Cream of Courgette (Zucchini) Soup – Vegan

 

Soup two nights in a row? Yep! Tonight was a delicious one made with courgettes (zucchini). The soup was thick, creamy and brimmed full of flavor, which is what surprised me. Courgettes (zucchini) aren’t well-known for their flavor, and I was thinking this creation may have been a bland one.

The soup is quick and easy to make, vegan-friendly, dairy free and low in calories (100 per bowl). Not only that, each bowl is packed with over 3 portions of fruit/veg. Continue reading

Smoked Sausage, Chickpea and Sweet Potato Soup

 

You might be asking yourself, why am I blogging about a hearty, winter-like soup in late April. Well, it’s still pretty chilly here in Greater Seattle. The last few days we’ve had highs of 10°C (50°F) and lows of 2-3°C (35°F)… brrrr.

This soup is just what is needed on chilly winter spring days. It’s delicious and will warm the cockles of your heart. It’s simple to make, and packed full of flavors and textures. Continue reading

Honey Roasted Peanuts with Hot Smoked Paprika

 

There’s something wonderful about the crunch and flavor of sweet roasted peanuts that make them irresistable. These peanuts are twice-roasted, flavored with honey, butter (or coconut oil), salt, smoked hot paprika, chili powder and tossed in sugar. They are sweet, smoky, lightly spiced and quite moreish. They have lots of flavor, but I was somewhat disappointed with the lack of honey flavor to them (I will try again with another recipe/adaptation later). However, they are perfect to munch on anytime of the day, especially when you’re pretending to be a couch potato. Continue reading

Crunchy (or Chewy) Double Chocolate Chip Biscuits (Cookies) – Vegan

 

Ever since stumbling across that copycat recipe for Maryland cookies, and encountering its miserable failure, it has become an obsession to find a recipe (or adapt one) where I could make a good crunchy biscuit. Yes, I said biscuit. Now a British biscuit is what Americans would call a cookie. However, in the UK not all British biscuits are known as cookies. Whereas an American biscuit in the UK is not even in the same ball park as cookies. Confused yet?

A cookie in the UK is typically a soft, chewy, American style cookie (although not 100% true, there are exceptions). The crunchy biscuits (cookies) that are typically snacked on in the UK, or dunked in tea/coffee are known as biscuits… never cookies… except the ones Continue reading

Hot Cross Buns – Revisited

 

Last year I made my first batch of hot cross buns. It was a relatively significant recipe, because it was then that I decided to start this public blog, honey and spice. The resulting buns were pretty good, and I asked J if he wanted any this year for Easter. He said “yes, if you don’t mind making them”. I rarely mind making things in the kitchen.

This year, hot cross buns 2011 are back – they are bigger and better than ever! I’ve even included alternatives if you’re dairy-free, egg-free or vegan. Continue reading

Mini Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

At just a mouthful a piece, these mini chocolate chip cookies are worth living for, and should come with a warning: HIGHLY addictive. They are dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free and vegan-friendly, and were created by tweaking a Maryland cookie copycat recipe that went dreadfully wrong – they weren’t anything like Maryland cookies!! Since I only baked a small portion of the dough, I could judge the taste and texture before baking the whole batch. I had to rescue the remaining dough so I wouldn’t waste the ingredients. The resulting cookies (this recipe that you are now reading) are packed full of flavor, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, just like a good ole American cookie should be. Continue reading

Cheesy Whole Wheat Grissini (Breadsticks)

 

Grissini originate from Italy and are long, pencil-thin sticks of crisp and dry bread. They are about the right size to stick up your nose, if you’re that way inclined. They are great to snack on, or to enjoy with soup or as an appetizer.  

You know, I’ve never purchased grissini, nor have I ever thought about making them until I stumbled across a recipe in one of my baking books. They looked simple to make, and I knew they would be a hit with my roasted butternut and red pepper soup.

If you have no experience in baking bread, do not be afraid. Continue reading

Moroccan-Style Meatballs with Herbed Couscous

 

I must have at least eight different varieties of rice in my pantry, but even someone of Chinese descent needs to have an alternative… so I made couscous. I haven’t had couscous for ages. It’s super-easy to make, convenient and highly versatile. It can be made plain, used in salads or soups, sweetened for dessert or well-seasoned for a wonderful side dish.

In this recipe, succulent, cumin-spiced meatballs are served in a thick and rich tomato sauce over herby couscous. The dish is easy to make, and packs a wonderful punch in the flavor department. The way I’ve cooked the tomato sauce here is a little unconventional – Continue reading

Chocolate Easter Eggs

 

I’ve not eaten a chocolate Easter egg for years, dare I say decades? After reading an article on The Guardian website about the prices of Easter eggs in the UK, I really needed to make some. I also made a batch of hot cross buns this year… maybe it has become a tradition?

I used to have a plastic Easter egg mold. However, during my nomadic years it has gone AWOL – so I was on the lookout for a new one.

You cannot believe the difficulty in locating an Easter egg mold in Greater Seattle. The molds I’m talking about are the ones that you use to make the larger, hollow eggs. At every store I went into, the assistants looked at me strangely and just Continue reading

Boozy Chocolate Ice Cream

 

This ice cream is super-easy to make. It’s flavored with chocolate, and has chocolate bits strewn throughout its deliciousness… a little like stracciatella. You don’t need an ice cream maker, nor will you have to stir the semi-frozen mixture every few hours. Simply blitz together a ripe banana, melted chocolate, Baileys Irish cream, dark rum, milk and a pinch of salt and freeze for 4+ hours. The resulting iced dessert is creamy, smooth, lightly chocolaty and ever-so boozy… that’s why a small portion was more than enough for me.

The alcohol content in this ice cream keeps it scoopable, even after frozen. Talking of the alcohol content… if anyone knows me, they’d know I don’t handle my drink very well. I’m known to pass out from one glass of red wine, and to turn red Continue reading

Greek-Inspired Quinoa Salad

 

Long gone are the days of thinking salad is boring and consists mainly of lettuce. The variations and combinations are countless – some are based on greens, some are based on tomatoes, and more substantial versions are based on grains or pasta. Unfortunately, there is a huge misconception that all salads are healthy… in essence, they can be, until you drench them in creamy salad dressings. A lot of restaurant’s salads contain more calories and fat than a main course (entrée).

I’m fortunate enough to enjoy salads without the creamy dressings. I simply love salads that are served with freshly squeezed lemon juice, or with a smidgen of lemon juice and olive oil dressing… herbs also go a long way. Continue reading

Plain Egg Fried Rice with Prawns (Shrimp)

 

Let’s get back to basics.

Plain egg fried rice is one of the easiest, quickest, simplest and cheapest Chinese dishes you can make. It can be served as a side dish or as a main meal. The best part is that you can add anything to it to make it a little more substantial. In this recipe I’ve added prawns (shrimp), but feel free to omit them, or add something else. It’s also a great way of making use of any leftover rice.

I’ve cut down on the amount of oil used typically in Chinese restaurants, mainly because I think it is unnecessary. Continue reading