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A little taster of what's cooking...

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  • Grey Peas & Bacon – Bostin’ fittle

    As a business based in The Black Country, Tastesmiths have been asked to take part in #MadeInTheBlackCountry on Twitter, celebrating everything made in this brilliant part of the world. Stef and I are Walsall born and bred which is a step away from the Balti triangle, so it only seemed right that the dish we wanted to introduce everyone to was our Balti Masala.

    Way before the Balti came to the Black Country, food was a much simpler affair. It had to feed hungry tummies and be really cheap to make. Grey Peas & Bacon was something that ticked both of those boxes and it was made to taste good by adding either saved bacon fat or any bits of bacon that were going spare.

    For one day only, tomorrow (Tuesday 14th July 2015), with any 4 kits ordered from our website (why not include a Balti kit?), we’ll send you a FREE Grey Peas & Bacon kit so that you can try them out yourselves! Just make sure that you put #MadeInTheBlackCountry in the notes section at the checkout to qualify.

    The instructions in our kit gives you the opportunity to make them in the traditional Black Country way, or by adding a couple of other ingredients, you can make it into a different but equally delicious dish!

    The Grey Peas & Bacon kit doesn’t include any fresh ingredients, so it will happily sit in your cupboard until you want to use it. The other kits with fresh ingredients included will happily sit in your freezer until you want to use them.

    Enjoy!

    Sally & Stef

  • Halloumi and Sweetcorn Fritters

    I made these lovely fritters when I needed a new way to use up my halloumi. Usually, I use the Tastesmiths Piri Piri kit to create a lovely salad but I fancied a change, and these are definitely my second favourite now! They’re super quick and easy to make – I had mine for tea with an avocado salad but I reckon they’d be great for brunch too!

    You will need:

    1 large tin of sweetcorn or around 275g frozen sweetcorn, left to defrost

    Half a packet of halloumi, diced into small cubes

    1 red chilli, finely chopped

    2 spring onions, finely chopped

    a small bunch of coriander/parsley/basil (I used half parsley/half basil)

    2 eggs

    90g plain flour

    75ml milk (I used almond milk but whatever you have is fine)

    Instructions

    Pour half the sweetcorn into a food processor and whizz until combined (it doesn’t have to be smooth!)

    Combine the whizzed sweetcorn, the whole sweetcorn, cubed halloumi, chilli, spring onions and herbs in a bowl and mix until combined.

    In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and eggs, then gradually add the milk to make a pancake mix sort of texture.

    Add this to the bowl with the sweetcorn and cheese mix and season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Add a tbsp of oil into a frying pan on a medium/high heat, swirl the oil round in the pan until it’s coated then pour a ladle of the mixture into the pan (if you want large fritters it will make around 6, or if you want smaller ones it will make about ten)

    Cook for 2-3 minutes until dark brown underneath then turn over and cook for another 2-3 minutes until cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper and repeat the process for the others.

  • Urad dhal Puri (spicy balloon bread)

    These delicious flat breads are a lovely addition to any Indian meal. They’re deep fried so maybe not something that you’d want to serve as standard, but they are so gorgeous that it’s well worth adding them to your special occasion recipes. And hey, they’re made with lentils and wholemeal flour?

    The dough is made with soaked Urid Dal (which are small, white lentils that you can buy from Indian shops or in some World Food aisles at larger supermarkets), spices and wholewheat flour. When you submerge the rolled out dough under the bubbling oil, they puff up dramatically and because the outside cooks crisply, they don’t deflate at all which make them quite spectacular to put on the table. They’re hollow inside, so the shell is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside – perfect for scooping up curries!

    This recipe makes 8 large Puri or 12 small

    1/4 cup of urid dal (or skinless, split moong dal) which you’ll need to soak for 4-6 hours in cold water (just remember to put them in water before you go to work or go out shopping if it’s the week end and they’ll be done when you get back)
    Before soaking, left. After soaking, right.

    Before soaking, left. After soaking, right.

    1 cup wholemeal flour

    1tblsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed in a pestle and mortar

    1tblsp ground coriander

    1/2 tsp salt

    1/4 tsp asafoetida (aka hing)

    1/2 tsp chilli flakes

    1/4 tsp ground ginger powder

    2tblsp oil

    1/4 cup lukewarm water

    Drain the dal and coarsely grind in a mini chopper/mini food processor. Scrape the bowl down as necessary, adding a tiny amount of water if necessary to loosen it up. You need to keep water to an absolute minimum.

    Mix the dry ingredients together – flour, ground coriander, ground ginger, fennel, asafoetida, salt and chilli flakes.

    Add the dal paste and mix together with your hand, squishing everything together.

