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8 Dec



The ingredients:

1 tin of chickpeas (410g)

2 garlic cloves

3 tbsp tahini

1tsp cumin seeds (toasted)

Pinch of salt

Squeeze of lemon

Olive oil (optional)

Paprika (smoked or otherwise)

2 tbsp water (optional)

The recipe:

  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas and sift through to remove any loose skins from the chickpeas.  By removing all of the skins (it may be a bit laborious) but it will give you a much smoother result

chickpea close up 2

  • Put the chickpeas, tahini, garlic cloves, and cumin seeds in a food blender and pulse for a couple of seconds (I like my hummus to be a bit rustic with a few of the chickpeas still whole, so I don’t tend to blend too much)
  • Add in the olive oil and pulse for a few more seconds
  • Season with salt and lemon juice to taste
  • Serve and add a few whole chickpeas and a little sprinkle of paprika on top


8 Dec



The ingredients:

1 large aubergine

2 cloves of garlic

Squeeze ½ lime

1 tsp cumin seeds (toast and grind)

1 tsp tahini

2 tbsp Olive oil

Pinch of salt and grind of pepper

The recipe:

  • Light the gas on the hob, then lay the aubergine directly on it.  It will blackened on the flame, and when the skin begins to blister and flake, use tongs to turn the aubergine until it is completely charred on all sides.

roasting aubergine 2

  • Once done, place the aubergine in a plastic bag and when cool enough to handle, strip away the blackened skin and put the flesh (which should be cooked and soft) in the blender along with the garlic, cumin seeds and tahini.
  • Blend in short bursts until smooth, adding the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Sweet Potato and Pea Samosas

16 Sep

Sweet potato and pea samosas

The ingredients:

1 large sweet potato


Small handful of cashew nuts

Rapeseed oil

1 onion

1 clove garlic

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp garam masala

1 handful fresh chopped coriander

1 tsp chilli powder

1 fresh green chilli

150g plain flour (I made several batches and used doves farm bread flour blend AND Juvela white flour mix)

50 butter (melted)

The recipe:

  1. Score the skin of the potato and cut into large chunks and boil until cooked.  Add the peas for the last few minutes.  When cooked, drain and put the potato and peas into a mixing bowl.
  2. Dice the onion and crush the garlic and add to hot oil in a frying pan.  Sauté until the onion becomes soft and translucent.  Don’t let the onion go brown.  Then add the cumin seeds and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes
  3. Add the onion to the potato in the mixing bowl, along with the coriander, garam masala, chilli powder and fresh chilli.  Mix well.  (You can afford to crush the potato at this point, but make sure you leave some chunks, it’ll make a good combination of textures in the finished product!
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  5. Cover and pop in the fridge for the flavours to blend for up to 2 hours.
  6. Take the plain flour in a new mixing bowl, add 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil and bring together with a fork, adding small amounts of cold water to the flour until it comes together in a dough.  Take care not to add too much water, but if you do, just add a sprinkle more flour to balance it out.  You end up with a dough like this:
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  8. Cover in cling film and pop in into the fridge to rest for 15-30 minutes.
  9. Make a floury paste with a little flour and enough water to make a thick sticky paste (try to avoid making it too lumpy, too thick or too runny)  this will be the “glue” to keep you samosas in shape.
  10. When ready, roll out the dough to about 1mm thickness.  If you find the dough crumbles a bit too easy, just add a tiny splash more water.
  11. Cut the dough into circles the size of a tea plate, then cut in half to make semi circles.  (Top tip: If you are not immediately making the dough into a samosa, cover with a damp cloth or the cling film to keep it from drying out.)
  12. Take a semi circle of dough, imagine cutting it into 3 slices of pizza (but don’t cut!!)  fold the 1st third over the middle third like this:
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  14. Then fold the last third over the centre third, using a little of the flour paste to stick it together.  You should now have a little cone.
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  16. Take a spoonful of the potato samosa filling and gently put it in the cone, taking care not to overfill the cone
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  18. Now add a little more of the flour paste to the top of the cone and push the edges of the cone together to close the samosa
  19. Brush with melted butter and pop in the over at 220 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown
  20. Serve with chutney as a yummy snack

Vegetable Crisps

8 Jul

Vegetable Crisps

The ingredients:

Any root vegetable will probably suffice, but I used a potato and a parsnip

1 tbsp Butter, melted or olive oil

Salt and pepper

Smoked paprika

The recipe:

  1. Using a mandolin, or your finest knife skills, thinly slice the vegetable (about 2 mm thickness)
  2. Lightly grease an oven tray with butter/oil
  3. Coat the vegetable slices with the melted butter or oil, using your fingers as the slices are quite delicate (and it’s always nice to get close to your food!)
  4. Lay the vegetable slices out on the oven tray (careful not to overlap)
  5. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (or until nicely browned.  Not burnt)
  6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack.  They will crisp up as they cool
  7. Gently shake the crisps with the flavouring of your choice (salt and pepper, smoked paprika, toasted and ground cumin seeds… experiment away!)

