounds/1 kilo) peeled, seeds removed, and chopped into cubes
2 cups red lentils
2 teaspoons salt
good grinding black pepper
1 teaspoon Arabic seven spice (baharaat) or substitute with all-spice
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 cups boiling low-sodium vegetable stock (or water with 1 vegetable stock cube)

For the Tahini Sauce

4 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons water
1 clove garlic, finely crushed
pinch salt

METHOD

Sauté onion with olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add chili flakes, bay leaves, ginger, and garlic and stir for another 3 minutes. Stir in the butternut squash, lentils, seasoning, and spices and cook for another 3 minutes. Pour in the boiling stock (or water plus 1 vegetable stock cube). Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and leave to cook for about 25-30 minutes or until the butternut squash is tender.

Blend the soup using a hand/ immersion blender or in batches using a standard blender. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your taste. Serve and top with tahini-garlic sauce (below), chopped cilantro, and toasted pine nuts.

For the sauce, combine tahini and lime/lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk until thick and smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until you get a thick, yet runny consistency. Mix in garlic and salt. Drizzle over soup before serving.

Variations

Add 3 large carrots, finely chopped, along with the butternut squash, for a slightly sweeter and more orange-colored soup. Adjust consistency at the end by adding more stock to your liking.

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roasted pumpkin seed hummus

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. —Louis L’Amour

It’s the weekend of Thanksgiving here in Canada! That time of the year when markets are brimming with produce and we gather around the table with our loved ones feasting on autumnal fare. Thanksgiving is simply a harvest festival, much like those taking place around the world since ancient times. And while the highlight of these festivals is always the crops that have come to maturity and the foods that are made with them, there is a harvest of a different sort that takes place at the same time— albeit less pronounced,  but of great importance… it’s the harvest of seeds. Of great importance as it’s they that hold the promise of future harvests after all.Roasted Pumpkin Seed Hummus | conifères & feuillus
Today’s recipe is a celebration of seeds! It’s a simple hummus recipe but with an  autumnal touch that uses pumpkins seeds instead of tahini as in the traditional recipe.  Roasted Pumpkin Seed Hummus | conifères & feuillusRoasted Pumpkin Seed Hummus | conifères & feuillusRoasted Pumpkin Seed Hummus | conifères & feuillusRoasted Pumpkin Seed Hummus (adapted from here)

(serves 6)

  • 200 g (1 cup) dried chickpeas + 4 1/2 cups water for cooking (This will give about 450 g or 2 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas.)
  • 300 g raw pumpkin seeds (if using roasted pumpkin seeds, skip step 2 below)
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice (you can start off with 3 and add more as you like)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • 3 large garlic cloves, roasted (if not roasted use only 1 clove)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (depending on how creamy you want it)
  1. Cook chickpeas using 4 ½ cups water in pressure cooker for 40 min after the first whistle. Let cool completely.
  2. In the meantime, roast pumpkin seeds. Lay seeds flat on a cookie sheet and bake in a 325°F oven for 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool.
  3. When the chickpeas have cooled and you open the pressure cooker, you will have approximately 2 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas and just a small amount of liquid. Drain chickpeas but do not discard the liquid.
  4. In a food processor, grind pumpkin seeds to a smooth texture.
  5. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, chili powder, garlic and oil (start with 1/4 cup oil) and continue to process until well combined and smooth. You may add more oil or chickpea cooking liquid to achieve the desired consistency. It should not be too runny nor too tough to scoop up with some pita. Add additional olive oil for a creamier texture.
  6. Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil and topped with roasted pumpkin seeds or roasted chickpeas for some added crunch.

 


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Pepper and Lime Calamari with a Harissa Mayonnaise

Is there anything as moreish as light and crispy calamari?

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No, no there is not! Calamari is the eternally delightful morsel that you order as a “quick bite”, end up devouring and then have to ask for another plate of it as you just cannot get enough – or is that just me…?

The eating of calamari should not be restricted to gastro-pubs and the seaside however as it it surprisingly easy to recreate at home plus it tastes infinitely fresher and more delicious straight out of the pan. Serve it as a starter at your next dinner part, a canape at Christmas time or just whip it up next time you are peckish – the possibilities are endless and trust me once you try it once you will be making it again soon.

Squid can be purchased from most supermarket counters and fishmongers – ask for the squid to be cleaned and prepared to save you the hassle of it at home unless you fancy the challenge.

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Serves 4 as a starter 

Prep time – 15 minutes 

Cooking time – 14 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 4 squid tubes, cleaned
  • 150 g panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • zest of one lime
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil

Method

  1. Stir together the mayonnaise and harissa until well combined. Set to one side in the fridge.
  2. Pat down the squid with kitchen towel and using a very sharp knife slice the squid tubes up into 1/2 inch rings.
  3. Place the flour, egg and breadcrumbs on separate plates and season each with a little salt and pepper. Combine the breadcrumbs with half of the lime zest and an extra dash of black pepper. Dip the squid rings first in flour then in egg and then in breadcrumbs ensuring that they are evenly coated in each. Do this until all rings are coated.
  4. In a medium sized frying pan add 1/2 inch of oil and heat up on a medium high heat until bubbling lightly. Add a piece of squid as a tester – if it sizzles the oil is hot enough, if not turn the heat up until it does. Add no more than 6 squid rings to the pan at any one time and cook for a few minutes, turning halfway through cooking until a golden brown colour.
  5. Lay kitchen towel out on a number of plates and use a slotted spoon to remove the squid from the pan to the plates – this will help absorb excess oil and keep it crisp.
  6. Once all the squid has been cooked lay it out on a plate, sprinkle over the remaining lime zest serve with the harissa mayo and fresh limes.

Thank you so much for reading this post, I hope that you enjoyed it! Please let me know what you think in the comments as I love hearing from you and do not forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and and Pinterest (my username is wishtodish) plus subscribe to me on here to see more recipes and foodie musings from me. 


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