The perfect Caribbean fast food, patties are basically the local take on the Latino empanada, the Indian samosa or indeed the great British pastie. The main difference is that patties are always generously spiced, and that includes the pastry – the yellow/orange colour is obtained using curry powder or turmeric in the pastry mix. Patties can be filled with minced beef, chicken, salt fish or lamb, and nowadays veggie patties are commonly available too. This recipe uses minced lamb, but feel free to substitute for one of the others if preferred. These little parcels of spicy goodness are perfect for a snack, to take on a picnic or as a light lunch with some salad.
The classic Caribbean curry, this is enjoyed throughout the region with slight variations in the recipe. It came to the area via the Indian labour brought to the islands in the 19th century and has evolved to include local spices like thyme, allspice and of course Scotch Bonnet chilli. Goat meat is easy enough to get in urban centres where there is a large emigre population (bear in mind here that the mutton sold in Asian butchers is usually in fact goat), but if you are a bit more off the beaten track you can substitute the cheaper cuts of lamb such as neck. It does make a difference to use meat that is on the bone as this makes a big contribution to the flavour of the finished dish.
Salmorejo is as Andalucian as it gets, really. It is a cold tomato soup, but much different from the more famous Gazpacho enjoyed throughout Spain. It includes bread for body and thickening, and plenty of olive oil and garlic, but basically it is a celebration of the tomato. Being Spain the soup is often garnished with ham, egg and even tuna, so do that should you desire, but we like just to concentrate on the tomato goodness without added fripperies! It is essential to use the ripest, juiciest tomatoes you can find – the dish simply will not work otherwise. Afterwards you will wonder how something so easy to make can be so tasty.
One of our go-to dishes upon arrival in Singapore has to be this delight! Clams simply stirfried with plenty of spices, plenty of chilli. It combines the three main cuisines of the island, Malay, Chinese and Indian so well. In Singapore there are many varieties of clam, and the ones used in this are known as Lalas. Here at home, the best ones to use are the small Palourde clams. Few food experiences can match picking up the clam and sucking out the juice before extracting the meat of the shellfish, and you’ll find that when the clams land on the dinner table conversation will soon stop. One warning – this recipe is highly addictive!
One of the most popular curries of all, Rogan Josh basically means ‘red meat’ and the colour comes from the liberal use of tomatoes along with paprika and chilli powder. It also features whole aromatic spices including cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. It originates in Kashmir, in the north of India, and is a slow-cooked dish which enables all the flavours involved to mix together and become one. It is not a hot curry, so can be enjoyed by those who do not like too much chilli involved. Some recipes include yoghurt and even cream, but we prefer it neat! It is best made with lamb or mutton, but beef works very well too.
This punchy, chunky salsa takes advantage of our canned Chipotles en Adobo, a staple in Mexico and usually used in chilli con carne or similar dishes. Their flavour is smoky and piquant, with the heat you would expect from chipotle chilli mellowed a little by the sauce. The recipe combines these beauties with plump, fresh juicy tomatoes, crunchy red onions and plenty of fresh coriander. The salsa works well as a filling for tacos and quesadillas, and as it is quite chunky can be used like a side salad served with simply grilled fish or chicken.
This dish of stuffed and roasted vegetables will be familiar to many of you from Greek holidays, and in our view is even better without meat. Using only rice seasoned with herbs and spices, plus a few veggies such as mushroom or peas in there as well, you can make a satisfying meal which only needs a Greek salad and some crusty bread to keep everyone happy. We’re using peppers here, but beef tomatoes work just as well. You can cook the rice with all its seasonings, but it is easier just to use some rice which you have parboiled in veg stock (it’s a great way to use up any leftover rice too).
This recipe is perfect now big, juicy tomatoes are back in the market. It is pretty simple, and brings out all the flavour of the tomatoes set off by aromatic spice. The marquee spice here is ajowan (also known as king’s cumin and carom), which has a character not too far away from fennel seed, though lacking the slight liquorice flavour fennel has. Ghee is the best base to use but coconut oil works too – the fat is used to fry the masala, then this is poured over the tomatoes before roasting.
Finding veggie food in Spain is easier than it was, but still not easy – a lot of the time, a dish which looks like it is vegetarian will have something hiding in there which isn’t. This lovely tapa of spinach and chickpeas is however always a safe bet. It is particularly common in Andalucia, especially Seville, due to the North African influence in the food there