Passion Fruit and Basil Chocolate Pots

chocolate pots

These dark, rich, decadent chocolate pots have a hint of tart passion fruit, which seems to make the chocolate even richer, and a background note of basil. They are the perfect Christmas dessert. They only take a few minutes to make. A bit of slow melting, gentle pouring and chilling, that’s it. You can stash them in the fridge for your guests to dive into when ever they are required.

I am a complete chocolate weirdo. I love it. I would make the recipe below for 2 chocolate fiends, but you can easily get 4 ‘normal’ portions out of it – I will leave this up to you and I certainly won’t judge!

These lovely little chocolate pots were inspired by the McCormick 2013 Flavour Forecast. Do let me know what you think of my chocolate pots and this delicious flavour combination @mightyspice

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Serves 2 chocolate fiends or 4 more sensible people

100g/3 ½oz dark chocolate 70%
125ml/4fl oz./ ½ cup double cream
2 tsp. honey
¼ tsp. dry basil
2 passion fruits
1 free-range egg

  1. Smash the chocolate, still in the packet, onto a chopping board to break it up. Tip the chocolate pieces into a heatproof bowl and pour in the cream and the honey. Add the basil and place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes until the chocolate and cream have melted together, then remove the bowl from pan and set to one side.
  2. Meanwhile place a fine sieve over a mixing bowl. Cut the passion fruits in half and scoop the seeds and any juices out into the sieve. Using the back of a spoon, mix the seeds around the sieve to push all of lovely the juices out into the mixing bowl.
  3. Tip the passion fruit juice into the melted chocolate and crack in the egg. Mix really well so the chocolate goes beautifully smooth and velvety. Pour the rich mixture into serving glasses, as required, and place in the fridge for 4 hours, or over night, to set. Remove from the fridge 10 minutes before serving.

chocolate pots

-All thoughts and spelling mistakes are mine-

Charred Orange, Dark Rum and Allspice Chicken Thighs

Charred orange dark rum and allspice chicken

My charred orange dark rum and allspice chicken thighs are a nod to the Caribbean and all the wonderful sunshine food they eat. They are hot and sticky and have a great spicy kick-up-the-ass from the fruity scotch bonnet chillies. The charred orange adds to the smokey flavour of the chicken and also charring the orange sweetens it, which you really notice when you eat the thighs. These are so quick and easy to make. They are perfect for a last-minute meal when you have friends over – oh, and they go right well with some rice’n peas!

These awesome chicken thighs were inspired by the McCormick 2013 Flavour Forecast – I loved the combination of charred orange, dark rum and allspice. Do let me know what you think of my chicken thighs and this delicious flavour combination @mightyspice

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Charred Orange Dark Rum and Allspice Chicken Thighs

Serves 4

1 tsp. olive oil
1 orange
2 scotch bonnet chillies, roughly chopped
4 spring onions/scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. dark rum
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp. allspice
850g/1lb 14oz chicken thighs on the bone or wings
sea Salt to serve

  1. Cut the oranges in half. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and put the oranges, fruit side down, into the pan. Cook for 4 – 4 ½ minutes until the oranges are turning from a golden colour to just charred. Remove the pan from the heat and set to one side.
  2. Chuck the chillies, spring onions, garlic, rum, soy sauce, sugar, thyme and allspice into a mini food processor. Squeeze in the juice from the orange and blend into a smooth paste.
  3. Put the chicken pieces into a large mixing bowl and pour over the spice paste. Mix everything together really well – use a spoon for this the chillies are hot, hot, hot! Cover and put in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight, so the marinade can work its magic on the chicken.
  4. Preheat the over to 200c/400f/gas 6 and get the chicken out of the fridge to come to room temperature. Place the chicken, skin side up, on a grill rack and cook in the hot oven for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through and tender and beautifully golden and crispy on the outside. Serve immediately with a good sprinkling of sea salt.

