Latest Posts

Loretta’s Kitchen turns Supper Club

I finally succumbed to the pressure. Loretta’s Kitchen is making the transition to become a supper club.

It’s been just over 2 years since I launched the food blog – hosting a supper club hadn’t even entered my mind, I was hoping at the most to maybe get a few recipes published and write a cook book, but I wasn’t in a hurry! I enjoyed writing and soon began to develop a taste for food photography. Most of all I loved receiving the numerous messages and         e-mails from people as far as Australia asking me where to purchase casareep from? LOL it has been a lot of fun.

This is not the end of the food blog. No.

Like with most things I need to be challenged. For example I changed gyms last week and besides feeling pain in a totally different way, my body is responding really way to the and I am seeing the benefits already!

The food blog as interesting as it is – needs some energy injected into it – for my sanity at least. Plus people have been asking me ‘when are you going to let me taste your food? Why don’t you start a supper club?’ As much as I tried to divert the question, I couldn’t avoid the challenge and I soon realised it was the only way to get LLK to a wider audience.

So after attending a few ssupper club to check out the scene, I met a friendly guy called Leslie who runs West African Cooks and who has helped me immensely by providing me with the tools for setting up a supper club. Whilst at these supper clubs, I got to know the cooks some of whom also run street food stalls as well and found myself immersed in this ‘west africa foodie’ community, meeting the likes of Zoe from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen and Alicia from Chale (Lets Eat).

I met Fat Macy’s through networking.

Meg is the brainchild behind Fat Macy’s – which is a play on the acronym YMCA (MACY). Fat Macy’s was launched in March 2016.

YMCA

Showcasing the culinary efforts of a group of young homeless residents of the YMCA, Fat Macy’s supper clubs provide a pathway for independent living by inviting them to organise, create and curate culinary pop-up events across London.

Fat Macy’s overcomes the cycle of homelessness by using the project’s profits to create a specified housing deposit scheme. With every pop-up event, each chef can make an independent and progressive step in saving securely for their future.

Alongside increasing personal savings, Fat Macy’s resident chefs are trained in vital skills for independent living: understanding food hygiene; cooking; financial planning; running and curating events; and practical work experience.

After participating with Fat Macy’s for seven events, our chefs will be able to afford a deposit for a flat and a clear pathway into independent living.

I am so passionate about this project, it combines all my interests into one event: cooking, sharing, mentoring, hospitality, creativity and youth and social justice (see my other blog: http://www.acottonstateofmind.com)

There are still seats available – so come dine with us on 19 or 26 May 2016 – it would be great to finally meet some of you!

To book – follow the link below:

http://www.edibleexperiences.com/p/2399392055/Fat-Macys/460001/Fat-Macys-x-Lorettas-Kitchen

 

The New Black: Smoothie Bowl

I’ve been making smoothies  and juices on and off for a while now. Most of us have. We’ve bought into the fad that juices were the way forward to a ‘healthier you’. And in many ways they are: I wouldn’t consume the variety of vegetables and fruits as often as I do were it not for my blender. It really is a helpful way of getting all your nutrients in throughout the day.

I think some time last week I left the house with 3 different bottles filled with either fruit or vegetables juiced down to a pulp: breakfast, lunch and a ‘protein power smoothie’ for after the gym. Yes I’m on it!

If there is any set back with this, it’s with the opaque bottles. After my hard work colour co-ordinating  and blending turmeric, orange and carrot, it looked more like ‘sundown’ than sunrise yellow through the dim lens of the bottle.  Then it becomes a tad boring sipping kale juice through a straw everyday, which is sad really because most of us eat with our eyes first.

This is why the new trend of Smoothie Bowls gives smoothies the make over it has been crying out for. If you have the time on the weekend or mornings, try making a smoothie bowl. The recipe only works with fruits with a starchy like consistency like bananas (frozen or fresh), papaya, mango or even a nut or coconut butter which can give a similar ‘gloopy’ texture as this what you need to hold the avalanche of fruits and nuts that you will sprinkle on top of it.

Once you’ve done that just sit back and savour the flavours, textures and sights of this glorious bowl of goodness.

Below is the recipe for my vegan protein packed based smoothie which I absolutely adore! It’s usually my post-workout go to drink. But when I have time, I make a smoothie bowl…;-)

Enjoy x

 

The New Black: Smoothie Bowl

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 Banana*

1 Conference Pear

2 Dried deseeded Dates

2 cups Oat/Almond Milk

1 serving Sun Warrior Protein Powder (optional)

A Dash Almond Essence

2 tbsp mixed seeds (hemp, chia, flax)*

1 heap tsp Peanut Butter

A dash of Nutmeg powder

 

METHOD:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Use items marked with an * as toppings to arrange as you like
  3. Consume the same day.

 

Suya Popcorn Chicken

What to do with suya spice? That was the question. After all the sweat and grind trying to find the ingredients, I wasn’t really feeling a ‘suya kebab’, as I decided to call them. I’m also trying to stave off red meat. Except lamb, she says in her head. Clearly still a big struggle for me.

So I hunted around the internet and found this fun recipe by Ajoke – Suya Popcorn Chicken. I have adapted Ajoke’s recipe a bit to bring out more of the crispy light texture we love from popcorn chicken.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the key to crispy chicken pieces, is not flour, or even the batter, its cornstarch. A little goes a long way (for more on the science of good fried chicken see here).

So let me waste no more time, ladies and gentleman I present to you: Suya Popcorn Chicken!

IMG_3985

Chicken pieces marinating suya spices…

Suya Popcorn Chicken

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: 30
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

INGREDIENTS

400g Diced Chicken Breast

5 tbsp homemade Suya Spice paste

juice of 1 lemon or lime

2 1/2 cups of plain flour

1/2 cup corn starch

pinch of Salt and pepper (for the flour coating)

1 tbsp dried mixed herbs

2 cups of buttermilk

1 egg

Oil (frying)

Chilli Flakes (garnish)

 

METHOD:

  1. Cut the diced chicken pieces into halves they should be a bit bigger than a thumbnail.
  2. Clean the chicken with half the lime and some extra salt, rinse and drain off the water.
  3. Pour the remainder of the lime over the chicken with the suya paste and rub it into the chicken with your hands. (This is a paste as opposed to a powder because I used fresh ginger, garlic and onion which I minced before adding to the remaining ground spices).
  4. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 1 – 2 hours or longer.
  5. In the meantime prepare a 3 bowls: i) half the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper and herbs ii) remaining plain flour iii) buttermilk and egg  whisked
  6. Start to heat oil in a deep pot (about 1/2 full) keep to a medium/high heat.
  7. Take 4-5 pieces of chicken and toss it into bowls in the following order: i) plain flour ii) buttermilk iii) seasoned flour. Place on a separate plate to give the chicken bites time to bind with the coating before carefully placing them in the oil.
  8. The chicken should instantly float to the top, turn them after 1 minute to create an even coating, remove with a slotted spoon after 2 1/2 – 3 minutes.
  9. You can transfer the cooked pieces to kitchen towel initially to remove the excess oil. However I find placing the cooked pieces on a cooling rack (with kitchen towel underneath them) keeps it crispy as air can still pass through them— no soggy bottoms round here.

Nigeria’s Secret: Suya Spice

I didn’t appreciate the nostalgic memories the ingredients which make up Suya Spice conjured  up for Nigerian’s living in diaspora, that is until this weekend at the door step of my home.

Suya (sooya) is West Africa’s shish kebab with a dry rub of nuts and spices. It is believed that Suya originated with the Hausa people (located in Northern Nigeria), nevertheless it’s popularity has spread and is now a visible part of Nigeria’s large towns and cities thanks to the many street vendors who work the grills till way into the night.

Suya is usually made with lean cuts of beef, however now that the spice has come into its own, it has been used to liven up roast potatoes and marinade chicken or fish for example.

So let’s breakdown some of the unique ingredients:

Kuli Kuli (peanut stick)

IMG_3979 (1)

The peanut flavour of Suya comes in the form of a fried ground peanut paste known popularly as ‘Kuli Kuli’ (see picture). When crushed, the kuli kuli  or peanut sticks turns into a smooth powder or peanut flour. In essence, kuli kuli is a peanut powder obtained through the extraction of oil from crushed peanuts. The nut powder is made into round peanut balls and then fried. Once cooled the nut balls are once again crushed to make the suya spice. If you are lucky enough, you will be able to get your hands on some kuli kuli from your local African market (mine were purchased in Ridley Market, Hackney).

If you can’t get your hands on any  then crush some roasted salted peanuts in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. A word of caution – you are NOT making peanut butter! I’m being very serious – try not to over process it into a peanut paste. If this happens, simply place the nuts into a tea towel and then press by placing a heavy chopping board or cast iron pot on top to ease the oil out. If that attempt fails, then be satisfied with Suya paste rather than powder which works just as well if you are using other fresh ingredients (such as onion, ginger and garlic). The trouble is it won’t last as long as the powder.

Negro Black Pepper (Udo) aka ‘SpiderLegs’

What do you call this spice in your language? I’m told it’s known as Uda in Igbo, Eeru in Yoruba and Chimba in Hausa. I prefer the nostalgic name ‘Spiderleg’ as used by my friend Alicia (who owns the Ghanaian Street Food Stall Chalé! (she serves very tasty Ghanian cuisine cooked by her very own hands every Sunday, Chatsworth Market, Hackney).

Now to get my hands on some ‘Spiderlegs’. In London. Right now. I had set myself up for the challenge, there were to be no substitutions, I mean after hearing so much about it, what could really replace the unique woody smell and peppery taste of the Uda pod? It put the ‘spice’ in Suya?! So I was told. I had to find out. It HAD to be somewhere in London with such a large Nigerian community, somebody’s Auntie had it. So I sent out a message on twitter, sounding like a right old novice:

“Can anyone help? I’m looking for these two ingredients: Kuli Kuli and Uda/ Negro Black Pepper”

Literally without exaggeration within 30 minutes, I was contacted by AfroExpress (a London based company that makes home deliveries of African groceries) with pictures of the said items they had sourced. Before 4pm the same day they were at my door with the ingredients! I couldn’t believe it! I burst the packet of ‘spiderlegs’ open (ok that sounds gross but stick with me) and the smell hit me: smoky, woody, dark, peppery pods. Then I opened the bottle of Kuli Kuli: intense nutty aroma. At last! The final pieces of the puzzle were now in place, it was time to assemble the spice blend:

 

Suya Spice

INGREDIENTS

5 tbsp crushed Kuli Kuli (or crushed roasted peanuts)
5 tbsp ginger powder*
2 tbsp cayenne pepper flakes
10 strands of African Negro Pepper or Uda
2 tbsp garlic powder*
1 tbsp Smokey Paprika powder
2 tbsp onion powder*
1 small stock cube
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp salt

*If making a paste, substitute the powder for the fresh ingredients, using the same measurements

METHOD:

1. Start by crushing the Kuli Kuli in the spice grinder. Once you have a coarse powder, add the remaining ingredients, one by one. It might help to slice open the uda pods to help the breaking down process. If making a paste, follow the same process, in which case a food processor would be more appropriate.

2. The powder can be stored in a airtight container for up to 3 weeks, the Suya paste, no more than 2 days I would say.

Check back later where I will be sharing my version of Suya Popcorn Chicken!

 

Swedish Cardamom Buns

 

If your first thoughts were: “this looks complicated”, then think again. Because once you read through the step by step guide below, you will be tying knots (albeit the dough kind) like a sailor. They are so much fun to make!

This recipe reminds me of the brioche loaves I made last year because of the light buttery texture of the bread. These buns take less than half the time it takes to make brioche and has a lot more flavour: I brought them into the office the next day and before I got back to my seat they were all gone!

Not all recipes use egg but I find adding it here helps give the dough a soft, cakey like texture that you expect from a cinnamon roll. I love the generous use of cardamom, one of my favourite spices. It was back breaking having to grind it by hand in a mortar and pestle; very few places sell the seeds grounded. Be generous with the spice measurements, about 1/4 of it will melt away in the baking process anyway.

And yes I have to admit I played around with the recipe – I added orange rind, nutmeg and almond essence to the mix. This is all optional.

Bon appetit!

 

Swedish Cardamom Buns

  • Servings: 15-18
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

CARDAMOM DOUGH

  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp. (250 ml) milk, lukewarm temprature
  • 1 envelope dry active yeast (7 g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond essence
  • 1/3 cup (67 g) light brown sugar
  • 3 1/4 cup (406 g) all-purpose flour, plus more to flour surfaces
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 Tbsp. (75 g) butter (at room temperature)
  • Oil/cooking spray (to grease bowl)

 

CARDAMOM FILLING

  • 4-5 Tbsp. (about 63 g) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup (65 g) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. ground cardamom seeds
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp almond essence

 

CARDAMOM GLAZE

  • 1 egg – whisked

 

CARDAMOM DOUGH

  1. Pre-grease/oil a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, add yeast to the lukewarm milk with 1 tsp. light brown sugar and stir until yeast has dissolved. Let activate for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, grind/crush cardamom seeds with spice grinder or mortar and pestle. In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, mix together flour, light brown sugar (less 1 tsp.), cardamom, and salt.
  4. Change the attachment to the dough hook attachment.
  5. After yeast has been activated, add almond essence to your yeast/milk mixture, then add to the flour mixture and mix on low until dough begins to come together. Increase speed to medium-low and add cubed butter in handfuls. Once all the butter has been added, increase speed to medium/medium-high and knead for about 5 minutes. You want this to be a fairly loose dough, so whatever you do, don’t over knead.
  6. Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a bun, tucking the edges toward the centre.  Place in your greased bowl, seam side down and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place bowl in a warm place and let it rise for at least 40 minutes.

 

CARDAMOM FILLING

  1. In the bowl combine butter, dark brown sugar, and freshly ground/crushed cardamom seeds and the remaining spices until creamy and smooth.

 

FORMING

  1. Line baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Roll out dough into a 13” x 21” rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
  3. Spread filling onto the rolled out dough rectangle with a spatula so that it covers the entire area from edge to edge.

IMG_3828

  1. Mark 7″ sections on the 21″ side with the back of a knife so that you have three equal sections. Fold left side to the middle, than fold the right side over the left side. Turn the dough so that the openings are on the left and right sides and roll out the dough slightly.

IMG_3829

  1. Using your ruler and sharp knife or pastry wheel, cut 2 cm strands. You should have 15-20 strands.

IMG_3825

  1. Starting from the end, wrap one strand around the tips of your thumb and four fingers (three if you have big hands) twice, twisting slightly as you wrap, then slip your thumb out of the roll, loop the strand around one last time then tuck the end and your thumb loop into the bottom. If you’re having trouble, please re-watch this link. Repeat with all strands.
  2. Place buns on your pre-lined baking sheets, (giving enough room for dough to rise and spread during proofing and baking), cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes.

IMG_3823_2

  1. While proofing, preheat oven to 435°F (at least 30 minutes before baking)

 

BAKE

  1. Brush the surface of each bun with the whisked egg
  2. Bake proofed rolls for 7-8 minutes or until tops are golden brown
  1. When they have cooled down completely, you add a dollop of orange infused cream cheese, (a mixure of orange peel, juice, icing sugar and cream cheese) to each bun.
  2. Serve and enjoy!!

 

Ethiopian Lentil Stew (Misir Wot)

If you can’t stand the heat, then you better stay out the Ethiopian Kitchen!

It’s not that Ethiopian food doesn’t have a range of mild flavoured dishes, they do, but pepper is so essential to the cuisine that to avoid it is to essentially ban yourself from the whole experience!

Ethiopian Cuisine: I haven’t tasted anything so lip-smackingly delicious in a good long time! I’m gonna be stuck on this for a while!

Ok admittedly the last time I tasted authentic Ethiopian cuisine was about a year ago where I just happened to walk by a small take away 5 minutes walk down Kingsland High Street in Dalston, London. They offer a selection of stews or ‘wots’ with a combination or rice or the infamous Injera bread, all for just £4!!

FullSizeRender (13)

Kingland High Street, Dalston, London

Many Ethiopian’s are Orthodox Christians who traditionally eat vegan on Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as other special days,  hence why there is such a wide selection of vegan/vegetarian Ethiopian dishes.

This recipe is adapted from the more classic Misir Wot, which literally means ‘lentil stew’; I have added sweet potato, coconut milk and spinach to this mix.

This is also my first time using my new found Ethiopian spice blend home made brebere which I made virtually a few minutes before assembling this dish. I didn’t taste the stew till the very end, and when I did, let me tell you I almost burnt my mouth going for a second helping, I was surprised! With such a wide range of spices all packed in one blend, I was expecting a bitter, confused taste, instead – pure harmony, I could taste everything, not overpowering at all. So step away scotch bonnet! There’s a new kid in town!

More Ethiopian dishes to come!

 

Ethiopian Lentil Stew (Misir Wot) 

 

INGREDIENTS

2 medium sized sweet potatoes – cut into chunks

1/2 white onion, sliced

2 large garlic cloves – crushed

1 tsp finger chopped fresh ginger

1 tbsp coconut oil – frying

1 1/4 cup green lentils – pre-cooked

1 tbsp Tomato Paste or 2 plum tomatoes (crushed) with a little juice

2 1/2 tsp of Homemade Berbere Spice

1 cup Coconut Milk

2 cups of boiling water

1 chicken or vegetable stock jelly

3-4 Pimento Seeds

1 generous handful of spinach

 

METHOD

  1. In a bowl dissolve the stock jelly in the 2 cups of hot water with the pimento seeds. Set aside.
  2. Soften the onions slowly in a deep pot with the coconut oil for 5-6 minutes
  3. Add the garlic and ginger – 2 minutes
  4. Stir in the berbere spice, take it off the fire to allow it to slowly cook
  5. Return the pot to the fire and add the tomatoes, allow it to reduce for 2 minutes, until the water has evaporated.
  6. Add the sweet potato and stir
  7. Add the lentils, stir (medium heat)
  8. Add the stock liquid, pimento seeds and coconut milk. Cover and allow to simmer for 10-5 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender
  9. Stir the spinach in at the end. Season to taste.
  10. Serve with rice

 

Berbere Spice: a blend of Ethiopia

Berbere, which means “hot” in Amharic, is an Ethiopian spice blend very common to Ethiopian cooking. Most of the heat comes from the fiery long red finger of dried chillies buried under heaps of other amazing spices.

Berbere is treated very much like an ‘all purpose’ seasoning, so it can be added to stews, vegetables, meat, fish and probably even rice as well.

As I carried out my research to find the most authentic blend, I soon realised, whichever combination I found, it would pretty much empty out my whole kitchen cupboard! I think I turned over every jar, bottle and cup that had spices in them. It actually felt good to use them again, some like fenugreek had barely been touched; and I was getting tired of the same old 1-2-3 combinations I’ve been falling back on for yonks (haven’t used that word in ages?!).

Doesn’t it look amazing! And it tastes absolutely delicious! You’ve basically cut your seasoning time down to less than a minute!

Ok let’s take a closer look:

  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cardamom
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Ginger
  • Fenugreek Powder
  • Pimento Seeds
  • Onion Salt
  • Nutmeg
  • Chilli Flakes

Other recipes include garlic powder and black pepper.

Preparation

This really depends on you. I wanted something I could store in a jar and use whenever to spice up a dish. So I resorted to using powders with the following exceptions: fresh garlic, ginger, onion. Only because I’m use to adding these ingredients to a dish anyway.

So here are the measurements for a jar of berbere spice, most dishes only require 2 1/2 teaspoons of it:

Berbere Ethiopian Spice

  • Time: 5 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 teaspoons Fenugreek powder
  • 2 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon Cloves
  • 3 teaspoons of red chilli flakes
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3 Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

METHOD
Combine all the ingredients into a mortar and pestle and grind together until thoroughly mixed. If you can’t get your hands on any ground cardamom, then I’m sorry (as I did), you’ll have to grind it by hand. I find adding a pinch of rock salt to the mix helps to grind the seeds faster!

IMG_3834
When you are ready to use the berbere spice, treat it like you would a curry powder: you have to dry roast / fry it on a low heat first to release the flavours before pouring on your liquid. Be careful not to burn the spice as all you’ll have is a gritty mess. I have a recipe coming up using this very spice…so peep back later!

Juicy Salmon Burgers

I haven’t had salmon in a long while, but I had a craving for it this week.  It may have something to do with me trying to introduce more vegetable juices into my diet; I have a massive sugar craving (I literally had a moment with a triple chocolate cookie…or two this weekend) and so to counter that I’m pressing, juicing and blending my taste buds out of it to a more balanced diet. Salmon is packed with all kinds of nutrition and doesn’t need a lot of prep or cooking time, so it’s the perfect partner on my road to healthy eating. I hope it lasts!

But in my usual, ‘let’s make this more complicated’ way…I thought I would make cooking salmon a little more challenging for me. I literally tossed and turned in my bed thinking of the ways I could prep it. Oh! I forgot to mention, another goal of mine, is to be more efficient. When you do a lot of cooking as I do, you need recipes you can freeze for those rainy days or use in 5 different ways throughout the week. So having thrown that into the melting pot of ideas I settled on:

Burgers. Juicy Salmon Burgers.

I’ve stuck to the more traditional ‘salt of the sea’ flavours you associate with fish and salmon: capers, mustard, even cream cheese (think of smoked salmon and bagels). To make these uber healthy you can grill rather than fry them, in fact all the burgers ended up in the oven for a few minutes after frying just to seal the cooking.

The capers are salty all by themselves, so I recommend rinsing them first.

I served this in a brioche bun, with caramelised onions (finely sliced red onions, gently fried before adding balsamic vinegar near the end to help soften it), lashings of soft cheese and basil leaves. With a side of oven baked sweet potato wedges 

 

Juicy Salmon Burgers

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 90mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 skinless, boneless fresh salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 white onion peeled and cut into chunks
  • ½ cup coarse bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large cloves finely chopped
  • 8 -10 fresh basil leaves
  • optional – 1 egg whisked
  • 1 tsp all purpose liquid seasoning or 1/2 vegetable stock jelly
  • squeeze of half a lime
  • oil – frying

 

METHOD
1. Cut the salmon into large chunks, and put about a quarter of it into a food processor, along with the mustard. Turn the machine on, and let it run — stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary — until the mixture becomes mince like in texture.
2. Add the onions and the remaining salmon, and pulse the machine on and off until the fish is chopped and well combined with the mince. be careful not make the mixture too fine.
3. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, and by hand, stir in the bread crumbs, capers (whisked egg) and some salt and pepper. Shape into burgers using flour dusted on your hand to prevent it from sticking. ( Cover and refrigerate the burgers for a few hours.)
4. Place the oil in a frying pan (1/4 inch of oil), and turn the heat to medium-high.
5. When the oil is hot, cook the burgers for 2 to 3 minutes a side, turning once. Alternatively, you can grill them: let them firm up on the first side, grilling about 4 minutes, before turning over and finishing for just another minute or two. To check for doneness, make a small cut and peek inside. Be careful not to overcook.
6. Serve on a bed of greens or on buns or by themselves.

Korean Pancakes (Pajun)

Happy Pancake Day!

A food bloggers dream: a public holiday dedicated to food!

Pancakes were probably the first recipe I learnt to make as a child at school and the only one you didn’t have to take home and share, very little food I made at school made it home to be fair, but that’s another story for another time. We all wanted to mimic the TV chefs we grew up watching flip pancakes single handily. So easy to make and yet so easy to spoil: one too eager shake of the wrist and it was disaster all on the floor.

In our home economics class, flipping pancakes almost out did eating one with our limited choice of toppings: chocolate spread, sugar and lemon or honey. I can still remember biting a cigar shaped eggy pancake through to it’s gritty centre of sugar and lemon. All the work of my sticky 11 year old hands.

Nothing’s really changed how many years later, only now my taste buds have grown to understand that pancakes speak many languages, none more so than Korean.

Korean Pancakes, known as Pajun (Pajeon) are made from a standard savoury pancake batter mixed with various fresh vegetables. I used a combination of 6 different vegetables to make this savoury take on pancakes; Courgette, White Potato, Red Sweet Pepper, Squash and Spring Onion. You can exchange any of the vegetables for others (e.g. sweet potato or carrot). I served this with a simple Teriyaki Sauce.

A lot of supermarkets have caught on to the ‘vegetable noodle’ trend, so making this dish has become even quicker, so no excuses!

IMG_3515

 

Korean Pancakes (Pajun)

  • Servings: 3
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

INGREDIENTS

(makes 3 large or 6 medium sized)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cups freshly grated potatoes
1 cup butternut squash noodles
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced julienne
1 small courgette, sliced julienne 
1 bunch green onions, cut in 1 in. length section

1 tsp garlic paste

1 tsp ginger paste

1/2 tsp chinese 5 spice

1/4 vegetable stock jelly – dissolved in water
Pepper salt to taste
Vegetable oil for cooking

 

 

 

 

METHOD:

  1. In a large bowl, beat the flour, water, egg and salt. Set the batter aside to rest.
  2. Preheat two non-stick skillets to medium – high heat.
  3. Slice all the veggies julienne (long thin strips) and mix into the batter. Then add all the seasonings. If the batter still seems very thick, after the veggies are mixed in, add 2-3 tablespoons of water and mix well.
  4. Now add a little oil to each skillet and swirl around. Ladle enough veggie batter into each skillet to completely cover the bottom. Fry for 3-4 minutes, per side.
  5. Repeat with remaining batter. .
  6. Cut the Korean pancakes into wedges and serve warm with the Teriyaki sauce.

 

Aubergine Pesto Galette

Tomatoes and Aubergine, on top of  melty homemade Aubergine Pesto and Parmesan cheese, all wrapped up in a light and flaky crust.  Simple and delicious!

Aubergine Pesto Galette

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

For the Dough:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (half plain/ half wholemeal)
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4-6 tablespoons ice water

 

Aubergine Pesto: find recipe here

Filling: 
Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
2 large tomatoes, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
4 tbsp Aubergine Pesto
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil leaves
salt and black pepper
1 beaten egg

 

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 375° F  Serves 4-6
  1. For the crust, mix together in a large bowl, the flour and salt.
  2. Add the cold butter and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, until flour resembles course crumbs.
  3. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of cold water over the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture starts to form a ball.
  4. If the dough looks to dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough comes together in a ball.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. On a floured table, roll out the dough into a 14 inch circle.  Transfer the dough on to a piece of parchment paper and place on a baking sheet.
  7. Place an upside down dinner plate over the dough and press down gently; you will need a  1.5″ rim of dough around the plate
  8. Drizzle the dough with extra virgin olive oil, and spread the pesto within the dough circle.
  9. Overlap the tomatoes and eggplant rounds in a fan on top of the pesto.  Scatter the basil over the top of the veggies. 
  10. Add a little salt and fresh ground pepper, then drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top.  Fold the edge of the dough up over the filling.
  11. Brush the surface of the crust with the beaten egg.  Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of parmesan over the entire Galette.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown and the veggies are tender.  Serve warm, or at room temperature. Enjoy!

 

 

Chargrilled Aubergine Pesto

“The flame-roasted aubergine imparts a deep, smoky flavour while the sun-dried tomato lifts the whole with its sweet, sharp zing. Excellent as it is on pasta, or as a dip with vegetal dippers, or as a base for a tomato and aubergine galette” – Dale Berning Sawa – Chargrilled Aubergine Pesto: Guardian Recipe Swap February 2016

Bajan Choka meets Basil Pesto.

That’s the best way to describe the combination of these two classic dishes from Trinidad and Italy. Bajan Choka is a Trinidadian side dish . The intense flavour comes from being roasted on an open flame which rapidly cooks and flavours the flesh in its skin. The smokey soft pulp is then fried with onions, hot pepper and usually served with Paratha Roti.

Most of us are familiar with basil pesto; I am especially from my years as a student. This was my go to jar to lift my pasta dishes out of the tuna mayo and sweetcorn era I found myself locked into. Nowadays I make my own from time to time, I love the fresh robust taste of the basil and raw garlic on pasta. Simple and delicious!

You can have either of these dishes separately or together as I demonstrate below. It should last no more than 2 days in the fridge.

 

Chargrilled Aubergine Pesto

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

Handful of Basil Leaves

2 large garlic cloves

1/2 cup olive oil

Handful of Pine Nuts

1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

1 Whole Aubergine (grilled)

Salt/Pepper  – season to taste

3-4 Sun-dried Tomato pieces

Squeeze of lemon juice.

 

METHOD: 

‘The Open Flame Way’

  1. Wipe the Aubergine clean. Place the Aubergine directly on a gas stove flame, turning every 3-4 minutes with a set of tongs.
  2. You want to see the skin burn but not quite to bursting, it will begin to deflate and flake.
  3. The whole process should take no more than 10 minutes
  4. Remove the Aubergine carefully as the hot gas escaping from inside can burn your skin.
  5. Using the tongs, hold upright over a chopping board and with a fork scrape the skin away in a downward motion. Carefully picking away any residue burnt skin.
  6. Chop off the stem, place the flesh in a bowl and mash with a fork.

IMG_3002

 

‘Oven Roasted Way’

  1. Wash and dry eggplant.
  2. With a knife cut deep slits all around the eggplant.  Bake at 450 degrees for half hour or until soft.  Remove from oven and place in a sealed zip lock.  Let sit for 10 minutes, this makes it very easy to remove the skin.
  3. Leave to cool completely.

 

The Pesto

  1. Add the remainder of the ingredients and with a hand blender, blend to a smooth consistency.
  2. Transfer to a container and drizzle to top with oil, this helps preserve the colour. Seal with a lid or serve with pasta.

 

 

Vegan Crab Cakes

Can I get excited about this recipe for one second? Ok make it three.

This recipe rips open the door of creativity and taste. I have never been a follower of the fake meat parade: mock duck, prawn, bacon etc…I used to joke and say if your’e going to go through all that trouble re-creating something which you said you won’t eat for whatever reason, you might as well eat it the real thing. Can there be any benefit in eating a soya chunk which has been artificially manufactured and manipulated, dyed and fried to look like a squiggly prawn? It’s not for me.

Having said all of that, slowly crawling off my milk crate here, these ‘crab’ cakes are pretty convincing. Of course no comparison to the real thing, but what I like about this recipe is that it has retained the classic seasoning used in crab cakes and simply substituted the meat for artichokes which when pulled apart resembles the flakiness of white fish or in this case crab.

 

Most vegan versions of this recipe use flour such as chick-pea flour to form the cakes, they also tend to be burger patty in shape. I wanted to use potato to give it a more ‘fishcake’ feel and texture. Seriously after mixing the contents together, I was ready to serve and eat it, the smell and taste was amazing.

You will love them.

 

Vegan Crab Cakes

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Print

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium sized red potatoes – boiled

1/2 cup almond milk

2 bay leaves

2 -3 cups (400g or  x 2 jars)  artichoke hearts

2 tsp old bay seasoning

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp soya / olive oil based margarine

salt/ pepper to taste

1 tbsp dijon mustard (smooth)

1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley

1/2 medium onion – finely chopped

3 large garlic cloves – crushed

 

Coating:

2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

2 cups almond milk (or 2 egg for non-vegans)

2 cups of plain flour

4 cups of oil

 

Hot Mayo:

4 tbsp vegan mayo

2 tbsp Sriracha Hot Sauce

 

METHOD:

  1. Boil the potato until tender. Peel and mash
  2. Saute the onion, garlic until soft but not brown.
  3. 1/2 cup of almond milk, warm gently in a pan or microwave for 30 seconds and place bay leaves in to infuse the milk. Allow milk to cool. Remove the bay leaves after 5 minutes.
  4. Drain artichoke, flake it and slice the core into half. You wants some large chunks in there.
  5. Combine all the ingredients, stir to ensure even distribution. You want a solid pliable mix, not wet. If it is too wet, add chick-pea or plain flour by the tablespoon.
  6. Shape the potato into balls that can fit into a cupcake mould. Place in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight (this helps to solidify the shape for frying.
  7. Prepare the potato balls for frying. You need three bowls: one with flour, panko  breadcrumbs, almond milk. Fill each bowl half way with the ingredients so that you can fully submerge the potato balls in them.
  8. Have a deep pot filled 3/4 with oil, heat and test before turning down to a medium heat when you are ready to fry.
  9. Roll the potato ball first in flour, then the milk and lastly the breadcrumbs. set aside on a plate.
  10. When you have 3-4 coated potato balls, place on a slotted spoon and submerge into the oil, this way you avoid the oil splashing out. You shouldn’t have to turn them over. It should take around 2-3 minutes to fry.
  11. Remove from the oil with the slotted spoon and place on a kitchen towel
  12. Repeat and serve hot with the hot mayo and a slice of lemon.

 

Greens with Roasted Lemon

I think the picture says it all: a simple way to dress up your vegetables and bring out their natural flavour.

I simply sliced the lemon into two halves and placed them face down into a hot grill pan with a little oil, just to help it not to stick to the pan. I left it on one side for about a 1-2 minutes, then removed them from the pan.

I simply blanched the broccoli in a bowl of boiling water for 2 minutes (maximum) or until the tender stems turned a bright green. I then transferred the vegetables to an ‘ice bath’ of very cold water; This is to stop the cooking process and to help retain the bright green colour. I then tossed the greens into a skillet with a little olive oil.

I then squeezed the grilled lemon over the greens. Roasting the lemon helps extract more of the juice and slightly caramelises the taste of the lemon.

A great side dish for any occasion.

 

Baked Peppadew Mac ‘n’ Cheese

I always grew up calling this mixture of pasta, milk and cheese ‘Macaroni Pie’ rather than ‘mac n cheese’ as it’s more commonly known. I still think that the distinction between the two is important: mac cheeses tend to be a gooey, non-conforming, loose  pasta dish, whereas macaroni pie due to the egg content is firmer and can be sliced in some cases.

The tradition of macaroni pie is more than present in the Deep South of the USA, it’s almost a joke to refer to mac ‘n cheese in the same breath as collard greens and candied yams.

As one of four we would fight for the crunchy corners of the pie as it rested in the glass pirex dish. I loved watching the oil and air race there way through the golden honey-comb-tunnels to the top. My mum would make several macaroni pies every week, not just for us but for friends and neighbours. As its popularity grew, she would experiment with different ingredients to enhance the flavour and texture: mayonnaise or cream was added for creaminess, breadcrumbs were mixed with the cheese for a crunchy crust. The base of the pie was always fried onion, garlic, fresh thyme with a little pepper sauce.

For this recipe, I exchanged the pepper sauce for peppadew peppers. I think I first came across this pepper whilst eating a pizza over a year a go; it’s not too dissimilar from a jalapeno pepper, but is more versatile which means it can be added to sauces, pestos or stuffed soft fillings.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese: where there is always room to reinvent the wheel. Add your own flavour and see what happens!

 

 

Baked Peppadew Mac 'n' Cheese

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Print

 

INGREDIENTS

‘Red’ sauce

2 cups dry macaroni

12 Mild Peppadew peppers

½ medium white onion

3-4 garlic cloves

4- 5 fresh thyme sprigs

½ vegetable stock jelly

Salt and pepper to taste

‘White’ Sauce

2 heaps tbsp. all purpose flour

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 cups whole milk

½ tsp nutmeg

2 cups grated mature cheese

‘Custard’ (optional)

1 large egg and dash of milk, whisked together

Topping

2 cups panko bread-crumbs

1/2 cup mature cheese

2-3 slices of Mild Peppadew peppers

 

METHOD:

  1. Put the Macaroni to boil in a pot of salted water. Drain and set aside when pasta is ‘al dente’.
  2. Roughly chop medium onion and peppadew peppers. Sauté in a little oil in a pan till soft
  3. Add thyme (pruning leaves from the stems) and garlic and fry gently
  4. Add vegetable stock cube, ½ cup of hot water and simmer gently for 1 -2 minutes
  5. Remove from heat and transfer to bowl.
  6. With a hand blender, roughly blend the ingredients; you don’t want a smooth paste. Taste, set aside.
  7. In another pot add the butter and flour and mix together over heat.
  8. Gradually add the milk, whisking through as the sauce thickens
  9. When all the milk has been added, add the cheese and take off heat.
  10. Keep stirring the sauce, adding the nutmeg.
  11. Then add the peppadew sauce – stir well. Taste
  12. (optional) quickly stir in the egg custard
  13. When the macaroni is cooked, drain and stir into the sauce thoroughly.
  14. Allow the pasta to rest in the sauce for a minute or two before transferring to a pirex dish for the oven
  15. Transfer to a pirex dish (fill ¾ of the way) then add a layer of panko bread crumbs, cheese and peppers
  16. Bake in the oven at 140c for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown
  17. Rest for 10 minutes before serving to allow pie to set.

Breadfruit Raviloi w/ Saltfish ‘n’ Ackee & Coconut Sauce

Loretta’s been in the ‘test kitchen’ so to speak over the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to re-define familiar caribbean dishes as we know them; from ackee to water crackers (anyone who comes across a caribbean dish beginning with ‘z’ please contact me and I will edit this post accordingly!).

Last week I started with Breadfruit. IMG_2954Breadfruit has to be one of the most understated fruits I have come across. After sharing a breadfruit recipe last week, I did a little more research  and found that as well as being high in nutrients and vitamins, Breadfruit is a great substitute for eggs, so it can be used in cakes.  And for those looking for a gluten free, vegan alternative to cooking, it looks like breadfruit pasta is in the pipeline!

We have been sitting on a goldmine. Just like the humble Goiji berry and Chia seeds, Breadfruit deserves superfood status, which means both financial and scientific investment into the versatile qualities of this amazing fruit. Can you imagine what impact this could have on the economy of the communities and islands which harvest it?

