Category Archives: SiR, JFI

Events: Spice is Right (SiR) was a monthly spice-blogging event in which participants created dishes in which the featured spices flavours predominated; for Jihva for Ingredients (JFI): each month, a different ingredient related to India or Indian cuisine is chosen and participants are invited to cook a recipe in any style of cuisine with that ingredient.

Ras el Hanout (JFI – chillies)

recipe: Ras el Hanout (ideal spice rub for chicken or pork)

Jihva for Ingredients (JFI): Chillies

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Ras el Hanout

We first became aware of Ras el Hanout when we were reading the wonderful cookbook Patricia Wells at Home in Provence. Along with several other recipes, we bookmarked the one for Ras el Hanout, vowing to try it soon. And silly us, we forgot…

And around about the same time, Haalo (Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once) reminded us about Ras el Hanout and again we vowed to try it soon. And silly us, we forgot again…

This May, Sarina ( reminded us about Ras-al-hanout. And silly us, we almost forgot again…

But recently, after discovering the wonders of harissa, we have been on a craze of Moroccan style food and at last we remembered to try Ras el hanout!! Continue reading

Chili Paste Revisited (JFI: Ginger)

Jihvā for Ingredients (JFI): Ginger

We always have ginger in the house. Because I do love Ginger. In fact it is the first thing I have every morning – I drop a coin of ginger into a cup and pour just-boiled water poured over. The delicate flavour is wonderful. And when I’ve finished drinking the water, I eat the little coin of ginger that has been resting in the water: the sharp wonderful burst of crunchy ginger flavour is particularly invigorating.

We put ginger into so many of our dishes – sweet and savoury. I particularly adore the ginger shortbread I make every Christmas. My sister recently brought over a lovely gingerbread cake with apples and lemon sauce. And I keep meaning to make a fabulous gingersnap recipe calling for freshly grated ginger – what a ninny that I haven’t made those gingersnaps! Remind me…

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hard boiled eggs and chilli paste And of course, ginger is an essential ingredient in just about every curry. And so, when I saw that January’s JFI theme was ginger, I immediately thought of the chili paste from Mangoes and Curry Leaves by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. The chili paste we first tried about a year ago that has become one of our favourite condiments and is now pretty much essential whenever we have hard-boiled eggs. Continue reading

Frankenstein’s Refried Beans (SiR VIII) with garam masala

recipe: garam masala spice mix

The Spice is Right VIII: Frankenstein’s Monster

(I don’t usually condone carving a pumpkin before the afternoon of Hallowe’en but just this once, an exception can be made for this particular occasion.)

cue sound effects

jackolantern in rain ©ejm2006 gif (many thanks to anonymous for the idea) On Hallowe’en night, we like to have dinner prepared before the hordes of costumed children start trooping up the steps in search of candy. And we like to make sure that it will be something that is warming because by the time we dine, we’ll have spent at least an hour on the chilly porch chatting with neighbours, admiring costumes, trying to get rid of any extra candies as the kids start thinning out, and exclaiming over the lack of Unicef boxes.

And once the candy has run out, we blow out the candles in the pumpkins, say hasty goodnights to any neighbours who still have candy and “sorry!! we just ran out” to any kids who have suddenly materialized, turn off the front lights and race inside to have either chili con carne with cornbread or refried beans casserole with cornchips. It’s always very difficult to decide which one we’ll have… they’re both so good.

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refried beans casserole Because, even though it is me (I??) saying it, I make brilliant chili and brilliant refried beans. I really do. We think they’re the best.

And I have no idea if either are authentic to their origins but we don’t care.

Actually, I do know that the refried beans casserole can’t possibly be authentic because I always add garam masala to the beans.

Yes, you read that right. Garam masala. Not exactly the spice mix one would expect to see on South American and Mexican shelves, eh? Continue reading

Fennel: one of the Seasons of Love (SiR VII) – spice rub

Spice is Right VII – the Seasons of Love

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spice shelf We are big fans of dry rubs (Spice Rubs #1, #2, #3). I’ve mentioned before that one of my favourites is Old Bay Seasoning. Lately though, T has created a new spice rub that has the wonderful flavour of fennel seed.

Strangely enough, I have never really liked licorice candy or licorice flavoured liqueurs and eau de vies. But I do love the licorice flavour of anise, tarragon, dill seed or fennel seed in savoury dishes. (mmmm, or in shrimps in pernod sauce….) Continue reading

eeek! I forgot to go back to school! (SiR VI)

Okay, it’s true. I didn’t forget… I just couldn’t get back to school on time for the deadline of Barbara’s (Tigers and Strawberries) Spice is Right VI – Back to School.

And I so wanted to do it too. But offline duties and activities have overwhelmed me this past several weeks.

However, I’m sure that others haven’t shirked their Spice is Right duties! I’m really looking forward to seeing the round up on Barbara’s site.

edit @ 17:48 EDT:

I’m so excited!! Kit (Kitchen Notes) did remember to go back to school and posted about saffron. The featured recipe is based on none other than T’s recipe for srikund!!


Deadlines, deadlines! (Spice is Right V) – corn on the cob!!

summary: recipe for Corn on the Cob with Lime and Garam Masala; how to cook corn on the barbecue; coriander seeds; information about “The Spice is Right (click on image to see larger view of coriander)

coriander planted in pot
I’m afraid that I’m not very good at blogging deadlines right now… but I do love Barbara’s (Tigers and Strawberries) Spice is Right event.

At first I thought this was going to be a snap. I thought I’d feature our potato etc. etc. salad. The vegetable stands have the most beautiful local green beans and new red potatoes right now. Oh, yes, I did make the salad about a week ago and I even took pictures. And it was delicious. (It’s on my list of things to report. Remind me.)

But once again, I decided to make things tricky for myself. Because the event is The Spice is right, and being the literal person that I am, I wanted to feature a spice growing in our garden. The shade has moved in completely now so the garden is not flourishing quite as much as it was. (I’m not complaining! During the heat waves, our shady garden was most welcoming.)

butterfly (Aug2006) Our cayenne plant has produced 4 peppers so far (beautiful, intensely hot they have been too!). The chives, parsley and basil are still doing very well as well. I had great hopes for our dill going to seed so I could feature dill seed in a dish. (Dill seed goes fabulously with beet-tops!!) But critters attacked our dill and consumed it entirely. I like to imagine that rather than slugs or snails, it might have been one or two of the butterflies that we’re seeing fluttering around recently. Continue reading