In this bowl is a salad I made recently topped with a newly created dip/sauce and sprinkled with some dried barberries and za’atar.
For the salad, I chopped fresh coriander and parsley with garlic and sunblush semi dried tomatoes. I stirred in some olive oil and seasoning as well as some ground roasted cumin seeds, before mixing it with quinoa cooked my way.
To make the sauce/dip, I blended soft white cooked beans with buttermilk, tahini, lemon juice and garlic until I got a consistency and flavour that I liked.
Sorry for the lack of weights and measures but I do tend to just throw things together!
Sometimes my meals are literally a result of opening the fridge and cupboard and seeing what can be thrown into a pan and made into something fabulous…right now, this is a perfect way to use what might be hiding in your fridge or cupboard.
Spices are a real gift right now, they can brighten up any meal, they can take any ingredient for zero to hero in a short sprinkle…check out my ‘pimp your veg’ section for ideas of where to start…
This pan pretty much had a handful of everything I had that needed using up, including previously roasted garlic, aubergine and tomatoes. With some homemade harissa and a herby mixture thrown over the top. Use whatever sauces or pastes you can find in your cupboard, veg from your freezer, things that need using up..
I topped mine with goats cheese and toasted flaked almonds but you could also use it as a topper for grains, alongside eggs, or the protein of your choice…now is the time to get creative, see what you can rustle up!!
If you’d like more ideas, check out my recipe index and tags or let me know if I can help..stay safe xx
Having recently fallen in love with marmite peanut butter and used it in some recipes, I decided to see what I could create of my own version.
Please note: Making nut butters requires a sturdy food processor as it can take some time for the nuts to ‘give’ and become a paste. It’s easy for motors to get burnt out!
For this concoction, I roasted some cashew nuts myself, then kept a portion back to be able to add them later and keep some crunch in the mixture. I also needed to add some oil to loosen the mix so I used a relatively flavourless rapeseed oil.
Be warned if you do make this, it’s very tasty!!! And very easy to eat 😄😄😄😄
400g roasted cashew nuts
In a blender, start blending 300g of the nuts. It will take quite a while before it starts to become a paste, 5-10 minutes. Add 2-3 teaspoons of marmite once then nuts do become a paste, the amount will depend on your tastes.
You may find that the added marmite stiffens the mixture, so this is when to drizzle in some oil to loosen it again.
Next add the remaining nuts and blend briefly to create a crunchy finish.
If you prefer a smooth paste, add all of the nuts at the beginning.
Use as you would marmite peanut butter, or any nut butter or spread.
I did the same with some roasted hazelnuts…which worked equally well!
This dish was one of those creations that starts off in one direction then takes on another, which is why I probably can’t really call it a ‘curry’, although that was the base. The addition of the marmite peanut butter (yes it’s a thing, and it’s SOOOOOO GOOD!) added a perfect extra flavour and texture to the dish at the end of cooking. If you don’t have access to this product, use standard peanut butter and add some marmite or an alternative umami flavouring that you like, or just the peanut butter.
I pre cooked the aubergines to ensure that they were fully cooked and as meltingly soft as they should be – in my view, very few things are worse than uncooked chunks of aubergine in a dish!
3 small aubergines, roasted whole (below)
12 baby plum tomatoes
1 small red onion peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons of tomato purée
200-300ml thin coconut milk
2-3 heaped tablespoons marmite peanut butter
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp chilli powder
Option: I also added some leftover whole roasted garlic cloves that I had previously roasted.
To roast the aubergines, prick the skins in several places, place them on an oven tray and roast at 200C/400F until they soften and collapse. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
In a large pan, heat some oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and mustard seeds to the pan and cook until the onion softens. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, add the cumin seeds and chilli powder and cook briefly.
Add the tomato purée and coconut milk. Stir well and cook for a few minutes.
Roughly chop the aubergines and add them and the whole tomatoes to the pan, add the peanut butter and keep stirring as the heat allows it to soften and spread through the mixture. This is when the sauce will thicken up and the real flavour will develop.
