Kung pao chicken with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns and plenty of chilli is one of my favourite things. I’m also partial to chicken wings and felt that they were made to go together especially with a messy, sticky and spicy sauce. You’ll just need to provide plenty of serviettes or finger bowls. If the numbing qualities of Sichuan peppercorns aren’t really your thing you could omit them from the sauce.
These hand-held pies make for a delicious sizeable snack and are perfect for making a day or so ahead. If you make them larger they’ll make for an excellent dinner. Rather than rolling out the dough, I used a tortilla press to make the rounds – if you have one it’s much faster than rolling.
Roasting cauliflower florets brings out the sweetness and
I love the vibrant colour and flavour from the curry powder. As with most salads using a grain or pulse, I dress the farro while still warm so it takes up the flavours of the dressing.
A scotch broth is my idea of true comfort food. The version I make is based on my mother’s. She always toasts and grinds cumin seeds and sprinkles them over the top just before serving. I think that is why cumin must be my most loved and possibly abused spice. Any vegetable can be used here although I admit there were no neeps around when we photographed this. I replaced the more common barley with green lentils and made a fresh green harissa to serve with the soup. I like to dollop a spoonful into each soup bowl – it breaks down quickly into the soup and turns the broth a vibrant green, adding a gentle heat.
I like to make my own harissa when I have time – it’s perfect for keeping in the fridge until required. I was inspired to use sun-dried tomatoes in the harissa after reading Ana Sortun’s delightful Spices: Flavours of the Eastern Mediterranean.
There is a bit of preparation here, but most of it can be done ahead. I’ve taken to making a vegan version of mayonnaise using aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas, instead
of egg. Here I’ve added some preserved lemon too. There are infinite variatons on chermoula, with all kinds of spices and combinations, but I like to add fresh coriander to the mix. This recipe will make more chermoula than you need for the fish, but it’s good for another meal – it pairs well with lamb,
or use it to marinate some haloumi or firm tofu. The date syrup adds a little sweetness to the dish and it’s also
delicious drizzled over a fruit salad or muesli.
PRESERVED LEMON VEGAN MAYONNAISE
Depending on how you like your mayonnaise, you could also use all olive oil here, which will result in a stronger flavour. This will keep well in the fridge for ages.
This year I am determined to plant a curry leaf plant as the smoky, citrus flavour is one of my favourites. Fortunately, in the meantime, my local fruit shop sells them by the bagful. They do freeze well but I’d be inclined to use the whole bag for the curry leaf rice. Turmeric lattes have never been my thing, but I’m more than happy to use the rhizome in my cooking. It, too, freezes well (try grating it from frozen to cook with). Taro or kumara could replace the potato, but allow extra time for cooking taro which takes longer to become tender. Adjust the tamarind as you see fit – I like the curry on the sour side.