A real Winter Warmer, this filling, substantial soup is common allover the Caribbean. The pepper element comes from a combination of allspice and Scotch Bonnet chilli, and it is given a nice fragrance from thyme and bayleaf. In the West Indies it is often made with beef, but this is a veggie version. Traditionally it would be served with a dumpling plonked on top, and that is fine, but we suggest enjoying it with a hunk of warm, crusty bread as a warming lunch or supper.
This lovely, spicy concoction is an ever-present on any vegetable thali served in South Indian restaurants, indeed in the region it is a staple food. The flavours of South India are brought by curry leaves and plenty of black pepper, along with plenty of chilli for heat and tamarind for sourness. It can be served as part of an Indian buffet, or equally enjoyed by itself with some paratha, roti or chapati for a light meal. A note on curry leaves – they are undoubtedly best bought fresh, but can be fiendishly difficult to find; the dried ones we stock will work fine for this soup however and the unique flavour and aroma is essential in this soup.
An American classic, there are quite a few variations on the chowder theme and this one adds spicy, piquant Chorizo sausage to the mix to give it Mexican notes. The paprika in the sausage combines really well with the creamy flavour of the soup, and we also add a sprinkle of our Cajun blend along with some Smoked Paprika to emphasise this. Vegetarians can of course leave out the Chorizo, and in this case just increase the amount of paprika and Cajun blend.
This dish is from Mexico, and is another of their brilliant breakfast ideas when served with a fried egg on the side. But it is also great as a side dish or something from the buffet. It is simple, basically a Mexi version of sausage and chips although a lot more interesting! The best chorizo to use here is the raw kind, and we would recommend visiting our friends at Brindisa in Borough Market to buy it – they do little cooking chorizos which are perfect for this. And rather than just chucking in slices or chunks of chorizo, it’s best to peel off the skin and just crumble the sausage into the pan, as it then becomes part of the sauce, coating the potatoes wonderfully. The guajillo chilli used is not hot, but if you want to make it so just add some hot chilli powder to the dish.
This wonderful slow-cooked beef stew is the national dish of Cuba, and also enjoyed in many other Central American countries. It is a great way to cook a cheaper cut of beef, and works perfectly with brisket. The name comes from the fact that when ready the beef cuts up into long strands (like pulled beef), resembling a pile of old rags (ropa vieja translates as old clothes), and the slow cooking process results in a dish packed full of flavour and colour. This is a perfect dish for an informal dinner party, particularly if it involves a buffet, and it can be made well in advance then reheated.
This is the West African answer to Special Fried Rice, so tasty and flavoured with tomato and then given a lovely warm heat with a touch of Scotch Bonnet chilli. It is a mainstay of an special occasion in Nigeria and the surrounding countries, served as an accompaniment or especially as part of a buffet. We give this recipe the Spice Mountain touch with the addition of our Ethiopian Berbere spice blend, which although not strictly speaking West African, contains so many flavours which can only improve what is already a very tasty dish indeed!
A traditional Greek winter dish, this is one of those one-pot wonders that can feed a family and then some! Traditionally it would have been taken to the village bakers to be cooked, to be collected and enjoyed on the way home from work. It is often made with beef, but we love this lamb version. Orzo pasta is the one shaped like large grains of rice, and it can be found in Greek, Turkish or other Mediterranean grocers. The best cheese to use is Greek kefalotyri, but pecorino is a suitable substitute rather than Parmesan.
A classic and traditional English beef stew includes a surprising collection of spice, although they are aromatics rather than fiery examples. This recipe uses shin beef, which lends itself so well to slow cooking either in the oven or on top of the stove, and is spiced with ginger, allspice, coriander and orange zest. The orange zest brings balance, the ginger a little zing and the allspice a sweet, warming character. Serve this with suet dumplings for a real English wintertime treat.
One of our great food memories is Couscous
Royale in Paris – a collection of meats including merguez, chicken and lamb meatballs are the centrepiece of this delicious feast, but perhaps our favourite bit has always been the veggie stew that goes with it. Carrot, turnip and chickpeas slowly simmered in a spicy broth which is mild, aromatic and warming. We often recreate this one at home, forgetting the meat and just having a plate of the veggie stew with a pile of buttery couscous. Our Ras El Hanout or Marrakesh chicken blend are both perfect for this dish.
Featured in our egg feature in this newsletter, this is one of Japan’s greatest comfort foods, much loved by children and adults alike. The name literally translates as ‘parent and child bowl’, due to the chicken and eggs being used in the same dish. It is quick and easy, perfect for lunch or a light supper, and is a really authentic taste of Japan.