My dirty little secret…

You know that icky, ‘guilty’ feeling you get when you haven’t been 100% honest in a particular situation? Well, I’ve had it for a while now.

So I thought I’d start the new year by coming ‘clean’ because as my Mum taught me, honesty is always the best policy.

What’s this dirty little secret?

It all began a few years ago when I had just finished working on the first eCookbook version of ‘5 Ingredients 10 Minutes’, which is being published as a real print book soon! But I digress…

As I wrote at the time, I kept being amazed how delicious my food was when I used 5 ingredients. And surprisingly when I let more ingredients creep in, the results tended to be disappointing.

So I made a public pledge to only cook recipes with 5 ingredients.

What I didn’t realize at the time was the two limitations of this approach…

1. Constantly counting ingredients can be a pain.
Counting ingredients caused more hassles than if I was cooking without an ingredient limit. Rather than making life easier, I found myself stressing out when I was making a simple salad for lunch. Not ideal.

2. Most cookbook recipes have more than 5 ingredients.
Which meant I wouldn’t be able to follow other people’s recipes. As much as I adore coming up with my own creations, sometimes it’s nice to follow a recipe (with the added bonus of having someone to blame if it doesn’t taste great).

So over time, I stopped being so strict with myself.

If I was creating a recipe for Stonesoup, a new eCookbook or the Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School, I’d (mostly) stick to my self-imposed 5 ingredient limit. But when I was cooking for myself, I’d just let what happened happen.

When I wanted to follow a cookbook recipe, I’d follow it.

Which worked fine, except I’ve been feeling guilty about not sticking to my ‘pledge’. So I’m sorry for not ‘fessing up sooner. I’m also sorry for being a bit self-indulgent here.

But I’m feeling a whole lot better now. So thanks for listening reading…

So what does all this mean for Stonesoup?

Now that I’ve got this off my chest and snuck in a recipe with ten (!) ingredients below, we can go back to ‘business as usual’.

Yep, I’m going to keep the 5 ingredient recipes rolling each week. With a focus on delicious, healthy meals that can be prepared in minutes.

But there’s one thing I would like to change…

I’d love to focus on blog posts which are going to answer your questions OR cover topics that you’d like to learn more about. Think of it more of ‘Stonesoup-by-request’.

If you have an idea for something you’d like me to delve into or just a ‘burning’ cooking question or problem you’d like solved you can submit them over here:

black pepper curry-2

Black Pepper & Chickpea Curry

Takes about 20 minutes

While this curry has a mostly Indian vibe with the ground cumin and mustard seeds, it was actually inspired by a Thai curry. If you’ve ever had a real jungle curry, it may surprise you to know that the heat actually comes from peppercorns not chilli.

I’m a massive fan of black pepper so decided to try the same idea out using black pepper in a chickpea curry. I love the rounded warmth you get from the pepper – much more subtle than chilli but in some ways even more delicious.

This recipes uses quite a bit of pepper, so if you have a spice or coffee grinder, it’s worth getting it dirty. If you don’t, be prepared for a workout to grind 2 tablespoons with your pepper mill.

enough for 2-3
1 large onion, peeled & chopped
1/2 medium cauliflower, chopped into small florettes about the size of a grape
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds, optional
1 can tomatoes (400g / 14oz)
1 can chickpeas (400g / 14oz), NOT drained
2 handfuls mint leaves, optional
4-6 tablespoons natural yoghurt

1. Heat a little oil in a medium saucepan. Cook onion covered over a medium low heat until soft, about 8 minutes.

2. Add cauliflower, pepper, cumin, turmeric and mustard seeds, if using. Stir to combine.

3. Add tomatoes and chickpeas and the juices from both cans. Use a spoon to break up the tomatoes a little.

4. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes on a medium heat.

5. Stir. And continue to cook for another 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is no longer crunchy. If you want a thicker curry leave the lid off, if you’re happy with the consistency, leave the lid on.

6. When the cauli is tender, taste and season with salt and more pepper if you need more heat. Serve with mint leaves, if using and a big dollop of yoghurt.

5 ingredients – skip the onion and replace the pepper and spices with 2 tablespoons garam marsala spice blend. And skip the mint leaves too…. you’ll need to change the name to ‘chickpea curry’ but it will still be lovely.

carnivore – replace the cauliflower with finely sliced chicken thigh fillets or breast, about 450g (1lb). You may need to increase the cooking time to ensure the chicken is cooked all the way through.

dairy-free / vegan – serve with coconut yoghurt instead of the natural yoghurt. OR serve with lime wedges instead of the yoghurt to give a hit of freshness.

different veg – most veg will work well here. Zucchini, red capsicum (bell peppers), peas, broccoli can all be added with the cauliflower. Root veg like sweet potato, beetroot, parsnip or potato can also be used but makes sure they’re cooked until tender first.

greener – stir in a few handfuls of chopped kale or baby spinach leaves with or instead of the mint.

hotter – replace black pepper with a few finely sliced small hot red chillies with the seeds left in.

Video version of the recipe.

5-Ingredients, 10-Minutes Update!

My new print book will be on sale in the UK from the 14th March!

And I’m super excited that it’s now available to PRE-ORDER from and (my favourite book supplier because they have FREE shipping anywhere in the world!).

Happy New Year!

With love,
Jules x

ps. If you have an idea for a Stonesoup blog post or a question you’d like answered in the future, I’ve popped the link to the Stonesoup suggestion / question submissions on the ‘START HERE‘ page which you can easily access from the Navigation Menu above at any time.

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