All posts tagged: food

Vanilla Cardamom infused Mango w/ Honeyed Greek Yoghurt

  Greek Yoghurt has become my new obsession, especially now that I appreciate its health benefits a bit more. I have always been a lover of yoghurts: my family of 6 was split cleanly down the middle; 3 gulped it down by the gallons, the others couldn’t care less. I experimented with soya yoghurts and even coconut ones for a while, the latter tasting mega delicious, but at £3 a small pot I couldn’t sustain it for too long. Maybe I’ll experiment a little with making my own…who knows. But in the meantime, this recipe works just fine. If you want to preserve some of the nutrition from the mangoes, you might only want to poach it gently, remove the fruit and then allow the liquid to simmer to a syrup like consistency.   Advertisements

Avocado & Egg Breakfast Burritos

  As far as savoury breakfasts go, mine have been limited to but a few: beans on toast; fried or scrambled egg…with beans on toast.  Or if I wander to my family home: fried bakes, buljol (a kind of salt-fish salad), mushrooms and avocado; all washed down with some mint tea. But now that I’m on this health trip, which I sincerely hope survives longer than most of my pre- summer holiday crash diets, I’ve been looking for healthy tastier alternatives that can work both on a weekend when I have a bit more time on your hands. Don’t get me wrong baked beans on toast can work, once in a while, but now only if I’m prepared to make my own from scratch, reducing my salt and sugar intake. I’ve also found and I know some of my friends think I’m just attention seeking here, but I am allergic to the ‘Hass’ variety of Avocado: the one with black bumpy skin commonly sold in the shops or piled high in crates at market stalls it has become my …

Coconut Lentils w/ Honey Roasted Salmon

    It’s with sadness that I have to announce that this recipe will be the final act in the ‘Beat the Bloat’ series. It’s been really special guys, I have loved the research and creating these recipes, I have learnt so much about correct food combinations and clean eating, all without losing out on taste and all within a reasonable budget. I am working on some other food projects even as we speak, so if you don’t hear from me in the next few days it’s because I’m planning and experimenting away! All of these recipes have many more benefits to your health and well-being more than simply getting into those pair of jeans you bought a year ago, although that has its place too! I hope the recipes have more than just inspired you…what would be truly amazing is if you tried making one of them and really liked it –  a lot! That would bring a smile to my face, your tummy would also be happy too!   Honey roasted salmon. I love smoked …

{Cheaters} Pilau Rice

  The good thing about using short grain brown rice in this recipe, besides its huge health benefits, is that unlike regular brown rice, short grain rice tends to retain its form and shape and can soak up a lot of flavour. It’s best for ‘one pot’ recipes like this where the rice takes quite a few knocks before being served; I find it it very difficult to over cook this rice surprisingly (see my pumpkin rice recipe as another example). To be really honest, I am not the greatest fan of brown rice unless its well seasoned; But when I have shared this dish with friends, no one really notices the substitute of brown rice – which is great! A great way to sneak in good food to you health-phobe mates! The great cheat in this is the Pilau seasoning. Looking at the ingredients on the bottle, I could probably replicate it, but sometimes you just want good food without the effort! And this seasoning tastes pretty authentic to me. For more information on the health benefits …

Sedano al Pomodoro

    This has to be the first time I have given celery centre stage in a dish. Most of the time it remains well hidden in a stir-fry, rice or soup; the only indication of its presence being its strong aniseed flavour or the random in-digestible stalk that gets caught between your teeth. But with its firm crunchy texture and fine grooves along its spine, celery ought to be used a lot more like pasta as it can carry a lot of sauce on its back without wilting under the weight. So here I have created this recipe: ‘Celery in Tomato Sauce’ basically, for the ‘Beat the Bloat’ series I’m running at the moment. All of this week I have been consuming only those recipes that I have mentioned in the series, and along with daily exercise I have to say, I feel amazing! Very refreshed and not ‘full’ to the point of wanting to sleep midday (if there’s any cause for sleep, its this beautiful hot sun we’ve been enjoying lately). So enjoy this side dish with rice or maybe even spaghetti – …

7 Recipes to Beat Bloating

    I know I’m not the only one who has experienced the ‘bloated feeling’, when your tummy is stretched, puffy, uncomfortable and feels like a permanent rubber dingy round your waist. It often follows a big weekend of eating badly or late into the evening or some other festive occasion. But for some people, bloating is more than an occasional inconvenience. If your stomach or tummy often feels bloated, it could be due to several things besides excessive wind and constipation. Funny, I was always told as a child to chew my food properly and to drink peppermint tea and water, I wish I knew then what I know now that these are some of the aids to reducing bloating. Medical advice is always advised if this appears to be your experience over a sustained period of time, but for many other people, there are moderate changes and intelligent ways we can incorporate ‘Bloat Beating’ foods into our diets and hopefully avoid the need for medical intervention. This week I will be sharing with you 7 recipes …

Delicious Peanut Flax Granola

Rome was not built in a day, neither was Granola, or so it seemed. The secret to good granola is to cook it slow and low! I learn from my mistakes very quickly! The first time I made this, I put the oven on so high, the granola cooked to a crisp; rather than throw all my hard work away, I grimaced and ate the bitter cereal the rest of the week. Never again. Top tip: after 20 minutes in the oven, take it out and turn the mixture, making sure to push the granola from the edges inward toward the middle. Then place it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove and stir it one final time before returning it to the oven for the last 10 minutes: a total of 40 minutes! Long wait but the reward is so great; your breakfasts (or even snacks) will leave you feeling so satisfied. You can thank me later…enjoy!

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.

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.  

Puerto Rican Pineapple ‘Rum’ Cake

  This sweet and sticky dessert had me licking my fingers long after I’d finished eating it (a disturbing image I know). This is a dense, warm and crunchy cake (from the added pecan nuts) to share on a plate of vanilla ice cream or warm creamy custard. The creation of the ‘Rum’ syrup was a very think on your feet moment today; although I don’t drink, I really wanted to make this cake with the sweet sticky albeit rum glaze. I have eaten a few pineapple cakes in my time but they were either very dry or looked way too dated with the huge pineapple rings and ‘red eye’ of the cherry staring up at me.  No, it’s time pineapple cake had some refresher training. The ingredient combination for the ‘Rum Syrup’ work very well together, you get the warmth from the ginger and the spice from the cloves, the closest you may get to the real thing, if you want to substitute it that is. Lifting off the cake tin is the most exciting part of the whole …

Smokin’ Tuna Balls

  This was so last minute. I was out with some friends watching the first game of the World Cup in Brazil; I am infamously known for my disinterest in football, the only other time I pay it any attention is the Olympics…and then only if it happens to be on. So in the closing moments of the game, seeing that Croatia was going to have a hard time catching up with Brazil (3:1), I invited a friend to lunch. Come Friday after work, I strolled home having spent the last hour roaming the streets of Islington, clearing my mind from a frustrating week of work. As I was about to settle in for the night it hit me: you forgot about lunch.  I quickly scrambled down stairs and rummaged through the few ingredients that I had: tuna…potato…onions. On top of that I couldn’t recall whether or not she ate fish. Never mind I had to fix up something. The story of how these Tuna Balls were formed. Not everyone is a huge fan of tuna, and besides …

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 …

Virgin Passion Strawberry Daiquiri

Another wonderfully hot day in London. I woke up with a bright clear blue sky before me. As the days are getting longer, the sense of urgency and frantic busy-ness which comes with city life is slowly being replaced with a casual, ‘we-still-got-time-ness’. Summer is finally here and with it comes my favourite part of the day: warm summers’ nights.  I love it with a passion: I enjoy being outside with friends and family watching the sun take the slow roll down the western sky, leaving a warm breeze in its path. It’s a reflective time of the day. Yes warm summers’ nights: it almost feels like the day will never end which is why this sunset coloured drink is a perfect accompaniment. The fresh tangy taste of the passion fruit will revive anyone trying to hang on to the last few hours of the night to finish some good conversation or activity. It takes minutes to create, you can even prepare the ingredients before hand to save you time. As an alternative to water, you can use coconut or sparkling water. Angostura Bitters, …

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 …

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 Review: Alchemy Food Market

Since last week Friday, London has been smothered with generously hot weather; the kind that has you kicking off the duvet covers in the middle of the night; and for the first time in months, has most of the windows of your home wide open to hear the buzz of the bees blending in with the morning traffic and chatter from passers-by. Never would I have tolerated such a disruption to my daily routine but for the beautiful sunshine and warmth we have experienced – quite by surprise! If there is one thing the British love to do, it’s to moan about the weather, and it’s no wonder why: with so little sun matched with heat and not knowing how long it will last and assuming it WILL be our last, we make every effort to find some reason to be out and about in London town on a hot sunny day. This is what led me to the South Bank: so named  the centre of Arts and Entertainment in London during the 1950’s. All I know is that by …

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. …

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!

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.  

Guyanese: Pepperpot

If there was ever a dish which made me immensely proud of my Guyanese heritage, it would be this one. Pepperpot, the National dish of Guyana. Simply the bitter-sweetest, warmest, stickiest pot of stew you will ever taste. It has a taste like none other, and its all down to one main ingredient: Cassareep. Cassareep was not as accessible in the 80’s when I was growing up as it is now; and even here, only certain West Indian shops sell it. I don’t know where we found the thick black molasses mixture when I was a child, but it was cherished like liquid black gold in our home: It would sit at the back of the cupboard, in a used Pepsi Bottle silently, waiting for the 25 December. I recall it being sealed with masking tape around its mouth and neck, as if smuggled out of the country, put on a boat destined for the Motherland…only to sit at the back of someone’s cupboard for 11 1/2 months of the year. “Cass-a-reep” I was told by my mother …