Destination Mexico on The Spice Trail

mexican month

This month’s Spice Trail is a little bit different. Instead of celebrating an individual spice, we are celebrating a specific cuisine, and that cuisine is Mexican.

Mexican cookery is well known for its big flavours and exciting use of fresh, vibrant ingredients and bold spices like chilli, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. The basic staple ingredients of this South American country might be beans, corn and peppers but the food of Mexico is as complex and varied as any of the world’s greatest cuisines. From our old favourite chilli con carne and the classic mole sauce to sensational street foods and hearty, slow-cooked soups and stews.

If you love Mexican food as much as I do, then this month’s challenge is the challenge for you. I wait with eager anticipation to see what delights you bring to our Mexican table.

Win a Gran Luchito gift set

gran luchito gift set

If the sheer joy of sharing your passion for Mexican food wasn’t enough to entice you, I also have a brilliant prize for this month’s winner from the generous folk at Gran Luchito, who happen to know a thing or two about authentic Mexican food.

Gran Luchito offer a taste of Oaxaca rarely tasted outside of Mexico, a smoky deep flavour from the back country hills of the Mixes. Their range includes a smoked chilli paste, a smoked chilli mayo and a smoked chilli honey. One lucky winner, chosen by a guest judge from Gran Luchito, will receive a gift set containing samples of each of these delicious products.

How to enter The Spice Trail

spice trail badge square

  • Display the The Spice Trail badge (above and also available here) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post.
  • Up to three recipe links accepted per blogger, so long as they each one has a Mexican theme and features at least one spice.
  • Feel free to link up recipe posts from your archive, but please add the information about this challenge to the post and The Spice Trail badge.
  • Send your recipe URL to me at vanesther-at-reescommunications-dot-co-dot-uk, including your own email address and the title of your recipe or post. The closing date this month is Monday 28 April 2014.
  • If you tweet your post, please mention #TheSpiceTrail and me @BangerMashChat in your tweet and I’ll retweet each one I see.
  • As entries come in, links to these will be added to the bottom of this page.
  • At the end of the month a guest judge will choose a winning recipe and the winner this month will receive a gift set from Gran Luchito.
  • The winner will be announced in a monthly round-up of all the entries.
  • Entries from bloggers all around the world are accepted, but unfortunately the prize can only be shipped to a UK address.
  • All entries will be added to The Spice Trail Pinterest Board.

I’m really looking forward to seeing your Mexican dishes. Any questions, please tweet or email me.

And thanks to everyone who entered March’s ginger challenge – I’ll be posting the recipe round-up and winner announcement very soon.

April’s entries

  1. Chicken Villa-jitas from Spurs Cook
  2. Easy Homemade Nacho Chips from Drizzling Delicacies
  3. Bean Enchiladas from My Kitchen Odyssey
  4. Sweet Potato, Zucchini and Olive Quesadillas from Green Gourmet Giraffe
  5. Home Made Red Enchiladas Sauce with Roasted Tomatoes from Home Cook Food
  6. Soy Chorizo and Vegetables Enchiladas from Home Cook Food
  7. 15 Beans Vegetarian Chili from Home Cook Food
  8. Holy Mole! from The Fig Tree
  9. Partridge with Chilli and Chocolate Sauce from Pebble Soup
  10. Guacomole with a Twist for the Umpteenth Time from Nasifriet
  11. Cheater Tlacoyos with Nopales (Cactus) from The Taste Space
  12. Mexican Spiced Chocolate Orange Cake from Cakes From Kim
  13. Chilli con Carne from Julie’s Family Kitchen
  14. Vegan Mexican Tamale Pies from Allotment 2 Kitchen
  15. Black Bean Soup & Chilli Baked Feta from Bangers & Mash
  16. Sweet Potato Salsa from Nasifriet
  17. Mexican Smoked Chilli Energy Bars from Chocolate Log Blog
  18. Mexican ‘Tortilla’ Bake from Farmersgirl Kitchen
  19. Queso Fundido from Bangers & Mash
  20. Mexican Oil Dip from The Garden Deli
  21. Moreish Mexican Fish Tortillas from What the Cook
  22. Healthy But Hearty Chilli Con Carne from What the Cook
  23. Queso Fresca from Lapin d’Or and More
  24. Holy Moly Guacamole! from Eat Your Veg

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The Spice Trail: cooking with ginger

cooking with ginger

This month our trip along The Spice Trail takes us to the Land of Ginger. But our destination could be just about anywhere on the planet. From gingerbread men to ginger beer, from curries to cakes, ginger is an ingredient used the whole world over. And that’s precisely why I am so excited about seeing your ginger-inspired dishes, as who knows what you might come up with.

Fresh or dried, preserved in syrup or crystallised, ginger must surely be one of our most popular spices and is used in savoury and sweet dishes in equal measure. As usual, I turn to the Leon book of Ingredients & Recipes to see what they have to say on the subject of ginger…

Zingiber officinale is a rhizome that was indigenous to South East Asia before the Chinese made it world-wide popular. A natural remedy, specifically for warding off colds, most of the power is concentrated in the outermost 2mm, so best not to peel, just give it a good wash and as long as it’s good and fresh you can grate it just like that. Elizabeth David used to swear by keeping it in foil in the fridge but I think our supply and fridges are better these days. Ferocious in its intensity, historically ginger has been used in many ways, both medicinal and culinary, savoury and sweet. A vital part of all Asian cooking, it was being ground and transported to Europe by the Romans, but more for health reasons. It wasn’t for about another 1,000 years that it started to be used in cookery, but then things really took off (candied ginger became a favourite ingredient in medieval England.) Good for dodgy tums, as well as clearing the paths and passages in your body.

But what I really want to know is, what’s your favourite way to cook with ginger?

Win a set of spice tins from Dotcomgiftshop

This month’s winner of The Spice Trail challenge will be lucky enough to receive a gorgeous set of six Pantry Design spice tins, thanks to the kind people at Dotcomgiftshop.

spice tins

Dotcomgiftshop is home to delightfully quirky, often kitsch but always stylish gifts. Designed and sourced by their in-house team, they offer a large range of stylish home accessories, as well as cute gifts to suit every personality. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, planning a wedding, or simply want to treat yourself to something fabulous, you won’t fail to find what you’re looking for. With an eclectic mix of products, spread out across a simple to navigate website, it’s easy to find gift inspiration at Dotcomgiftshop.

How to enter The Spice Trail

spice trail badge square

  • Display the The Spice Trail badge (above and also available here) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post.
  • You may enter as many recipe links as you like, so long as they feature this month’s key ingredient, ginger.
  • Send your recipe URL to me at vanesther-at-reescommunications-dot-co-dot-uk, including your own email address and the title of your recipe or post. The closing date this month is Friday 28 March 2014.
  • If you tweet your post, please mention #TheSpiceTrail and me @BangerMashChat in your tweet and I’ll retweet each one I see.
  • Feel free to republish old recipe posts, but please add the information about this challenge and The Spice Trail badge.
  • As entries come in, links to these will be added to the bottom of this page.
  • At the end of the month a guest judge will choose a winning recipe and the winner this month will receive a set of spice tins from Dotcomgiftshop.
  • The winner will be announced in a monthly round-up of all the entries.
  • All entries will be added to The Spice Trail Pinterest Board.

So what ginger goodies will you come up with for this month’s Spice Trail? Any questions, please tweet or email me.

And thanks to everyone who entered February’s caraway challenge – you’ll find the round-up of recipes here.

March’s entries

  1. Chicken in Ginger and Spring Onion Sauce from The Spicy Pear
  2. Methi Vegetable Malai from Home Cook Food
  3. Baked Sea Bass with Ginger, Garlic & Chilli and Miso Rice from Bangers & Mash
  4. Kala Chana Aur Methi Curry from Home Cook Food
  5. Apricot, Gingers & Pecan Breakfast Bars from The Hedge Combers
  6. Chicken & Veggie Chow Mein from Eat Your Veg

  7. Ginger Parkin from Mamacook
  8. Carrot, Ginger & Pumpkin Soup from Mamacook
  9. Gingerbread Men from Mamacook
  10. Sugar Free Date & Ginger Muffins from Mamacook
  11. Quick Ginger Biscuits from Mamacook
  12. Lettuce Wrapped Pork from Mamacook
  13. Spicy Chickpeas from Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous
  14. Tomato & Lentil Soupy Broth from Slice Off Me
  15. Goan Shrimp Curry from Cooking for Kishore
  16. Chickpea & Kabocha Squash Lemongrass Curry from The Taste Space
  17. Curried Carrot Soup from Recipes From A Pantry
  18. Mushrooms, Tamarind, Ginger and Spice from Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous
  19. Spiced Teacakes from The Garden Deli
  20. Slow Cooked Pork in Tonkatsu Sauce (Japanese Barbecue Sauce) from Searching for Spice
  21. Ginger Simnel Cupcakes from The Lass in the Apron
  22. Lamb Kofta Curry from My Golden Pear
  23. Coconut & Ginger Cake Pops from Chocolate Log Blog
  24. Speculoos Ice Cream from Edible Things
  25. Broccoli Ginger Stir Fry from Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous
  26. Fresh Ginger Cake from The Fig Tree
  27. Dutch Ginger Cake Squares from Family – Friends – Food
  28. Ginger Cookies from Family – Friends – Food
  29. Ginger Wine Zabaglione with Mango from Lapin d’Or and More
  30. Homemade Pickled Ginger for Sushi from Vohn’s Vittles
  31. Steamed Crispy Shanghai Bok Choy in Ginger Garlic Sauce from Nasifriet @ By The Way
  32. Gingerade from Edible Things
  33. Ginger Chutney from The Odd Pantry
  34. Soy & Ginger Glazed Salmon & Courgette Kebabs from Eat Your Veg

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March’s Family Foodies challenge: fab fast food


Wanted: your Fab Fast Food for the Family Foodies challenge!

