Chickpea & Peppadew Paella

Happy sunday, spice lovers. I hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far.

This month, I had plans for another anime-inspired recipe but I’m afraid that the ramen are going to have to wait. Because I came across something far fancier:

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Saffron, one of the most expensive per weight spices around, going buy one get one free.

Today, I’m going to be working with that but don’t worry, my recipe requires only a pinch and, while it won’t taste the same without it, I do have a substitution to suggest should you really need one.

The ingredients, as I made it, were as follows:

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2 cloves garlic

2 small red onions

3 decent sized tomatoes

16 pickled malawi picanté chillies

1 tin chickpeas

1 cup arborio rice

1 teaspoon cumin

1½ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon saffron

1 chive for garnish

And yes, that’s a whopping sixteen chillies – The most that I’ve ever used in a recipe – but there’s a reason for that. They’re also the mildest.

In fact, between coming pre-cored and losing a little of their strength when cooked, even the little fire that they have was almost gone by the time I served my paella. If anything, I’d give the finished dish the bare minimum of what I can taste. A

1/10

Heat

that comes across more as a warmth in the throat than any actual burn and isn’t obvious until you’ve eaten most of a portion.

Today’s non-traditional, vegetarian and vegan take on a paella isn’t about the burn or even that warmth. It’s about showing off the flavours of a highly prized, delicate spice and some mild but delicious chillies that have a wonderful natural sweetness about them.

Because why else would I leave out the seafood?

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Cowley’s Callback

Hello again everyone and welcome back to the third week in what I’ve recently decided will be a no sauce month. You know, to keep me on my toes a bit with a rather different selection of products.

Last week, I was going to feature a Mahi marinade but had to switch it out last minute for some tasty cheese truckles. I do need to actually show off a free sample or two at some point this month, though, so here’s some more vegan jerky from Cowley’s Fine Foods.

jerkypacks

One sweet potato and one mushroom, a good indication of the range, now that they no longer seem to list their tofu jerky online.

At a glance, these products appear to only be slight variations on the sweet potato and mushroom ones that they sent me last time but I’m excited for them all the same.

The first of these, the sweet potato sort, didn’t impress me much in my last review but this particular product sounds a lot closer to the heatless “Texan Barbecue” variety I mentioned in my introduction to the company.

And, as for the “HOT Shrooms!”, well, if they’re anything like the “Shiiiitake! Thats Hot!” then I’m going to absolutely love them. Albeit at a rather leisurely pace.

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Kiwi Crazy

Hey there heat eaters, I’m still working my way through 2017’s backlog of reviews so I’m sorry if I come off as a bit of a broken record with regards to Reading.

It was a great festival with searing heat, in more ways than one to tell the truth, but I survived the summer sun and made it back with some awesome finds. Perhaps even a few too many.

Yet, while they all stood out to me in one way or another, Dorset Meadows, from the chilli shop of the same location, stood out more than most.

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For a start, it was wrapped in a smooth foil label that really caught the sunlight on their stall but, beyond that, it also has some pretty unusual ingredients:

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Homemade Hot Chocolate

Hello and welcome to the year of the dog. It’s chinese new year today but this isn’t going to be a themed post.

My chinese recipe didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped and I haven’t had time to refine it yet so, while it may make an appearance later in the year, today is going to be something mexican.

A mildly spicy, molé-inspired hot chocolate to warm you through the winter.

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Cooking With Vanilla

Hey folks, it’s the last weekend of the month so it’s time for another recipe. This one, however, is a little different to most.

It’s an adaptation of something I found in Janet Sawyer’s vanilla cookbook, kept mild and made vegetarian (vegan even) to suit the relatives I’m eating with. Yet, for those who do want it, I’ll be giving instructions on how to sub the meat back in.

The tofu may add texture to the dish and it’s an unusual but lovely vanilla curry either way but, for those who do eat it, chicken would most definitely help to bring the flavours together and give them a base on which to build.

Regardless of which version you choose to make, though, I’ve made a few other tweaks to ensure that you get the best possible flavour from the curry, while also highlighting a more interesting chilli.

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Harissa Peppers

Twice in one weekend, eh? Who would have thought?

Well, I wasn’t planning on it but then I found these:

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Morrisons’ “Ghost Peppers” – Not the Bhut Jolokia we all know by that name but some pointy, white bells, intended to make cute little halloween ghosties with. Meant for stuffing.

Now, I might not normally be a fan of bell peppers, given how I tend to wake up the next day still tasting all the worst bits of them, but oranges and whites don’t have that effect on me. And the pointy ones are always a little nicer, anyway.

So I figured that I’d give them a go.

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Weird Food Week

Hello again everyone, I’m bringing my recipe forward a couple weeks this time to celebrate national curry week. Or is it national chocolate week?

God knows why we’re having both at once this year but I’ve had vague plans for chocolate curry for a long while so it’s about time that they saw metaphorical print.

It’s time I made a chocolate madras.

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Mega Mushrooms

Hello again everyone, today were looking at the last of Cowley’s Fine Foods’ vegan jerky samples, their Shiiiitake! Thats Hot!

Now some people spell the word “shītake” with one “I”, some people spell it with two and I spell it with a little line known as a “macron” to denote a long vowel sound.

Cowley’s, though, have decided to use four “I”s.

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Four “I”s that emphasise the pun that they’re making.

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Battle of the Bears

Hey everyone, it’s october. And you know what’s special about october?

It’s the month with halloween in it.

And yes, I know, halloween’s still almost a month away but what use is a holiday product review if it goes up on the holiday? I’m doing this early so that you have time to track down the items involved, should you feel the need.

Or maybe just to warn you what’s in store if you knock on my door this year.

Either way, I’m talking about gummy bears.

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Three different brands and four or five different products, for a full comparison of every sort I’ve seen.

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