Moroccan spiced carrots with harissa, cumin & maple syrup

Harissa is a North-African spice paste that blows my mind (and mouth) on many different levels. Roasted peppers, chillies, coriander, garlic and spices form its base, and this fiery blend is used extensively to flavour meats, soups, stews, and couscous, apart from being used as a condiment in dips etc. I read somewhere that it’s also common to find people slathering it on bread and eating it for breakfast! Oh, that would definitely kick-start your day now, wouldn’t it.

A small dollop of this paste goes a long way – it can be used as a marinade for your chicken drumsticks, mixed into a spicy soup (I think chickpeas would work nicely here), slathered on some fish and pan-seared, the list is endless. I think it might just have overtaken Sriracha in my kitchen this season. That’s a bold statement, I know.

I sliced the carrots into thick batons because I wanted them to retain their shape upon roasting, and also to still have a bite to them. If I’d found a smaller, thinner variety of them here I would’ve roasted them whole. The balance of the spicy harissa against the earthy sweetness of maple syrup is subtle without being too overpowering.. you know it’s all about the yin and yang. Continue reading

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Cinnamon French toast with stewed apples

I think this is my first breakfast dish on here. Which when I think about, doesn’t make any sense since I’m that person that loves to eat breakfast foods at any time of the day. No strict time restrictions in my head. A full English breakfast for lunch? Oh yes, please. Dosa for dinner? Hell yeah!

My mum has a recipe for stewed plums with cinnamon that I absolutely adore. Her version doesn’t have maple syrup, just caramelized sugar and the plums tossed in it. I decided to do mine with apples since, um, I didn’t have any plums on hand.

We usually end up eating (read binge-ing) out on the weekends, so all the week’s supply of groceries are exhausted by then, and all that’s left are some scraggly bits of odds and ends that get tossed into the juicer come Monday morning. So when I announced to my husband on Friday night that I’d be making something ‘different’ for breakfast the next day, I honestly didn’t have a plan in mind. Remember I told you that I’m the lady with a never-ending supply of eggs? (I realize how that sounds). Yeah, so I wasn’t too worried.

Apples and cinnamon are a match made in heaven. The French toast, golden on the outside with a slight squidge in the centre makes it so worth waking up to. And it’s easy on the maker too, with no more than 15 minutes for all the elements combined. The ultimate breakfast of champions. We did follow through on the rest of our weekend theme though, and lounged in our pyjamas all day watching mindless TV. No frills, and just perfect!

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STICKY MAPLE-GLAZED CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS

 

As a food blogger, I’m constantly concerned that something big might escape my notice, and that I’m going to walk into a café and ask very naïvely for those “tiny red cakes with the white icing”. How could I have not heard about red-velvet cupcakes? You get my rather dramatic drift..

(Un)fortunately for me though, I get a regular influx of email updates (mostly against my will) from numerous food magazines and blogs that assure me that there are new ingredients and recipe ideas popping into the market at an alarming rate, and that it’s impossible to be fully up-to-date with the nuances of this dynamic industry. Reassuring yes, but you ought to know about the red-velvets though!

Speaking of ideas popping up, using maple syrup instead of honey in this recipe came as a bit of a revelation to me. Basically you want the chicken drumsticks to caramelize in the heat, and the sugars in the syrup do just that for you. Also, sugar tends to caramelize at a higher temperature than maple syrup, so that only means more crunchy, charred bits on your chicken. It also lends its subtle woody taste to the smokiness of the paprika, which is a combination to die for. Kitchen alchemy at its finest. Continue reading