All posts filed under: Street Food

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 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. Breadfruit 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 …

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 …

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.   You 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. 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 …

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!  

Perfect Fried Chicken: The Science bit

The days of munching on a bargain box of chicken and chips from KFC smothered in ketchup (I thought I was too sophisticated for the likes of Chicken Cottage or anything ‘cheaper’), are long behind me. But I still miss the crunchy coating and juicy chunks of white meat from that greasy cardboard box; I didn’t really care to know which 11 herbs and spices the Cornel chose to dunk and fry my precious chicken thighs in, I was just happy they bothered to season it at all. All these years I have been satisfied with, well good fried chicken that tasted amazing, but never  had the KFC combination of crispy, juicy and finger lickin’ tasty…time and time again. Maybe that’ been your experience too: just how do they do it? Well I think I have the answer. Here’s the breakdown: Stage 1 – The Chicken: For this type of recipe, it makes more sense to avoid the chicken breast and wings; chicken breast has too little flavour and takes way too long to cook. While the wings have too little …

Smokin’ Fried Plantain

Plantain…isn’t is just a big banana? Well no, because unlike regular bananas, it can’t be eaten raw. However just like a dessert banana, the longer its left to ripen, the sweeter and softer it becomes! Since as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed ripe Plantain in various ways: steamed, baked, fried… Basically if you treat it just like a potato you can make some really interesting dishes: salads, chips, crisps, even mashes. Unlike it’s close cousin the green banana, which I also love, but I’m finding hard to be win over to the masses because of its firm waxy texture (which makes it good for potato salads)  – see my ‘Fig Salad’ recipe for example 😉 To fry the plantain, you want the banana to be firm with some dark spots (like the middle row below), too soft and you won’t be able to slice it well, and the high sugar content will cause it to caramelise and stick to the frying pan. Not a pretty sight! This recipe combines two of my favourite ingredients: plantain and …

Red Hummus Stuffed Chicken w/ Veg Spaghetti

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!

Soft Spinach Tortilla

These tortillas are unbelievably soft and tasty. The bright green dough is what strikes you first before you rip it open and dip it in some cool hummus or filling of your choice. I love how these wraps turned out, a lot better than I expected. To re-heat them, I recommend you fold them and place it in the toaster for a 10-20 seconds if your feeling lazy like me, keeping a close eye on it of course, otherwise a minute or two in the oven. You won’t regret it…;-)

Street Food Series: Tilapia Tacos w/ Purple Slaw

  If you are looking for a bold flavoured dish to add to your family BBQ then look no further! It takes moments to prepare and looks so impressive on a plate, you’ll be on the rota to make some more the next time round! This recipe is inspired by my road trip to New Orleans from Alabama last summer. I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally be making the drive to this State, albeit I was still getting use to the long endless country roads. The food in Montgomery was good, but as I was reminded continuously by the locals, the food of New Orleans was much much better. And it helped so much that I was in the throes of summer aka BBQ season so off down the road of discovery I went. The traditional Cajun cuisine requires you to ‘blacken’ the fish. This ought to be done outdoors as the smoke from the pan and burning butter is what creates the charred effect on the fish.  Another key ingredient is the smoked …

Yoghurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs

    This chicken is as juicy as it looks. The yoghurt marinade is very quick to make with the usual ingredients that you find in your cupboard. That’s the great thing about cooking a variety of food every week, you have at your disposal a lot of herbs, spices, oils and sauces, that even traditional dishes can be refreshed with ease. This is a classic recipe which never gets tired and works well with so many side dishes. Last week I had the chicken with the Baba Ganoush  and Roasted Sweet Potato that I’d made: they all sang in harmony, it really was a great combination of dishes! Try one, or better still, all three!

