How the ‘Sweet Chilli Friday’ authors cook fast, easy food every day of the week

Peppercorn Passion Sweet Chilli Friday authorsIt’s always nice to have a good old gupshup with mates – whether that gossip is had over a chai or something stronger. It’s even better when you leave your ladies all feeling a wee bit wiser.

And so it goes with Peppercorn Passion, the cooking club comprised of Sangita Manek, Sheetal Mistry, Alpa Lakhani, Anjana Natalia, Sonia Sapra and Deepa Jaitha – a sextet of working mothers who decided to get together once a month to share their favourite recipes; first with one another, then with the wider public in the form of a cookbook.

Sweet Chilli Friday is its name; fast, simple veggie dishes is its game. And, keen to glean a little more #kitcheninspo, I caught up with Peppercorn Passion en masse to talk heros, hacks and great gadgetry…

Sweet Chilli Friday cover high resYou share South Asian origins but the recipes in Sweet Chilli Friday show that you guys cook food from all over the world. What are your favourite cuisines?

Sangita Manek: ‘Indian – obviously!’
Sheetal Mistry: ‘I’d have to say Pan Asian.’
Alpa Lakhani: ‘Chinese.’
Anjana Natalia: ‘Italian, Mexican, and Indian’.
Sonia Sapra: ‘Italian, Chinese, and Thai.’
Deepa Jaitha: ‘Mexican and Italian.’

Over the years, you’ve swapped many a recipe with one another – what’s the best dish you’ve learned from a fellow Peppercorn Passion member?

Sangita: ‘Halloumi and broccoli curry.’
Sheetal: ‘Butternut squash salad.’
Alpa: ‘Granita.’
Anjana: ‘Mexican lasagne, tortilla con funghi, and cookies and cream cheesecake.’
Sonia: ‘It’s difficult to select just one, but if I have to, then it’s the pinwheel samosas.’
Deepa:
‘Tortilla bowls’.

Peppercorn Passion ondhwo chickpea flour bake Gujarati jpg

Ondhawa – Savoury potato and sweetcorn bake

Sweet Chilli Friday is all about food that’s fast and simple yet impressive. What are your must-have store cupboard ingredients?

Sangita: ‘Tinned lentils and sweetcorn, passata, and dried pasta.’
Sheetal: ‘Soy sauce, garlic, and my spice container.’
Alpa: ‘Black beans – there are so many ways to cook them, and they’re full of protein.’
Anjana: ‘Curry powder, Tex Mex seasoning, and quinoa.’
Sonia: ‘My spice tray, dried pasta, and passata.’
Deepa: ‘Tinned sweetcorn and chilli flakes.’

Kitchen gadgets can make life so much easier; are there any you wouldn’t be without?

Sangita, Alpa, Anjana: ‘The Nicer Dicer!’
Sheetal and Sonia: ‘Our blenders.’
Deepa: ‘My little grinder.’

Paneer tikka Indian vegetarian recipe peppercorn passion Sweet Chilli Friday

Paneer tikka

You clearly all draw inspiration from one another, but which non-Peppercorn Passions people do you hold up as food heroes?

Sangita: ‘ I love Nigella and Jamie Oliver for their easy “chuck it all together” styles.’
Sheetal: ‘My mum, she’s an amazing cook’.
Alpa: ‘My mum: brilliant cook.’
Anjana: ‘My mother and also my mother-in-law.’
Sonia: ‘I guess Delia Smith, as I grew up cooking with her.’
Deepa: ‘My friend Seejal who is a complete foodie.’

Even superhero mums have to step away from the stove every now and then. When you eat out, where do you love to go?

Sangita: ‘Novikov or Indian Accent.’
Sheetal: ‘Busaba Eathai.’
Alpa: ‘I agree with Sangita on Novikov.’
Anjana: ‘Local Indian restaurants that offer particularly good street food, Wahaca and, for special occasions, Hakkasan.’
Sonia: ‘I’m quite partial to Wagamama’.
Deepa: ‘Anywhere that does a great afternoon tea!’

  • ‘Sweet Chilli Friday’ is published by Meze Publishing, RRP £15
  • For more information and to order, click here
  • To read more about ‘Sweet Chilli Friday’ and the Peppercorn Passion cooking club, click here
  • For two Indian recipes from the cookbook, click here
  • For three non-Indian recipes from the cookbook, click here

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