All posts filed under: Recipes Index

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 …

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. …

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!

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. …

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!! 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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Red Hummus Stuffed Chicken w/ Veg Spaghetti

Originally posted on 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!

Food at 52 Cookery School: The Italian Job

One of my ultimate dreams is to own a house with a very large, fully equipped, sociable kitchen. Kitchen’s for me have always been a place where you ‘whistle while you work’: you talk about your day, current events even laugh at yourself.There are many reasons for this: cooking can be a pretty daunting experience, even for me. Finding new recipes online and trying to duplicate them at home can been hit and miss: the measurements can be off or the author fails to explain some of the techniques clearly. Unless you have the privilege of having an experienced Chef next to you probing your sorry attempt at pasta dough, the temptation to slip away to the local takeaway quickly emerges. However after spending an evening with John and friends at Food at 52 Cookery School, I am relived to say that there is no better place to get your culinary experience on the right track. Add ‘Passionate’ and ‘Welcoming’ to the title ‘experienced Chef’  and you would have John Benbow, the founder and resident Chef of Food at 52 based in …

Rice ‘n’ Peas Risotto w/ Crispy Okra

We sat in our regular cafe spot not far from Highbury and Islington Station; me mulling over an overly sweet Chai Latte, him a large, mug of Americano, our opposing tastes in beverages mirroring our personalities… Him: “Have you made it yet?” Me: “Made what? The Roti Wrap? The De-constructed Ackee and Saltfish? He had thrown so many weird and wonderful recipes ideas at me over the last few months I couldn’t keep track, and I wasn’t sure if he really wanted me to take him seriously. Him: “The Rice and Peas Risotto (blank stare). I think if you make it with coconut milk, it’ll be a great fusion you know…?” Me: “Oook…?” I tried to picture it in my head. I was stepping onto sacred ground here: NO ONE messes with rice and peas…a famous chef was publicly humiliated for his version of rice and peas which insulted the whole of the global black population. How would I pass such a test??? Why was my boyfriend setting me a challenge that could go disastrously …

Prize Giveaway: Healthier Recipe Cookbook

Who said creamy Arctic Roll can’t be healthy? Low fat doesn’t always mean low taste. Yes we’ve heard it all before; Many of us who have been round the diet block a few times will be familiar with this phrase.  What sends me back to old habits however is usually a lack of planning and scarce range of healthy tasty recipes to work with. I’ve even gone as far as eliminating the word diet from my vocabulary whenever I embark on a new eating (dis)order…determined that this is how I’m going to eat for the rest of my life: no more bread. no more diary. No more strawberries. But somehow my body is smarter than what I think it is and so it kicks into survival mode clinging on to whatever morsel of sugar,  fat or berry I ‘treat’ myself with…on my ‘cheat day’ of course! 😉 Over the years you soon learn that the key to long-term weight-loss and health is a lifestyle change: So here comes another healthy recipe book and I’m thinking, do we need …

“Make-Away” Thai Green Fish Curry

The last two weeks have probably been the most hectic; if I haven’t seen the inside of my fridge for a few days, you know there is something wrong. It’s in those spaces that I’ve found myself darting across the road from my local train station… to the nearest take-away. I don’t say it with pride: take-away is not for pleasure or a treat; what could be less appealing than eating your dinner out of a greasy brown paper bag or shallow plastic container? Ok I know it’s not that bad. But there is one thing: I don’t expect the food to be authentic, or satisfying. In fact I wasn’t suppose to maintain this for more than a few days…it lasted a few weeks! I really miss cooking. And the extra change in my pocket. But my hectic schedule hasn’t eased off to make much room for it. This is the dilemma; tasty food in little to no time and no effort. As it turns out that my local Sainsbury’s has created a ‘Make-away’ range featuring Italian, Indian, Chinese and Thai dishes …