    20150815_175434Add a 1/4 cup (60ml) of water slowly to bring everything together into a tough dough, then add 1 1/2 tblsp oil.

    Squish the oil through with your hand until it’s incorporated. Knead well – for about 5 minutes to make the puri light. Put in a plastic bag or cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

    Oil your palm and knead again for a couple of minutes before cutting the dough into the required amount of puri. Knead each into a ball to make them smooth.

    Lightly grease a rolling pin and the work surface where you’ll be rolling out. Roll out the balls until they’re quite thin, a bit thicker than a penny. Don’t stack them on top of each other because they’ll stick together.

    Put about 8-10cm of flavourless oil into a wok/medium saucepan and heat until a tiny ball of dough floats to the surface after a second or two (another way of seeing if it’s ready is to put the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil, if bubbles appear around it, it’s good to go).

    Slide one of the rolled discs into the hot oil and immediately gently but firmly press in down with a slotted spoon. The disc should start to puff up in places or completely. Turn the disc over straight away to cook the other side. At this point the disc should have inflated completely. Cook for another few seconds until golden brown and transfer to kitchen roll to drain. If your puri don’t rise completely, don’t worry – they’ll still taste good. By the end of frying, you’ll get the hang of it for next time.

    Blurry action shots – they’re fast movers!

    They puff up very quickly

    Continue until all of the discs are cooked. Serve straight away, or reheat in a hot oven for a couple of minutes (although they are better, fresh from the pan!)

  • Spicy Roast Cauliflower

    I’ve already added a post for Roast Cauliflower, but as we’ve had so many requests to re-introduce the Indian Street Food Box, I found out that our Timatar Masala kit https://tastesmiths.com/shop/timatar-masala/ lends itself perfectly to producing an even better version!

    You’ll still need to buy the same things to go with your kit – an onion, 2-3 tomatoes (or I’ve used a handful of baby tomatoes here as I had some to use up) and as the main part of your dish – a small/medium cauliflower.

    Break up the cauliflower into florets and then into 1-2cm pieces, making sure they all have a bit of stalk on them to prevent them breaking up.

    Peel and cut the onion in half. Slice each half into thin half moons. Set aside with the cauliflower.

    Empty spice pack 1 and put all but the indian bay leaf into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind as finely as you can. If it’s easier, leave the cassia bark out at this point. When spice pack 1 is ground, combine it with spice packs 2 and 3 in a small bowl.

    Add 50ml of water and 1tsp salt to the ground spices and mix. It should be very watery.

    Put the cauliflower onto a large baking tray and pour over the watery spices. Spend a few minutes mixing everything together so that all of the cauliflower has a coating of spice. Set the oven to 220F, 200C or gas 4.

    Peel and slice the ginger into thin strips.

    Finely slice the curry leaves. Finely chop 1 or 2 green chillies (use the heat guide to help), chop the tomatoes into chunks and leaving the garlic cloves whole and unpeeled bash them with the side of a knife or with a rolling pin until they’re open but still intact.

    Add the tomatoes and onions to the cauliflower and stir again.

    Heat 2-4 tblsp flavourless oil in a small saucepan and add the curry leaves (careful, they’ll splutter), the thinly sliced ginger and the bashed garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant and then drizzle all over the cauliflower mixture in the tray. Stir thoroughly.

    Roast the cauliflower for 25-30 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and everything is starting to char in places. Serve on its own, or as a side dish with curry or for a change with your Sunday roast.

  • Potato and Onion Bhaji

    Onion Bhaji are one of my favourite things to eat, but they have to be extremely crispy on the outside and meltingly soft and yielding in the middle.

    Soggy, oily bhaji with bits of raw doughy onion in the middle are sadly all too common and I find the only way to get them just as you like them, is to make them yourself. This is how I make mine.

    I obviously start with one of our lovely Onion Bhaji Kits https://tastesmiths.com/shop/onion-bhaji/. I recently bought a julienne peeler/cutter from Lakeland and it’s perfect for adding other veg to these bhaji. I also use it for coleslaw which makes carrots strips perfectly!

    Instead of getting 2 medium onions, get one medium/large potato and one medium/large onion.

    Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

    Peel and cut the onion in half. Then thinly slice each half into thin half moons. Peel the potato and either use a julienne cutter to make thin pieces or thinly slice with a knife.

    Mix the dry ingredients with just over 100ml of water with an electric whisk. The consistency should be like very stiff cake batter. I added a spare green chilli that I had.

    Stir in the sliced vegetables and mix well with a wooden spoon until everything is coated.

    Gently slide dessert spoonfuls of mixture into the hot oil and cook as per the instructions.

    Serve as a starter with drinks or as a snack with a nice cup of tea!