Recipes

Quesadilla

Mexico's answer to a cheese toastie, the quesadilla consists of corn or flour tortillas stuffed with cheese and a bewildering array of other goodies, depending on area and mood. For this recipe we are using chicken sauteed with our new Mexican Chilli Lime blend (July's Spice of the Month) to make a quesadilla filling enough to be served as a dinner along with some spicy side dishes. It is best to use a cheese which melts fairly quickly and evenly - a mixture of Monterey Jack and cheddar works well.

Chicken Tikka Masala

One of Britain's national dishes, and a star of England's performance in the Spice World Cup, it is said this was invented in a Glasgow Indian restaurant when a customer requested sauce with his chicken tikka. The chef (allegedly!) simply combined tomato ketchup with cream and mild spices, and hey presto! Obviously the dish has evolved since then, and the ketchup has disappeared from the equation. Chicken tikka masala has a reputation as a curry for people who don't like curry, but our version includes plenty of spice - although not hot ones. This dish is best served with hot, fluffy naan bread and a veggie side dish.

Ajvar (Croatian Red Pepper Relish)

We came across Ajvar during our Spice World Cup coverage, and sort of fell in love! This wonderful relish is truly addictive, and great to have around for a dip, for a cheeseboard or just to slap on a sarnie! A great version is available from our friends and next-door neighbours at Borough Market, Taste Croatia, but should you want to make your own, this is how. It can be either hot or not, up to you.

Singapore Curry Laksa

Sharing a laksa recipe is a dangerous business - it's one of those things where everyone's is definitive, and no other road should be walked! In addition, laksa differs enormously depending on where it's from - Assam, Penang, Sarawak, for example. This recipe is for the Singapore Curry version, which is an addictive blend of coconut, curry and Malaysian spices like lemon grass and lime leaf. In Singapore this type of laksa would usually be prepared with clams, but we think it works equally well with fat, juicy prawns. And finally, this recipe is not definitive, just the way we like to make it! Also in Singapore a local curry blend would be used, but our Zanzibar blend makes the ideal substitute. Top tip, by the way - you don't actually need to cook rice vermicelli, just rehydrate it in hot water.

Kharcho

This soupy stew is a Georgian staple, and as such contains three ingredients which are typical of the country's cooking; walnuts, sour cherries and the national spice blend, Khmeli Suneli. It is the type of dish which in times gone by would have been bubbling away on the camp fire of an evening, to be enjoyed with hunks of bread. We find it a great dish to serve for supper, with a nice salad on the side. The best rice to use is a short-grain variety such as arborio or paella rice, as the grains will hold their shape better.

Vibrant Veggie Curry

This recipe stars our new Coconut & Beetroot curry blend, and is great either as a side dish or as a main course served with chappati or roti bread. The beetroot gives the dish a vibrant colour, which is boosted by the tomatoes, and though the spicing is quite complex it still has an almost refreshing flavour. By all means alter the veg we use, it will work with most, but we find the carrot just adds to the colourful nature of this lovely curry. We guarantee that once you've made this one, it will be a regular on your table!

Hong Kong Style Sweet & Sour Sauce

Ah, sweet and sour... memories of a container of deep fried 'chicken' balls accompanied by a paper cup full of bright orange gloop.. oh dear! But don't panic - we can share with you the way to make a proper sweet and sour, the way they make it in Hong Kong, and this is a completely different beast. The secret weapon here is our freeze-dried pineapple powder, which when hooked up with fresh pineapple makes for an exotic explosion of fruity flavour. The sauce works equally well with chicken, pork, fish or prawns.

Persian Lentil & Beetroot Salad with Golpar

This lovely Middle Eastern salad uses the distinctive flavour of Golpar, a spice from Persia. It combines so well with the fresh, sweet and colourful beetroot (which is used raw, to keep hold of that colour and sweetness) and the earthy goodness of the lentils. The salad is lovely as a side dish to any Middle Eastern meal, particularly as part of a mezze, and it is also lovely for lunch served with some warm pitta bread.

Malabar Lamb Curry

 This curry is from Malaysia, and is a result of the Indian immigration to the peninsula in past days. A lot of Malaysian food has distinct Indian influences, but this recipe is the perfect example of this fusion. It is a hot curry, but uses a lot of coconut to mellow it out a bit, and the flavour of lemon grass and other aromatic spices balances everything. Also, it is one of those dishes which positively improves if you cook it a day in advance, then heat it up to eat. The flavour will mature and develop overnight. A perfect side dish is a crunchy cabbage curry. This curry goes really well with chappatis, roti or naan bread, but of course can always be served with rice.

Pork with Clams

This Portuguese recipe stars our Piri Piri blend (which we call Portuguese Chicken), and combines tender pork shoulder with juicy clams to create one of the perfect meat and seafood marriages. Another thing is that Portugal is about the only country in southern Europe which favours coriander over flatleaf parsley in its food, which gives it a fresh difference. The best clams to use are small ones such as Palourde, and as always with shellfish take care to wash them well, and to discard any which do not open when cooked. The Aleppo pepper used here is not Portuguese, of course, but it is a great addition, bringing along an extra bit of fruity, spicy colour to the dish.

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