While I am of course rather prone to abundant alliteration, my real reasons for choosing this month’s theme for the Family Foodies challenge are entirely selfish.

I have an urgent, personal need for your suggestions for super speedy suppers and fabulously fast family food. For the next couple of months I am upping my working hours by combining two part-time, in-house jobs and, if I stand any chance of sitting down with my family for evening meals, I’ll need a tried-and-tested list of quick and easy meals up my sleeve that can be rustled up in a matter of minutes.

So speed is of the essence in this challenge – anything that can be cooked in 30 minutes or less is perfect – but it’s also got to be tasty and appealing, and if you can squeeze in the odd healthy ingredient or two, then so much the better.

Up for the challenge? Simply post your favourite fast family foods on your own blog and link up to this post before the end of the month. I’ll be eternally grateful for your ideas, I promise you, but if that’s not enough of an incentive, there’s also the prospect of winning a copy of the Madhouse Cookbook by acclaimed food stylist, writer and presenter, Jo Pratt.

mad house cookbook

Family Foodie Entry Guidelines:

  • You may submit any recipe on your blog that fits this month’s theme, new or from the archive, and feel free to enter as many times as you wish. You’re also welcome to submit the post to other challenges too. If the recipe is not your own, please give the appropriate credit.
  • Send your recipe URL to me at vanesther-at-reescommunications-dot-co-dot-uk, including your own email address and the title of your recipe or post. The closing date this month is Friday 28 March 2014.
  • Display the Family Foodies badge (below) on your recipe post, with a link back to both Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash, as well as details of this month’s challenge.
  • If you’re on Twitter, then please tweet your post to myself @BangerMashChat and Lou @Eat_Your_Veg and include the hashtag #FamilyFoodies. We’ll retweet all that we see.
  • You may enter from anywhere in the blogosphere, but prizes can only be posted out to UK addresses.
  • At the end of the month a guest judge will choose a winning recipe. The winner will be announced in a monthly round-up of all the entries. Winners will get to display a Family Foodie Winner annotated badge on their blog if they wish and their recipe will go through to the Family Foodies Hall of Fame on each of our sites.
  • All entries will be added to the Family Foodies Pinterest Group Board.

I really can’t wait to see your entries for March’s Family Foodies. I know I say that at the end of every challenge post but I really, really mean it this month. Otherwise my children might well be surviving on beans on toast in the coming months…

March’s entries

  1. Methi Vegetable Malai from Home Cook Food
  2. Spaghetti with Mushroom, Spinach & Pancetta Sauce from Julie’s Family Kitchen
  3. Baked Sea Bass with Ginger, Garlic & Chilli and Miso Rice from Bangers & Mash
  4. Kala Chana Aur Methi Curry from Home Cook Food
  5. Spicy Chickpeas from Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous
  6. Chicken & Veggie Chow Mein from Eat Your Veg
  7. Stir-Fry on a Budget from Happiness is Homemade
  8. Zesty Tuna Pasta from Family – Friends – Food
  9. Gluten Free Pancakes from Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous
  10. Baked Rice with Spinach, Cannellini Beans and Eggs from Bangers & Mash
  11. Coco-Banana Freeze Bites from The Gluten Free Alchemist
  12. Mint and Coriander Leaves Paratha from Home Cook Food
  13. Creamy Pesto Pancetta, Peas and Mushrooms with Spirali Pasta from Julie’s Family Kitchen
  14. Bruschetta Pasta and Italian Platter from Home Cook Food
  15. Healthier Tuna Mayo from Eat Your Veg
  16. Beef and Broccoli Pasta from Elizabeth’s Kitchen
  17. Eggplant Rice from Home Cook Food
  18. Chicken Chow Mein from Lancashire Food
  19. Speedy Hot Dog Pasta from JibberJabberUK
  20. Chicken Soup with Rice from Bangers & Mash
  21. Quirky Quinoa Patties from Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous
  22. Naked Egg Inspired Pasta from Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous
  23. Gnocchi with Chorizo, Spinach and Tomato Sauce from Julie’s Family Kitchen
  24. Zesty Salmon Goujons from Feeding Boys
  25. Beef Noodle Soup from Searching for Spice

  26. French Toast Pizza Rolls from Family – Friends – Food
  27. Potato Quinoa Tikki from My Receipes
  28. Pan Fried Salmon and a Syrian Potato Salad from Farmersgirl Kitchen
  29. Bread Tarts from Eat Your Veg
  30. Bok Choy and Edamame Miso Stir Fry from The Taste Space
  31. Banana & Mincemeat Buns from Chocolate Log Blog
  32. Fresh Herb & Tapenade Flatbreads from How to Cook Good Food

The Spice Trail: your caraway recipes

carway Collage

We always receive such a diverse array of entries for The Spice Trail, and this month’s caraway challenge has been no exception.

