Friday, 26 May 2017

Zoe's Ghana Kitchen Review and Recipe

West African food is on the up in the UK. Once a relatively unknown cuisine, African food is becoming more visible in our cities, at food markets and on the TV competition programmes. With food bloggers and chefs showcasing a range of African recipes, West African food is becoming more popular than ever. Zoe Adjonyoh of Zoe's Ghana Kitchen pop up restaurants has been showcasing modern Ghanaian recipes for a number of years, her first cookbook is a celebration of the food of her heritage. Zoe's Ghana Kitchen pop up restaurants have been running for a number of years now, she has her own permanent restaurant at Pop Brixton. Most people have heard of Jollof Rice as a popular West African meal, but what about the other dishes that is eaten in this region. Step forward this cookery book which showcases around 100 recipes diverse, vibrant and exotic recipes. There are a range of diverse recipes from hearty stews, light dishes, vegetarian and a few recipes which includes more exotic ingredients, there is something for every season and every occasion. Zoe's Ghana Kitchen rrp is £25, but is at the time of writing on sale on Amazon for £11.49 which is an absolute bargain. 

I found this cookery book to be quirky and informative, Zoe's mixed heritage, her Ghanaian and Irish story really came through. This cookery book informs the reader of the spices and herbs that are key features in this cookery book. Zoe states "This book is for anyone with an interest in food and an inquisitive palate, and there should be something for everyone". There really is something for everyone.

The chapters in this book is divided into the following:

  • Yam 5 Ways & Plantain 5 Ways - recipes to try include: Golden Mashed Yam,  Yam and Plantain Peanut Curry and Tatale (Plantain Pancakes). 
  • Salads -  stand out recipes include: Avocado, Papaya and Ginger Salad,  Mango and Pineapple Salad, Plantain Salad and Scotch Bonnet Coleslaw.
  • Fish and Seafood - recipes to try include Pan-roasted Cod seasoned with Grains of Paradise, Whole Grilled Tilapia, Fried Barracuda and Fante Fried Fish with Shaved Papaya. 
  • Veggie - Stand out recipes to try include: Spinach and Agushi Curry, Ghana Dhal and Red Red Stew.
  • Meat -  recipes to try include: Lamb Cutlets with Peanut Sauce, Pork Ribs in Sticky Plantain Sauce, Jollof Fried Chicken, Jollof and Palm Soup.
  • Sides -A wonderful selection of side dishes including Baked Cassava Fries and Coconut Rice.
  • Desserts- Sand out recipes include Cubeb Spiced Shortbread, Honey & Plantain Ginger Cake and Coconut & Cassava Chips. 
  • Drinks & Snacks  - standout recipes include Black-Eyed Bean Fritters, Spiced Cassava Patties  and Mango-Lime Smoothie
  • Dips, Sauces & Salsas - Recipes to try include: Shito Mayo and Pineapple and Ginger Chutney. 
So far I've made the Kyenam (Fante Fried Fish), but I made it without the papaya and did not substitute this for mango. Despite the lack of papaya, I found the fish to be light, flavoursome and refreshing. There was a gentle heat kick to the dish and was incredibly easy to make. The Kyenam could be served with a vibrant salad or rice.

Recipe for Kyenam (Fante Fried Fish with Shaved Papaya)
4 whole fresh red snapper, small grouper or trout, scaled, gutted and washed.
Juice of 2 lemons
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
50-75ml rapeseed oil or vegetable oil

5cm (2-inch) piece fresh root ginger, grated (unpeeled if organic)
1 teaspoon ground hot pepper or substitute cayenne pepper
1 red onion, very finely diced
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil or vegetable oil (optional)

To Garnish
1 red onion, sliced
lemon wedges
1 green or medium ripe papaya, shaved.

