Stevie Parle and Emma Grazette’s Spice Trip


Yippee, another book from Stevie Parle, one of the New Young Voices in food who is now really going into orbit – a couple of years ago I wrote about Stevie’s first book, Real Food from Near and Far and restaurant Dock Kitchen in Ladbroke Grove in West London. Stevie has achieved huge critical acclaim for his creative yet unpretentious and exceptionally delicious food cooking. He was chosen as Observer Young chef of the year in 2010 and writes a weekly column for the Daily Telegraph.

In just over two years, Stevie has written three books. In his latest book – Spice Trip The Simple Way to Make Food Exciting – he has linked up with Emma Grazette to document their incredible journey to all corners of the world to discover the secrets of six essential everyday spices.  For nutmeg and mace they went all the way toGrenada, next it was cloves inZanzibar, cumin inTurkey, cinnamon inIndia, beautiful black pepper inCambodiaand for chillies where else butMexico. As well as exploring the culinary uses of each spice, Emma also reveals their therapeutic value through the secrets she discovered from the remarkable people she met on her journey. The photographs are just gorgeous, rich, and evocative and enough to truly whet your appetite and spike the curiosity of even the most determined meat and two veg fan.

This book accompanies Stevie and Emma’s first TV series Spice Trip on More 4 on November 25th 2012.


Stevie Parle’s Swiss Chard with Cinnamon, Pine Nuts, Raisins and Vinegar


This is a great side dish, particularly with simply roasted chicken. Don’t worry if you can only find Swiss chard with fine stalks or no stalks at all, as it’s just as good. You can use spinach instead of chard.

1kg (2 ¼ lb) Swiss or rainbow chard, leaves stripped from stalk and stalk cut into1cm (1/4 in strips)

25g (1oz) butter

olive oil for frying

1 shallot, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

50g (2oz) pine nuts

6cm (2 ½ inch) cinnamon stick

a pinch of saffron threads soaked in boiling water

50g raisins, soaked in 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Blanch the chard leaves until soft, about 1 minute, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and lay them out on kitchen paper to drain and cool. In the same pan, boil the stalks until soft, about 10 minutes, then drain.

In a heavy based pan melt the butter with a splash of olive oil and gently fry the shallot with a pinch of salt over a low heat until soft and sweet, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, pine nuts and the cinnamon stick and continue to fry, stirring occasionally for five minutes, add the saffron water and raisins for the final minute.

Roughly chop the chard leaves and add to the pan, along with the stalks, Give it a good mix, season well and serve.


Musa’s Cumin Köfte with Melon and Tomato Salad


Serves 4 – 6


Köfte are Turkish meatballs, Musa Dugdeviren at the Ciya restaurant in Instanbul taught me how to make his köfte. He always cuts the meat by hand (I used the biggest knife I’ve ever seen, though he wasn’t too impressed with my knife skills) Of course you can use minced meat, as I’ve done here – you won’t quite get the crumbly texture of Musa’s köfte  but they will still taste great. It’s important to get enough fat in the mixture – as when making sausages or burgers – to keep the patties moist and tasty. I always use the beef fat as it’s not as greasy as lamb fat. I like to serve these with melon, tomato, chilli and feta salad.


For the Köfte


1 small red onion finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

a handful of parsley leaves finely chopped

a pinch of ground cinnamon

a pinch of ground allspice

a pinch of chilli flakes

1 tablespoon of ground cumin

250g (9oz) lamb mince

olive oil for frying

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the Salad

1kg (2 ¼ lb) watermelon or other small melon, such as cantaloupe or galia cut into large chunks

2 tomatoes cut into large chunks

100g (3 ½ oz) feta

A handful of mint leaves

1 chilli finely chopped

olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place all the köfte ingredients, except for the oil in a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Mix everything with your hands until the mixture is just combined but try not to over mix. With slightly wet hands, shape the meat into patties about 4cm (1 ½ inch) in diameter and press a finger in the middle of each patty to make an indentation.

To make the salad place the melon and tomatoes in a bowl and season. Break up the feta, tear in the mint, and sprinkle in the chilli. Drizzle generously with oil and squeeze the lemon juice over the salad. Toss very gently for a few seconds and then leave to sit while you cook the köfte.

Heat up a large pan with a good glug of oil. When the oil is hot, fry the köfte for 2 minutes on each side until golden and just cooked through. Serve with the salad.


Stevie Parle’s Cauliflower and Potato Curry


Serves 3


This is a brilliant dish to know as it’s incredibly cheap and immensely satisfying. It’s one I like to teach to people going off to ‘uni’ as it’s a great healthy staple. It also makes a terrific side dish for grilled meat or fish.

