Norwegian gravlaks and a simple beetroot pickle

gravlaks with beetroot pickle and dill mustard sauce 3 text

Normally I have the family in mind when I post recipes on my blog, but on this occasion this dish is all about me, me, me!

I adore fish and seafood you see, but I don’t get to eat or cook with it as much as I might like. My husband is sadly unable to eat most fish and seafood and I don’t really like cooking separate meals for different family members if I can avoid it. That’s why you don’t generally see that many fish recipes here. Continue reading “Norwegian gravlaks and a simple beetroot pickle”

Win a cheese & olives hamper in October’s Spice Trail challenge

Cheese and Olives

It’s safe to say autumn has arrived here in the UK. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Plus all those glorious pickles, chutneys, jams and all manner of preserves.

That’s why October’s theme for The Spice Trail simply has to be Preserves & Pickles. This month I’m looking for your pickled pears, onions or even eggs, your piccalillis and preserved lemons, chunky chutneys, fruit-laden jams, jellies and marmalades. All are welcome – just so long as they also include a healthy pinch of spice!

And what would go better with all those pickles and preserves than a tasty hunk of cheese? One lucky winner this month will receive a fabulous Cheese & Olives hamper from Serenata Hampers. Featuring a trio of beautiful cheeses (Abbots Choice Cheddar, Cropwell Bishop Blue Stilton and a Wensleydale with cranberries), specially selected garlic and chilli olives and crunchy oatcakes, this hamper offers a superb collection of delicacies for all real food lovers.

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 each one fits this month’s 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 Friday 31 October 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 Serenata Cheese & Olives hamper.
  • 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 entries, and do watch this space for the round-up of September’s A Taste of India challenge.

October’s entries

  1. Tomatillo and Tomato Chutney from Mrs Portly’s Kitchen
  2. Simple Beetroot Pickle from Bangers & Mash
  3. Green Bean and Caramelised Onion Chutney from The Gluten Free Alchemist
  4. Carrot and Green Chili Pickle from Home Cook Food
  5. Apple and Sprouted Chickpeas Pickle from Home Cook Food
  6. Sweet and Spicy Lemon Pickle from Home Cook Food
  7. Mango and Chilli Chutney from Bangers & Mash
  8. Fiery Pineapple Chutney from Lapin d’Or & More

A right pair of raitas

raita

Whenever we eat curry, we always have raita on the side. It’s quite simply a match made in heaven. I’ve never actually followed a raita recipe though, generally just making it up as I go along, chucking together some yoghurt, mint, cucumber and perhaps a pinch of spice or squeeze of lime, depending on my mood.

But the other day when I made Madhur Jaffrey’s wonderful chicken tikka kebabs from her Ultimate Curry Bible, I came across a couple of her raita recipes and thought I’d give them a go. And they are ever so good. Continue reading “A right pair of raitas”

Madhur Jaffrey’s chicken tikka kebabs with spiced vegetables

chicken tikka kebabs

There are times when you try out a new recipe and you know the very instant it touches your tongue you’ve got yourself a keeper; that this dish is set to become a firm family favourite, an easy regular for the weekly meal plans.

And so it was with these chicken tikka kebabs from Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible. I thought it was about time I cooked a dish to enter into my own Indian-themed Spice Trail challenge, and this felt like a good excuse to try another recipe from Jaffrey’s classic curry tome. Continue reading “Madhur Jaffrey’s chicken tikka kebabs with spiced vegetables”

Round-up: The Spice Trail beach barbecue challenge

spice trail badge long

I’m loving this extended summer we’re having here in Somerset, particularly as it means we can continue having barbecues. In fact we enjoyed a teatime barbecue just yesterday when the children got home from school.

And so I don’t feel too bad about having taken so long to bring you this round-up of delicious beach barbecue recipes from August’s The Spice Trail challenge. I’m hoping there’s still time to enjoy a fair few of these dishes al fresco before the weather turns and autumn proper sets in…

Beach Barbecue Collage Continue reading “Round-up: The Spice Trail beach barbecue challenge”

A taste of India on The Spice Trail

A Taste of India

One of the countries at the top of my bucket list has to be India. As a lover of spice, it’s really quite poor show I haven’t yet made it there, unless you count a very brief stop in Bombay (or rather Mumbai) as a child en route to Malaysia. Which you can’t.

But this month on The Spice Trail, I’m hoping my fellow food bloggers will bring a taste of India to me in the form of recipes inspired by this diverse culinary nation. Indian cuisine is not all about curry and chillies; just like the country itself, its food is incredibly varied. It’s a vast country, with a population second only to China, where food traditions vary enormously from one region to another. I can’t claim to be an expert and so I very much look forward to discovering new dishes and learning lessons from the blogging community.

Whether your dish is an example of authentic Indian cookery or a fusion of Indian techniques and ingredients with other world cuisines, so long as your recipe features at least one spice and takes some Indian inspiration, then you are invited to link up to this month’s challenge.

selection of natco products

Win a hamper of Natco ingredients

The winner of September’s Spice Trail challenge will receive a fantastic hamper of goodies from Natco, packed full of ingredients to set your creative juices flowing in the kitchen, from flavoured nuts and spiced teas to packs of spices and lentils.

Natco Foods was established in the UK in 1961 to serve the increasing demand for ingredients needed to cook south Asian cuisine. Now, Natco sources lentils, grains, spices, nuts, seeds and chutneys from all over the world and brings them to its award-winning processing hub in the heart of the English countryside. There, the raw materials are graded, cleaned, milled and blended to produce the highest quality products. Natco’s quest is to bring delicious freshness, startling colours, fragrant and pungent aromas and irresistible flavours to the heart and soul of every kitchen, helping you embrace nature and wellbeing to your inner self.

You can find Natco products in major supermarkets as well as independent retailers throughout the UK, or visit the online shop at www.natco-online.com.

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 each one is inspired by Indian cuisine 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 Tuesday 30 September 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 Natco hamper.
  • 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.

September’s entries

  1. Eggless Kesar Milk Masala Custard & Sooji Halwa (Sheera) Dessert from CHINSKITCHEN
  2. Kulfi from Cakes from Kim
  3. Saag Paneer from Eat Like You Love Yourself
  4. Curried Cream of Cauliflower Soup from Brittany Jackson
  5. Channa Saag-ish from I’ll Cook, You Wash
  6. Paneer Tikka from Eat Like You Love Yourself
  7. Tandoori Chicken with Coronation Macaroni from Chef Mel’s Kitchen
  8. Vegan Slow Cooker Red Lentil Dhal from Mess Makes Food
  9. Puttu with Kadala Curry from Subha’s Dairy Free Treats
  10. Chicken Tikka Kebabs with Spiced Vegetables from Bangers & Mash
  11. Gujarati Thali from Home Cook Food
  12. Spicy Stuffed Baby Eggplants from Home Cook Food
  13. Dal Bukhara from Home Cook Food
  14. Quinoa Carrot ‘Meatballs’ in Tamarind Sauce from Allotment 2 Kitchen
  15. Vegan Marrow Curry with Tricolour Couscous from Allotment 2 Kitchen
  16. Raitas from Bangers & Mash
  17. Marinated Paneer Salad from Searching for Spice

Grilled salad of courgette, chicory, basil and mozzarella from ‘The Natural Cook’

The umming and ahhing is over. The decision has been made. Our house is now officially on the market and we’ll soon be leaving the sticks and heading back to the big city. Bristol, to be precise, which isn’t exactly a heaving metropolis and is actually one of the most laid back, greenest and coolest cities I know.

Bristol was home for us until our first daughter was about eight months old, at which point we decided family life meant a bit of the good life, the country life. And while we’ve loved it here and having space and green fields around us, a veg patch and apple trees, foraging in the hedgerows, picnics by the stream and drinking scrumpy at the annual village fete, it’s now time to crank the pace back up again with a bit of inner city living. You can take the girl of out of the city, but you’ll never take the city out of the girl, it would seem.

There are lots of things I’m looking forward to about being back in a city. One of them is not having to drive so much to get, well, anywhere really. I love the idea of being able to walk back home after a night in a restaurant, or at least being able to afford the taxi fare. And one of the restaurants I intend on visiting as soon as we’re in Bristol is Tom Hunt’s Poco on Stokes Croft, with its emphasis on seasonal ingredients, thrifty cuts of meat and sustainably sourced fish, most of which is sourced from within a 50-mile radius, and at the same time producing the minimum of food waste. Continue reading “Grilled salad of courgette, chicory, basil and mozzarella from ‘The Natural Cook’”

The Spice Trail: cumin round-up

spice trail badge long

It’s always so much fun deciding on a spice-theme for this challenge, and then sitting back and waiting for the entries to drop into my inbox. And last month in particular was a very exciting month, providing an awesome list of delicious cumin dishes to work my way through in the weeks ahead.

