Saturday, 28 February 2015

Coconut Cake

I absolutely adore coconut, I once made a coconut cake for my nan's birthday and my cousin and I ate the cake in one day and my nan only had one slice. I quickly realised that if I want to bake a coconut cake, I would have to stick to loaf cakes or cupcakes as I can't be trusted to make a whole coconut cake and restrain any will power. That is until now. The lovely people at Baking Mad kindly offered me a selection of baking ingredients to make a recipe from their website. I'm quite familiar with Baking Mad's Twitter page, but having a nose on their website, I was pleasantly surprised that they also have a number of recipes which are diverse. The Baking Mad website have a range of recipes such as granola recipes (my fave is their gorgeous granola recipe) and their smoothie recipes (love their breakfast smoothie) which I plan on making and sharing the outcome on my social media sites.
Now back to the cake, this coconut cake is described as "deliciously moist coconut cake, perfect for an afternoon tea or a coffee morning". I'll have to add to that, it's also perfect for lazy weekend treats, after-work picks me up, even breakfast (with a strong cup of coffee), that's if it last that long of course.
 I was initially quite surprised of the length of time that the cake has suggested to be baked, an hour and a half for a coconut cake, I thought was very long. Not being the best with patience, I turned up the gas oven to gas mark 4 and was able to bake this cake 1.10 minutes. The cake was incredibly light, moist, flavoursome, rich and delicious. A flavour explosion in my mouth and one which, as expected did not last particularly long.
Here is how my Coconut cake turned out:
Coconut cake

Coconut cake

Coconut Cake in the making. 

Coconut Cake in the making. 

Coconut Cake pre bake.

Coconut Cake baked. 

Coconut Cake baked. 


Recipe for the Coconut Cake can be found by following the link.

Disclaimer: I received a selection of items from Baking Mad, I was not required to write a positive review, as always all opinions are my own.
xxx

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Mrs Muambas Sauces, Review and Recipe.

I'm sure you are aware by now that I love Caribbean food and this cuisine is featured heavily throughout my blog, Twitter, Instragram and Facebook page. I love to eat Caribbean food throughout the week, but realistically when time is seriously pressing on I can't always make authentic Caribbean dishes in a quick amount of time, so many traditional dishes I make are over the weekend. 
I'm a fan of using quick fixes (but not to often, I must add) and have used jars of sauces in other cuisines (and I'm sure many of you have also done this) to make Italian, Chinese and Mexican dishes. 
For some reason I never really thought of sourcing Caribbean sauces to make a quick and easy Caribbean meal, until now. I first discovered Mrs Muambas premium Caribbean sauces at The BBC Good Food Show Winter whilst looking through the show guide at home when unfortunately it was too late to purchase these sauces. I was therefore incredibly excited when I was sent a selection of Mrs Muambas sauces: Jerk sauce, Curry Sauce and BBQ sauce to sample and review. Each jar serves 3-4 people and contains authentic Caribbean flavours, is beneficial when you want a taste of the Caribbean whilst not in the Caribbean. Through theses sauces you can taste the Caribbean with each meal made. I'm pleased to share that you can now purchase these sauces online, so you do not have to wait to attend food shows to sample a little bit of sunshine on your plate. Each jar costs £3 from the website or £12.50 for a sample of 5 sauces.

Mrs Muambas sauces. 


Mrs Muambas Sauces.
I made a couple of dishes using these fabulous sauces. The first, the classic jerk chicken I lightly seasoned chicken legs with all purpose seasoning and poured a whole jar of luxurious jerk sauce and left to marinade overnight. The following day after I arrived after work,  I placed the marinaded jerk chicken in the oven for 1 hour on gas mark 6, turning over once. My initial impressions of my jerk chicken using this sauce was that the jerk chicken tasted delicious, heavenly and scrumptious. I savoured every bit of this chicken and ensured that the curried bananas that I served this with, was used to soak up all these glorious juices. I must say that jerk sauce was very spicy, just like traditional jerk chicken that is served in Jamaica.
Jerk Chicken.

Jerk Chicken.

I also used Mrs Muambas curry sauce to make a classic Caribbean chicken curry, which I served with rice and broccoli. I followed the same principle of seasoning as I did when using the jerk sauce; lightly seasoned chicken and allowed the curry sauce to do all the hard work. I found that using Mrs Muambas sauces, I did not require to heavily season the meat as the flavours in the jar are positively intense. 

