All posts filed under: Vegetarian

Crispy Sweet Potato Chips…Every time!

I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy crispy sweet potato chips until now. Sweet Potato has a very high water content which is why it can’t naturally achieve the crispy status of a regular chip…without some help from its little friend corn starch. The key to achieving ultimate crispiness is to eliminate moisture, so make sure you pat the potato sticks dry before adding the corn starch and seasoning and more or less toss them straight into the oven soon after that with only a drizzle of oil. Advertisements

Tasty Tofu Burgers

To get the best results from the recipe, try to use the firmest tofu you can find. You can always replace the egg with 1/2 cup of ground flax seeds as this acts as a good binder to the mixture. These burgers can be grilled as well. The most important thing besides the taste is that they hold together well; the finer you chop up the nuts and mushrooms the better.  

Grilled Onions w/ Pomegranate Molasses

  Pomegranate molasses (also called grenadine molasses) is a staple in the countries of the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. I recently discovered this syrup whilst trying to replicate this roasted red onion side dish which often accompanies meals in Turkish Restaurants here in London. I was surprised at how sour and tangy the molasses was given the sweet dry taste of a pomegranate. I would only recommend buying a small bottle at first (which can be purchased from most Middle Eastern shops). Once you get use to its flavour, I think it will become a stable in your pantry. You can use it as a substitute to honey for glazing meat, poultry or roasted root vegetables like carrots. But traditionally it’s used as a dressing in salads or relishes. To achieve the sweet and sour taste here, I added fresh pomegranate juice to take the edge off the molasses.      

One Pot Series: Guyanese Metemgee

  The One Pot Series: If you want to spend less time washing dishes and more time enjoying tasty food and company, then read on! Coming from a family of six hungry bellies with large appetites, The One Pot was essential for our survival. I really don’t know how my parents managed without it. From Cook-up Rice to Metemgee, it just made economic sense; It settled many an argument, it brought order out of chaos, it quieted the storm. “You don’t like Cassava? Well there’s sweet potato..” The way Mum would organise the provision before my brother could stab me in the hand with his fork, his true target being the last piece of dumpling, was genius.  And then there’s the sauce…my word. My word. It can only be compared to liquid gold: the pot would be clean and gleaming when we were done. Metemgee  is a Guyanese Creole stew of sorts made with dumplings, cassava, yam, plantains, okra and a hot peppery coconut milk sauce. It’s normally served with salt fish or crispy fried fish of your choice. The immense …

Street Food Series: Churros w/ Chocolate Ginger Fudge Sauce

  Churros are proof, if you ever needed it, that Pretzels are best served hot! Most of us have done this: you spot Mr Pretzel man with his red uniform 50 yards away, standing like an awkwardly enticing Butler (because Butler’s aren’t generally enticing), holding a silver platter filled with freshly baked warm Pretzels tossed in cinnamon sugar and roughly chopped into pieces. And like a Magpie, you swoop in to take the biggest piece of bread you can find, scooping up as much sugary dust as you can. I love their warm fluffy texture and the gritty sweet feel of the sugar and cinnamon against my teeth. But at £4 a piece, I knew I had to find a cheaper snack which gave me the same satisfaction. So in walks Ms Churros – a Spanish ‘pretzel stick’ if you will, which is popular on the streets of Latin America, France and Portugal,  and has finally made its way across the English Channel to the cobbled streets of London. Unlike Pretzels, which tend to be a lot bigger and denser, Churros are a lot crisper and lighter. They are …

Street Food Series: Elote w/ Chipotle Mayo

  Elote, is Spanish for Corn on the Cob, or should I say corn on a stick as on the streets of Mexico where this recipe originates from, the husk of the fresh corn is pulled down to form a ‘handle’ making it easier for all the butter and juices to run down your hand and drip from your elbow. Before you overreact, let’s be real; this is what makes street food so delicious right? The mess, the impatience, the flavours and most of all the condiments. Where would street food be without the ‘side dishes’. In fact this is what separate’s Elote from all other ears of roasted corn: you combine a blend of lime juice and butter, which is no surprise to many of us. But then here come’s mayonnaise and Cotija anejo (a mild flavoured Mexican cheese with a crumbly texture) which transforms the corn from a snack to a meal as the mayonnaise soon becomes a dipping sauce and the tangy cheese just melts between the honeycomb of the corn, forming gooey puddles along the cob. …

Roasted Sweet Potato w/ Tahini Garlic Sauce

The best part of making this dish was pulling out the tray of sizzling fresh herbs and olive oil, from out of the oven; it was like being hit in the face with a bunch of Sage and Thyme. It was with great excitement really, because I didn’t know what to expect: I had never combined these potatoes with this sauce before; this isn’t some glorified version of chips with fake garlic sauce from Mr Chippy on the High Street, oh no. All fresh. All real tasty. I tried the Tahini Garlic Sauce in salads during the week, and it worked very well. I think it should also work with other roasted vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower. The sauce can stay fresh for 2-3 days only, in fact the garlic will become more pungent over time. Let me know what combinations you have tried recently (a photo would be nice!)

Street Food Series: Watermelon Brain Freeze

This week marks the beginning of my Street Food Series. It just seems like a timely topic to explore as the temperature in London has been rising steadily. I’m already a huge fan of markets whether they be food, flower or bric-a-brac. Food Markets in London tend to be located off back streets and down narrow alleyways or ironically behind corporate buildings and High Street shops; this is quite telling as Food Markets in general are counter this culture – there is no uniformity, no two markets are the same. You can go to an Indian Food Festival and not one stall will sell the exact same dish, in exactly the same way…I find heaps of inspiration from these places. I also love the hustle and bustle of it all, you can strike up a conversation with just about anyone as you wait in the queue for a Mango and Almond Lassi. And there is no shame in asking a complete stranger: “What’s that your eating?” To start the proceedings, I thought I would just share with you a very …

Bulgur Wheat Pilaf

  I’ve been trying to incorporate different grains into my diet given the bad press white rice has been getting of late for having no real nutritional content. Out of all the grains that I’ve tried, this is the one that has stuck: Bulgur Wheat has bundles more nutritional value than white rice, which virtually has no fibre in it. It also takes half the cooking time to prepare. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked away from a pot of rice and come back to a bowl of porridge or where the grains are jellied together so much, I would have to either scoop or slice may way through it. Bulgur wheat however, does not need as much TLC, it can be left to stand alone in a bowl of hot water and unlike rice I find works well hot or cold (e.g Tabbouleh). Living in North London, just off the infamous Green Lanes, your eyes will catch Bulgur Wheat Pilaf flashing you a smile practically out of every Turkish Restaurant window, of which there are plenty. …

Mint Infused Baba Ganoush

When I stumble upon tasty food like this, I often wonder who came up with this recipe? Who decided that burning a whole ripe plump Aubergine over a naked flame until it resembles a deflated balloon, would make a gorgeously smooth creamy dip? Or was it discovered by accident as I like to think most popular dishes are; it gives a recipe instant legendary status when a trail of unlikely events are attached to its discovery. I’m not satisfied with the vague tale that Royalty had something to do with its invention, especially as the same dish is enjoyed in a variety of ways from Lebanon to Bangladesh, nevertheless it certainly has high status in my regard. One of the translations for Baba Ganoush is “pampered or spoiled father“, well I definitely felt like somebody’s favourite after eating this with some roasted sweet potatoes and chicken kebabs I’d made. The process of roasting the Aubergine is just fun to do: the smell the sweet skin burning brings back memories of roasting potatoes on Bonfires in November; watching the wafer thin ash pieces float into the midnight sky. You know the …

Lemon Passion Polenta Cake

    Polenta has a wonderful way of soaking up and holding on to moisture in a recipe whilst retaining its gritty texture. Without the syrup, this cake would be pretty dry I have to admit; a couple of cups of tea would be needed to finish off a slice of this cake. Thankfully, the passion fruit syrup adds a couple of high notes to the zesty lemon hidden in the cake, forming a rich, moist slice of gluten-free goodness. To cut preparation time, I used passion fruit juice made from concentrate, but if you have more time on your hands to make some fresh passion fruit juice, you will need 4-5 passion fruits:  slice and scoop out the passion seeds and juice into a small pan, add 50ml water and 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. Gently bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Then pass the fruit through a sieve, before pouring over the warm cake.  

