Blog Archive

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Recipe Formula: A taste from the Sun

A recipe is only one piece of the puzzle.

Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean, a destination for tourists seeking out pristine waters and lazing in the sun. Its people are laid back and friendly to all who come to visit, and its rum is as well known as its beaches. Jamaican cuisine is varied with influences from the Spanish, who were the first Europeans to arrive on the island, and later British, African, Indian and Chinese.

The taste of island sun came to my little kitchen and the response was wonderful even though I did not have the soothing voice of Bob Marley in the background. It's time now to share the recipes that many had enjoyed and are waiting to take home to family and friends.

After dipping in the cool waters of the Caribbean it is time to hop across the globe to Greece, the birthplace of Plato and democracy. Here the romantic blue shutters on white washed walls beckon the traveller to once again relax and enjoy life. In Greece eating later in the evening as the sun begins to yawn bringing cooler air off the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas is a long practised tradition. Lighter salads filled with flavour are among the choices offered here, paired with some fresh bread and a glass of wine open the appetite to good conversation and joy of life.

As convention is often left behind at Unleash Your Taste, breakfast has been dropped off at the end of a selection of recipes, with a light and easy lunchtime snack. Maybe that's not so bad after all, when choosing between the Caribbean or the Mediterranean the knowledge that a creamy delicious breakfast awaits makes the choice easier to decide upon.

Jerk Chicken – the mild one

3-4 lb chicken
3/4 cup ground allspice
3/4 cup green onions
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 brown sugar
1/3 cup black pepper
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup minced ginger
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 habanero chillies

Combine sugar, allspice, green onions, oil, pepper, salt, ginger, lime juice, soy sauce, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, garlic and chillies in a bowl.
Add chicken and toss to coat.
Cover and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Cook chicken skin side down,
either on grill or a pan allowing marinade to form a crust, about 8 minutes.
Serve with mashed sweet potatoes.

(Serves 4-6)

Jerk Chicken – the wild one

2-3 lbs chicken breasts or thighs
2 limes
1 red onion
1 bunch green onions
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp dry thyme
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 habanero chillies, finely chopped
1/2 each fresh basil, thyme, chives and sage
1 lb zucchini
2 green apples
1 onion
1/4 cup coconut oil

Mix together red onion, dried thyme, allspice, pepper, salt, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, green onion and finely chopped habanero chillies with 2 tbsp coconut oil and apple cider vinegar.
A blender can be used and coconut oil may be substituted with vegetable oil.
This needs to form a paste, then set aside.
Cut lime in half, squeeze over chicken pieces and rub into skin.
Rub the seasoning paste over chicken,
cover and refrigerate for 2-6 hours, overnight would be even better.
Chop zucchini, onions and green apples, coat with coconut oil and cook till tender.
Cook chicken on BBQ to develop a rich crust over the pieces,
or preheat oven to 375° F and cook for 40-45 minutes till chicken is done.
Remove chicken meat from the bone and serve with vegetables.

(Serves 4-6)

Oxtail Stew – Jamaican Style

4-6 oxtails
4 carrots
2 habanero chillies
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup rum
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 cinnamon
1 tsp hot sauce
4 fresh sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp A-1 Sauce
1/2 cup green onions

Brown oxtails seasoned with salt and pepper.
Add carrots and onions, cook for about 5 minutes.
Add habaneros, garlic and rum, bring to a boil then add chicken broth, allspice, cinnamon,
hot pepper sauce, thyme, bay leaves, brown sugar, red wine vinegar,
tomatoes, soy sauce and steak sauce.
Return to a boil then cook till beef is tender, 1 1/2 hours.

(Serves 4-6)

Shrimp & Ackees

2 lbs shrimp uncooked
1 tbsp allspice
1 tbsp ground cloves
1 habanero pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp dried thyme
1/4 cup dark rum
2 red bell peppers
1 white onion
1 bunch green onion
12 cherry tomatoes
1 mango
thyme, lemon and bay salt seasoning (Jamie Oliver – optional)
1 cup ackees
2 small packs Grace Caribbean Combos (Caribbean Seasoned Rice)

Mix together allspice, cloves, habanero chillies, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, dried thyme and dark rum, then set aside.
Cook shrimp till they turn pink and no longer translucent,
clean off shells and combine with seasoning mixture.
Cook bell peppers, white onion, cherry tomato, mango and ackees.
Thyme, lemon and bay salt seasoning may be substituted with a lemon herb seasoning.
Boil rice whilst cooking vegetables.
Serve with rice as a base adding vegetable mixed with shrimp.

(Serves 4-6)

Chicken & Feta Mediterranean

1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch green onions
1 lb green beans
1 bunch spinach
1 anise fennel bulb
Braswells vidalia onion and peppercorn dressing
1 tbsp white truffle oil
400 grams feta cheese
2 lbs chicken (can be one good sized chicken, breasts or thighs)

Either fry or roast chicken, or BBQ if you prefer.
Let cool then pull meat off the bone and break up into bite size pieces and set aside.
Cook asparagus first till lightly softened, set aside.
Then chop and cook anise fennel, green beans and green onions adding spinach at the end.
Now add asparagus back and chicken pieces.
Pour vidalia onion dressing and mix,
allow 2-3 minutes on medium heat to heat all components together.
Take off heat and place in a large serving bowl adding white truffle oil.
Crumble feta cheese over it and mix gently.
Serve hot, or if you prefer as a cold salad with crispy fresh baked bread.

(Serves 4-6)

Vegetable, Fruit & Feta Salad – Greek Style

1 small bag carrot sticks
1 bunch asparagus
6-8 shallots
1 green apple
1 Asian yellow pear
1 orange
1 bunch fresh dill
Braswells vidalia onion and peppercorn dressing
1 tbsp white truffle oil 
400 grams feta cheese

Cook asparagus, shallots and carrot sticks till softened then let cool.
Chop up green apple, Asian pear and orange.
Combine vegetables with chopped fruit and pour vidalia onion and peppercorn dressing,
mixing gently. Let it sit a few minutes then add white truffle oil.
Crumble feta cheese into salad and fold it in gently
then serve with a garnish of a dusting of fresh dill.
This is a refreshing salad served on its own, as a side or with a glass of crisp white wine.

(Serves 4)

An island breakfast with Avocado & Egg

4 avocados
8 eggs
8 slices genoa salami, hot
balsamic vinegar to drizzle

Cut the avocados in half and take the pits out.
With a spoon gently remove some of the avocado flesh to open up the holes more,
keeping the flesh aside.
Place avocados on baking dish, crack one egg at a time and drop into the hole making sure the avocado doesn't tip over and spill the egg out.
Season to taste.
Place the egg and avocado under the broiler and cook till egg is done.
Use the left-over avocado flesh with a spray of fresh lime or lemon juice and a couple of drops of balsamic vinegar and create a paste or spread with a spoon, mixing everything together.
On a plate cut the genoa salami into quarters, place two halves of cooked avocado with egg and drop salami around, drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar.
Toast some slices of baguette and spread avocado paste and serve.

(Serves 4)

Butter Chicken Wraps

2 lbs boneless chicken
1 bunch green onions
1 red bell pepper
1 white onion
1 jar of butter chicken mix
1 pack tortillas

Cook chicken with a little olive oil, set aside and cool.
When cool enough cut chicken into bite size pieces.
Cook red bell peppers, white onion and green onion till soft.
Add chicken pieces and pour in butter chicken mix and over medium heat cook 5 minutes.
Let it cool a little.
Place enough cooked butter chicken and vegetables onto a tortilla wrap and serve.

(Serves 4-6, or a dozen wraps)