Category Archives: Post

Chilli Recipes – Gazpacho and Piri-piri

I was planning my usual ‘in celebration of autumn’ blog. You know the kind of thing, a wild mushroom recipe, with some photos of woodland scenes with early autumn colours. But in the unusually hot weather my chillies have ripened rapidly, and last Wednesday, when the temperature was 32°C, I decided to make Gazpacho, using some of the chilli harvest.

This year I planted Jalapeno, Serrano, a large mild chilli of unknown variety, and my old favourite Trinidad. Trinidad, as you may remember from earlier blogs, is of species chinense – a habanero type chilli, but with virtually no heat.

Gazpacho, if you did not know, is a chilled soup made from raw vegetables and stale bread from the Spanish region of Andalusia. After puréeing, I like to add some chopped raw vegetables to add a bit of texture. I duly chopped a Trinidad chilli and added it to the soup, but on a whim remembering that Mrs DAVEggie is not quite such a big chilli-head as myself, decided to taste a piece – just in case.

Anyway, once I had stopped frothing at the mouth and my breathing had returned to normal, I began the laborious task of fishing out 90% of the chopped Trinidad I had added. The moral is of course, the heat of chillies can be very unpredictable, so always taste a piece first before adding!

So I present my recipe for Gazpacho, plus another excellent way of using chillies: Piri-piri sauce.

Serves 2
Time: 15 minutes, plus at least 2 hours to chill
Difficulty: **
Origin: Spain
Good with: on its own or as a starter

Ingredients for Gazpacho

200g stale ciabatta, or other white bread
200g ripe tomatoes
200g cucumber
1 green capsicum
1 red onion
1 green chilli – Jalapeno or Trinidad for preference
2 cloves garlic, (peeled)
50ml extra virgin olive oil
25ml red wine vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Skin and de-seed the tomatoes.
  2. Chop the bread, place in a bowl and pour over 100ml of cold water.
  3. De-seed the cucumber and capsicum and chop roughly with the garlic, onion, chilli and peeled tomatoes.
  4. Place in a food processor along with the soaked bread, olive oil and vinegar. Whiz for about 1 minute.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and a splash of water to loosen the soup to the desired consistency (it should be quite thick).
  6. Whiz again for a few seconds to mix.
  7. Pour into a bow, and place in the fridge to chill.
  8. Meanwhile, chop some more vegetables of your choice: cucumber, capsicum, fennel, celery, red onion and place in the fridge.
  9. Serve very cold, in chilled bowls. Serve the chopped vegetables separately to sprinkle on top.


Add sliced Kalamata olives and chopped hard-boiled egg to the chopped vegetable mix.


This sauce of Portuguese origin gets its name from a type of chilli grown in Africa. It is actually of frutescens species (which is the species used to make Tabasco sauce.) I find any mild red chilli an acceptable substitute (piri-piri chillies are anything but mild!)

The sauce is absolutely delicious and can be stirred into all sorts of savoury recipes. Below I give a couple of suggestions.

Serves lots
Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: **
Origin: Portugal
Good in: Portuguese Tuna Rice Bake

Ingredients for Piri-piri

6 large mild fresh red chillies (Serrano would be ideal)
1 tbsp garlic, blanched and chopped
1 tsp salt flakes
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp Chipotle or smoked paprika
½ tbsp paprika
100ml olive oil
50ml red wine vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the chillies on a roasting tray and roast them for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in a roasting bag to cool.
  2. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and seeds. (I actually like to add the skins and seeds to the wine vinegar, and warm to just below simmering for a few minutes.)
  3. Place the chillies, garlic, salt, oregano, Chipotle, paprika, olive oil and vinegar (strain if you have added the skins and seeds) in a saucepan, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Allow cool, then purée in a food processor or a staff mixer.
  5. Store in a sealed jar in the fridge and use as necessary. it will keep for several months, but I bet you use it all long before then.

Suggestions for using Piri-piri

Portuguese Tuna Rice Bake

Serves 2
Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: **
Origin: Portugal
Good with: green vegetables


Ingredients for Portuguese Tuna Rice Bake

350ml water
175g uncooked white rice
10g butter
20ml olive oil
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tin of tuna, preferably i olive oil
150ml double cream
25ml tomato ketchup
2 tbsp piri-piri
salt and pepper to taste
60g black olives (preferably Kalamata)
60g grated cheese, Gouda, Cheddar or Red Leicester


  1. Bring water, butter, and 10ml olive oil to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.
  2. Add the rice, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying-pan. Add the onion and garlic, and cook  until the onion has softened – about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tuna, cream, ketchup, piri-piri, salt, and pepper. Simmer on low until the mixture thickens – about 5 minutes.
  6. Place half the cooked rice the bottom of 15cm baking dish.
  7. Spread the tuna mixture over the rice and cover with the remaining rice.
  8. Sprinkle the olives and cheese over the top of the rice. Drizzle with a little more olive oil.
  9. Bake until the cheese melts and everything is heated through – about 15 minutes.

French Toast – as a lunch snack

  1. Per person, beat 1 egg and 1 tbsp piri-piri together, seasoning to taste.
  2. Place a slice of bread in a frying-pan, and when the bread starts to brown, carefully pour over the egg mixture.
  3. Turn the heat down slightly, and cook until the egg is nearly set through. Turn and cook for 30 seconds more.
    Surprisingly good!
© DAVEggie

Tourte Limousine – French Potato Pie

It is now meteorological autumn in northern Europe, and to celebrate this auspicious occasion, I thought I would present something hearty and comforting: Tourte Limousine.

Tourte Limousine is an attractive recipe from the Limoges region of France: a potato pie, where sliced potatoes are seasoned with melted butter, and when the pie is almost cooked, a mixture of egg, cream and herbs are carefully poured in through a hole in the top. This is not for the faint-hearted, either cooking or eating! Continue reading Tourte Limousine – French Potato Pie

Holiday 2016: Faro and Ria Formosa Portugal

We have just returned from summer holiday: this year 10 fantastic days in the Algarve. This was my first time in Portugal,

but am guessing it will not be my last. We stayed in Faro; we hired a flat on the 10th floor with views over Faro at the back  and fantastic views of the Ria Formosa at the front.
Continue reading Holiday 2016: Faro and Ria Formosa Portugal

Non-meat Balls, a vegetarian alternative

Everyone loves meatballs; especially my children when they were young. So for this blog, I present my vegetarian version: non-meat balls.

 Traditionally, meatballs are served with tomato sauce, for which I give a recipe. But I also discovered by chance that they form a delicious combination with left-over Roasted Pumpkin Soup as a sauce. With tomato sauce I would serve Hasselback Potatoes, roast parsnips and a steamed green vegetable. With the ‘Pumpkin’ sauce I would serve plain boiled rice.
Ingredients for the Non-meat Balls:
Serves 2
50g split peas
90g puy lentils (use brown lentils if you cannot find these)
100g tofu
1 mushroom stock cube
100g cooked white beans (I recommend tinned/bottled)
100g ricotta
50ml olive oil
1 medium onion
1/2 green pepper
2 celery stalks
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (or dried)
1/2 tsp chopped fresh sage (or dried)
30g parsley
1 egg, beaten
  1. Bring 300ml water to the boil. add the peas and lentils, and simmer covered for 30 to 40 minutes until the lentils are tender (if necessary add more water), but still retain a little bite.
  2. Chop the tofu, wrap in a clean tea towel or strong kitchen paper, and wring and squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Then mash roughly with a fork together with the mushroom stock cube.
  3. Chop the vegetables, and fry in the oil until soft and golden (about 10 minutes).
  4. Wash, drain and mash the beans roughly.
    In a large bowl, combine the lentil and vegetable mixtures, and add the beans, tofu, ricotta, egg and herbs.
  5. Form into golf balls and place in a shallow roasting tray. Add 50 ml water, and cover loosely with aluminium foil.
  6. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes.
Non-meat Balls go well with:

Hasselback Potatoes

© DAVEggie

Chilli Bean Burritos and Sweet Corn Salsa


This week’s blog is a reminder that (sometimes) simple really is best: Chilli Bean Burritos with Sweet Corn Salsa.

