Tag Archive for Spices

Treacle Spice Traybake

Mellow spiced, sticky tray bake. It is quite sweet and moist. Keeps very well, a few days is not a problem at all. And it would probably freeze well too. Try to bake it the day before you want to serve it, it tastes better when the flavours had some time to marry.

Treacle Spice Traybake2

Treacle Spice Traybake (21 pieces)
Slightly adapted from “Mary Berry’s Baking Bible”

225 g butter, softened
175 g sugar
225 g black treacle
275 g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp speculaas spices
4 eggs
4 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 30 x 23 cm baking tin with baking paper.
Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes until well blended. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin. Cut into 21 pieces.

Apple-Speculaas Muffins

Moist muffins with the lovely warmth of speculaas spice mix and sticky apples on top. A real big hit in my house.

AppulaasMuffin2

Apple-Speculaas Muffins (12 muffins)
inspired on “Leon Ingredients & Recipes”

2 eggs
1/3 cup neutral tasting oil (for example rapeseed, rice bran)
1/3 + 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (from ~1,5 large apple)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup bran
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp speculaas spices
pinch of salt
handful chopped walnuts
1/2 apple chopped in small cubes, mixed with a little brown sugar and speculaas spices

Preheat the oven to 175C. Line a muffin pan with paper cups.
Whisk eggs, oil, apple sauce, vanilla and brown sugar together.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, bran, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.
Mix dry and wet ingredients until just mixed. Stir in the walnuts.
Spoon the batter in the prepared muffin cups. Top each one with a spoonful of chopped apple.
Cook for about 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Fish Stew

An Asian-inspired fish stew, that coincidentally used all of the ingredients that I needed to use up. It has a nice warmth from the spices and fills you up very well. I usually don’t like using frozen fish, because it is always very wet to cook, which makes it impossible to give it a nice crust, and often very dry to eat. But for this dish it’s fine, some extra wetness in the sauce is not a problem and the sauce keeps the flesh moist. Which is nice, because frozen fish is a lot cheaper than fresh fish. Do make sure you use MSC or ASC certified fish.

FishStew2

Fish Stew (serves 2)
Adapted from “A Simple Table – Michelle Cranston”

1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp turmeric
3 garlic cloves, crushed finely
1 small red chilli, seeds removed, chopped finely (or use some sambal instead)
1 leek, washed and thinly sliced, mostly the whites
400 g can tomatoes
500 ml bouillon (from a cube is fine, I used vegetable, but you could use chicken, fish would make it very fishy)
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 green paprika, diced
50 g brown rice
salt and pepper
400 g white fish, in large chunks
Optional: coriander, lime and/or coconut milk to finish

Heat the coconut oil in a pan. Add the cumin, turmeric, cloves, chilli and leek, and sauté until soft and fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, bouillon, sugar, paprika and brown rice. Cook until the rice is almost cooked, this will take about 30-40 minutes.
Add the fish and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked. Serve with the coriander, lime and/or coconut milk if using.

Gobi Curry

This is a good dish to use up all kinds of vegetables. It needs to contain cauliflower (gobi), but otherwise the vegetables are up to you. It is not a very authentic curry, but nicely flavoured and doable on weekdays.

LeonGobi2

Gobi Curry(serves 2)
Inspired by “Leon – Ingredients & Recipes”

1 tbsp oil (coconut, rapeseed, rice bran, peanut, sunflower, ghee)
1 onion, sliced
1 red chili (or 1 tsp sambal oelek)
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
pinch of coriander powder
pinch of cumin powder
1 small cauliflower, into florets
1 large carrot, in chunks
2 handfuls (frozen) peas
1 small can coconut milk (~200 ml)
1/2 tsp tamarind paste (you can use lemon juice instead)
salt
To serve: cooked rice, chopped coriander (optional), toasted dessicated coconut (optional)

Heat the oil, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook on medium heat until translucent.
Meanwhile, put chili, ginger and garlic in a blender and blend into a paste. Add this paste to the translucent onions and sauté until the raw smell has disappeared. Add nigella seeds, mustard seeds, curry powder, garam masala, coriander powder and cumin powder. Fry for about a minute, or until fragrant.
Add a splash of water and mix well, scraping all the bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the cauliflower and cover with a lid. About halfway done, add the carrot. When both the cauliflower and the carrot are almost cooked, take off the lid, pour in the coconut milk and add the peas. Cook until hot. Add the tamarind paste. Taste and season with salt and some extra tamarind paste if necessary.

This dish is vegan when you use a vegetable oil (not the ghee – which is made from butter) and, if you are using sambal instead of chili, use one that doesn’t contain shrimp paste.

