Chilli & Red Pepper Chutney – Recipe

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This lovely chutney is easy to make and a delicious combination of sweet red pepper and spicy chillies. Leave some of the chilli seeds in for extra heat if you wish. A very tasty accompaniment to cheese or meat. Makes about 3 large jars or several small!

Ingredients

  • 8-10 fresh red chillies
  • 8 red peppers
  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 stick cinnamon (about 5cm)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 150ml balsamic vinegar

Directions

Blacken your chillies and red peppers in a griddle pan or under a hot grill. Remove and place in a bowl covered with cling film to cool.

Once cool, remove skins, stalks and seeds and blend in a food processor. Set aside.

Saute the onions, rosemary, bay leaves and cinnamon slowly in a pan until onions are caramelised (at least 20 minutes).

Add the pepper and chilli mixture to the onions, along with the brown sugar and vinegar. Combine well and continue cooking until the liquid evaporates and you’re left with a sticky chutney. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon. Season well to taste.

Put into sterilised jars and leave to cool. Store in a cool, dark place. If in jars, they should last for a couple of months.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver.

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Shakshuka – Recipe

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My idea of breakfast heaven, I first encountered shakshuka in Egypt. This is an unctuous and spicy one-pan dish of braised eggs, peppers, tomatoes, cumin, harissa, garlic and chilli, similar to the Turkish menemen or Mexican huevos rancheros. Shakshouka means ‘mixture’ in Arabic slang and the dish is thought to have originated in Tunisia. I’ve adapted this recipe from Ottolenghi and added chorizo, red onion and spinach for added depth. Other tasty additions could be feta or other salted sheep’s cheeses, other spicy sausages such as merguez, or preserved lemon or olives. Delicious with crusty white toast. Serves 4-6.

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Ingredients

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp harissa paste
  • 2 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 large red peppers, diced
  • Diced chorizo as desired
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 4 medium to large free-range eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful of roughly chopped coriander leaves

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add red onion and sauté until softened (about 10 minutes).

Add the harissa, tomato puree, peppers, garlic, cumin and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir and cook over a moderate heat until peppers are softened (about 8 minutes). Add the tomatoes, spinach and chorizo and simmer for a further 10 minutes until you have a thick sauce. Season to taste.

Make four wells in the sauce. Gently break an egg into each. Use a fork to swirl the egg whites with some sauce, but try not to break the yolks.

Simmer gently, covered for 8-10 minutes until the whites are set but yolks still runny.

Remove from heat and serve on individual plates with toast and some labneh or yoghurt if desired.

Chai Spiced Banana Walnut Bread – Recipe

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This is a light and fragrant tea loaf with flavours of spiced chai. Reminiscent of my travels in India and a good way to use up overripe bananas.

ingredients

113g unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
225g plain white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 ripe mashed bananas
135g sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
50g chopped walnuts

Instructions

Preheat oven to 175C degrees. Grease a loaf tin with non-stick cooking spray (I use Dr Oetker). Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat gently until just combined. Add bananas, sour cream and vanilla and mix on low speed until just combined. Gently stir in nuts. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake until deep golden brown and cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, 60-70 minutes. Let rest in pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely.

Beef Rendang – Recipe

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Inspired by my travels to Indonesia, this is a spicy, fragrant caramelised beef stew. Originating as a ceremonial dish of the Minangkabau people, rendang is now ubiquitous in the region, served at roadside stalls and padang restaurants with rice, egg and cassava leaf. Allow at least 2 hours for cooking. Serves 6.

The Galloping Gastronaut at Prambanan hindu temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The Galloping Gastronaut at Prambanan hindu temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Ingredients

  • 2 lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium red onions, quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 25g fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 75g chunk galangal , peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 red chillies, roughly chopped (do not deseed)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1.5kg braising beef, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves (or 8 dried)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper

Directions

  • Blend the lemongrass, onions, garlic, ginger, galangal and chillies to a fine paste in a food processor.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and fry the paste gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook for two minutes.
  • Add the beef to the pan and stir to coat.
  • Cook for five minutes until the meat is very lightly browned.
  • Pour the coconut milk and 400ml water into the casserole. Add the lime leaves, cinnamon stick, sugar, tamarind paste, soy sauce and salt and bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the sauce is very thick (stir occasionally throughout). The coconut milk will reduce to form an unctuous stew. Season to taste.
  • Extract the lime leaves and cinnamon stick before serving. Serve with jasmine rice (I add a little coconut milk to mine), steamed greens and sambal oelek.