Category Archives: Spice Blends

Mexican Flavor Cubes

For lack of a beter name, Mexican flavor cubes is what I have named these little cubes. Concentrated Mexican “mole-like” flavor packed into little cubes to be added to any sauce or dish that needs a little “oomph”. These little cubes are full of Mexican flavor and really pack a punch. Lots of flavor in minutes without all the hassle.
I have these as part of my standard frozen staples. I’m a true believer in a well-stocked kitchen pantry/freezer as this will ensure you’re prepared, even if you don’t have time for a last minute shopping trip , so that you can make your favourite recipes and always have the basics at hand.
There are a ton of standard items in my freezer, that I make again and again as soon as they, or almost, run out. Such items are home made chicken stock, Napolitana sauce, and a roast pepper Napolitana version for myself, Pizza bases, Bread, Bagels etc… and of course these Mexican flavor cubes.
Let me explain how and why. We eat a lot of Mexican inspired dishes at home and I say inspired because I don’t want to offend anyone, I’m sure they are far from authentic, but they’re very tasty and that’s what it all about, for us. So basically what I do is, I soak some Mexican peppers that I buy online, add spices, cooked onion, garlic and some other flavourings, then blend it all up and freeze it in an ice cube tray. I happen to have a very large ice cube tray, that makes ¼ cup cubes, perfect for us but you can freeze it how it would work best for you. Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list, you’ll have most of the spices in your cupboard already, and it actually comes together very quickly.


• 3 dried Ancho peppers ( aka dried Poblano peppers) Scoville scale: 1,000 to 2,000 shu
• 3 Chipotles peppers (smoke-dried Jalapeño peppers) Scoville scale: 2,500 to 8,000 shu
• 3 Guajillo peppers (aka dried Mirasol peppers) Scoville scale : 2,500–5,000 shu
• 2 tbsp. neutral oil
• 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and grated or crushed
• 2 roast peppers from a jar
• 2 chicken or beef stock cube
• 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
• 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
• 2 tsp. ground cumin
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• ½ tsp. ground cloves
• ½ tsp. all spice
• 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tsp. sugar or more to taste


Put a large frying pan on medium high heat, place your peppers in the dry pan and toast gently all over until they begin to soften and change color. Remove from heat.
Add the oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic, cook gently while you clean the peppers.
Cut the peppers open with scissors and remove stems and seeds, place in a bowl and cover with 2 cups of very hot water (not boiling) and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
Once the onion is soft and golden add the smoked paprika, oregano, the ground cumin, cinnamon, ground cloves, all spice, salt and freshly ground pepper, just a few twists. Stir and let it become fragrant, turn of the heat after one or two minutes.
Once everything has cooled, place the hydrated peppers with liquid in the blender, with the onion-spice mixture, add the peppers from a jar, add the stock cubes, cocoa powder and sugar. Blend everything until you have a dark smooth puree, taste and season if necessary.
Pour into ice cube tray or other small containers and freeze.
I use these cubes to make fajitas, chili, enchiladas and all sorts of Mexican dishes. It gives everything a really authentic flavor without hours of cooking. Just make your regular recipes, and then add one of these cubes for a flavor explosion.


Clementine Cranberry Roast Pork

…with crème fraîche mashed potatoes.


Roast Pork is the best deal to feed a crowd. If you’re on a budget and have a lot of people coming over for Christmas, skip the Turkey, skip the Beef and go for roast pork, it’s the way to go, really.

And imagine what you can do with all the leftovers, we had this roast the other day obviously, and my daughter ate a huge baguette the next day with  thinly sliced pork and sate sauce, which was pretty awesome. But there are tons of other things you can make, like taco’s, enchiladas, ragú. I always look forward to left overs, it’s almost even better the next day.

I like to serve it with my crème fraîche mashed potatoes and lots of vegetables.




Serves 6

Ingredients Spice mix;

  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground Coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp.dried Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp.  Simply Organic Garlic Powder Certified Organic, 3.64-Ounce Container
  • 1/8 tsp. Allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. Cinnamon

Ingredients Roast;

  • Boneless pork Shoulder or Butt 2.8 – 3  lbs
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 celery sticks, cut into pieces
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 garlic bulbs
  • 4 Clementines
  • 3 bay leafs
  • 2 C. red wine
  • 1/4 C. Cranberry jelly
  • salt and pepper



Take your pork roast out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. Preheat the oven temperature to 320°F./ 160°C.

Place all the seasoning and spices in a little bowl and mix.

Dry the pork roast thoroughly with kitchen paper and tie up with kitchen rope if necessary. Season the pork roast all over.

Heat a frying pan of high heat and add two tablespoons of butter and two of olive oil., When hot add the roast and sear all over until you have a nice dark brown crust, this takes about 15 minutes. Rotating the roast to brown evenly.

Meanwhile cut up our vegetables and place in the bottom of a roasting tin, cut the tops of two garlic bulbs and place in the tin along with the vegetables. Cut two clementines in half and place in the tin as well. Season the vegetables generously with salt and pepper

Place the roast on top of the vegetables with all the juices from the frying pan, squeeze over the juice of two clementines and add 2 cups of red wine and  three bay leaves. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for two hours, checking after an hour to see how the liquid is doing, add some water if necessary.

After two hours, remove foil and cut away the kitchen twine if you have used it and spread the cranberry jelly over the roast. Return to oven and roast uncovered for an other half hour.

When an internal thermometer reads about 71° C /160° F, it should be just done.

Take the roast out of the oven and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.

Tip: Use this resting time to finish off your other side dishes and make the gravy.

To make the gravy, pass all the ingredients from the roasting tin through a sieve, heat the gravy and taste , add some cranberry jelly if you like and thicken with a teaspoon of corn starch diluted in some cold water.

Crème fraîche Mashed Potatoes;

  • 2 lb.  russet or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/4 C. butter
  • 3/4 C. hot milk
  • 1/4 C. Crème fraîche

Peel and cut the potatoes in half add to a pot of cold salted water, cook for about 20 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and mash with 1/4 cup butter. Add the hot milk and the crème fraîche season with salt and pepper. Mash until desired consistency, I like my mash a tiny bit chunky but that’s personal.


If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog on instagram! You’ll make my day.


Dukkah Parmesan crusted whole Salmon Fillet…

This is such an easy recipe!  No fancy equipment, no massive amounts of dirty dishes afterwards, just a baking tray, some foil and you’re good to go. Ah, and there’s the Dukkah of course…

Let me tell you a little something about Dukkah. Don’t you love that word?

Dukkah is a middle eastern condiment. The word Dukkah (pronounced DOO-kah) actually means “to pound”. Herbs and nuts are pound together to form a crumbly substance that is neither a paste nor a powder. It’s mostly eaten as an appetizer. Flatbread is torn into pieces, dipped in olive oil and then dipped in Dukkah. I don’t pound my Dukkah but pulse it in the food processor until rough crumbs.

There are many variations of Dukkah and the composition varies from family to family in the middle east though there are common ingredients, such as sesame , coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. But you can add anything you like really like  Nigella or  za’atar. And instead of hazelnuts you can use any nut or seed, maybe pine nuts or pistachios. It depends what you’re paring it with so go with the flow. You are going to have some left over Dukkah, just store in an airtight container. It will keep for weeks. Why not try it as an appetizer with olive oil and bread? 

Serves 4 – 6

Dukkah Ingredients;

  • 1 cups Hazelnuts
  • 1 cup Sesame Seed
  • 2 tablespoons ground Coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp.  Himalayan Salt
  • 2 tsp. Black Pepper, Ground


Toast the hazelnut over medium heat for about five minutes keeping a close watch on them because they burn very quickly. Keep tossing them around. Add the sesame seeds and toast for an other two minutes until you hear a popping sound. Turn off the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Keep tossing a few times more to mix well. Let cool completely. Put the mixture in a food processor and pulse until medium crumbs. Store in a mason jar.

