Monday, 27 November 2017

What I ate in Jamaica 2017

It's almost been a month since I've returned from the tropical island that is Jamaica. I've eaten a wonderful range of food, I can safely say I ate enough jerk chicken and ackee and salt fish to last me the rest of the year.
Here is what I ate:























xxx
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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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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

Method
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.




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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.

Ingreidents
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,

Method
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. 

xxx

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Friday, 17 March 2017

Fried Dumplings

Fried Dumplings are the perfect for carnival snack and you will almost certainly see this as a side dish during the festivities. I watched my nan make these crispy delights as a child, with a very simple batter of flour, water and salt. My uncle  took the fried dumplings to a whole new level with his flour, butter, milk and salt combo, fried in the deep fat fryer..... mmmmm, I’m salivating thinking how gorgeous his version were. My dumplings are a hybrid between the two, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

 You will need a large  mixing bowl and a wok.
Makes 12 – 15 dumplings

Ingredients
600 self-raising flour
75g margarine
225ml semi-skimmed milk
½ teaspoon salt
2 – 3 tablespoons of water 
200ml vegetable oil for frying.

Method
Sift the flour, in the mixing bowl and add the salt and the margarine. It’s probably easier to mix in the margarine using your fingertips. Pour half the milk into the flour and mix using a wooden spoon. Pour the remaining milk and water into the flour, mix again.  Turn the flour onto a floured surface and using your hands begin to knead the dough for 10 minutes, you are after a dough that resembles bread dough.
Form the dough into 12 – 15 balls. Pour the oil into the wok, turn the heat on high until the oil is hot (drop a small cube of bread and after 1 minute the bread should be golden brown). When you are ready to fry the dumplings, turn the heat on low, place the dumplings in the wok and fry for 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

 Test they are cooked by pushing a fork in the middle of the dumplings, if it yields and the fork comes out clean, its ready to come out of the oil.
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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Jamaican Bun Loaf Cake

Last year, I shared a Caribbean Christmas tradition that's popular in my household, Black Cake. This year, I'll be using the festive dried fruits to make Jamaican Bun. Many Jamaicans eat Bun - a rich, fruit soaked loaf cake over Easter, but more and more of my family members are eating bun over Christmas too. This year, I will be doing the same. Not being one for Christmas pudding or traditional Christmas cake, I'll be baking this load cake and topping with seasonal cheese such as Stilton and apricots or wenyesdale with cranberries. If you are feeling particular indulgent, the leftovers, if there's are any, makes a wonderful breakfast. 




Ingredients
Butter for greasing
75 g butter, diced
2 tablespoon treacle
100ml red wine (or semi-skimmed milk if you are going alcohol free)
75 g dark muscovodo sugar
350g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon gravy brownings
1 teaspoon ground ginger
75 g raisins
50 g mixed peel
1 egg yolk, beaten

Method
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease a 900 g loaf tin using butter. In a mixing bowl, add the butter, treacle, wine and sugar heat in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir. In a separate mixing bowl, add the self-raising flour, baking powder, mixed spice, all spice, nutmeg, gravy browning and ginger, make a well. Pour the wet ingredients in the well and mix well using a wooden spoon. Add the raisins and mixed peel – mix again. Transfer the mixture to a loaf tin and smooth over using a spatula. Brush the loaf with the beaten egg.  Bake on the top shelf for 40 minutes. To test whether the bun is cooked, insert a skewer if there is no mixture on there it is ready. Leave to cool slightly before turning over and slicing.

You can eat the bun with butter, jams or if you want the traditional, slices of butter with cheddar cheese.

xxx
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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Monthly Eatings

A bumper double month of my September and October restaurants. I forgot to do a round up of my September's restaurants as I was on holiday, but I had a fabulous time eating around Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Beyond.

First up in September was the home of the carvery, Toby Carvery



Turtle Bay - The Caribbean food chain offering traditional and invented recipes.






Banks Bistro - offering a seasonal British menu.






Patisserie Valerie



Arabica Bar & Kitchen







Shamrock restaurant




Miller and Carter







xxx



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