Some years ago, the hallowed Heston Blumenthal presented a television series called ‘In Search of Perfection’, in which, employing a sinister combination of gastronomy, alchemy and black magic, he attempted to elevate humble favourites such as Spaghetti Bolognaise to a whole new level of excellence.

I was an avid viewer, and following his principles perfected my own recipe for Chilli Con Carne (of which I was mightily proud) using all sorts of exotic ingredients such as pomegranate molasses, sun-dried tomato paste, Bull’s Blood (the wine, not literally), vanilla, rose petals and bath salts. I served this with a fearsome array of condiments including coriander Guacamole and at least 3 different grated cheeses (cow’s goat’s and sheep’s)

Recently, arriving home late and hungry and tired, I knocked together an ultra-light version as quickly as possible. The result was vastly superior to my earlier kitchen sink variety!

Chilli Bean Burritos
Serves 2
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
1 small celery stalk
1 garlic clove
1 mild red chilli
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp Chipotle powder (substitute smoked paprika if you cannot get this)
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
400g tinned red kidney beans
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Crême fraîche


  1. Chop the onion, celery, garlic and chilli finely.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and celery and cook over a low to medium heat until slightly soft – about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, chilli and spices and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and kidney beans and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile prepare the Sweet Corn Salsa below.
  6. Add the lime juice and coriander

Sweet Corn Salsa
1 tbsp olive oil
1 fresh corn cob
1 small celery stick
1/2 red chilli
2 spring onions
1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander


  1. Chop the celery, chilli and spring onions finely.
  2. Using a small sharp knife, remove the corn kernels from the cob (I used left over barbecued corn.
  3. If using raw sweet corn, heat the oil in a frying pan, and fry the corn over a high heat until slightly browned – about 3 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
  4. Mix the sweet corn, celery, chilli, spring onions, coriander and lime juice in a large salad bowl.
  5. Season to taste.

To serve:

  1. Warm a tortilla in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
  2. Lay flat, and smear the middle with a generous dollop of Crême fraîche. Spoon the chilli bean sauce over the top ans wrap up.
  3. Serve with the Sweet Corn Salsa.
© DAVEggie

Soupe au Pistou

For this blog I present a Mediterranean summer classic: Soupe au Pistou. Ideally it is made with fresh summer vegetables, enriched with the pistou (a French version of pesto) and served with rough country bread. It is, need I say, absolutely fantastic!

I like to use a mixture of fresh beans (green, runner, French or snake beans will do equally well, or a mixture) plus, I confess, frozen broad beans. Other good things you might add include peas (fresh or frozen), diced courgette, or red peppers; it is really up to you, but if you follow my recipe you are guaranteed a superb result, and it will fill your kitchen with the perfumes of Provence!

And unusually for one of my soup recipes, it uses plain water instead of vegetable stock.

Serves 3.
for the soup
100g carrots
100g waxy potatoes
100g leek
1.25l water
100g beans (see above)
50g broad beans
1 slice stale white bread
15g spaghetti
1 pinch saffron
100g tinned or bottled white haricot beans
salt and pepper to taste

for the pistou
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp good tomato puree
20g fresh basil
15g Parmesan cheese
75ml extra virgin olive oil


  1. Chop the carrot, potato and leek into approximately 2cm dice.
  2. Boil the above in the water for 40 minutes. Correct the seasoning.
  3. Meanwhile, crumble the bread very small, and break the spaghetti into 2cm lengths.
  4. Make the pistou.
  5. Add the remaining soup ingredients and simmer for about 7 minutes.


  1. Chop the garlic and basil, and grate the Parmesan.
  2. Add the above to a food processor along with the tomato puree, and blitz up, slowly adding the olive oil until you have a smooth puree.

To Serve:

  1. Add a few ladles of soup to the pistou in the food processor, then pour the diluted pistou back into the soup and stir.
  2. Ladle into bowls.
© DAVEggie

Mushroom Fajitas

This is another quick and economical recipe which tastes stunning, and authentically Mexican. You could also add fresh chilli if you wish, but the Chipotle will make it quite hot. You could also add chopped fresh coriander, either at cooking time or to serve, but I think this is unnecessary.

I think the fajitas are lifted by copious quantities of lime juice so they have a real acid kick! This combines brilliantly with the smokiness of the paprika and Chipotle.