Turn the heat down and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Serve immediately with rice or grains, or allow it to sit for several hours or days to develop flavour.
This dish was a result of opening my spice cupboards, breathing in the aromas, and going with my instincts to create a dish I knew I would enjoy. It’s been a while since I played with my Spice Kitchen masala dabba spice tin, and it was a joy to revisit it..
Small/medium cauliflower, cut into even florets
500g passata/sieved tomatoes
Medium red onion, peeled and chopped
3 fat garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato purée
2 healed tablespoons of ground almonds/almond flour
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
2 tsp Garam masala spice mix
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground chilli powder or to taste
Options: add vegetables of your choice, chunks of boiled potatoes can add some substance if necessary
Heat your oven to 200C/400F, spread the cauliflower florets on a large oven tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast until browned and softened without cooked so much that it’s falling apart. Keep to one side until needed.
In a large pan over a medium heat, warm some rapeseed oil, or oil of your choice, briefly. Add the mustard seeds, when they start to pop, add the chopped red onion. Cook for a few minutes until it starts to soften.
Add the chopped garlic, cook for a 1-2 minutes.
Add all of the spices except the the Garam masala and cook together for 1-2 minutes without burning the spices. Add the passata and tomato purée and stir well. Swish out the passata container with 100-200ml of water and add that to the pan. Stir it all well.
Turn the heat down, cover to save on splattering, and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the Garam masala and stir through, then add the ground almonds, stir through and cook for a further 5-10 minutes to thicken. Cook for longer for a thicker sauce, less for thinner.
Add the cauliflower florets and cover them all with the sauce and cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover the pan and allow the flavours to develop for several hours, or a couple of days even, before heating and serving.
Eat on it’s own as a complete dish, or with rice, grains or lovely flatbreads.
Sometimes when you want a lovely tasty healthy meal but it’s the end of the week and you’re down to store cupboard options, all you need is some passata and spices to create a yummy thick kind of soup!
I emptied a carton of passata (sieved tomatoes) into a pan, added garlic powder, onion powder, roasted ground cumin, ground paprika, chilli powder and Mexican oregano, and a good glug of olive oil. I let it simmer and bubble (well covered as it spit everywhere!) for 10 minutes to develop the flavours.
I then served it up with a topping of chopped spring onions, grated cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Once again, I put another random mix of ingredients in the blender to see what it would create!
This was raw courgette, spinach, fresh flat leaf parsley, fresh coriander, wild garlic leaves and garlic cloves, olive oil, peas, preserved lemons, ground cumin, coriander and caraway seeds, paprika powder, salt and pepper.
It was good as a dip, and even better when mixed with some leftover cooked grains later in the week. And then I took them and added some to some sourdough dough and baked it into a filled roll. Leftovers are the best!
For the sourdough details visit my site, otherwise have fun blending up whatever greenery you find.
I’ve been washing and chopping and blending and tasting today and thought it was way beyond time that I share some of my recent concoctions…
This morning I was very excited to discover wild garlic leaves coming up in the secret place that I found it growing locally last year. I came home from walking Bob with some fresh leaves and added them to some of today’s creations.
I didn’t weigh and measure things but I can tell you what went into them..
Roasted butternut squash and sweet potato with chopped fresh leaf parsley and coriander, baby spinach leaves, garlic cloves, chopped spring onions, ground roasted cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice
Peas, chopped fresh leaf parsley and coriander, wild garlic leaves, garlic clove, ground cumin, coriander and caraway seeds, sumac, Aleppo chilli flakes, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Lovely eaten with some grains and tahini & buttermilk sauce 🙂
A huge bag of baby spinach leaves, a couple of garlic cloves, ground roasted cumin, seasoning, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. I sometimes add spring onions this mix, and various spices
Roasted butternut squash flesh, homemade harissa, tahini and lemon juice
Peas, wild garlic leaves, tahini and lemon juice
Homemade harissa, buttermilk and tahini
All to be eaten with some lovely sourdough of course!