Monday, 20 March 2017

Smashed Banana Pancakes

I fancied something tropical and healthy for breakfast but not something boring. I'm trying to eat more protein based dishes as I find that protein based dishes keeps me going for longer. I never associated pancakes with being good for you, but I found a recipe that combines both sweet and is protein based from Caribbean Modern. I'm a big supporter of anything Caribbean and I loved the tropical and sunshine feel to these pancakes. I topped mine with a drizzle of golden syrup and dates, which combined with the bananas made a welcoming change for the usual breakfast fare.

Serves 4-6
Makes about 8-12 pancakes
Time: 10 minutes prep & 20 minutes cooking.

25g self-raising four, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp cocoa nibs or chocolate chips
pinch sea salt
4 large, overripe bananas, roughly mashed with a fork
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 small free-range eggs, beaten
2 tbsp natural yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 free-range egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
virgin coconut oil, for frying,

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips) and salt until well combined. 
Place the smashed banana in a separate, large bowl, along with the maple syrup, then stir in the flour mixture then the beaten eggs, yoghurt and vanilla extract until well combined.
In a separate  bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until soft peaks remain when the whisk is removed.
Mix a quarter of the egg whites into the banana mixture then gently fold in the remainder.
In a large frying pan, on a medium heat, a tablespoon of coconut oil, tilting the pan to ensure the oil covers the base. Ladle out a little of the batter (about 4-5 tablespoons) and tilt around the pan so that the batter forms roughly a 10cm pancakes. Cook until the pancake is golden and dry underneath, about 30 seconds to a minute, then flip over and cook for a further 30 seconds to a minute, until the pancake is cooked through. Repeat with the remaining bate and serve immediately with a topping of your choice. 



Saturday, 5 December 2015

My Favourite Cookbooks of 2015 plus Christmas Giveaway #4

This is a post that I have been looking forward to for many months. In fact, it's my first post where I am sharing my favourite cookbooks in a year. Cookbooks are very close to my heart, not least because it really opened my eyes to the diversity of cooking when I was a student, but also with every dish created, a memory of your own is created. It seems that almost everyone has wrote a cookbook  this year from celebrity chefs, bloggers and TV presenters. But, what makes a good cookbook for me is not just one which the recipes work (this is of course incredibly important), but also where there is real passion shown across each page and a story. I love a good food story, I want to know why you have decided to include this recipe in your cook book, what makes it work and whats the history behind this. There has been a bumper collection of cookery books this year, one of the perks of being a blogger is that I am often sent cookbooks to review. I also treat myself every pay day to a cookbook or three. Oh and when I go abroad, I always have to buy a cookbook from that country. Needless to say, I have a ridiculously growing collection of cookbooks. But this year there has been some gems, beautiful food writing, inventive and colourful recipes and most importantly dishes that taste sublime. So without further ado, here are my favourite cookbooks of 2015 (in no particular order).

The Picnic Cookbook
I love the idea (and in a ideal world I would spend my spare time) of having a picnic, but this something I rarely do. But why is this one of my favourite cookbooks of the year, entitled The Picnic Cookbook, considering I don't really do picnics: I love how Laura Mason has revolutionised the concept of picnic, of which many think involves sandwiches. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the history of picnics from the Victorian era to today. For every occasion, there is a picnic dish to prepare and eat with loved ones. I also loved the recipes which incorporated world foods such as the delicious Cypriot feast and also Koftas and Naans. The photographs are simply stunning and the food looks mouthwatering. 

A Lot on Her Plate
Rosie Birkett is one of the UK most exciting voices in food. I knew that she would be releasing a book as I follow Rosie on social media. There was extensive of media coverage upon her book release back in April. What makes this cookbook and become one of my favourite this year, is that her recipes are incredibly inventive, versatile and comforting. In an era were a lot are focusing on "clean eating", Rosie shows the reader how to make wholesome, fulfilling and inspiring dishes. I also like her frugal/flush approach, showing that good food can be eaten whatever your budget may be. Rosie's book also shares her story and her food experiences from a child up until now. As shared in my review post, this a cookery book for the seasoned cook and one to stretch your imagination. Of all the books in this round up, this is the one that I have cooked the most from.

Vanilla Table
Perhaps it's my naivety or not really understanding the power of vanilla, but I was positively astounded with the versatility of vanilla. It helps that this cookery book is elegant in design and the photographs are stunning. Prior to this book, I have primarily used vanilla in sweet baking. However, with 9 chapters from starters to drinks, to brunch and to snacks, vanilla can be included in every meal, any time of the day. I love reading Natasha' love affair of Vanilla, alongside the chefs contributions to this cookbook manual. The Spiced Lime Smoothie that I made is one which I have revisited on many occasions, alongside many of the brunch recipes. 

I'm sure the debut book for Olia Hercules will be featured on many cook book round up posts this month. Olia has shared the cuisine of her culture and heritage which is shared through her evocative food writing. Ukranian food is not something that is, well, exactly popular in the UK, but in Mamushka, the diversity of recipes eaten across the Ukraine and beyond are beautifully shared. I love the vibrant and exotic recipes and you will be pleased to know that the majority of the ingredients can be found in supermarkets. From the Georgian Garlicky Poussins to the Prague Cake or the Pork Ribs and Dumplings, I wanted to bookmark every recipe and I'm sure you will too.

Caribbean Modern
A round up would not be complete without a Carribean cookbook, I always like to read recipes from other Caribbean islands. This one, by Shivi Ramoutar showcasing lighter, brighter and colourful recipes. I loved the inclusion of many Trinidadian recipes, the accessible recipes, the easy to follow recipes. Above all, I've made a number of recipes, all of which tasted delicious. I loved the bag baked sea bass with black bean salsa. 

The lovely people at Octopus Books and Pavillion books are giving one reader a copy of Mamushka and a copy of The Picnic Cookbook. Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.
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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Caribbean Modern Book Review and Interview with Shivi Ramoutar

Caribbean Modern: Recipes From The Rum Islands, by supper club host and chef Shivi Ramoutar was released last month, to rave reviews by newspapers, magazines and food professionals. I eat a lot of Caribbean food at home, being of Jamaican heritage, however I am always surprised with the new recipes from the Caribbean islands. Shivi's heritage is from Trindiad, Trinidad born, Leicester and London raised I believe and that certainly shows with the number of Trinidad recipes that feature in this book. I have been almost desperate to find authentic recipes on "Shark and Bakes" and "Pelau" so pleased these dishes were featured in her cookbook. What I love about Caribbean Modern, is that all the dishes are so vibrant, colourful and exotic, exactly what Carbbean food is. There were so many recipes which I have bookmarked to try from this book, so far, I've made three dishes: Bag Bakes Sea Bass with Black Bean Salsa, Geera Pork Chops with Citrus Garlic Germolata and Ginger-Dressed Tomato, Orange and Ginger Salad.

The cookbook is split into the following chapters:
  • Introduction
  • Notes On The Recipes
  • Cutters (Snacks For Sharing)
  • Soups and Salads
  • One Pot
  • Two Pots or Three
  • Something On The Side
  • Sweet Things
  • Sticky-Fingered Good
  • Drink UP
  • For the Larder
By far one of my favourite dishes from Caribbean Modern is this incredibly light, flavoursome, tropical and healthy Bag Baked Sea Bass with Black Bean Salsa. 

I've never heard of "Geera, it's cumin pork, but I loved it, instantly. The pork chops was juicy and succulent, flavoursome and lush. Served with roasted vegetables, this dish is certainly a healthier way to eat a chop.

I love salad, especially as it's the Summer months. But salad combing heat, with fruit and more fruit (tomatoes are a fruit), I wasn't sure whether it would work, but it does. Marvelously.

Congratulations on your debut book, Caribbean Modern, I love it's fresh and light take on Caribbean cuisine.

11) What has been your inspiration behind your book?
The inspiration behind my book has come from my family and my upbringing between Trinidad and Leicestershire (UK).  Both countries provided a wealth of different flavours, ideas and ingredients that have impacted my recipes and creations.  It is particularly apparent in some of my recipes where I combine ideas from both regions, or adapt recipes that my family would cook in Trinidad, to take into account ingredients that are more readily available in the UK.

12)  In the UK, Caribbean food tends to be overlooked compared to other cuisines, why do you think this is?
I think this is definitely changing.  Perhaps in the past, the most well-known Caribbean exports would have been Jerk and Goat Curry, dishes that are boldly flavoured, but not necessarily the most beautiful dishes to look at, particularly if you had no idea as to how wonderfully flavourful they are.  Otherwise, Caribbean cuisine wasn’t so easy to find in the mainstream, so it went a little un-noticed.  But the UK as a nation has progressively become more adventurous and excited to try new cuisines, it is so wonderful to see.  That and the fact that we are travelling more and also the internet making the World ‘smaller’.  Caribbean food joints are popping up on the High Street across the UK. And the beauty about Caribbean food is that, because if its wide-ranging influences (British, Dutch, French, Spanish to Chinese to West African to Indian) it is both exotic and yet so familiar.

13)   You’ve introduced us to Trinidadian cuisine, what is your favourite dish from Trinidad?
    This is a tricky one.  I love it all!  At a push, if I had to decide, I’d go with ‘Buljol Butties’ - a breakfast dish of shredded salt fish with fresh vegetables (peppers, chives, tomato, lime and avocado) served in an absolutely drool-inducing, but easy to make bread, called ‘Fried Bakes’.  It is the perfect combination of sweet, savoury and tangy.  It is also vibrantly colourful and fresh.

14)   What dish would you recommend for those who may not have cooked Caribbean cuisine?

You know, I would go with 'Buljol Butties’ - not only because it is one of my favourites dishes, but it is easy to make but the results are so moreish!

15)   Who is your biggest culinary inspiration?
My family – my Ma, Pa, Mama and Aunties and Uncles.  They are all so passionate about food – both cooking and eating and it is such a joy to watch all of them do this.  I think I have said so many times before, but the Caribbean ethos is all about spontaneous hospitality, food, its creation and the enjoyment of it.  And you can see this everytime I watch any of my family members cook.  It never comes across as boring or routine.

16)   Best way to “lime” in the UK?
     Everyway, anyway and anywhere is the best way.  Have some food in one hand and a drink in the other, take your shoes and socks of, put on a little ‘soca’ music and chill with a friend or a random.

Thank you Shivi for taking the time to answer my questions. 
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