The Boxing Day turkey curry is an established favourite nowadays, and has been for quite some time. This recipe is a variation upon the theme, and is equally good for using up all the leftovers from Christmas dinner. What makes it deliciously different is the use of our Vadouvan (French masala), a flavour-packed curry blend from Pondicherry. Sprouts for example may not be a traditional Indian vegetable, but they are great in this biriani. If all the veg got eaten, a couple of handfuls of frozen mixed veg will work just as well. As a respite from all the richness involved in Christmas food, serve the biriani with a tomato and onion salad, a cucumber raitha (yoghurt sauce) and a quick chutney you can whip up yourself by chopping up a red onion, a few Indian green finger chillies and a handful of fresh coriander and mixing them up with a couple of tablespoons of mint sauce.
The perfect Christmas dessert when it’s 30 degrees in the shade! This is basically chocolate ice cream jazzed up with festive goodies, and this version is given the Spice Mountain touch with the addition of cinnamon and ground mixed spice. It is very easy to make (you don’t actually have to make the ice cream, although feel free to do so if you like), and even people who don’t normally care for an everyday Christmas pud will love it. Kids, of course, will bite your hand off to get some!
This classic English mustard pickle is great for Christmas, on the buffet table at tea-time or just to perk up a turkey sandwich for a nightcap. And of course it is totally at home on the cheeseboard, especially if said board includes a sharp, tangy vintage Cheddar. It is very easy to make, if a little time-consuming, and unlike many other pickles can be made in relatively small amounts. The most important thing for the mustard sauce is to get the vinegar/salt/sugar balance right, along with adding just the right amount of chilli zing to sit on top of the mustard – here this is achieved by the judicious addition of smoked chilli flakes and smoked green jalapeno flakes, which of course have the added benefit of giving your piccallili the Spice Mountain touch!
Venison is a meat which is bang in season at the moment, and these meatballs are a great way to do something a little different with this lean, flavour-packed ingredient. The meatballs are seasoned with warm, aromatic spices which will complement rather than overpower, and they are cooked in a red wine based sauce which is given a big umami boost from dried Porcini mushroom pieces. The general character of the dish is that of northern Italy, and cooks there would serve this with a splodge of buttery, creamy polenta. It also goes well with papardelle pasta, or with good old-fashioned mash.
Spice Mountain also stocks a delicious Smoky Ragu blend and so for those who’d like to try something earthy and smoky why not give this a try…
What's the difference between a normal dhal and a Tarka dhal? Well, the Tarka's a little 'otter.
Okay, that's the terrible joke out of the way! In reality, Tarka signifies that the dhal has been tempered with a mixture of crisp fried garlic, onion and chilli towards the end of cooking, a process which adds a total flavour bomb to the lentils. This version uses our Vadouvan (French Masala) blend to intensify that flavour bomb even further. This dish is very popular in India (where it is often called dhal fry) and is best served as a side dish with a curry meal.
This delicious treat takes full advantage of the wild mushrooms in season now, making a luxurious dish which will grace any dinner party. Stroganoff is of course an old school classic, created by the French chefs who cooked for the Russian court in the 19th century. Their version would have used the best quality fillet steak, but here the earthy and complex flavour of mushrooms is a more than adequate replacement. Use a mixture of wild mushrooms, and treat yourself to a few girolles to pop in there too.
An Autumn Sunday, a walk in the woods (or the park) and a lovely crumble waiting to be enjoyed when you get home, smothered in creamy custard to take the chill out of your bones. Apple and blackberry are bang in season at this time of year, and though of course there is merit in rhubarb for the crumble, the apple and blackberry pairing just sums up English sweets for us. This recipe uses our cinnamon sugar blend in the crumble, and our vanilla sugar for the custard, just for extra luxury.
Before we start, a disclaimer – someone somewhere (probably an Italian) will dispute that this ragu is actually a true Bolognese, and I dare say they'd be correct, technically. Oh mamma mia, mushrooms??? Whatever, but this is the way I learned it from my Mama (who was from Newcastle rather than Napoli) and it's worked for me for 40 years. If it ain't broke, as they say..
Anyway, however you like it Bolognese is among the most elemental of comfort foods, especially when smothering a big pile of butter coated spaghetti, and crowned with a healthy shake of Parmesan. Make extra and you will have left over the base for a lasagne, a moussaka, a chilli or even a (slightly flash) Shepherd's pie. Apart from the ingredients, the secret is in the cooking time – this should not be cooked for a second less than three hours, and four is better. Also, go easy on the liquid as you can always add a little more should it be needed.
Every Greek holiday will feature at least one helping of one of the country's national dishes, the aromatic, gently spiced beef stew known as Stifado. Its presence is a given on any taverna menu, alongside moussaka and souvlaki, and when made well is a surefire winner. The stew is cooked slowly, and features a triumvirate of aromatic spices which give the dish its distinct character, these being cloves, allspice and cinnamon. Stifado from anywhere in Greece will always include these three, but in some areas a small amount of cumin is also used. This recipe is one we learned on the island of Zakynthos, and the result is guaranteed every time as the cooking method is so simple. One important point – don't brown your meat as you would in most recipes. The result depends on the meat being able to absorb all the flavour of the sauce, and becoming meltingly tender. The recipe makes plenty of stifado, but it freezes really well so not a problem!
This unique curry features the star of this month's newsletter, beetroot, and though the idea of beetroot in a curry at first may sound a bit left-field, it works really, really well. The sweetness and earthiness of the beetroot stands out and balances the spice, and the beetroot holds its form and shape well, leaving lovely big chunks of it to enjoy. Different, for sure, but this curry has become one of our favourites! This recipe makes quite a bit of curry, but don't worry as it freezes really well. We like it served with basmati rice, and plenty of raitha (yoghurt sauce).