Thursday, 3 September 2015

Plantain Loaf

I adore plantain, in particular yellow plantains (there are two types, yellow and green). I'm sure you are aware of that, the starchy vegetable which tastes so sweet is tropical, yet so comforting. There seems to be more and more ways where I am able to in-cooperate plantains in my recipes. Overripe yellow plantains (where the plantains are blackened all over), have such a versatile use other than frying them and when I recently had some over-ripe plantains, I decided to use them in this delicious and easy loaf. 
The topping of my Plantain loaf can either be dressed up and made sweet with a sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg or raisins or can remain as a savoury loaf served with lashings of margarine or slices cheese.  What’s the difference between an ordinary banana loaf or plantain loaf – it’s simple the plantains have a much more robust texture and favour, which I adore.
My plantain loaf is a beautiful, moist and delectable  loaf is to make and is ready in around an hour,  perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast. What's more, I make the mixture in the food processor to make my life a little easier, saves on washing up and arm work.
This is a delightful loaf,  perfect weekend loaf for all the family to enjoy. 

Plantain Loaf

Plantain loaf

Plantain loaf

Plantain loaf mixture

Plantain loaf, pre-bake
You will need 900g loaf tin and a food processor.
Recipe for plantain loaf
50g butter
50g sugar
2 overripe plantains, peeled and sliced.
30ml natural yoghurt
30ml milk
1tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
180g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C/350F, grease the loaf tin using oil.

In a food processor, add the butter and sugar and blend. Add the plantains, alongside the natural yoghurt, milk, cinnamon and 2 eggs. Blend again. Finally, add the flour, pinch of salt and baking powder. Give the mixture another quick blend and transfer to the loaf tin. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for around 45 minutes. The loaf should be reader when after testing with a skewer it comes out clean.


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Credit Crunch Munch August 2015 Roundup

I hosted my first #creditcrunchmunch last month and thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of entries. For those that don't know, credit crunch munch is a monthly blogging challenge to share your favourite frugal and thrifty recipes. I chose the theme "last days of Summer', as it was the last days of Summer (not sure whether we really had one) and thoroughly enjoyed seeing your wonderful and colourful entries. Without a further ado, here are the fabulous 23 entries. 

1) Stuffed Jacket Potatoes - Onions and Paper 
2) Omlettey Fritatta Thing - Onions and Paper
3) Raspberry Lemonade with Mint and Raspberry Ice Pops - Coffee and Vanilla
4) Smokey Apple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce - Taste space

5) Lentil Shepherds Pie - Stephjb
6) Potato Gnocchi - Mint Custard
7) Chinese Style Turkey Burgers with Oriental Seasme Slaw - Tales From The Kitchen Shed
8) Strawberry Smoothie - Caroline Makes

9) Easy Roasted Celeriac Soup - Fab Food 4 All
10) Peach and Raspberry Cake - Good Egg Foodie
11) Mango Carrot Smoothie - Tin and Thyme
12) Chocolate and Pear Torte - Lancashire Food

13) Courgette and Ginger Jam - Tales From The kitchen shed
14) Sweet Chilli Jam - Tales From The Kitchen Shed
15) Habas Con Jamon - Belleau Kitchen
16) Rainbow Chard Souffle - Fab Food 4 All

17) Succotash - Family Friends Food
18) Flower Bread - Tales From The Kitchen Shed
19) Roasted Pepper and Thyme Soda Bread - Baking Queen 74
20) Pan Fried Basa - Anne's Kitchen

21) Strawberry and Vanilla Jam - I'd Much Rather Bake Than
22) Herb and Summer Flower Frittata - A Wee Pinch of Sugar
23) Baked Greek Feta with barbecued Red Peppers - Gluten Free Alchemist 

Credit Crunch Munch is the brainchild of Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla from Fab Food 4 All.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Simply Good Food TV and review of The Art of Making Gelato.

Well, this month has been a foodtastic month for Food Glorious Food. A couple of my recipes have been featured in The Guardian and The Telegraph and I'm incredibly excited to share that I will be filming a Jamaican food series over at Simply Good Food TV. If you are unsure of what Simply Good Food TV is, it is a brand new app where you can watch all your favourite chefs, alongside up and coming chefs in one place. How fabulous is that? The app is available to download on your IPad or Android and it's free to install. I'm heading to Jamaican next week so I may be further inspired, but this is the cuisine I grew up, enjoyed (especially during my elongated 6 week summer breaks as a child) and am so excited to share with you.

I can't promise to bring you sunshine whilst I am away in Jamaica, but I can encourage you to enjoy the very last days of Summer, with a dish that is synonymous with summer: Gelato and ice-cream. 
The Art of Making Gelato: 50 Flavours To Make At Home by Morgan Morano is a great introductory book for those that love the cold dessert. I'll be honest, I've never made my ice-cream up until this year and haven't been satisfied with the ice-cream that's available in the supermarkets. I still had my ice-cream fix when I've visited food festivals, but this book has helped me create the beautiful ice-cream that I sampled when visiting Italy. I do think it helps if you purchase an ice-cream maker but there are instructions to make your own ice-cream without an ice-cream maker in this book.
The Art of Making Gelato first gives a thorough introduction to ice-cream, gelato and sorbets, alongside the ideal home gelato machines, tools and ingredients. There is a very comprehensive step-by-step guide to making gelato and sorbetto- which I feel is invaluable as there are easy to follow pictures to make fail-proof gelato and sorbets.

The following chapters include:
  • The Basics, recipes to try include Italian Espresso and Chocolate Chip.
  • The Classics (my favourite chapter), recipes to try include: Coconut Cream, Citrus Cream, Sicilian Cake with Candied Fruit and Creme Brûlée. 
  • Nuts: stand out recipes include: pistachio and walnut and pear.
  • Non Traditional, recipes to try include: Avocado, Doughnut and Maple.
  • Sorbet, for those that fancy something a little lighter, recipes to try include: Lemon, Orange, Raspberry and Forrest Berries.
I have been experimenting with different ice-cream flavours and although the pictures shown below is not the recipe given, this is a wonderful book for basic ice-cream ideas of flavour combination.

The recipe that I chose to share is Creme Brûlée ice-cream, everything which I love about ice-cream: rich, creamy, delicious and indulgent.
48g milk powder
215g granulated sugar
1 pinch of salt
20g tapioca starch
250g heavy cream
600g whole milk
4g vanilla extract
33g light corn syrup (golden syrup)
4 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, sliced down the middle and opened, seeds scraped out
granulated sugar for caramelising

1) Mix all the milk powder, sugar, salt and tapioca starch in a bowl.
2) Add the heavy cream, whole milk and vanilla extract and whisk well to incorporate all of the dry ingredients into the liquid.
3) Whisk in the corn syrup and egg yolks.
4) Pour the mixture into a 1.42 litter saucepan, using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Whisk in the vanilla bean seeds. Place the saucepan on medium-high heat and cook, whisking continuously to prevent any burning or clumping. Whisk slowly in the beginning and increase speed as the mixture gets warmer and begins to steam and thicken. It should thicken without boiling after 8-10 minutes on the heat: watch carefully so it doesn't burn. Once the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, continue cooking 15 seconds longer, whisking vigorously. Then immediately remove from the heat.
5) Pour the mixture into a clean glass or stainless-steel bowl and lay plastic we rap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming on top. Allow the mixture to sit for 30-45 minutes, until no longer hot. Then place in the refrigerator to cool completely, about  4 hours. If the mixture needs to be used right away, submerge most of the bowl in an ice bath and let sit 30 to 40 minutes, refreshing the ice if necessary.
6) Once the mixture has cooled completely and thickened further, pour it into the bowl of the gelato machine and churn the gelato according to the manufacturer's directions. The gelato will expand and should spin unit lit's thick and creamy but still soft enough to scoop into a storage container, about 30 to 55 minutes.
7) Using a rubber spatula, scoop the gelato into a glass storage container that would be appropriate for serving. Make sure it is evenly distributed in the container and then smooth out the gelato's surface a much as possible.
8) Press a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper directly on the surface of the gelato, seal with an airtight lid, and place in the freezer.
9) Freeze until very firm, at least 10 hours. After 10 hours, pull the gelato from the freezer, remove the parchment paper or plastic wrap, and use a spatula or other utensil to smooth out of the surface of the gelato one more time. Place the gelato back in the freezer for another 10 minutes while you prepare the torch.
10) Sprinkle enough sugar on the gelato to cover the surface. Pick up the dish and lightly tilt in all directions so that the sugar coats the entire the surface. With the torch flame setting on a medium-low heat the surface, lightly caramelising the first layer of sugar. Spend no more than 5 minutes going over the entire surface and then return the gelato, uncovered to the freezer for 20 minutes. It's important to work as quickly as possible to snare that the gelato does not melt. Add a second coat of sugar to the surface of the gelato and repeat the caramelising process two more times, browning the last layer of sugar as much as possible. The last layer may take a itte more time to get the sugar to caramelise and fully cane colour.
11) Place the gelato in the freezer one sat time for about an hour to allow the surface of the gelato to freeze and the creme brûlée is ready to serve.
12) Enjoy the fresh gelato as soon as possible. If using after 2 days, allow 8 to 12 minutes for the gelato to soft outside of the freezer before eating.

