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Amazing Potato Wedges

Potato wedges are a standard side dish in our house, although most of the time I wing it and decide what seasoning to use a few seconds before popping them in the oven. I decided to experiment over a couple of weeks and make a note of the different herb and spice combinations I used. This one was a clear winner judging from my husband, the potato hater’s reaction. (I’m pleased to say he has seen the error of his ways and has been reformed for at least 4 years!) The potato is a mighty ingredient, so expect more recipes with one of my favourite food stuffs as the star.

In my opinion, there are two golden rules you must always follow when making homemade wedges: rinse in cold water after cutting into wedge shapes and par boil for at least 5 minutes.

With or without the skins left on this flavour mix works for both. You can adjust the ratio according to your preference. For example, a 1/4 tsp more thyme for a herbier taste, more cayenne pepper for a spicier wedge etc.

One last thing. Don’t be tempted to use more oil or else you’ll end up with wedges soft on the outside or having to increase the cooking time.

Amazing Potato Wedges

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Directions

  1. Cut the potatoes into wedges, with or without peeling according to preference and rinse.
  2. Place into a large pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Continue to boil for 6-8 minutes, then drain.
  3. Heat your oven to 230C/450F.
  4. Measure the herbs and spices into a small bowl and mix.
  5. Transfer your par-boiled potato wedges into an oven proof dish and sprinkle over the spice mix.
  6. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat well.
  7. Bake in the oven, turning once, for 45-60 minutes until crispy.

Serve as a side with burgers, wraps, quesadillas or on their own with a dip.

Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Bread

Handmade, homemade bread is just the best. It can make a regular tin of tomato soup feel like the best thing you’ve eaten all week, make a quick snack of bread and butter feel luxurious and make a cheese board supper less about the cheese and more about the bread.

This particular bread is full of flavour, soft and thick. Me and Ste absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to bake it again.

Don’t try to substitute the roast garlic with raw garlic or lazy garlic. It just won’t be the same.

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Bread

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 10g fine sea salt
  • 7g fast acting yeast
  • 300ml tepid water
  • 40ml olive oil
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 large bulbs of garlic
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Heat your oven to 200C/400F and line a baking tray with tin foil. Tear off the papery outside from the garlic bulbs, but leaveing on the skin, place on the tray and pour over the 2 tsps of oilve oil. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes until soft and leave to cool slightly.
  2. Squeeze the softened garlic from the skin and finely chop.
  3. Measure the flour into a large bowl and put the salt to one side and the yeast to the other.
  4. Pour in the 40ml of olive oil and two thirds of the water and mix together using a hand or even better in a large stand mixer with a dough hook.
  5. mix in the garlic and rosemary, then slowly add the remaining water until you have a soft dough and all of the flour has been combined.
  6. Knead on a slightly greased surface for around 10 minutes if doing it by hand, then place in a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size (approximately 2 hours).
  7. Once risen, tip the dough onto a floured surface and knock back gently with your knuckles, to push out the air.
  8. Knead gently, then tuck the ends of the dough underneath to form a loaf shape. Place on a lined baking tray and leave to rise again for about an hour until almost doubled in size.
  9. Heat your oven to 220C/430F. Lightly make 2 or 3 shallow diagonal slices across the top of the risen dough with a VERY sharp knife. Pop in the oven a for 25 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200C/390F and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  10. Leave to cool slightly before cutting.

Serve as part of a cheese board, with farmhouse butter or with a bowl of piping hot tomato soup.

Enjoy!

Black Bean Burger

I’m always disappointed when the one vegetarian option on a menu is a mediocre bean/mushroom/awful meat substitute vegetarian or vegan burger. I always come away wishing I’d just ordered a bowl of sweet potato fries instead. I don’t think I’ve had a good one yet.

However, my husband loves a good burger (the regular carnivore variety) and I always feel like I’m missing out. So when I spotted some dried black beans when doing the weekly shop a few weeks ago I knew I had to give it a go myself. Surely there must be a way to make a good vegetarian burger.

Yes, yes there is and it’s packed full of protein too, just like a regular burger.

I used dried black beans and although I haven’t tested it, I’m pretty confident drained beans from a tin would work just as well.

For anyone that doesn’t enjoy spice, the scotch bonnet sauce is for flavour only.

Black Bean Burgers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy - medium
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Ingredients

  • 2/3 dry black beans (2 cups once cooked)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 small green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 /4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp scotch bonnet sauce (optional)

Directions

  1. Soak the black beans in water overnight.
  2. Then boil in a large pan of water at least 2 inches above the beans for an hour until soft.
  3. Mash two thirds of the beans in a bowl with a potato masher or fork and put aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan and saute the onion, garlic and peppers for a few minutes until just soft.
  5. Transfer the cooked veg to a large bowl, add the black beans (mashed and whole), breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, paprika, coriander, worcestershire sauce and scotch bonnet sauce if using and mix well. Lightly beat the egg and stir in to the bowl of ingredients.
  6. With damp hands, divide the mixture into four, form into balls and gently flatten slightly between the palms of your hands.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the frying pan on a medium heat. Place two of the burgers in to the pan and gently press down a little more so they resemble a burger shape.
  8. Cook on both sides for 3-4 minutes each until lightly browned
  9. Repeat for the remaining two burgers.