Caribbean curry chicken. 

Caribbean curry chicken. 

Caribbean curry chicken. 
Would I recommend these premium Caribbean sauces? Of course! I hope that you are able to sample these delicious sauces, I for one will be stocking up at the next food show I visit where these sauces are selling so I can sample a sunshine sauce which is made with love.

The recipe for my jerk chicken was adapted on the link to Mrs Muamba's website .

Recipe for Calypso Rice and Curried Bananas, from Caribbean Cooking by Camilla de la Bedoyere.
Serves 4
2 tbsp vegetable oil.
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped.
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed.
1 habanero chili, deseeded and finely chopped.
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped.
225g basmati rice.
juice of 1 lime.
350 ml vegetable stock.
200g black-eyed beans, drained and rinsed.
2tbsp freshly chopped parsley.
salt and freshly ground pepper.

For the curried bananas
4 green bananas
2tbsp vegetable oil
2tsp mild curry paste
200ml coconut milk

Method
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently cook the onion for 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, chili and red pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Rinse the rice under cold running water, then add to the pan and stir. Pour in the lime juice and stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the stock is absorbed.
Stir in the black-eyed beans and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Leave to stand covered for 5 minutes before serving, to allow the beans to warm through.
While the rice is cooking, make the curried green bananas. Remove the skins from bananas. Slice the flesh thickly. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the bananas in 2 batches, for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Pour the coconut milk into the pan and stir in the curry paste. As the banana slices to the coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, over a low heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the bananas are very soft and the coconut mil slightly reduces.
Spoon the rice onto warmed serving plates and serve immediately with the curried bananas.

Disclaimer: I received a selection of Mrs Muambas sauces to sample, I was not required to write a positive review, as always all opinions are my own. 
xxx

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Greens 24/7: Delicious Recipes for Green Veg at Every Meal, Review and Giveaway.

I have missed reviewing cookbooks on my blog, the last cook book I reviewed was in early January and now as we are heading towards the last week in February, I have missed writing about glossy pages full of recipes which makes me drool. I was sent this book, Greens 24/7 by blogger Jessica Nadel in  early December, which was perfect for looking at ideas and recipes to make in 2015 when we are all trying to eat healthier. I have to credit this book for finding a love of making juices and smoothies for breakfast instead of my usual fare of cereal or porridge. This book contains 100 easy vegan recipes, which to a meat lover is a pleasant surprise to me as I did not realise vegan recipes could be so versatile.
The front cover instantly had me sold as this features: several juices, a burger, chocolate cake and a pizza all which are vegan! For those who have never cooked primarily with green vegetables, there is a handy green fact file with the different types of greens, alongside recommended recipes which can be used making these recipes. For example, green vegetable kale, can be used to make cherry-kale, quencher smoothie, kale Waldorf salad with avocado, kale chips, kale and kabocha enchiladas verde and sweet massaged kale and fruit salad. Not sure how to eat greens throughout the day? Well there is a "typical day" of green recipes for: the parent trying to feed their kids green, for the super busy, for the health conscious and for those who love to entertain.
Greens 24/7


Greens 24/7 is divided in 5 chapters.
  • Smoothies and breakfasts, recipes to try include: Tropical Green Smoothie, Chocolate Super food Smoothie, Sweet Spinach Pancakes and Cinnamon-Courgette Waffles. 
  • Green sides and small bites, stand out recipes include: Rocket and White Bean Hummus, Foccacia with Tomato and Courgette and Israeli Cous Cous. 
  • Green soups and salads, recipes to try include: Mexican Tortilla Soup, Curried Dahl with Chard and Green Bean and Mango Salad. 
  • Green main meals, recipes to try include: Linguine with Lemon, Olives and Rapini, Sundried Tomato and Rocket Pizza, Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes with Broccoli and Humus and Sweet Potato and Greens Burger. 
  • Green Cakes and desserts, my favourite recipes include: Secret Ingredient Brownies, Chocolate Hazelnut Avocado Torte, Avocado and Kiwi Iced Birthday Cake and Vanilla Mint Cheesecake. 
So far, I've made Green Smoothie Without a Juicer, Chocolate Super food Smoothie and Green Bean and Mango salad, all which were delicious. 

Green Smoothie Without a Juicer.

Chocolate Super food Smoothie.

Green Bean and Mango Salad.





Greens 24/7 cookery book gets a 4.5 star rating from Food Glorious Food: beautifully illustrated recipes, easy to follow instructions and contains a diverse range of vegan recipes. 

