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August, 2014

  1. Vanilla Part 2 – Caribbean sweet potatoes and banana ketchup

    August 21, 2014 by sarah

    In my experimentation to find a delicious savoury recipe using vanilla, I happened to add a vanilla bean to my usual recipe for Caribbean Sweet Potatoes and it worked! So here it is to share with you. I have also included a recipe for banana ketchup (from Levi Roots ‘Caribbean Food Made Easy’) because nothing goes better with sweet sticky potatoes and jerk chicken or pork. I know it sounds weird but it really works.  Bring some soul to your food!

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    Caribbean Sweet Potatoes with Vanilla

    1kg sweet potatoes
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
    juice of 1 lime
    4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
    2 vanilla beans, blitzed in spice grinder grinder until fine powder
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1/4 tsp chili powder
    1/8 tsp nutmeg
    1/8 tsp allspice
    Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a large roasting pan with tin foil – this recipe really sticks!
    In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients then add the peeled and chunked potatoes.
    Toss so all is coated and then pour onto onto the roasting pan so it is one layer thick.
    Cook for 45-60 minutes, turning every now and then.
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    Banana Ketchup

    most of a 400g can of chopped tomatoes in juice
    3 very ripe bananas, peeled
    3cm knob of root ginger, peeled and sliced
    1 garlic clove, peeled
    2 spring onions, remove roots
    some chili – however hot you like it man
    good grating of nutmeg (about a quarter of a nut)
    1 tsp ground allspice
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    2 and 1/2 tbsp soft brown sugar
    good pinch (3 fingers) of salt
    juice of 1 lime
    Put everything in a blender (or use a stick blender in a tall narrow container) and blitz until smooth. Taste to check the seasoning, adjusting the sweet, sour and salt as required.
    Pour into a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Leave to cool entirely before serving.
    This also freezes well but I would recommend using within a few months.
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  2. Stuffed Courgette Flowers

    August 17, 2014 by sarah

    Nothing says high summer more than a glut of courgettes from the garden. A few days before we went away for our break in Dorset a few weeks ago, I made this recipe to try and stem the flow of courgettes that would turn into marrows while we were away. It worked and we had a delicious dinner out of it too. Doubly good!


    Stuffed Courgette Flowers

    8-10 courgette flowers, ideally with little courgettes attached but the flowers still fresh
    1-2L sunflower oil for frying
    200g tub ricotta cheese
    4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
    1 tbsp finely chopped chives and same of mint
    zest of half a lemon
    4 tbsp plain flour
    1 tbsp corn flour
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    Prepare the flowers by opening them up carefully and shaking out any bugs, but do not wash them.
    Mix the cheeses, herbs and lemon zest in a bowl. Taste and season – will probably need some salt and quite a bit of pepper.
    Fill the flowers with the mixture, being careful not to split them and twist the tips of the petals together to seal.
    Make the batter by putting the flours, baking powder and salt into a bowl and whisking to remove lumps. Then whisk in enough ice cold water until consistency of single cream i.e. pretty thin.
    Heat the oil in a deep sided pan until it reaches 180 ºC on a thermometer.
    Quickly dip a stuffed courgette flower into the batter, allow the worst of drips to come off and then carefully drop into the hot oil.
    Only cook a few at a time so the pan is not over crowded. They need a couple of minutes on both sides until golden and crisp.
    Drain on kitchen paper while cooking the rest.
    Serve immediately with a fresh salad and a cold glass of vino!

  3. Yorkshire Curd Tart

    August 5, 2014 by sarah

    When we were in the Yorkshire Dales a few weeks ago, we sampled the local foodie delights including something called a curd tart. Nothing to do with lemon curd but it was still a delight; soft buttery pastry with creamy but slightly tart filling with currants and spice. So once we were home I decided to make my own version to remind us of the trip. We had lots of lovely food that weekend, from the punnet of fresh sun ripened strawberries to the Wensleydale cheeses (they do more then just Wensleydale, try the Kit Calvert), the best sausage roll I have ever tasted to pie and pint in the pub!

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    Yorkshire Curd Tart


    (recipe from The Hairy Bikers here )

    For the Filling:
    1.2 litres/2 pints of milk (semi-skimmed or full fat)
    4 tbsp lemon juice
    1/2 lemon, zest only
    65g unsalted butter, softened
    65g caster sugar
    1 free-range egg, beaten
    1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
    60g currants
    20-22cm diameter deep loose-bottomed flan tin or pie tin – lined with blind baked pastry (bought or home made with 175g flour/100g butter/2 tsp caster sugar/1 egg)
    To make the curds for the filling, firstly zest the lemon and store the zest in an airtight container in the fridge – you will need it tomorrow to make the filling – and then juice the lemon. Heat the milk in a large non-stick saucepan over a low heat and bring to a very gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and pour in the lemon juice, stir a few times and then leave to curdle for a couple of hours.
    Line a sieve with muslin and place over a large bowl. Pour in the curdled milk and allow to drain in the fridge for a minimum of six hours, ideally overnight.
    Preheat the oven to 180 ºC/fan 160 ºC.
    Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the egg then stir in the curd cheese, lemon zest, nutmeg and currents.
    Spoon the curd into the pastry case and spread to evenly cover and bake for 30-35 minutes until the filling is set and lightly coloured. Leave to cool in the tin for at least 30 minutes before removing and eating. Serve at room temperature.