Jamaican Jerk Marinade

22 05 2011

Well it has been far too long since I last posted a recipe so I thought I would get back into the saddle with something nice and simple.

 Jerk is a style of cooking that originated in Jamaican and involves the use of a delicious hot and spicy rub or marinade to give a really great flavour to meat, fish and chicken, it is also equally good vegetables, Tofu or even just poured over some plain white rice (a favourite snack of mine)

Now I know not everyone enjoys a lot of heat in their food but I would argue that making any sort of Jerk sauce or rub without using Scotch Bonnet peppers is like trying to drive a car with no suspension, sure you can do it but it just isn’t any good. You really need the delicious fruity taste of the scotch bonnets to make the marinade stand out.

If you are concerned about the level of heat in the peppers then make sure that you remove all of the seeds and the little ribs off the inside and maybe use a mix of half scotch bonnet and half jalapeno but trust me you will be missing out if you don’t add any

Most supermarkets will sell you a jar of jerk sauce or little packets of jerk seasoning but as I have said loudly and often unless you are able to pop into a specialist food shop or deli and pick up something truly authentic then don’t bother, the mass-produced products are inferior in literally every sense

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 stalks spring onion
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Jamaican pimento (allspice)
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ tsp  cinnamon
  • 4 scotch bonnet peppers
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar

Method:
Put all of the ingredients into a food processor with a steel blade attached and blitz until you have the correct consistency – a slightly thick paste
Store leftover marinade in the refrigerator in a tightly closed jar for about a month.

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Authentic Chicken Korma

24 01 2011

 

When most of us think of a chicken korma we imagine the mildest dish on the menu and quite often a dish which is overly rich and creamy but that really doesn’t taste of very much whatsoever.

Well as with a lot of foods served up at takeaways or restaurants throughout the country this perception is a little off the mark; the word korma actually refers to the cooking process as the meat should be braised and whilst the dish is usually creamy and rich due to the yoghurt that is added there is really no basis to it being a mild curry and certainly nothing at all that should mark it out as being bland.

My chicken korma recipe gives a curry that is a little bit of a compromise, I have cut down on the cooking time in order to simplify the dish but whilst it would be recognisable to most takeaway fans in the UK and elsewhere it is anything but bland.

Ingredients:

1kg chicken breasts or thighs with the bones removed

a pinch of saffron

6 cardamom pods

2tsp cinnamon

4  cloves

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 tbsp coriander powder

1tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp asafoetida

2″ piece of ginger

4 garlic cloves

50g flaked almonds

100g natural yoghurt

2 large onions

300ml chicken stock

salt to taste

50g creamed coconut

Method

Put the  saffron in a bowl and pour over about half a pint of boiling water. Leave to soak for approximately 10 minutes or so.

Dice your chicken into good sized pieces and place into a large mixing bowl, cover the chicken with the natural yoghurt and set aside for about half an hour

Blend the ginger and garlic together in a food processor with a splash of water until it is a purée.

Heat some vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a low heat and add the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Let them sizzle for 25 – 30 seconds and add the onions. Increase the heat to medium and fry the onions until they soften, 5-7 mins

Add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Add the salt, turmeric, chilli powder, white pepper,chilli powder, asafoetida and ground coriander and fry gently for about a minute.

Add the chicken, creamed coconut and flaked almonds turn up the heat to a medium flame. Stir everything well so that the chicken is well coated in all of the spices etc. Pour in thechicken stock, cover the pan and simmer for around half and hour.

About 5 minutes before you have finished cooking stir in the saffron in warm water from earlier on and the garam masala, leave the lid off the pan for the remainder of the cooking time.

Garnish with some flaked almonds, chopped chillies and some coriander leaf.





Crazy chef claims world’s hottest curry

20 01 2011

 Chef  Bablu Rodrick from Glasgow’s Cafe India has cooked up a curry that is claimed to be the world’s hottest – the Tikka Chance is laden with ten scorching hot infinity chillies and customers can have it made with either chicken or lamb.

 According to Cafe India general manager Raj Bajwe heatseeking customers will have to sign a medical disclaimer waiving the right to sue before being allowed to attempt the dish. In an interview with The Sun Raj stated: “This is lethal. “I am only going to be selling the Tikka Chance with a serious health warning. If you have any health problems, especially a heart condition, then do not even attempt it.

