All posts tagged: recipes

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 …

Spinach Rice

“Eat your Greens…” ‘Mature’ spinach as I like to call it, has a stronger taste and smell than baby spinach which is why I recommend it for this dish. I bought mine in my local market for 40p a bunch, not bad! Blending some for spinach helps create the green vivid colour in the rice, but still allows you to enjoy the texture of the spinach running through. To make the rice tender and grainy, I prefer to use a pan with a large surface area rather than a pot, that way I avoid having to stir the pot and the flavours get evenly distributed. Its optional to stir in the butter after the rice has cooked rather than during the cooking process. I’ve had some excellent feedback on this recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!  

Food at 52 Cookery School: The Italian Job

One of my ultimate dreams is to own a house with a very large, fully equipped, sociable kitchen. Kitchen’s for me have always been a place where you ‘whistle while you work’: you talk about your day, current events even laugh at yourself.There are many reasons for this: cooking can be a pretty daunting experience, even for me. Finding new recipes online and trying to duplicate them at home can been hit and miss: the measurements can be off or the author fails to explain some of the techniques clearly. Unless you have the privilege of having an experienced Chef next to you probing your sorry attempt at pasta dough, the temptation to slip away to the local takeaway quickly emerges. However after spending an evening with John and friends at Food at 52 Cookery School, I am relived to say that there is no better place to get your culinary experience on the right track. Add ‘Passionate’ and ‘Welcoming’ to the title ‘experienced Chef’  and you would have John Benbow, the founder and resident Chef of Food at 52 based in …

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 …

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 …

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 …

My Gourd Is Good!

I grew up eating only one variety of pumpkin: it had a hard green tortoise shell exterior with bright orange flesh. We moved just outside of London soon after I was born, but at least twice a week, we would be on the road to either Ridley or Brixton Market to buy our produce which they didn’t sell in our part of town. The markets were always a busy place, consumed with the strong smell of decaying raw fish, the booming reggae beats from the old record shop which thumped through my chest and the ever-present icon of the Rasta-man who sold sweet smoking incense from his stall at the entrance of the market. I loved going to market, because it was the one time I got to eat fresh beef patties from the bakery as we followed my parents around the stalls to buy our provision. We could never go to market and walk away without our Yam, Cassava, Dasheen…and piece of Pumpkin. A large yellow eclipse was often found hanging from a fish-hook suspended from …

P is for: Pistachio Pesto

I snack on a bag of nuts about once a week, normally roasted or raw almonds. That was until I came across these healthy snack bars that combined flax with hemp and sunflower seeds and honey to make a crunchy nutritious snack to satisfy my midday cravings for something sweet. And of course after a few bites my mind started wandering as to how to make my own nut/seed bars and what kind of variations I could come up with: peanut bar? coconut bar? And then bizarrely a contradictory thought came to mind: “Can I be bothered?” I know it doesn’t make sense given the whole drive behind this website, but really this was one wheel I didn’t feel the need to reinvent. That was a sure reminder that my goal is not to cook anything and everything in sight LOL. But as my mind laid to rest the thought of creating nut bars…the thought of creating dishes incorporating nuts was coming into view…and was slowly edging closer to me like a freight train. And …

A Bowl of Sunshine: Tarka Dal

I can still remember the sizzling sound the crushed garlic would make as it hit the tin roof of the small dutch pot my mother would use to temper. The almost charred bitter taste of the garlic is actually really pleasant here, this is the only dish where you can get away with it I think. Dal and rice was a family stable in my household growing up and so seeing this bowl of sunshine at least once a week always brightened up my day. Apparently there are at least 60 different kinds of dal, but I have traditionally grown up with the ‘yellow split pea’ as a base. In this recipe I have actually mixed it with the red lentil which cooks a lot quicker and doesn’t need soaking over night like the yellow split pea. I also didn’t completely mash up the yellow peas, you can still achieve the creamy texture this way. The ‘Tarka’ part refers to the a mix of spices fried in oil or ghee until sizzling and aromatic, and then …

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 …

A Tale of Four Juices

Now and again I go on a crazy health trip where I banish all refined foods and live off fruit and vegetables. A couple of friends and I committed to this very venture just over a year ago. We picked the 21 day Daniel Fast which is based on the Biblical story of a man named Daniel a young intelligent guy who served in the Palace of the King of Babylon. He had committed to only eating fruits, vegetables and water for 10 days. At the end of the 10 days it is said that Daniel and his friends looked healthier and performed better than his peers who stuck to the rich food served to them from the royal palace kitchen. I am not a victim of eating rich food, just cheap food and plenty of it. The struggle we had was with planning what to eat when so much of our daily stables had been cut out (no eggs, no diary, no bread with yeast, no meat, no sugar). That’s when juices came to …