Its only right to end the January Kitchenalia blog posts with spice jars.
I saved up for these stackable Tower Spice Jars when I got my first job after graduating. I have had many other jobs before. Jobs before going to University, jobs during University, but none of them fairly paid until I acquired my University degree. Ah those were the days, when I had some disposable income, now the University degree seems ...well not worth being considered as employers want additional qualifications.
Back to these stackable acrylic spice Jar Tower. They came in six. I purchased 8 sets all together. The spice containers hold up 100g. They came with labels that were pretty useless as you can't see to read them properly. Click on image and you'll see what I mean, so in some cases I've hand written the labels myself. Oh I should point out that you can't get a teaspoon into them, but that okay as they come with sprinkler lids.
As well as these everyday spice jars, I do also have larger glass jars, kilner jars such as these that hold masses of spices. and stay out of direct sunlight. The ones above grace my kitchen. You may recognise from seeing them in my video of my tiny kitchen early this month.
I dry some of my own hardy herbs: sage, tarragon and thyme. The one that does not work so well is rosemary. I do prefer to use fresh rosemary, but sometimes I bring it up for Rosemary and Chilli Popcorn and it dries naturally in the warmth of the kitchen, so I reserve it in one of these jars - but when I come to use it - its disappointing - dry and flavourless like twig. Sadly I won't be taking my rosemary herb plant with me, or any other herb plant with me when we move to Wales. I am a little disappointed about that, especially having watch them grow and thrive. The only plant that D will bring back on his return will be the Blueberry plant that has begun to flourish in the past two years. There is no way I am leaving that.
Talking of spices, I've made a 'Garam Masala Infused Black Bean and Roasted Butternut Squash' for tonight. This is an attempt to use up ingredients in the cupboards. No photograph to share, but here is the recipe. Its a bit like a Vegetarian Chilli but with South Asian spices. And don't laugh, upon serving it I decided it needed a little green, well having no fresh coriander or parsley in the fridge, I decided to finely mince up some lettuce leaves. I think it did the visual trick if nothing else.
Garam Masala Infused Black Beans and Roasted Butternut Squash
Serves 4 -6 with plain Basmati rice
200g dried black beans, soaked and drained
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite size cubes
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 - 1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 pint water or vegetable stock
1 x 400g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place the beans in plenty of water to cover in a saucepan and cook over low heat for about 45 minutes to1 hour until tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, place the squash on a baking tray with a teaspoon of olive oil and roast in oven at gas mark 6 for 20 – 25 minutes until tender. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the onion and garlic. Saute for about 10minutes or until tender. Add the spices and allow to infuse with the onions, then stir in the tomato paste along with the water or stock if using and season to taste. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes on medium low heat for the flavours to infuse, then stir in the black beans, chickpeas and squash and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally