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Spice Pioneer: Simple spicy dinner parties

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Making a regular date to eat with friends is something I should do more often. Perhaps sharing a meal monthly? But with entertaining at home, there’s the added pressure of ensuring things come out well. I still remember the time I managed to tip some fish on the floor just before serving it!

Spice Pioneer make it easier. They have come up with a spicy subscription box that delivers the spices and hard to find ingredients to your door. With step-by-step instructions and tried and tested recipes creating and eating a meal for 4 becomes a pleasure.

Spice Pioneer Recipe Booklet

Spice Pioneer Recipe Booklet

First, an essential part I had to get to grips with Spotify. Yes, I am probably the only person left who has not downloaded the music app. But, this is an essential element of the Spice Pioneer experience. The recommended play list will not only make the cooking go well, but provides great background music.

On the Menu

First Box

Ingredients for the Moroccan Dishes

Ingredients for the Moroccan Dishes

An aromatic meal for 4 from Marrakesh.

  • Chicken Tagine with apricots, ginger and ras el-hanout
  • Orange and date salad with preserved lemon and pomegranate molasses
  • Couscous with roasted fennel butter

Sound track: A distinct Moroccan flavour.

Doesn’t that sound delicious?

You’ll need to shop ahead for the ingredients not supplied and that are not in your larder.

Orange, Date and Preserved Lemon Salad

Orange, Date and Preserved Lemon Salad

The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow. Each of the elements that Spice Pioneer provides are named and are weighed out for you. I had to reign in my tendency to adapt as I go along to give the menu a true test. I only slipped up on one count, I only had large couscous to hand, rather than standard.

Overall preparation time is not given, but including the preparation and cooking it took me about 1.25 hours. However, the salad and tagine could easily have been made in advance and just the couscous prepared at the last minute.

Chicken and Apricot Tagine. Tagine dish not necessary

Chicken and Apricot Tagine. Tagine dish not necessary!

Verdict: A very tasty dish with a really good mix of flavours with just the right amount of spice. The orange salad was a lovely fresh accompaniment. Portion sizes are generous.

My suggestion: Add the weights required. For the chicken 8 thighs were suggested but what weight? For the salad 4 ripe, sweet oranges were suggested. I used two large navel oranges and the resulting salad was very generous.

Second Box

  • A Sri Lankan monkfish curry with basmati rice
  • Beetroot curry
  • Spicy green beans with black mustard seeds

Sound Track: Varied tempos some with “Indian” style.

Setting the scene with a postcard

Setting the scene with a postcard

I am a big fan of fish in coconut sauce so was intrigued to try this recipe. Each recipe comes with a postcard, setting the scene for your dish.

The sauce for the fish curry is made first, then the fish added to cook at the last step. So again, you could do some preparation in advance.

I had golden rather than red beetroots, which look far less dramatic than the standard red beetroots.

Verdict: The fish curry was very tasty. However, for me adding two further dishes that also contained coconut made the meal very rich. In the first box, the salad made the mains sing something similar was needed here.

My suggestion: Both the beetroot curry and spicy green beans need to contrast with the fish curry. Could the recipes me made without coconut?

The Spice Pioneer Membership

I really like the idea of these boxes. It’s a great way to try something a bit different without having to purchase the specialised ingredients.  The price is reasonable too!

I’d like to have more suggestions for substitutions for the protein – which vegetables could be used for example.Whilst you could use the recipes again, you’d need to source the more unusual ingredients such as Malay curry powder. Perhaps Spice Pioneer could tie up with a company to provide those too?

Spice Pioneer Membership is available at £8.33 per month including free postage (minimum 3 months).

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Review of Spice Pioneer spicy meal kits

Review of Spice Pioneer spicy meal kits

I tried Spice Pioneer at their invitation. All views are my own.

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