Serve in a bun of your choice with all the toppings or naked with a side salad

Enjoy!

Mushroom Dahl

Mushrooms are full of the good stuff in food that keeps you healthy, lots of vitamins and minerals along with fibre and protein. Add that to all the benefits you get from lentils (especially as a vegetarian or vegan) and you’ve got a bowl of super goodness in this mushroom dhal. Not to mention it’s packed full of flavour. Don’t let the many shades of beige put you off!

A few weeks ago, the children and I had been suffering from the lingering after effects of a cold and Ste wasn’t feeling too great. I would normally whip us up a batch of cream of mushroom soup when the germs strike, but it was wasn’t appealing in the heat of a Caribbean summer. As I’ve been experimenting with curries lately, it made perfect sense to combine this with the mushrooms I’d bought as part of our cold cures. I’m still learning to cook dhals and mostly have to follow other people’s recipes but this one is 100% my own and I’m mighty proud of it.

As long as you remember to rinse and soak the lentils earlier in the day or even the night before (to reduce cooking time), you can have this ready in no time at all and as always with curries, it tastes amazing the next day as leftovers.

Mushroom Dhal

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 100g split red lentils
  • 100g moong dahl
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp amchoor powder
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 4 kashmiri chillies
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 250g mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp water

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain the lentils several times, swirling in the water to loosen, then cover with water and soak for at least an hour. (This will reduce the cooking time)
  2. Once soaked, put the lentils into a large pan with the chopped onion and the litre of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes until soft. Stir often and skim off any foam that forms on the surface of the water.
  3. Whilst the lentil are cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium to high and add the cumin and mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle, stir in the tandoori masala, turmeric, amchoor powder, garam masala, chilli powder, tomato puree, bay leaves and kashmiri chillis. Cook for a minute.
  4. Add your garlic and mushrooms and stir to coat in the spice mixture. Stir in the diced tomato and cook for a few more minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through.
  5. Stir your mushroom spice mixture into your cooked lentils on a low heat. If the dhal is a little dry, stir in 2 tbsp of water and cook for 1- minutes. Put a lid on the pan and remove from the heat until ready to serve

Serve with basmati rice, warm chapatis or potato tahdig as I did.


Enjoy!

Posh Cheese Toastie – Croque Rarebit or Welsh Monsieur?

This is basically an indulgent cheese toastie with bechamel sauce and it’s delicious. It’s neither a croque monsieur nor a welsh rarebit due to the lack of ham and cheese sauce (not to mention I couldn’t find welsh cheddar on island), but something between the two.

Perfect lunch for a rainy Saturday afternoon or a late tea/early supper when you can’t be bothered to cook a proper meal.

I have to add that the vegan worcestershire sauce was perfect for this. A little bit thicker than the traditional lea & perrins (plus minus the anchovies – yuck) and in my opinion, a much better taste.

You can watch me make the recipe here:

Croque Rarebit or Welsh Monsieur?

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter (plus extra for buttering)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 200ml milk
  • Fresh nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 160g cheese (ideally a cominabtion of welsh cheddar and gruyere)
  • 4 tsps vegan worcestershire sauce (I used Annie’s)
  • 5 or 6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • A mustard of your choice ( I have used both old style mustard and country dijon before)

Directions

  1. Put the pasta into a large pan with boiling salted water and cook to the instructions on the packet. Also pop the broccoli into a pan of boiling water and cook for around 6 minutes. Drain both when done.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200c/400f and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  3. Lightly toast the bread on both sides.
  4. Heat your oven to 180C/350F. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions and peppers for a few minutes until just softened.
  5. On a low to medium heat, melt the butter in a pan, and the flour and combine, then slowly whisk in the milk until you have a smooth sauce. Grate in some nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper. The sauce will thicken gradually as you continue to whisk.
  6. Butter each slice of toasted bread, pop onto the baking tray and spread mustard onto two slices. Spread half of your thickened bechamel on top of the slices with mustard, then sprinkle 3/4 of the grated cheese between them. Add the cherry tomatoes and 1 tsp of worcestershire sauce on each.
  7. Top with remaining slice of toasted bread (butter side down), spread the remaining bechamel on the toast and add the cheese. Add another 1 tsp of worcestershire sauce on top of each and pop into the oven. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and browned.

Serve with a side salad or even a tasty tomato salsa.

P1060203

Enjoy!

Vegetable Vindaloo

You can thank my husband for this one. I always pester him to give me new ideas of things he’d like for dinner and this is the latest.