Ingredients Salmon Fillet and baby potatoes;

  • 2 lbs Salmon fillet, skin removed20161024_122440
  • 3 tbsp. Dukkah
  • 1/2 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. Light Olive Oil

Baby potatoes;

  • 1 lb. peeled and pre cooked baby potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. Light Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika,
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and crushed
  • salt and pepper

Cucumber – Pomegranate Salad;

  • 1 Cucumber, organic preferably
  • 1 tbsp. Light Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 C. Pomegranate seeds, fresh or frozen
  • 1 –  tbsp. Fresh Dill sprigs



Preheat the oven to 430° F

Get out a baking tray and line with parchment paper. Now get a piece of  aluminum foil large enough for the whole fillet to sit on. Lay it out on the tray diagonally and cover with an other piece of parchment paper. Spray with some cooking oil and place the fillet on top with the dark side down (where the skin was).

Brush the Salmon fillet with the olive oil.

In a small bowl mix the Dukkah with the Parmesan cheese. Cover the entire surface of the fillet with the mixture and press it on with your fingers.


To prepare the baby potatoes, toss all the ingredients in a bowl and spread out along the sides of the salmon fillet.

Place in the middle of the oven and bake for  20 minutes. Serve immediately with the cucumber salad.

To make the salad, peel the cucumber leaving on some of the green for color. Slice thin with a mandolin. Place in a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients.


Not quite what you were looking for? How about Home smoked Salmon


Koh Samui Noodles


This is similar to a Pad Thai. When I was in Thailand I had Pad Thai for Breakfast everyday. It was so good, but I can tell you one thing,  boy was the food hot! I have turned it down a notch in this recipe but feel free to add as much Chili as you can handle.

When you want something on the table fast, this recipe is a pretty good option. I love using rice noodles because you don’t actually have to boil them, just soak them in boiling hot water for a few minutes and get on with the recipe. You can put any kind of Vegetable in here you may have lying around, like Zucchini, Cucumber, Bean Sprouts, Spinach, Mushrooms.  Use whatever you have.

I made this last night and I think it took me about 10 to 15 minutes. If you are not really in the mood to be chopping and cutting you can get one of those Asian vegetable packages and just whip up the sauce. Then you’ll probably have dinner in 5! It just gets better and better.


  • 8 oz. Flat (brown) Rice Noodles
  • 2 tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 1/3 C. Peanuts
  • 1 Leek, washed thoroughly and cut into 2″ pieces and then into strips
  • 1/2 C. Carrot Sticks
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, washed and cut into strips
  • 1 Onion, peeled and cut into half rings
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled grated
  • a thumb sized piece of fresh Ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 Chili, stem and seeds removed (or not=hotter) and cut into small rings
  • A large handful Koriander, roughly chopped
  • a small handful Basil leafs, torn into pieces

Sauce Ingredients;

  • 2 tbsp. Soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Fish sauce (there are vegan options available or use more soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp. Sesame Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Honey (substitute for more sugar for vegans)
  • juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 tbsp. Dry white wine or water
  • 2 tsp. Sambal Oelek

To serve;

More lemon or lime wedges, Fish sauce & Peanuts



Soak the Rice Noodle in boiling hot water for 2-4 minutes. Follow package instructions.

Remove from hot water and rinse under cold water, set aside.

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in  bowl and set aside.

In a dry Wok or large frying pan, toast the peanuts for a minute or two until golden. Remove and set aside.

Add 1 tbsp. of the Coconut oil to the pan and add the onion, garlic, chili and ginger. Fry over medium heat a few minutes until golden, turn up the heat and then add the remaining vegetables. Stir frying over high heat.

After a few minutes, when the vegetables are beginning to color add the rice noodles. Fry for about two minutes, now add the sauce. Keep on frying until almost all the sauce has been absorbed by the noodles. Sprinkle over the Basil, Coriander and Peanuts, and toss a few more times. Reserve some of the herbs and peanuts for decorating.

Serve immediatly in bowls, sprinkle over the remaining Basil, Coriander and Peanuts.

Serve with lime wedges and Fish sauce and more Peanuts.

Note: I served it with my marinated grilled Tempeh, but you can add Shrimp or Chicken to the Noodles if you want a more substantial dish.


Myra Xo