All posts tagged: food

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 …

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, …

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 …

Pecan Caramel Monkey Bread

The moment you slowly remove the bundt pan from this bread. Its like watching a child open a birthday present, in small motion and to find that it was exactly what they had hoped and wished for. This was my experience unravelling the monkey bread. I had searched high and low for the recipe that reflected the image in my head of how this was all going to turn out, but nothing met my credentials. So I took a few ideas from here and there and put together a recipe which tastes so good! I wish you could hear me say this out loud…it is unbelievably good, the whole process of making this bread really therapeutic, I don’t know why. The process and ingredients are very similar to that of Brioche, so I felt a lot more confident putting it together. Not all monkey breads require eggs, but I wanted to the rich texture of the brioche in this one and it paid off so well. A couple of tips: be generous with the caramel. If …

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 …

Mushroom Biriyani

  This recipe is really easy to prepare and cook, and its amazingly versatile: the mushrooms can be substituted for mixed vegetables if you wish. Each stage of the rice dish is injecting a different flavour into the rice. I actually prefer to cook the rice separately and then stir it into the sautéed seasoning, however I have detailed the traditional version below. I  would also recommend serving this with the Tarka Dhal which is coming up in this blog. Copyright © Ranette Prime and Love Loretta’s Kitchen, 2014. All rights reserved.

Salmon Kebab Sticks

Here marks the end of the stick it in the oven with a drizzle of lemon and pepper Salmon fillets. No more, and I mean it.  I have no problem with grilled Salmon any day of the week, especially if you want something quick after a long day that still tastes pretty decent with a simple side of potatoes or vegetables. I bought some salmon earlier at the weekend and seriously that was all I had in mind; but as with life, we all need a transformation of some kind and so as I walked through the dreary aisles of Morrison’s Superstore I almost shouted:  “What about the salmon?!” So this post is dedicated to the beloved Salmon which has served us tirelessly and has been crying out for a make-over greater than being chunked, diced or smoked. He wants more out of life. This recipe should take you no more than an hour. I took my time with this one only because I find cooking very therapeutic, but I’m sure it can be achieved in much …

Trini Sunday: Chicken Pelau Rice

Sunday morning I would wake up to sounds and smells. First it would be the sound of my mum singing in the kitchen and then the smell of fried bakes roasting to eat with the Buljol she had just prepared. Dad could be heard like a giant stirring around in the living room in his dressing gown and slippers, thumbing through his precious vinyl collection: “Which would it be today: Mighty Sparrow or Mahalia Jackson?” His thoughts would soon be interrupted by the crescendo of pots and pans crashing to the kitchen floor: I would picture Mum in my mind’s eye as I lay on my warm bed: bending down low and reaching far back to grab her precious pot which was usually stacked very badly (by one of us) behind or on top of smaller weaker pots, hence the clash of metal befallen on our sleeping ears. Then I would wait for her to cry out my name to come fix the problem (“Raaaaaaa-neeeee…”) Traditions are so important, they help solidify memories and reaffirm identities. The …

Sushi & Tofu

You might find it hard to believe, but I am not someone who is very adventurous when it comes to trying new foods: I like to stick to what I know. I’ve come a bit further down the line then where I was a few years a go. I never thought the day would come when I would actually enjoy snacking on cold rice which is essentially what I summed up sushi to be. I was first introduced to sushi whilst at university about 12 years ago. My housemate’s girlfriend at the time is Japanese and she would often prepare sushi at the weekend with him. She must have cornered me or something because I went from going in the kitchen to wash dishes to clapping down a ‘scrambled egg mayo’ sushi she had made. I wouldn’t say it was like fireworks in my mouth (sorry it does get better believe me), but my interest was peaked. The second occasion was probably another 10 years after that, this time it was salmon. But again the …

Cardamom Pistachio Pancakes

It was Shrove Tuesday a few days ago or Pancake Day to the rest of us which meant a floury of crepes and pancakes came flooding into the office for us to consume. I was curious to notice that my Boss hadn’t taken any of the crepes that had been brought in and so I inquired as to her withdrawal from the sweet treats. “I don’t like those kind of pancakes” she said, “I prefer the thick American style ones” to which we all nodded in agreement. “But they’re made from the same ingredients?” piped in another colleague of mine helping himself to the strawberries on the table. To some extent he is right, the only difference is the water content, classic pancakes have a bit more water so tend to be lighter and less dense. These pancakes below adapted from a Lebanese blog by Bethany Kehdy are nice and dense and as suggested can be made lighter with a little more water.

Coconut Fish Stew

I love a fish stew, but it never occurred to me that I could use a base of coconut milk until 6 months ago. I realise now that every culture has their own version of fish stew, from Smoked Haddock Chowder to the French Bouillabaisse and from Brown Stew Fish to Thai Green Curry Salmon (soon coming to the blog). I could go on and on, I love fish! So this dish starts off resembling the preparation of Brown Stew Fish, an infamous in the Caribbean with virtually the same ingredients, with the addition of coconut milk and okra to garnish. Yes the okra is optional, which is why I keep it whole here, so the haters can pick them out, but I actually think they work well in the coconut sauce which is created. In terms of fish, try to use a meaty fish that holds its form like Cod or Bream. I have used Red Bream here. And be careful to let the fish cool down completely before transferring it to the sauce …

Red Onion Fougasse Bread

This flat, round fougasse loaf is very popular all over France and is a very similar to the Italian focaccia. Here I decided to make a mustard/ garlic butter which I brushed over the bread once baked, if I’m honest I was trying to mimic the fougasse garlic bread I love so much which is served at the restaurant Cafe Rouge, which came drenched in this garlic butter sauce which tasted like none other. But I digress, this bread is as enjoyable and fun to share and tear over some soup! I strongly recommend using a strong white bread flour for this recipe, it will make such a big difference to the to the texture: the bread turned out really nice and fluffy on the inside and with a light crust. I also found it expanded in size quite a bit, so make sure you leave a lot of space in the pan between breads. This recipe is adapted from the BBC Good Food website if you want to see other versions of the bread.  

Salt fish Fritters

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 first), this should take no more …

Chinese Pot Stickers

Ah! The day I discovered pot stickers: I was introduced to these fancy dumplings by a close Malaysian friend of mine who also shares my fascination with food from around the world. She told me about a restaurant off Liverpool Street in London called Ping Pong who apparently churned out these steamed parcels all day and night. It happened to be Chinese New Year 2013 celebrations that weekend, so when we discovered that Ping Pong were also throwing together ‘Dumpling Classes’ to celebrate the year of the Snake, we signed up straight away. In the end we didn’t end up going…pretty much how most of my adventures with my friend ended up, but I did manage to persuade another friend of mine to try the restaurant out. Setting: Ping Pong Restaurant; In the midst of our discourse about the failing economy, social injustice and men our intense conversation was interrupted by these delicate yet crispy parcels correctly entitled Gyoza’s. Here begginneth my relationship with the Pot Sticker.