Caraway is certainly one of the less commonly used spices used in our kitchens and this is reflected in the lower number of entries this month. But even so, I have been enormously impressed by all the delicious, and sometimes surprising, caraway dishes entered. Each and everyone is a winner in my eyes, although there can only be one winner – more on that later. For now it’s time to take a look through your caraway recipes…

caraway pretzels

Caraway Pretzels from GoodFoodSeeking

Jacqui from GoodFoodSeeking is working her way through a 1948 Good Housekeeping cookbook she inherited and is blogging as she goes. After seeing pretzels being made in the Great British Bake Off she rather fancied trying some herself and was delighted to come across a recipe in the Good Housekeeping cookbook as a German bake in the ‘world’ chapter. I think they look absolutely wonderful, especially with that sprinkling of caraway seeds on top.

heart shortbread

Dark Chocolate, Sea Salt & Caraway Shortbread Hearts from Tales from the Kitchen Shed

These shortbread hearts from Sarah at Tales from the Kitchen Shed are a perfect Valentine bake and look absolutely divine. I’ve never combined caraway with chocolate but it sounds like a wonderful match and, as I’m a sucker for salty-sweet foods, it’s a recipe I plan to try out very soon.


Kale & Caraway Crisps from Eat Your Veg

Lou from Eat Your Veg brings us these creative Kale and Caraway Crisps next. She says she often sautees kale or other greens as a side dish for Sunday lunch and throws in a generous pinch of caraway at the end. So when Lou was considering how to flavour her first ever batch of kale crisps, caraway was the obvious choice. “By heck they were good,” is Lou’s brilliant response to these surprisingly moreish, healthier-choice crisps.

pumpernickel tuile

Pumpernickel Tuiles from The Lass in the Apron

Although Alexandra from The Lass in the Apron disliked caraway as a youngster, it is one of those flavours that she has grown into over the years. After she graduated from pastry school, Alexandra worked in a German bakery where she  found herself eating lots of the stuff. Alexandra was keen to make something Scandinavian for this month’s Spice Trail and has adapted a havreflarn recipe, a sort of oat tuile, using caraway as well as cocoa and orange.  Don’t they look simply incredible?

spaghetti bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese from Bangers & Mash

I don’t always include caraway in my Bolognese. In fact every time I make spag bol the ingredients are different, all depending on my mood and what we have in the house. But caraway is a surprisingly good addition, and adds a beautifully intense and slightly sweet flavour to the sauce.

cauliflower cheese pasta bake
Cauliflower Cheese Pasta Bake from Spurs Cook

Martin from Spurs Cook has also used caraway to flavour a pasta dish, this time an ingenious hybrid of two classic comfort foods – pasta bake and cauliflower cheese. Also featuring leeks, red onion, garlic and bacon, I think this could rapidly turn into a family favourite in the Bangers & Mash household.

caraway and linseed bread
Caraway & Linseed Bread Bangers & Mash

I really should have baked rye bread for this month’s challenge, as it is of course the loaf synonymous with caraway, but I’m not sure I’d have persuaded the rest of my brood to eat rye bread just yet. I’ll be working on them. In the meantime, this caraway and linseed bread did go down very well, which is absolutely delicious served with soup or cold cuts and spread thickly with good, salty butter.

polish sausage sauerkraut
Polish Sausage & Sauerkraut Casserole with Beer from Lavender & Lovage

I find it impossible to look at this photograph from Karen at Lavender & Lovage of her Polish Sausage & Sauerkraut Casserole with Beer without drooling. This is my perfect kind of meal and I am just so thrilled Karen entered it into this month’s Spice Trail, as we really couldn’t have a caraway challenge without some sauerkraut in there. She made hers in the slow cooker but I know it will work just as well in my Aga or any conventional oven whacked right down low.

braised pig cheeks with carrot and parsnip mash
Braised Pig Cheeks from Bangers & Mash

Finally, I couldn’t run a caraway challenge without sharing (again) my Braised Pig Cheeks cooked slowly in red wine and vegetables and flavoured of course with caraway. It really is so good and is what I consider to be the ultimate in classy comfort food.

So there you have February’s fantastic recipe round-up. Huge thanks to everyone who entered their recipes; I have been genuinely inspired by your creativity with caraway!

And the winner is…

But who will take the crown as our caraway king or queen? That decision was made by Lara Light-McKelvaney from Bart Ingredients who are providing this month’s prize, a wonderful gift bag containing fabulous Bart’s goodies.

