Thursday, 28 May 2015

Jamaican Rice and Peas (includes Thermomix method)

The perfect accompaniment to dishes such as jerk chicken, curry goat, or even on the side of ackee and saltfish! (Can you see where I'm going here?)

OK, so this is one of those things that I usually don't really bother measuring or timing when I make it - in that I make a load, we eat what we need for that meal, and the rest goes into the fridge or freezer for convenience - it's very forgiving when being re-heated, or kept warm!

This quantity serves a good eight to ten (from 245 calories per generous portion) - but let's face it, if you're having a barbecue for friends and making a heap of jerk chicken, you'll be glad of it! And if not... just halve the quantities, or put what you don't want into the freezer for easy future accompaniments. To be honest, if you are entertaining, and you make this quantity and serve a range of dishes, it's probably going to serve a few more than ten people.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Jamaican Curry Goat or Lamb (includes Thermomix and Instant Pot instructions)

If you've never tried curry goat, and you love curry, then you really, really should - it's delicious! And if the thought of goat curry scares you, then try it with mutton or lamb instead, and go from there...

I do love a good curry goat, and always have to sample some when we go to the Caribbean carnivals. Traditionally it's made with cubes of meat on the bone, but if you don't like the idea of trying to pick meat from small chopped up bones, then you can use boneless shoulder meat (and if you like, optionally add a few bones to the curry whilst cooking for flavour).

Because this curry is so full of flavour, and cooked low and slow, it's also a great contender for a skinny version too, as goat meat is naturally quite lean - so if you want to cut the calories right down and use some lean meat (e.g. lean goat meat or extra lean diced lamb meat) the long and gentle cooking will tenderise it nicely.

Either way, I've given you the recipe below, with a couple of options to suit, and I hope you enjoy it! If you don't want to make your own Jamaican curry powder, then you can just use a generic ready-made *mild* curry powder if you like and add a pinch of ground allspice. Requires marinating for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight, and approximately 3 hours total cooking. Delicious (albeit decadent!) served with Jamaican 'rice and peas' - my recipe is here.

Serves six (or more with other dishes), 286 calories per serving with lean goat meat, or 368 calories per serving with extra lean diced lamb meat. [Calories in square brackets, if you're counting]

Love Jamaican food? Why not try my Jamaican jerk chicken, or fresh twist on saltfish and ackee?

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Jamaican Curry Powder

This is an authentically flavoured Jamaican Curry powder, perfect for dishes like 'Curry Goat'

The curry powder itself is mild, and you add the heat to the curries with chillies - namely scotch bonnet chillies!

The main ingredient which denotes it as a Jamaican curry powder, is the allspice (also known as pimenton), a fundamental flavouring in many Jamaican dishes.

This will make approximately 135g of curry powder (using 15ml tablespoon measures), and for example, you'd use approximately 1/2 tbsp per person for curry goat at approximately 10 calories per 1/2 tbsp.

Cumin-Spiced Salted Cod with Ackee, Red Pepper and Tomato

This is my fresh spin on 'Ackee and Saltfish', a traditional Caribbean dish made with ackee, the national fruit of Jamaica.

It has all of the traditional flavours - the main difference being that instead of using dried and reconstituted salt fish soaked overnight (which sometimes people can find a bit strong, who aren't used to it) then boiled and flaked into the dish, I use fresh cod given a brief salting, then brush it with a light cumin butter for an extra dimension and then grill it and serve on top of the ackee.

It really is delicious, and easy to make - you can prepare all your ingredients (and any side dishes) while the cod is salting, then it takes less than 15 minutes to cook. It makes a surprisingly filling and very healthy meal on its own if you're avoiding carbs or keeping the calories down; or you can serve it with your choice of 'rice and peas' (my recipe for Jamaican rice and peas is here), plain white rice, or even dumplings, fried plantain, hard dough bread or breadfruit if you want some Caribbean accompaniments, Plus it's a novel way to serve saltfish and ackee, particularly to guests!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Jamaican Jerk Chicken (includes Thermomix instructions)

One of the best known and loved Jamaican dishes, jerk chicken is quite literally packed full of flavour and brilliant for a barbecue if you're having one!

In the town near to where I live, there is a Caribbean Carnival every year which I like to visit with my family. Members of the local community organise the most fantastic parade full of absolutely amazing home made carnival outfits around the city, and there are all kinds of stalls including many selling traditional Caribbean foods and drinks.

A helping of jerk chicken from one of the stalls from an enormous barrel-shaped barbeques smoking away, together with some curry goat from a huge, simmering pot, rice and peas, and salad on the side has become a must, washed down with the milk of a fresh young coconut - its top skillfully hacked off by a young man with a machete, and replaced with a straw for drinking it with... sitting on the grass in the sunshine with the family, eating it and getting sticky fingers with the sound of reggae music in the background... Summer bliss! And what's more, having eaten it so often I'm completely happy that I've really nailed the flavours of the marinade in this recipe, so I hope you enjoy it too!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Mushroom Caulisotto

My apologies if you're Italian: look away now, there's no rice here - just low-carb creamy cauliflower lusciousness!

For when you’re craving the flavours of a creamy, rich-tasting, mushroom risotto, but don’t want all of the calories. If you're a fan of cauliflower ‘rice’ (as well as creamy mushroom risottos) you'll enjoy this, as cauliflower is the main component of the dish and it's only 260 calories per serving.

When I came up with this dish about a year and a half ago, I had trouble naming it, and it started off life as 'Mushroom Floretto', which was a tweak away from the rather sophisticated suggestion of ‘Mushroom Fleurotto’ after I appealed for help from my 5:2 recipe group naming it (which beat ‘Mush-rotto’!). This was supposed to be for two people when I developed it, but there was way too much, so that’s why it serves three! However, it is good warmed-up the next day too, and microwaves well (you could also freeze a portion for an easy, quick meal another time, although the texture of the cauliflower will be slightly softer). If you're a meat eater and can't go without your protein fix, this would also make a delicious side dish to something like chicken breast wrapped in parma ham, or you could add bacon or chicken to the dish before the mushrooms.

Serves 3 as a main dish, 260 calories per serving (truffle oil additional) or 304 calories in total for the spinach and sun-dried tomato twist (highly recommended!).

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Quick Thai Prawn and Pineapple Skewers

OK, so you have some plump and juicy delicious raw prawns (shrimp), and you want something quick and tasty to do with them?

Well, dig out that red Thai curry paste, and a few chunks of pineapple (you can even use tinned!) and a luscious treat is yours in minutes!

These are delicious cooked on the BBQ (and probably rather impressive too... little do your guests know how easy they are!), or just cook them under the grill, or on a griddle instead. It really doesn't matter as they will be full of flavour either way!

You can use a good quality ready-made Thai red curry paste, if you can't get hold of all the ingredients to make one yourself, or if you want to make your own, my recipe is here (includes Thermomix instructions).

Serves two as main with sides, or four as a starter or as a selection of dishes. Makes four skewers,  62 calories per skewer (124 calories for a portion of two skewers). Easily doubled, or more, for everyone.

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