I’ve been given a book on Caribbean cookery, full of ideas and new ingredients. The limitation is on which ones I can purchase locally – not a lot of cho-cho or okra or scotch bonnet peppers. I tried this recipe, leaving out the cho-cho, and using some fresh garden kale, and it was really good, tasty and filling. This makes a lot of vegetable stew, to be served with rice, or perhaps alongside a chicken dish, or on its own.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp scotch bonnet pepper sauce or 1 scotch bonnet pepper (available online) (or use red chillies from the co-op – use a lot; this is meant to be very spicy)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger root, peeled and chopped, or half a teaspoonful of dried ginger
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 large corn cob, chopped into 5 segments
- 200ml marigold stock
- 3 bell peppers, mixed colours, sliced
- 100g Japanese kale, or spinach
- 200ml coconut milk (half a can)
- Heat the oil in a large casserole pan, and fry the onions and garlic, until softening.
- Add the scotch bonnet sauce, black pepper, thyme, ginger, all-spice, turmeric, and stir in, before adding the sweet potato, squash, corn and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the kale, peppers and coconut milk, adjust seasoning. Simmer for another five minutes or so until the kale is cooked.
This is a very filling, hearty stew, brightening up a winter’s evening.
I got a lot of cherries from the co-op, and bottled them in syrup and Kirsch. I was a bit nervous about this, but they turned out very well. Next time, I might try with another spirit, to add a different twist, for example, absinthe or brandy.
- 1kg cherries
- 250ml spirit, such as Kirsch
- 500g sugar
- 2 cloves
- 1 star anise or a good pinch of aniseed
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Stone the cherries. I pushed the stones out with a long metal straw. It took a while, and is not 100% necessary. You can also buy a cherry stoner from Lakeland or other online shops, they are quite inexpensive, and can be used to stone olives as well.
- Put the cherries, sugar and spice in a pan, and heat slowly. Stir to dissolve the sugar, and then simmer for around five minutes, and then leave to stand for a further five minutes.
- Add the lemon juice and Kirsch, pour into sterilised jars, and seal.
A recipe worth experimenting with to switch the flavours round. The lemon juice is very important though. The cherries are delicious served with ice-cream and pancakes.
Although the ingredients for this recipe appear simple, it requires careful cooking to get it right. If you do not cook the ingredients down properly, it can be slightly bitter and watery. Done well, it is amazing, more than the sum of its parts.
- 70g butter
- 800-900g courgettes
- 1 tin organic chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- 1 clove of garlic
- salt and pepper
- Wholemeal breadcrumbs
- Use a peeler to peel the courgettes lengthwise. Do not peel completely, leaving a few strips of the green skin. Then slice them into thin rounds about half a centimetre thick.
- Put the sliced courgettes in a colander and salt them, and leave them to drain for at least half an hour. Put a plate on top of them to press them down.
- Put the chopped tomatoes, 10g of butter, chopped parsley and the garlic in a medium pan with salt and pepper and simmer very slowly to make a very thick paste.
- In the meantime, put the sliced courgettes onto a tea-towel and mop up all the surface water, getting them as dry as possible.
- Cook about half of the sliced courgettes in 20g of the butter. Start by gently melting the butter; do not let it colour brown. Add the courgettes and cook on a low heat until they are transparent. Repeat for the rest of the courgettes and another third of the butter. Doing them in two separate batches allows you to cook all of the courgettes properly.
- Amalgamate the tomatoes and the courgettes, and put the mixture into an oven ready dish. Smooth down the top and strew with breadcrumbs, just a light layer. Dab a little more butter over the surface. Put the dish in the top of a hot oven (around 190C) for 25 minutes and serve very hot when the surface is a deep golden brown.
This would be a good accompaniment for pork or lamb, or served as a light meal with a baked potato .
I think of these as tiny square spicy chips – they should be crispy and flavoursome.
- Around 700g potatoes, diced to around 1cm cubes
- 5 tbsp veg oil, such as rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 1/8th tsp asafoetida
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp red chilli powder, such as Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat, and add the asafoetida, mustard seeds and cumin seeds, and let them sizzle for a minute, so that the mustard seeds pop.
- Add the potatoes, stir and sprinkle in the turmeric.
- When the potatoes start to brown, add the coriander, cumin, chilli and salt and turn the heat up to hot. Fry for another couple of minutes so the potatoes are crispy on the outside.
A great side-dish, or serve with a fried egg on top.