So if you’re up for a little cumin-based culinary inspiration, let’s take a look through those entries…

paneer

After hosting a brilliant vanilla-themed Spice Trail challenge back in May, Solange from Pebble Soup was quick off the mark with her gorgeously Crunchy Palak Paneer. I’m a big fan of paneer with spinach and this dish looks absolutely bursting with flavour, featuring lots of fresh ginger and garlic as well as a whole host of spices – including, of course, cumin.

potato and cumin curry
Next up we have Marwardi Aloo Pyaj ki Subji from Home Cook Food, which is a glorious Rajasthani style Potato and Onion Curry, and ideal served with puris, rotis or rice.
jamaican patty pie

I always love the way Seasonal Shaheen presents her food and these Jamaican Patty Pies are as pretty as a picture, and that pastry looks oh so good. They’re filled with summer vegetables and lightly spiced with cayenne, all-spice and of course cumin.

split white gram lentils

I try to use pulses as much as I can when I’m planning our meals as they’re such a cheap food and I think these Split White Gram Lentils from Home Cook Food might be appearing on one of our meal plans very soon. The spicing sounds absolutely heavenly.

mango curry

I’m intrigued by the idea of this Raw Mango Curry, a third entry from Home Cook Food, as it’s a dish I haven’t come across before. It sounds to me like a cross between a curry and a chutney and it sounds absolutely bursting with flavour. Definitely one to bookmark!

cumin-roasted-beets

This dish of Cumin-roasted Beetroot and Chickpeas from Helen at Family-Friends-Food is exactly the kind of dish I like to experiment on my family with. And just like Helen, I’m likely to get a pretty mixed reaction. I think it looks absolutely delicious and I reckon my oldest would gobble it up, although I’m not so sure my youngest and my husband would be quite so keen. But the important thing is we keep experimenting and pushing their taste boundaries! I’ll certainly be giving this one a go.

toor dal curry

This Toor Dal Curry with Spinach from Janet at The Taste Space looks like such a healthy, hearty dish, and a beautiful combination of textures and flavours. And as ever, Janet’s photography is simply stunning.

EmanuelaCaorsi-lamb-eggplants-light-curry
I’ve only just discovered On The Flavour Road, a blog by Italian Ema who now lives in Sydney, Australia, but I know I’m going to be a frequent visitor. Ema has entered her Lamb & Eggplant Light Curry into this month’s cumin challenge, which is made using a curry-infused macadamia oil and served on coconut mashed potatoes. A very unusual dish and one I must try soon; I’m very curious to taste mashed potatoes with coconut milk!

Eat-Your-Veg-Courgette-Fritters-with-a-Yogurt-Dip
Louisa from Eat Your Veg is a master at encouraging children to eat their greens, and her Feta & Courgette Fritters  are another wonderful example. She serves them with a yoghurt, mint and cumin dip, which sounds just gorgeous and I’m intrigued by her suggestion that you can also serve the dip with strawberries. That’s just got to be tried!

vegetable and chickpea tagine
Next up we have a gloriously vibrant and wonderfully healthy Vegetable & Chickpea Tagine from We Don’t Eat Anything With a Face. Piled high with tasty veggies and an array of herbs and spices, you know this dish is going to do you good as well as tasting good.

chicken satay
It’s the season for barbecues and my Chicken Satay  take just minutes to cook over the hot coals. They’re served with a delicious coconut rice that’s oh so easy to make, and an incredibly moreish peanut sauce.

mint-cumin-roast-lamb-with-moutabal
Lamb with aubergine is one of my all-time favourite combinations and so I was thrilled when I saw this next entry appear in my inbox. It’s a Mint-Cumin Roast Lamb with Moutabal from the extremely talented Lass in the Apron. The lamb looks incredible tender, while I adore the sound of the nutty, earthy moutabal, a Lebanese puree of roasted eggplant (aubergine) with tahini, garlic, and lemon.

spicy falafel
Falafel are always my food of choice when we’re at a summer festival, but do you know what? I’ve never actually made my own at home. Such a travesty! But I have no excuse now, as I think I have discovered the perfect recipe. Don’t these Fabulously Spicy Falafel from Cooking for Kishore look fantastic? Emily describes them as a great “throw together meal” and I can’t wait to throw some together myself!

roast-carrot-dip-on-celery
Dips are extremely popular in our house and we always seem to have a bag of carrots to use up, so this Roasted Carrot Dip from Searching for Spice is an ideal recipe for me. Especially as it also features lots of tahini, one of my all-time favourite ingredients, and lots of lovely spices and garlic. Yum!

squash-fajitas-682x1024
Another delicious looking entry next from Helen at Family–Friends–Food. Here are her Spice-roasted Butternut Squash and Halloumi Fajitas and I so want to reach into my hand into the screen and grab myself a wrap. Roasted squash is a simply magical food, and Helen has smothered hers in lots of cumin, cumin seeds, coriander, oregano, cayenne, lime zest and olive oil to really pack it full of flavour. And I love the fact any leftovers taste great cold the next day.

cumin crackers
Last up are these beautiful Cumin Seed Crackers from Lapin d’or and More, flavoured of course with cumin and taken to extra heights of crispness with the addition of semolina flour. We work our way through boxes and boxes of shop-bought crackers and I think it’s high time I had a go at making some of my own. I know exactly which recipe to start with!