Thanks to the lovely people at Race Point Publishing, I have three copies of The Art of Making Gelato to giveaway to readers of my blog, all you need to do is follow the below instructions:

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Art of Making Gelato, I was not required to write a positive review and as always, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Caribbean Pimms and Grace Summer Drinks - Caribbean Food Week

At the time of writing this, the weather (in the West Midlands) is sunny, but I''m not sure for how long for. As documented in previous posts, summer is my favourite season and what drink is more synonymous with summer than Pimms. Pimms, the English based drink with a wonderful blend of gin, liqueur, fruit and spices is enjoyed by many, particularly on a lovely warm summers day. There are many additional ingredients that can be added to make Pimms and I have my own version which I often adapted. But, the lovely people at Caribbean Food Week have given a tropical twist to the English classic drink. Caribbean Pimms and Grace Summer Drinks is perfect for the bank holiday and carnival weekend or if you want to evoke Summer in the up and coming Autumn season.
My Caribbean Pimms is a little dark because I also used a can of Caribbean cola. I loved the combination of fruit and slight fire from the ginger beer, I found the Pimms to be incredibly moreish and was quickly gone by family. This drink is incredibly easy to make, all you now need is your flip flops and some Bob Marley music playing in the background.

Recipe for Caribbean Pimms and Grace Summer Drinks from Caribbean Food Week.
Serves 6, Preparation Time 5 minutes, cooking time 0 minutes.

250ml Pimms no1
4 cans of Grace ginger beer
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 orange, sliced
3 strawberries, sliced
1 handful of fresh mint leaves.

Optional ingredients
1/2 lime, sliced
1/2 lemon, slice
2-3 fresh pineapple, chopped into chunks.

1) Mix all the ingredients together in a large glass pitcher
2) Serve chilled or over ice and enjoy!


Monday, 24 August 2015

Ackee and Saltfish - Caribbean Food Week.

It's Caribbean Food Week ....... Yay. For those of you who do not know, Caribbean Food Week, hosted by Grace Foods is in it's third year and all things Caribbean will be celebrated with supermarket offers, promotions and mouthwatering photo on social media sites between 24th - 31st August. I'm quite glad to be honest, it's about time the wonderful, exotic and delicious dishes from my childhood is celebrated in the media and it's also a wonderful opportunity for people to see how accessible Caribbean dishes are.
The first recipe that I have decided to share for Caribbean Food Week is a the national dish of Jamaica (where my family are originally from). When people think of Jamaican cuisine, they tend to acknowledge "jerk chicken" "curry goat' and "patties". These three dishes are of course popular in Jamaica and the Jamaican dispoara but the national dish of Jamaica is ackee and salt fish. What is ackee, I hear you say and what is salt fish? Well ackee is grown on trees, it resembles scrambled egg and has a delicate taste. The salt fish is salted cod, a dish that stems from our colonial era. I would eat this for breakfast over the weekend as per traditional in Jamaica, but if this is too much for you, it also works well with for dinner. I like to serve this with fried plantains and roasted breadfruit, but this works just as well with some crusty fresh bread. Simply divine. 
Ackee and Saltfish

Gorgeous hamper for Caribbean Food Week. 
Recipe from Caribbean Food Week
Serves 4 people
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 tin 540g Dunns Rivee Jamaican Ackee, drained
2 tins 125g Grace Salt Fish, drained and flaked
2 onions, chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tsp Dunns River Thyms
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste.

1) Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the garlic, onions, spring onions, peppers and scotch bonnet peppers on a high heat for around 3-5 minutes until sweated.
2) Drain your Grace Salt Fish tins and flake with a fork directly into the pan, add your Dunn's River Thyme for 3 to 5 minutes.
3) Add your remaining tomatoes and your Dunn's River Ackee and fry for a further 1-2 minutes until al your ingredients and flavours are well-combined. When stirring the ackee, be careful to stir these very lightly as to not break up the ackee which are quite fragile.
4) Add salt and pepper to taste.

Disclaimer: I received a lovely hamper from Caribbean Food Week. I was not required to write a positive review and as always, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

New Vlog Post Red Velvet Chocolate Celebration Cake and Stellar Cake Tin Review.

Chocolate cake is enjoyed in my house whether it is in the depths of winter or the warmth of Summer. And what's not to love about chocolate cake: it's rich, indulgent and is a sensation on my taste buds. My Red Velvet Chocolate Celebration Cake is easy to make and the results are impressive. This cake will be loved by the whole family, I guarantee.

