Monday, 26 June 2017

Pineapple Jam

Pineapple is quintessentially tropical. When pineapples are readily available in the UK (May-September) turn a couple of these prickly fruits into this sweet, sticky and sublime pineapple jam. I like to spread this on toasted harddough bread or Jamaican bun, but a slice of sourdough, or sandwiched between a sponge cake would be equally delicious; the possibilities are endless.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hr – 1 hr 15 minutes.
Makes 3 x 250 ml jars
You will need a large saucepan,  potato masher, side plate and thermometer if using.

Ingredients
1 large Whole Fresh Pineapple or 2 small pineapples (around 1 kg)
1.5 litres water
600g granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp cinnamon

Method
Place a side plate in the freezer. Peel the pineapple skin and discard the stem so that it resembles bite size chunks.

Place the pineapple pieces in a large pan and using a potato masher, mash half the pineapple pieces so you have a combination of pieces and some that are mushy. Add the sugar, cinnamon and water and stir off the heat. Put a side plate in the freezer. Heat the saucepan on a medium heat (the mixture should be softly bubbling away) and bring the marmalade to the boil – this will take around 30 minutes, lower the heat and leave to simmer, cook for a further 30 – 45 minutes until the mixture is syrupy and thick, place in the sterilised jars and enjoy.  

To check whether the marmalade has set, remove the plate on the side plate, dollop a couple of tablespoon on the side plate from the freezer. Using your fingers, push the marmalade surface the outer edges should wrinkle and not be too runny. If the marmalade has not set, continue to boil for another 3 minutes then re-test. Alternatively using a thermometer, check whether the pineapple has reached 105C.

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Friday, 14 October 2016

Plantain, Okra & Chorizo Hash

As the Autumn nights drawer, I fancy hearty and lavish weekend breakfast. The inclusion of plantain is beautiful combined by the crunchy and refreshing okra and the bold flavours of the chorizo. The oven does the majority of the work here and you are awarded with a scrumptious brunch. A great way to start the weekend.



Plantain, Okra and Chorizo Hash
Serves 3
2 tbsp olive oil
150 g okra, tops and ends removed and sliced.
1.5 yellow plantain, skin peeled
1 yellow pepper, stems removed and sliced into strips
2 spring onions, sliced
125g chorizo, diced
1 tbsp fresh sage
3 duck eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh chives for topping

Method
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Drizzle a little oil in an oven proof dish and bake the plantain in the oven for 15 minutes. They should be soft when pressed down with your fingertip and almost springy. Once baked remove and thinly slice.
Pour the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the okra for around 5 minutes. Add the plantain, pepper, spring onions, chorizo, sage, salt and pepper to taste and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Crack the duck eggs in three corners of pan. Place the frying pan in the oven and bake for around 10 minutes or until the eggs are set. Remove from the oven and scatter with chives.

Serve on its own or with buttered crusty bread.
xxx



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Thursday, 22 September 2016

Stewed Peas

Purists may frown on me as I present, my version of “stewed peas”. Traditionally stewed peas (kidney beans stewed in a broth and with seasoning) is cooked with pigs tail. Why pigs tail? It is flavorsome, the pork fat provides the necessary flavor and offers meat at a ridiculously cheap price. Also, I think the pigs tails is a lasting legacy from Jamaica’s colonial history. 
Although my local market sells pigs tails (there is a large Caribbean community and this sells well), many markets and supermarkets do not sell pigs tails so I thought I would go for the next delicious and economic cut of the old hog, a gammon joint. The gammon cooked and added with the peas (kidney or gungo) and spices served with rice make a modern take on a Jamaican classic, but nevertheless a hearty one.


Ingredients
1 gammon joint weighing
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp mustard
400g kidney beans, drained
400g gungo peas(use 2x tin of kidney beans if you can’t get hold of gungo peas).
1 onion, skin removed, finely diced
2 tbsp West Indian hot pepper sauce
Pinch of black pepper
3-4 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic.

Method
Leave the gammon to soak overnight in a large saucepan, the following day drain the water and refill with fresh water. When you are ready to cook the gammon, drain the water and marinade with the honey and mustard. Pour two cups of cold water to the saucepan and boil on a low heat for 1.5 hours with the lid on. After 1.5 hours, carefully remove the gammon and place on a chopping board. Pour the excess water from the pan and only leave around ½ cup of water. Add the onion, kidney and gungo peas, hot pepper sauce, thyme and garlic and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the gammon into thin bite size pieces and add back to the pan with the peas. Cook for a further 10 minutes.