Serves 2
1 red pepper
1 medium red onion
1 garlic clove
250g mixed mushrooms: chestnut, oyster & shiitake for example
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Chipotle powder
2 tbsp olive oil
2 limes


  1. De-seed the pepper. Slice the pepper and onion thinly. Chop the garlic finely.
  2. Cut the mushrooms into 1cm slices.
  3. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, squeeze over the juice of 1 lime and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes (less if you are in a hurry.)
  5. Fry the ingredients over a medium high heat for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms are nicely browned.

To serve:
2 large tortillas
grated strong cheese such as Gouda, Cheddar or Red Leicester
Crème Fraîche
lime juice

  1. Warm the tortillas in a microwave for about 30 seconds.
  2. Divide the mushroom mixture between the two tortillas.
  3. Add cheese Crème Fraîche and lime juice to taste.
© DAVEggie

Uova in Camica with Wedgies

I absolutely love really fresh free-range eggs, and luckily a neighbour of mine has a smallholding and supplies me with a generous quantity.
However, imaginative egg recipes are scarce, apart from the obvious quiche varieties, and omelette varieties (frittata and tortilla), so I recently revived an erstwhile favourite: Uova in Camicia, which translates as ‘egg in a shirt.’

Continue reading Uova in Camica with Wedgies

Four more quick and easy recipes

A recent survey in a leading British newspaper revealed the following:

  • The average family eat 12 takeaways per month (per person).
  • 49% of 25-35 year-olds claim they rely on takeaways because they do not have the time or inclination to cook.
  • 30% of families eat more than one ready meal per week.
  • The average family only cooks only 9 different recipes.

If I look in my veggieTABLE application, I see that I have 236 main course recipes that I cook. And I am adding to this all the time.

So for this blog I present 4 recipes which are quick to prepare, much more economical that takeaways or ready meals, and require virtually no culinary skills. Oh, and they taste great too!

  • Pitta Bread Pizzas
  • Linguine with Pesto and Potato
  • Green Jade Soup
  • Noodles with Asian Pesto and Sweet Potato

The simplest and quickest version of Pitta Bread Pizzas is Margherita, but you can add any topping you choose. My favourite is mushrooms and garlic.

Linguine with Pesto and Potato is an Italian classic, whose sheer simplicity means you will not find it on the menu of many Italian restaurants. You could use bought pesto, but fresh is incomparably nicer, very simple to make, and any leftover is fantastic in cheese sandwiches.

I like to serve the Pitta Bread Pizzas and Linguine with Pesto and Potato as 2 courses of the same meal, but obviously you can just as well serve then individually.

Noodles with Asian Pesto and Sweet Potato is my Asian inspired version of Linguine with Pesto and Potato. Green Jade Soup is not really substantial enough to serve on its own, but goes really well with the Noodles with Asian Pesto and Sweet Potato. Actually, because noodles are made with egg, I find them a bit slimy for this recipe, so I normally use tagliatelle instead.

Pitta Bread Pizzas
Serves 2 as main, 4 as starter
4 pitta breads
100ml passata
200g buffalo mozzarella
2 tsp dried oregano
olive oil


  1. Slice the pitta breads in half horizontally. Toast lightly in a toaster.
  2. Smear the outside of each half with passata.
  3. Sprinkle with oregano
  4. Slice the mozzarella thinly and distribute evenly over the pitta bread halves.
  5. Season with black pepper and drizzle over a little olive oil (optional).
  6. Place under a hot grill until the mozzarella has melted slightly (probably about 3 minutes).
  7. Serve with a salad of mixed leaves and plenty of rocket.

Note: if you have time you could enliven the passata by softening some finely chopped garlic in olive oil with a sprig of rosemary, then add the passata and simmer covered for about 10 minutes, adding some water if the passata starts to stick.

Linguine with Pesto and Potato
Serves 2
1 garlic clove
50g fresh basil
1 green chilli (optional)
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 tbsp grated Peccorino
50ml extra virgin olive oil
200g new potatoes
200g linguine


  1. Boil the potatoes until just cooked (probably 10 – 15 minutes.) Drain and keep warm.
  2. Chop the garlic and basil. De-seed and chop the chilli.
  3. Blitz in a food processor along with the cheeses, pine nuts and olive oil (or use a staff mixer) until you have a smooth paste. Season with salt.
  4. Transfer to a wok.
  5. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water until al dente (probably 7 – 9 minutes.)
  6. Drain the pasta and add to the pesto. Toss with 2 forks to mix.
  7. Adjust the seasoning.
  8. Add the potatoes and serve.

Green Jade Soup
Serves 2-4
Quick version
250g frozen spinach
1l vegetable stock (dissolve 1 veg stock cube & 1 mushroom stock cube)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp cornflour, disolved in 3 25ml water


  1. Heat the stock in a saucepan, add the spinach and allow to thaw and dissolve slowly.
  2. Bring to the simmer.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the cornflower thickens.

If you have more time:
1l homemade vegetable stock.
2 spring onions
1 garlic clove
3 slices of fresh ginger
2 points (NOT whole stars) of star anise
500g fresh spinach
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaozing wine
1 tbsp cornflour, dissolved in 3 25ml water


  1. Add chopped spring onions, a crushed garlic clove, ginger and star anise, and simmer to the stock.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes, then stain.
    Meanwhile wash the spinach and add to a large saucepan.
  3. Add 250ml of water and 1 tsp of salt (helps retain the colour), bring to the boil and cook until the spinach has completely wilted.
  4. Drain and refresh the spinach in cold water.
  5. Drain again, then squeeze out as much water as possible, retaining the squeezed out.
  6. Chop the spinach very finely.
  7. Bring the stock to a simmer,and add the spinach, soy, wine and dissolved cornflour.
  8. Heat until thickened.

Noodles with Asian Pesto and Sweet Potato
Serves 2
30g fresh coriander
40g cashew nuts, plus extra to serve
1 garlic clove
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 mild red chilli
1 tsp lime juice
50ml olive oil
200g sweet potatoes
200g egg noodles or tagliatelle
lime wedges to serve


  1. Peel the sweet potatoes, boil until just cooked (probably 10 – 15 minutes.) Drain and keep warm.
  2. Roughly chop the coriander and garlic. De-seed and chop the chilli.
  3. Blitz in a food processor along with the cashews, ginger, lime juice and olive oil (or use a staff mixer) until you have a smooth paste. Season with salt.
  4. Transfer to a wok.
  5. Cook the noodles or pasta in plenty of boiling water according to packet instructions until al dente.
  6. Drain the noodles/pasta and add to the pesto. Toss with 2 forks to mix. Adjust the seasoning.
  7. Add the sweet potatoes and serve with extra cashews and lime wedges.
© DAVEggie

Gratin Dauphinois with Chestnut Mushrooms

This is an old family favourite. It makes a rich and satisfying main course, which I do recommend you to try! You could accompany it with a simple green vegetable, though I do not think it needs it.

Serves 2
500g (or 4 large) waxy potatoes
1 onion
1 punnet chestnut mushrooms
2 garlic cloves
200ml full cream milk
1 small tub cream
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 grate of nutmeg
3 anchovy fillets (optional)
50g butter
60g grated mature cheese (Gouda, Cheddar, Red Leicester)
25g grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Crush 1 clove of garlic, add it to the milk and cream in a heavy saucepan along with the thyme and nutmeg.
  2. Simmer for 15 minutes and strain.
  3. Slice the potatoes to coin thickness, and parboil.
  4. Slice the mushrooms, slice the onions thinly, finely chop 1 garlic clove.
  5. Fry the onions & mushrooms in butter and olive oil until soft but not browned. Then add the garlic and fry a little longer.
  6. Grease a gratin dish with butter.
  7. Add a layer of potatoes.
  8. Add 1/3 of the mushroom mix.
  9. Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese.
  10. Sprinkle 1 chopped anchovy if using.
  11. Sprinkle with butter (1/3 25g).
  12. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  13. Finish with a layer of potatoes.
  14. Sprinkle the remaining cheese, Parmesan and 25g butter.
    Pour over the milk.
  15. Bake in the oven @ 180 for 30 minutes, then turn the oven up to full for 15 minutes.
© DAVEggie