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"Diet sensibility-wise I find myself straddled several yards short of the spooky Eat Nourish Glow brigade ... yet far from a woman who eats a double-stack patty with onion rings dipped in chipotle mayonnaise at lunchtime guilt-free. Although, if I’m honest, I can, and have done, and several photos of me exist on the internet standing at parties with my arms around gaunt, size 6 showbiz chums resembling, in relative terms, an amiable Tyrannosaurus rex that has entered a toddler’s sandpit."

Grace Dent

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Entries in chilli (17)

Friday
Mar112016

Artichoke spaghetti with chilli, lemon and parsley

I made this pasta a few weeks back for my cooking demo at the Natoora shop in Chiswick. Everyone loved it. One man loved it so much he bought every ingredient on the recipe card so he could recreate it at home.

For such a simple pasta, it took a while to perfect. The first one was too dry, the second too lemony, the third was just right. This is the third recipe.

In the pictures, the artichokes are the mammole variety. They are similar to globe artichokes, in that they have meaty and tender outer leaves which can be eaten raw or cooked. A colleague who was watching me do my practice run for the shop asked why I had used mammole if I was only using the heart. He suggested tema or spiky artichokes instead. He is Italian so I thought I’d best not argue.

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Wednesday
Oct212015

Andrew's Roasted Delica pumpkin with garlic, herbs and chilli

Pumpkin is not something I often choose to cook. I generally prefer something more savoury. But the Delica pumpkin from Natoora really is exceptional. They are grown in Mantova, Lombardy following traditional methods that involve a final curing process in heated warehouses that maximises the sugar contents and reduces the amount of water in the flesh.

My colleague, Andrew, made this recipe for the Natoora autumn seasonal meeting and it was a hit. Gone in seconds. It's a simple recipe which makes the most of the Delica's sweet and tender flesh. Roasted with garlic, herbs and chilli, it caramelises beautifully in the oven.

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Wednesday
Jun032015

Spring bean salad

This is one of my favourite salads. I make it, or a version of it, on a regular basis as a side with fish or chicken dishes or as part of an Ottolenghi-style spread that I like to do for BBQs and big dinner parties. 

Since I started working at Natoora I have played around with the ingredients a bit. I used to always make it with green beans and mange tout, which are great and easy to source. However, Natoora focuses on seasonal ingredients so I have swapped out the mange tout for white and green piattoni (Italian runner beans). They are sweet and tender and they look gorgeous.

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Sunday
Jun232013

Dr Shakshuka

Shakshuka is my new favourite weekend brunch. I was introduced to it via Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast on Channel 4. In the last episode, Ottolenghi visits Israel where he grew up. Everything looks so delicious that it made me want to book a holiday right there and then. Since I’m a poor student and can’t afford that any time soon, I’ve made do with cooking this at home. Frequently.

Shakshuka “was brought to Israel by Tunisian Jews. It is a rustic concoction of eggs poached in a fiery tomato sauce, a bit like a sort of spicy fry up” says Ottolenghi. “It’s great for brunch and a fantastic hangover cure.”

There are lots of other versions out there, for example, the Italians do uova in purgatorio (eggs in purgatory) and the Morrocans do it in a tagine with lamb. I think the traditional Israeli version is my favourite though, not in small part because it includes my favourite sausages, merguez. 

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Friday
Dec282012

Diana Henry's Thai sweet chilli sauce

My sister will be surprised when she sees this. I have always berated her love of the shop-bought stuff. But when I read Diana Henry’s introduction I was intrigued:

“So much better than anything you can buy. It doesn’t have that cloying flavour of commercial bottles, but barks at you with biting, fresh taste.”

This led me to the list of ingredients, which looked very promising. And she is right, it is so much better than the shop bought version. Indeed, it might as well be another sauce.

The recipe is from Salt, Sugar, Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat and Fish, a lovely book full of recipes, tips and techniques for the home preserver. “I am a home cook” writes Henry, “I don’t have masses of special equipment and I don’t do things on a grand scale.” Her style is approachable and encouraging, showing that preserving isn’t just for “elderly ladies in floral pinnies or country-based downsizers with a vehicle big enough to transport several dead animals.”

I made this first to use up some chillies which my flatmate, Jen, had grown on our kitchen windowsill.  I liked it so much I decided to make it for Christmas presents in place of my usual jams or chutneys.

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