Creamy Spaghetti with Italian Style Sprinkles

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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).

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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 saved the rest for the next day when I would enjoy the same meal again, this time for lunch!

 

Creamy Spaghetti with Italian Style Sprinkles

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

1/2 packet of Spaghetti

11-12 large sun-dried tomato slices (with 2 tbsp of its oil)

3 garlic cloves

1/2 white onion

2 tbsp freshly chopped sage

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 chicken or vegetable stock jelly

2 tbsp soft cream cheese

Salt and black pepper to season to taste

1/2 packet Sainsbury’s Italian Salad Sprinkles 

 

 

Method

1. Put the Spaghetti to boil in a pot of salted water with a dash of oil. In another pan, saute the onion and garlic in the oil from the sun-dried tomato until soft (under a medium heat)

2. Add the tomato paste and sun-dried tomato (finely sliced into strips) and stir for a couple of minutes

3. Add the chopped sage and chicken stock and a little water from the spaghetti (about 1/4 cup) until the stock jelly has dissolved completely

4. Add the soft cheese and stir into the mixture until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a 1/4 cup of water from the spaghetti

5. When the spaghetti is ready (should be al dente, not too soft), drain and slowly add to the sauce, stirring it in as you go.

6. Season and taste, when ready to serve sprinkle with the Italian Salad Sprinkles.

 

 

 

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 also noticeably spirally twisted in shape, kind of like the horn of a unicorn, making it all the more easier to dip into the dark bitter chocolate sauce it is traditionally served with.

Churros are fried at a very high temperature until golden and crisp on the outside. The surface of a churro is ridged due to having been piped from a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle.  The curly umbrella hook shape of the Churro is a result of the free-style way in which the dough hits the hot oil when frying so now the pressure is off to create the perfect Churro stick!

The silky, fudge like chocolate sauce I made works perfectly with this snack: Green and Blacks has a wide selection dark chocolate flavours which is what I used for this simple sauce. You will have perfect bitter-sweet dipping fudge chocolate in seconds!

 

Churros with Chocolate Ginger Sauce

  • Servings: 10-12 sticks
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

For the Churros

1 cup water

3 eggs

1 tbsp Bob Red Mill’s Masa Harina (Corn Flour not starch) – optional

1 cup of Plain Flour

1/2 cup  unsalted butter (soft)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

1/2 tsp almond essence

1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar

Canola Oil (fry)

 

For the Coating

1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon powder

 

 

For the Chocolate Ginger Sauce

100g  Dark Chocolate

1-2 cubes of crystalized ginger

1 cup Double Cream

 

Method:

For the Churro

1. In a deep pot combine water, butter until completely melted over a medium to low heat

2. Add the flour and corn flour stirring continuously. Keep stirring over the heat until the mixture thickens and clumps together into a smooth ‘ball’ .

3. Remove from the heat and briskly stir in the eggs one at a time.

4.Add the vanilla, almond and sugar and mix well

5. Transfer mix to a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle or the ‘churrera’  mentioned above on the smallest nozzle.

5. Heat the oil to 182°C (359.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Pipe churros batter straight into the hot oil. Use your fingers or a knife to break off the batter to the desired length. Once the churros are browned lift out and put onto a plate covered with some paper towel to drain.

6. Roll the churros through the cinnamon sugar in a separate tray.

 

The Chocolate Ginger Sauce

1. Break the chocolate into small cubes and place in a glass jug or bowl with the cubes of ginger.

2. In a saucepan, warm the cream (not to boiling point), then pour half of the cream into the glass bowl with the chocolate and stir. Then slowly add the remaining cream into the bowl and stir well.

3. Remove the ginger cubes when you have the desired intensity of the ginger in the sauce  before 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, before coming across the odd black seed (which I guessed had been missed). Then came the pepper of fire, which turned out to be more like a tickle rather than a punch in the mouth; it was over before I knew it. I loved them!

From then on I void never to follow my brother’s advice (in relation to food) ever again.

The recipe below is for Tambran sauce, I thought it would be better to share the sauce rather than the sweet/savoury balls with you because it’s a very versatile sauce which can be added to a number of sweet, savoury dishes or even drinks!

I’ve used this sauce in the Bara and Channa which is joining the blog soon, and hopefully I’ll share a drink with you too! Enjoy

Nutritional Value: 

Each 100 grams of tamarind contain 36% of the thiamin, 35% of the iron, 23% of magnesium and 16% of the phosphorus recommended for a day’s worth of nutrition. Other prominent nutrients include niacin, calcium, vitamin C, copper, and pyridoxine.

'Tambran' (Tamarind) Sauce

  • Servings: 10-20 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

10 sweet tamarinds, shelled and de-seeded

2 to 3 cups water

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 pinch of salt

2 cloves of garlic – crushed

1/4 medium onion – grated finely

1/2 tsp scotch bonnet pepper – chopped finely (or more!)

Method

Once you have removed the shell from the tamarind, rinse the tamarind under running water (this is to make sure any bits of the shell still on the fruit are completely removed.