Recipe for Green Juice Without A Juicer
Serves 1 - Gluten Free.
Prep 7 minutes
Ingredients
60g spinach
2 apples
1 cucumber
2.5 piece of fresh ginger
250ml water

Method
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain through the nut milk bag or cheesecloth and serve. If desired, garnish with a cucumber slices.

Calories per serving 250 calories.

The lovely people at Apple Press are offering three lucky readers a copy of this fab book. To be in with a chance to win this book follow the instructions:
  • Follow the instructions on the rafflecopter
  • Leave a comment on the blog (THIS IS AN ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT) 
  • For additional entries join the blog, Follow me on Instragram, Follow me on Twitter, Follow me on Facebook Add me on Google Circles and tweet about the giveaway.
  • All entries will be checked and verified
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 21.02.15 - 22.03.15.
  • Winners will need to respond within 7 working days.
  • Apple Press will post out copies of the book.
  • The competition is open to UK residents only.
xxx
Disclaimer: I received a copy of Greens 24/7 by Apple Press, as always all opinions are my own.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Peachy Keens Birmingham Restaurant Review.

I used to be such a huge fan of "All You Can Eat" restaurants , if you asked me a few years ago what was my favourite restaurant, I would instantly respond with a couple of well-known Chinese restaurants in Wolverhampton "The Imperial" and "Wing Wah". These days, I tend to not visit all you can eats as often as I used to, due to a combination of other  types of restaurants are on my to visit list but I always welcome the opportunity to visit All You Can Eat restaurants, or as they are known today "World Buffet", so when Peachy Keens asked me to review their Birmingham branch , I happily accepted.
Peachy Keens

Location
Located 5 miles south of Birmingham City Centre, this restaurant is located off the A45 road and is visibly noticeable from the main road. The building is a former pub, this is instantly noticeable from the outer building and in parts, the inside decor. There is two large seating areas, which is perfect for hosting large groups of parties or work functions, on my visit there were several people celebrating birthday parties. I also observed a private function room, which would be perfect for birthday parties.

Food
The most important element of any restaurant is the food. Peachy Keens prides itself on having several Live Cooking Stations; I observed a Chinese, Italian and Pancake cooking station. There were also several types of starter and main courses from a variety of cuisines such as: Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Italian and Mexican. I also observed a section which serves English Cuisine, many a plates had roast beef, Yorkshire puddings and Shepherd pie, I was quite surprised but many people had yorkies on their plate! There was also a section which included a large amount of salad recipes and of course no World Buffet would be complete without a wide selection of desserts including the obligatory chocolate fountain.
Let's discuss the food further. I sampled a selection of Chinese and Indian Starters, including prawn crackers, crispy seaweed, salt and pepper squid, spring rolls and chicken wings. All the dishes I samples were piping hot (which is something that is not always the case at buffet restaurants), I particularly enjoyed the spingrolls and the seaweed, which was crispy and incredibly moreish.  
Starters - Peachy Keens. 

Starters Peachy Keens. 

Starters Peachy Keens. 

Starters Peachy Keens. 

Starters Peachy Keens. 

For the main event, I usually have a plan of action sticking to primarily Indian dishes, but for review purposes I felt it was necessary to sample a Live Cooking Station and what better dish to sample than a teppanyaki. I was incredibly impressed with the selection of items that you could chose to make your teppanyaki such as: chicken, beef, prawns, mushrooms, bean sprouts and egg noodles. There was a selection of sauces such as Black Bean, Sweet and Sour and Shanghai, which I chose and was gloriously hot.
Teppanyaki work station.

Teppanyaki Work Station. 

Teppanyaki. 
I loved how you could watch the chefs as they prepare your evening meal, the flames went up super high and the teppanyaki was made in minutes. Not content with having a healthy (ish) teppanyaki, I had to sample some of the classic Chinese dishes such as Sweet and Sour Chicken and Egg Fried Rice, I particularly enjoyed the sweet and sour chicken, not overly sweet which I liked.


I felt I could not leave this restaurant without sampling the large, incredibly large selection of desserts. Desserts such as Galab Jambu, Chocolate Brownies and Tiramisu, alongside a chocolate fountain and marshmallows.
Desserts.

Desserts. 



Service
There were numerous attentive staff which I feel is imperative with a busy restaurant serving a large amount of foods. The staff that served me were friendly and I was shown around the different work station as being new to the restaurant, this was incredibly helpful.

