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Tomato & Coconut Curry

10 Dec

- taken on iPhone

It has been far too long since my last blog entry. I have been cooking – honest – just terribly lax in writing up the proceedings, though as so many people are reading these pages(and thanks to every one of you, it’s most humbling)  I had to share tonight’s triumph of Sri Lankan-style Coconut curry. This was really simple to prepare & was a taste bud tickler.

The scrappy image above, snapped on my mobile phone, certainly doesn’t do it justice.

Here goes:

Serves 2 -4

– To make the Spice Mix


  • 2 teaspoons of dried bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon of dried coriander
  • ½ teaspoon of ground fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 & ½ teaspoons of cumin
  1. Combine all ingredients (if possible pulse in a food processor until evenly mixed & ground)
  2. Set aside until ready to use, as per the method below.

– For the Curry


  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 cm piece of fresh ginger, finely grated (or processed in a blender)
  • 400 grams (or 1 tin) of thick coconut milk (low fat if possible)
  • 400 grams tin of chopped tomatoes, chopped into a puree (can also use passata)
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 head of broccoli, divided into small to medium florets
  • 1 teaspoon of arrow root (optional)
  • 3 large bell peppers (colour is up to you), sliced
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • Juice of half a lemon, or one full small lemon


  1. Heat Oil in a large pan, when heated add the onion and saute until translucent (around 5 minutes). Add garlic and ginger, combine well and saute for a further two minutes.
  2. Add the pre-prepared spice mix and cook for another minute. Ensure to mix the spices continuously to ensure they don’t stick to the pan.
  3. Add the pureed tomatoes and mix until spices are evenly distributed, then add the coconut milk. Mix throughly.
  4. Stir in potatoes and allow to cook for 3-5 mins before adding Broccoli.
  5. Add Veg stock & simmer on a medium to low heat for around 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so.
  6. Add Chopped Peppers and cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally – also add arrowroot at this stage, if using.
  7. Once the potatoes & broccoli are cooked through, remove from the heat & stir in the lemon juice.
  8. Serve hot.

I served this curry with whole grain rice but Basmati would be a more appropriate accompaniment.


Easy Peasy Tortilla Pizza (via PeaSoupEats)

13 Oct

I finally got round to making a variation of the ‘Easy Peasy Tortilla Pizza’ as blogged by – I added my simple ‘cheese’ topping and varied the ingredients slightly, to use up what I had in the veg drawer, but here’s how it turned out:

Shall post the “Cheese” recipe shortly.

Do check out the original:

Easy Peasy Tortilla Pizza What a week it has been! As you may know, my Husband and I are in the midst of filming a short, which has seen us traipsing all over Cornwall (well, our bit right down the bottom anyway) to the most idyllic and scenic places in the world never mind the UK. We’ve been up at the crack of dawn on many mornings and haven’t seen our pillows till very late at night so even though we are dog tired we also feel completely exhilarated – who wouldn’t be? E … Read More


Peanut Kofta Balls

10 Oct Vegan Kofta in pan

Kofta is generally spiced meatballs, this version is a sweetened vegan version and was adapted from a recipe in the Vegan Taste of East Africa cookbook, though I changed it significantly based ingredients I had to hand.


  • 2 Large ripe Bananas – peeled & mashed
  • 50g ground (unsalted) peanuts
  • 50g Veggie Mince (or  minced TVP)
  • 70g chick pea or rice flour
  • 1 medium white onion pealed & grated
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of Curry Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 250ml of Vegetable Stock
  • 3 tablespoons Groundnut Oil

Vegan Kofta in panMethod

  1. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a medium sized pan add mince (or hydrated TVP) and onion and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.
  2. Add Curry Powder, Cumin & Ginger and mix into the mince, then add Vegetable Stock and bring to the boil.
  3. Cover mixture and allow to simmer until all of the stock is absorbed.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and add onion, garlic & chopped nuts, then mix throughly.
  5. Add mashed banana and flour to the mince mixture and mix until mince toughens, then season with the black pepper.
  6. In a frying pan place remaining oil and heat for 1-2 mins, then take spoonfuls of the mince mixture and roll into balls, fry in the oil, turning the koftas regularly to brown evenly.
  7. When browed, place onto kitchen paper to drain excess oil and serve warm – or  smother with a curry sauce.

