About me

After being diagnosed with a long list of food intolerances seven years ago, I was forced into getting more creative in the kitchen.

For me, the best recipes are those which are easy to prepare and deliver heaps of flavour, perfect for sharing with friends and family without having to single anyone out because of a specialised diet.

My love for cooking and adapting recipes for my own dietary requirements has given me the incentive to share tips with others who also live with restricted diets.

I hope you find a bit of cooking inspiration from my blog. Please feel free to comment and post any questions...

Monday, 27 June 2011

Some Like It Hot

Heat wave hits Britain! and sticks around 'quite literally' for all of five minutes. This afternoon I walked into Sainsbury's grateful for the chilled food section and walked back out again, greeted by a thunderstorm. I blame those who complain about the lack of sun in our English Summers, but yet are the first to grumble when the temperature dares to reach more than 19 degrees. The weather in Newcastle is deceiving. It is truer here than in most other cities that you should leave the house armed with the right accessories for atleast 4 different types of weather.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I was born of wrong nationality. Not only do I truly detest being cold and wet, but when we are blessed with even an inch of sunshine, I am the first and often the only person you will find out in the halls car park soaking up what ever rays possible. The car park for my new flat is sadly less of a sun trap, but I won't be deterred, roof party anyone??

Heat is also a vital component in most of my favourite dishes. I LOVE spicy food, which hasn't always sat well with others when I've cooked curries or chillies in the past. For me a mild curry is incomplete and when a friend brought back some incredible spices and dried chillies from Tanzania, I made a Madras that quite literally felt as though your throat was dissolving. NOTE: Remember to remove the chillies before serving. Other than the occasional hidden 'surprise' the Madras was delicious and my friend developed a higher pain threshold, so win,win.

I was recently given a list of ingredients to make Harissa Paste. Most commonly used in North Africa, this hot, blood red paste is known to be severely strong in it's traditional form. I have yet to try the recipe, therefore the quantities will have to be experimented with until you have a consistency similar to that of a thai curry paste.
Harissa Paste
  • Olive oil, crushed garlic, crushed red chillis, lemon juice, paprika, fresh chopped coriander and a little hot water.
Ideally, a pestal and mortar would be useful to bind the ingredients together, but a food processor is a good substitute. The paste can be used in all sorts of meat and vegetable dishes to give heat and flavour as you would a normal curry paste. For a simple, spicy side dish with a moroccan twist, roast large rounds of aubergine, spread with a little of the paste and serve with wilted spinach and chickpeas with a little olive oil and lemon juice. I also recently had a delicious salad of lemon and coriander couscous with harissa roasted sweet potato wedges, which would have been lightly tossed in the paste with a little extra oil and water before baking.
The accompanying Sailor Jerry's cocktails worked a treat for the spicy after taste and I am now in the midst of a hunt for a bottle of the 'real' SJ's that still smells like a deliciously warm, vanilla candle when served neat. I've heard word of the real thing in Tynemouth, no Morgans Spiced for me!

Cocktail and bar training begins this week so it is likely that I will be posting lots of drink recipes from now on  aswel. The breakfast bar in the new flat has now been deemed the cocktail bar, which is fitting as we already have a 'Vegas' bathroom. Let's just say there is no hiding from those mirrors, perhaps not the best thing after a night of cocktails...

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