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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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Calaloo and Cheddar Tart

I love calalloo a leafy green leaf, similar to spinach, originating in West Africa and eaten throughout the Caribbean, it has such a robust flavour.  This tart is perfect for the Spring and Summer months and is incredibly light. I love serving this for picnics and al fresco dining alike. Serve with a leafy garden salad.



You will need: mixing bowl, dried beans and  9 inch flan tin
Preparation Time: 10 minutes plus cooling time.
Cooking Time: 45 minutes.

Ingredients
Fry light for greasing
1 quantity of shortcrust pastry or (1 shop brought ready rolled shortcrust pastry)
1 orange pepper, thinly sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 green birdseye chilli, thinly sliced
3 eggs
125 ml semi-skimmed milk
100g mature cheddar cheese
280 g tinned calaloo or (200g fresh spinach,  washed and finely chopped)
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Lightly grease the flan tin with a couple of sprays of fry light. Lay the shortcrust pastry over a flan dish place a baking sheet with dried beans and blind bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the orange pepper, spring onions and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the 3 eggs, milk and 50g of cheese, until everything is well mixed. Open the tin of calaloo (or spinach if using), place in a colander and rinse.

Remove the flan tin from the oven and remove the baking paper. Add the peppers, spring onions and calaloo in the tart case, try to smooth evenly. Add the egg-milk mixture over the flan tin and top with the remaining 50g cheese. Bake for around 30 minutes on the top shelf, or until golden brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

xxx
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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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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, 22 January 2017

Smashed Avocado & Crab Bruschetta

I vividly remember having a similar lunch, an avocado and crab sandwich on Jamaican hard ouch bread, whilst on holiday to Jamaica a few years ago at my aunties home. It's amazing the tropical delights you can rustle up for a quick lunch when you are residing in a warm tropical climate. I've recreated my tasty lunch but using tinned crab, which is perfectly fine as after all, who goes to source fresh crab to put in a sandwich.


Serves 3-4 (depending upon appetite)

Ingredients
170 g cooked crabmeat
1 teaspoon crushed dried chillies
large squeeze of half a lime
1 small avocado, skin and stone removed
1 spring onion, finely diced.
salt and pepper to taste.
1 baguette, sliced. 

Method
In a small bowl mix the crab meat, crushed chillies and lime and set aside. In another small bowl, mash the avocado using a fork, add the spring onions, salt and pepper and mix well. Slice the baguette 1cm thick and lightly toast until they are light brown on each side. Spoon a tablespoon of the avocado on the baguette slices followed by a tablespoon of the crab.

xxx



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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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