Tag Archives: Chili

Heart-warming miso and noodle soup

16 Mar

This is a great soup for those early March nights when you, by rights, had expected the weather to be getting warmer, but when it is totally incorrectly freezing. Compounded with that, it’s an exceptionally healthy soup which is perfect for when, on those freezing early March nights, you decide to run straight home after work and skip the gym because it’s too cold. In the gym. Umm.

Miso and noodle soup

  • 2.5 TBSP shiro (or light) miso paste (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 shallot sliced finely
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 8 shitake or dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 1 C cauliflower
  • 1/4 C wakame seaweed
  • 750ml (3 C) water
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 packet thick udon noodles

In a bowl, cover dried mushrooms with 250ml of hot water.

In a hot pot, heat a bit of vegetable oil and cook shallot and garlic until they have a bit of colour.

Add water, cauliflower (or other vegetable), miso paste and mushrooms with the water they were soaking in, keeping the water at a simmer.

Once mushrooms are softened and cooked enough to eat – say 15 – 20 minutes after they first started soaking – add the noodles.

Cook for another few minutes until noodles are cooked through.

Serve with spring onion and some Japanese chili flakes.

Estimated cost:£1.80

Musical accompaniment: Classical somesuch


Chocolate chickpea chilli in jacket sweet potato

28 Feb

Putting cocoa powder into foods counter-intuitively is so much fun. It’s a little bit like playing the mad scientist on a dreary Thursday night. It kinda proves the hypothesis that chocolate makes everything good. Everything.

The cocoa in this does give the dish a suggestion of cocoa, but mostly it makes it all luscious in glossy darkness and provides depth. Also, it helps chip away at the box of Cadbury’s we’ve had in the cupboard since August 2009. Let’s not look at expiry dates, eh? Let’s not.

  • 1 medium sized sweet potato, cut in half lengthways

Chile chocolate chickpea

  • 1 tin of chickpea
  • 2/3 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 one ancho chile
  • 1 small chipotle chile
  • 3/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • chili flakes
  • oregano
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice

Pre-heat oven to 200C. When hot chuck sweet potato halves, wrapped in foil or baking paper, in there for 40 minutes – or until easily pierced with a toothpick.

Soak dried ancho and chipotle chiles in hot water for about 1o minutes.

Meanwhile (it’s always meanwhile), heat oil in a pan and add cumin.

Mash up chickpeas slightly, leaving about half un-smashed, and then throw them in the hot cumin oil. Add tomatoes, chili flakes, oregano and cook for 15 minutes.

Once thickened, add whole dried chiles and cocoa powder and about a tablespoon of chile soaking water.

Add a dash of lemon juice and salt to taste.

This here chocolate chickpea chile (aside from being swathed in glorious alliteration) is really versatile. We chucked it into our very first jacket potato eaten in England – true –  but I imagine it could be great as ‘beans on toast’ for brekkie, or just in Mexican dishes like enchiladas or burritos.

Estimated cost: £2.50

Musical accompaniment: Traditional Moroccan music on BBC Three

Vegetable fresh spring rolls with 2 dipping sauces

27 Feb

Fresh spring rolls are just darn lovely. Man Woman would have thought that making a veg version (normally it has prawns) would always be a hollow exercise, involving wistful gazes out over the table remembering the days when we’d bite into the pink and white crustaceans encased in viscose rice and crammed with fresh herbs. But, lo, ’tis not the case. This is just as good – and as we’ve already agreed, fresh spring rolls are darn lovely, that’s good enough for us.

Fresh spring rolls (makes 4 – 6)

  • Rice paper sheets
  • Handful of vermicelli
  • 1/2 green mango, sliced 2cm thick
  • 1 carrot, finely juiliened
  • 1/4 lettuce, shredded
  • Mint leaves
  • Coriander, chopped
  • 4 spring onion – green ends, sliced in half lengthways

Pour boiling water over vermicelli and soak noodles until soft. Drain and allow to cool.

Have cut vegetables ready to go.

Dip sheet of rice paper into hot water, allow to soften and then remove.

Lay 3 mint leaves flat face down in the centre of the paper. Just slightly closer to your good self, lay out the carrot, mango, coriander and lettuce in top of each other in a rectangular pile. On top, lay out about the same amount of vermicelli.

Fold over the edges on the rice paper at narrow ends of the veg & vermicelli pile. Then, tightly as possible, pull over the rice paper nearest yourself and wrap it over the veg pile, lay down a piece of spring onion so it sticks out and then continue rolling tightly.

Chili vinegar sauce

  • 1/2 of each: red, green and yellow birds’ eye chili, finely chopped
  • 3 TBSP rice vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 white part of a  spring onion, finely sliced

Sweet coriander sauce

  • 1 TBSP plum sauce
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1.5 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 tsp finely chopped coriander

Estimated cost: £1.90

Musical accompaniment: The Cave Singers

Vegetarian kimchi (Korean cabbage pickle)

14 Feb

It is Valentine’s Day, after all, and what says love more than spicy pickled cabbage, eh? Not bloody much.

But in truth, we loved Kimchi. Loved it so much we were happy to assume it was vegetarian – until one fateful trip to a Chinese supermarket in Sydney and an ill-judged glance at the ingredients label.

So we have recreated it, with no loss in flavour, ourselves. It’s also much easier to make your own kimchi in London than to attempt to procure it at a shop. O, the lack of East Asian supermarkets in the English capital! O!

Vegetarian kimchi

  • 1/2 medium head of cabbage
  • 10cm piece of daikon radish
  • 7 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 – 1.5 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

There are lots of recipes for kimchi, some of them requiring far more time than Man Woman was willing to devote to kimchi, I’m sorry.

