I decided to focus on spices for October’s Friday Challenge, I have my favourite spices which I use all the time but there are so many I have never tried and wouldn’t know how to blend together. I used a recipe from the LEON; Naturally Fast Food cookbook. It’s such a brilliant book with hundreds of recipes and ideas, so much to look at you can easily lose an afternoon browsing through.
When I think of spices I think of hot, comforting curries but then I stumbled across this recipe which was a cold raw dish and I was extremely interested to see how that could work and whether I would like it or not. I have always “sweated down” the spices with onions etc to bring out the flavours and I was worried that using them without cooking would taste powdery or too one-dimensional. As it turns out it was delicious and I did like it, although I didn’t have any tahini so it was quite sweet. I think if I made it again I would make sure I had tahini to balance out the juices from the orange and lemon.
The dip is made from carrots, cumin (one of my favourite spices), Garam Masala (a spice mix I have never tried before), lemon juice, orange juice, onion, fresh ginger, dates, olive oil, coriander and raw tahini (which I didn’t have but will add next time!).
Garam Masala is a spice mix made up of cumin, bay, cloves, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and coriander which have been roasted and then ground and blended to make a dark coloured rich smelling spice… but you can buy it pre made in jars from the super market, luckily! It goes perfectly with the sweet carrots and wasn’t too spicy either. It made the dish very fragrant and fresh which is surprising for a spicy recipe.
The recipe calls to blend untill smooth and I got it as smooth as I could in my very old blender but I actually quite liked the texture a bit rougher, more of a rustic dip, And the colour is just beautiful!
What I have learnt about spices:
I was so impressed to find a recipe which uses a spice I have never tried before AND it’s vegan and raw, which are two things I’m really into at the moment. I learnt that spice does not equal curry and you can use spice instead to create fragrance and interest in a cold dish. I also learnt from looking at loads of recipes trying to find something to cook that most recipes use a blend of spices and do not just concentrate on one particular spice. I think by the end I will have quite an extensive spice collection in my cupboard.
What’s you favourite spice?