Charred orange dark rum and allspice chicken

-All thoughts and spelling mistakes are mine-

2013 Flavour Forecast

I am delighted to have been given a sneak preview of the McCormick (that’s Schwartz for those in the UK) 2013 Flavour Forecast. The Flavour Forecast is a look into their world of flavour and an insight into emerging trends over the next few years.

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As you know, I am all about the spice and these guys are one of the biggest players in the market, so it has been fascinating to see what trends they are predicting. With brands in over 100 countries, including Australia, Europe, South Africa, Latin America and North America, they are in a good place to look at what trends and ingredients will be emerging over the next 3-5 years.

For their latest forecast they have identified 5 key trends that are then broken down into two different flavour combinations – think big guys, they have been bold!

The 5 trends are:

  1. No Apologies Necessary – making meals that remind you of somewhere exotic
  2. Personally Handcrafted – every home cook’s own signature dish
  3. Empowered Eating – making food work for you through healthy choices
  4. Hidden Potential – getting the most out of every part of every ingredient
  5. Global My Way – using an ethnic ingredient in a truly local manner

The associated flavour combinations are

  1. No Apologies Necessary
    1. Bitter Chocolate, Sweet Basil and Passion Fruit
    2. Black Rum, Charred Orange and Allspice
  2. Personally Handcrafted
    1. Cider, Sage and Molasses
    2. Smoked Tomato, Rosemary, Chilli Peppers and Sweet Onion
  3. Empowered Eating
    1. Farro Grain, Blackberry and Cove
    2. Broccoli and Dukkah
  4. Hidden Potential
    1. Hearty Meat Cuts, Plantain and Cinnamon
    2. Artichoke, Paprika and Hazelnut
  5. Global My Way
    1. Anise and Cajeta
    2. Japanese Katsu and Oregano

As you can see from their combinations they are bold, relevant and, in some cases, quite out there. I was thrilled to see a mainstream brand offering such unusual flavour combinations. Who would have thought of bringing back an ancient grain – Farro, and pairing it with the humble blackberry and warming cloves. These combinations will go on to be replicated by home cooks and industry experts alike.

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One of my favourite trends was No Apologies Necessary. I constantly travel for work and when I get home to my tiny apartment I like to recreate the exotic food I have eaten to bring the sunshine back into EC2. I loved the nod to the Caribbean, with the combination of black rum, charred orange and allspice. I can imagine this on sticky chicken wings, bbq’d fish or in a mighty fine cocktail.

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Empowered Eating sums up my philosophy on food – I love to eat things that are healthy without meaning to be, so my food choices work for me. Spices are a great basis for this as they are naturally high in flavour and contain no fat. I love dukkah, an Egyptian blend made from ground nuts and spices. It works beautifully on meat, fish and vegetables. I liked the addition of broccoli that brought this exotic seasoning back to somewhere we all recognise. I can imagine a huge piece of lamb covered generously in the dukkah mix, roasted until tender and served with mountains of broccoli and couscous.

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Over the next few weeks I will be using the 2013 Flavour Forecast to create some of my own original recipes for you to try at home.

What do you think of these 2013 trends? Is their anything they have missed out? Let me know @mightyspice

Spiced Halloumi Salad with Cranberry Dressing

This is such a delicious salad that i made for Hungry TV. It spices up all your left over vegetables and cranberry sauce into something fresh and delicious. I hope you love it!

Serves 2

2 tablespoons blanched, skinned almonds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
8 ounces Halloumi, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon water
Pinch of chili powder
1 1/2 cups roasted vegetables such as carrots, red onions, fennel and brussel sprouts
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 sprig mint leaves, for garnish

1. Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat and toast the almonds, cumin and coriander for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer to a spice grinder or food processor and grind into a course powder.

2. Place sliced Halloumi on a cutting board and sprinkle both sides of the cheese with the spice blend, patting it down into each side.

3. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the Halloumi and cook 1-2 minutes per side, until the cheese is golden and softened.