“These chillies are so hot the chef has to use rubber gloves to handle them. I normally like chillies and eat them all the time – but even I’ve been suffering since having a taste.”

If anyone is able to finish the £22 dish in its entirity Cafe India will be presenting a certificate to confirm the impressive feat.

So just how hot is the Tikka Chance?  Well Cafe India reckon it is coming in at a little over 1.1 million SHU which lets face it is pretty hot. There is no real scientific evidence to back up the claim however it is using a ridiculously hot chilli in pretty copious amounts.

 The infinity chilli was grown and developed by Woody Woods from Fire Foods in Lincolnshire and according to HPLC tests is clocking in at 1,257,468 SHU making it a solid contender for the title of world’s hottest chilli.

  I have tried the infinity chilli and it is nuts, plain and simple.  I am still waiting to get my hands on some of the other contenders to the Bhut Jolokia’s throne but lets face it once you start getting up above 1 million scovilles pretty much everything is pain incarnate.

Anyone who has read my blog with any frequency will know I love curries and the hotter they are the better they are and the the idea of ten infinity chillies in one dish is enticing to me but it is also a little bit scary and quite frankly I reckon that any sane person would do well to pass on by…

For more information on the Tikka Chance curry contact Cafe India here





12 Worst Foods Ever

15 12 2010

I happened to stumble upon a supposed news item the other day showing what the site in question deemed to be the 12 most unhealthy foods known to man – click here to view

I agree with a couple of their entries but some of them  just didn’t illicit a suitable level of disgust from me.

So here is my very own list; I haven’t limited myself to foods that are merely unhealthy I have also included a few that are just downright vile:

 Pork Scratchings – Well what is there to say about pork scratchings?  This nasty pub snack consists of pork rind and fat deep-fried until it is hard and then seasoned with salt, if you are really unlucky you will find the elusive soft scratching that is literally pure deep-fried pig fat mmm.

This is the sort of awful crap that needs to go the same way as the dinosaurs, there are plenty of other snacks that you can enjoy with your pint that don’t come with a free heart attack.

 

KFC Double Down – When I first heard that KFC had launched something called the Double Down I simply had to find out what it might be.

It transpires that it is a delightful fried chicken sandwich that instead of a bun has 2 fried chicken breasts between which nestles cheese, Colonel sauce (I don’t even want to know) and bacon.

Now forgive me if I am wrong but where I come from chicken breasts are normally found inside a sandwich, not masquerading as the bread.

Luckily they don’t offer this particular delicacy here in the UK but that didn’t stop me finding someone who had been brave enough to give one a go – click here to check  out a video review from Scott Roberts enjoying the mighty Double Down in all its greasy glory.

Cheese Burger in a Can – I have been camping more times than I can remember, whilst camping I have eaten many meals that I would normally turn my nose up at back in civilisation. Be it US military MRE, British Forces Ration Packs or ready prepared meals from a camping store they all have pretty much one thing in common: they are shite.

I have sat shivering in the cold and wet eating my last remaining Biscuits Brown and wished that they were pretty much anything else at all. The one thing that I never wished for was this:

Cheeseburger in a can… Once I get past my initial reaction, which is pretty much to vomit in advance of eating it there by cutting out the middle man, I start to wonder what sort of sick twisted maniac invented such a thing.

Well it turns out we have Swiss company  Katadyn to thank blame for visiting this evil upon the world.

The idea is that you pop the unopened can into boiling water for a couple of minutes and hey presto you have a tasty hamburger to munch on whilst the bears move in for the kill.

As much as the overall idea  offends my stomach I find myself more concerned by the fact that it will stay fresh for over a year without refrigeration – just wtf is it made out of?

 Balut A whole fertilised chicken or duck egg allowed to reach between 17 and 21 days of incubation before being boiled and the whole disgusting mess being eaten, foetus and all.

I’m not sure there is much more that I or anybody else need to say about that…

Deep Fried Mars Bar – Ah Scotland, was there ever a nation so easy to pick on when it comes to dodgy food?

 To be fair to 99% of Scottish produce is outstanding but that is all pushed aside by that final 1%.

 In this case I am focusing in on Scotland’s most famous culinary disaster; The Deep Fried Mars Bar and trust me it deserves the capitals. This gastronomic turd gets bad press all the time but it really does take some beating in the crap food stakes.

Not only is it the idea that is shocking it is the food itself; first we take a Mars Bar, hardly the healthiest starting point. We chill the Mars to stop it melting and then coat it in the sort of thick fattening batter normally reserved for frying fish or sausages then of course we fry it.

Sadly the next step is to eat the bloody thing, followed promptly by throwing up a hot sugary mess all over the pavement.

I once ate a deep-fried mars bar for a dare; at first it was almost nice, there was a bit of a crunch followed by gooey sweet chocolate. Unfortunately the next stage of the eating process was reality kicking in. There realy is no overcoming the greasy taste of the batter and that mixed with the cloying sweetness of the chocolate actually makes you start to gag. I’m not proud of the fact that rather than finish this horrific morsel I pinned one of my mates down and made them eat it,I think he still has nightmares about it til this day.

Having sampled this most heinous of crimes against food I have no conclusion but to seriously worry about the sanity of our cousins north of the border….

 Deep Fried Haggis – I’m not squeamish when it comes to food and actually like most offal but there is something about deep-fried haggis that just turns my stomach.

I know that just plain old haggis is enough to have some people reaching for a bucket as it is but to deep fry it, has the World gone mad?

For anyone that was ever wondering what a sheep’s stomach stuffed with oats,onion and “Sheep’s Pluck”(heart, liver and lungs) looks like when deep-fried then prepare to vomit:

 Poutine – I was first introduced to this Canadian staple by a friend about a year ago. granted it isn’t as unhealthy as some of the foods that grace this list but to my mind it is one of the most revolting.

 For those of you lucky enough to have never encountered Poutine before it is French fries coated with gravy and topped off with cheese curds and just when you thought that couldn’t be made any more delicious the fries are supposed to be cooked in lard -mmm.

Poutine is not completely horrible for the first couple of bites whilst it is still very hot but as soon as it starts to cool it just becomes one big congealing mess of brown muck and you can’t help but face the stark reality that you are effectively signing your own death warrant.

 Snickers Pie – 1 packet puff pastry, 140g mascarpone, 110g soft cheese, 50g caster sugar, 3 eggs, 5 Snickers bars and milk.

 Does sound to you like the recipe for something ok for a child? Probably not. However bearded dwarf and celebrity chef  Antony Worrall-Thompson says that it is fine and he should know as he wrote it.

Last time I happened to look around a lot of children seemed to be quite fat and appear to my untrained eye to be getting ever fatter, I’m not trying to be unkind I am just pointing out the obvious. Now I might be wrong but I’m not totally convinced that a celebrity chef advocating this sort of “treat” is really going to go a long way towards changing this trend anytime soon…

This sugar and fat laden delight is so void of nutritional value that the Food Commision condemned it as being “one of the most unhealthy recipes ever published”. Each slice weighs in at a heavyweight 1,250 calories, 22 teaspoons of sugar and 11 teaspoons of fat.

I look forward to serving it at a children’s tea party in the near future, I fully anticipate that the children will be hyperactive due to the ridiculous sugar content and yet unable to move due to being completely spherical.

 Quadruple C Burger – I came across the Quadruple C Burger on one of my many wasted afternoons trawling the internet, it certainly made an impression on me and I’m sorry to say it wasn’t a good one.

One of the signature menu items at Dangerous Dan’s Diner in Toronto, the Quad C is one of a new generation of fat burgers whose aim is to  stare the health food movement in the eye and stick two fingers up in its face. Now I am all for people having freedom of choice and that includes the right to eat yourself into an early grave but this burger almost makes me want to call up the food police.

The more enquiring minds out there in cyberspace might be wondering what the four Cs stand for so here we have it, drum-roll please:

“The Colossal Colon Clogger Combo.” 

This meaty mountain is the Quadruple C in all it’s colossal colon clogging cancer causing glory, either impressive or sickening depending on how you choose to look at it.

So what goes into making one of these bad boys: one 24 ounce beef patty, half a pound of bacon, half a pound of cheese and to complete the combo in gut busting style a large shake and a serving of an another Canadian entrant from this list; poutine.

Luckily this burger is only available in Canada so your resultant trip to the emergency room will at least be free.

 Bacon Explosion – The Bacon Explosion has to be one of the most disgusting food items I have come across in a long time; the sheer volume of meat is quite simply worrying and just the thought of it is making my digestive system recoil in horror even as I type.

 So what is a Bacon Explosion, well it turns out that it is not as the name suggests a pig packed full of dynamite, so here is a quick run down:

Multiple strips of bacon are lovingly woven into a fatty, greasy mesh, onto which ground sausage meat is dumped before more cooked and crumbled bacon is sprinkled on top and the whole thing is rolled up into a big cigar full of porky goodness.

As always I have saved the best until last this bacon behemoth comes in at over 5,000 calories and more than 500 grams of fat – delicious.

Pizza Hut Double roll

According to a friend who has tried it in Tokyo the main selling point of this insult to Italian cuisine was that it had pigs in a blanket baked into the crust on half of the pizza.

If that isn’t enough to tempt you into trying the Double roll then read on….

The other half has cheese rolls for a crust and is liberally topped with mini hamburgers, Italian sausage, ham, bacon, bacon bits, sliced tomato, mushroom, onion, peppers, garlic slices, basil, black pepper and of course marinara sauce.

As if that wasn’t enough culinary goodness for you I am reliably informed that the whole thing can be flavored with maple syrup and ketchup by request.

I don’t know what would make me puke first, the maple syrup and ketchup flavouring or the entire buffet cart they have stuffed into the crust and topped it with.

 Windows 7 whopper – The Windows 7 Whopper was the brainchild of Burger King Japan; it was sold to mark the launch of the newest version of the Windows operating system and featured – yes you guessed it, 7 whopper patties – 7!!! That makes the heart stopping excess of the Quad Stacker seem like a light snack.

 The Japanese have long been held up as being paradigms of healthy living and we in the west have been implored to be more like them in terms of diet; obviously the nutritionists didn’t see this particular meat monstrosity.

 Thankfully for the world at large this particularly terrifying crap stack was only available for a short space of time following the launch of Windows 7 but I get the feeling that there is more to come from our friends in the east.





Kofte Kebabs

31 10 2010

 Anyone who has read my recipes before will possibly have noticed that I really do like Greek and Turkish food quit a lot, so much in fact that it is probably a very good thing that both cuisines can be some of the healthiest around.

 Kofte or Kefte or Kofta depending on where you are from are made of ground meat such as lamb that is worked with until it is almost like a paste mixed with herbs and spices and then formed into balls, cigar like sausages or worked around a stick before grilling – delicious 🙂

I happen to be particularly fond of a version that I used to have at a Turkish restaurant back home and that I finally managed to get right after many attempts. Whilst you can use most meats and even fish to make your kofte I find lamb to be the best however I do like a 50/50 mix of lamb and beef as well.

Ingredients:

500 g of ground lamb
1 handfull of parsley (stalks removed)
1 slice of white bread with the crust removed
1 medium red onion
1 garlic clove
1 egg
~12 mint leaves
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black
1/2 tsp salt

Method:

When you buy your minced lamb ask the butcher to mince it twice for you to try and get it as fine and smooth as possibly, if you don’t visit a butcher and don’t have access to a mincer at home then place the mince on a chopping board and using 2 knives try and break it down as much as possible- imagine you are playing the drums!

Very lightly toast your slice of bread and using a food processor turn it into bread crumbs, if you don’t have a food processor then it looks like you will get to work on your drum skills again.

Peel your onion and garlic and dice both as finely as you can, also at this point chop up your parsely and mint leaves finely.

Beat together your egg .

Add all of your dry ingredients to a mixing bowl which has been greased with a little bit of olive oil and give them a rough mix together. Now add in your beaten egg and really mix everything together well, you don’t want any pockets of meat that haven’t been seasoned or any big clumps of breadcrumbs.

Once your mixture is well mixed together cover the bowl with a clingfilm/a teatowel and pop in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

After taking your mix out of the fridge divide it into equal amounts and shape it as you wish; either into little meatballs, cigar like sausages, patties or shaped around a wooden skewer.

Now for the cooking, pop your koftes onto a nice hot charcoal grill / bbq or if you don’t have a grill/bbq available you can pop them into a hot frying pan.

Cook the kofte until they are done, if you split this amount of mixture into 15 small sausages you will need to give them 3/4 minutes each, different sized portions will differ accordingly.

Serve with some natural yoghurt, a nice simple salad and some flat bread.





Homemade Rogan Josh

28 10 2010

The other night was curry night at home; I knew straight off the bat that I was going to make my chana masala, onion bhajis, bombay potatoesflat breads and the lemon pickle that Jamie Oliver made recently in 30 minute meals.

What I didn’t work out quite so quickly was what I was going to make as a meat dish.

I hadn’t been going to make a meat dish and had been going to do a nice vegetable dish instead but my brothers were adamant that they needed meat.

Now my tastes run towards the far hotter and spicier end of the scale and I normally make myself a vindaloo or a phal, I knew that these wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms so decided to make my take on Rogan Josh instead.

Traditionally Rogan Josh would use lamb but it is equally good with beef or chicken as well.

Ingredients (4-6servings):

1kg of diced lamb (beef or chicken also work well)

400g tinned tomatoes/tomato concasse

3 large onions

5 cloves of garlic

3″ piece of ginger

7 green cardamom pods

1 medium-sized chilli (you can add more if you want)

a bunch of fresh coriander

3tsp dried coriander leaf

3tsp garam masala

1 1/2tsp coriander seeds

1 1/2tsp cumin seeds

1tsp paprika

1tsp turmeric

1tsp black mustard seeds

1/2tsp ground nutmeg

1/2tsp mace

1/2tsp asafoetida

 Method:

  • mix the dried coriander with the meat and a small drizzle of olive oil, set aside and leave until it is needed.
  • chop the onions into a fine dice and sweat in a saucepan for 30 mins
  • peel and chop the garlic and ginger finely, and continue to soften for a further 20 mins
  • add the cardamoms, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and cumin seeds to a dry pan and heat until the seeds start to pop, add these to the saucepan along with the paprika, turmeric, garam masala, nutmeg, mace and asafoetida making sure to stir everything together well.
  • empty the meat and coriander mixture into a pan and brown off.
  • add the meat to the main saucepan and use some stock or water to deglaze the frying pan, add the juices etc to the saucepan.
  • stir in the chopped tomatoes/tomato concasse and the chopped fresh coriander and chopped chillis. Leave to simmer for at least 90 minutes.

Serve with basmati rice and your choice of accompaniments.





Turkish Lahmacun

22 03 2010

If there is one thing that I miss about the UK, and let’s face it there aren’t that many things, it’s the wonderful variety of different cuisines that are available to you on your doorstep, particularly where I am from in East London.

One of the many styles of food that I get a craving for quite regularly is Turkish and when I get that itch there is really and truly only one thing that is going to scratch it – Lahmacun.

These delicious little flat breads topped with spicy meat and a tangy peppery sauce are divine and as soon as you try them you will see why!

As I haven’t got a Turkish or Greek deli anywhere near me I have had to make some substitutions for a couple of ingredients however it isn’t many and the Lahmacun still taste great!

Ingredients:

10 mexican tortillas or any other type of flat bread
500 gr lean ground beef or lamb
2 medium onions
1 handful of parsley finely chopped
1 tbsp red pepper paste*
2 large tomatoes, seeds discarded
1 tsp flaked peppers or 1 red chilli de-seeded and very finely chopped
1 garlic clove
1 tsp salt

Method:

Chop and mix together all the ingredients except the ground beef / lamb. When it is well mixed together  knead it in with the ground beef. Put the mixture into a plastic bag and Refrigerate for about an hour, then let it stand on the work surface for 20 minutes or so before cooking.

Set the oven to about 180 and make sure you have two baking trays ready. Take some of the topping  and spread it over the flat bread as one even layer.

Place on the baking trays and put the trays on the second rack from the top in the oven. Bake for about 3-4 minutes, making sure not to burn the edges of the bread.

Place a paper towel at the bottom of a large pot. Fold the cooked Lahmacun in half and put them in the pot to keep them warm with the lid closed.

 When all are of the lahmacun are cooked, serve with a simple side salad while they’re still warm.

* If you can’t find turkish red pepper paste then you can follow the recipe here in order to make your own.








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