I’ve come across a great little cookbook called Sweet Chilli Friday. The debut came from six working mums in London, it was an instant sell-out when launched this summer (but now reprinted). It features vegetarian recipes from all over the world and was the brainchild of six friends who meet once a month at each other’s houses for their cooking club: Peppercorn Passion. The club is a fun way for them to share and taste recipes and enjoy each other’s company.
By using mainly store cupboard ingredients, and bearing in mind the recipes are from working women with families without hours to spend in the kitchen, the result is a great selection of really tasty and unusual dishes.
I thought these recipes would be fun– the Fruit & Nut Camembert would be fabulous for a shared starter or as a spectacular centrepiece for a party. The Cashew Nut Curry with Halloumi & Broccoli will make a delicious family meal for any time.
The book is paperback, published by Meze Publishing and is available from Waterstone’s and many online sources. Each recipe has lovely photography and it’s excellent value at £15.
Baked Fruit & Nut Camembert Tower (serves 10-12 people)
2 X 250g Camembert
250g of apricot jam at room temperature
1 chopped green chilli
150g of roughly chopped roasted nuts
40g of sliced dried apricots
A thinly sliced stick of French bread (small stick cut into approx. 20 slices)
Olive oil for brushing bread
Preheat oven to 180C.
Place one Camembert on a baking sheet on a baking tray or a stone oven tray.
Spread generously with half the jam, chilli, chopped nuts and sliced dried apricots (optional).
Top with the other Camembert and repeat the above process.
Arrange sliced pieces of sliced bread around the stone baking tray and brush with some olive oil.
Then bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is soft and just begins to melt. Serve immediately with the toasted bread.
Cashew Nut Curry with Halloumi & Broccoli
Serves 4-5, Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 15 minutes 2 tablespoons butter or oil 250g halloumi, cubed 400g coconut milk 135g cashews 500g passata 60g Greek yoghurt 1 onion, diced 1-2 crushed chillies (optional) 3 cloves of garlic, minced 1 thumb-sized piece ginger, grated 3 teaspoons curry powder ½ teaspoon garam masala ½ teaspoon turmeric Salt to taste 1 head broccoli, cut into florets and cooked 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
Method To start, melt half the butter in a saucepan. Fry the halloumi in the butter until it is browned on all sides. Place the halloumi on a plate covered with paper towels to drain.
Secondly, blend the coconut milk and 115g of the cashew nuts in a food processor until smooth. Then, add the passata and the yoghurt and blend again, adding a little water if the mixture needs loosening.
Thirdly, melt the rest of the butter in a big pot before adding the onion, chillies, garlic, ginger and the rest of the cashew nuts. Cook for about 5 minutes, until all the ingredients have softened. Then add all the spices and the salt and cook for about a minute. When the mixture is fragrant, pour in the cashew nut mixture and bring to the boil. Then add the halloumi and broccoli to the sauce, and cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve hot with naan bread or rice, and a sprinkling of coriander.