Tag Archives: green chilli

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Spinach and Green Chilli Basil Oil

8 Oct

It’s that time of year again. You know it’s definitely Autumn when you see piles of beautiful squashes at the market and I’m tripping over knobbly pumpkins growing out of the fences at the side of the road as I run past the fields with the dog in the morning.

This is the first of many squash and pumpkin recipes to come and I make no apology for that. Their sweet savoury substantial flesh is a welcome addition to any soup or stew and its versatility and ability to slip seamlessly into the cuisine of any country make it an easy choice for this greedy vegetarian,

Some of my personal favourite and most popular recipes feature  the mighty squash. These Butternut Squash & Chickpea Cakes spiced with Cape Malay flavours are easily my most viewed recipe. This Indian Spiced Smashed Pumpkin is comfort food at its best and this Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake with chocolate ganache is heaven.

So after Africa and India we now set foot back in Europe with a classic Italian recipe served with a green and spiced up version of an Aglio Oglio sauce made with our homegrown green chillis which we are now harvesting for the second time this year.

So, I don’t know how many of you out there have ever made Pumpking Gnocchi before, but I have.  They were a complete disaster, dense, heavy and unappealing. You couldn’t eat more than two or three before feeling like your stomach was about to explode. I tried, obviously. Not a good idea.

That kind of put me off ever trying again but that was two years ago and my skills and knowledge have improved slightly since then. And The Washer Up wanted me to, so here I am.

The mistake I made last time, I now know from watching countless cookery programmes on TV, was adding too much flour to the mix. It’s easily done because you think the mixture is too wet and that it will fall apart in the water when you cook them. Trust me, go easy on the flour, you’ll thank me for it. And so will your stomach.

*Mine were probably slightly under floured this time as you can see from the raw shot above. They look like very soft gnocchi, but this made them so light and fluffy when they were cooked. You didn’t get that “Oh god I’ve eaten a duvet” feeling afterwards. A trick is to cook one first and try it. If it doesn’t hold, add a little more flour to the mix.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Spinach & Green Chilli Basil Oil

Serves 2-3, vegetarian. Adapted from Cranks Recipe Book

  • 375 g peeled, cubed squash or pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • a pinch chilli flakes
  • salt & black pepper

Preheat oven to 190C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the squash cubes on the tray, drizzle over the olive oil, sprinkle with the spices and season with salt & pepper. Toss with you hands so evenly coated and lay out in one layer on the tray. Bake for 15-25 minutes until soft, depending on the size of your cubes.

  • 50-75 g plain flour ( I used white spelt flour)
  • 30 g finely grated parmesan or manchego cheese
  • 1 small spring onion green parts, finely chopped
  •  a handful of basil leaves, finely shredded
  • salt & pepper

Mash the pumpkin with a potato masher then sieve over 50 g flour and mix well. Then add and mix together the parmesan, spring onion and basil and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Using floured hands, shape the mixture into small walnut sized ovalish balls, put on a floured, lined tray, then roll over with a floured fork to make the pattern and store in the fridge until ready to cook.

*See note above about adding a little more flour a bit at a time and doing a test run if unhappy with the consistency. But don’t add too much flour or your cooked gnocchi will be very heavy & dense.

For the sauce:

  • 4 or 5 tbsp olive oil
  • a handful of spinach leaves, chopped
  • a handful of basil leaves, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded & chopped
  • a cup of the hot pasta water (from cooking the gnocchi)
  • shaved parmesan for garnish
  • pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan for garnish

Heat the oil in a  frying pan large enough to hold the gnocchi over a medium heat and add the sliced garlic and chilli. Cook slowly until the garlic is starting to brown (but don’t let it burn) then remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi in lots of boiling salted water for about 2 minutes. They will float to the top when they are cooked.  Reserve a teacup full of the hot cooking water, put the garlic oil back on the heat and add about half of the cup of pasta water when hot.Reduce this slightly while the gnocchi cooks and add the chopped spinach and basil to create the sauce. Season with salt & black pepper.

When the gnocchi are cooked and you are ready to serve, heat them up in the same pan as the sauce for a minute or two (you can add the rest of the cup of pasta water if it needs it) and then serve garnished with the shaved parmesan & toasted pine nuts.

Buon Appetito!

Zucchini Green Chilli Cornbread

4 Oct

Sorry it has taken me a few days to get around to posting this recipe but I went out for Sunday lunch to Santiago’s with my friend Stacey and it turned into one of those long lunches that last all day, you know the type, very nice it was too. And Monday is The Washer Up’s only day off so no blogging happens on a Monday.

One of the fields I walk past every morning is this large field of sweetcorn. It was ripe and ready to harvest at least a month ago but it has been left to dry out completely. Continue reading

Green Bean, Lentil and Potato Curry with Green Chilli and Mint

23 Sep

Watching these green beans growing in the fields where I walk the dog made me think about using them in a dish as the main ingredient. We eat quite a lot of green beans but always as a side vegetable. I wanted to give them the chance to be the star.

I found a Madhur Jaffrey recipe for Green Lentils with Green Beans & Fresh Coriander in another magazine clipping The Washer Up’s dad, Jim had sent to me. I used that as a base to work from and added a lot more spices and some of my homegrown green chillis.

I had some new potatoes in my fridge so I added those and I used mint instead of coriander because that was what I had. The mint works really well with the beans and the potatoes and gives the whole dish a lovely freshness as well as being a cool partner to the fiery chilli.

This is surprisingly delicious, by that I mean that humble everyday ingredients can be brought together with a bit of spice and chilli heat to create something really special. And you don’t need to serve anything with it, so less washing up!

Green Bean Lentil & Potato Curry with Green Chilli & Mint

Serves 3-4 vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Curry Easy by Madhur Jaffrey

  • 250 gr green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 200 gr dried lentils
  • 750 ml water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 425 gr new potatoes, quartered
  • 1 tsp Punchpooran (An Indian whole spice mix that includes: cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, black mustard seeds and onion seeds) Available from East End Foods.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, then crushed in a mortar & pestle
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves, garlic
  • 2 green chillis, finely chopped (deseeded if you like it milder)
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 500 ml veg stock (maybe more)
  • 1 tin (400 gr) chopped tomatoes
  • salt & black pepper
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • a handful of fresh mint leaves, (about 15) finely chopped plus some sprigs for garnish

Put the lentils and water in a medium pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered for about 20 minutes until the lentils are nearly cooked and most of the water has been absorbed. Then season with salt & black pepper.

Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large pan that has a lid over a medium heat. Add the punchpooran, cumin, mustard and crushed coriander seeds and cook until they start to pop. Add the onion cook for about 5 minutes until softened then add the garlic, ginger, chillies and cook for 2 minutes more.

Add in the quartered potatoes, turmeric and garam masala and season well with salt & pepper. Stir to coat the potatoes in the spices then add the stock and tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Next add in the beans and cook for another 5 minutes with the lid on (If it is dry you may want to add some more stock). Then add in the cooked lentils and cook for a further 5 minutes. By this time the potatoes should be cooked, if not add a bit more stock and give them another 5 minutes.

Squeeze over the lemon and stir in the chopped mint. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Serve in warmed bowls garnished with the mint sprigs.

This is actually really good served cold/room temperature as a salad for lunch the next day too.

Have a great weekend…

Chana Saag – Indian Spiced Chickpeas with Spinach

25 Jun

Our chilli plant on the roof terrace has loads of green chillis on it all of a sudden. I’m sure it grows about 5 centimetres overnight. It’s been so hot here  so we have been watering it really well every evening when the sun goes down. It seems to be very happy there.

This is my cue now for putting chilli in everything. Not that I need another excuse. The Washer Up loves anything with chilli in it especially Indian food. Apparently eating chilli cools you down in hot weather too. Like having a cup of tea is supposed to. I don’t know about that but I’m willing to give it a try, this heat is unbearable.

Chana Masala (chickpeas in a spicy sauce) is one my favourite dishes. I always order it, along with Tarka Dal (spiced lentils), and Saag Aloo (potatoes with spinach) when we go out for Indian food. I borrowed this recipe from Dani at Moderate Oven which combines two of my favourite dishes. Chana Saag is spiced chickpeas with spinach. I’d never tried it before and couldn’t wait to debut our homegrown green chillis.

Chana Saag-  Spiced Chickpeas with Spinach Recipe

serves 2-3, adapted from Moderate Oven

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 cardamom pods, bashed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tin (400 gr) chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 300 gr frozen spinach (not defrosted)
  • 1 tin/jar (400 gr) cooked chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped plus some leaves for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and cardamom pods and cook for a minute until they start to pop, don’t let them burn. Add the onion and cook for around 4 minutes. When the onion begins to soften & brown then add the ginger, garlic & green chillis and cook for another minute.

Stir in the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric & cayenne pepper until coating the onions then add the tinned tomatoes. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring for 3 or 4 minutes. Add in the frozen spinach, stirring the tomatoes around and over it and simmer, partially covered, for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to break up the spinach until completely thawed.

Remove from the heat and use a stick blender or processor to (carefully) puree the spinach until smooth. Put the pan back on the heat with the spinach and add the rinsed chickpeas to it. Season with salt, pepper & garam masala and simmer, partially covered, for 8 -10 more minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Add boiling water if necessary.

Stir in the chopped coriander, squeeze over some lemon juice and check the seasoning. Add more salt or lemon juice to taste. Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander leaves and a wedge of lemon on the side.

That reminds me I must go and water the chilli plants, it has been another ridiculously hot day, they must be thirsty!

Things that made me smile today…..