Trim the tail of each fish so that they fit neatly into a medium sized frying pan. Using a sharp cook's knife, carefully cut 2 evenly spaced diagonal slashes into either side of the fish. Place the prepared fish in a dish.
Using a mortar and pestle, or traditional Ghanian asanka pot if you have one, grind all the marinade ingredients together to a paste. Alternatively use a blender, adding oil if necessary to achieve past consistency.
Use half the marinade to rub into the slashes and inside the cavity of each fish, and the other half to coat the fish. Squeeze over the lemon juice and sprinkle sea salt liberally all over, then season with black pepper. Cover the dish with cling film and leave the fish to marinate in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours, preferably overnight.
Heat 50ml oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the fish, in batches and adding the extra oil if necessary, and fry for 4-5 minutes on each side, trying not to move the fish around too much and only turning once, until you've got nice crispy skins.
Remove the fish from the pan and drain on kitchen paper before serving hot with sliced ken key and shito, garnished with the sliced red onion, lemon wedges and shaving of papaya. 

Disclaimer: Thank you to the publishers for my review copy. 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Kenwood KMX754H - Review and Recipe

A wonderful delivery arrived shortly after my birthday. The lovely people at Kenwood sent me one of their latest Kenwood Stand Mixers, the KMX754H to review. I used to have a Kenwood Mixer at home; it lasted over 10 years and survived my heavy hands, until I had to say goodbye to it last year. I was hoping to purchase a new Kenwood mixer, later on this year, so this was a wonderful pleasant surprise.

The KMX754H is beautiful, it has a 5 litre glass bowl, a superior 1000W motor and has a vintage feel to it. I was very impressed with the glass bowl, I was able to see whatever ingredients I was mixing together without having to stop the motor or only have a birds eye view (my previous stand mixer didn't have a shiny glass bowl).

Lets talk about the dimensions of the KMX754H- it rivals other stand mixers and is innovative in it's design, perfect for enthusiastic keen bakers like myself. The Kenwood mixer rrp is  £429, however I have seen the mixer on sale for £329.

What's included in the mixer?
  • K-beater - ideal for mixing dry ingredients and crushing biscuits. 
  • Balloon whisk - designed to trap air easily while whisking to add maximum volume to the ingredients. Perfect for meringues or making light and fluffy cakes. 
  • Dough hook- fantastic when kneading breads from a simple loaf, to brioche and pizza bases. 
  • Splashguard - makes adding ingredients easily. 
  • Spatula - handy to remove ingredients from the glass bowl. 
Other key features 
  • Dishwasher safe parts.
  • 100W 
  • 5 year motor guarantee . 
I've been using my gorgeous KMX754H mixer to make a number of recipes, which I'll share on my blog in due course. The first thing I made was a citrus exploding Lemon and Lime cake. As my previous stand mixer went to mixer heaven, I've been using a mixing bowl and a hand held mixer. No need for that now, as I have a wonderful stand mixer to do that for me. What I immediately noticed when creaming the butter and sugar was how quick this process was. I found the butter and sugar became light and fluffy in under 1 minute - and this was on a low setting. What's more is that I didn't need to stand holding any appliance as the mixer did all the hard work for me. 
As I added the remaining ingredients for the cake, I found there was no splattering of ingredients. I could easily add the ingredients and watch as the mixture came to life. 

Lemon and Lime Cake

Lemon and Lime Cake with Candied Lime

For the cake

260g butter
230g caster sugar
zest and juice of 2 lemons
100ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
250g self-raising flour
4 eggs

For the buttercream 
150g butter
300g icing sugar
Juice of 1 lime
2-4 tbsp of water

For the candied lime
3 limes thinly sliced
75g granulated sugar
35ml water

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, line a 20cm round tin (large enough to slice the cake into two) with baking parchment. In the K-Mixer , using the K beater, add the butter and sugar, on a low setting (1 or 2) let the butter and sugar cream for one minute. Add the grated lemons and juice alongside the milk and vanilla essence and beat for a further 30 seconds. Add half the flour and two eggs and beat again for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds add the flour and eggs. Using the spatula pour the cake ingredients into a cake tin and bake on the top shelf for 40 minutes. To test, insert a knife into the cake, if there is no mixture on the knife the cake is clean. Once the cake is baked, place a cooling rack.

