Thursday, 16 May 2013

My favourite Sunday breakfast.

For all my fellow bloggers who follow my Facebook page, you will be aware that I have a favourite breakfast, which commonly appears under my Weekend Breafast folder. Being of Jamaican heritage, I love nothing more than eating the traditional Jamaican Sunday breakfast which is fried fish (my favourite is Hake), fried plantin and roasted breadfruit. I'll begin by saying my favourtie traditional Jamaican (breakfast) dish is not the national dish, which is ackee and saltfish (I have been corrected on my Facebook page). I love the flavouring of a juicy piece of fish, fried in spices and "cooked up", with peppers  or escovitched in a lovely vinegarette sauce. To accompany my fish, I love nothing better than fried plantin, plantin looks similar to bananas but is a savoury dish, which is commonly eaten in the Africa, Caribbean and Latin America. Fried plantin is delicious, and it's quite difficult to try and describe how it tastes, as it is a very unique delicious taste. Another addition I like with my fried Hake, is roasted breadfruit. Again, breadfruit is found in Africa, Caribbean and Latin America, and has a lovely smooth texture when roasted and eaten.

Here a few of my favourite Sunday breakfast snaps:

Saltfish, roasted breadfruit and fried plantin.

Saltfish, fried dumplings and fried plantins.
Escovitch fish
Fried hake, roasted breadfruit and plantin
Benito fish, roasted breadfruit and bammi.

I have previously shared a recipe for fried dumplings and escovitch fish which can be found here. I have also shared recipes for saltfish fritters. The recipe which I will share today is my favourite accompaniment to fried dumplings, escovitch fish and saltfish fritters, which is fried plantin. Plantin is widely available in Caribbean food shops and resembles a bannana but has a different texture and a savoury taste when fried. If you want to see what a whole plantin looks like, there is a fantastic guide given over at bbc food website.

3 ripe plantins, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4 thick slices
200ml vegetable oil

Drizzle oil into a frying just enough to coat the bottom of the pan and place on a medium heat.
When the oil becomes hot, add the plantin pieces, in batches and fry for around 2 minutes on one side and 1 1/2 on the other side.
Remove the fried plantins and leave to rest on kitchen paper towels to absorb the oil whilst the remaainding plantins are fried.
Serve immediately

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Jerk drumsticks and honey and mustard saussage

For New Years Eve I decided on making a buffet (I usually do this every year) of very simple but tasty food to eat before the beginning of a detox. I love jerk chicken but to cook jerk chicken as they have it in Jamaica you would need to use a barbecue to recreate the authentic smokey flavour.
However, the next best method of cooking this is dish, is to use the oven to cook the marinaded chicken. I think as long as you have the core ingredients you can make one of Jamaica's well known dishes. Jerk chicken is spicy and full of flavour, and very easy to make. Once you marinade all the ingredients, and leave overnight to marinade, you can let the oven do all the work.

For the honey and mustard sausages its also very simple all you do is mix one tablespoon of honey and one teaspoon of mustard, mix together and baste the sausage with the marinade. Then roast in the oven for around 45 minutes turning frequently until cooked. The taste is delicious, and I think from now on this is the only way to have roasted sausages.
Here is how my jerk chicken turned out:

I first marinaded the chicken and left overnight. I then placed the drumsticks in the oven for 45 minutes until golden and brown.

Ingredients for sticky drumsticks with sugared oranges - taken  from Levi Roots Caribbean Food Made Easy.

12 drumsticks
2tbsp soft light brown or demerara sugar
2 pipless oranges
5 long, mild red chillies, whole and undamaged.

For the jerk marinade
4 spring onions, green part only, roughly chopped
1 hot red chilli (ideally scotch bonnet) seeds left in
3cm (1 1/4 inch) piece of root ginger, cut into chunks
2 tbsp thyme leaves
100 ml (3 1/2 floz) cider vinegar
3 tbsp honey
2tsp ground all spice
1tsp cinnamon
2tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1) Put the marinade ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth. Alternately, pound the ingredients to a paste using a pestle and mortar. Pour it over the drumsticks, turning them over so they are well coated. Leave to marinate, covered, in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight if more convenient turning the drumsticks over once or twice.
2) Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark . Cook the drumsticks, turning them over a few times until they are cooked and nicely brown, basting with any leftover jerk marinade.
3) While the drumsticks are cooking, sprinkle the sugar on to a plate and cut the oranges into quarters. Dip the cut sides of each piece into sugar and cook on the barbecue for a few minutes until the sugar has caramelised. Keep a close eye on the oranges to prevent them from burning. At the same time, chargrill the chillies.
Serve the drumsticks with the caramelised oranges and chargrilled chillies.



Saturday, 17 November 2012

Puerto Rican chicken.

I love Levi Root's Caribbean Food Made Easy cookbook, it's just as good as his debut "Reggae Reggae cook book". This recipe, is from the Spanish speaking, American colonial island of Puerto Rico, nestled between Dominican Republic ( a lovely holiday resort) and St Kitts and Nevis. This dish reminded me of Spanish Chicken, as it's a one-pot dish but the Caribbean flavours such as ginger, garlic, sweet peppers, chili, all spice and turmeric makes this dish distinctively Puerto Rican.
This dish turned out to be lovely, spicy and flavoursome and will make it again in the near future. I must urge anyone who has not tried Caribbean food to go and purchase this book!
Puerto Rican chicken
My family thoroughly enjoyed this, a simple one pot spicy Caribbean inspired dish.
Puerto Rican chicken baked
I first started by seasoning the chicken and leaving to marinade for several hours to allow the flavours to infuse.
Seasoned Puerto Rican chicken
Puerto Rican chicken pre bake.

Recipe for Puerto Rican Chicken
Serves 4
175g basmati rice
3 tbsp sunflower
8 chicken pieces
2 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
salt and pepper
1, onion, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 all spice berries - or grounded all spice
1 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
2cm root ginger
1 hot chili, ideally scotch bonnet.
600ml chicken stock
100g pitted green olives, ideally stuffed with pimento.

1) Wash the rice in a large bowl, changing the water until it runs clear. Heat the oil in a casserole 30cm. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the all-purpose seasoning and salt and pepper and brown them well on all sides (you don't need to cook it through at this point. Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside. Add the onion, peppers and garlic to the same pan and saute over a medium heat until the peppers are softening. Add the allspice, turmeric, ginger and chili and cook for a minute, stirring.
2) If you are using a casserole, reintroduce the chicken and continue to cook in this. If you are using a fry pan transfer everything to an ovenproof dish, about 30cm in diameter; it must be big enough to accommodate all the chicken in a single layer.
3) Pour the rice all round the chicken, pour over the stock, add the thyme and bay leaves and season everything really well. If cooking on the hob, continue to simmer gently over a low heat for 40 minutes.   If cooking in the oven, cook for 40 minutes at 190C/375F/gas mark . When it is cooked all the stock all the stock should be absorbed, the top golden and the chicken cooked through.
4) Scatter on the olives about 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time.


Friday, 19 October 2012

Levi Root's Sticky ginger and Guinness cake with ginger fudge icing.

It was my grandad's birthday a few days ago so what better way to say happy birthday then making a   cake. Now, I wanted to make something that would remind my grandad of Jamaica, as he was born there, but with a modern twist. My "modern twist" to a Jamaican cake is lavishing the cake with butter icing, my favourite! Jamaica is known for it's ginger cake, so I thought making a ginger cake would be the perfect cake to make. I, of course, went to my two Caribbean books "Levi Root's Caribbean Food Made Easy and Reggae Reggae cookbook". Only Caribbean Food Made Easy had a recipe for ginger cake "sticky ginger cake with lime icing", but with no picture. Now I know what a ginger cake looks like, I'm sure everyone does, but I wanted a picture for some inspiration, at least for the icing. So, I had a flick through my BBC Cakes and Bakes and found a lovely picture for ginger fudge icing.
I also know my grandad likes Guinness so I researched online to see whether I could combine the ginger and Guinness ....... and of course I can!. I found this recipe as inspiration which had  a combination of the ginger and Guinness and I though this must work. I am not one for recipe building or testing, I usually just follow the recipe to the latter. I used my internet research as inspiration and added 250ml of guinness to my ginger cake.
Here is how my cake turned out:
Ginger and Guinness cake

Guinness and ginger cake
Slice of ginger cake
This is a really simple cake, which has a spicy twang. You can really taste the flavours of the ginger and the Guinness and I think the Guinness beautifully complements the ginger cake. I followed the recipe for the icing to the latter, but the ginger did not really come through. However, most importantly, my grandad enjoyed the cake and that's what's most important, not my culinary preferences.
I first started by making the treacle:
 Once melted I let the mixture cool:
I then made a well and combined the beaten eggs with flour:

I then in-cooperated the wet ingredients to the dry and thoroughly combined and added 200ml of Guinness:
Placed in my cake tin:

Once baked, I left the ginger and Guinness cake to cool and got on with the butter icing.

Recipe for sticky ginger Guinness cake (adapted from Levi Roots Caribbean Food Made Easy).
Serves 8-10
155g butter, plus extra for greasing
115g soft dark brown sugar
115g treacle
55g preserved stem ginger, chopped
225g plain flour, sifted (I used self-raising flour)
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 large free range eggs
2-3 tbsp milk
200ml Guinness

For the ginger fudge icing (from BBC Cakes and Bakes)
4 tbsp ginger syrup, drained from the jar
300g icing sugar
140g unsalted butter
2 tsp lemon juice

1) Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Butter and base line a 18cm (7inch) cake tin. Melt the butter, sugar and treacle into a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Don't let it boil. When it's all melted and well combined, leave to cool a little and add the stem ginger.
2) Put the flour and ground ginger into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Put the beaten eggs and treacle mixture into the well and, using a wooden spoon, gradually mix the dry ingredients into the the wet ones (At this point, add the 200 ml of Guinness and the milk). Be careful to get a smooth batter.
3) Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours. When cooked, a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Don't open the oven door during cooking or the cake will sink a little.
4) Remove the cake from the oven and leave it in the tin for 15 minutes or so then turn it out to a wire rack to cool.

For the icing
5) Beat together the icing sugar, butter, lemon juice and the remaining ginger syrup, and spread over the cake.
I am entering this cake into the Baking with Spirit a monthly blogging challenge that is organised by Cake of the Week and invited fellow bloggers to make a cake with a chosen alcoholic ingredient. This month the challenge was using beer, and as my cake had Guinness this fulfils the challenge.


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Caribbean pork chops and hot sweet potato wedges with jerk butter.

Apologies for my lack of posting but I have had a hectic last few weeks on my course, and although I have cooked a lot over the last month, I have not had the opportunity to blog. I have had the opportunity to purchase some new cookbooks with my most recent purchases including Weight Watchers Hot and Spicy, Cook step, by step and Levi Roots Caribbean Food Made Easy. I have also been given Delia Smiths How to Cheat at Cooking and a book titled Cake and Slices  as gifts from my friends which were a lovely surprise.
I have chosen to blog from my Levi Roots book, and have been craving to not only eat, but to make Caribbean food. In my opinion, my nan is the best Caribbean cook, however Levi roots recipes come a close second. I decided on making "Jamaican pork chops"(p86). This recipe was delicious, tasty and flavoursome and very easy to make. If you are a begginer on making Caribbean food this is an easy recipe to start with, Caribbean flavours that will be a crowd pleaser.
Here is how my dish turned out:
I also made the sweet potato wedges which was AMAZING and the jerk butter was even better, I think jerk butter is the perfect accompoinenet to all spicy food. I also added a summery salad of sweetcorn, cucumbers and grated carrots which balanced the spicyness of the pork chops, and the sweet potato. As you can see the pork chops is somewhat covered with the sauce that the chops is cooked with, but that is simply my preference as a sauce.
I also made some ginger, pecan and rum brownies. I must admit when I was in Jamaica I did not eat chocolate brownies, but I think Levi is clever using the Caribbean ingredients to make traditional desserts. I accomponied my brownies with rum and raisin ice cream.

Back to the pork chops.
Serves 4
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt and pepper
1 onion
1 red pepper - cut into cubes
1 yellow pepper - cut into cubes
2 sticks of celery - cut into chunks
2cm root ginger finely chopped (I used ground ginger)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tbsp brown sugar
3 tsp dry mustard
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tbsp od West Indian hot sauce
3 tbsp tomato puree
400g can tomatoes
150ml water or chicken stock
boiled rice to serve.

1) Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3
2) Wash the meat and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Heat the oil in a frying pan, season the chops and brown them on both sides. Put them in an oven proof dish in which they can lie in a single layer.
3) In the fat left in the pan, cook the onion, peppers and celery until they are quite soft and onion is pale gold. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute, then stir in the sugar, mustard, lime and hot sauce. Cook for another minute before adding the tomato puree and tomatoes. Season, add te water or stock and stir again.
4) Pour the sauce over the chops and cook in the preheat oven for 1 1/2 hours or until the pork is tender and cooked through, and the sauce has reduced. Cover with foil if needed towards the end of cooking if overbrowning. Serve with rice.

Recipe for sweet potato wedges with jerk butter.
1.4 kg sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced about the size of an orange segment.
5 tbsp sunflower oil
3 tbsp soft light brown sugar
Juice of 2 limes

For the jerk butter
50g butter, slightly softened.
1/2 tbsp ground all spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayene pepper
1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp ground cinamon
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp brown sugar.

1) Preheat the oven to 200 C/400F/gas mark 6. Mix the sweet potato slices with olive oil, brown sugar and lim juice and season with pepper, turning them over in the flavourings of your hands. Lay them on a roasting tin in which the slices can lay over a single layer. Put into the oven and roast until tender- about 20 minutes turning them halfway through
2) Meanwhile, make the butter by mashing everything together. Either chill to let cold pats over the wedges, or use it already melted as a dip.

A must have book for those that like exotic spicy foods.

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