From tea to chickpeas, Felicity Cloake selects your finest smouldering recipes.
Like pickling or salting, smoking is much more than a simple method of preserving food; it infuses everything with the savoury tang of woodsmoke. From garlic to butter, fish to vodka, a lick of fire can improve many flavours.
It was a tough contest this week: friends loved the taramasalata, I was happily surprised by the rice-free kedgeree, but everyone agreed the truffles were the winner. Sweet beetroot, bitter chocolate and smoky tea are a brilliant combination.
The winning recipe: chocolate, beetroot and lapsang souchong tea truffles
Beetroot pairs well with dark chocolate, and chocolate pairs nicely with smoky Lapsang tea, so combining them into one decadent little truffle seems obvious. The smokiness adds a grown-up element to this treat.
veggiedesserts.co.uk, via theguardian.com/witness
100g cooked beetroot
200ml double cream
1 tbsp sugar
2 lapsang souchong teabags
200g dark chocolate, chopped
75g cocoa powder
1 Puree the beetroot and then gently heat in a saucepan for a few minutes to dry it out slightly. Set aside.
2 Gently heat the cream and sugar until just before the boil. Take off the heat, add the teabags and leave to infuse for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3 Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Gently squeeze out the teabags and remove, then bring the cream back to just before the boil. Pour it over the chocolate and leave for a minute, then stir together until smooth. Add the beetroot puree, then chill until firm.
4 Roll 1 tsp truffle mix into a ball, then roll in the cocoa. Repeat and chill.
Nahit spicy smoky chickpeas
This economical treat is popular at Jewish festivals. The mixed nuts give the chickpeas a luxurious flavour.
Ruth Joseph, Cardiff
400g tin chickpeas
1 tbsp corn or light olive oil
½ tsp smoked sweet paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp golden syrup or honey
125g mixed nuts
1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Rinse the chickpeas.
2 Combine the oil with the spices, thyme, and syrup or honey. Stir in the chickpeas and nuts until well covered.
3 Bake for 20 minutes, stir and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes until the chickpeas are crisp and the nuts are brown and luscious. Serve warm.
Smoked salmon noodle salad
This simple salad makes an elegant starter and is equally good as a light summer lunch. Buckwheat noodles provide a firm texture - the beauty of their pale greyish colour against the pinks and greens of the rest of the dish is an added bonus.
Bronwyn Wolfe, London
150g buckwheat noodles
100g watercress, thick stems discarded
50g beansprouts, straggly tails removed
1 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
100g smoked salmon, thinly sliced
1 tbsp pickled ginger
For the dressing
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
2 spring onions, very finely sliced
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp hot water
1 For the dressing, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and, when just hot, add the garlic. Fry until golden, then take the pan off the heat and tip the oil into a salad bowl, discarding the garlic. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients.
2 Cook the noodles, drain and cool under cold water. Make a twist of noodles on each plate. Add the watercress, beansprouts and sesame seeds to the dressing and toss well.
3 Put a small pile of salad on the noodles, then top with smoked salmon. Add a tiny pile of pickled ginger to each plate before serving.
Aubergine and applewood cheese frittata
The nutty, strong flavour of the grilled aubergine contrasts beautifully with the smoky tangy notes of the cheese.
Miguel de Almeida, London, westcoastcooking.wordpress.com
1 large aubergine, sliced lengthways
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
A pinch of ground cumin
200ml double cream
70g Applewood or smoked cheddar, grated
Leaves of 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Set the grill to high. Sprinkle oil on the aubergine and season with salt, pepper and cumin. Grill until charred on both sides. Leave the grill on.
2 Whisk the eggs then stir in the cream, cheese and chopped rosemary.
3 Fry the onion until soft then add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the aubergine to the pan, then pour in the egg mixture. Cook on a medium heat for 3 minutes.
4 Remove from the heat and place the pan beneath the grill for another 5-8 minutes, until puffy and golden. Serve warm or cold with a green salad.
Smoked haddock and cauliflower kedgeree
1 medium cauliflower, finely chopped
250g smoked haddock
Almond milk (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp madras curry powder
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
15g flaked almonds or coconut, toasted
For the sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion or shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp madras curry powder
Juice of ½ a lemon
125ml coconut milk
1 Boil the cauliflower for 1 minute. Drain well, cool slightly, then wrap in a tea towel and squeeze out any water.
2 Poach the haddock in almond milk or water for 4-5 minutes, or until just cooked through. Drain, reserving 100ml liquid. When the fish is cooler, remove the skin and bones then flake.
3 For the sauce, sweat the onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add the curry powder and fry for a minute or so. Pour in the poaching liquid, bring to the boil and reduce by two-thirds. Add the lemon juice and coconut milk, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain into a fresh pan and keep warm.
4 Meanwhile, sweat the other onion until soft. Add the curry powder and cumin and fry for a couple of minutes. Stir in the cauliflower and gently warm.
5 Remove from the heat, season and fold in the fish, herbs and eggs. To serve, drizzle with some of the warm sauce and sprinkle with flaked almonds and/or toasted coconut.
Smoked cod's roe, beetroot and yoghurt
This is an interpretive version of taramasalata. The addition of finely grated raw beetroot, cool yoghurt and lots of fresh dill add earthiness, creaminess and a lemony fragrance to the dish.
Jess Baum, Bristol
1 slice white bread, crusts removed
200g fresh smoked sustainable cod roe or other fish roe, skin discarded
1 large garlic clove, crushed
½ small beetroot, finely grated
60ml extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ a lemon (or more to taste)
1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
60ml plain yoghurt
1 Wet the bread under running water and then squeeze dry. Add to a bowl with the roe, garlic and beetroot, and beat together well with a wooden spoon or whisk.
2 Stir in the oil little by little, beating all the time. (Adding it gradually prevents the mixture from curdling.)
3 Add the lemon juice and black pepper to taste, followed by the dill and yoghurt.
4 Serve with toasted rye, warm pitta, or on blinis with a scattering of dill fronds.
The winning recipe: chocolate, beetroot and Lapsang Souchong truffles. Photography by Anna Gordon for the Guardian