Where growing, making & good living come together

Spicy onion soup recipe

Posted by on Wednesday 31 August 2011 in cooking, recipes | 10 comments

One of my fellow drama tutors, Kat, lives off cup-a-soups — she’s 19 and working about five different jobs so she can afford to desert us in a couple of weeks and go to drama school in that London. She’s always rushing from this job to that rehearsal and that’s where the cup-a-soups come in handy. Most of the time I have no reaction to them but the smell of the French onion soup one makes me CRAVE onion soup.

Thankfully onion soup is a fun soup to make — not quick but still easy and frugal. I used to make a (veggie but otherwise) strict version of Delia’s but as with many things I cook, it’s evolved over the years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my onion soup is now a little spicy. I do like my spice. Feel free to skip the chilli if you don’t like it hot – but the garam masala adds more flavour that heat, so do still use that.

I definitely recommend using a variety of onions if you can – include red onions for sweetness and colour. I used all boring white onions for the version pictured below because I got a big sack of them on a Ramadan special offer last week – I compensated by adding a little more sugar.

It takes a least an hour to make – half an hour for browning the onions then another half hour or so at the soup stage – but the slower the better really. A restaurant in Leeds used to make a 24 hour onion soup – talk about commitment! If I’m cooking other things at the same time, I’ll try for an hour for the browning then another hour at the soup stage but if I’m making it for lunch, it’s closer to an hour. Either way, the house smells GREAT. :)

Spicy onion soup

Makes about four portions
Costs about £1.20-1.50 in total, so between 30-40p a portion

500g onions
25g of butter
Two cloves of garlic, minced
1 chilli, finely chopped, or 2 if you want it properly hot
1-2 tsp of light brown sugar
1tbsp plain flour (optional)
1.5 litres of hot veg stock
1/2 tsp of garam masala
2-3 bay leaves
1tsp of worchestershire sauce


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Ramsoms & Ricotta Ravioli Recipe (aka cheesy, spicy wild garlic ravioli)

Posted by on Monday 16 May 2011 in cooking, Featured, recipes, wild food | 4 comments

Usually when I post recipes, they’re either long-time firm favourites or new things that I’ve made a least a few times to try different flavour tweaks. However these suckers took a good while to make and I can’t see myself finding the time to make them again before the wild garlic (Ramsoms) season is well and truly over, so I’m going to publish the recipe now after making them start-to-finish just once. They were yummy as they were :)

There is so much wild garlic in the woods behind our house that it seems rude not to use it as often as possible throughout the spring. We add it raw into salad, have it in mash/potato cakes for a colcannon-ish dish, use it as a pizza topping but mostly, have it on pasta — usually wilted with a little lightly fried chorizo and some olives. Yummo.

It goes so well with pasta, as a tasty spinach substitute, that I wanted to try making pasta with it – and this is the result: wild garlic ravioli. WG loses a lot of its fieriness when you cook it and the flavour here is quite subtle – which is why I served it with a sprinkling wild garlic seed pods too. Plus, they also look ace :)

Ramsoms & Ricotta Ravioli Recipe

(Yes, I like alliteration.)

Makes: 3 decent sized portions if that’s all you’re having; or 4 portions with meat/veg

For the pasta
225g of 00 grade pasta flour
2 large eggs
80-100g of wild garlic
pinch of salt
extra (plain or pasta) flour for dusting

For the filling
225g of ricotta
25g of parmasan
1/4 to 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp of chilli flakes
Finely chopped basil & oregano leaves (or about 1tsp of dried herbs)

To serve
About 2tsbps of wild garlic seed pods (about half a dozen flower heads)
olive oil
a knob of butter (optional)

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Spicy sausage and lentil casserole recipe

Posted by on Tuesday 18 January 2011 in cooking, recipes | 8 comments

Could a sausage and lentil casserole be anything other than spicy with us? We heart the spice!

I first made this when we were on holiday in a wonderful cottage in Staithes a few years ago so it always has connotations of relaxed cosiness – we’ve been there a couple of times out of season and had the quietest, most relaxing holidays ever. Recommend ++.

Anyway, back to the casserole, it’s a fab winter warmer – and can be pretty darn cheap if made with sausages on offer, as ours were when I made this on Saturday.

Spicy sausage and lentil casserole recipe

Makes 4 dinner portions
Cost £3-4 in total depending on sausage offers – ie, 75p-£1 a portion.