So, in a very clean bowl, throw in cabbage and radish, chopped as you like. Salt and leave for an hour.

The hour is up. Salt again, and leave for another hour.

When this hour is up, mix together put into an airtight container and nearly cover with water.

Leave for at least 3 days in the fridge before eating. Yes, that’s right, the stuff is fermenting in your fridge. Don’t freak out. It’ll be OK.

Estimated cost: For the bucket of kimchi this makes, about £1.20

The biggest burrito mix ever made in North London

8 Dec

This recipe says a lot about Man Woman. It speaks of our interest in feeding the world. In having cocktail parties and requiring people to dress up in odd themes (Frida Kahlo this time). But mostly, it speaks of our kitchenaliaphilia. This is how I have come to term our undying and shameful interest in the kitchen departments of the world. We cannot visit a city without ducking into department stores or giggling with unabashed excitement if we happen across a catering shop. When backpacking around Europe for 7 months in 2006, we did so with two types of coffee maker picked up in Bosnia and Portugal and stock from Croatia. We’re so infintely lame.

So, naturally, on our last trip to Madrid last year we bought a gigantic paella pan from El Rastro market. We’d never put it to good use. So we invited 20-odd of our nearest and dearest ’round to finally put it through its paces. Added to this was 60 white corn tortilla breads we picked up from a far more painful trip to Casa Mexico in Bethnal Green in the freezing cold, and we managed to feed the freezing and festive quite sufficiently.

Mexican bean mix (Serves 20 – 30)

  • 2 – 2.5kg kidney, cannelli and black-eyed beans (cooked weight)
  • 5 tins of whole tomatoes
  • 1 C corn
  • 1.5 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 TBSP ground cumin
  • 1 dried chipotle chili, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 TBSP cayenne pepper
  • lots of lemon juice
  • coriander to serve

This is massive. Do simply what you have to  do.

Estimated cost: Around £30 including cheese, shredded lettuce, grated carrot and guacamole

Roast butternut squash and purple sprouting broccoli pizza (with chili!)

8 Nov

Looking down at the below list of ingredients, its hard not to advise picking up the phone and calling your local woodfired pizza joint (under no circumstances – except extreme drunkeness or passing-out-level-starvation – should you consider calling any pizza proprietor who stuffs their crust).

But lo. Homemade pizza is good stuff. Must admit, not quite as great as Lupa in Crouch End, but there is something particularly comforting about a homemade pizza. Maybe something a bit fun and childish. Whatever, it’s pizza really, so it’s going to be alright, innit?

Pizza base (adapted from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook)

  • 150g strong white flour
  • 150g strong wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP milk
  • 220ml water

Sauce base

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 6 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp crushed chilis

Pizza topping

  • 400g butternut squash
  • 6 purple sprouting broccoli stems
  • Cheese for topping (parmesan, goats, ricotta, soy cheese – even old Mr Cheddar would work)

Preheat oven to 175C.

We cheated and used the pizza setting on our bread machine for kneading. I really hate kneading. Man appears to enjoy it, but was not about for the prep (conveniently arrived in time for the consumption). I’m fairly certain you otherwise need to knead it for 3 minutes, let it rest for 10, knead for 10 and then cover with a clean towel in a warm  place. But Google it.

While dough is being made (or proving) make up the sauce by softening the onion and garlic in a pan before adding tomatoes. I like to cook this for at least 20 minutes so there is no wateriness to the sauce which could soggy-fy the pizza base.

Meanwhile, roast the pumpkin in the heating oven for about 12 minutes.

When dough’s ready top with sauce and veg.

Cook pizza for about 15 minutes. Add cheese (optional) fresh, once out of the oven.

Estimated cost: £2.90

Musical accompaniment: Still on National Public Radio’s All Songs Considered

Chili oil and sauce for Man

17 Sep

Man likes to think that chili sauces and oils are like democracy: works in progress.  But, unlike democracy, a good chili sauce shouldn’t be hard work, simply throw together a few basic ingredients and let time and or a blender do all the hard work. And then tinker around the edges until you’re happy with the heat level, consistency and additional flavours, if any.

Man Woman have many chili based products in the kitchen, but here is a basic chili oil and sauce Man threw together recently after picking up a packet of habaneros from Brixton market.

Chili oil for man

  • Seeds of 8 habanero chilies
  • 2 whole seeded habaneros, halved
  • 250ml olive oil

Place ingredients in a glass jar and leave for about 4-5 days.

Man likes to shake jar occasionally, although Woman disapproves, believing that time will see the flavour develop through. She is probably right, but a good shaking won’t do any harm.

After 4-5 days, simply strain the chilies out of the jar, so that all what remains is the chili oil.

The chili oil should last as long as the oil usually would – a long time. Great to use as a substitute for normal oil when making pasta sauces for a kick, drizzle on pizzas, and just about anything else you care to add a little heat to.

Chili sauce for Man

And now, with the left over chilies. Man put them in a saucepan with 8-10 cloves of garlic, salt, a can of tomatoes, a tablespoon of sugar, a pinch of paprika and dash of (vegetarian) worcestershire sauce (soy sauce can also be used). Leave over heat for about 15 minutes then blend.

What’s that? Yes, two chili sauces for the price of one! This should keep about a month but best to freeze a little if you want it to last as the sauce has a potent kick which will see you use it sparingly but one hopes, often.

And remember, tinkering is always an option.

Estimated cost: 70p for the chilies; about £1 of olive oil and 70p for the can of tomatoes for use in the second sauce.

Musical accompaniment: something to help shake the jar. Something Latin.

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