Value for money
Prices start from £6.99 for adult lunch and £12.99 for the evening meal.

Overall
A great restaurant for those who enjoy good value for money and trying a variety of cuisines under one roof. This is an ideal restaurant for families and small children will be impressed by the selection of desserts.  A family member who dined at the restaurant with me is looking forward to going back.

Positives
A large selection of Live Cooking Stations for those who fancy a healthier meal.

Negatives
I feel this restaurant is let down by the location and may be out the way for some.

This restaurant gets a 3.5 star rating by Food Glorious Food.

Food Glorious Food Restaurant rating index.
5 Star - Excellent: loved the food, loved the restaurant, loved the service, Already booked my next visit.
4 Star - Overall good: food was delicious will visit soon.
3 Star - Average: food was nice, but improvements can be made. No rush to return.
2 Star - Below average: nothing special, in no rush to visit again.
1 Star - Inadequate: Do not go, you have been warned.

Disclaimer: My meal at Peachy Keens were complimentary, as always all opinons are my own.
xxx

Peachy Keens on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Coffee and Triple Rum Cake

I really am not doing well with extending my baking repertoire beyond a cake. I have been meaning to diversify my sweet bakes this year and make more puddings, pies and crumbles, unfortunately this has not gone to plan as I expected. This, in part because I am regularly reminded and think off all the cakes I adore, the flavour combinations, the layers, the textures, the topping and the list goes on. I have not made a coffee cake for some time, nor have I made a rum cake for some time, so I when I saw this recipe from Levi Roots, last summer, for a Coffee and Rum cake, I promptly put this on my to bake list. I have tweaked this recipe slightly to add more rum (that can't be a bad thing really?), a tbsp of dark rum in the mixture and rum to make my rum butter cream, instead of the suggested whipped cream, taking the original coffee and rum cake to a Coffee and Triple Rum Cake. 
This cake was incredibly easy to make, there were no fancy layers, just a rum soaked sponge topped gloriously with rum butter cream. The cake was moist and the rum certainly cake through to give it a pleasant ferocious sensation with every bite. Warning: This cake is not suitable for munchkins :-) x 

Here is how my Coffee and Triple Rum Cake turned out:
Coffee and Triple Rum Cake.

Coffee and Triple Rum Cake.

Coffee and Triple Rum Cake. 


Coffee and Triple Rum Cake - slice.


Coffee and Triple Rum Cake in the making. 

Coffee and Triple Rum Cake in the making. 

Recipe for Coffee and Triple Rum Cake.
Serves 8
175g butter, softened, plus extra for the tin.
175g soft brown sugar.
3 eggs, lightly beaten.
175g self-raising flour, sifted.
Pinch of salt.
5 tbsp caster sugar.
80ml rum.
1 tbsp dark rum (I used Havana Club) 
300ml whipped cream
425ml very strong hot coffee.

Recipe for rum butter cream can be found when you click here.

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5
2) Beat the butter and brown sugar, using an electric mixer or by hand, until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition, then fold in the flour, salt and add the 1tbsp rum. Put in a greased (20cm) 8in cake tin, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool.
3) Add the caster sugar and rum to the coffee and taste - you may want more sugar or rum to taste.  Put the cake back in its tin and pierce it all over with a skewer, then pour the coffee slowly through the holes, soaking the sponge, and leave overnight.
4) Whip the cream into soft peaks. Turn out the cake and decorate with the cream and pecans. Alternatively, follow my recipe for rum butter cream.

I am sharing my Coffee and Triple Rum Cake to a  revered blogger Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes, monthly bookmarked recipes challenge. This month's theme is vegetarian bookmarked recipes, as I bookmarked this recipe from last summer, it qualifies for this challenge. 


xxx

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Premier Housewares Green Leaf Apron and Double Oven Glove, Review.

Spring is almost upon us and I must say I am so happy. I'm not a big fan of the winter weather, although I don't mind frosty mornings if I am staying inside. Luckily March is a couple of weeks away and I always associate March with Spring, so I will be cooking and baking with a larger smile on my face. As I regularly cook and bake a variety of dishes, it is so important that I am fully prepared in the kitchen and this includes ensuring I am wearing an apron and tea towels and oven gloves at hand. Premier Housewares have a beautiful range of Green Leaf Kitchen Textiles, Tableware and Serve Ware, including a dinner set, coasters and placements. Each of their green leaf products has four shades of green on a white background, the perfect colour combination for Spring. I was offered the opportunity to review one of their new product range and I chose their Green Leaf Apron and Double Oven Gloves.  The Green Leaf Apron is 100% cotton, knee length and looks very stylish and the Double Oven Gloves is also 100% cotton and is perfect for removing items from the oven. The apron is the most fashionable apron I have seen, so apologies for all the pictures of me.
Here are my Apron and Double Oven Gloves:
Green Leaf Apron.

Green Leaf Apron and Double Oven Gloves.

Premier Housewares Green Leaf range.

These fabulous products are available from Amazon.

Many thanks to Premier Housewares for providing these samples.

xxx

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

All Spice and Paprika Poussins with Chorizo

I've become more experimental in the last year so, being brave and trying meaty delights such as buffalo burger, wild boar and Guinea Fowl. Ok, so nothing too exciting as eating crocodile or ostrich but I have certainly ventured out from my beloved chicken, pork, beef and lamb. I'm all for trying new types of meats but I like to try new meats which taste like meats that I am familiar with. Sounds weird right? Well, when I had a wild boar burger it tasted similar to a beef burger but when I ate wild boar in Brazil (which I only knew of when I used my translation dictionary), I couldn't compare it to anything that I am used to. This is one of the reasons why I stick to eating Gressingham Duck and Specialist poultry products as they stock duck and Poussin which is a nice change from my well-loved chicken but not so out there that I'm too scared to eat it. Luckily, I work near a couple of supermarkets where they regularly reduce their products, especially around lunchtime, which makes eating duck and speciality poultry more affordable, as the products are known not to be particularly cheap. I recently brought two Poussin, which I quickly began to  dream up recipes on how I would cook the Poussin's. Being heavily influenced by Caribbean foods, I decided to make spice infused Poussin, seasoned with paprika, all purpose seasoning, all spice and ground pepper and served with  sweet potatoes (which I must add is the most cultivated ground vegetable in Jamaica) gave this dish a tropical twist. I added some chopped leeks to the mix which added an extra boast of vegetables and also helped balance out the flavours, alongside some slices of chorizo which gave this dish an additional dimension. The taste? As they say the proof is in the eating and I thoroughly enjoyed eating this dish. The Poussin's skins were crispy, the meat tender, the flavours were a combination of spicy with a hint of kick and alongside the sweet potato gave this dish the perfect flavour combination. 
All Spice and Paprika Poussins with Chorizo.

All Spice and Paprika Poussins with Chorizo. 

Seasoned Poussins.


Reduced Poussins. 
Recipe for my All Spice and Paprika Poussins.

Serves 2
2 Poussins.
1 garlic chopped.
1 tbsp all purpose seasoning.
1 tbsp paprika.
1 tbsp olive oil.
1 tsp black pepper.
2 sweet potato, skinned and sliced. 
1/2 leek, outer skinned removed and sliced. 
1/2 ring of Chorizo, skin removed and sliced. 
Lemon Juice. 

Method
Ideally, it is better to season the Poussins the night before to ensure the best flavour. Remove the giblets from the Poussins and wash with lemon juice.  Drizzle 1/2 tbsp of olive oil over the Poussins and add the all-purpose seasoning, paprika and black pepper over the Poussin's, leave to season. Once seasoned, ideally overnight or for several hours, preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Place the Poussin's in an oven dish and roast for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the sweet potatoes, leeks and olive oil to the Poussin's and roast for a further 30 minutes. After 45 minutes of roasting, scatter the chorizo slices in the oven tray and roast for a further 15 minutes. Pierce the Poussins with a skewer to ensure that the liquid runs clear.
Serve each Poussin with the sweet potatoes, leeks and carrots.

Enjoy.

I am sharing this recipe for a couple of food challenges. The Spice Trail Challenge hosted by Vanesther from Bangers and Mash, this month's theme is "temple food" this dish is almost virtuous, feel good and delicious. My Poussins contains all spice and paprika.


I am also sharing my all spice and paprika poussins to Credit Crunch Munch, guest hosted by Elizabeth from Elizabeth Kitchen Diary, the usual hosts are Helen from Fuss Free Flavours  and Camillia from Fab Food 4 All. As I have brought reduced meats, this dish is suitable for this challenge and I hope you all pop in the supermarket during lunchtime for some good meat bargains. 

Enjoy
xxx
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