An update on the solo garlic…

IMG_3679.JPGIt is great, the flavour is great and the ease of it is even better!

If you choose to roast the bulbs however, they are sooooo tasty, but, pierce the skin in some way first before putting them in the oven, otherwise it will explode ALL over your (newly cleaned!!!!!!!) oven!

That’s what the bang was yesterday…..! 😳

How I got my son to eat spinach!!!

IMG_4061.JPGI didn’t plan this! I didn’t suddenly think I needed to write a series of ways to get vegetables into husbands and children, it has just occurred in my kitchen this week…hence the less than fabulous photos of these beauties! If I’d planned it I would have allowed more time to get some better shots but this is all I could grab before they were eaten.

So yesterday, I made Dimple’s spinach theplas, I’ve wanted to make these for a while now and I had a bag of spinach to be used up in the fridge, so, hey presto: green flatbreads!

These are packed with spices and flavour and a great addition to our mezze last night. We had a table packed with five different dips, homemade garlic mayo, roasted cauliflower and potatoes, and marinated chicken for the boys, so a real mix of cuisines and flavours. Again…apologies for the rubbish photo…

IMG_4063.JPG
Ben took one look and asked what the breads were and I refused to answer until he’d tried one. He tried it and liked it and then I told him, and happily, he continued to eat it, quite amazed that spinach could taste so nice!

Yay! Big up Dimple, a winner!!!

IMG_4065.JPGThis was my plate, a selection of my dips with one of the theplas – LOVELY!!!!

How I got my husband to eat pumpkin!

IMG_4052.JPG
Having made my first peri peri spice mix this week…

IMG_2313.JPG…I wanted to test it out, so I threw some over some pumpkin that I had bought at the market and roasted it to see how the flavour was (this is how I test new spice mixes, I throw some over chopped vegetables along with some olive oil and roast them to see what it all tastes like). The peri peri is quite hot for me, as in chilli hot, but I knew my husband would like it. I’d never get him eating chunks of pumpkin though, I’ve got him eating lots more vegetables nowadays, he loves the roasted brussel sprouts and all of my various roasted cauliflower dishes, but I didn’t think he’d go for that one but I knew he’d like the spice mix..so what to do….? Yes, you got it, I turned it all into a dip!

IMG_4029.JPG
I added some tahini sauce (tahini, lemon juice & water) I had already made and scraped all of the spices in from the oven tray with the pumpkin, added some roasted garlic, and blended it to a thick dip and offered it to him one night with his cheese omelette and mini roast potatoes.

The conclusion was a big thumbs up, he liked it a lot, and still liked it even when I told him it was pumpkin!!

IMG_4050.JPG
He’s eating so many more vegetables nowadays, I love it! He even raves about roasted cauliflower to the guys at work (I keep getting phone calls from him to ask how to cook it to be able to tell them!!) and he loves having various dips with whatever meal he’s eating, so it’s a perfect way to get those veggies in him :) I just absolutely love it!!!!

Now to get more into Ben…ah, the challenge…;)

So, I’m bringing you and the lovely party goers of this week’s Fiesta Friday my BREAKTHROUGH peri peri pumpkin dip. I urge you to go along and enjoy this week’s get together with our wonderful co hosts, the fabulous Naina from Spice in the City, a blog you must visit, and the one and only gorgeous Prudy from Butter Basil and Breadcrumbs, a beautiful, wonderful soul who keeps proclaiming she can’t bake them tempts us all with her fabulous cakes and puddings!!!

See you at the party blog friends xx

Solo garlic

IMG_7155.JPGI often think about the marketing power we all have with our blogs; how often have you read recipes or about products on a blog and gone and bought them? I know I’ve done it, lots of times, that’s why I have so many new and varied ingredients in my cupboards, that’s why I’ve tried lots of new ingredients. I love the sharing and inspiration we all create with our musings and our experiments – we can each affect and inspire one another with our enthusiasm. I love it! You can’t bottle that! And I love that it is just driven by sheer enthusiasm and joy.

And so, I love reading Selma’s monthly ‘in my kitchen‘ posts; I love peering into her world and seeing the wonderful things in her kitchen. She has such fabulous taste, she could surely sell everything ten times over!

IMG_3676.JPGLast month she featured some ‘solo’ garlic; single clove garlic bulbs that she bought in a Lidl supermarket in London. As I spend sooooooo much time peeling garlic cloves I really fancied trying these but assume it would be something eclectic only available in London..

We have a couple of Lidl supermarkets where I live and I happened to find myself opposite one last week so popped in and was overjoyed – literally – to find this garlic. I bought two little baskets of it along with lots of other goodies, including the winter squash I posted about yesterday, and lots of nuts and seeds and dried fruits, they have some great stuff available, and all without the huge mindwashingness of the huge supermarket chains that I try and steer clear of.

