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Caldwell’s Slow Cooked Gluten-Free & Vegan Sandgate Chili Sauce

July 30, 2014

I made this for Christmas presents last year. It proved quite popular so I thought I’d post the recipe. It is a chili sauce made with deseeded scotch bonnet peppers and Jack Daniels. You can leave the JD out but it adds a nice smoky depth.

Makes about 600ml.

chili sauce 1


6 scotch bonnet chillies, deseeded and chopped (wear gloves to chop these!)
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp sea salt
100ml vinegar
500ml water
200ml Jack Daniels


Gently fry the onion and garlic until soft and transparent. Then add the chillies and fry until they are also soft. Add the Jack Daniels and simmer until the JD is mostly reduced. Add the water and bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 60 minutes. Take off the heat, allow to cool for 10 minutes, add the vinegar and blend until smooth. Put back on the heat and bring to boil once more. Turn off and you’re done.

Savoury Popcorn

June 27, 2013

Popcorn is versatile, good for you and easy and fun to make. Try any of these spice mixes or make your own up depending on what you’ve got in the cupboard.

30g of kernels makes enough for a medium-sized bowl for 1 person. For more, increase the spices and oil proportionately but remember that popcorn expands a lot, so you may need to make it in small batches.

Also, don’t expect all the kernels to pop. A small amount of unpopped kernels is normal.

30g popcorn kernels
1 tsp oil (extra virgin olive oil works well)

plus either…

Chili Ginger
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Chili Basil
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mexican chili
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt

Garlic and Onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt

Place the popcorn kernels into a microwave-safe bowl. Mix the spices into the kernels and pour over the oil. Mix well until all the kernels are covered with oil and spices. Cover with a microwave-safe plate and place in the microwave.

Microwave on 100% until the kernels are popping infrequently. This takes about 4 or 5 minutes with my microwave but will change depending upon the power of your microwave and the materials your bowl and plate are made from. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.

Jaydee Gravy

June 26, 2013

This is a strongly flavoured sauce. Good for barbecues and for flavouring plain tofu.

1/2 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped or crushed

1 tsp sea salt
a few twists of fresh black pepper
1/4 tsp black onion seeds (optional for a nice onion flavour)
1/8 tsp smoked paprika (this stuff is strong — less is more!)
1/2 tsp mixed herbs or other dried herbs of your choice (thyme works well)
1/4 tsp mustard flour
1 tbsp rice flour

250ml water or stock
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (or your preference)
2 tsp tamari sauce
1 tsp tomato purée
1 or 2 shots of Jack Daniels depending on preference
2 or 3 shakes of Tabasco sauce if you like a bit if a chilli kick

Gently fry the onion, garlic and onion seeds until soft. Add the JD and cook for a couple of minutes stirring frequently. This burns off the alcohol and intensifies the flavours as it reduces. Add the water or stock and the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil stirring constantly and de-glazing aggressively as you go. Simmer gently for 5 or 6 minutes. If you want it to be thicker, simmer and reduce for longer. It also thickens a little more as it cools. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Jack Daniels

June 26, 2013

According to various sources on the Interwebz, good old JD is vegan and wheat-free. I can verify that it had no negative effects on my well-being during a Saturday night trial.

Chocolate and date fridge cake

May 6, 2013

Smooth and dark, this easy to make fridge cake contrasts bitter and sweet.

200g dairy-free dark chocolate (the darker the better, like Lindt with 90% cocoa solids)
100g creamed coconut (the solid kind)
150g chopped dates
2tsp honey
Cocoa powder to dust

Place a heat-proof bowl in a pan of hot water on a low heat. Melt the chocolate and creamed coconut in the bowl very gently. When melted, remove from heat and stir in the dates and honey. Pour into a container (about 8″ x 6″ should do) and allow to cool. Depending on the container, you may need to line it with greaseproof paper first. When the mixture is at room temperature, cover and place into the fridge until set. Loosen the cake from the container using a spatula around the edges and turn out. Finally, use the cocoa to dust the top of the cake or slice into cubes and roll in the cocoa.

While the mixture is still melting in the bowl, mix in 1tsp orange essence and the zest of an orange. A pinch of cayenne pepper should also go nicely with this.

Soya mince burgers

February 20, 2013

These soya burgers have a lovely smokey flavour thanks to the paprika and sesame oil. Great for sarnies or with veg and gravy. Taste better than most veggie burgers bought from a supermarket and much cheaper than most of them too. Also, they’re really easy to make. Try pairing with my chili sauce or serve with veg and extra special gravy.

They can take a little trial and error to get the consistency right. You’re aiming for a firm, not too sticky mixture after adding the rice flour, that way they won’t fall apart.

After the mixture has soaked in the fridge, instead of adding the flour and making burgers, you can use the mince mixture in chili, bolognese, etc. If this is your goal, try adding oregano or thyme instead of mixed herbs or coriander.

about 100g dried soya mince
cold water to cover the mince (about 100ml)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp tamari sauce
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
1/2 inch ginger finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp dried mixed herbs or a small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp oil, preferably extra virgin olive, rape seed or hemp seed oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil (if available)

1/2 mild chili, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp onion seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (optional)

about 50g rice flour (or enough to bind the soya mince mixture nicely)

1 tbsp olive oil for frying

Combine well all of the ingredients — apart from the rice flour and 1 tbsp olive oil saved for frying — in a mixing bowl. You then want to add just enough water to cover the mince (not sure how much as I always guess). Leave the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. The mince should have absorbed most of the liquid by this time.

Combine enough rice flour with the mixture so that when a golf ball size amount is pressed into the palm of your hand, it keeps its shape and doesn’t crumble apart. This can be tricky, so use the Force.

When you’re happy with the consistency of the mixture, heat a frying pan over a medium flame and add about the oil, coating the pan evenly. After the oil has heated up, mould about a golf ball size of mixture into a burger shape and carefully place into the frying pan to cook through. I find I need to cook them for about 5 minutes per side. The burgers should hold together nicely when flipped or removed from the pan.

Serve with my slow cooked chili sauce or veg and JayDee gravy.

Tarka dahl

February 20, 2013

As a main with rice or as a side dish, tarka dahl is a delicious favourite.

about 1/2 litre of water — more if the mixture gets too thick
about 200g red lentils, rinsed
about 100g chickpeas, cooked
1 mild chili, finely chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 fresh tomato, chopped (optional)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp salt (sea salt for preference)
juice 1/2 lemon

for the tarka spices
1 tbsp peanut or sunflower oil
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 dozen curry leaves

Add all of the ingredients except for the tarka spices and lemon juice to a pan and bring to the boil. Turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for about 25 minutes. The lentils should be mostly disintegrated creating a thick soup-like consistency. Increase cooking time if necessary until the texture is right. Then add the lemon juice, stir and check for seasoning.

In another pan, heat the oil very hot. Carefully add all the tarka spices including the garlic and stir gently and continuously. When the mustard seeds start to pop (about 30 seconds), remove from the heat and pour the spices and oil over the dahl mixture (be careful in case the oil spits). Give the dahl a quick stir to swirl the oil in. Serve garnished with fresh, chopped coriander if available.

Lentil dahl (oil-free)

February 20, 2013

I made this recipe because I’m often too lazy to make tarka dahl which involves frying spices, garlic and curry leaves and adding it all, including the oil, to the dahl mixture at the end. And sometimes I just fancy something lower in fat content, so I make this instead.

The key ingredients are the lentils, chili, turmeric, lemon juice which taste fantastic together, seasoned with a little salt. In my opinion, everything else is optional and a matter of personal taste. The ginger and garlic can add depth to the dish and the cumin and coriander are a lovely combination but often I leave them out and keep things simple.

about 1/2 litre of water — more if the mixture gets too thick
about 200g red lentils, rinsed
about 100g chickpeas, cooked
1 mild chili, finely chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 fresh tomato, chopped (optional)

1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin (optional)
1/2 tsp ground coriander (optional)
1/2 tsp salt (sea salt for preference)

juice 1/2 lemon

Add all of the ingredients except for the lemon juice to a pan and bring to the boil. Turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. The lentils should be mostly disintegrated creating a thick soup-like consistency. Add the lemon juice, stir, check for salt and serve. Garnish with fresh coriander if available.

Tomato-free bolognese sauce

June 1, 2012

Like bolognese but can’t eat tomatoes? Try this sauce. I made it when I ran out of tomatoes and was quite pleased with the results. The red wine, lemon juice and tamari sauce combine with the stock giving it a rich flavour with a mild citrus bite and the gently-cooked onion and garlic lend it a subtle sweetness. Combined with veg and some kind of mince, you won’t miss the lack of tomato.

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
about 75ml red wine
about 300ml stock
1 tbsp tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp rice flour (or alternative to thicken)
1/2 red pepper
about 200g of mixed veg such as peas/sweetcorn/spinach/etc
handful of Quorn or pre-soaked soya mince
sprinkle of onion seeds (not essential but nice a very addition)
salt and pepper to taste
handful chopped basil

Gently fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the wine and simmer for a minute or two. Add the onion seeds (if using), stock, tamari sauce, lemon juice and rice flour. Bring back to a boil, stirring frequently. The sauce should have thickened a little. Add the red pepper, veg and mince and bring back to boil again. Reduce heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes. The sauce should be fairly thick and the veg nicely cooked at this point. If not, increase the cooking time. Finally, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper.

Indian-style garlic and coconut chutney

March 25, 2011

A delicious sugar-free and vinegar-free spicy chutney.

3 cloves garlic
One mild green chili, deseeded
1 medium bunch coriander
2 mint leaves
50g creamed coconut
juice of 1/2 lime
approx 150-200ml sunflower oil
1 tsp salt

Chuck all ingredients into a blender and process until well incorporated and texture is medium-smooth. It should have the consistency of a sauce. Taste and adjust.