With the baking and Autumn season upon us, why not invest in some reliable and efficient bakeware to help you achieve those wonderful cakes and bakes. The lovely cake tin as seen in this vlog post is from the new Stellar Cookware baking range. The 10inch deep cake tin is perfect for baking celebration cakes as it has efficient and even heat distribution which makes superior baking results. Their new range of bakeware is also non-stick so the surfaces will never rust or peel. This cake tin would also double up as a baking tin for savoury bakes (I have some delicious baked pasta recipes in mind) and the product has the Stellar Lifetime guarantee. Retailing at £16.50 it's not the cheapest of cake tins, but as stated it has a lifetime guarantee and once you feel it (it's heavy duty) it's a life investment. Also, this range can be used on the hob, under the grill and in the oven with temperatures up to 240C. 

Disclaimer: I received the Stellar Hard Andonised Cake tin for review purposes, I was not required to write a positive review.


Friday, 21 August 2015

Mamushka by Olia Hercules Book Review

Let me introduce you to the culinary delights of the "Wild East". If you are not sure what the Wild East, it's been a phase coined on social media sites when talking about and referring to Olia Hercules debut cookery book focusing on recipes from the Ukraine and beyond. I've never had any dishes or own a book on the Eastern Europe, so had no idea to expect. Tell a lie, I had some idea, a bit stereotypical such as potatoes and cabbage and although these ingredients do feature, there is much more to this book than this. I also love this book because whilst the cookbook market has become awashed with healthy eating and lifestyle cookbooks, which is fabulous, but give me a book with carbohydrates, cake and fat, oh, I'm hungry thinking about it. The photographs are beautiful and feature Olia's family which adds to the charm of this book. 
There are many recipes which I want to try, namely the Prague Cake, Ice-Cream Cake and the Pork Ribs and Dumplings. Olia writes beautifully about the history of her Ukraine and her family's diverse and rich cultural heritage. The chapters have Ukrainian writing next to it which gives this book a fabulous unique feel to it. If you have never sampled cuisine from this part of the world, you are missing out, I am inspired with the diverse range of recipes and I am sure this is a cookery book which I will continue to use over and over again. Without a date, this is one of the best cookbooks published this year, alongside Rosie Birkett's A Lot on Her Plate which will be reviewed on the blog shortly. 

The chapters include:
  • Introduction
  • Broths and Soups, recipes to try include:Ukrainian Beetroot Broth and Gherkin, Beef and Barley Broth.
  • Breads and Pastries, so many stand out recipes including Ukrainian Garlic Bread, Greek Breads with Spring Onion, Moldovan Bread with cheese and sorrel and Ukrainian Stuffed Buns.
  • Vegetables and Salads, recipes to try include; Beetroot and Prune Salad, Armenian Beans with a tomato salad and Potatoes with Pork and Shallots. 
  • Dumplings and Noodles, again a beautiful chapter with a number of dines including: Pork Ribs and Dumplings, Soviet Goose Noodles, Central Asian Chicken and Pasta and Moldovan Pasta.
  • Meat and Fish, recipes to try include: Mutton in Coriander, Azerbaijani Chicken with Prunes and Walnuts, BBQ Catfish and Cured Mackerel.
  • Fermented Pickles and Preserves: stand out recipes include Sour Aubergines and Lick Your Fingers Tomatoes.
  • Sweet Conserves: recipes include Plum, Rum and Raisin Conserve, Raspberry Conserve and Baked Quince.
  • Desserts: Recipes which I plan on making include: Wasp Nest Buns, Baked Ukrainian Cheesecake, Honey Cake and delicious looking Prague Cake.
  • Drinks: Thirst quenchers include: Summer Fruit Punch and Russian Fermented Rye Drink. 
Gerogian Garliky Poussins pre cook.

Georgian Garliky Poussins cooked. 

Georgian Garliky Poussins.

Chicken Liver, Buckwheat and Shallots.

Chicken Liver, Buckwheat & Crispy Shallots. 

The Recipe which I chose to share is for Chicken Liver, Buckwheat & Crispy Shallots, which was delicious. 

Serves 2 as a starter (although when doubled serves 2 as a main)

100g shallots, thinly sliced
50g plain flour
6 tablespoons sunflower oil
200g chicken livers

2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50g celery, finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 sprigs of thyme, finely chopped
100g buckwheat, toasted
200ml vegetable or chicken stock
sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper

1) Dust the shallots slices in the flour. Heat 4 tbsp of the sunflower oil in a frying pan and shallow fry the shallots over a medium-low heat, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until they are crispy and light golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
2) Meanwhile, for the buckwheat, heat the olive oil in the pan, add the diced shallots, garlic, celery, carrot and thyme and sweat them over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until soft  and aromatic.
3) Add the buckwheat and stock, season with salt and pepper and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes or until the buckwheat absorbs all the stock
4) Heat the remaining sunflower in a frying pan, add the chicken livers and saute for 5-8 minutes or until they are well caramelised and cook through. Serve with the crispy shallots and buckwheat.

Disclaimer: I received a copy from The Gannet magazine, however all of my views are my own. 
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