Tag Archives: chilli

Purple carrot spaghetti

27 Oct

Purple carrot spaghetti

After a bit of a jog on a very cold October morning, I found myself in the supermarket looking for something inspirational for lunch.  And what did I find?  Purple carrots!  I assume, given the rather colourful packaging, that this product was aimed at children, to try and encourage them to eat vegetables and piggy-backing on the commercial wonderland of Halloween.  Nonetheless, i was sucked in.  Well done marketers.  Cartoons and bright colours obviously work in our supermarket aisles.

I have seen a couple of recipes recently profiling the “vegetable spaghetti”, so I decided this would be the perfect opportunity for me to give it a whirl.  I chose  to add some rice noodles as well to mix the dish up a bit, but you could use (gluten free) spaghetti instead, or even try some other veggies to “spaghetti”.

Now I used sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil to finish this off, but you could use pine nuts or other such ingredients.

The ingredients:

1 regular orange carrot

1 purple carrot

1 clove of garlic

1 red chilli (if you don’t like spicy food, only add ½ a chilli)

A good glug of good quality olive oil/rapeseed oil (maybe 5 tbsp)

Salt and pepper

A small sprinkling of Sesame seeds (optional)

1 tsp Toasted sesame oil (optional)

Fresh Basil

150g rice noodles (fresh, or dried, but if you use dried, make sure you have cooked them according to the packet instructions before use)


The Recipe:

  1. Cut both carrots into long thin sections.  I used a mandolin to get them all uniform (ish) so it was quite fast, but if you don’t have a mandolin, this could be quite a lengthy process, but a good excuse to practice your knife skills!
  2. Thinly slice the chilli and crush the garlic.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chilli and garlic and fry for about a minute, make sure the garlic doesn’t burn
  4. Add the carrot spaghetti and toss to coat in the oil and fry until the carrot has softened.  This will take maybe about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add the rice noodles and toss to mix in with the carrot, chilli and garlic.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the toasted sesame oil.
  7. Serve and sprinkle with a couple of sesame seeds and fresh basil.

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

Lentil Dahl

1 Aug

Lentil Dahl

After a girl at work bought in some dahl for lunch, I just couldn’t get it out my head.  So I picked up some chilies on the way home and this is what I created.  I used a mix of green lentils and puy lentils (because that is what we had in the cupboard), but there is a whole world of knowledge behind the simple dahl.

In Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan cuisines dahl is the cornerstone, a staple food that varies across the region, across the climates and throughout the seasons.  Yellow split peas are probably the most commonplace, the most well known, and have that recognizable yellow colour (obviously), but dahls can be made from a whole variety of split peas, lentils, beans and chickpeas.

I love a thick creamy dahl, as seen in the hilly and mountainous regions because of its high protein content.  But in the more tropical climates of southern India, you tend to see more watery dahls, to help cope with the dehydration and make a lighter meal.

Having said all this, my approach to dahls, is that almost any split pea or lentil will do.  Feel free to play around with the thickness by adding more water to get make a soup like consistency, or simmering off the excess water to get a thicker, more porridge-like viscosity.

Serves 4

The ingredients:

250g lentils/split peas (I used a mix of green and puy lentils)
1 litre vegetable stock (gluten free)
2 cloves garlic
2cm root ginger
2 tsp turmeric
2 green chilies
50g butter (or you can use ghee (clarified butter) if you have it)
2 small red onions (alternatively you could use shallots)
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp crushed chili flakes
Juice of a lime (optional)
Splash of single cream/natural yoghurt/coconut milk (optional)
Fresh coriander

The recipe:

  1. Wash the lentils/split peas thoroughly until the water runs clear. Put lentils/split peas in a large saucepan and cover with the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface (you can do this delicately with a ladle).
  2. Peal and crush the garlic, grate the ginger and finely chop the chili and add to the lentils along with the turmeric and a large pinch of salt
  3. Simmer for 40 minutes (or longer if the lentils/split peas require.  Check the packet instructions).  Add extra water/stock if you see the lentils are drying out
  4. Whilst the lentils/split peas are simmering, finely slice the onions
  5. Heat the butter/ghee in a frying pan and add the onions.  Sauté until golden and starting to crisp
  6. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and chili flakes – BEWARE the mustard seeds pop and will jump out of the pan so have a lid to the frying pan to hand to keep the seeds in the pan!
  7. Add the onions and spices to the dahl.
  8. Add a squeeze of lime juice and stir
  9. Add some chopped fresh coriander and a little splash of cream/natural yoghurt/coconut milk (to taste – this will also help tame the spice if you find this too hot) and serve with basmati rice (or gluten free naan bread)

Vietnamese mushroom dumplings in a noodle broth

10 Jul

Vietnamese mushroom dumplings in a noodle broth

Now I tried making dumplings in broth before, and though it was really yummy, the dumplings had a tendency to disintegrate as I softened them in hot water.  This time, I softened them in cold water and they remained much more robust.

