The cooking Journal

Posts in 'Recipes'

Spiced Pumpkin Easter Biscuits

These Easter Biscuits are a fun Easter Activity to keep young ones occupied!

1 egg
300g rice flour
100g butternut squash
1 tsp yeast powder
1 spoon of agave syrup (not essential)
1 pinch of salt
125g margarine
105g caster sugar
2tbsp pumpkin spice mix

Pumpking Spice Mix:
3 tbsp ground cinnamon.
2 tsp ground ginger.
2 tsp nutmeg.
1 ½ tsp ground allspice.
1 ½ tsp ground cloves.

400g icing sugar
100/120ml warm water
Food colours ( blue, red and yellow mix to make chosen colour)

1.       Boil some water inside a pot and cook the butternut squash until soft and ready to be smashed
2.       Let the butternut squash cool down then smash it with a fork
3.       In a bowl cream the margarine and brown sugar
4.       Add the agave syrup, butternut squash and the egg and mix until combined
5.       In a separate bowl sift together all the dry ingredients (rice flour, yeast, salt and and pumpkin spice mix)
6.       Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients
7.       Mix together and refrigerate for at least half an hour – if it is still results “sticky” add some more flour until you get a firm dough
8.       Remove the dough from refrigerator and place onto a floured surface and knead lightly roll out to 5mm thickness and then cut into shapes using cookie cutters
9.       Bake at 170 degree Celsius for approximately 15/20 minutes or till well browned
10.   Leave to cool completely on trays
11.   Meanwhile make the icing by mixing inside a bowl the icing sugar  and  water with a whisk
12.   Divide the icing into small bowls (as many bowls as the colours you want to use) and start adding the colourings drop by drop until you get the desired colour
13.   Once cookies have cooled down, decorate and enjoy!

Read More
Chilli Bean Con Carne

Serves 2

2 tbsp of oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onions, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, crushed or 2 heaped tsp if already finely chopped  
1 carrot finely diced
1 stick of celery finely diced
¼ tsp hot chilli powder or to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp mustard – powder or wet mustard
¼ tsp black coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp rich Hungarian paprika
½ tsp salt or to taste
250g mixed beans
200g – Half can of chopped tomatoes
150g drained weight cooked red kidney beans – half a can
1 tsp tomato puree 
½- red pepper, cored deseeded and cut into 1 cm cubes
225 ml (¾ pint) vegetable stock

For Garnish & serving
Crème fraise or soured cream – for serving
Chilli seeds, Cheddar cheese & Spring onion, finely chopped


  1. Heat oil in a saucepan, add the cumin seeds, onions and garlic and gently fry until soft.
  2. Add the celery, carrots, and fry on a low heat until just turning brown at the edges.
  3. Now add the chilli powder, mustard, paprika, salt & pepper, stir well and cook with the lid on for 5 minutes.
  4. Now add the kidney beans, mixed beans, tomato puree & canned tomatoes simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  5. Add the stock, stir well.
  6. Bring to boil, then cover lower heat and simmer very gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick. Five minutes before the end of the cooking process add the red peppers, so they remain al dente.
  7. Cook rice as per rice recipe

Cooks Hint 1: Chilli Con Carne freezes
well in zip lock bags

Serving Tip: Pile up rice, dollop on cooked chilli and then sour cream, Scatter over the chilli flakes, grated cheddar and spring onion

Read More
Cinnamon Spring Lamb

Spring lamb is coming into the shops and this tender meat is traditionally eaten at Easter.   Our recipe for cinnamon spring lamb is a great way to serve lamb.  It uses a formidable list of spices, but don’t be daunted by that as they are all working to making you work better and the lamb even more delicious.   Serve with rice.  The recipe is in my book ‘A Cupboard Full of Spices’.  Purchase the book here!


400g lean spring lamb, cubed into 2.5cm

4 tbsp oil (2 tbsp + 2 tbsp)

1 black cardamon

2 green cardamom

1 x 10cm piece of cinnamon bark

3 cloves

2 bay leaves

200g finely chopped onions

2 tsp chopped garlic

2 tsp chopped ginger

2 tsp ground coriander

2½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

½ red chilli powder

2 x 3 finger pinch of coriander

200g chopped tinned tomatoes

300-400ml water

1 heaped tsp tomato puree (optional)

For the garnish:

1 piece of ginger shredded

fresh chopped coriander

¼ tsp garam masala

lemon juice to garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a deep pan and add cardamoms, cinnamon bark, cloves and bay leaves for 5 seconds, before adding the onions and saute until a golden brown caramelised colour and the water has evaporated.   This is a slow process (20-25 minutes) and it should be cooked on a low heat.  You will need to stir every now and then, but if you’re using a lid then ensure you don’t allow the water to fall into the pan.  Add garlic and ginger and cook for a further 5 minutes on a low heat.   Add the dry spices of ground coriander, ground cumin, cinnamon powder, turmeric, salt, chilli powder and the fresh coriander.  Stir in the spices and once again cook for 5 minutes to release the essential oils from the spices. 
  2. Add the cubed lamb, mixing thoroughly with the spices, increase the temperature slightly to seal the meat and maintain the temperature at medium until the meat is sealed.  Once this is done, return the heat to low and place the lid on the pan.  Cook for about 10 minutes on a low heat until the spices are infused and soaked into the meat.  Now add the tomatoes and mix well.  Cook without the lid for a further 5 minutes or until the oil separates from the mixture.
  3. Once the acidity of the tomatoes has begun to breakdown, replace the lid and simmer for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring or shaking the pan to ensure that I’s not sticking but don’t be tempted to lift the lid off too frequently as the collection of steam is important to the cooking process.  Add 300ml of hot water for half a kilo of lamb or 400ml if you’re cooking 1kg of lamb.  Stir gently and continue cooking for a further 25-35 minutes or until the lamb is tender.  If the mixture is too thick, add a little water to loosen to create more gravy.  If it is too thin, then add a generous teaspoon of tomato puree.
  4. Once cooked remove from the heat and leave to stand for a few minutes.  Garnish with thin slices of ginger, coriander and a tiny sprinkle of garam masala and then a squeeze of lemon juice.

Follow Kumud Gandhi on Twitter and Instagram

Read More
Banana and Blueberry Pancakes with a Gooey Peanut Butter Centre
If you’re a peanut butter addicted like me then this recipe is the one for you. Filled with fresh blueberries but with a cheeky twist to indulge in!


  • 100g fresh blueberries

  • 150g spelt flour or oats

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 150ml milk

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed

  • 1 tsp peanut butter per pancake

Optional Toppings

  • Greek Yoghurt

  • Raspberries

  • Maple Syrup


  • In a mixing bowl, combine the spelt flour with the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Make a well in the centre.

  • In a second bowl, beat the egg, milk, vanilla and mashed banana together. Pour into the well in the first bowl and mix lightly to form a batter. Stir in the blueberries.

  • Alternatively; add the bananas, milk, egg, vanilla, baking powder and spelt flower in a food processer and mix together.

  • Then stir the blueberries into the mixture

  • Put a frying pan over a medium heat. Brush the surface lightly with oil and add a small ladleful of batter into the centre of the frying pan. Add the tsp of peanut butter into the centre of the mixture and cover with another tbsp of batter.

  • Cook for a couple of minutes, or until bubbles appear on the surface and the undersides are lightly browned. Flip over and cook for a further minute or so.

  • Repeat to make 10 pancakes in total. Serve the hot pancakes in stacks of 3 with a dollop of fresh yoghurt, raspberries and a drizzle of maple syrup.

  • Slice into the middle to reveal a gooey peanut butter centre! Enjoy!

Read More
Pancake recipe
Pancakes are really easy to make and delicious with a sweet or savoury topping.

100g plain flour
2 eggs
300ml semi-skimmed milk
1tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for frying
pinch of salt

  1. Put the flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.

  2. Crack the two eggs into the middle and pour 1 tbsp of oil and about 50ml of the milk into the well and gradually draw the flour into the eggs, milk and oil.

  3. Once the flour is incorporated, beat until you have a smooth and thick paste with no lumps. Add a little more milk if it is too stiff to beat.

  4. Gradually add the rest of the milk, whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream.

  5. Allow the batter to rest for at least 30 minutes to allow the gluten to develop.

  6. When you are ready to cook your pancakes, heat a frying pan over a moderate heat and add a little oil.

  7. Ladle some of the batter into the pan, tilting it to spread the mixture around to create a thin even layer. If you have too much batter in the pan, pour it back into the mixing bowl.

  8. Leave to cook for about 30 seconds without disturbing the batter. After about 30 seconds, the pancake should turn golden brown on the underside and be ready to turn.

  9. Slide a palette knife under the pancake and quickly lift and flip it over so it is flat on the frying pan. Cook on this side for 30 seconds, then it turn onto a warm plate.

  10. Continue until you have used up all the batter. Stack the pancakes on the warmed plate and cover with foil or greaseproof paper to keep them warm.

  11. Serve with lemon and sugar, golden or maple syrup, jam…. The list is endless.

Chef’s tip 1:  You can make the mixture in a blender by putting all the ingredients in the jug together and blending until smooth.

Chef’s tip 2:  You can freeze pancakes for 1 month, layered with greaseproof paper and wrapped in cling film.
Read More
Loading more posts