Monday, 4 February 2013

A little midnight snack...

So I'm doing two things at once right now: listening to the radio, writing a new post for the blog as well as keeping an eye out for my gorgeous chicken thighs that are bubbling away in the oven - that's three things in fact, I'm taking multi-tasking all the way here! I'm excited mainly because I got to use my Caan for the first time, which I'm doubting any of you will know what it is; well, it's a Ghanaian style pestle and mortar used for grinding together herbs and spices to make all manner of delicious marinades and sauces for meats and fish. It's a lot sturdier than the pestle and mortars you can find in town; sort of resembling a mini wok and will genuinely last a lifetime. As I only got the Caan tonight, I just couldn't wait to try it out, so I decided to throw together a little meal when I got home from the gym, not entirely West African I'll admit, but I've used some of my favourite ingredients and it's a complete doddle to make. I'm calling this my late night chicken - give to a go.

Stuff you'll need

500g boneless chicken thighs (the thighs offer so much more flavour!)
2 large garlic cloves
1 inch knob African or Caribbean ginger, standard ginger will suffice
1 long red chilli pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
1 teaspoon oil

1) Put the chicken in a bolwl and combine all the remaining ingredients in a pestle or mortar, or a Caan! (If you're lucky like me!)
2) Grind everything in a semi paste and combine with chicken and mix well.
3) Line a baking tray with oil and place the chicken on top, spacing apart evenly.
4) Cook in a preheated oven for 20 minutes on 180.
5) Gobble it down!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Moving on!

Yes, Hackney Homemade was fun and I've enjoyed selling my wares at this market for the past two months. I've met some great, inspiring people who have broadened my expertise and more importantly all the people who bought my stuff and gave it a passionate thumbs up have given me the boost I need to unleash myself to the wider community. I'm in the process of acquiring a new site, so be prepared! My little plantain set up, in both guises (sweet and hot) is moving on up! It'll be interesting to see how my products go down with a new crowd, and while I'm doing something altogether a bit niche, I believe it's that very reason that brought people over to my stand; the coconut yam biscuits were the best sellers week after week, which I'm pretty proud as it was quite a surprise initially. The show stoppers were a tie between supermalt brownies - dense, dark and sexy - and the plantain cupcakes with ginger frosting. I'm toying with some new recipes for my next venture that I'm excited about, so when everything's set and up and I'm raring to go, I'll let you all know where you can find me and my little red canopy. Bye for now.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Hackney Homemade

The details are simple: every Saturday local artisan producers of home-made food get together to sell their stuff on the church grounds opposite Hackney Central station - this is Hackney Homemade and it's rivalling some of the other more established set ups in the area, like the up and coming Chatsworth and the long running Broadway market in London fields, AND, I'm pleased to announce that Hot Plantain will be there as of this Saturday 22nd selling the sweeter side of things, so think cakes, biscuits, flapjacks, brownies all given a more exotic, ethnic twist. I'm incorporating all the great flavours of Ghana and West Africa to create some new and exciting goodies and you can be sure that plantains will be making an appearance in some format! I'm keeping pretty quiet about this, so you'll just have to make the schlep over to Hackney to investigate this fab market. I'll be following up with a post about my first day, complete with tempting photos. See you soon.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Turkey breast steaks with a peanut and chilli rub

This is the type of recipe most people enjoy - it smacks of the current food trend floating about -...insert appropriate cuisine...food made easy, 30 minute meals, quick tasty and delicious. Yes, we all lead busy lives, but I know for one, I love to spend hours in the kitchen, if time permits, getting stuck into some crazy recipe I pulled from some cook book. I guess my latest recipe came from watching Lorraine Pascale new BBC1 TV show - fast, fresh and delicious - yes, it's those darn culinary adjectives again! I often get home late and this recipe does live up to being tasty in the face of haste and late working hours - give it  a try and like this post, it's a quick one. Enjoy with plantain - of course.

Ingredients

300g lean turkey steaks or chicken steaks
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
A handful of dry roasted peanuts

Prep:

1) Using a pestle and mortar, grind the peanuts into a relatively fine powder.
2) Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly and cover the turkey breast with the mixture.
3) Grill the steaks on a medium setting for about 10 minutes and serve with roasted plantain and a green salad.



Sunday, 22 July 2012

Changes...

Hi guys, I've been a very busy chap lately, what with moving house (major upheaval), job changes and other slight annoyances that make life what it is. But, we keep calm and carry on eating good food. I've had a whole gamut of great cuisine lately, from a delicious homemade Cambodian curry to tasty BBQ street food and I can't forget the continuing presence of African food that I see all around London (which reminds me, I must try that Ivorian place in Deptford). What this means I don't know, and food trends come and go; when it comes to what's hot on the media buzz list, its about 'being out there',take the surging popularity of Brixton market. I think good solid food, whether 'on point' or not will always prevail, which can only be a good thing. Look out for me, somewhere soon!

I'll be back soon with some more fab recipes...and spread the word!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Crispy paprika plantain chips

I've cooked plantain in all its guises from plain and boiled to roasted to deep fried in hot spices - but I seem to return to my good old fail safe: the chip...or crisp...either way, they're damn tasty and perfect for mid-week snacking. Let me share my recipe with you and I defy you to return to Walkers after munching through a bowl.

Ingredients:

1 or 2 medium sized hard plantains
250 ml of virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon hot cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cornish sea salt or equivalent

1) Start by cutting up the plantains into slices as thin as you can get them
2) Arrange in a bowl and then heat the oil in a pan until very hot (you can test the temperature by dropping in a slice; if it sizzles madly, you're all set!
3) Fry the chips in small batches( the secret to a really crisp chip is to space them out so they don't touch)
4) Once you've completed frying the plantain, transfer to a bowl and add the pepper. paprika and salt and give it a good mix!

You can give the chips more bite if you like by adding an additional 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne. I like to cool these chips down with a really simple lemon mayonnaise, which consists of the juice of half a lemon with a good dash of salt stirred into your fav mayonnaise.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Supper club night: Part 2

So my second attempt at cooking what I can only describe as West African fusion resulted in a mixed bag of friends and friends of friends dining at my Mum’s house last Saturday night. It was my mother’s suggestion of holding the event at her house, whether she wanted to witness with her own eyes that I could muster something more taxing than a poached egg (despite my mother hearing of the rousing feedback I got from the first supper night) or whether it’s because to her Peckham and dining just don’t sit comfortably together, I went along with the offer nonetheless, and besides, my mum could always pitch in and peel a yam or two?  I’d toiled and fussed around with the menu for sometime before the supper club and had it finalised well in advance. I even started preparing three days prior and the last thing I wanted was to start cooking when the guests had arrived – Come dine with me contestants should take note. So the order of service went as follows: -

Starter

Gold Coast Cocktail

Hot Plantain platter

Plantain bites
Mini beef kebabs
Akwaaba nuts
Tender battered gizzards

Main

Fish stew
Black rice
Spinach and carrot salad

Desert

Sweet yam ice cream
Banana fritters

The cocktails were a hit, of which the components have to remain a secret, needless to say, mixology isn’t my forte, but a few self taught lessons and I’m already thinking of a few more to add to my repertoire.  I loved how the plantain bites turned out – crisp and greaseless with a kick of pepper and ginger. Overall, the platter does take time to assemble, but it packs a punch both aesthetically and flavour wise. It would also work well served as nibbles at a party, so the next time I have a few friends round, I'm going to be sure to whip up my hot plantain platter. Equally, the main course - the fish stew - which consisted of snapper and cod combined with okra and sweet potato was fresh and modern while still retaining elements of traditional Ghanaian food.
The most experimental dish of the evening was the yam ice cream, certainly an acquired taste, my thoughts when creating this was to challenge the usual elements of Ghanaian food - savoury ingredients used under the guise of a sweet dish, keeping things creative by utilising spices and herbs uncommon in the staple soups and stews - it's all about thinking beyond conventions. I'm definitely running with this for awhile. 

So, now I retire to conjure up a new menu for the soon to be announced supper club three. If you fancy attending the next event, drop me an e-mail.