The little bit of crunchy peanut butter in the dumplings was (ah-hem, modesty alert), a touch of genius!  And in the words of my dining companion, it sent the “yum factor” through the roof!

It is a bit of a long list of ingredients, so don’t let that put you off.  This meal is worth it.

The ingredients (serves 2):

For the broth:

2 pints of boiling water

1 carrot

1 onion

2 sticks of celery

3 cloves of garlic

1cm ginger

1 small chilli (deseeded)

Gluten free soy sauce (to taste – I used quite a lot!)

Fresh coriander, chopped

1tsp vegetable bouillon (powder)

Sweet chilli sauce (~2tbsp)

Sesame seed oil (~1 tbsp)

Rice noodles (as much as you require, I used about 100g of dried noodles for 2 people)

The dumplings:

2 handfuls of mushrooms

1cm ginger, crushed

1 small chilli, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 carrot

Splash gluten free soy sauce

1 tsp soft brown sugar

1tbsp Rice wine vinegar

3 large tsps Crunchy peanut butter (I like to use whole earth peanut butter as it is pretty much 100% peanut)

3 Rice paper wrappers (I use ones about the size of a dinner plate)

The recipe:

1.       The broth:

Chop the onion, carrot and celery into large chunks and throw into a large heavy based  saucepan with the water.

Add the cloves of garlic (whole), ginger, 1 small chilli, chopped coriander, a very large splash of soy, and the vegetable bouillon.

Cover and leave to simmer whilst you prepare the rest of the meal.  We’ll come back to this later.

2.       The dumplings:

Take the cabbage leaves, cut out hard stems and discard, thinly slice the leaves and steam for 3 mins

Chop mushrooms into small pieces; throw into hot oil and sauté until lightly brown.  Add crushed ginger, chilli and garlic.

Add julienned/matchstick carrots

Lightly sauté for 5 mins

Add large splash of soy sauce, soft brown sugar, rice wine vinegar

Continue to sauté for another 5 mins.

Soften rice paper wraps in cold water until soft and pliable, place on chopping board and cut in half with a sharp knife.

Onto each hemisphere of the rice paper wrap add a little bit of cabbage, 2 tsp of the mushroom mix and ½ tsp of crunchy peanut butter

Carefully roll the rice paper wrap, tucking in the edges to make sure there are no holes in the dumpling

3.       The noodles:

Cook the rice noodles according to the packet

4.       Back to the broth:

Add a splash of sweet chilli sauce, the sesame seed oil and a bit more soy sauce to taste

Strain the stock to remove the vegetables etc

5.       To serve:

Place the rice noodles into serving bowls, sprinkle over any leftover steamed cabbage and place on the dumplings.

Carefully pour the stock over the noodles and dumplings

Courgette, Sugar Snap and Mango Stir Fry

10 Jun

Courgette, Sugar Snap and Mango Stir Fry






The Ingredients

1 onion

Pinch of dried chilli flakes/1 small fresh chilli (deseeded)

1 tsp Thai green curry paste

1 courgette

Handful of sugar snaps

1 small mango

Vermicelli noodles or mung bean noodles

1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil

Gluten free soy sauce

~1tbsp Sweet chilli sauce

Squeeze of lime juice

Sesame seeds


The recipe:

Cook noodles according to packet instructions

Thinly slice the onion and fresh chilli (if you’re using fresh chilli)

Heat oil in a wok and add onion, chilli and Thai green curry paste. Sauté until onion softens (~2-3 mins)

Thinly slice courgette.  Add to the wok along with the sugar snaps.  Cook for ~3 mins

Add a large splash of soy sauce and allow to reduce for a couple of minutes

Add the cooked noodles to the wok and toss through with the veg

Add toasted sesame oil and sweet chilli sauce and toss through the noodles

Just before serving add slices of mango and a squeeze of lime juice

To serve:

In bowls, with a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top.  Add extra soy sauce to taste if required.