Posts Tagged ‘spices’

Chocolate pudding is made more festive with the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Basic chocolate pudding has only a few ingredients, generally milk, cocoa powder, butter, flour, and sugar. Since there are only a few ingredients, its important to use good quality ones, since low quality or stale ingredients will greatly impact the flavour.

Since there are only a few ingredients, today I decided to add some different flavourings to make my basic chocolate pudding recipe a little more exciting, and festive.

Using nutmeg, cinnamon, and almond extract, I transformed a basic dessert into something a tiny bit more showy.

Time to Make: 30-45 minutes

Serves: 8


  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • approx 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • approx 1/4 tsp cinnamon

What to Do:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients (cocoa powder, sugar, and flour) in a saucepan.
  2. On low heat, slowly add the milk.
  3. Stir almost constantly on low heat – this is important. If you only stir it infrequently, or cook it on too high of a heat, your milk and sugar will both be burnt and it will not be pleasant.
  4. If you burn a bit on the bottom of the pan, take care not to scrape it off with the spoon as you stir. This will spread the burnt taste around and ruin your pudding.
  5. Gradually, the pudding will thicken. This should take 30-45 minutes, depending on the heat and any modifications you’ve made to the pudding. When its consistency changes from that of milk to that of melted ice cream, you know you are ready for the next step.
  6. Add the butter, almond extract, and spices. Continue stirring it until the butter has melted and is well combined.
  7. Remove from the heat, and pour into a dish. Choose a size that lets the pudding spread to a few centimetres (or a couple of  inches) deep, so that it sets faster. Refrigerate until the pudding sets.

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An incredibly fast and spicy main dish.

Let me introduce you to ‘Spicy Beef Pasta’.

I had a minor dilemma today, namely the leftover ground beef sitting in my fridge waiting to be used.

One of the biggest benefits of not relying on recipes, and instead cooking using your senses, is that you can improvise based on the ingredients you have on hand. Its easy to spend an inordinate amount of time searching for recipes which use your leftovers, but that isn’t necessary.

With this recipe, the main ingredients are quite basic, what really completes this recipe, as with most recipes, are the spices.

Time to Make: 20 minutes if you have leftover cooked ground beef, add another 10-15 minutes if you have to cook the meat.

Serves: 1, as written


  • about 50 g (2 oz) cooked ground beef
  • about 50 g (2oz) dry pasta – your favourite kind should do just fine; I used rotini
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • splash of soy sauce
  • splash of worcestershire sauce
  • spices: a pinch each of thyme, marjoram, sage, crushed red pepper, and garlic powder
  • about 1/8 tsp paprika

What to Do:

  1. Start by cooking the meat.
  2. While its cooking, boil your pasta of choice.
  3. Don’t cook the pasta fully, or it will end up mushy and overcooked. Drain it when its still a minute or two from al dente.
  4. Combine the pasta and cooked meat in the same pot you just cooked the pasta in. Over medium heat, add about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.
  5. Stir in a splash of soy sauce and a splash of worcestershire sauce. A ‘splash’ is a poorly defined quantity, I know, but exact measurements are too limiting. If you’re unsure how much to use, start with just a few drops of each, and then taste and adjust.
  6. Add your spices. I usually pour a tiny portion into the palm of my hand and sprinkle it into the cooking pot and adjust as necessary. I knew mine was done when it started smelling like ribs with barbecue sauce.


The beef could easily be replaced with other ground meats. If you use ground chicken or ground turkey, you may need more worcestershire sauce to add to the ‘meaty’ flavour, as well as a bit of oil to bring out the flavours. Pine nuts or slivered almonds would also complement this recipe, if you have some on hand. Raisins, likewise, would create an interesting dish. Feel free to use rice instead of pasta. Cooked spinach or green beans would also be interesting.

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A delicious mix of flavours, colours, textures, and temperatures.

Today’s creation is ‘Lentil Feta Salad’.

The salad is an experiment in contrast. The base is made up of spiced lentils and cooked vegetables, with the strong flavour of feta and the sweetness of Clementines sprinkled on top.

The measurements are approximate, and of course you are welcome to adjust the recipe to your own liking, and make substitutions based on what ingredients you have available. The feta could be replaced with parmesan, or another strong flavoured cheese, and the clementines could be replaced with tomatoes. Don’t like lentils? Use chickpeas or another kind of bean.

The following recipe is just a  guideline.

Time to Make: about 45 minutes

Serves: 1, as written, adjust to suit your needs


  • 1/4 cup dried lentils (I used brown)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup frozen broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables (corn, peas, carrots, lima beans, green beans, or some combination of similar)
  • 14 g (1/2 oz) feta cheese
  • a peeled clementine
  • assorted spices: parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander

What to Do:

  1. The first thing to do is cook the lentils. This only takes about 20 minutes but if you’re short on time, canned lentils will work just fine.
  2. Drain the lentils. Fill the pot with new, clean water, and bring it to a boil. Add the lentils, and cook the broccoli and the mixed vegetables in this water. This should only take a couple of minutes.
  3. Drain this pot as well. Use this pot to assemble the meal, minimizing the cleanup. Add the lentils and vegetables back in, plus the olive oil and some spices. I used a big pinch of dried parsley, and sprinkle of onion powder and garlic powder, plus a pinch of coriander.
  4. Stir this mixture with the stove on low heat for a minute or two, just to heat the oil and make sure the spices are nicely integrated.
  5. Pour the warm salad into a bowl.
  6. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese, and add clementine pieces around the edge of the bowl.
  7. Serve and enjoy! I suggest having some tea on the side, maybe with some sweet pickles.

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