Chickpea curry

X is for eXtra spicy chickpea curry

This week’s recipe take’s it inspiration from India and delivers some real spice flavours as well as a big chilli hit! It uses a really healthy ingredient as it’s base, chickpeas, which are low in fat, high in fibre, protein and are even one of your 5-a-day. The inspiration came from Anjum Anand, so if you’re intrigued by Indian food and want to learn to cook it authentically, check her out.

As this week is X, I’ve used eXtra chilli in the recipe and in the chicken I served with this, but if you’re not a heat fan, feel free to reduce the chilli quantity. There are so many other spices in this dish that you won’t miss the chilli hit if it’s not your thing.

I’ve served my curry with chilli-basted chicken, but if you want to make the recipe completely vegetarian, chickpeas go really well with wholemeal pitta breads and a slather of butter.

Chickpea curry - spices Chickpea curry - spices Chickpeas

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

Chickpea curry - ingredients

  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger (peeled);
  • 4 cloves garlic;
  • 2 large tomatoes;
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil;
  • 4 cloves;
  • 5 (green) cardamom pods;
  • 1 cinnamon stick;
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds;
  • 4 tsps finely chopped fresh chillies (including seeds);
  • 1 medium onion – finely chopped;
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander;
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder;
  • 2 cans (400g) chickpeas – drained and rinsed;
  • 1 ¼ tsp garam masala;
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste;
  • handful of freshly chopped coriander;
  • 1 large skin-less chicken breast

Recipe:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Add a tablespoon of oil to half of the chopped chillies and rub over the chicken breast, then place in a small baking dish. Put in the oven and leave to bake for 40 minutes whilst you’re completing the rest of the recipe.
  2. Put the garlic, tomatoes (chopped into quarters) and ginger into a mini-blender with a tablespoon of water and blitz into a paste.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a high heat. Once the surface begins to the shimmer it will be hot enough (this does not take that long, so keen an eye on it!) Add the cloves, cardamon pods, cinnamon and half the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle away for a couple of minutes and allow their aromas to fill the kitchen.  Add the chopped chillies, onions and leave to fry until the onion starts to go brown.
  4. Then add the blitzed tomato paste, turmeric, ground coriander, chilli powder and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium and leave to cook for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Tip in the chickpeas, 500ml of water, garam masala, tamarind paste and remaining cumin seeds. Allow to come to a boil and leave to simmer away for 15 minutes until the liquid has halved in volume.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked (give a small stab to make sure the juices run clear), serve the chickpea curry with it and a sprinkling of chopped, fresh coriander.

Chickpea curry

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Poached pears

W is also for…Wine poached pears with honey and thyme

This is a very simple dessert, that looks “posh” i.e. looks like it took a lot more effort than it really did. You could serve this at a dinner party or perhaps even for Valentines day (or any other cosy night in for that matter).

I’ve used a sweet Moscato rosé wine from Barefoot Wines, which is perfect for this kind of fruit dessert. I served mine with vanilla ice-cream, which I think is best with pears, but if you’ve got your own flavour combination (e.g. crème fraîche, chocolate ice cream) don’t let me stand in the way.

The recipe is for 2 people, but can easily be multiplied up for more.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 semi-ripe pears;
  • 2 tbsp honey;
  • 4 sprigs of thyme;
  • 250ml rosé wine;
  • 1 large knob of butter

Poached pears

Recipe:

  1. Peel the pears, then half and core.
  2. Put a frying/skillet pan over a medium heat and melt the butter. Once it starts foaming add the thyme sprigs and the pear halves cut-side down. Fry for about 3-4 minutes until the cut-side has taken a bit of colour.
  3. Remove the pears from the frying pan and put on a plate whilst you make the poaching liquid.
  4. Add the wine and honey to the pan and turn the heat up high, all the while giving a good stir to bring up any crispy bits from the bottom of the pan (as they have the most flavour). Cook down until the liquid  has halved in volume.
  5. Take the ice cream out of the freezer at this point so it has time to soften before serving.
  6. Turn the temperature down to a low-medium heat then add the pears (cut-side up this time) to the pan. Spoon a bit of the liquid over the pears then put a lid over the pan and leave to simmer/poach for 10-12 minutes until the pears have softened. The majority of the liquid would have cooked away/been absorbed.
  7. Serve two pear halves with a drizzle of the poaching juices, a fresh sprig of thyme and vanilla ice cream.

Poached pears

W is for…wine-boosted baguette

Firstly apologies for the long gap in the blog. I decided as part of a health kick to do ‘dry January’, which unfortunately meant that I could trust myself to cook my remaining (alcoholic) recipes, so I had to wait until wet February to continue the blog, when dry January was well and truly over.

This recipe, is a bit of a cheat meal…it’s like combing your baguette sandwich and glass of wine all in one and baked, full of cheesy goodness. I call it my wine-boosted baguette, or simply the Boozy Baguette. The wine I used in this recipe was a sweet Moscato from BareFoot wines (because I had a particular sweet-tooth moment), but any grape variety will work.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (per person):

  • ½ baguette;
  • 1 glass of white wine;
  • 3 slices of ham (try to get it from the butcher rather than the pre-packed stuff) cut into bite-size pieces;
  • one handful of grated gruyère cheese
  • smooth Dijon mustard

Recipe:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Slice the baguette into 2-inch slices and place cut side down into a baking dish. Pour over the glass of wine so a little seeps into each piece of baguette.
  3. Spread a small amount of mustard on each slice. Then sprinkle over the ham and top with the grated cheese.
  4. Put in the oven for 25 minutes or until crispy and golden on top. Serve with the rest of wine.

Boozy baguette Boozy baguette