And Lara’s decision? It just had to go to Jacqui Gourlay from GoodFoodSeeking for her brilliant Caraway Pretzels, which Lara says look incredible. Congratulations to Jacqui – a very worthy winner, don’t you agree? A Bart Ingredients gift bag will be on its way to you very soon – enjoy!

bart spices

If you’d like to find out more about Bart Ingredients and shop online, do check out their new Bart Market, where all their products are now available, showcasing an impressive array of spice blends from around the world, spice infusions, individual herbs and spices and other associated cooking products. I feel like a child in a sweet shop whenever I’m on there!

Thanks again to everyone who got involved this month. March’s Spice Trail challenge will be announced very soon…

The Spice Trail: your favourite paprika recipes

Paprika Collage

Well, it seems I am not the only person who enjoys cooking with paprika. January’s Spice Trail challenge received a bumper bag of spicy paprika dishes, from bread and biscuits to meaty casseroles, tasty pasta, warming soups and a whole host of exciting vegetarian dishes. So let’s get this show on the road and take a look at this month’s round-up…

Cheese and Paprika biscuits

Savoury Cheese and Paprika Biscuits from Searching for Spice

Strong Cheddar cheese and paprika are a perfect match, as in these lovely savoury biscuits from Corina at Searching for Spice. Corina recently took these to a gathering at a friend’s house and, even though they weren’t the only cheesy biscuits on offer, hers were the first to go. I can see why!

vegetable burgers

Vegetable Burgers from The Crazy Kitchen

Helen from The Crazy Kitchen brings two dishes to this month’s paprika party. First up are her vibrant vegetable burgers, and while they might be cheap and cheerful, using a bag of frozen veg and a tin of baked beans as their main ingredients, I bet they taste a million dollars. The secret’s in the spicing, which features garam masala, chilli and fresh coriander as well as paprika.

veggie sausageless rolls

Veggie Sausageless Rolls from The Crazy Kitchen

Helen’s second entry come in the form of these cute little sausageless rolls, based on very similar ingredients to her vegetable burgers. As well as being beautifully spiced, these tempting little rolls are also an ideal way to sneak veggies into unsuspecting little ones. I know I’d have no arguments getting my girls to eat a plate of these.

couscous salad with chermoula dressing

Couscous Salad with Chermoula Dressing from Spices Galore

Gayathri from Spices Galore offers us this stunning couscous salad with a chermoula dressing, laden with gorgeous herbs and spices, such as cilantro, mint, cumin, coriander and, of course, lots of lovely paprika. This tasty salad has to be as good for you on this inside as it looks on the outside.

chermoula marinated halloumi

Chermoula Marinated Halloumi from Deena Kakaya

There’s more chermoula on the menu next, this time a sumptuous chermoula marinated halloumi from Deena Kakaya who I think is as much of an artist when it comes to preparing food as she is a cook. Her dishes always look incredible. The fresh Moroccan herb and spice mix sounds like a fabulous foil for the soft, salty halloumi and sweet apricot in this dish. As Deena says herself – lip-smacking!


Pan-fried Creole Cauliflower Fritters from Food to Glow

Paprika works wonderfully with cauliflower, as in this delightful Creole cauliflower fritters from Kellie at Food to Glow, which boasts no less than three types of paprika in its Creole blend seasoning. I’m really enjoying experimenting with cauliflower recipes at the moment, and these fritters are definitely next on my list to try.

Paprika and Cocoa Roasted Cauliflower

Paprika and Cocoa Roasted Cauliflower from Chocolate Log Blog

There’s more cauliflower up next from Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog and while I might be familiar with cauliflower teamed with paprika, throwing cocoa into the mix provides a much more unusual twist to the proceedings. But, of course, it wouldn’t be a Choclette recipe without a hint of chocolate in there somewhere. Cornish cauliflower is tossed in oil and dusted with Himalayan pink salt, black pepper, cocoa and paprika and simply roasted in the oven, resulting in a wonderful nutty flavour. I am absolutely intrigued and will have to try this out for myself very soon.

roasted brocolli

Roasted Broccoli with Toasted Almonds and a Smoky Paprika Dressing from Selma’s Table

Selma from Selma’s Table has also been roasting vegetables – this time we’re served some delicious roasted broccoli with toasted almonds and a sexy smoked paprika dressing. This would be an excellent side dish but I think it looks good enough to eat on its own, and the dressing also makes a great marinade for chicken or fish, or can be used to “perk up” potatoes.

Vegetarian Lasagne

Vegetarian Lasagne from Nomsies Kitchen

Ai Lin from Nomsies Kitchen offers us a hearty winter warmer with her tasty vegetarian lasagne. Doesn’t that cooked cheese look so good on top of all those succulent, spiced vegetables? Ever since a little girl, lasagne has been one of my favourite meals, and Ai Lin’s veggie version looks a real treat.

Paprika Mushroom Pie

Deep Paprika Mushroom and Butter Bean Pies from Allotment 2 Kitchen

Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen always makes beautiful pies and her rich and creamy mushroom and butter bean pie is no exception. Shaheen says she often makes paprika mushroom and potato pies but felt it was time to ring the changes and swapped the potato for butter beans, which she describes as “a lovely change from the stodge of the potatoes”. To be honest, I’d be more than happy eating either.

cheesy chickpea dip
Vegan Cheesy Chickpea Dip with Coconut Bacon from The Taste Space

I am totally intrigued by the coconut bacon topping this cheesy chickpea dip from Janet at The Taste Space; it’s something I’ve never come across before but does sound rather wonderful. Coconut flakes are flavoured with tamari (or soy sauce), liquid smoke, maple syrup and smoked paprika to create the wonderful smokey coconut bacon chips, which you can then use as a crunchy topping for all kinds of dips and I guess salads too. Janet’s chickpea dip sounds marvellous too.

fried eggs with paprika lapin d'or

Eggs and Paprika from Lapin d’Or and More

Lapin d’Or brings us not one, not two but three variations on eggs and paprika. As someone who could probably survive on eggs alone, I’m very happy about this. There’s paprika roast potatoes with fried egg, a classic egg mayonnaise spiced up with a good sprinkling of paprika, and eggs fried in bacon fat and seasoned with, well what else? Paprika.

roast cauliflower cheese soup

Roast Cauliflower Cheese Soup from Bangers & Mash

As I said earlier, paprika partners well with cauliflower and this pairing appears again here in my roast cauliflower cheese soup, a slightly different take on that winter warmer classic. And of course cheese and paprika is another winning combination, so this really is a bowl of comfort food at its best in my eyes.

chipotle black bean soupChipotle Black Bean Soup with Orange & Red Onion Salsa from Spices Galore

Gayathri from Spices Galore is back with another vibrant dish, this time a Mexican style black bean soup spiced with beautiful smoky chipotle chillies, paprika and cocoa – yes, another appearance! Served with a colourful orange and red onion salsa, this soup is as pleasing on the eye as I imagine it would be on the tastebuds.

spicy potatoes chorizo and sea bass

Spicy Potatoes, Chorizo and Peppers with Pan Fried Sea Bass from Julie’s Family Kitchen

This pan fried sea bass from Julie at Julie’s Family Kitchen brings us a fresh taste of summer despite the damp, chilly weather here in the UK right now. The Spanish style marriage of fish with chorizo and spices sounds just heavenly and a wonderful way to cheer up these grey days.

venison goulash

Venison Goulash with Herb Dumplings from Mrs Portly’s Kitchen

Think of paprika and one of the first dishes that comes to mind might well be a goulash. Linda from Mrs Portly’s Kitchen might not claim this to be an authentic Hungarian goulash perhaps, but it is extremely tasty and the perfect winter comfort food nonetheless. And I just love the sound of her light and fluffy herb dumplings.


Jacki’s Hungarian Goulash from Jacki Harrison-Stanley

Another helping of goulash next from Jacki Harrison-Stanley. As Jacki doesn’t blog herself, I volunteered to cook the recipe she entered into The Spice Trail and I can vouch for the fact this mildly spiced goulash with beautifully tender, slow cooked beef is a real crowd pleaser and my family scoffed the lot very happily.

pork fricassee

Easy Paprika Pork Fricassee from The Hedge Combers

This next dish, a pork fricassee from Janie at The Hedge Combers, is such a gregarious burst of colour on the plate, you know by looking at it how good it’s going make you feel and how good it’s going to taste. I think pork and paprika are perfect bed fellows but Janie reckons the smoked paprika sauce is also “man enough to stand up to a completely meat free dish”.

paprika beans and chorizo

Smoked Paprika Beans & Chorizo from Julie’s Family Kitchen

Julie from Julie’s Family Kitchen returns with another extremely pretty plate, this time smoked paprika beans and chorizo. The dish was inspired by a meal at an Italian restaurant, although after playing with the ingredients she has ended up with something a little more Spanish sounding. I love the way our experiments in the kitchen can do that sometimes.

chorizo and vegetable stromboli

Chorizo and Vegetable Stromboli from Utterly Scrummy Food for Families

Michelle from Utterly Scrummy presents us with another splendid splash of colour and another helping of chorizo in this glorious stromboli. I’d never heard of stromboli before but now understand it to be a “Swiss Roll type savoury filled bread thing” – Michelle’s words! The combination of soft, succulent roasted vegetables, herb, spices, oozy cheese and smoky chorizo sounds like heaven on a plate to me.

sausage stroganoff

Sausage Stroganoff from My Golden Pear

Having a slight penchant for sausages, you won’t be surprised that I’m rather taken with this sausage stroganoff from Angela at My Golden Pear. Sausages are a great budget alternative to more expensive cuts of meat when it comes to cooking stews and casseroles; the best quality sausages you can afford will always be cheaper than the equivalent weight of lamb or beef. As well as cheap, Angela’s stroganoff is also simple, quick, and tasty. Definitely my kind of food.


Pulled Pork with a Spicy Rub from Lavender & Lovage

I come over all Homer Simpson when I look at this incredible plate of pulled pork from Karen at Lavender & Lovage. Isn’t this just utterly droolsworthy? Karen says the secret to this recipe, which comes from the Ginger Pig Farmhouse Cookbook, is to use good quality free-range British pork, along with this delectable spicy rub made from a tantalising assortment of herbs, seasonings and spices, including mustard, garlic, chilli, cumin, celery and fennel seeds and, of course, smoked paprika.


Paprika Schnitzel from The Lass in the Apron

Here is another classic Hungarian paprika dish from Alexandra, aka The Lass in the Apron. Her fantastic veal schnitzels are served with a beautiful scarlet-hued sauce made from soured cream, onion and paprika, a trio common in Hungarian cookery. I haven’t eaten schnitzel for many years, but I think it is definitely time to remedy that and I think this might be just the recipe to try.

pork stroganoff thingy

Pork Stroganoff Kinda Thingy from Spurs Cook

Martin the Spurs Cook has brought another stroganoff to our paprika feast, featuring both sweet and smoked paprika and a whole host of fresh and dried herbs. I bet it tastes simply divine and just the kind of food I’m yearning for as the rain lashes our house here in Somerset.

sausage apple casserole

Sausage and Apple Casserole from JibberJabberUK

More sausages up next to keep me content, this time in the form of a wonderful sausage and apple casserole from Ness at JibberJabberUK. I love apples with my pork chops but I’ve never thought to add them to a sausage casserole, so I look forward to trying this out myself. And of course the paprika and wholegrain mustard in there help to make this a gorgeous winter warmer.

spicy sausage pasta

Spicy Sausage Pasta from Bangers & Mash

Yet more sausages on the menu, this time in a spicy sausage pasta from yours truly. This is one of my all-time favourite meals. It’s rich, tasty, spicy and incredibly easy to make. Perfect, in my eyes.


Chicken Paprika from My Golden Pear

Angela from My Golden Pear is treating us with another amazing paprika dish from her kitchen, along with more stunning photography. Her images always make me so hungry; I want to reach my hand into the computer screen and grab a taste. In Angela’s dish, succulent chicken thighs are coated in breadcrumbs, cheese, paprika and garlic, and then baked until golden and crispy.  She suggests they might be a kind of grown up version of chicken nuggets. Only so much more tempting.


Paprika and Parmesan Popcorn from Eat Your Veg

As I may well have said before, cheese and paprika go together very well, but I’ve never seen them brought together as flavouring for popcorn. But that’s exactly what Louisa from Eat Your Veg has done and the outcome sounds absolutely scrummy. I can’t wait to organise a movie night for my daughters and their friends so I can serve them some of this. I know they’re going to adore it.

paprika swirls

Sweet Paprika and Walnut Swirls from Tales from the Kitchen Shed

I wasn’t really expecting to receive any sweet entries to this month’s Spice Trail challenge, but are final two dishes provide a lovely sweet finale to our spicy paprika feast. These paprika and walnut swirls from Sarah at Tales from the Kitchen Shed look just gorgeous and are inspired by Hungarian Paprikas Kalacs, which translates as paprika bread. This traditional paprika bread is shaped like a Swiss roll and is flaky due to the high lard content. Sarah has cleverly adapted the idea, using her own sweet dough recipe, with a lovely tender crumb, as well as creating a sweet paprika flavoured sugar cream. I don’t believe I’ve ever tried paprika in a sweet dish but that’s about to change as I plan to make these pretty swirls very soon.

dark chocolate and paprika cookie

Dark Chocolate and Paprika Cookies from The Garden Deli

Last but most definitely not least, for the pudding course of our amazing paprika banquet, Sarah from The Garden Deli has baked us a big batch of these irresistibly naughty dark chocolate and paprika cookies. While I’m a big fan of chilli and chocolate, paprika and chocolate is a new one on me but I can imagine they taste fantastic together. Another recipe I will be having a go at very soon. And what a marvellous way to end our round-up.

This month’s winner

I was thrilled with the dishes entered for the paprika challenge, all of which look so delicious, and such a varied collection of dishes too. But there can only be one winner for this month’s Spice Trail. Or can there?

The winner is set to receive a very cool gift bag from the generous souls at The Cool Chile Co, and so I passed the tricky task of choosing a winner on to them. This is what Kelly from Cool Chile had to say:

“It was a really close call and we finally narrowed it down to two. So we would like to have two winners!

“The first winner is Food to Glow for her Pan-fried Creole Cauliflower Fritters. We really liked this recipe and loved the fact that the humble cauliflower was the star of the show. The idea of the crispy, crunchy cauliflower, with the well-balanced Creole seasoning, tucked in a soft bun with crispy lettuce is a real winner for us.

“We also liked the Chermoula Marinated Halloumi from Deena Kakaya. This recipe had great flavour combinations and the balance of salty, sweet and spicy made this dish a real contender.”

Huge congratulations to both Deena and Kellie from Food to Glow for their extremely well-deserved wins. Email me your addresses and Cool Chile will send out your fabulous gift bags very soon. And thanks so much to The Cool Chile Co for their wonderful generosity in offering up not one, but two prizes this month.

Our journey along The Spice Trail continues in February as we celebrate cooking with caraway. What dish will you enter next?

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The Spice Trail: cooking with caraway

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In this month’s Spice Trail, I am calling on fellow food bloggers to get carried away with caraway.

As with most foods, caraway holds nostalgic associations for me. Just one sniff and I’m straight back to North London as a young girl, visiting my Dad during the summer holidays; being taken to a corner shop Jewish bakery somewhere between Tottenham and Stamford Hill, where the whole shop is filled with the distinctive, heady aroma of caraway, and from where we come away with warm bread rolls, rum babas and, my favourite, big fat rum truffle chocolate cakes.

But back to caraway…

If you’re unfamiliar with caraway seeds, here’s what the Leon book of Ingredients & Recipes has to say on the subject:

Indigenous to Europe and Asia Minor, this seed has been long used in Arabic cooking. The plant looks a bit like carrot leaves (same family), with its hollow stalks, and the pre-seed flowers are pinkish. Became popular in Elizabethan England mainly as a sweet snack, sugared and called comfits. The flavour can be most easily discerned in rye bread. Caraway is also big in Jewish food, harissa, apple dishes, sauerkraut and a delicious after dinner stickie drink called kummel (those little seeds are excellent for digestion – just chewing on a few can really take your wind away). One of the oldest cultivated spice plants in Europe, going back to the 13th century. If you don’t have any… go and get some. It’s worth the trip and this spice walks alone.

Caraway is a spice I don’t cook with all that often. But when I do, I wonder why I don’t use it more. That’s why I really can’t wait to see what recipes you come up with this month, as I’d love to cook more with caraway.

Win a Bart Ingredients gift bag

If the honour of being crowned The Spice Trail’s caraway king or queen wasn’t enough of an incentive, this month our winner will also receive a gift bag full of fantastic spices from the good people at Bart Ingredients.

The Bart Ingredients Company has grown over the last 50 years and now sources ingredients from across the globe. Back at the Bart base in Bristol, their culinary experts work with flavours to create herb harmonies and spice symphonies, which add an extra touch of magic to home cooked dishes. By working with suppliers in different corners of the world, they have come to realise that not all ingredients are equal and a myriad of reasons can change the flavour profiles of our favourite spices.

How to enter The Spice Trail

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  • Display the The Spice Trail badge (above and also available here) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post.
  • You may enter as many recipe links as you like, so long as they feature this month’s key ingredient, caraway seeds.
  • Send your recipe URL to me at vanesther-at-reescommunications-dot-co-dot-uk, including your own email address and the title of your recipe or post. The closing date this month is Wednesday 26 February 2014.
  • If you tweet your post, please mention #TheSpiceTrail and me @BangerMashChat in your tweet and I’ll retweet each one I see.
  • Feel free to republish old recipe posts, but please add the information about this challenge and The Spice Trail badge.
  • As entries come in, links to these will be added to the bottom of this page.
  • At the end of the month a guest judge will choose a winning recipe and the winner this month will receive a tasty gift box from Bart Ingredients.
  • The winner will be announced in a monthly round-up of all the entries.
  • All entries will be added to The Spice Trail Pinterest Board.

So what caraway dishes will you come up with for this month’s Spice Trail? Any questions, please tweet or email me.

And if you’re wondering where the round-up of January’s Spice Trail challenge is, which saw us cooking with paprika, I’m working on it now and it will be with you very soon. So watch this space!

February’s entries

  1. Caraway Pretzels from GoodFoodSeeking
  2. Dark Chocolate, Sea Salt & Caraway Shortbread Hearts from Tales from the Kitchen Shed
  3. Kale & Caraway Crisps from Eat Your Veg
  4. Pumpernickel Tuiles from The Lass in the Apron
  5. Spaghetti Bolognese from Bangers & Mash
  6. Cauliflower Cheese Pasta Bake from Spurs Cook
  7. Caraway & Linseed Bread Bangers & Mash
  8. Polish Sausage & Sauerkraut Casserole with Beer from Lavender & Lovage
  9. Braised Pig Cheeks with Carrot & Parsnip Mash from Bangers & Mash

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