Monthly Archives: March 2019

Guacamole

For years I would ask for no guacamole on my nachos if I was eating out and assumed I didn’t like it, until I made it myself. It is nothing like that green gloop in a squeezy bottle from the supermarket. I don’t even like plain avocados, but I LOVE this guac.

You could probably use any type, but I always use haas avocados, preferably organic if I can find them.

Ingredients

2 ripe haas avocados
1 small plum tomato, de-seeded and finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
small bunch coriander, finely chopped
1 lime

In a pestle and mortar, add half of the onion, half of the chilli, salt and garlic and grind until a gloopy paste.

Half the avocados, remove the stones and scoop the flesh out. Mash with a fork until almost smooth or leaves some chunks if you prefer. Add the tomato, onion, chilli, coriander, pepper and the pestle and mortar mixture.

Squeeze in the lime juice and combine well. The guacamole is ready to eat immediately. The fresher the better, although it will keep in the fridge for 24 hours at the most.

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Enjoy!

Fresh Tomato Salsa

I make this salsa for burritos, tacos, nachos, loaded fries, as a jacket potato topping, to go with salad and probably loads of other things I can’t remember off the top of my head. It’s super easy, all you need is a knife and a chopping board.

Ingredients

6 plum tomatoes, chopped and de-seeded
1 red onion, finely chopped
10 jalapeno slices, finely chopped
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 limes

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, with the juice of both limes.

To get the most juice that I can, I squeeze the using the legs of a nut cracker/garlic crusher.

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Pop into the fridge for at least 20 minutes to marinate, although I find an hour is perfect if you have the time.

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Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic & Pepper Couscous // Recipe

I love this recipe. It’s easy, tasty and healthy. Perfect as a snack on its own, with salad or a side dish for chicken or fish. It can be eaten hot or cold and keeps refrigerated in an air tight container for about 5 days; good for weekly meal prepping or a make ahead dish for a party buffet.

I’ve also made this previously with low cal spray oil and it works just as well for anyone following slimming world/weight watchers etc.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups couscous (225g)
3 cups boiling water (750ml)
1 vegetable stock cube
3 bell peppers, halved
1 bulb garlic
1 courgette, cubed (optional)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 200/400 degrees and line a baking tray with foil. Place the peppers on the tray cut side down  with the garlic bulb and chopped courgette (if using), drizzle with the olive oil, season and cook for 35 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven to cool, while preparing the couscous.

Add the boiling water and stock cube to the couscous in a large bowl or jug and stir to combine. I find adding double the amount of water to couscous is fail safe method to ensure your couscous is always fluffy and never watery.

While the couscous is hydrating, remove the stalks and seeds from the peppers, roughly chop and squeeze the garlic from the bulb. The couscous should have absorbed all of the water by now. Fluff with a fork and add the roasted vegetables along with any oil left over on the baking tray (there won’t be much). This will have soaked up the flavour of the vegetables and is a delicious addition to the couscous.

Stir well, season to taste (we like lots of black pepper) and serve.

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Enjoy!

Aloo Gobi // Recipe

It’s one of our favourite foods, but we didn’t eat any Indian food for over five months when we arrived in Cayman. Five months! In February we finally took ourselves along to Sunset House and those first few mouthfuls of hot and spicy curry were a taste sensation. Oh curry, how I’d missed you. My taste buds rejoiced!

At around $16 a pop for a vegetarian curry and $21 for one containing meat, we’ll not be eating out that often or ordering a Saturday night takeaway. The only answer was to learn to make them at home. I’ve been slowly making my way through a little recipe book I found on amazon last year called ‘An Indian Housewife’s Recipe Book’ by Laxmi Khurana. Its brilliant and every recipe has been easy and delicious. I think the key is to cook the spices first to release the flavour, instead of stirring them in after the main ingredients which creates a generic, bland tasting curry.

However, the Aloo Gobi recipe wasn’t quite what I wanted, so I did a little research and experimenting and this is what I came up with. It may not be authentic or traditional, but it was delicious.

Ingredients

450g cauliflower florets
450g new potatoes, skin on, halved or quartered depending on size
50ml vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger puree
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp gound cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida
3 large plum tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
4 curry leaves
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
350ml water
1 tsp garam masala
Salt

Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium to high heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they splutter. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Stir in the garlic, ginger, chilli, tumeric, ground coriander, ground cumin and asafoetida. Turn down the heat slighty, add the tomatoes and and cook until soft.

Once the tomatoes have softened, add the potatoes, cauliflower, tomato puree, garam masala, curry leaves and half of the fresh coriander and salt to taste. Stir well and add 350ml of water.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked. Sprinkle the rest of the coriander to serve.

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Enjoy!

Getting Back on Track

Aside from the tantrums, whining, food throwing, toy hurling, sibling wrestling and incontinence (them not me) I love being able to stay at home and experience my little people growing into full sized humans. Despite the aforementioned unfavourable qualities toddlers temporarily acquire, although exhausting, it is very, very rewarding.

However, life can become haphazard and a hazy cloud of monotony. I may not miss getting out of bed on dark, cold mornings to sit in a germ filled office for 8 hours a day, but I do miss the routine of a working week and not having to constantly self-motivate.

In January, I started watching some art and bullet journalling videos on YouTube. Some of them are super relaxing to watch and I love anything stationery related. I was inspired to start my own version of a bullet journal. I found a pack of three moleskin notebooks in one of the two book shops on the island and picked up a ruler and gel pen from an office supply shop. One notebook I decided would be the bullet journal, the other a meal planner and the third a daily to-do list.

The daily to do list is brilliant. It’s motivating, feels accountable and so satisfying when I’ve ticked off all the boxes next to today’s tasks.

We had family staying with us at the beginning of February and because our days were filled with sightseeing, beach time and family fun, my regular tasks and to-do lists fell by the wayside. We then had a shortlived attempt at potty training for Isaac and I still haven’t gotten back into my nightly routine of writing out my list for the following day. I realised this week that my days were feeling longer than usual, I was clock watching for Ste coming home and all the little jobs I kept telling myself that need doing around the house, still hadn’t been done.

Tonight, I’m getting my notebook, ruler and pen back out and writing that to-do list. I highly recommend it to help keep a busy mind clearer. It’s so satisfying to look back on and think “look at everything I did today/this week/this month”. No matter how small the task, you did it and today you achieved.

Creamy Spring Pasta // Recipe

Whenever I go to make pasta for us, I always automatically reach for the tomatoes  to make the base sauce. So when I spotted some leeks on offer in the supermarket and had some fresh broccoli left over from Sunday lunch, I thought I’d try something different for lunch last Monday.

I used farfalle in this instance, but penne, fusilli or any other similar sized pasta would work too. Cooking the pasta with a stock cube really helps to add a subtle flavour, especially when saving some of that starchy pasta water to loosen the sauce.

A quick and easy recipe, taking no longer that the time to cook the pasta and vegetables, perfect for a quick win straight after work. It was a success judging by the clean bowls left behind by three hungry toddlers. I popped what was left into the fridge in an air tight container and it was good for another five days and tasted delicious straight from the fridge; ideal if prepping a week’s worth of packed lunches in advance.

Ingredients

300g dried farfalle
1 vegetable stock cube
1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 leek, halved and sliced
175g green beans
40g butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
40g flour
300ml milk
Juice of half a lemon
30g light philadelphia (or other cream cheese)
2 tbsp parmesan (vegetarian or regular)
Salt & pepper
100ml water, from the pasta cooking water

Boil the kettle and pop the pasta on to cook according to the packet instructions. Crumble the stock cube into the water along with the pasta.

Boil or steam your broccoli, leeks and green beans all together for around 7-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan, on a low heat. Once melted, add the chopped garlic, stir for around 30 seconds and then whisk in the flour to create a roux. Gradually whisk in the milk, 100ml at a time, making sure the sauce is smooth and free of lumps. I like to use a fork but a regular whisk will work just as well. Add the lemon juice, philadephia and parmesan and stir until melted.

Drain your cooked pasta into a colander, retaining 100ml of the cooking water.

Whisk the pasta water into the sauce and season to taste. Remove from the heat and add your cooked pasta to the sauce, stirring through. Finally stir in your vegetables and torn basil leaves and serve with a sprinkling of extra parmesan.

If prepping in advance, allow to cool before covering and putting into the fridge.

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Enjoy!

Callaloo & Pine Nut Falafel Wraps // Recipe

Food trucks are a thing in Cayman. A wonderful thing. One of our favourites is A La Kebab just down the road in Red Bay. They do a delicious pitta wrap with falafels, salad and sauce of your choice for about $8 (Ste had beef and lamb in his for $8.50). So delicious in fact that we had them two nights in a row when we first discovered them.

As usual, off to the recipe books and google I went to find out how to make falafel myself. I found a few but the ingredients just didn’t feel right for what I wanted. This is my take on the classic Egyptian recipe.

Where I can, I’m trying to incorporate local or Caribbean food to make the most of what’s on offer while we live here. I’m using callaloo but if you’re not in the Caribbean or don’t have access to a Caribbean supermarket, you can substitute for spinach and it will have almost the exact same result. You will also need a food processor for this recipe.

Ingredients

225g chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
5 garlic cloves
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, roughly chopped
8g fresh parsley
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch of ground cardamom
25g pine nuts, dry roasted
a handful of callaloo
vegetable oil for shallow frying

Roast your garlic cloves with the skin on in the olive oil, for 30 mins at 200C/400C. Squeeze the garlic from the skin with the flat side of the knife when done.

Drain the soaked chickpeas, pop them in the food processor with the other ingredients. Whizz until quite smooth, scraping down the sides now and again to incorporate into the mixture.

Once smooth, transfer to a bowl and mix with a fork to separate slightly. Shape into small flat balls (approx 2 tbsp of the mixture). Put enough vegetable oil into a frying pan to cover the bottom by about 1cm and heat to a medium high heat. Fry the falafels in batches, for a few minutes on each side until a dark golden colour and cooked through. Drain on paper towels.

Serve wrapped in a warmed flour tortilla, with mixed leaves, cucumber, tomato, gherkin and sauce of your choice. I made a garlic mayo with a kick for ours.

Enjoy!

A La Kebab – http://kebab.ky/