And the winner is…

anjumSo there you have the cumin recipe round-up; an inspiring selection, don’t you think? But who will be crowned the cumin queen? (No entries from potential kings this month.) Who will win this month’s prize: Anjum’s Quick & Easy Indian courtesy of Quadrille Publishing, a collection of 80 recipes from the fabulous Anjum Anand?

Well, the prize has to go to…

Helen at Family–Friends–Food for her Spice-roasted Butternut Squash and Halloumi Fajitas. We seem to be addicted to anything served in a wrap in the Bangers & Mash household and are on the lookout for new filling inspiration, and Helen’s spicy squash with halloumi is right up our street.

A copy of Anjum’s Quick & Easy Indian will be on its way to you very soon, Helen. Congratulations!

And thank you so much to everyone that took part in the cumin challenge. July’s Spice Trail is well underway, and the theme this month is Summer Spice. You can choose any spices you like, just so long as your dish has a seasonal summery feel! The closing date is 29 July 2014.

 

The Spice Trail: summer spice challenge

summer spice

Enter your Summer Spice dishes to win a fantastic gift set from Holy Lama Spice Drops!

I’m giving you almost completely free reign with your choice of spice in this month’s Spice Trail challenge. So long as your dish has a sense of summer about it and a splash a spice, then it fits the bill.

Your dish could come from any of the four corners of the world, be sweet or savoury, snack or main course, drink or dessert – the choice is completely yours. Just so long as it’s a) spicy and b) summery, and I’ll be happy!

spice dropsHoly Lama! What a prize!

This month the lovely Gouri Kubair from Holy Lama (a chartered accountant turned serious foodie) is our guest judge and she’s offering an amazing prize for one very lucky winner – a gift set of summery Holy Lama Spice Drops, including fennel seed, mint, lemongrass, rose and pepper, presented in a beautiful handcrafted wooden stand.

The Spice Drops range of products, which recently came in the top 5 in Ocado’s ‘Top Supplier’ competition, are concentrated extracts of natural spices and herbs in the form of drops, offering a simpler, more consistent way to infuse food and drink with pure, vibrant flavours. Forget peeling, grinding, scraping and measuring and simply add a drop or two at any stage of the cooking process. Spice Drops contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and a few drops go a long way!

What’s more, Holy Lama manufactures their products in an ethically-run factory employing marginalised women in the local community in Kerala, India.

See the full range of Spice Drops on the Holy Lama website and read a recent interview with Gouri here.

So what are you waiting for? I really can’t wait to see your Summer Spice entries!

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 Summer Spice 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 Tuesday 29 July 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 Holy Lama.
  • 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 Summer Spice dishes and drinks. Any questions, please tweet or email me.

And thanks to everyone who entered June’s cumin challenge – the round-up and winner announcement will be coming very soon.

July’s entries

  1. Mint and Indian Cottage Cheese Patties from Home Cook Food
  2. Usirikaya Pachadi / Goose Berry Pickle from Sahasra Recipes
  3. Ginger Zinger Cake from Lancashire Food
  4. Kale Spinach Muthia from Home Cook Food
  5. Chimichurri Sauce from Home Cook Food
  6. Summer Coolant Salad from Drizzling Delicacies
  7. Chipotle Chilli Sauce from How to Cook Good Food
  8. Lemon, Lavender & Almond Cake from Family-Friends-Food
  9. Peach Streusel Kuchen Traybake from Tales From the Kitchen Shed
  10. Mejadra – Middle Eastern Rice & Lentils from Family-Friends-Food
  11. Courgette Pakoras from Lapin d’Or and More
  12. Fasulye with Dukkah Roasted Tofu from Chocolate Log Blog
  13. Apple & Pineapple Eve’s Pudding from Casa Costello
  14. Briouates Stuffed with Spinach & Meat from Madhouse Family Reviews
  15. Patatas a lo pobre (poor man’s potatoes) from Madhouse Family Reviews
  16. Moroccan Kefta Meatball Tagine from Madhouse Family Reviews
  17. Bobotie Spiced Beef Burgers from Bangers & Mash

Summer Spice image: nkzs