It’s traditional to serve this with rice but it also goes well with herb-drenched potatoes or a baked potato.

xxx
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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Caribbean Food Week Street Party Spread

Caribbean Food Week #CFW2016 is entering it's fifth year with the celebrations starting on August 22nd - 29th. Grace Foods, the UK'S number 1 Caribbean food and drink company will be hosting series of foodie events in Windrush Square in Brixton. They've asked food bloggers to come up with their best street party spread and Caribbean recipes using the beautiful hamper that was given. Now, living in Costa del West Midlands, the weather is not always the best. But what I love about Caribbean food is that it's perfect for the warm weather but also gives a tropical element in colder rainier climates. Anyway, I invited some of my friends round and had a light afternoon feast of some Caribbean inspired foods using some of these products. 



Menu 
Jerk pork chops
Rice and Peas
Fried Plantains
Callaloo Balls
Tomato, Celery, Spring Onion and Coriander salad.

Other items that I would of have included if time permitted were saltfish fritters and festivals.





Now as my hamper contained Jerk BBQ sauce it was only right that I marinaded the pork chops with this. This was simply, a couple of drizzles on each pork chop and baked in the oven. Of course, if the weather permits use the barbecue. There are many rice and peas recipes out there on the net and via cookbooks and you need not to worry about the quality of the beans as having used Dunns River Peas and Beans they make a wonderful rice and peas. The callaloo (a wild form of spinach) was turned into a lovely side of callaloo balls, simply by adding breadcrumbs, egg yolk, Dunns River Tropical seasoning and then rolled into balls. 

I already use many of the products included in the hamper and know how wonderful and authentic they taste. If you get chance, visit your local supermarket as there is likely to be special offers on some of these wonderful products during #CFW2016. For more Caribbean Food Week inspiration check out other entries and recipe ideas via their Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: I received the hamper for review purposes.
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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Caribbean Green Seasoned Pork Chops

Green seasoning is a fragrant, widely used type of seasoning throughout the Caribbean. Depending upon which island you or your family are originally from, is likely to influence on how popular green seasoning is used. My family being Jamaican, this is not a seasoning we would use often, compared to say curry or jerk, nevertheless it is a seasoning that is used. Islands where there tends to be a greater Indian or Spanish influence such as Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba and Puerto Rico, this type of seasoning is more popular - don't ask me why, I can answer that a 100%, but I suppose it's likely to do with the diversity of ethnicities.
What I love about these green seasoned pork chops, is that the pork chops are moist and succulent, but aromatic flavoured. I don't always fancy heat (step away from the scotch bonnet), but I always want flavour. Big bold flavours.



You will need a food processor and oven proof dish.
Serves 3
Ingredients
3 pork loins
2 stalks of celery, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves
7g fresh coriander, sliced
7g fresh parsley
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp salt
30 ml water
pepper to taste

Method 
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Wash the vegetables and cut the vegetables into bite size junks, place in the food processor alongside the oil and salt and pepper . Pulse until the vegetables are blended of a similar consistency of pesto. Smoother the pork loins with the green seasoning and place in a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, turning over during the mid way point. Serve with potatoes, salad or sourdough bread.
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Sunday, 18 October 2015

Blue Mountain Coffee Tart.

The beautiful, picture perfect and naturally breathtaking Blue Mountain which borders Portland St Thomas, St Mary and St Andrew parishes in Jamaica is something that I have heard about, on numerous occasions  as a child. The Blue Mountains and the natural stunning beauty which attracts visitors every year, was not discussed in depth, i.e the mountain range, activities that can be done there etc, my nan spoke of the coffee. As I became older and enjoyed and then became addicted to coffee (Carte Noire is my favourite), my nan reminisced how her grandfather (my maternal great grandfather) would spend his mornings sitting on the veranda drinking a hot steaming mug of Blue Mountain Coffee and alternating sips with eating juicy plump mangoes. I was fascinated.

I have been meaning to try one of the most famous exports which hails from Jamaica, but having trailed through some well-known online stores and the cheapest jar being £25, it would be a very expensive cup of coffee. As much as I love indulging in nice food items, I preferred to wait until my next trip to Jamaica and stock up the famous coffee, to be enjoyed at my home in the West Midlands. Before I purchased the beans and instant Blue Mountain Coffee, I was excited to see the Blue Mountains, on not one but two occasions. The view when I saw this first, from Beverley Hills Kingston was simply breathtaking. The mountains took over the landscape and it was a beauty to withhold. The second time I saw the Blue Mountains is when I went to Portland, the tops of the mountains had a hazy slightly grey cloud above it. I really wish I was able to see the Blue Mountains on a clear day so that I could see the tops of the mountain "blue" hence the name. I was more eager than ever to purchase the famous coffee. I purchased some coffee beans and instant coffee, for a barginous £15. Having drank a couple of hot mugs, the taste is intense and yet delicate, the flavour is not overbearing and there is a warmthness to every sip. I fancied making something different using this coffee and an inventive idea that I came up with (first thing in the morning, when hungry and craving coffee) was a Blue Mountain Coffee Tart. I love a tart, that's no secret, but as the dark nights are drawing in, I wanted to make something homely and this was the perfect hit. A light and decadent  dessert.
Blue Mountain Coffee Tart

Blue Mountain Coffee Tart


Creme Fraice and Sugar

Nutmeg added

Eggs added

Pre-bake

Baked tart.

Recipe for Blue Mountain Coffee Tart
You will need a flan/tart tin and a saucepan.
Ingredients
1 packet Jus Rol shortcrust pastry
300ml creme fraiche
80g caster sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1 1/2 instant Blue Mountain coffee dissolved in 4 tbsp hot water

Method 
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Lay the pastry in the tart tin, cover with baking parchment paper and blind bake on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes. Whilst the pastry is blind baking, heat the saucepan on a low heat, pour the creme fraiche, caster sugar and nutmeg until the sugar is dissolved - this should take around 5 minutes. Crack the eggs in the saucepan and heat gently.
 In a mug dissolve 1 1/2 tbsp Blue Mountain Coffee in 4 tbsp hot water, pour this to the sauce pan. The pastry should be ready, remove from the oven and pour the coffee mixture in the tin. Bake for around 35 minutes, or until there is a slight wobble in the centre.
Serve with ice-cream or custard.
Enjoy

I am sharing this to a couple of blog challenges. First up is Inheritance recipes, hosted by Pebble Soup. and Coffee and Vanilla.  This month's theme is Comfort Food. My coffee tart is comfort food and something that I would love to share with my future children.



xxx
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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Plantain Loaf

I adore plantain, in particular yellow plantains (there are two types, yellow and green). I'm sure you are aware of that, the starchy vegetable which tastes so sweet is tropical, yet so comforting. There seems to be more and more ways where I am able to in-cooperate plantains in my recipes and eaten widely in African, Caribbean and Latin American communities. Overripe yellow plantains (where the plantains are blackened all over), have such a versatile use other than frying them and when I recently had some over-ripe plantains, I decided to use them in this delicious and easy loaf. 
The topping of my Plantain loaf can either be dressed up and made sweet with a sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg or raisins or can remain as a savoury loaf served with lashings of margarine or slices cheese.  What’s the difference between an ordinary banana loaf or plantain loaf – it’s simple the plantains have a much more robust texture and favour, which I adore.
My plantain loaf is a beautiful, moist and delectable  loaf is to make and is ready in around an hour,  perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast. What's more, I make the mixture in the food processor to make my life a little easier, saves on washing up and arm work.
This is a delightful loaf,  perfect weekend loaf for all the family to enjoy. 

Plantain Loaf

Plantain loaf

Plantain loaf

Plantain loaf mixture

Plantain loaf, pre-bake
You will need 900g loaf tin and a food processor.
Recipe for plantain loaf
50g butter
50g sugar
2 overripe plantains, peeled and sliced.
30ml natural yoghurt
30ml semi-skimmed milk
1tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
180g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Fry light (for greasing the loaf tin)

Method
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C/350F, grease the loaf tin using fry light spray

In a food processor, add the butter and sugar and blend. Add the plantains, alongside the natural yoghurt, milk, cinnamon and 2 eggs. Blend again. Finally, add the flour, pinch of salt and baking powder. Give the mixture another quick blend and transfer to the loaf tin. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for around 45 minutes. The loaf should be ready when after testing with a skewer it comes out clean.


xxx
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