How much spice can you handle? Do you walk on the mild side or is the heat on? I do like the heat but am certainly not one of those people who bite into a whole Scotch bonnet or habanero. I usually struggle to put just the right amount of bird’s eyes or poblanos in my dishes. I start off cautiously, de-seeding my peppers; tossing in just half of one. Then I worry that the end result will be bland and so add in the other half, and a few scraped out seeds. And – whoah! The fumes from the wok or skillet hit my eyes and nose and I know dinner will be of the airways cleansing variety.
If you score serious Scovilles on your chili experience scale feel free to adjust this week’s spice offerings. Monkfish, if you can get hold of a fillet without re-mortgaging the house, is well suited to hot seasoning. Spiced monkfish is a very quick and easy dish and you can mitigate the heat by serving it with plain rice. Likewise these spicy prawns – more or less chilies depending on how you like it.
A potato salad does not usually make you gasp for water – but this spicy bacon and potato salad is something else; gorgeous too. And for hot but meatless, a simple vegetarian chili takes about 20 minutes to prepare if you use tinned beans.
Kedgeree with prawns and smoked mackerel isn’t too hot (unless you make it so) but has some lovely flavours going. It’s an unfairly forgotten dish – with leftover rice it will take as little time to put together as this vegetable fried rice, for a vegetarian, and milder, option. And finally, sizzling beef might make you want to throw the caution to the wind and double the chili intake.
We can’t be without cake – spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in the autumnal fashion. This reminds me how I once put cayenne pepper instead of cinnamon in this brown apple cake. It wasn’t a good experience. We still tried to eat it, it's that lovely, but had to give in. Bake it this week (with cinnamon) – it’s one of the easiest cakes in the world. Happy beginning of November!
P.S. A handful of Halloween treats can be found on Halloween Fiend.