Sweet Potato Chips

8 Jul

Sweet Potato Chips

  • Have you ever felt the pressure of entertaining, knowing you really need to put something on the table with a bit of a “wow factor”?
  • Have you ever thought you need something to add a bit of excitement to a meal but you’ve no idea how?
  • Have you felt like you can’t be bothered to spend hours slaving over a hot stove, but dinner still needs to be on the table and everyone still expects to be fed?

Well this is my attempt to break through kitchen fatigue and to give you a recipe which is nearly impossible to get wrong.  I just hope you like it as much as I do (and as much as my willing subjects liked them).

The ingredients (this serve 2 people as a side dish):

2 Sweet potatoes (1 medium potato is probably enough for 1 person, so base your calculations on this)

½ tsp Smoked paprika (more if you’re like me and love a bit of heat)

1 tbsp Olive oil

Pinch of Salt and pepper

1 tbsp Polenta (either the coarse or the fine will suffice, it is just for a bit of extra crunch)


The recipe:

  1. Put the oven on at 200 degrees Celsius
  2. Slice the potato into thick chunky chips
  3. Throw the potato into an oven tray and add the smoked paprika, oil, polenta, salt and pepper.  Toss, making sure the potato is nicely coated.
  4. Put the potato in the oven for 25-30 mins.
  5. Serve

Mexican Summer Salad

3 Jul

Mexican Summer Salad

As the weather has been anything but summery recently, I have taken matters into my own hands and decided to create summer on a plate.  This also nicely coincided with a craving for corn on the cob.  So here goes my attempt at a Mexican summer dinner (disclaimer alert: I have never been to Mexico so this may not be totally authentic!)

I’m giving you the know how to make the salad and the corn, but use your foodie wisdom to finish off the meal with something like tortilla chips (make sure they are 100% corn/maize, 100% gluten free), and maybe a fresh guacamole dip.

The ingredients…

…For the salad (I’m gonna leave the amounts up to you.  I trust your salad wisdom and judgement):

Gem lettuce

Cherry tomatoes



Sweetcorn (optional here really.  I just fancied max-ing out on the little yellow niblets!)

Sunflower seeds

Sundried tomatoes


A little drizzle of olive oil (I used some of the olive oil I use to store my sun/oven dried tomatoes in so it is nicely infused with all that tomato-y goodness)

Shavings of Manchego cheese (or other hard cheese)

…For the corn on the cob:

2 ears of Corn (on the cob, stripped of the husks)

1 tbsp Mayonnaise

½ tsp Smoked paprika

Wedge of lime

The recipe:

  1. Chop or tear the lettuce, slice the cucumber and tomatoes and toss together with all the other salad ingredients.  Voila!  Your salad.
  2. Steam the corn ears for 7-8 mins
  3. Mix the mayonnaise and the paprika in bowl
  4. Serve the corn with a dollop of the mayonnaise and a wedge of lime
  5. Serve


Post meal analysis:  Very tasty and a thoroughly enjoyable dinner, however it is still raining outside.

Dry roasted chickpeas

1 Jul

Dry roasted chickpeas

I saw a recipe for this months and months ago and thought “hmmm… that looks nifty”.  So here I am probably nearly a year later standing in the supermarket alongside the stacks of canned kidney beans, cannellini beans, black-eyed beans, baked beans…(I think you get the gist), and then I spotted the chickpeas and the proverbial light bulb appeared.

I suddenly remembered the roasted chickpeas recipe and realised another food-based experiment was afoot.










The apparatus:

1 can of chickpeas


1tsp olive oil

Pinch of ground cumin

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of garam masala

Pinch of smoked paprika

Pinch of sugar

The methodology:

  1. Wash the chickpeas well
  2. Dry off thoroughly and remove shells (they come off really easily, just pinch the chickpea between your fingers.  It’s well worth removing all the shells as it will make a real difference to the “crunch” of the finished product)
  3. Roast the chickpeas (without oil) in the oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees (Celsius).  If you leave them in the oven for 10 minutes more, you will get a crunchier chickpea, just make sure they are not burning.
  4. Once out the oven, coat the chickpeas with the oil (this basically makes the spices stick to the chickpeas)
  5. Lightly toast in a pan the cumin, cinnamon, smoked paprika and garam masala
  6. Add the toasted spices, salt and sugar to the chickpeas and toss until they are nicely coated
  7. Eat!

The analysis and evaluation:

The chickpeas were served in a bowl and placed on the coffee table.  Whilst munching through the chickpeas, lengthy discussion was had over the potential improvements which could be made including:

  1. leaving the chickpeas in the oven for 40 minutes to improve the “crunch” factor
  2. double and triple checking the peas before roasting to ensure all shells have been removed
  3. playing with alternative flavourings such as honey and cinnamon, curry powder, Moroccan spices, soy sauce, sesame oil and chilli powder….

The chickpeas were very more-ish and the entire contents of the bowl were demolished in a matter of minutes (and that is only because we were being very, VERY restrained).

The conclusion:

I would most definitely make these again.  They were so simple to make, a healthy and tasty snack, and were thoroughly enjoyed by all.  The tasting panel gave it the “thumbs up”.