4. In a small bowl whisk together the cranberry sauce, lemon juice, water, and chili powder.

5. In a large bowl combine the roasted vegetables, cherry tomatoes, and half of the cranberry dressing. Transfer to a serving platter and top with Halloumi cheese, the remaining dressing and garnish with mint leaves.

– All thoughts and spelling mistakes are mine –

Super Fast Moroccan Prawn Couscous

This super fast prawn couscous is my take on a classic Moroccan couscous dish, with a bit of a pilaf vibe thrown into the mix. The recipe is perfect for a delicious mid week supper. It uses lots of store cupboard ingredients so you can whip it up in no time. Some onion, garlic and spices fried off, then couscous and prawns, both of which cook really fast, are thrown in and finished off with a shower of almonds and pumpkin seeds.

I have been known to get such bad Hanger (No this is not a spelling mistake. It is an actual word – fact! Hunger and Anger together at last – Hanger!) that I have made the recipe in under 10 minutes using cooked prawns!

I hope you enjoy this wicked little recipe as much as I do – let me know what you think.

Serves 2

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 red onion, roughly sliced
2 cloves garlic, roughly sliced
3 bay leaves
6 cardamom pods
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 dry chilli, broken into 4 pieces
60g/21⁄4oz/1⁄3 cup couscous
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
250g/9oz raw peeled king prawns
1 preserved lemon, pith removed and skin finely sliced
1 tbsp. tomato puree
1 tbsp. flaked almonds
1 tbsp.  pumpkin seeds
Sea salt

1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until just turning soft. Chuck in the garlic, bay leaves, cardamom pods, cumin seeds and dry chilli. Mix well and cook for another 30 seconds, until fragrant.

2. Meanwhile pour the couscous into a mixing bowl and sprinkle in the cinnamon powder and good pinch of salt. Mix well to avoid getting clumps of cinnamon in the couscous.

3. Tip the prawns, preserved lemon skin and tomato puree into the pan with the onion. Mix everything together really well and scatter in the couscous. Pour over 90ml/3fl oz/generous 1/3 cup of just boiled water, give a good mix, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently for 6-7 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked through and the couscous has absorbed all the liquid. Remove the lid and cook for another 1-2 minutes so that the couscous can dry out.

4. To serve the dish, fluff the couscous using a fork and divide between 2 serving plates. Scatter over the almonds and pumpkins seeds and serve immediately.

– All thoughts and spelling mistakes are mine –

Banana and Berry Smoothies

Power Shake Smoothie Breakfasts

A lovely American friend of mine recently introduced me to the virtue of ‘power shake breakfasts’. Power shaking is a staple of LA dinning – fruit, vegetables, protein, odd green powers, nut butters and obviously almond milk – Like der! If you’re going to live in California you gotta be dairy free.

Yes I felt the elixir of life flowing through me. Yes I noticed father time’s hands whizzing backwards. But you know what it tasted gross. No matter how embryonic a drink makes me feel it has to taste great.

I have done two different smoothies. Both equally delicious, but very different. The first, an uber-healthy Californian inspired banana berry smoothie. The almond butter gives a really rich flavour and the protein powder keeps you nice and full until lunch. The second is a Moroccan inspired smoothie that is more natural. It uses spices to add warmth and a little thyme for a background herbal hit.

California Banana Berry Smoothie

Serves 1

250ml soya milk
1 banana, peeled
125g mixed berries
1 tsp. almond butter
85g soya protein powder

Chuck the whole lot into a blender and blend until lovely and smooth, adding a little water if it gets too thick.

Moroccan Banana Smoothie

Serves 1

1 banana, peeled
1 ½ tbsp. honey
A pinch of ginger powder
A pinch of cinnamon powder
125g yogurt
¼ tsp. fresh thyme leaves
5g peeled blanched almonds
2-3 ice cubes
½ an orange

Throw everything into a blender and squeeze in the juice from the orange. Pour in 70ml/2 1/3 fl oz of water and blend until smooth.

 

– All thoughts and spelling mistakes are my very own –