I’m starting to notice a trend here on the blog. Once I’ve finished recipe testing, styling and shooting, my mind goes like this: ”That was quick! Now I can probably post that recipe on the blog tonight already!”. And then, after dinner,
I put on some music (usually a film score), light a candle, sit down at my kitchen table and start going through the photos. Choosing and editing. And editing. And editing. And choosing. And editing some more. I completely loose myself for hours and hours in the photos alone, haven’t even started writing down the recipe yet, let alone writing a blog post about it.
I easily spend one entire evening editing and another solely dedicaded to combining photos for collages and choosing display order. And a third for writing. All you food bloggers out there, how are you managing to update your blogs so often?! What secrets have I yet to discover about food blogging efficiency? How does it look like for you?
About that photography-post I wrote about in an earlier post – I’m working on it! But as I said creating a blog post takes forever for me. I hope that those of you who are interested in that post are patient enough : )
Side note: when shooting the black bowl/blue cloth photos above I had the worst light conditions and had to use like ISO 2000 to catch anything at all. I really wanted to capture the fumes from the steaming hot pot, which proved to be next to impossible with a hand held camera, and man was I angry about that! My apartment was crazy hot from the steams, but I had to keep all windows close in order to snap a pic of the slowly rising and beautiful smoke, so I was sweating as hell and running around like a madwoman shooting from all possible angles to hopefully end up with something usable : D Later I discovered I accidently captured an interesting shadow on the wall (top photo) which created the most amazing cinematic effect in the photo, and I quickly forgot about the misfortune with the streaming pictures : )
Anyway, where I meant to arrive to with this anecdote was that next week I will be participating in a ”shooting in poor lighting”-themed food styling & photography workshop hosted by the amazing Dagmar’s Kitchen! Hopefully I’ll learn some tips and tricks then… So excited! I think I’ll save the photography-post ’til after the workshop. That way I can also write a note or two about all the new stuff I’ve learnt!
Now to the food! This is a recipe I’ve been meaning to share with you for a long time! I’ve made it five, no six, times the past month, after me and a friend of mine improvised this one up on a lazy friday evening. The original idea was to create a vegetarian lchf dish for my friend who follows an lchf diet, so it needed to be very filling in order to work on its own without any kind of rice/quinoa/millet and such. It is thicker than a soup, more like a stew. I know some of the ingredients are not really included in lchf, but it worked for her purposes : ) And wow did it blew our pants off! (not sure that’s an actual expression in English…) This hot pot is amazingly rich and full of autumnal flavors such as cardamom, ginger and cumin, with a subtle top note of spicy cayenne pepper and fennel. Raisins and sweet potato chunks gives it a gooey sweetness and the cashews and coconut milk creates a lovely creamy consistency. To balance the sweetness I added salty halloumi cheese as a kind of replacement for the Indian paneer. A dash of apple cider vinegar and heaps of tangy flat-leaf parsley on top aand perfection <3.
You can create your own garam masala spice mix out of cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cloves, black pepper and coriander (sometimes also nutmeg), but for simplicity’s sake I’ve used a store bought one for this recipe. I’ve tried both and either way is delicious! I just wanted to avoid the ridiculously long list of ingredients… However, I have altered the spice mix adding more of some of spices, which you will see in the recipe.
A seasonal tip is to use pumpkin instead of sweet potato! I didn’t, cause the blogosphere is already overflowing with pumpkin recipes, and besides I already have a butternut squash recipe planned : ) During late summer I made this recipe with fresh tomatoes, but now that we enter into a colder season I use canned cherry tomatoes instead to avoid the tasteless imported kind. You of course do as you please.
For a vegan version, simply skip halloumi or replace with tamari marinated and stir-fried tofu chunks : )
Garam Masala Hot Pot with Sweet Potato & Halloumi Cheese
2 medium sized sweet potatoes
400 ml canned cherry tomatoes (or 3 fresh tomatoes)
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp tomato purée
200 ml coconut milk
1 dl cashews, soaked
ca 1 tbsp agave syrup (or honey, slightly more), depending on the sweetness of the tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp garam masala spice mix
1 tsp cinnamon
1 heaping tsp cardamom
couple of pinches cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried ginger powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 dl / 1/5 cup raisins
dash of apple cider vinegar
black pepper & sea or mountain salt to taste
ca 2-3 tbsp olive oil/coconut oil for the pan
ca 2-2,5 dl /around 1 cup water
200 g halloumi cheese, stir-fried
top with flat leaf parsley & toasted nuts
Prepare by soaking raw cashewnuts in water for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
Peel and cut sweet potato into one inch chunks. Put in a pot and cover with water. Add a bit of salt and bring to boiling. Lower heat and let simmer for about 4 minutes. They should be soft but firm, slightly undercooked.
Carefully heat garlic, oil and dried spices (except turmeric, or your blender will be permanently yellow from here on) in a large sauce pan or casserole. Careful not to burn it. Add more oil if necessary. Cook on low heat for a minute or two while stirring, until fragrant. Dice zucchini into one inch chuncks and add to the sauce pan, along with tomato puré. Cook on medium heat for a minute, allowing the spices to soak into the zucchini. Add canned tomatoes and agave syrup, and let simmer for an additional minute or two.
Now transfer half of the stew to a bowl and set aside. Rinse the soaked nuts thoroughly and discard soaking water. Add nuts to the remaining mixture in the sauce pan, and use a hand-held mixer to mix until you have a coarse grained purée.
Add back the stew you set aside before. This way you have both a smooth, creamy sauce and chunky veggies! Add the turmeric, water, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, raisins and sweet potato. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The halloumi is very salty, so don’t over-salt the stew. Add more cayenne pepper if you like it hotter, and more agave if sweeter. If using crushed cardamom seeds, go easy on ’em cause they taste a lot more intense.
Remember it takes a while before the flavors develop, so be patient, let it simmer, taste and season according to your preferences. I’ve tried to be ac exact as possible with the measurements for spices, but not everyone likes as much cardamom as I do, for example : )
When you’re satisfied with the spices, cut the heat and set aside. Dice halloumi cheese and stir-fry in a bit of oil until colored. Transfer to the stew, but save some for garnish. Garnish with a generous bunch of parsley, toasted seeds and grilled halloumi chunks. I like to prepare a batch of stew on sunday evenings and then have three lunches ready for the week. Served with quinoa or millet they make an even more filling meal, and lasts longer (before you eat it all, that is). This dish is even better when reheated the day after!
All photographs, recipes and content are Cashew Kitchen originals, unless otherwise indicated. Please link back to me when sharing.3