Well back to the test kitchen: over the past two weeks I have been testing out breadfruit pasta. Pasta is usually made with a combination of flour, semolina and eggs. I have substituted eggs for breadfruit, inspired by Vegan Chef Tamyer Mason. The original recipe can be found here. Thank you Tamyer for this inspiring recipe!

ESAF7896

I have made regular pasta before, but I have to say, I like this one better! It cooks quicker, is softer and more pliable than regular pasta. The first time I made this, I made it with a homemade char-grilled aubergine pesto. However I had some leftover salt fish and ackee from some patties I made in the week, so rather than waste it, I thought I should try the combination of the two.

I didn’t use all the pasta, I froze about half of it. It should keep in the freezer roughly a month. You can use any combination of fillings you like, the trick is, to make sure the filling is not too wet and sloppy, if that’s the case, then grind some stale bread in a food processor and add little by little to the mixture, the bread will soak up the juices.

QBTR8609

As I’m thinking now, you could probably use the same pasta to make a pasta sheets for lasagna…the mind boggles!

If you would like my saltfish and ackee recipe please e-mail me.

 

Breadfruit Raviloi w/ Saltfish 'n' Ackee & Coconut Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Print

 

Breadfruit Pasta Sheets

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cup semolina flour

3/4 cup mashed breadfruit

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 tsp of yellow food powder or tumeric

1 tsp salt

3/4 cup water or more as required

 

Method:

  1. Combine all the dry ingredients
  2. Add the olive oil and stir in to form a crumble with the dough
  3. Add the mashed breadfruit and again with your fingers mix the breadfruit into the dough to form a ‘crumble’ like mixture
  4. Add the water and knead into the dough.
  5. Turn the dough onto a flour/semolina surface and knead for 5-6 minutes at least,till you have a smooth dough.
  6. Divide dough into two pieces and cover with  plastic. Chill for two hours.

Then:

  1. Roll thinly with a rolling-pin or pasta maker(if using a paster maker work through the settings until you reach the close to the thinnest setting). Work in some semolina flour as you roll
  2. Then with a teaspoon, spoon mixture on to the pasta dough sheets
  3. Place another pasta sheet over the filling and gently press around the filling to release any air bubbles.
  4. With a past cutter, cut out your desired shape. dust with more flour
  5. transfer to a boil pot of salted water, it should take 2-3 minutes to cook.

 

For the coconut sauce:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup coconut milk
  2. 1/2 vegetable stock jelly
  3. pinch salt and pepper
  4. 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  5. 1/2 tsp of chopped scotch bonnet pepper (optional amount)
  6. 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  7. 1 plum tomato
  8. 1 cup water
  9. 2 garlic cloves, crushed.

 

Method:

  1. Saute the onion and garlic in oil until soft.
  2. Add the pepper and thyme tomato with a little juice. Simmer on a slow flame
  3. Add the vegetable stock, coconut milk and stir before adding the water. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Serve with the ravioli

Breadfruit Curry

Happy New Year!

I had an enjoyable Christmas and New Years with friends and family, for the first time, I didn’t do much of the cooking, I was determined this year that I wanted to have a break from the kitchen and have some quality time with people I love, which I did. Nevertheless my brain was still ticking away with recipes and new projects for the coming year and so having made it through the first week back at work, I am ready to kick things off again with Loretta’s Kitchen!

Many of us have started the new year with resolutions: lose weight, start a new course, learn a language etc…,maybe all three. Well how about adding to your list, ‘try out new cuisines, fruits and vegetables’? If you can’t afford to travel this year, you can bring the’exotic’ to your kitchen ;-).

To help you out, I thought I would introduce some of you to an interesting fruit. Known as ‘Breadfuit’. Breadfruit found mainly in the Caribbean (although native to Tahiti), is a large dense fruit the size of a melon. When sliced open you’ll filled with white sponge like layers. It has no particular smell or taste, a bit like potato. And just like potato its usually roasted, fried or in this case curried.

I grew up eating roasted breadfruit: it would sometimes be steamed or boiled first before frying or roasted in the oven before being served with fish or eating at breakfast. Its very high in protein so a good substitute for chicken.

Be sure when you select Breadfuit that it is firm in texture. And when you boil or steam it, not to overcook it, as can get mushy.

I opted to create my own curry here, but you can always use a curry powder if you wish. The tamarind and coconut bring a nice sweetness to the dish.

Enjoy.

Breadfruit Curry

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

Ingredients:

1/2 Bread Fruit, peeled, cored and cut into chunks

 

2 tsp Tumeric powder

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp tamarind sauce/ pulp

Salt to taste

3 cups water

 

To roast and grind into paste:

1 tsp of cumin seeds

1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds

1 large garlic clove

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

1 tsp dried chillies flakes

1 tsp of Asafoetida powder

1/2 tsp Tamarind paste

 

To Temper:

1 tbsp Vegetable oil

1/2 white onion finely chopped

1 tsp ginger and garlic paste (equivalent of 2 cloves garlic and 1 tsp ginger finely chopped)

1 tsp Mustard Seeds

1 tsp Nigella/ onion seeds

1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (optional – for heat)

3-4 Curry leaves

 

Method:

  1. Cook Breadfruit in a large pot filled with the first set of ingredients listed. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes or until tender. Be gentle with the tamarind paste as it may turn the liquid and breadfruit brown rather than a bright yellow.
  2. In the meantime roast the dry ingredients in the second list in a dry frying pan, under a medium heat so as not burn them. When the seeds begin to ‘pop’ take off the fire and transfer to a mortar and pestle or pepper grinder and grind to a powder. Then add the garlic and crush into paste. Then add the tamarind paste and the coconut milk. Set aside
  3. In another pan fry the onion and garlic until soft, then add the ingredients in the ‘to temper’ list, allow to fry for 1-2 minutes. Then transfer to the large pot with the breadfruit.
  4. Using a strainer, pour the coconut paste through a strainer into the large pot with the tender breadfruit, there should still be a little liquid in there. Season to taste. Allow to simmer.

Serve with white basmati rice.

 

Golden Patties: Can I take your order?

Is it too early to start talking about Christmas?

It’s 6 weeks away…you can thank me later 😉 This might not come as a shock to many of you, but to those planning on having a whole load of hungry guests share their personal space for at least 24 hours, it might be a good idea to start thinking about it from now.

