All posts tagged: homemade

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 …

Chargrilled Aubergine Pesto

“The flame-roasted aubergine imparts a deep, smoky flavour while the sun-dried tomato lifts the whole with its sweet, sharp zing. Excellent as it is on pasta, or as a dip with vegetal dippers, or as a base for a tomato and aubergine galette” – Dale Berning Sawa – Chargrilled Aubergine Pesto: Guardian Recipe Swap February 2016 Bajan Choka meets Basil Pesto. That’s the best way to describe the combination of these two classic dishes from Trinidad and Italy. Bajan Choka is a Trinidadian side dish . The intense flavour comes from being roasted on an open flame which rapidly cooks and flavours the flesh in its skin. The smokey soft pulp is then fried with onions, hot pepper and usually served with Paratha Roti. Most of us are familiar with basil pesto; I am especially from my years as a student. This was my go to jar to lift my pasta dishes out of the tuna mayo and sweetcorn era I found myself locked into. Nowadays I make my own from time to time, I love the fresh robust taste of the basil and raw …

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 …

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 …

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!

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. …

White Chicken Chilli

I had no idea what a white chilli was until today. I had bought some chicken and really wanted to do something different with it. I also wanted an excuse to use the food processor I had recently bought (I make no apology, every other recipe will require a FP from now on!). That’s when I came across the ‘white chicken chilli’. I saw this as a great challenge – most eating is done with the eyes – vibrant colours and textures, so how can a recipe that looks and even sounds pretty bland still have as much punch as a regular chilli? If you google white chicken chilli, all the recipes involve shredding the chicken, leaving you with a pulpy, mushy stew. I really didn’t fancy that. So I thought may be I could try combining my curiosity of ground chicken with a white bean sauce. The result – juicy, tasty chicken meatballs in a cosy white bean sauce. I love it! I really do.

Supermalt Chocolate Muffins

Ever wondered how red velvet cake achieves its moist crumbly texture? It’s the addition of sour cream, a little well-known ingredient popular in cakes I tasted during my adventures in the Deep South of the United States (‘tasted’ is an understatement, I devoured them). The sour cream also helps intensify the rich taste and texture of these muffins. I loved the first sight of these cakes when I took them out of the oven: the crackled tops resembled mountain peaks the perfect base for the creamy frosting to sink into.  The addition of Supermalt really holds the cakes rich dark colour together, it’s not at all overly sweet or damp as you might expect: think of pouring a cool glass of Supermalt on a summer’s day, with bees buzzing past your ears as you sip the creamy froth oozing over the glass…you have the picture? Well that’s the intensity this cake has on not only your eyes but your tastes buds. Enjoy!

Guyana: Paratha Roti

Oil-roti, buss-up-shot, Dhal puri. Some of the names I have grown to associate with the iconic national dish of both Guyana and Trinidad. From the Street Vendor in San Fernando to the Blue Hut on Mount Irvine Beach in Tobago, Roti is enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. The hardest task I have found however was not in the consuming, but finding someone who could do it well (or as well as my Mother…as we would all say). And I’m sad to report that those places and people are very few and hard to find. Many make the mistake of preparing Roti much like chapatti or some other flat bread, which is fine to those who don’t know any better, but to those who can sniff a good Roti from a far off it won’t be enjoyed as well. The key to making a good Guyanese Paratha Roti is letting the dough rest adequately between each stage. The ratio of baking powder to flour is equally important. It’s also important that you use the right utensils. A Tawah (flat …

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 …

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.