I think it must be baby snail (caracolillos) season. They live on the wild fennel at the side of the road. You see people with buckets picking them off.

It looks like they like artichokes too. If I wasn’t  vegetarian I would make a Snail, Fennel & Artichoke Risotto. But I am, so I won’t. Don’t let me stop you though….

Buen Fin de Semana!

Yellow Gram Chickpea Curry with (Unpuffy) Spinach Puri

12 Feb

I have loads of unopened packets of dried legumes in my cupboard. I normally buy them from the Indian supermarket because they look so interesting and I love daal and chickpea curries. The thing is I never get round to cooking with them because of the whole soaking, rinsing in clean water and then cooking them for hours thing. I’ve got nothing against that type of cooking it’s just I’m not that organised. I decide what I want to eat about an hour before I eat, so I always end up opening a jar of cooked chickpeas or beans. It’s so much easier….

I have to admit though you can definitely tell the difference in a dish where the chickpeas/beans are whole. The texture is different, they are firmer and less floury. So today, before taking the dog for a walk, I put some Yellow Gram in a bowl of water to soak. Yellow gram are like cute little mini chickpeas….

I took Rufus for a walk along a mountain path today. He enjoyed running with the wind in his ears…..

And surveying the landscape…

When we got back I rinsed the gram in a few changes of water and cooked them in clean water in the pressure cooker. I don’t know why I didn’t think of cooking them like this before. The instructions on the packet say to cook them for 1 1/2 – 2 hours in a saucepan. This way they took about 25 minutes, result! The pressure cooker idea came from Ko Rasoi- Mastering the Art of Indo- Vegetarian Cuisine which has loads of gorgeous daal recipes and she cooks them in the pressure cooker. This is also where I got the recipe for the Spinach & Green Chilli Puri, hers are beautiful puffy little breads that I just had to have with my gram curry. I have cooked puris before but never with spinach & green chilli, they sounded amazing…… 

As you can see from the photos my puris did not puff. This is quite common apparently, could happen to anyone, it’s not just me….. Apart from being a little disappointed with my embarrassing lack of puff the flavour and texture was lovely and a great vehicle for the curry.

Yellow Gram Chickpea Curry Recipe

serves 2, vegan

  • 200 gr uncooked yellow gram or  400 gr tin cooked chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 red chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 or 4 tbsp tomato passasta (tomate frito)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves (use curry leaves if you have them)
  • 1 onion seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  •  1 tsp garam masala
  •  1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt & black pepper
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • about 500 ml veg stock
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped plus leaves for garnish
  • greek yoghurt (optional)

Prepare and cook the gram according to the instructions on the packet (or in a pressure cooker). Or drain & rinse a tin/jar of cooked chickpeas. In a large frying pan heat some oil over a medium heat. Add in the cumin seeds & onion seeds. When they start to pop add in the onions and soften for about 3 or 4 minutes then add in the garlic, ginger, chilli, chopped tomato, ground coriander, garam masala, bay leaves & turmeric. Cook for another 3 or 4 minutes and add in the tomato passata (frito). Meanwhile heat the veg stock in a small saucepan. Drain the cooked gram/chickpeas, stir them into the curry and pour in the hot veg stock. Season well with salt & pepper and mix thoroughly. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. If your sauce isn’t as thick as you would like take out a ladleful of the curry put in it a bowl or food processor and blitz to a puree. Add this back into the curry to thicken it.

Check for seasoning, squeeze over the lemon juice and stir in the chopped fresh coriander

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, a teaspoon of greek yoghurt if you like and some extra wedges of lemon on the side. You could serve this with some basmati rice or these delicious puris…..

Spinach & Green Chilli Puris Recipe

makes 6 or 7 small puris, enough for 2 people,vegan

  • 150 gr plain or wholemeal flour
  • 1 small green chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 little cubes of frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed out (or a small handful of fresh)
  • 55 ml boiling water
  • 1 or 2 tbsp sunflower/olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of turmeric
  • oil for deep-frying

Blitz or mash the spinach, green chilli and boiling water to a smooth puree. Put the flour, turmeric & salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Mix in the oil and enough of the spinach mixture to make a firm non sticky dough.

Heat the oil in a wok, large frying pan or deep fat fryer to hot and open a window (it gets smoky & smelly)!  Pull off a small piece of dough and roll into a 1 inch ball. Roll it out to a 3 inch diameter circle, turning, clockwise as you roll to get a round ish shape. Don’t flour the board use a bit of oil if it is sticking. Carefully drop the circle into the hot oil and fry until golden and (hopefully) puffy. Keep warm under a clean tea towel while you fry the rest. To see how these puris should look check out Sanjanas beautiful photos. But if, like me, yours turn out to be decidedly unpuffy, don’t worry they still taste amazing and are the perfect scoop for the gram curry…

Good Luck!!!

 

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