 

IMG_2262You might be wondering what Christmas has to do with the mouth-watering beef patties pictured above, well I won’t waste anymore of your time; I have been practising my hardest at making jamaican patties, (see my instagram page). Now I think I have mastered the taste and texture, for the first time ever…just in time for Christmas 😉

Could you see these golden patties on your buffet table or office party? Maybe you want a Christmas brunch without any hassle; I think these mini patties which fit neatly in the palm of your hand would do the trick.FullSizeRender (9)

I’m working on some different flavours: pulled bbq chicken, feta and sun-dried tomato…what other combinations are there? I’d be interested to know what you’ve filled your pies and patties with recently.

Drop your comments below…;-)

Chipotle Stew Chicken

Chipotle paste has joined the family of stable herbs and spices that I have in my cupboard. The deep rich, smoky chilli pepper just gets me excited! I add it to mayonnaise, bean stews, sauces, and now chicken. This recipe is a cross between another favourite of mine: brown stew chicken which is also on the blog. I didn’t have to leave the chicken very long to marinate before frying it: maybe 2-3 hours? Because I also used boneless chicken thighs, I think the flavours penetrated very quickly.

Another important and fresh ingredient in this recipe is Annatto Powder. Annatto or Achiote Powder is a mexican spice which is used widely to give food a bright red colouring (think of tandoori chicken). It comes from the Achiote plant which bears seeds that are ground into this deep red powder. It has a mild sweet flavour.

IMG_1966

So if you want a fresh chicken recipe that leaves you licking the plate…try this one I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Chipotle Chicken Stew

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 45mins
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5-8 chicken thighs (skinned and boned)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Annatto Powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 red sweet pepper chopped
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • oil (frying)

 

METHOD:

  • Marinate the chicken in all the ingredients save for the tablespoon of brown sugar, bay leaf and oil. Marinate for at least 2 hours.
  • Get a pan ready by heating up a 2 -3 table spoons of oil with the sugar and allowing the sugar to caramelise. This should take 3 minutes to create, Do not stir the pan as the sugar will simply stick to the spoon. If the sugar starts to bubble, remove it from the heat to continue melting, you don’t want it to burn otherwise the chicken will be bitter.
  • When the sugar has fully caramelised, carefully add the chicken pieces (draining off but saving the marinade). Once in the pan do not stir the chicken for 3 minutes. Turn the chicken after 3 minutes and allow it to continue to cook in the juices.
  • Add the marinade and bay leaf and stir the chicken so that its smothered in the sauce. Turn the fire down to medium/low, cover and if necessary add water and salt/ pepper to taste. Allow it to cook for 10 minutes more.
  • Then add the sweet peppers to the dish and squeeze in a little lime juice over the chicken and allow to simmer until cooked or the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency.

Serve with Spinach Rice 

 

 

 

Spinach Rice

“Eat your Greens…”

‘Mature’ spinach as I like to call it, has a stronger taste and smell than baby spinach which is why I recommend it for this dish. I bought mine in my local market for 40p a bunch, not bad!

Blending some for spinach helps create the green vivid colour in the rice, but still allows you to enjoy the texture of the spinach running through.

To make the rice tender and grainy, I prefer to use a pan with a large surface area rather than a pot, that way I avoid having to stir the pot and the flavours get evenly distributed. Its optional to stir in the butter after the rice has cooked rather than during the cooking process. I’ve had some excellent feedback on this recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

 

Spinach Rice

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 45mins
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups of washed Basmati Rice
  • 1/2 white onion – finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cups of freshly chopped spinach (mature not baby spinach if possible)
  • 1/2 scotch bonnet pepper – crushed
  • 1/2 vegetable stock jelly
  • slat/pepper to taste
  • knob of butter/ margarine
  • 3 cups water.

METHOD

  • Wash the rice and leave to soak in 2 cups of cold water
  • fry onion, garlic, thyme until soft
  • add pepper, ginger, spinach, vegetable stock cube and stir for a minute or two until the spinach wilts.
  • add 1 cup of water and allow to simmer for 5 minutes on a medium heat
  • take half of the spinach and transfer to a liquidizer, removing all stems of thyme before doing so. Allow it to cool before blending the spinach to a smooth pulp. Then return the pulp to the main pot
  • add the rice and stir gently before adding another cup of water and knob of butter. You want the water to be the same level as the rice, no more.
  • cover the rice and allow it to simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes. Do not stir. If you must, use a fork to check the rice is cooked or the water has evaporated. If it needs more water, add a little at a time.

 

Moist Banana Chocolate Marble Cake

I haven’t made a cake in a long time, well actually I have, tell a lie; I made Parkin last week, the Yorkshire version of sticky ginger bread. The prototype came out really nice and sticky, but the full version was very dry, I think I added too much of the coarse oatmeal. So began my search for a moist cake recipe to compensate for my failed attempt at baking. This banana chocolate cake is so easy to make: its spongy, and moist – I was dancing round the kitchen when I took it out the oven! I deliberately kept it on a low heat because I wanted to retain as much of the moisture as I could, I don’t know if that makes a difference. Have a try and let me know how it works for you!

Moist Banana Chocolate Marble Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 90 mins
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 1/2 cups self raising flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 medium eggs
  •  2  bananas (large)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped 
  • 4 teaspoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
METHOD:
  1. Preheat the oven to 150°F. Grease an cake tin generously with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla extract and beat until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Cook on high power in 20 second intervals, stopping to stir in between, until about 80% melted. Stir until smooth, letting the residual heat in the bowl melt the remaining bits of unmelted chocolate. Add the cocoa powder and stir until dissolved. Add half of the banana bread batter to the melted chocolate and stir until well combined.

IMG_1964

5. Spoon the plain batter and chocolate batter alternately into the prepared loaf pan. Swirl the batters together with a knife or long kebab stick (don’t overdo). Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and set on the wire rack to cool completely.

IMG_1965

Red Hummus Stuffed Chicken w/ Veg Spaghetti

Loretta's Kitchen

Sometimes leftovers make the best meals: after making a batch of hummus, I wasn’t sure what else to use it for besides dipping tortilla chips into it. Then there were the left over carrots, aubergine and courgette from a quick vegetable roast I made a few days before. I hunted around for ideas and recipes but couldn’t find anything that really appealed to me: I found many recipes for chicken smothered in hummus, but I felt like that was a bit of a waste and wasn’t convinced the hummus would stick to the chicken while cooking. So in an effort to preserve all the great flavours of the paste and not to lose the vibrant colours and textures from the left over vegetables, I devised what was actually a very tasty dish. It really is less complicated then it looks.  Enjoy!

View original post