You will see a boney like membrane running along the fruit, remove that too if possible, otherwise, transfer the tamarind a saucepan. Pour into the saucepan, two cups of water and bring the pan to a fast boil, you will see the tamarind begin to dissolve, you can help the fruit separate from the seed by mashing it with a potato masher. If the liquid starts to thicken, add more water and lower the heat. This should take 5 -7 minutes.

Take the tamarind off the heat, pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl, leaving behind the husk and the seed. You want to add the husk to the remaining sauce and discard the seed. Now return the tamarind sauce to the saucepan.

In the saucepan, add the remainder of the ingredients and bring it to a medium boil to help thicken the sauce. Once the sauce is at the consistency you want, allow it to cool and store in sterilised jars in the refrigerator.

Red Hot Buffalo Chicken

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I’ve never seen a larger variety of Chicken. I’m use to the four options that you get at Nando’s which range from very hot to no heat, nothing more exciting than that, but this was different. I could see 6 varieties in front of me, but I had been told that there were over 50! From popcorn to boneless, and tenders to BBQ wings.

This was not some upstage restaurant in Manhattan. No.This was Walmart in Montgomery, Alabama. I actually walked away from the Deli Bar with just the fried okra, but I was amazed at how serious southerners take their Chicken. So this recipe is dedicated to the short spell I spent in Alabama last year, it was an incredible experience for me (read more on my blog: http://www.acottonstateofmind.com).

From what I gathered, Buffalo Chicken is usually served with celery sticks and a blue cheese sauce. I achieved the crispy texture by mixing Panko breadcrumbs with regular plain flour as the Panko breadcrumbs on their own tend to burn too quickly, long before the chicken is cooked. 202684

Another all important ingredient is the sauce, Franks Buffalo Sauce can be purchased in most superstores in the UK from what I can see. It’s what gives this chicken the fiery colour it’s so famous for.

Hot Buffalo Chicken

  • Servings: 6-8 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
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For Marinade
3 chicken breasts cut into 6-8 strips
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning (or a mix of paprika, black pepper, onion and garlic powder, bay leaf and celery salt)
Bunch of thyme -stripped from stems
1 medium onion- grated
3 garlic cloves minced
For Frying
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup plain flour
pinch of black pepper
pinch of salt
pinch of Old Bay Seasoning
For Dipping
1 tsp brown sugar
dash of Worcestershire Sauce
dash of Soya Sauce
1 tsp garlic paste
Marinade:
Mix all the ingredients under marinade together and add to the chicken (which you would have cleaned before hand). Place in a clean container and seal over night in the fridge or at least 5-6 hours.
Frying:
Heat a frying pan with 3/4 full of oil. Or better still use a purpose-built fryer. Take the ingredients under ‘to fry’, mix them all together. Take each strip of chicken and shake off any excess batter but not too much, then roll the chicken into the flour and crumbs. Test the oil with a little flour first to see its reaction speed, it should begin to fry on impact with the oil. Turn the oil down to a medium heat before adding the chicken strips. Cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until brown. Transfer to a tray and place in a warm oven while you complete the rest.
Dipping:
Take all the ingredients under dipping, and place in a pot. Warm under a low heat just to combine the flavours. Then take it off the heat. Take each of the chicken strips one by one and dip into the sauce, coating it completely. Then serve with side dishes of your choice, such as the cornbread waffles.

Supermalt Banana Fritters

IMG_4493This is an original creation of mine which I am so excited to share with you! Don’t let the deep-frying put you off, this is an occasional irresistible, seriously addictive dessert which is best served hot and crispy with vanilla ice cream. I can’t say I am a huge fan of Supermalt, but I do get a thirst for it with certain meals. Fans of Supermalt, when you make this dish, tell me if you can taste the drink in the batter? Not being a malt novice, in my mind Supermalt gives the batter its colour and the crispy light texture. It also makes an incredible caramel sauce which detailed below. One thing to remember, make sure the bananas you use are not overly ripe, the firmer the better with no dark spots – they need to take some intense heat while frying!

Supermalt Banana Fritters

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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175g/6oz plain flour
1 cup / 250ml Supermalt
125g/41/2oz cornflour

1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Vegetable oil to fry
4 Bananas, peeled cut into thirds

The Sauce

30 ml Supermalt
50g light muscovado sugar (light brown)
40g  butter
30ml  cream
¼ tsp vanilla

Whisk the flour, Supermalt and salt together in a large bowl until smooth. Place in the fridge for 1 hour. Whisk the flour and cinnamon together in a shallow bowl. Remove the batter from the fridge and give it another good whisk. Slice the bananas into thirds.

Pour the vegetable oil into a large high sided pot. Don’t fill a pot full of oil.

Heat the vegetable oil until very hot, at least 350F if you have a thermometer. NOTE: if the oil isn’t hot enough the fritters will sink to the bottom and immediately stick to the bottom of the pan. Then, they will take too long to cook resulting in the banana turning to mush. When the oil is hot enough roll the bananas into the cinnamon flour then into the batter and then into the oil. The fritters will drop in and then almost immediately rise to the surface. I recommend using one fritter as an oil test first before cooking the rest.

Let them cook until golden brown then remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a paper towel lined bowl.

Mix all but the  cream in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring all the while. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool and thicken.

Copyright © Ranette Prime and Love Loretta’s Kitchen, 2014. All Rights Reserved.