Whilst the cake is baking, make the candied lime. In a small saucepan add the lime alongside the sugar and water and mix well. Heat the saucepan on a medium heat and cook for 8 minutes, stir occasionally.  After 8 minutes, place the lime slices on a baking paper and set aside.

Whilst the cake is baking make the buttercream. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, followed by half of the icing sugar, 1.2 the water and juice of lime , mix well - I prefer to do this by hand as the icing sugar can have a tendency to go everywhere. Add the remaining icing sugar and water, mix well and pale in the fridge to cool.

When the cake has cooled, place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Using a bread knife, cut the cake in half. Turn the cake half over (so that the sponge middle is facing up right) and pour half the buttercream on each layer. Put one half of the sponge on top of the other and then add the candied limes on top of the cake.


Disclaimer: Thank you Kenwood for sending me their KMX754H for review. 


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Saffron Soul review and giveaway

Indian food is one of the nations favourite cuisines. Fiery curries, aromatic flavours, full of spice, I can see what this cuisine is so popular. When I think of Indian food, often the thought of some of the wonderful curries that I've eaten in established curry houses come to mind, all feature meat dishes such as lamb sagwalla, butter chicken and lamb rogan josh. But what about vegetarian dishes, the majority of those resident in India are in fact vegetarians. 
With bold and robust spices and flavours, vegetables work well with Indian spices and Saffron Soul focuses on beautiful, healthy recipes from India. A lot of people, including me associate Indian cooking with heavy and rich curries, but this isn't always the case. The author, Mira focuses on her Gujerati heritage to create colourful,  health, exotic and easy to follow dishes. What I also like about this book is the family heritage, full of stories which makes the reader feel part of Mira's family. From the story of her family heritage from Gujarat to Uganda and to London, to the numerous family photos, this is a cookbook to treasure. So far, I've made two recipes: Cauliflower & Pea Curry and Gujerati Dal - both were easy to make and full of flavour. Currently on sale on Amazon for £13.60, this is a well worth investment.

The cookbook is split into the following chapters:
  • My Favourite Ingredients - includes all the key ingredients to make authentic Indian dishes.
  • Pastes - includes a few easy to make pastes that can be used in curries, dals and other dishes.
  • Soulful Mornings- recipes to try include: Green Cinnamon Detox Smoothie, Saffron Porridge with Jaggery and Multigrain Spinach Parathas.
  • Anytime Favourites: Standout recipes to try anytime of the day including: Roasted Poppadoms & Roti is with Dips, Spinach Pancakes with Chilli Yoghurt and Red Lentil Soup with Garlic Labneh. 
  • Light Meals: recipes to try include: Indian Summers Salad, Chickpea Tikkis and Masala Dal Vegetable risotto.
  • Traditional Thalis: standout recipes include: Gujerati Dal, Cauliflower and Pea Curry and Chhutti Dal.
  • Desserts: recipes to try include: Mango Shirkhand Cheesecake, Carrot Malpua with Frozen Yoghurt & Blueberries and Spiced Walnut Cake.
  • Spiced Drinks: standout recipes include: Masala Almond Milk and Saffron Limeade. 

I decided to serve the cauliflower and pea curry as a side dish, with chicken tikka (I know, not quite ready to have an all veggie meal yet), dal and naan bread.

Cauliflower and Pea Curry
Serves 4 as part of a thali or 2 as a main dish.
350g - 400g cauliflower florets (about 1 cauliflower)
150g frozen peas
2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp Madras curry powder
1 tsp Himalayan salt or sea salt

First cut the cauliflower into small florets and rinse the peas in hot water a couple of times. To make the curry base, heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and cook until the mustard seeds pop, then add the cauliflower and peas. 
Next add the rest of the ingredients and stir everything together. Leave the curry to cook on a low heat for 20-30 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked but still a little crunchy.

