I have always been a fan of spicy food however have always been scared to use spices in my own cooking, often put off by the huge variety of old, unlabled bottles cluttering up my kitchen cupboards and not knowing how much I should use or which combinations work and which don't. Luckily, John Gregory-Smith's new cookbook the Mighty Spice has answered all my questions and inspired me to start using spices in my everyday cooking.
To say John is passionate about spices would be an understatement. He has spent the last 10 years travelling around the world to learn all there is to know about them and is now on a mission to get everyone cooking with them. The Mighty Spice cookbook includes over 100 delicious recipes that aim to show that spices do not have to be overbearing but used correctly are delicate, fresh, fragrant and versatile. Each recipe uses no more than 5 spices that are all easily available from the local supermarket and you will be surprised what a difference they will make to even the simplest of dishes. What’s more, the book aims to show spices are not only economical they are also naturally healthy and a far better alternative to the salt and fat that we are accustomed to adding to our cooking. As well as the many meat and fish dishes the book also has a whole range of soups, salads, rice, noodle and vegetarian dishes as well as the mouth watering deserts and drinks chapter.
It was difficult to know where to start but the first dish I attempted was the Kadahi Chicken, a fresh, healthy curry which uses cumin seeds, chilli, ginger, garam masala and tumeric to its base of tomatoes, onion and green peppers. I was so impressed by how easy and quick the recipe was and luckily my willing volunteers were equally impressed with the turnout. Other dishes that have all been met with positive reviews and empty plates are the Stir-Fried Squid with Chilli and Coriander, Szechuan noodles with Lamb and Coriander and the Lemongrass and Ginger Rum cocktail.
I highly recommend the Mighty Spice cookbook especially the way John has managed to put together a book that is full of exciting recipes for skilled cooks as well as keeping it simple enough for spice novices like me who want to learn how to use spices correctly (and impress their friends). Mighty Spice is available to buy from Amazon and book stores nationwide.