Pork Rogan Josh

Curry’s are generally not made with pork, normally lamb is used for rogan josh. But lamb is very expensive over here, and I’m not a big fan of the older lamb that is often sold, I find the flavour of the fat too overpowering. I’ve made several delicious stews with pork, so I though, why not try a curry? It worked very well, so I will definitely make this again and will keep using stewing pork instead of beef and lamb.
For me, this is the prototype curry, this is the flavour I think of when I think of curry. When you use all the chilli prescribed by the recipe it will be incredibly hot, I only used 1 dried chilli and didn’t add any chilli powder, and it already scorched my oesophagus. I believe the kashmiri chilli you officially are supposed to use is a bit more mellow than the dried chillies I have, but still, I would advice to take care with adding the chilli and not add the whole lot the first time you make this recipe. When I make it the next time I will use even less chilli than I did last time, I like my curries spicy, but not inedible hot. And using dried chillies can be a bit like a Russian roulette, you never know how spicy one will be.
I like to serve this with rice and a cooling cucumber salad or raita.

Pork rogan josh (serves 4-6)
Adapted from “Rick Stein’s India”

40 g ghee
5 cm piece of cinnamon stick
3 dried kashmiri chillies, torn into pieces
6 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised
4 cloves
1 large onion, chopped
15 g garlic, finely crushed
15 g ginger, finely grated
2 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp ground mace
1 tsp garam masala
4 tbsp tomato purée (1 small can)
750 g stewing pork
1 tsp salt
300 ml water
125 g yoghurt
50 ml cream
1 tsp garam masala

Put the ghee in a large, sturdy casserole over medium heat. When hot, add the whole spices and fry for 1 minute, then add the onion and fry for 10 minutes until softened and golden. Stir in the garlic and ginger, fry for 1 minute, then add the ground spices and fry for 30 seconds.
Stir in the tomato purée, then add the pork and salt and make sure it is well coated in the other ingredients. Pour in the water, bring to a simmer, then cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour or until the pork is tender. Stir in the yoghurt, cream and second helping of garam masala. Serve.

Olive Oil and Cider Carrot Cake

A lovely dense, spicy and moist carrot cake. It is not too sweet and not very fatty, which together with the whole grain flour, carrots and apple juice makes it quite a healthy cake. So it is perfect for those normal days, on which you still want to have something nice in the afternoon with a cup of tea, but nothing too heavy or too indulgent. I love a thick slice of it with some cream cheese mixed with a little brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla.
You can keep it at room temperature for a few days, or supposedly longer in the fridge. I didn’t try storing it in the fridge, because I always find storing baked goods in the fridge a bit iffy. But if you do want to keep it longer, slice the cake, put in a freezer container with baking paper between the layers and freeze. It will keep for about 2 months in the freezer. When you want a slice, take it out and leave to defrost at room temperature, or put it in the bread toaster.

Carrot Cake

Olive Oil and Cider Carrot Cake (for 1 23×13 cm loaf pan)
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

200 g flour
90 g whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp speculaas spices
1/2 cup olive oil
145 g brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup soft cider (fresh, unfiltered apple juice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
260 g coarsely grated carrots
Olive oil for baking pan

Heat the oven to 175C. Coat a loaf pan with olive oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and speculaas spices. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, brown sugar, eggs, cider and vanilla. Stir grated carrots into wet ingredients until evenly coated, then stir wet ingredients into dry just until no floury bits remain.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out batter-free. Let cool in loaf pan for 20 to 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool the rest of the way on a rack.

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Ooey, gooey, sticky, yummy stuffing all caramelized and baked into fluffy and tender dough, and possibly drizzled with a sugar glaze or a cream cheese frosting, what is not to love? Well… normally it does take quite some time to make them, you have to make the dough, proof it, roll it out, fill it, slice it, place it into a baking tray, proof again, and bake it. Not something I want to do on a lazy morning. Even the recipes that have you start the day before, usually involve quite some work and/or time the next morning. Making them the day before is not a solution either, because I like my cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven. The solution: crescent rolls (croissant dough in a can). As croissants they are terribly yucky, but they work great as a dough base for cinnamon rolls. As a variation you could fill and top them like pecan sticky buns.

Easy Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon rolls (makes 4)
1 can of crescent rolls (250 g, for 6 normal sized croissants)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
Optional: a glaze or frosting

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Cream butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon together.
Open the can, roll out the dough and close the seems by pressing them. Spread the butter-sugar-cinnamon mixture on the dough, but leave one end free. Start at the opposite end and roll up the dough, press the end so the roll closes (this is why you had to leave the end free). Slice into 4 rolls, place on a lined baking tray, and bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes (hot caramel is very hot), then serve (optional: drizzle with glaze or frosting).

Indonesian cabbage

A delicious and easy side-dish. Serve with rice to soak up the delicious sauce.

Indonesian Cabbage

Indonesian cabbage (serves 2-4)
Adapted from “Kook nu eens zelf Indisch en Chinees – Nique van der Werff-Wijsman”

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, puréed
1 tsp sambal oelek
1/4 tsp ginger, puréed
1 tbsp vegetable oil or coconut oil
salt
optional: 1/4 tsp trassi (fermented shrimp paste)
2 or 3 tomatoes, cubed
250 ml vegetable or chicken bouillon
300 g shredded cabbage (hispi (pointed), white, napa)
1 tbsp tamarind water
pinch of sugar (preferably palm sugar)
1 cm piece santen (creamed coconut)

Heat the oil in a medium sized pan. Add the onion, garlic, sambal and ginger, and add a pinch of salt. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions are soft. Add the trassi (makes it incredibly smelly, but when cooked long enough this smell will disappear) and tomato, and sauté a little longer. Add the stock, bring to the boil and add the cabbage. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender. For this dish you don’t want the cabbage to crisp, but don’t boil it to death either. Finish the sauce with the tamarind water and sugar, then dissolve the santen in it. Serve.

Note: to make this dish vegan, omit the trassi and use vegetable bouillon. Also make sure you are not using a sambal that contains trassi.

Stuffed courgette

It’s courgette-time. The courgette plants in our garden are not that productive unfortunately (or luckily?), but they do tend to grow courgettes simultaneously, so you always have more than one, or none. So new recipes that use a lot of courgette are always welcome, and this is my new star.
I usually grill courgette or eat it raw, so when I ate a dish with courgette that was cooked in bouillon in a restaurant when I was on vacation, it was a big inspiration. Courgette can be a bit bland, so flavouring it with a flavoursome bouillon helps a lot. And cooking gives the courgette a completely different texture than when you grill it or eat it raw, it is juicy but firm. Usually with filled vegetables you put them in the oven to cook, but that takes a long time and tends to make the vegetables dry, so lightly cooking the courgette was a great alternative (and also nice to not have to turn on the oven in hot weather).
Couscous spice mix was something I turned to as a shortcut: one of my go-to superfast to cook and not to heavy on the stomach meals is couscous cooked with bouillon, with a “sauce” of beef mince, a bag of precut Provençal vegetables and a packet of couscous spice mix. It’s on the table in 10 minutes max, and is delicious too. And I keep couscous, stock cubes and couscous spice mix in my pantry, and Provençal vegetables and beef mince in the freezer, so it’s a backup dinner as well. But because I like the spice mix, I use it in other dishes too.

Stuffed Courgette

Stuffed courgette (serves 2 generously, or 2 + leftovers for lunch)

3 courgettes
1 vegetable stock cube
150 g couscous
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
250 g beef mince
3 tbsp couscous spice mix (amount necessary may differ with the kind of spice mix you use)

Remove top and bottom from the courgettes and half lengthways. Scoop out most of the flesh, chop this up into cubes and set aside.
Bring 250 ml of water to the boil in a pan that can contain the courgettes. Dissolve the stock cube in the water. Add the courgettes and place a lid on the pan. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain, but reserve the stock.
Place the couscous in a bowl or small pan. Reduce the stock to 150 ml, make sure it is boiling, then pour over the couscous. Cover the bowl or pan and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onion, sauté on low heat until soft and translucent. Turn up the heat, add the garlic and mince, and fry for a few minutes. Add the spice mixed and the chopped up courgette flesh, fry until fragrant and the courgette is cooked.
Scoop the filling into the courgette halves (you will have generous) and serve.

Pilau rice

This dish has a nice balance between sweet and savoury, spicy and creamy. It is a delicious accompaniment to spiced chicken. You could also add some orange or lemon peel to give it an even more Arabic vibe. Use dried apricots and almonds instead of sultanas and pine nuts as a variation.

Pilau rice (serves 4)
Adapted from The Conran Cookbook

50 g butter
2 onions, very thinly sliced
225 g basmati rice
4 cloves
8 cardamom pods, smashed
5 cm piece of cinnamon stick, broken in 2
2 bay leaves
1 chicken stock cube
50 g sultanas (light raisins)
150 ml milk
300 ml water
30 g pine nuts

Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, sauté on low heat until the onions are soft, golden and translucent. Add the rice, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the rice becomes translucent. Add the bay leaves, chicken stock cube (crumbled), sultanas, milk, water and stir to mix. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Add a little more water if necessary. Meanwhile, roast the pine nuts in a dry skillet. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the rice to serve.