When you’re in the mood for a serious piece of chocolate biscuit nothing fits the bill better than a slice of chocolate traybake. This chocolate peppermint slice recipe came about because my Mum had given me a pack of three Fry’s Peppermint Creams that she wasn’t going to use and I figured I’d be able to make something tasty with them.
As much as I enjoy biscuits and cake, sometimes the only thing that will satiate my sweet tooth is a hit of pure chocolate. However, so many types of chocolate contain dairy, so it can be hard to find a sweetie that fits the bill. Also, a lot of pre-made chocolates can be of pretty mediocre quality and don’t seem worth the money they ask for them. Thankfully, that’s where these homemade dairy-free chocolate truffles come in. I’d estimate that this entire batch of dairy-free chocolate truffles cost me around £1.50 to make. I know that seems unbelievable, but it’s true.
Yesterday, in a determined effort to eat a bit healthier, I made a cracking vegetable coconut curry. The main reason for making it was to use up some mangetout I’d had sitting in the fridge, but sadly I forgot to add them! Although the curry lacked a bit of greenery (hence its overall orange glow!) it was still packed to the gunnels with mixed vegetables and was held together with the addition of coconut, making it taste really creamy and decadent even though it was dairy-free.
Most curries rely on a base of fried onion and garlic to add that sweet, caramelised background note that’s so prevalent in Indian cooking, but they’re like napalm to my digestive system so there was no way I’d put them in my curry. However, I’ve recently discovered a fantastic spice called asafoetida powder which tastes exactly the same as onion (and has garlic flavoured tones through it too) and it genuinely adds the flavour of garlic and onion into my cooking without having any negative effects on my tummy. Try it, guys. Asafoetida is amazing!
I made quite a large pot of the vegetable coconut curry, so there were plenty of leftovers. I froze a couple of portions to take to work for lunch throughout the week, but I think we’ll also be having this for dinner tonight too. I’m really looking forward to it though, because the flavours and spices will have been marrying overnight so it’ll taste even better today. (I always think curries taste better the next day, don’t you?)
I’m also having a bash at making my own naan breads for the first time. The dough is rising in the kitchen as we speak (so to speak). I intend on making two types: a sesame seed one and one sprinkled with nigella seeds (aka black onion seeds). Sadly, as much as I’d love to give it a whirl, I think attempting a peshwari naan (a filled naan stuffed with a mixture of ground pistachios/almonds, raisins/coconut, and sugar) might be a little ambitious at this stage.
I’m sure you’ll hear in a future blog post how I get on, but in the meantime wish me luck!
1 tsp of asafoetida powder
400g of tinned chopped tomatoes
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger (crushed/minced)
4 tbsps of oil
2 large potatoes (cubed)
200g sweet potato (cubed)
2 large carrots (cut into bite-sized pieces)
1/2 a chilli (seeds removed and diced finely)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tbsps curry powder (I used madras)
1 tsp of salt (add more to taste if necessary)
1/2 tsp black pepper
400g of coconut milk
60g of desiccated coconut
Put the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat and add the asafoetida powder, ginger and chilli and continue to fry for 5 mins, stirring frequently.
(Have a good ol’ sniff at this stage because it smells fantastic!)
Add the tin of chopped tomatoes along with the turmeric, curry powder, desiccated coconut and salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 5 mins, stirring frequently.
Add all of your prepared vegetables followed by the tin of coconut milk. Gently simmer until the potatoes are soft to the touch and cooked through.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander and serve with rice, naan breads or poppadums.
Chana masala is traditionally a chickpea curry that is normally quite dry, spicy and flavoured with citrus. This variant of a Happy Pear recipe however, uses coconut milk as its base which creates a saucier curry, but with no loss of flavour. Although I made mine without meat, on reflection, the addition of beef to the mix and then cooking the dish in a slow cooker throughout the day would make for a really tasty carnivorous meal at dinnertime.
This isn’t a particularly hot curry, but that’s entirely in your hands and depends on the amount of chilli you choose to add. A pot of natural yoghurt or crème fraîche on the dining table to help cool the palate is always welcomed by my partner when we eat curry. I tend to use brown chickpeas (also known as Desi or Kala Chana) in my cooking for two reasons. 1.) I can get four tins of them in the Indian section of my local supermarket for £1. And 2.) Although they have a brown coloured skin, they are still yellow inside and have a much deeper, nuttier flavour than their popular yellow brother.
Chickpeas are a high FODMAP food in large quantities, particularly if you use dried ones, but if you buy the tinned variety and drain and rinse them well before using them in your recipe their FODMAP content is considerably lowered. As always though, use your own judgement as to what your own body and digestive system can tolerate.
I served the curry with poppadums because I felt that with the amount of vegetables in the dish it was unnecessary to include bulky rice, but you could accompany the curry with pilau rice, naan breads, or chapatis. I know the ingredients list is long, but it’s worth it. And if you have leftovers they’re fantastic the next day because all of the flavours have been marinating together overnight making for a richer, more complex, curry.
1 large common tomato (diced)
1 tsp of asafoetida powder
2 carrots (cut lengthways then into 1/2 cm thick half moons)
100g green bell pepper (chopped into bite-sized pieces)
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger (finely chopped or grated)
1 red chilli (finely chopped)
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 tbsp of cumin seeds
1 & 1/2 tsps of ground turmeric
2 tsps of curry powder or garam masala
1 tsp of ground coriander
1 tsp of ground cumin
2 tsps of paprika
1/4 tsp of ground pepper
3 cardamom pods (crushed under a knife so the casing splits)
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
A 400ml tin of coconut milk
A pint of vegetable stock
200g of tinned chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
Salt (to taste)
The juice of 1/2 a lime
To serve (optional):
Fresh coriander (chopped)
Natural lactose-free yoghurt (or non-dairy version)
Prepare your ingredients as per the directions.
Place all of your spices together in a small bowl.
Pour the oil into a large pot and then fry the chilli and ginger for 5 mins on a medium heat, stirring regularly.
Add the spice mix and some salt and cook for a couple of mins.
Add in the tomatoes, carrots, green pepper, coconut milk and chickpeas and simmer for 15 mins (or longer on a low heat, if preferred, to encourage the flavours to marry).
If you feel the curry is too thick add in some vegetable stock. Taste to see if it requires more salt (mine needed quite a bit).
When you’re ready to serve the curry place it in bowls, scatter with fresh coriander and sprinkle with the lime juice.