24 June 2013

Savoy Cabbage and Chorizo Soup

One of my personal favourites. Lovely smoky flavour, small number of ingredients and it takes about 20 minutes to prepare. If you want a low-carb, low-calorie alternative, just subtract the potatoes from the recipe. It's quite healthy too, as cabbage is very rich in vitamins and has almost no calories. And it tastes soooooo good :)

  • 400g potatoes, roughly chopped up
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable or chicken stock (or smoked bacon stock, if you can get your hands on one)
  • 200g savoy cabbage, chopped up roughly
  • 225g  chorizo sausage, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp of hot paprika powder
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil (can be chilli infused)

  1. Put the olive oil, chorizo and onions in a pan and fry until the onions are glossy and the oil is infused with the chorizo flavour and turns red.
  2. Boil the potatoes in a pot of salty water until they're al dente and drain them. We'll be cooking them further in a moment.
  3. Place the cabbage in a pot with stock and potatoes. Add the chorizo and onion - together with all the oil from the pan - and cook until the cabbage is soft (5-10 minutes). 
  4. Season with salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Simmer a little while longer if the potatoes are still a bit hard.
  5. Pour into bowls, and if you're feeling adventurous, add a splash of smoked chipotle tabasco.

10 June 2013

Stuffed Peppers with Steamed Dumplings

I was trying to recreate a meal I had as a kid on a summer camp in Czech Republic. We had a contest who would eat the most. I had 12 portions. Needles to say, I won. It was a good day.

Stuffed Peppers

  • 4-5 peppers
  • 500g of beef or half and half beef/pork mince
  • boiled rice (250g when uncooked)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 6 chestnut mushrooms
  • a bunch of fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • black pepper and Vegeta (or salt, if you haven't got Vegeta)
  • sunflower oil for frying
  • 250ml of vegetable stock

  1. Gloss the onions on a couple of tablespoons of oil. Add the mince, mushrooms and parsley and fry until the mince is browned. Mix in with the boiled rice and season to taste with black pepper and Vegeta.
  2. Cut the tops of the poppers off and cut out any seeds. Stuff the peppers with the mince and rice mix and once they're full put them in an oven-proof dish and pour some stock into them (don't worry if it overflows). The stock will add some moisture and will stop the peppers from over-drying and burning.
  3. Place in the oven and cook at 170°C for about 40 minutes, uncovered.


  • 3 tbsp of plain flour
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 750ml of vegetable stock
  • 4-5 tbsp of tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp of hot paprika powder
  • 1 tsp of Flying Duck hot sauce (available in most bigger Tesco stores in the oriental section)

  1. Prepare a roux: melt the butter, add flour, mix together until you get a uniform thick sauce and heat a bit longer until it turns golden.
  2. Add vegetable stock and stir until the roux and the stock have mixed completely.
  3. Add the tomato purée, paprika and Flying Duck sauce. Mix well together and pour over the dumplings and peppers when serving.

Steamed Dumplings


  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm milk
  • 0.5kg plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp melted and cooled butter

  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in milk and and add half a cup of the flour. The mixture should be the consistency of heavy cream. Cover and let rise until it doubles in size. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine remaining flour and salt, eggs and your yeast mixture. Mix until it blisters and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Add melted butter and mix well. 
  3. Let it rise until doubled in size again. Place it onto a floured surface, kneading in more flour if it's too sticky. Shape into round dumplings, about 2 inches in diameter. Cover and let rise again until doubled in size. 
  4. Meanwhile, fill a large pot 3/4 full of water. I place a simple oil splatter guard over the pot and place the dumplings on it to steam them, but if you haven't got an oil splatter guard or one that fits on top of your pot, just use a clean, white, thin kitchen towel and tie it over the top of the pot. Bring the water to a boil, place dumplings on the cloth/splatter guard leaving 2 inches space between because they will grow. Place a large lid on top of the pot (I only had a flat one, so I covered mine with a wok) and steam the dumplings for 15 minutes. Don't lift the lid during the steaming because the dumplings will collapse. I found that one out the hard way... :) Serve straight away with the dumplings and sauce.

3 June 2013

Smoky and Spicy Fish Stew

For a moment I thought someone cast a bad-cooking spell on me after I pretty much overcooked or otherwise ruined every meal in the last month, but I have now reassured myself that I can still definitely whip up a dinner that is simply pure awe (how very humble of me...).

In fact the presentation and the quality of the pictures is so bad, because I just couldn't wait it eat it! :)


  • 1 tbsp of Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp of smoky hot paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp of cumin
  • Piri-piri (of chili) flakes
  • A large bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 300-400g of good quality smoked haddock, cut into chunks
  • 400g can of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of tomato purée
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • couscous or lentils to serve with

  1. Pour the olive oil onto a pan, add the garlic, paprika, piri-piri flakes and cumin and start heating up. Heat for about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add 100ml of water, tomatoes (and their juice), tomato purée, half of the coriander and sugar. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the pepper and simmer for further 2- 3 minutes.
  4. Add the fish and simmer for further 10 minutes or so - until the fish is cooked. Add the rest of coriander just before serving.
  5. Serve with whatever you like. I like potatoes. Enjoy! :)