1lb of sausages – pork or veggie
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed (or 2tsp of puree)
100g ish of mushrooms, diced
1 or 2 peppers, diced
1 hot chilli, diced very finely (I used a scotch bonnet one when I took the pics)
250g of green lentils or puy lentils
500ml of hot veg stock
1tbsp of tomato puree
1tbsp of mixed herbs
A couple of bay leaves
2 splashes of Worchestershire sauce
Black pepper to season
A little olive oil

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Spicy stuffing with chorizo recipe

Posted by on Tuesday 7 December 2010 in cooking, recipes | 0 comments

At the end of last week, we bought a chicken. We don’t eat that much chicken really and when we do, we tend to get on-offer pieces so I’ve probably only roasted whole chickens a dozen times or so and they’ve been ok, good even, but not great.

This time I decided it was going to be great. I decided I was going to try one of those “stuff a lemon up it” recipes but when it came to it, I didn’t actually have a lemon – and was too tired, post-dog icy walk, to go to the shop to get one.

So, I thought, what else can I STUFF in there instead? What do other people use to STUFF chickens? What sort of things do people use for STUFFING chickens? I think my brain was having a bit of a lazy Sunday afternoon because it took me ages to realise what I was asking.

There are loads of recipes out there for sage and onion stuffing – the good old failsafe – but as I said, I wanted it to be great so that wouldn’t cut it. As may not be a surprise to the observant, we were going for a spicy rub for the chicken and I wanted a stuffing to complement that. This is what I came up with.

Chorizo and chicken go really well together. There isn’t enough chorizo in it to overwhelm the meal but enough to give it a delicious, smokey taste. The pepper adds sweetness and the chilli, unsurprisingly, adds spicy heat.

John said it was the best stuffing he’d ever eaten. The chicken was pretty ace too – a longer marinading time would have added to the flavour but it tastes good and was wonderfully moist. Basically, WIN.

Spicy stuffing with chorizo recipe

Yield: Enough to stuff a large chicken or to make about 12 golf-ball-sized balls

150g bread – stuff that’s a few days old works best
50g cooking chorizo sausage
1 medium onion
1 pepper – I used green, red would be nicer
1 cloves of garlic
1 large egg, beaten
A little water (or chicken/veg stock, if you’ve got some on – only need a few tbsp worth)

2tsp cumin seeds
1tsp mixed herbs
Chillis – I used three little fresh ones from the last of our summer harvest; normally I’d use dried chilli flakes, probably a large pinch of them.
Salt & pepper to season

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Spicy pickled eggs recipe

Posted by on Thursday 18 November 2010 in cooking, preserving, recipes | 5 comments

Keen to preserve some of the summer glut of eggs and add to the super-spicy items in our store cupboard (we never have enough!), I’ve pickled a few lots of eggs over the last few months.

We finally cracked open the spicy batch earlier this week – yum! Between the tart vinegar and the spices, they’re really quite strongly flavoured – but good. We had them with bread & cheese, instead of a chutney, and they were perfect for adding a bit of bite to the proceedings.

(Apologies for the not great photo – the full jar looked ace but then we ate half of them!)

Spicy pickled eggs recipe

To fill a 2lb jar (we used an old pickled peppers jar from Lidl, kindly donated by Strowger)

8 large eggs (not super-fresh ones – use ones that are at least a week old so they’re easier to peel)
450ml of pickling vinegar (white vinegar, at least 6% acidity)
2tsp black pepper corns
2tsp yellow mustard seeds
1tsp dried chilli flakes


0. Sterilise your jar – wash it in hot soapy water, rinse well in hot clean water, then place in the oven at 160C/gas mark 2 ish, for about 15 minutes. The lid of the jar should be washed and rinse – it needs to be a vinegar proof lid (plastic lined).

1. Hard boil the eggs using your preferred method – if you don’t have one, obey Delia. Cool them as Delia says then remove the shells.

2. Add the vinegar and spices into a small saucepan. Stir together and bring to the boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes – with a door/window open because man, it stinks.

3. While the vinegar is simmering, place the eggs in the still-warm jar then when it’s done, pour the vinegar on top of it, making sure the spices pour along with it and don’t all stick to the side of the pan. Fill the jar to the very top then seal it.

4. Leave somewhere cool and dark for at least three weeks.

Once they’re ready to eat, have them as a part of a salad, with bread & cheese like we did, or make them into a really interesting tasting egg mayonnaise!

Have you made this? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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