Falafel, Hummus & Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

14 Sep

To continue on the Middle Eastern food excursion I appear to have embarked upon, I decided to make my favourite comfort foods from scratch, Falafel & Hummus + a Quinoa (I know it’s Bolivian, but still a fine protein-filled accompaniment) Tabbouleh salad which was adapted from the Vegan Planet cookbook. I have added these recipes in the order I made them.

I’ll start with my Hummus method, It’s worth mentioning that I’ve tasted hundreds of home made hummus’ and can honestly say that other than some fine creations I’ve eaten in restaurants, I tend to prefer shop-bought versions, sad but true, (this possibly gives away too much about my general eating habits). I find home made varieties too heavy on the Tahini, not well mixed, too oily or terribly bland for my taste buds, so setting about making my own was a personal challenge. This is what I did:



  • 200g of Chick Peas (canned)
  • 1 tablespoon of Tahini
  • 5 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
  • 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 3 gloves of Garlic (crushed)
  • Salt (pinch)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Paprika
  • 1/4 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1/2 cup Water


  1. Drain chickpeas then combine with lemon juice, garlic &  1/4 cup of water (approx), mix together in a blender until mixture is smooth (or to preferred texture).
  2. Add Tahini, Olive Oil, Salt, Spices & a further 1/4 cup of water and blend further until all are mixed together, if the mixture looks too dry  add an extra splash of cold water.
  3. & most importantly, taste test the mixture, if it tastes too bitter, there is possibly too much tahini or lemon juice for your tastes so add a little more water, oil & spices to lessen it. If it tastes too bland, then there is likely to be too much chickpea for your tastes, add a little more of the spices, garlic, lemon juice and a tiny pinch of salt, keep testing the flavour until you are happy with it.
  4. Serve, I added a few left over chickpeas and a sprinkling of paprika to garnish the finished batch, parsley is also a great Hummus garnish.

As a footnote, this Hummus was finer than any shop bought derivative and was the most divine I have ever made, I was exceptionally proud it and hope never to buy supermarket chain hummus again for any reason other than personal indolence.

Quinoa Tabboleh Salad

Makes 4 – 6 large servings


  • 1 cup of uncooked Quinoa
  • 500ml Water
  • 2 medium Tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of Red Onion (minced)
  • 1/2 cup of canned Aduki Beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh Parsley (minced)
  • 4 tablespoons of Coriander (chopped)
  • 1/3 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Pinch of Salt


  1. Follow instructions in washing Quinoa and rinse throughly to remove the bitter white coating, then drain.
  2. Boil water in a medium sized saucepan adding a tiny pinch of salt, when boiled add the Quinoa.
  3. Cook Quinoa on a low heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Allow to cool and blot with kitchen roll to remove any excess moisture.
  4. Place Quinoa into a large serving bowl, when cooled add Tomato, Aduki Beans, Parsley & Coriander.
  5. In a small bowl combine Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Pepper and any remaining salt. Mix together throughly then pour over Quinoa and mix evenly through the salad.
  6. Pop into the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes before serving.

Now for my variation on my favourite Middle Eastern fast food Falafel:


Makes 8 large, 10 small Falafel


  • 3/4 cup plain Flour (white or wholemeal)
  • 1 can of Chickpeas
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh Coriander, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of Parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of ground Cumin
  • Cooking Oil
  • Cold Water


  1. Drain chickpeas and place in a pan, cook in 2 cups of fresh water bringing to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Then drain & cool.
  2. When cooled, mash chickpeas (I used a wide pronged fork & a shoulder power for this, as potato masher wasn’t up to the challenge).
  3. Mix in garlic, onion, coriander, cumin and continue to mash.
  4. Add flour and mix until mixture becomes a thick paste.
  5. To roll into ball shapes, wet your hands with a little water, take the mixture and roll in to ping pong ball sized balls and slightly flatten.
  6. Shallow fry until golden brown, (7- 8 minutes) you can deep fry in 2 inches of cooking oil, for a quicker cooking time.
  7. Serve.

We ate all three of the above with heated pitta bread (which like baked beans, are far cheaper & easier to buy than to cook from scratch)

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