Spicy Suppers

Hints of chilli, lime, lemon, garlic, ginger and curry add a punch of flavour to these autumn inspired dishes. Eating healthily never tasted so good!

Vietnamese fish curry

400g skinless white fish fillet, cut into big chunks
handful snow peas
1 large red chilli, finely sliced
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
pinch sugar
200ml chicken or fish stock
2 limes, 1 juiced, 1 halved
about 2 tbsp fish sauce, to season
150g rice vermicelli, cooked following pack instructions
coriander leaves
2 spring onions, sliced

Put the fish cubes with the snow peas, chilli, ginger and garlic in a large saucepan. Add the stock and a pinch of sugar and bring gently to a simmer then add the juice of 1 lime. As soon as the fish turn opaque, stir in the coriander and season with fish sauce. Spoon over bowls of rice noodles and serve extra lime to squeeze over. Serves 2

Spicy chickpeas and couscous

1 cup couscous
1 1/4 cups boiling water or stock
3tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
4 spring onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
3 zucchini, sliced
1 long red chilli, sliced
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place the couscous in a medium-sized heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water or stock. Add 1tbsp oil and a pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and stand for 5 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, fry the butternut squash, spring onions and garlic in the remaining oil for about 5 minutes, then add the zucchinis and chilli. Continue to fry for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Stir through the chickpeas, cumin and curry powder. Fold in the couscous and cook, stirring, until heated through. Stir in the parsleys and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Fluff with a fork to help separate the grains. Serves 4

Spiced Tuna with Rice

2tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 red capsicum, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 heaped tsp grated fresh ginger
1tbsp korma paste
A pinch dried chilli flakes
250g (1 1/4 cups) basmati rice
250ml (1 cup) hot vegetable stock
Juice of 1 lemon
2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
2 x 180g tins of tuna in oil

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, capsicum, garlic and ginger, and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and dried chilli. Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes, until well coated. Add the stock and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer very gently for 15 minutes, or until the stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked.
Stir though the spinach leaves and the tuna as well as its oil, then fluff the rice up with a fork. Serves 4

Mozzarella and Tomato Pizza

pizza tom mozarella

You can make the pizza dough up to 12 hours before you want to make it and let it rise slowly in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook, punch the dough down to get rid of any air, then knead and roll it out into shape. The less topping you add, the crisper the pizza. Make sure the oven has reached the right temperature – the dough needs a blast of heat to set the crust.

Pizza base

350 g strong white bread flour
1 x 7 g sachet (two teaspoons) dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place the flour, yeast, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, add oil and 210ml of just warm water and mix until a firm dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5–7 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, you can put all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat, using a dough hook for about 7 minutes, then knead for a minute or two.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for 1–11/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Punch down the dough to release the air, divide into two or three equal portions and either roll out or stretch to a thickness of about 4 mm.

Mozzarella and tomato pizza

cornmeal or polenta, for sprinkling
1/2 quantity pizza dough
EV olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
250g mozzarella, sliced or torn into pieces
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
rocket or basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 220°C (Gas Mark 7). Lightly oil a metal pizza tray and sprinkle with a little cornmeal. Roll out or stretch the dough to a thickness of 4 mm and place on the tray.
Brush the pizza dough with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped garlic. Scatter the mozzarella and cherry tomatoes over the top and season well. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp. Top with a handful of lightly dressed salad leaves or basil leaves and serve immediately. Makes 1


asparagius 1

Roast Asparagus

One of the few vegetables we still eat more or less seasonally is asparagus. Fresh asparagus has firm, crunchy, vibrant spears. Hold the spear at either end and snap it; the break will take place where the tough part becomes tender. Discard the ends, as they will be often be too dry or tough to eat. I love it roasted as this slightly chars and caramelises the spears and brings out flavours you can lose by boiling it. I always pop some in the oven while a roast chicken or leg of lamb is resting. Use the thicker spears when roasting.

Olive oil
Garlic (optional)
Lemon juice or balsamic vinegar (optional)

Trim the asparagus. The easiest way is to hold the spear at either end and snap it; the break will take place where the tough part becomes tender. Lay the asparagus in a single layer in a roasting tin. Lightly drizzle or brush with some oil. Sprinkle with a little crushed garlic (optional) and season well with salt and pepper.

Roast in a preheated 200C oven for about 15 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus spears are, until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a sharp knilfe. Drizzle with a little fresh lemon juice or balsamic before serving, if desired.

tomato asparagus salad

Roasted asparagus with mozzarella

2 bunches asparagus (thick stemmed if you can find it), trimmed
1 baby cos lettuce or little gem
4 medium sized mozzarella balls (buffalo if possible)
250g Cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Lemon zest

Brush the asparagus with a little olive oil and roast for about 15 minutes in preheated 200C oven, until tender and slightly charred.

Meanwhile, place the mozzarella and cherry tomatoes into a bowl and pour over the 2 tbsp olive oil 2 tsp balsamic vinegar and the finely grated zest of half a lemon. Mix well and set aside. Separate the lettuce leaves.
Divide the lettuce leaves between four plates. Top with the warm asparagus and then top with the mozzarella, breaking them slightly into pieces, the tomatoes and the juices. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 as a light meal or entree.

grilled asparagus salad

Roasted Asparagus and Tabbouleh

150g bulgar wheat
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2tbsp roughly chopped fresh mint
200g cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 spring onions, chopped
The juice of 1 lemon
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
100 feta, crumbled, to serve

Place the bulgar wheat in a bowl and cover with 450ml boiling water. Soak for 30 minutes then drain and squeeze out excess water by placing the drained bulgar in a clean cloth and squeeze tightly. Combine the bulgar wheat, parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, spring onions and lemon juice in a large bowl. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Brush the asparagus with a little olive oil and roast for about 15 minutes in preheated 200C oven, until tender and slightly charred.
When ready to serve, pour over the remaining olive oil over the salad and toss well. Divide the salad between four plates, top with the grilled asparagus and sprinkle with feta. The salad may be made and left to let the flavours develop for up to an hour before you add the oil and feta. Serves 4

courgettes 1

Beetroot and zucchini (courgette) burgers

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 raw beetroot, grated
2 courgettes, grated
1 large carrot, grated
100g (about 4 slices) wholemeal bread, crusts removed
400g tin chickpeas, drained
3tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat about 1tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the grated vegetables and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until wilted, then drain off any liquid.

Place the bread, chickpeas, peanut butter and egg yolks in a food processor and pulse to combine. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir through the grated vegetables and parsley, and season generously.

Form the mixture into 8 patties and chill for about 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours). Heat the remaining oil in a non-3 minutes each side until golden. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 4