Until I started researching, I had no idea vindaloo is originally a variation of a Portugese dish (carne de vinha d’alos meaning meat marinated in wine vinegar and garlic) which was modified in Goa to suit local tastes and then again in the UK for the same reason.

The meat is marinated in vinegar and spices, but as we’re using vegetables, how to get the authentic sweet and sour flavour without this marinating step was my first goal. I eventually decided on making a curry paste which I allowed to sit for a few hours before using so the flavours intensified. We actually went out for a few hours and the smell of the house when we came home was AMAZING. Watch me make it below.

We’re lucky enough to have a tamarind tree which we can pick fresh tamarind from, however tamarind paste from the supermarket will work just as well.

I used ghee instead of oil, but if you’re vegan just substitute for vegetable oil or even spray oil if following an eating plan.

The vegetables I’ve used are just what I had available, you can of course use any you like such as cauliflower, green beans, okra, mushrooms, aubergine etc

If your used to eating curry and spice you’ll find this recipe just on the hot side, so add some chilli powder at the same time as the sugar for a little more heat or increase the number of dried chillies in the paste. If you’re more of a mild korma kind of person this vindaloo will be a very hot dish, sort of a spicy challenge rather than a one mouthful and you’re drinking milk from the carton hot.

Vegetable Vindaloo

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Paste

  • 1/2 large onion , roughly chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh tamarind
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 dried kashmiri chillies
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

Curry

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli
  • 300g potatoes, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1tsp chilli powder (optional)

Directions

  1. In a frying pan or heavy saucepan on a medium to high heat, add the dried ingredients for the paste (kashmiri chillies, bayleaf, cardamom, peppercorns, mustard seeds, cloves cinnamon, fenugreek, cumin seeds) , until the cumin seeds start to brown and the peppercorns and mustard seeds start to sizzle. Shake the pan often to prevent burning a sticking.
  2. Pop the roasted spices into a liquidiser along with the onion, garlic, ginger, tamarind, tomato puree, cider vinegar, water and ground coriander. Whizz into a smooth paste. Set aside for a few hours until ready to cook. (This can still be used immediately if not making ahead of time).
  3. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pan and fry the finely chopped onion until golden, stir in the turmeric, then add the carrot, peppers and tomato. Mix well, then stir in the vindaloo paste, coating all of the vegetables. Cook for a minute or so before adding the water.
  4. Stir in the sugar, salt and extra chilli powder if using. Add the frozen vegetables and potatoes. Simmer on a medium to low heat until the veg is tender and your kitchen smells wonderful (about 20 minutes).

Serve with naan bread and fluffy basmati rice.

P1060163

Enjoy!

Creamy Vegetable Masala

Cayman has an Indian supermarket…YESSSSSSS! It’s small, but cheaper than the big supermarkets and has so much more choice. I used love a trip to MA Brothers in Newcastle to stock up on good quality basmati, spices and all the different dahls and flours. It makes me a happy housewife that I can get some of these ingredients here and make our favourite meals.

I love, love , love this curry. Quick and easy to make and less than a third of the calories of an average tikka masala from a takeaway with a simple ingredient swap. It takes nothing away from the flavour either. Just substitute the double cream for half and half (or half milk, half single cream in the UK).

When I was trying to create dish, I couldn’t quite get it right. After some trial and error and research – eureka!

Mushroom soy sauce.

In an Indian style curry.

Yep, I was just as surprised. It really works and gives it that extra little something. I haven’t tried it with regular soy sauce, but I think it will work just as well.

The vegetables listed are just for guidance, but use any you want as long as the quantity is roughly the same. For example, I’ve used bell peppers, mushroom, green beans etc.

If you’re feeding the family (my toddlers eat this also) and want less spice, omit the chilli powder. If it’s still too spicy, serve with some plain yoghurt.

It’s around 4-6 servings, so if there’s only a couple of you it’ll keep in the fridge in a sealed container for about 3 days and it’s so good the next day.

Creamy Vegetable Masala

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled (1 tbsp if using lazy ginger)
  • 3 dried kashmiri chillies
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp ghee (you could also use vegetable oil)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 225g new potatoes, quartered
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mushroom soy sauce

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, ginger, kashmiri chillies, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes until smooth.
  2. Heat the ghee in a large pan on a medium or high heat and add the onions. Cook until golden, then add the turmeric, garam masala, tandoori masala and chilli powder. Stir for about 30 seconds. Pour in the blended tomato mixture and cream (or half and half), add the salt and soy sauce and stir to combine.
  3. Add the vegetables and stir in with the sauce mixture. Cover and cook on a low to medium heat for about 20 minutes until the veg is tender.
  4. Serve with Basmati rice and naan bread.

Enjoy!

Indian Supermarkets

MA Brothers – Newcastle

Shop Right – Cayman