Thursday 21 November 2013

Green Jerk Marinade

Jerk seasoning is becoming one of my new favorite experiments. I absolutely love layering spices and herbs and creating depth of flavour. This was such a simple recipe that didn’t take long to put together. I marinated my chicken for a few hours but I suspect you could get away with not marinating it at all because the spices are so pungent. I used bone in chicken breasts which are always a favourite. You could easily use duck or even pork, I think this would go lovely with pork tenderloin or some other light meat. This marinade will do for about 4 chicken breasts. Enjoy!

1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
2-3inch small stick cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
3-4 tbsp. chopped coriander
Zest of one lime
Juice of one lime (two limes if it’s not juicy)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 scotch bonnet pepper
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt

To Make:
In a small blender, carefully add all ingredients and blitz up until it’s smooth.
Scrape every little bit out and pour over some meat (if it's too thick add a little water to smooth it out)!
I cooked my chicken breasts for about 35-40 minutes at 200C

Friday 15 November 2013

Creamy Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is such an American classic, typically associated with Thanksgiving dinner. I think it’s such a great dish and could be made with any special dinner. I really enjoy making it, but I was tired of the canned cream of mushroom soup that makes the sauce. I sought out recipes, and was open to the idea of something dairy free that didn’t require a load of cream or butter. I stumbled on a few recipes and here is my rendition of what I found! This is mostly adapted from a vegan recipe that got great reviews. Once I tried it I was hooked. This is quite possibly the most delicious green bean casserole I’ve ever made! The pictures show a half version that I did but the recipe is for the full version. I will be making it in the future. This recipe serves about 8. Enjoy.

Ingredients for the Green Beans:
500g-1kg fresh green beans rinsed and chopped (you can use tinned/frozen)
1 whole onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. pepper
Salt to taste

For the Casserole:
1 diced onion
1 diced green bell pepper
2-3 cloves garlic
200g chestnut mushrooms (any mushroom, just not shitake)
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 glass white wine
Pinch paprika
Olive oil
Fried onions for garnish (the French’s American ones)

For the Sauce:
1 c. unsalted cashews soaked in water for 1hr
1 tsp. corn starch
1c. +1c to thin the sauce vegetable stock (I use marigold vegan bouillon powder)

To start:
Get your cashews soaking immediately.
Make your stock.
Clean up your green beans and get them on to boil.
Boil them for about 30-45 minutes or until very soft.
Drain and set aside.

For the Casserole:
Dice your pepper, onion, garlic and slice the mushrooms.
Make the sauce; in a blender (a small fast one works well for this), blend the soaked cashews, corn starch, and stock for at least 3 minutes until thick and creamy. Set aside.
In a big sauté pan, heat a couple table spoons of oil, and begin to sweat off the onions, and peppers. When the onions are soft, add the mushrooms and the garlic.
Salt the mushrooms, and as they begin to soften add the white wine.
Cook off at a boil for a few minutes.
When the wine is cooked off, turn down the heat and add the sauce and sauté for a few minutes.
Next add the drained green beans, paprika and thyme.
Stir to combine, add more stock as it thickens and let cook for about 2-5 minutes until thick.
Put in a casserole dish and sprinkle with French’s fried onions and bake at 175C or 350F for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Plum Upside Down Cake

I had a punnet of plums and I was trying to make something like a tart tatin, and then it just sort of ended up more like an upside down cake. I absolutely surprised myself on this one; I must be getting better at desserts because we ate it up! I put some crème fraiche sweetened with a little sugar just on top. I'm generally not a dessert person but I am trying to expand my recipe list so that I have things available on hand to me in a pinch. This is so unbelievably simple and I encourage anyone to try it. Yo could even try it with fresh peaches, or strawberries or raspberries. Impress your family with this one. Serves 8. Enjoy!

300g plums ripe, cored sliced 1cm
butter for greasing pan
2 tbsp sugar for pan
100g butter – soft/room temperature
100g flour
100g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
3 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda

To Start:
Generously grease a pie tin with butter and sprinkle with 2 tbsp. of sugar.
Core and slice the plums and arrange on the pie tin in a circular pattern or the pattern of your choice.

For the Cake:
In a bowl combine the soft butter, eggs and sugar, cream together until smooth.
Next sift in the flour, backing powder and baking soda.
It will be a thick batter, so pour over the plums and spread out evenly.
Bake at 200C or 400F for about 30-40 minutes, check at 30 minutes and see if a tooth pick comes out clean.
When done take out of the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
Place a plate over the pie tin and flip it carefuly.
Serve with crème fraiche or cream and enjoy!

Thursday 7 November 2013

Classic Toad in the Hole

Toad in the hole, what can I say? I had no real idea what it was when it came to British classics. I thought it was something like ‘pigs in a blanket’, which to me is a lovely little Polish sausage wrapped in a crescent roll. What British people think pigs in a blanket is, is a little cocktail sausage wrapped in bacon. While equally nice neither of these things are what I expected. When I looked into toad in the hole to make it on bonfire night it looked really good and interesting. More like a main course than an appetiser! It’s a lovely Yorkshire pudding batter poured over hot oil and sausages and baked. The texture is really great, it has a nice crunchy outside and a very lovely eggy soft middle by the sausage. I encourage anyone to try it, it’s so simple and makes an excellent economical meal! This serves just 2 only because I used 4 sausages, but you could easily use more sausages for this batter recipe. I adapted this recipe from several ones I read online so but my husband who is British gave it the stamp of approval! Enjoy!

100g plain flour
1 scant tsp. English mustard powder
½ tsp. salt
2 eggs
250ml milk
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
4 lean pork sausages (you can use up to 8 sausages)
1 ½ tbsp. oil (anything except olive)

To start:
Heat oven to about 220C or 400-420F (really hot!)
Get the batter going by mixing the flour, salt and mustard powder. Mix around until combined.
Add in the eggs and half of the milk. Mix slowly until combined.
Pour in the rest of the milk and the thyme until all is incorporated. Set aside.

For the Sausages:
In a reasonably sized roasting tin, pour the oil in and lay the sausages out.
When the oven is hot, place them in for about 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick your sausages are. The goal is to half cook them before the batter.

To Finish:
When the sausages have cooked about 15 minutes, take the pan out and carefully pour over the liquid batter. Be very careful as the batter will splatter in the hot oil.
Cook for 30-40 minutes in the oven, and gauge doneness by the golden crispy crust.
Take out the glorious bake, and serve with some fresh onion gravy and steamed seasonal veggies. YUM!