African Pepper Mix

This is the spice mix I use in my tomato and cashew South African curry (recipe to follow soon!). I found this recipe online but I wanted a much more peppery version so I changed it quite radically to create this mix.

The grains of paradise and voatsiperifery pepper can be replaced with black pepper if you don’t have them but they add a complex aromatic woody note that helps make the recipe distinctive and delicious!


  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp grains of paradise
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp voatsiperifery pepper
  • 1 clove
  • 1cm2 cinnamon bark
  • 8 smoked birds eye chillies


Combine all ingredients and grind to a powder. You can use a pestle and mortar, or a spice grinder.

We have an electric spice grinder which is much easier than grinding manually and results in a fine even powder that’s easy to use.


Vegetable Jalfrezi

Vegetable Jalfrezi

Vegetable Jalfrezi – served here with a second curry made of lentils and spinach with fenugreek.

It didn’t seem to matter what I added to my curry, it never seemed to come out quite like the restaurants. So in desperation one day, I tried a new approach to really maximise the flavours, and it worked!

This recipe captures the tangy flavours of curry house jalfrezi. It’s so tasty… but beware it is laced with raw chillies!  The trick is adding lots of the flavoursome ingredients right near the end of cooking…

Serves 4 if accompanied with rice and/or breads.

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How to make extra tasty spiced dal

Extra tasty spiced dal

The secret to making a good dal is to make a temper and the secret to a really good dal is to make a really good temper!

Tempering a dal is the act of adding the cooked dal to a pan containing a mixture of fried vegetables and spices and heating it through before serving. This imbues the rich flavours into the dal in a way that can never be achieved though cooking the dal with the spices from the start.

This recipe is really quick and simple to make and can be done with red lentils just as easily as with the moong dal used here. I can personally guarantee that it is exceedingly delicious!

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