Bara and Channa (Doubles)

Yes Bara and Channa: the original street food of Trinidad. I soon learnt on my first trip to Trini, not to buy Bara and Channa from just anyone! My Dad and I still laugh about it to this day how we would drive 45 minutes away from my Uncle’s home, in the south, to buy fresh bara (bread) and channa (chick-pea) from a middle aged lady who made it straight from her isolated hut, passing many other vendors along the way. This lady’s bara was made right before our dry eyes and watering lips rather than fried beforehand and left to steam in a hot pan waiting for the first customer. The best bara is slightly crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle with a mild curry flavour. This wouldn’t be a true hot sandwich without the condiments: the Anchar (pickled mango chutney), the tamarind sauces and the cool cucumber salad. If you follow this recipe correctly, you will also have the most lightest fluffiest bara you could ever want: easy to slice into a pocket or sandwich two bara’s together with a serving …

Trini ‘Tambran’ (Tamarind) Sauce’

I remember being about 6 or 7 at the time (for some reason I put a lot of childhood events between this age range) when I tasted my first Tamarind Ball. It was dark in colour and resembled a golf ball that had been rolled in sugar. My brother told me it was (pepper) ‘hot’, so as neither of us could bear hot pepper at the time I avoided them as best I could. But then a few weeks later, I thought I’d pluck the courage to go try one of these ‘sweets’ as my Dad called them. He had brought them back from a short trip he’d made to Trinidad to see my Grand – parents and extended family. I had watched on with envy as my Mum and Dad devoured them with child like pleasure all week and couldn’t understand the fascination with something that resembled liquorice but tasted like pepper. The moment the Tambran was in my mouth, I was met by an unusually sweet sticky texture which I chewed on for a couple of seconds, …

Halloumi Cheese Spring Rolls

What else to do with Halloumi? Because it lacks the melty softness of regular cheese, I have found it difficult to work with it other than to cut it into kebab squares or slice it into mushroom burgers. “It doesn’t naturally lend itself to much else“, I thought and so the block of hard full fat cheese would literally sit in my fridge for weeks. Forgotten. Then for some reason my mind drifted to a lady I stayed with in Alabama last year who taught me how to make egg rolls what we call spring rolls over here. Could I make Halloumi  Spring rolls? It was worth giving it a try. The verdict: Absolutely! A resounding yes! It works very well. The saltiness, the crunchiness, the juiciness of these rolls is amazing. Because they are much bigger than your average spring roll, they hold a lot more flavour. And baking them means not only that you cut down on the calories in a huge way, you also cut down on the cooking time which means more time to …

Salt fish Fritters

Originally posted on Loretta's Kitchen:
Salt fish Fritters are a stable of most Caribbean households. Some eat it for breakfast, as a snack with bread or on its own. Unlike fish cakes which are made of a mixture of potato and cooked fish, saltfish fritters are made with flour and pack in a lot more flavour which makes them very filling. The end product should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. These fritters have the most flavour out of any fritter I have tasted recently and the key to this is a couple of things: grate all your ingredients where stated, that way all the flavour will be well-distributed into every bite. Secondly taste as you go along, yes taste the dough, that is the only way to achieve the flavour you want, because once you start frying there is no turning back. You can also adjust the measurements and flavours as you see fit, provided the texture of the dough is not too stiff or runny (do a sample fry…

Caribbean Pumpkin Fritters

This is what you could call a golden oldie. I love the bright yellow hue that the pancake mixture has when you mix all the ingredients together. And the smell of the warm pumpkin spices could have you licking from the bowl. Again I was left with the issue of what to do with the abandoned piece of pumpkin I had left over from the first dish I made. And soon realised that I hadn’t made anything sweet with any of the gourds I had bought. I wasn’t in the mood for a cake, I wanted something really quick but could still fit into the dessert category. And then I remembered pumpkin fritters, made effectively the same way that banana fritters are made and served with a hearty savoury main meal or on its own with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. The key to this recipe is the roasting on the pumpkin. It really doesn’t take any more than 30 minutes and in the meantime you can get all the other ingredients ready so that all …

Red Hot Buffalo Chicken

I’ve never seen a larger variety of Chicken. I’m use to the four options that you get at Nando’s which range from very hot to no heat, nothing more exciting than that, but this was different. I could see 6 varieties in front of me, but I had been told that there were over 50! From popcorn to boneless, and tenders to BBQ wings. This was not some upstage restaurant in Manhattan. No.This was Walmart in Montgomery, Alabama. I actually walked away from the Deli Bar with just the fried okra, but I was amazed at how serious southerners take their Chicken. So this recipe is dedicated to the short spell I spent in Alabama last year, it was an incredible experience for me (read more on my blog: http://www.acottonstateofmind.com). From what I gathered, Buffalo Chicken is usually served with celery sticks and a blue cheese sauce. I achieved the crispy texture by mixing Panko breadcrumbs with regular plain flour as the Panko breadcrumbs on their own tend to burn too quickly, long before the …