If you are a spice lover, Sunday 16th January 2022 is your day.
Spices have been consumed for over 6,000 years with many being celebrated for their medicinal properties, well before culinary use. This day plays an essential role in highlighting the natural healing abilities and treatment plans for diseases, infections, and disorders. This is attributed to the antimicrobial properties of the plants they derive from.
Capsaicin, the spice factor in Chilli peppers is particularly beneficial. It helps inhibit the brain signals which are associated with inflammatory processes, reducing the number of pain signals sent to your brain. Therefore, you don’t register as much discomfort caused by sensory nerve fibre disorders like Arthritis or Psoriasis. Did you also know that Chillis contain up to seven times the amount of vitamin C of an orange? Another advantage which hot spices have are that it aids weight loss and boosts metabolism!
This day also offers the perfect opportunity to contemplate how countries across the world including India and Mexico incorporate spices into their cuisine which often quicken the pulse and melt the sinuses. It’s actually really simple for any chef to add spices to their recipes. They can use simple condiments like mustard, Sriracha, Horseradish, Tabasco and many more.
To celebrate the day and experience different types of spicy food, let us inspire you with some delicious recipes. If you aren’t doing Dry Jan, you could try a Bloody Mary?
- Ground beef (2oz)
- Kidney beans (2 cans drained)
- Pinto beans (2 cans drained)
- Diced tomatoes with mild green chiles (2 cans)
- Diced tomatoes with onions (2 cans)
- Onion (1 x chopped)
- Chili Powder (1/4 cup)
- Pickled jalapeno slices (1/4 cup)
- Ground cumin (2 teaspoons)
- Garlic cloves (2 x minced)
- Dried basil (1 teaspoon)
- Cayenne pepper (3/4 teaspoon)
In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink, 6-8 minutes; crumble beef; drain. Transfer to a slow cooker.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours. If you wish to, top individual servings with sour cream and chopped spring onions when serving!
Spicy Cajun Chicken Quinoa
- Chicken breasts, skinless and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Cajun seasoning (1 tbsp)
- Quinoa (100g)
- Hot chicken stock (600ml)
- Dried apricots (100g)
- ½ x 250g pouch ready-to-use Puy lentils
- Olive oil (1 tbsp)
- Red onions (2 x cut into thin wedges)
- Spring onions (1 bunch chopped)
- Coriander (1 bunch chopped)
Start by heating the oven to 180C fan. Toss the chicken with the Cajun spice and arrange in a single layer in a roasting tin. Cook for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the quinoa in the chicken stock for 15 mins until tender, adding the apricots and lentils for the final 5 mins. While the quinoa is cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan and soften the onions for 10-15 mins. Toss the onions into the quinoa with the coriander and some seasoning, then mix well.
After draining the quinoa, place into a large bowl with the chicken and toss it together. Enjoy!
Spicy Veggie Pasta Bake
- Spiral pasta (3 cups)
- 1 medium yellow summer squash
- Zucchini (1 small)
- Sweet red pepper (1 medium)
- Green pepper (1 medium)
- Olive oil (1 tablespoon)
- Red onion (1 x halved and sliced
- Fresh mushrooms (1 cup sliced)
- Salt (1/2 teaspoon)
- Pepper (1/4 teaspoon)
- Crushed red pepper flakes (1/4 teaspoon)
- Spicy marinara sauce (1 jar)
- Mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375°. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente; drain.
Cut squashes and peppers into strips. In an ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, mushrooms and vegetables; cook and stir until crisp-tender, 5-7 minutes. Stir in seasonings. Add marinara sauce and pasta; toss to combine. Top with cheese.
Transfer to oven; bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted for 10-15 minutes! Enjoy
Bloody Mary (for 2 people)
- Ice (a handful)
- 100ml vodka (optional)
- 500ml tomato juice
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Worcestershire sauce
- Celery salt
- black pepper
- 2 celery sticks, to serve
Place the ice in a large jug. Measure the vodka, tomato juice and lemon juice and pour it straight onto the ice.
Add 3 shakes of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco (or more if you like it extra spicy) and a pinch of celery salt and pepper. Stir until the outside of the jug feels cold, then strain the cocktail into 2 glasses.
You can choose to top up with fresh ice, add a celery stick, lemon slice, olives or even chillis to both glasses and enjoy!