Soursop Punch

  There use to be a time in my life when I was conscious that I was beginning to sound like my Mum. Last week was definitely one of them. “No Soursop today?” I said in deep frustration to the man at the stall in Ridley Market. “No sorry darlin’ none today; nothing came off the ship from St Lucia or Jamaica…” In that split second my imagination took me to the shores of St Lucia, picturing Mr Market Stall man waiting at the beach front with his trolly waiting for this precious fruit to come in. I smiled at myself and walked away, a little disheartened. Last month there was no Soursop either, this time it was because it was being sold for the “price of Gold” his friend had told me. The way I hounded these guys, week after week watching, lingering, pretending to only pass by, hoping to see a pile of fresh prickly green skinned fruit smiling back at me…it was beyond an obsession, I was a evolving into my mother. Why I bothered to …

Cherry Coconut Lime Ice Cream

  A few weeks ago I was catching up with a couple of friends, when quite naturally the conversation turned to food and some of the interesting food combinations we have had on our travels and experiments with chocolate in our baking. In that moment, Catherine interrupted my train of thought as she more or less re-enacted the first time she tried Cherry and Coconut Ice Cream in Barbados. “It has to have the little bits of coconut in it” she explained, leaving the rest of us salivating at the thought. I immediately began to picture the combination, but the thought of grating a whole coconut on a lazy Sunday morning, just wasn’t my idea of fun. The conversation moved on, but the challenge never left me. I knew I wanted to make an egg-less ice cream, one that also didn’t require an ice cream machine nor took all day to set. It also needed to be relatively inexpensive, so substituting fresh ingredients for frozen or tinned was the way around that. The end result…how do I …

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, …

Caramelised Onion & Greens Gratin

  Comfort food:  noun: comfort food; plural noun: comfort foods 1. Food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically having a high sugar or carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.  “Grandma always made the best mashed potatoes and gravy, they’ve become a comfort food for me”. This dish right here falls head first into this category. You can never grow weary of a good potato gratin…it’s actually very hard to make a bad one. All mistakes are gently smothered in a creamy cheese sauce sprinkled with herbs and bread crumbs. A perfect disguise for a tasty dish! That’s the beauty of comfort food though; it’s not so much the presentation but the warm taste and the memories…hm hmm mmmm! Let’s get started!            

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 …

West African Peanut Stew

  Thick, thin or soupy. Depending on where you are, peanut stews can be found across the whole of West Africa. This is one dish I really wanted to get right, it had to be as authentic as I could possibly get it without having to grind the peanuts to make butter myself. This dish is usually made with chicken, but as someone who is attempting but failing badly to wean off meat, I thought I would try and make this with vegetables. The question was, which vegetables to use and to combine. My choice was based on several factors: texture, colour, and combination. As I would be missing meat, I had to make up for that with giving the stew something to chew on. No one likes over-cooked discoloured vegetables, well I don’t and so I needed vegetables that could hold their form, or at least help thicken the stew. I decided against courgettes for that very reason: they tend to get very watery when cooked and lose both colour and texture. Aubergines on …

Coconut & Lime Rice

  Some recipes come to me with clear intentions, others by inspiration and still others by accident. This was definitely an accident. It started off as a simple coconut rice dish until I decided that the garnish (being limes) could work just as well as an ingredient. And it really did; just a hint of lime in this rice gives the rice a very refreshing taste. You might want to try grating some of the lime rind in rather than just stirring in the juice, it’s entirely up to you. But be brave and see what interesting combinations you can make. This rice goes really well with the Peanut Stew which I made practically minutes before. But I’m sure it would go well with any hearty stew or meat you want to have with it.  

Moist Vegan Cornbread

  This recipe makes a really dense, crumbly vegan cornbread that is quite moist and really easy to make. What I love the most about this recipe is that it combines a bunch of nutritious ingredients without spoiling the traditional taste and texture you expect from cornbread. I first made this recipe at a friend’s house and was surprised at how quickly it baked in the oven; try to let it cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and removing it from the dish, to avoid it crumbling too much. I thought I should leave you with some useful insights into the health benefits of some the ingredients 5 Facts About Coconut Oil: Very high in lauric acid (bacteria destroyer!) Rich in anti-oxidants (strengthen ability to fight disease and infection) Contains natural microbial and anti-bacterial agents Improves metabolism and prevents fatigue Improves cholesterol levels 5 Facts About Maple Syrup: Contains manganese and zinc (strengthens bones) Contains 54 different antioxidants Helps with inflammation 1/4 cup contains more calcium than the same amount of milk 1/4 cup contains more …