All posts tagged: recipe

Sunday Brunch: Shaksuka Eggs

I’ve been meaning to make this dish for the longest while. The mouth-watering pictures of Shasuka Eggs, (Tunisian dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce) flooded my pinterest page long before I knew the name of the dish. I love breakfasts, I could have them all day. I used to work in an all-day breakfasts cafe in Nottingham as a student: scraping down the greasy hot plate where I fried eggs, bacon, mushrooms and sausages before slapping them onto large oval plates with two slices of white toast. I loved assembling the items on the plate and seeing people stroll in at 2pm for a full English. The greasy spoon just off the town square served nothing more all day, everyday. You would never dream of serving Shasuka Eggs in a cafe like that, even if it used more or less the same ingredients. I only managed to eat half of this dish midday today, I’m back home now, so I think I will definitely warm up some more crusty bread and finish off the …

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:

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.

Chocolate Bark with Bite

  If you manage to make this sweet treat last a week, you did better than me. It’s unbelievably satisfying to eat and easy to make. Plus I think  it’s probably the healthiest chocolate bar(k) you’ll ever find, which makes it even harder to resist gobbling up?! So what gives this bark its ‘bite’? No it’s not the crunchy nuts or tangy cranberries trapped in the pool of chocolate like a welly caught in quick sand (terrible analogy). It is in fact ginger. You could add finely chopped crystallised ginger to this recipe which was my original plan. However I didn’t need a lot so I opted for Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate (60% cocoa) with ginger. It’s awesome all by itself even before I started melting and shaping it. This should take you no more than 30 minutes to prepare and that includes cooling time: I simply chucked it in the freezer which speeds up the hardening effect. Then once you’ve slipped it off the baking sheet, either with a knife or preferably by hand, …

10 second Fig Ice-cream

I can’t remember when I first tasted a fresh fig, but I know that since that day there has been no going back. I grew up eating a lot of dried fruit: dates, bananas, and figs. Bananas soon got banished and picked out of every cereal bowl it showed up in. Frozen bananas on the other hand was just genius lurking in the pews: gone are the days of blackened fruit spoiling your fruit  bowl or attracting fruit flies or bread recipes. Now I can have ‘fresh’ bananas whenever I want them. Frozen bananas or any fruit make amazing fruit smoothies, but also desserts as this recipe demonstrates: you don’t have to use the dates, but because I love the caramel swirls like taste of figs in the dairy version of fig ice-cream, I needed something to substitute that. I love the rich pink colour the figs give to this ice-cream, half of eating is with the eyes as they say. Quick, healthy, raw and ready in minutes!

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.

Prize Giveaway: Healthier Recipe Cookbook

Who said creamy Arctic Roll can’t be healthy? Low fat doesn’t always mean low taste. Yes we’ve heard it all before; Many of us who have been round the diet block a few times will be familiar with this phrase.  What sends me back to old habits however is usually a lack of planning and scarce range of healthy tasty recipes to work with. I’ve even gone as far as eliminating the word diet from my vocabulary whenever I embark on a new eating (dis)order…determined that this is how I’m going to eat for the rest of my life: no more bread. no more diary. No more strawberries. But somehow my body is smarter than what I think it is and so it kicks into survival mode clinging on to whatever morsel of sugar,  fat or berry I ‘treat’ myself with…on my ‘cheat day’ of course! 😉 Over the years you soon learn that the key to long-term weight-loss and health is a lifestyle change: So here comes another healthy recipe book and I’m thinking, do we need …

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Soup

So this is how you make effortless, tasty and satisfying soup in minutes. Soup doesn’t have to be complicated nor does it need a whole bunch of ingredients to leave your mouth watering for more. I grew up using yellow or red split peas as a base for thick soups. But as the split peas release no flavour of their own, I found myself adding tons of ingredients, and root vegetables which meant more time in the kitchen and less time doing the other things I enjoyed doing. This soup however is complete in 3 easy steps: roast, blend, boil. And if you have any left over, it could work as a good based for a pasta dish or stew. The dense sweet nutty flavour of this variety of pumpkin (normally sold in caribbean markets) when roasted needs very little to enhance its flavour more. You can add more or less water to achieve the consistency you want. I think you’re going to really like this one…;-)

Baking for Macmillan: Lemon Sponge with Fresh Blueberry Cream

Last week Friday I was invited to take part in the ‘Biggest Coffee Morning’ on record. It’s Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event of the year, where people across the UK hold a coffee morning and raise money for people living with cancer. In 2013, 154,000 people signed up, raising a record £20 million. At my work place the coffee stations were situated in various buildings to meet the sweet tooth decaying cravings of as many people as possible. By 10am the official ‘opening time’ colleagues had already  forming queues making a mental selection of the cake slices they wanted, because once it was gone, that was it. There was a stunning selection of cakes on display from swiss rolls to red velvet and cupcakes to pastries. I donated three cakes to the event: a carrot and apple cake (already featured on the blog), cinnamon buns and a blueberry and lemon sponge cake. The recipes for each of those cakes are featured on this blog! Blueberry Lemon Sponge Cake This has to be one of the most decadent cakes …

Quick Golden Multi-seed Bread

There is nothing more appealing than the smell and look of fresh bread from straight out the oven. It sends you drooling, scrambling for the bread knife or the first opportunity to rip a piece out of its side to smother it with cool butter, jam or chocolate spread. In this case chocolate spread won: it was a delicious combination of Nutella with the crunchy seeds and malty taste of the fluffy bread that made my midday brunch most satisfying. And to think that only a couple of hours earlier this loaf of bread was merely a packet of bread mix, olive oil and a bit of water away from becoming delicious! This is probably the most surprisingly tasty bread mixes I have made: the dough turned into deep caramel the moment I started to add water to the mix. I was also tempted at some stage to add honey to the mix, in fear the bread would be bland, but it wasn’t necessary. The bread was fluffy and had a slight sweetness to it. The following day …

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!