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm (3/4 in) cubes

olive oil for frying

1 red onion, sliced

2 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 x 5cm (2 inch) piece ginger peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon chilli powder

1 cauliflower, broken into large florets and leaves roughly chopped

A small bunch of coriander, leaves picked

3 tablespoons Greek Style yoghurt

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the potatoes to the boil in a pan of salted water and cook until tender. Drain and leave to cool.

Heat a little oil in a large, heavy based pan (with a lid) and gently fry the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the cumin seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the ginger, ground coriander, turmeric and chilli, Stir for 1 minutes, adding a little extra oil if it begins to stick.

Add the cauliflower, followed by 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) water and good pinch of salt. Place the lid on the pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is just done. Stir in the potatoes and coriander and finish by swirling in the yoghurt. Taste for seasoning and serve.


Stevie Parle’s Turkish Pizza


Makes 4


These are called lahmacun in Turkey and they’re one of my favourite snacks. This is a classic version, but there are loads of different ones so experiment as you like. The dough keeps in the fridge overnight but needs an hour to wake up before you roll it.


For the Dough

350ml (12fl oz) lukewarm water around 37ºC

1 tablespoon dried yeast

a pinch of sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

500g (1 ¼ lb) strong white bread flour (or 00 pasta flour) plus extra for dusting

½ teaspoon table salt


For the Topping

300g (11oz) lamb mince

1 red onion, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

1 green chilli, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon ground coriander

A pinch of Turkish chilli flakes or 1 red chilli, finely chopped optional

1 teaspoon sumac (optional)

a squeeze of lemon juice

sea salt


To Serve

A large handful of parsley leaves

A large handful of mint leaves

In a bowl mix the warm water with the yeast, sugar and oil. Leave for about 10 minutes to froth up. Leave for about 10 minutes to froth up. Meanwhile mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the liquid, then stir, gradually incorporating all of the liquid to make a sticky dough.

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead until it is transformed into a glossy, stretchy dough. Return to the bowl, cover tightly with cligfilm and leave somewhere warm for about an hour. Once risen, turn out again and knead for a few more minutes.

Preheat the oven to its hottest setting 230 – 300ºC/450-450-474ºF/gas 8 – 9 and put a pizza stone or heavy roasting tray in to get really hot.

On a large board, chop together the lamb, onion, tomato, green chilli, garlic, cumin and coriander to make a smooth much. Season well.

On a well-floured surface, roll your dough into 4 large rounds, about ½ cm (1/4 inch) thick. Spread the lamb mix thinly on top of the dough. Remove the hot baking tray from the oven and very carefully transfer the lahmacuns onto it (you might find a tart tine base or something flat useful for this) Bake for about 5 minutes, until bubbly and slightly brown at the edges. Sprinkle with the chilli flakes and sumac if you want to. Add a squeeze of lemon and roll up with the parsley and mint leaves to eat.


Stevie Parle’s Cumin and Coriander Chicken Livers


Serves 4 – 6


This is quite a wet dish, so it’s best to serve it in a bowl, preferably with flatbread. The sauce is a green masala (hara masala) which you can add to lots of things from clams to fish to roast chicken.


2 bunches of coriander

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 x 5cm (2in) piece ginger

1 green chilli

a handful of cumin seeds, toasted and ground

juice of 1 lime, plus a squeeze for serving

olive oil

400g (14oz) chicken livers trimmed

2 tablespoons natural yoghurt

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


To Serve


In a food processor, blend the coriander, ginger, chilli, spices and lime juice with a glug of oil until you have a wet green paste. Season to taste. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the chicken livers.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a large, heavy based pan. When hot add the livers and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, turning once. Take off the heat, stir in the yoghurt and serve in bowls. Add an extra squeeze of lime to taste. Serve with a pile of flatbread.




Tracton Community and Arts Centre Christmas Fair will take place on Sunday, 25th November from 10.30am to 5.30pm and will launch the first community bread and pizza oven in Ireland. Delicious woodfired pizza will be served along with local artisan food producers – Gidi Gur’s election of organic pitas and vegetarian food Tel. 087-2255608 Chloe’s Chocolates – Homemade chocolate truffles and chocolate biscuit cakes, Tel. 086-660 7105 East of Boston Foods (Barbara O’Mahony) – dessert sauces, relishes and honey, Tel. 021 477 0740 Ovenbuilder Hendrik Lepel ( in conjunction with Pompeii Pizza (087-7572615)- Delicious pizza from the new wood-fired oven. Finders Inn Gourmet Foods  (Aaron Mc Donnell) – A range of bread, soups and pates Tel. 087 2787070. For more information about the Christmas Fair, please contact: 086-0711910.


Look out for Wilkie Chocolates– Shana Wilkie is the only Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker in Ireland, she produces small hand tempered batches of premium organic chocolate made from cocoa beans sourced from the Amazon region in Peru. Her 75% Amazonian Organic Dark Chocolate won Best Organic Confectionary at Bord Bia National Organic Awards in September –

About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen


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