Spicy food recipes of all descriptions

Mexican recipes, barbecue sauce recipes, curry recipes,... spicy food recipes of all descriptions! Now this is where the fun really begins as you put into practice all that you have learnt about spicy food and cooking.

These spicy food recipes have been grouped according to how you might need to search for them, so for example by Cuisine, if it’s Food or Drink, a Paste or Marinade or perhaps if you’re looking for a special Thanksgiving recipe. They will include everything from savoury to sweet, starters to snacks and mildly spiced to scorchingly hot!

Our inspiration comes from a wide variety of backgrounds but is usually based around food we’ve eaten on our travels, seen on television cookery programmes or read about in our ever-growing pile of cookery books. See 'Favourite Things'

With recipes, there are generally two schools of thought: one where a recipe must be followed to the letter and the other which sees a recipe as merely a guide to the dish - to give you the basics but can also be tweaked and adapted according to your individual tastes.

At lovespicyfood.com, we believe both views are relevant, it just depends on how you like to do things! Newbies may want to follow a recipe exactly, to get a feel for the dish, before they begin experimenting with it. Some techniques however, particularly in baking, require a more precise approach and so we follow these as close to the recipe as possible. So with this in mind, feel free to adopt whichever method for the spicy food recipes in this section - just be prepared for an exciting ride, sometimes with disastrous, inedible results but hopefully more often than not, with some fabulously tasty and enjoyable treats!

So let’s kick things off with a few of our favourites:

Roast lamb (Mum’s style)

1 shoulder or leg of lamb (Mum traditionally used leg steaks for this, but we have tried it with a whole leg and shoulder of lamb too, all work equally fine)
1-2 onions, peeled and sliced
A handful of thyme and/or rosemary - remove leaves from the stalks and chop 3-6 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
Olive oil
¼ tsp each of salt and pepper

Seasoning sauce:
6 tbsp tomato ketchup
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mustard (something with a bit of a kick)
1 tbsp tomato puree
A couple of splashes each of Angostura bitters and Worcester sauce
½ - 1 tbsp chilli sauce (to taste, but this is optional so you can leave this out if you wish)

Preheat the oven to 200ºC
Remove any excess fat from the lamb joint
Place the lamb in a roasting tin, on a bed of the sliced onions
Mix the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper with the olive oil and rub well over all areas of the lamb joint. Put the lamb into the oven for 20 minutes, uncovered
Then remove from the oven (it should have started to brown on the top) and pour boiling water into the base of the roasting tin, up to about 0.5cm in depth. Cover the tin with foil, put it back into the oven and lower the temperature to 140ºC.
Cook the lamb for a minimum of 1 ½ hours, checking occasionally to ensure there’s still liquid in the base, adding hot water if needed.

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the seasoning sauce.
Remove lamb from the oven and pour over the sauce, basting with the liquid from the roasting tin.
Re-cover the lamb and return to the oven for a further ½ hour or until the lamb is falling off the bone. The sauce should coat the lamb and produce a rich gravy in the roasting tin.

Jerk seasoning

4 Spring onions
½ medium onion (any variety will do), peeled
4-6 medium cloves of garlic, peeled
small knob of ginger (about 1 inch piece), peeled
2-4 scotch bonnet chillies
1 stick of celery
1 small mixed bunch of parley and thyme
1 tsp tomato puree + 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1-2 tsp ground allspice (freshly done if possible from dried berries)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp each of salt and ground black pepper
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 medium orange
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon or lime

Roughly chop the spring onions, onion, chillies, celery, herbs, garlic and ginger and put into bowl of a food processor.
Pulse to chop further and then add the rest of the ingredients and whiz to combine.
These quantities will be sufficient to marinate two chickens or equivalent of other meats. If you wish to keep this marinade for longer in the fridge, then add some oil to the mixture while blending.

Savoury muffins

If serving at room temperature, I find it easier to remove the paper cases when the muffins have cooled completely.
Also these may be made in advance on the day and just reheated in the oven, if desired.
These can also be frozen, for up to 1 month - just remove when needed, defrost in fridge overnight and serve at room temperature. Or warm them up in the oven (just on a baking tray, covered with foil to prevent them from getting too dry or browned).
Use petit fours cases (makes 48) to make these into canapés. Check the cooking time though as they may not need as long as larger muffins. I have also used the fairy cake-sized muffins for a drinks party.

225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp mustard powder
3 slices of cooked ham, chopped (or equivalent cooked pancetta)*
1 medium onion, finely chopped and sauteed in olive oil over low-medium heat until slightly brown on the edges*
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
75g mature cheddar, chopped
50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
150ml semi-skimmed milk

* Both of these ingredients can be used or either one only, if you prefer

Preheat oven to 200ºC/fan 180ºC/gas mark 6
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper and mustard powder into a large bowl.
Stir in the ham (or cooked pancetta if using), sage and cheddar. Make a well in the centre then add the melted butter, egg, mustard and milk.
Mix together briefly, until just combined.
Put spoonfuls of the mixture into a muffin cases or fairy cake cases so that each is about ¾ full.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until risen and golden. Transfer the muffins to wire racks to cool a little before peeling off the paper cases, if you wish.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with your favourite chutney if you wish.
This recipe makes 12 normal-sized muffins or 24 fairy cake-sized muffins.

Carrot cake

The cake will keep for a few days (unfrosted) in an airtight container.
The flavourings for this cake can be varied to your taste, so you may think about replacing the zest and juice of the lemon/orange with crushed pineapple, vanilla extract, desiccated coconut, ground almonds,.... You can also then match the flavouring to the topping.
The cake may also be cut in half horizontally and then sandwiched and topped with frosting, although you will then require additional frosting for this.

350g carrots
50-100g pecans
110g self-raising wholemeal flour
110g plain wholemeal flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
zest and juice of 1 lemon or orange
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
225ml vegetable oil
175g soft brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tbsp golden syrup
200g cream cheese
50g softened unsalted butter
50g sifted icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Grease and line the base of a 9” round tin.
Start by grating the carrots and chopping the nuts. Put to one side.
Sieve together self-raising flour, plain flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda. Tip any bran bits left in the sieve back into the mixture.
Whisk together the vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs and golden syrup.
Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Stir in the carrots and pecans.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin.
Bake for about an hour or until a skewer, when inserted into the cake, comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before frosting it.
For the topping, mix together the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth.