I LOVE spice, unlike my chilli phobic, flavour dodging husband. I usually tone down the heat for his timid tastebuds, or (rather annoyingly) make two versions of the same meal, his with a miniscule amount of spice, mine with a more ‘sizeable’ helping. So when Spice Kitchen UK sent me a selection of spice mixes to trial some recipes with, I was over the moon, and intent on not holding back with the aromatic bounty I’d been gifted.
My kitchen smelt incredible all week as I experimented with the different mixtures of spicy delight. These three recipes were the product of my culinary ventures. Hubby was pleased to report that none of them ‘blew his head off’ or ‘made his tongue go numb’ as he often complains when I make food with a hint of chilli. And not only he, but my three year old (who to be honest can handle food hotter than his father) ate each one with gusto. Win win, in my book.
So, enjoy. You should also be able to view other spicy recipes via the Spice Kitchen website (found here ) where you can also purchase a selection of their incredible spices and teas.
Harissa chicken with crispy skin and pearl barley salad
Chicken thighs are a more economical alternative to breast, and buying the skin- on option means you can make crispy chicken skin to crumble over the top. Thighs on the bone give maximum flavour as well as succulent flesh, and leaving the marinade to permeate the meat for at least 12 hours means super tasty chicken. The salad is a zingy accompaniment to the meat, though of course, it can be enjoyed without.
Serves : 4
For the Chicken:
6-8 chicken thighs, on the bone, skin removed but retained
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
2 tablespoons natural yogurt
1 garlic clove
½ lemon, juiced
½ tsp rock salt
1 tablespoon Spice Kitchen Harissa powder
Fresh coriander, to garnish
For the Salad:
100g pearl barley
Small head of broccoli, blanched
50g walnuts, chopped and toasted
Large handful of rocket leaves
1 tablespoon capers
½ lemon juiced
3 tablespoons extra virgin oil
Pound the garlic and rock salt in a pestle and mortar, slowly adding the spices, lemon juice, oil and yogurt until you have a smooth marinade. Cover the chicken thighs with the mixture and put in the fridge for at least 12 hours, or preferably overnight.
About an hour before eating, heat the oven to 180 degrees c. Rub a little rock salt and a pinch of the harissa powder into the skin and lay on a baking sheet. Put both the skin, and the thighs, into the oven, checking the skin after about 20 minutes (watch carefully as it easily browns). The thighs should take around 35-40 minutes to cook through. Foil may be needed to cover the meat and prevent burning.
Meanwhile, cook the pearl barley in salted water for about 25 minutes (it should retain a little bite). Drain and leave to cool. Blanch the broccoli and asparagus, again, ensuring they are cool. Mix the pearl barley, broccoli and asparagus with the rocket leaves and place in a large salad bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, capers and seasoning. Pour over the salad, tossing well to coat, and finally, scatter over the walnuts.
When you are ready to eat, crumble the spicy, crunchy skin over the chicken thighs and add the chopped coriander. Serve alongside the salad.
Middle Eastern coleslaw with cashews and za’atar
This recipe is not only super frugal (red cabbage is one of the cheapest veggies you can buy), but full of health benefits too. Its wealth of nutrients, vitamins and minerals mean this is a super healthy side, and the Middle Eastern yogurt based dressing replaces the usual calorie laden mayonnaise.
750g red cabbage, shredded (outer leaves discarded)
1/2 red onion sliced finely
3 radishes, grated
2 carrots, grated
large handful raisins
large handful cashews, toasted
handful fresh coriander leaves
For the dressing
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Spice Kitchen Za’atar
1 tsp freshly ground cumin
125g natural yogurt
Place the prepared vegetables in a large bowl and mix well. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing. Mix well with a fork, adding salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the vegetable mix and let it sit for roughly 15-20 minutes. Just before serving, scatter over the raisins, cashews and coriander.
Mexican Prawn Wraps with sour cream and avocado
Prawn and avocado is a classic combination, but these super quick wraps elevate the retro partnership to create something a little more special. The spicy prawns really complement the creamy avocado, and the sour cream cools provides balance for the heat of the Mexican spices. Just don’t forget a squeeze of lime to finish the dish off.
4 flour or corn tortillas
225g raw king prawns
1 small clove garlic, crushed
½ small onion, chopped finely
1 small avocado, stoned and sliced
1 large tomato, sliced thinly
1 baby gem lettuce, leaves separated
1 tablespoon Spice Kitchen Mexican Spice Blend
4 tablespoons sour cream
1 lime, halved
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium flame and gently sauté the onion, adding a pinch of salt. Once the onion is softened, add the garlic clove, Mexican Spice Blend and the prawns. Cook for 1-2 minutes on either side, ensuring the prawns are pink and firm. Add some lime juice to deglaze the pan, then take off the heat.
Dry fry the tortillas, then layer them with the lettuce, avocado, tomato and prawns. Add an extra spritz of lime, a tablespoon of sour cream, and some fresh coriander.