I had great fun!! Check it out if you have a Lidl near you ;)

IMG_3679.JPG

IMG_7154.JPG

Winter Squash…

IMG_3786.JPGLast week I came across these beauties…I think they’re winter squash anyway…

IMG_3937.JPGI chopped them into wedges and roasted them sprinkled with olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika & chilli flakes and strewn with whole garlic cloves.

IMG_3939.JPGI thoroughly enjoyed them across a couple of days, on their own one day and drizzled with tahini sauce and teamed with my jalfrezi potato dip another. So tasty! Such a find :)

IMG_3941-0.JPG

IMG_3790.JPG

IMG_3846.JPGYum yum yum!!!!

Spicing it up!

IMG_3859.JPGI’ve been busy putting together spice mixes today, creating my own mixes of spices based on the flavours we all enjoy. I particularly use the creole and fajita mixes a lot at the moment but the others will be added to all sorts of vegetables for roasting and infusing their flavours into my favourite veggies, and for adding into dips too, and used to marinade chicken for my boys.

I also made some to send out to people that have requested to try some, so fingers crossed they like them!

If you’ve got the inclination (plus several cupboards full of spices like I have!) have some fun making up your own mixes. This way you ensure that your mixes are free of preservatives, and sugar and anything else that doesn’t really need to be there, you can also control the salt levels and chilli levels.

I will also be posting some of my typical spice mixes for roasting various vegetables soon – foodbod spices mixes (yay!!) – but for now, four typical spice mixes…perfect ways to add flavour to any dishes, packed with health benefits too…

IMG_3902.JPGFirst, a Moroccan spice blend

Cumin 21g
Paprika 20g
Dried onion 15g
Dried garlic 15g
Roasted coriander 10g
Salt 5g
Black pepper 5g
Cinnamon 3g
Coriander leaf 2g
Ground coriander 2g
Turmeric 2g
Fenugreek 1g
Fennel seed 1g
Nutmeg 1g
Allspice 1g
Cumin 1g
Cayenne 1g
Rosemary 1g
Basil 1g
Oregano 1g
Thyme 1g

You could include mint and cloves but I didn’t as I don’t like either so don’t have any!

IMG_3900.JPGA Peri Peri spice mix

Dried Chillies 28g
Dried Onion 10g
Garlic Granules 8g
Black Pepper 7g
Salt 5g
Chilli Powder 4g
Bay Leaves 4g
Dried Lemon 4g
Paprika 2g
Basil 1g
Ground Coriander 1g

If you can find it you can include dried orange peel. For my dried lemon juice and peel, I milled some of the dried lemons that Mum brought me from Abu Dhabi.

IMG_3901.JPGA Taco/fajita seasoning

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

IMG_3915.JPGA Creole seasoning

2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
5 tablespoons paprika (I mixed paprika and smoke paprika)
3 tablespoons salt

They all include salt and it’s a personal choice whether you include it or not; I reduced the amounts in my mixes; likewise, amend the amount of chilli in each mix to suit your tastes.

With the requirement of roasted ground coriander in the Moroccan blend, I roasted some coriander seeds then milled them in my Nutribullet. I roasted some cumin seeds at the time for use in other recipes.

IMG_3920.JPGThe smell in the kitchen was wonderful as the seeds roasted and I’ve already added them into various dishes :)

Enjoy!

Another newbie: roasted tomato and garlic homous

IMG_3764.JPGI’ve been thinking about a ‘tomato homous’ for a while; I love roasted tomatoes and couldn’t remember ever trying a tomato based homous so wondered how a marriage of the two might turn out…and it’s a winner!

Imagine the beautiful flavour of baby plum tomatoes, roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper, and all of the gorgeous juices that creates, plus whole roasted garlic cloves, all blended with chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice…aaahhh….pure joy…. :)

IMG_3727.JPG

IMG_3728.JPGI started with an oven tray full of baby plum tomatoes and whole garlic cloves, drizzled in olive oil and well seasoned…

IMG_3734.JPG…roasted until they look like this!

I scraped everything from the oven tray to ensure that all of the juices and oil were included, peeled the garlic cloves, then blended it all up together…

IMG_3757.JPG…still keeping it a bit chunky, then added some plain homous that I’d already made up…

IMG_3760.JPG…and it came out FABULOUS!!!

IMG_3761.JPG

Sometimes it’s just worth giving things a go, you never know what magic you’ll create!

IMG_3768.JPG

IMG_3766.JPGThis is a definite winner in my house, with everyone :) yum!!!