The lovely people at Jacqui Small Publishing is giving one lucky ready a copy of Saffron Soul, to be in with a chance follow the instructions below:

  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget.
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand corner of the right side of the website using Google Friend connector) this is an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT.
  • For additional entries, like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus. 
  • All entries will be checked and verified.
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 14.5.17-11.6.17
  • Winners will need to respond within 5 working days of being contacted.
  • The competition is open to UK residents, aged 18 or over.
  • Jacqui Small publishing will post a copy of the book.
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Island Granola

This is the sort of breakfast, which gives me the get up, and go. My Island Granola brings a little sunshine and warmth to your morning breakfast; the combination of spices, dried fruits and nuts makes for a delectable and exquisite breakfast. Homemade granola is far superior in taste compared to shop brought packets and I’ll let you in with a secret: once you make your own granola, you will never go back to shop brought, that’s what happened to me. Granola is actually quite easy to make and if you get chance, do make my jumble berry compote, especially when the berries are in season. Island granola served with jumble berry compote, is my preferred accompaniment, the combination of Jamaican flavours with English fruits is how many of my recipes are Jamaican-English mash up dishes.

You will need a large mixing bowl, a large oven tin or foil.

Makes 600g Serves 5-6 people
400g rolled porridge oats
200g mixed dried fruits and nuts (raisins, apricots, banana chips & Brazil nuts)
3 tablespoon oil vegetable oil
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon all spice
60g dark brown sugar
4 tablespoon maple syrup or honey or golden syrup
Drizzle of vegetable oil for greasing the oven tin.

For the jumbleberry and lemon compote.
500g mixed berries (raspberry, strawberry and blueberry)
6tbsp caster sugar
½ lemon

Preheat the oven to gas mark 3. Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, ensuring the oats are covered with the maple syrup vanilla extract and oil until thoroughly combined. Lightly grease a baking sheet (or foil) place in the oven tin. Add the grana in the oven tin and place the trays in the middle of the oven, stir every 10 minutes or so, as this will ensure the granola will be golden throughout. Leave the granola to cool and store in an airtight container. The Tropical granola should last a month.

For the jumbleberry compote
Place the mixed berries and sugar in a saucepan. Add the juice of ½ lemon in the pan.
Simmer the fruits for around 8 minutes or until the syrup can coat the back of a spoon.
Leave the compote to cool, and then serve with the granola.

The compote can be kept for up to 3 days when stored in an airtight jar/container in the fridge.


Thursday, 4 May 2017

What I ate in New York

It's the 4th of May and i'm enjoying some glorious weather in the West Midlands and I'm reminiscing about the fantastic 5 days/4 nights in the city that never sleeps, the Big Apple and arguably the most known city in the world. This is the first time I visited New York, I had a mental picture of some of the dishes that I wanted to try. New York has so many food delights, it's a real melting pot food wise and huge portions, which was right up my street. When I go on city breaks, I always try to eat in local eateries and avoid the tourist traps. How I see it, is if the locals are dining in an eatery, then it must be good.  I would often ask at delis their recommendations of where to eat. There are numerous street food stands that sell snacks such as pretzels and hotdogs if you fancy a cheap and cheerful snack. I thought it would be fun to share some of the dishes my friend and I ate. As you can see, there was not a single diet in place. 

Here are the dishes that I tried:
Big Nicks: 70W 71st Street.

Pongsri - 244 West 48th Street (Theatre district)  


Times Square Diner - 807 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

Sylvias Harlem Restaurant - 328 MALCOLM X BOULEVARD NEW YORK, NY 10027

Meal in Chinatown:

Il Forno -713 8th avenue, NewYork 10036

© Charlene Flash | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig