Veg, chickpea and coconut kale curry

I love a “Fridge raid” dish as you know by now.  Something where you look at what you have got in the fridge and come up with something amazing. I tend to do this normally on a Monday or Tuesday when I’ve had lots of Meat or fish over the weekend when maybe you’ve had a roast or similar to takeaway food. I always then thrive on having a vegetarian meal.
   Now, One might say this is a Keralan dish or a Sri Lankan Curry as there are some resemblances to it.  I just know its a warming curried dish that makes me feel happy when I eat it!
 It has a lovely subtle coconut flavour to it which cools along side the spices.
  I wanted to show you a recipe that is so easy and quick to make but still makes you feel full after it and believe it or not, its vegan and dairy free! 
  A dish that will warm your cockles and still give you the satisfaction of being quite a healthy curry.

Veg chickpea & coconut kale curry:

  • 1 Onion diced
  • 2 tsp Sri Lankan spice mix ( I use Spice Kitchen, all other ground spices and seeds below are too. )
  • 1 hot green chilli chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli powder 
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • Sea Salt to season
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds   
  • 1 thumbnail size of ginger grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1/2 400g tin chickpeas drained
  • 1 courgette chopped into chunks
  • 2 bell peppers diced into inch size pieces
  • 1/4 butternut squash chopped into chunks
  • 3 handfuls of kale
  • 30g red lentils
  • 1/2 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  •   2 tbsp Coconut flavour soya yoghurt
  • Little bit of water if needed ( If a little dry )
  • Long grain Rice to serve
  • Cook the butternut squash in boiling water until just starting to soften and then drain and set aside.
  • In a frying pan or wok, start to fry off your onions, then after a minute add in all of your spices including the garlic and ginger also. Stir, allowing not to burn your garlic.
  • Add in all your veg ingredients except your kale and butternut squash to the pan, the lentils and chopped tomatoes plus a little water and simmer for 15 minutes, not allowing it to dry out.
  • Add in your butternut squash, kale, stir and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. 
* Season to taste if needed, add in your coconut yoghurt and serve with your long grain rice.


Spicy Butternut Squash Hummus (East Meets West)

Some time back, ooh a few months ago now, I was approached by the Chinese company Lee Kum Kee to do some recipe development Work for them.  I am always passionate about Oriental and Asian food in general so I was keen to know what they wanted.  They wanted me to help out with Recipes regarding an “East meets West” Theme. Something that would later go into a Cookbook, some neck tags and any other promotional material regarding this.  I love a good task on hand and felt that this would challenge me, as my first thought was you should never “fusion” things too much? Surprisingly,  I was proved wrong, in this case anyway…by myself! 
  I don’t normally show much of my Recipe development work but I feel this is very interesting to see how Chinese sauces can be mixed with another cuisine. I won’t post all of them, just the ones I feel stood out the most.  Now, because this was a few months back, some ingredients may not be in season anymore, but certainly squash was a good starter point as, well we see a lot of those in October hey?! 
  You will see a few of these recipes of mine “pop” up so I will put in brackets (East Meets West) so you will know it is from this Project.

Spicy Butternut Squash Hummus:


–  1/2 Butternut Squash copped into inch squares
–  2 Tbsp Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chilli Oil
–  1  Garlic Bulb split through the middle to create 2 halves to roast.
–  1 Tbsp of Rapeseed Oil
–  200g of Tinned Chick Peas
–  1 Tbsp of Lee Kum Kee Sesame Oil
–  A squirt of Lemon Juice (Fresh)
–  1 Tsp of Ground Cumin
–  Salt and Pepper to season
–  Fresh Coriander for Serving


–  Preheat your oven to 190c.

– Place the Butternut Squash into a baking tray and drizzle over the Chilli oil. Place next to it (in foil) the Garlic bulb in two halves, drizzle over with Rapeseed oil, close up like a Parcel and Roast both in the oven for 20 minutes or until soft.

–  Allow the Squash and the Garlic to cool.

–  Squeeze out half of the garlic cloves into a Blender or Processor along with the Butternut squash.

–  Add the rest of the ingredients and Blitz to a smooth Paste. You may need to add a touch  more lemon juice, salt or oil to get the correct consistency.

–  Serve with some Warm Pitta Breads, an extra drizzle of Sesame oil and fresh Coriander on the Hummus. (You could even try my Flatbread recipe which is under my Spiced Moroccan soup recipe)


Saturday Night Food…Dinner Party anyone?

Following on from a great day I had with Ben Jackson for Food Friday, Saturday came and I was still so full of cooking energy and immediately wanted to come up with something new again! 
  Now, not always does this happen straight off when recipe developing and with a couple of glasses of Sauvignon Blanc being in my system (evening by this time),  I didn’t think I was going to be as pleased as I was with this recipe.  
   This may not be everyones “Cup of tea” I realise that, but I felt it was the nicest risotto I had made in a long time. I am yet to cook this for my fiancé as he was away at the time and I am intrigued to see what he thinks also, he’s always honest! 

  So, from the recipe that I had done the day before, I had bits and bobs left over in the fridge including some of the lovely Pearl Barley I had pre cooked. There were bacon opened as I fancied a BLT for breakfast, anyway you get the gist!
   This is what I came up with in the end.  It took me a long time to figure out a title name for the recipe as theres a lot going on in it, but it came to me that the title for this is right really. Its leftover ingredients but not with Potato in this instance. Even though it doesn’t have specific Springtime ingredients in this, It did make me think of Spring when I dived into it.

My 2 Grain Bubble and Squeak Risotto with Bacon,  Poached Egg and vegetable crisps.


(Serves 2 as a large portion or may stretch to 4 for starters)

–  1 Tbsp Olive or Rapeseed oil
–  2 Knobs of Butter
–  1-2 Garlic cloves chopped
–  1 small Onion diced
–  2 rashers of Bacon
–  2-3 leaves of Savoy Cabbage sliced thinly
–  3-4 Chestnut mushrooms chopped small
–  1/4 of a leek sliced thinly
–  100g of cooked Pearl Barley
– 150g of Arborio Rice
–  175ml of Dry White Wine ( 1 Glass for yourself also! )
–  500ml of Chicken stock keeping hot.
–  Sprig of fresh Thyme
–  Eggs for Poaching
– 1 Parsnip and a small amount of Butternut Squash for the Vegetable Crisps
– Vegetable Oil for the frying of the Crisps
–  Sprinkle of caster Sugar for the Crisps
–  Salt and Cracked Black Pepper for seasoning 
–  Grated Parmesan Cheese to finish

Fry off the Onion and Leek in some olive oil, then when starting to sweat down a little, add the butter.

 Add the Bacon, Mushrooms, 1/4 of the Cabbage first, Garlic and Thyme.

 Once cooked down a bit add in the risotto rice, stir gently and add your wine. Once the wine has almost evaporated you can add your Hot Chicken Stock a bit at a time.

 Whilst the Risotto is cooking away, Peel your Parsnip and Butternut Squash very thinly like so and fry off in oil. I have used a Wok but if you have a Deep Fat Fryer, great! 

 They only take about a minute. Once starting to brown, bring them out onto Kitchen Paper. Sprinkle with a tiny amount of Caster sugar.

 Add the rest of your Cabbage and Pearl Barley to the Risotto, Poach your egg and finish with another knob of Butter, parmesan Cheese and any seasoning required.

Top with your Poached Egg and add Your Vegetable Crisps for Sweetness and Crunch.


"Sunshine In a Bowl" For Food Friday on BBC Radio Leicester

So about a few months back now. Ben Jackson from BBC Radio Leicester asked me to join their team of Foodie-Maniac Food Friday Cooks.  Straight away I Jumped at the chance!   I immediately couldn’t wait to get on the show! 

  Now I’ve already been on the show which aired on the 7th of March. That was with Ed Stagg who was filling in for Ben that day. I did a “revamped” version of my Chicken and Veg pie, which I will put on here soon.  
  I first wanted to Share with you the dish which I did this Friday just gone, the 21st of March.  There’s a few reasons why I chose to do this recipe. Firstly, was that it was using up things in the fridge and store cupboard ingredients. Second was its great for people who have colds at the moment! It seemed to help Ben’s out a bit! And Finally its healthy and Cheap! Ok that was four… 
This is my Thick Spiced Moroccan Soup with Garlic Flatbreads.  It got a nickname of Sunshine Soup!  

   If you would like to have a listen to me doing this recipe with Ben, take a look here…

BBC Radio Leicester with Ben Jackson and Me on Food Friday 21st March 2014.

Thick Spiced Moroccan Soup (Sunshine soup) with Homemade Garlic Flatbreads:

Ingredients: (Serves 4)


– 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
– 1 Onion Diced
– 2 Small Celery sticks chopped including leaves
– 3 Medium sized carrots peeled and chopped roughly
– Sweet Potato, Peeled and Chopped into rough chunks. (I used a white variety from Asian stores which is purple on the outside but you can use the Orange variety.
– Half  a Butternut Squash chopped into rough chunks.
– 1 tsp of Ground Coriander and Cumin mix (I used a company called Spice Kitchen for most of the dry Spices)
– 1 tsp of turmeric, (Spice Kitchen)
– 1 tsp of Chilli Powder,  (Spice Kitchen)
– 1 tsp of Garam Masala,  (Spice Kitchen)
– A Thumb Size amount of fresh Ginger finely chopped or grated if you prefer.
– 1 large clove of Garlic finely chopped
– A 3 cm piece of Cinnamon bark,  (Spice Kitchen)
– Just over half a tin of chopped tomatoes (250g) 
– 1 tbsp of Tomato Puree
– 1 Chicken Stock cube/Gel pot or Veg if Vegetarian
– In total about 500ml of water added to the Soup a bit at a time.
– 150g of Pre cooked Pearl Barley
– 250g (just over half a tin) of Butter beans
– 2 Handfuls of Fresh Spinach
– Chopped Fresh Parsley.
– Salt and Ground Black Pepper 

Garlic Flatbreads:

– 200g of Plain Flour
– Warm Water just to bind
– Salt and Ground Black Pepper
– Sprinkle of Garlic Powder for each Flatbread.

Soup Method:

– Fry off  the Onion in the Olive oil.
– Add your Celery, Carrots and Sweet Potato and start to sweat down for about 5 mins.
– Then add your Butternut Squash to the Soup mix and stir through.
– Add your Dry spices, Ginger and Garlic and cook for a further 5-10 mins to allow the spices to coat all the Vegetables. 
– Next to go in are the Chopped Tomatoes, Tomato Puree, Butter Beans and stock with about 300ml of water to cook down for a further 10 mins. 
– Add your Pearl Barley and allow that to simmer away nicely whilst you get on with the FlatBreads. Always check in-between  if your soup needs a bit more water adding.

Flatbread Method:

-Take your 200g of Plain Flour, add salt and pepper and start to add a drop of warm water to it to bind to form a firm dough.
– Knead the dough only a couple of times.
– Stretch out into a thick sausage-like shape about 2 inches in width and divide into 5 parts.
– Roll the 5 parts of dough into a ball, add a sprinkle of your Garlic powder, roll again and then Roll out your dough as thinly as possible with a Rolling Pin on a lightly floured surface. 
– Heat up a dry frying pan and once the Pan is very hot add your flatbread dough. You will then start to see it puff up and brown.
– Repeat the process with all the other dough balls.

– By now your soup will be ready to add the Spinach and any other seasoning required.
– Blitz your soup only with a few pulses as it needs to be thick.
– Add your fresh chopped Parsley. 
– Voila! Ready to Dunk in with your FlatBread!