All posts tagged: food

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! Advertisements

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

This version does not disappoint – it’s full of flavor and wonderfully creamy. Hummus is a really versatile addition to your food pantry, which has sadly been relegated to dips, chips and wraps, so if you’re interested what else its good with, check out my next post:

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…;-)

Cheesy Chipotle Rice ‘n’ Beans

I have to thank my friend Hayley for the inspiration behind this recipe. Last month she asked me to come up with a couple of lunch box recipes for students, tired of limp sandwiches and luke-warm pasta bakes. I completely understood where she was coming from as I have the same dilemma for work lunches; she wanted something tasty, fresh and filling that didn’t look like a dogs dinner after day 3; cheap but not compromising on nutrition and quality. Yeah she wasn’t asking for much really ;-). I’m not a great fan of brown rice. I know many people who eat it religiously and preach about its benefits, but to me it always felt like more effort than it was worth, until I created this recipe. I strongly recommend the use of short grain brown rice: it retains its shape and has a slight nutty texture and taste to it which means it can stand the pressure of being tossed around in a pan without turning into mush like so many other rice grains do. …

Pineapple & Ginger Cobbler w/ Coconut Whip

A twist on the ol’ peach cobbler, pineapple twist that is. The most satisfying part of any pie is the crust – it’s all about the textures, and oozing fruit pulp erupting through the cakey topping. This has to be the best cobbler topping I have ever had- you could practically eat it on its own like a warm cookie. The whipped coconut cream is best served straight away, but can be stored in an air tight container for up to a week. It will harden in the fridge, the longer it stays chilled, simply mix until creamy again, when ready to serve.

The Classics: Brown Stew Chicken

  I grew up watching my Mum do all the cooking in our home. But when I was old enough to appreciate that my Mum had a job which sometimes involved working nights, I had to learn to appreciate my Daddy’s cooking. I say learn to appreciate, because there was only one dish my Daddy knew to do: brown stew chicken. I recall with almost near grief watching my mum hitch up her blue and white nurses uniform over her knee and perch herself gracefully on her brown and orange bike to ride through the quiet streets of Crawley, taking all the tasty food ideas with her to the nursing home where she worked. About 15 minutes into her journey I’m sure the smell of something burning must have reached her nose as far as she was from home. My Dad loved brown stew chicken and he made sure the chicken was just that – brown and indistinguishable from the molasses like gravy it sat in. It’s not that I disliked the bitter sweet taste, it was more that I was bored …

Spiced Porridge w/ Sweet Sprinkles

I used to think anything that was good for me normally takes a long time to prepare, before I realised I was really just making excuses for eating the sugary, empty carb, fattening diet that I relished. Breakfast is always a test of my resolve: how I start the day normally determines how the rest of my day will play out. So getting breakfast right is very important to me. I love Granola but, we all fancy a change once in a while. And with the weather cooling down and the winds picking up, I fancied something warm, nutritious and quick in my belly. This recipe is quick, easy and very tasty. You can use any non-diary milk that you like (I’m enjoying the oat, almond and coconut flavours out there now). And don’t forget the sprinkles! These sweet sprinkles (a mixture of candied cranberry and dried apricot and seeds) work very well with the warm spice flavours in the porridge. Method: 1 cup porridge oats 2 cups non diary milk (almond milk was used here) …

Creamy Spaghetti with Italian Style Sprinkles

This recipe was literally created on the journey home from work. I had a mental picture in my head of what I had left in the fridge, cupboard and wherever else I hid food in the kitchen. I knew I had some soft cheese left over from making the Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie, I had some sun-dried tomatoes which I had bought yonks ago and had been meaning to use at some point; I also had several packets of savoury seed and oat sprinkles. Soft cheese is a great base for sauces whether combined with salmon or vegetables. And so flowing from that I thought, spaghetti would do a good job of soaking up that creamy sauce to make a filling evening meal (which could roll over to form my lunch the next day). Out of the selection of savoury sprinkles, I picked the Italian Salad Sprinkle as I thought the mix of toasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds and red onion would add a nice crunch and sweetness to the dish. And it really did! I used half the packet and …

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie

  Someone once said that the best things in life come in threes like friends, dreams and memories. I would like to stick this cake at the end of that quote, because the three layers that make up this sweet sandwich will be a close memory I hope to never wake up from. This cake has something for everyone: when I brought this cake into work Monday morning, the winning layer appeared to be the soufflé type raspberry cream topping. Others favoured the dense texture of the brownie and a small minority enjoyed the fluffy and  slight saltiness of the layer of cheesecake. My eyes are immediately drawn to the creamy top if I’m honest; I’m not one for things being symmetrical and in order, but I have to say I love how the contrasting textures hold together forming this perfectly layered square.  I was a little nervous baking the brownie and the cheesecake together,  fearing one would bleed into the other forming some kind of marble effect. But as long as you keep the cake in the fridge, the …

Green Fig Salad

    It was only during my first trip to Trinidad as a teenager that I realised the sheer variety of bananas that existed. Most of us are familiar with the Chiquito variety of medium sized bananas and a few more with yellow plantain and even green banana. But Trinidad introduced to me red skin banana, sour tasting banana, short fig and cooking fig. I think I’ll work with the 3 I know for now. This recipe is a typical alternative to potato salad in Trinidad. The firm starchy texture of the green banana makes it a usual candidate for  Metemgee; but it works really well in this salad as it resembles the waxy texture of new potatoes.  It’s also packed with vitamin C, B6 and Potassium, so don’t feel guilty serving yourself a larger portion.

Jollof Cous Cous w/ Honey Glazed Baked Chicken

  Giant Couscous is the big brother of regular Couscous. Just like my older brothers (I have two)  it’s bolder in shape and size and can take the heat (giant couscous is normally toasted in an open flame oven, which allows it to keep its shape). This also makes it pretty stubborn…we’re talking about my brother’s here, but for the couscous it’s good that it remains al dente in texture after cooking. These pearl-like grains are a great alternative to regular couscous, or pasta, or in this case rice as jollof rice is a main stable in many Nigerian and Ghanaian dishes. I absolutely love jollof. I used to live with a Nigerian lady for 2 years and she cooked this practically every week with so much ease. I love the peppery perfumed smell and the shocking yellow/red colour of the rice created by a combination of peppers and tomatoes. The chicken was an easy accompaniment to this dish, once the chicken is in the oven the cous cous takes about 8-10 minutes to prepare once you’ve created the tomato stew. The longer …

XinXim (de Galinha)

Brazil is infamous for three things: Football, Carnival and Cuisine. I forgave them for their disappointing yet memorable defeat at the World Cup when I discovered their champion dish whilst dining in Las Iguanas during the football season.  Apparently one of Pele’s favourite dishes, Xinxim is a chicken stew which captures all that Brazil represents: a blend of  Portuguese, African and native Latin American Indian flavours. The marinated pieces of chicken are quickly browned and then cooked in this marvellously delicious thick rich sauce which is a combination of nuts and one key ingredient: Palm Oil. Palm ‘fruit’ oil (as opposed to palm kernel which does not carry the same health benefits) is now sold in most supermarkets, and is commonly used in West African recipes from what I have tasted. I was surprised to find its distinguishing rusty red colour and mild fruity taste makes it healthier than olive, avocado or even coconut oil. Its colour is attributed to its high carotene content, the same antioxidant that gives tomatoes and carrots their rich red and orange colour. Palm oil is very high in vitamin E also. My version of …

Guyanese: Pine Tarts

A friend of mine ‘returned home’ to get married in Guyana and a couple of our mutual friends joined her for the experience. For most of them, this was their first trip to Guyana; although of Caribbean descent themselves, I had to admit I was slightly nervous for them as Guyana is a very different experience to say Jamaica and Trinidad and so I was interested to hear their take on the country, especially as I hadn’t seen the country for over 10 years myself. They all came back smiling I am pleased to say, not only for our friend whose wedding was beautiful and heart warming, but also for the love of the country. “Those Pine Tarts were so amazing!” recalled one of my friends, also the Chief Bridesmaid at the wedding. “And although I don’t eat a lot of meat, I really enjoyed the pepperpot stew”. I was curious to hear how much Guyana had really developed since I last visited. When I was there, it felt very rural yet lively with friendly, approachable people and social events that brought out …

Spiced Walnut Butter

      If your anything like me, walnuts haven’t rated too highly on my ‘nut list’ either. But did you know that walnuts have the highest amount of omega 3- fatty acid of any nut? In other words it’s the all round hair, skin and nail food. Now does it sound a bit more appealing? Ok well I tried. I still believe the walnut has the right to be released from the prison of banana breads and festive nut trail mixes; it has a hugely bold even bitter flavour, I agree, but when combined with sweet cinnamon and nutmeg, it seems to mellow down to a smooth pecan like taste. I say make the most of that trail mix and create the most irresistible butter you would have ever tasted. I’ve been enjoying it all week and feeling good! This recipe can keep for up to 2 weeks if stored in an air tight glass jar in the fridge. This recipe makes just over a cup of walnut butter. Enjoy!  

Roasted Chickpea Salad

    I’ve been talking about making this recipe for so long and now I’ve finally made it. It was certainly worth the prep talk! Salads can be boring at times, especially if you have made it your main meal (usually at lunchtime) and you don’t have that bottle of dressing or sachet of mayonnaise to hand. These spicy chickpeas gives this salad the kick that it needs; it not only appeals to me visually, but it also gives an interesting crunchy texture to the salad. Obviously you can try any salad combination that you want, and maybe throw in some humus somewhere in between. All I know is that these chickpeas will be on repeat for a few more months!