Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Homemade chili croutons

Homemade croutons
I am not a great waster of food and making croutons is one of the best ways to make bread go further.  These can be used to top up soups or some salad.

·         5 slices of brown bread – or any left overs bread
·         Chili flakes
·         Black pepper
·         Salt
·         Olive oil

Heat the oven at 180°C.


Cut the bread in squares like on the photo. Place on the oven tray and season with chilli, salt, pepper, oil. Mix

well and bake for 15 minutes at 180°C. Don’t forget to stir as you bake. This will allow all the sides to dry out and crisp.

Seasoned and ready for the oven
Making croutons is one of the best ways to use bread that is about to go off. They will keep for 3-4 weeks in a sealed container.

Another version of the crouton can be used a replacement for cereals. Mix about half a teaspoon of sugar in 1 table spoon water… drizzle the mix over the bread cubes, toss and  bake dry for 15-20 minutes at 180°C.

For the cereal version, feel free to add flavouring in the water/sugar mix… a drop of cinnamon or vanilla essence would be great!

 Enjoy. x

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Avocado salsa with paprika cracker cups

eye spy ...
Serves for 6


·         4 medium fresh tomatoes
·         ½ medium green pepper
·         ½ medium yellow pepper
·         ½ medium orange pepper
·         2 medium ready to eat avocados
·         2 limes to serve with
·         1 red onion
·         1 garlic clove
·         Olive oil
·         1 whole lime zest
·         Salt
·         Big hand full of fresh coriander
·         6 paprika cracker cups (see previous post)

Wash and cut the tomatoes, sweet peppers in the same size. Thinly slice the onion in a way to obtain half circles.
Halve the avocado, remove the stone, score and bathe in lime juice. Chop the coriander.

In a big bowl, combine, the tomatoes, peppers, red onion, crush the garlic on top, add the lime zest, coriander & salt toss.

Serve the avocado in the cracker cups with the salsa on the side. Drizzle with oil and leave the guest to squeeze the lime on their own plate…


Don’t forget to let me know what you think! x

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Paprika cracker cups

Recipe for 6 cups


·         150g plain flour

·         50g coarse corn (optional)
·         1 teaspoon oregano
·         1 teaspoon paprika
·         Salt
·         50ml corn oil
·         6 tablespoons water

 Preheat the over at 180C.


Mix the oil and water together with the corn. Cover and leave aside for 10 minutes. The coarse corn is very hard and needs time to soften. Skip this step if not using coarse corn.

After 10 minutes, add the flour, salt, paprika, oregano and mix well by hand. The consistency we are looking for is a soft dough very near to being a crumble, but that can be shaped.

Once the dough is mixed. Cover with cling film and set aside for 10-20 minutes. 

To make the cups, use cupcakes moulds, spay the inside with oil and press in very tightly the dough. The thinner the sides, the better.

Once all the cups have been filled, place in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 180C.

Remove the tray from the oven and leave the cups aside to cool down. To remove the cups from the mould, gently tap the whole tray on a hard surface to easy them from the bottom of the tray, then gently remove.

If you do not have cupcakes moulds, just lay the dough on a sheet of baking foil, place another sheet on top of the dough and flatten with the rolling pin or wine bottle. Again, the thinner the better. Just remember how thin the shop bough cracker are and try to emulate.

Once the dough is flattened, remove the top baking foil and score the dough using cookie shapers or just the back of a knife.

Place in the oven to bake for 10 minutes at 180C, leave to cool and use as you wish. Mine were made for a salad. Why not make a sweet version for Ice cream?

I used these cups to serve a salsa salad. See next post.

Don’t forget to post a comment below!

See ya!

Slight obsessed lately with corn and corn flour (also known as maize). The nutritional value of this vegetable is just off the scale… read about it here
This recipe was originally created for, my other blog.
Avocado in paprika cracker cup

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Tamales - Steamed corn cakes

If you are looking for a great alternative to potatoes, tamales are really great. They are firm corn dough made from corn flour. They can be stuff with anything you chose. I stuffed mine with sundried tomatoes. Great side dish.

Ingredients for 10 tamales.
Ideally, allow 2 or 3 per person

·         250g coarse corn flour

·         10 sundried tomato pieces
·         12 fresh coriander leaves to decorate
·         Dry oregano
·         Salt
·         3 tablespoons Flavour oil (from sundried tomato jar)
·         250ml boiling water
·         2 table spoons self-rising flour
·         1 fresh corn (just for the leaves)

Start by rinsing the coriander leaves and set aside. Carefully remove one by one the outer leaves of corn cob. Remove any extra “corn hair” rinse the leaves and flick out the water. The number of leave on the corn cob can vary from 8-12…

Slice the pieces of sundried tomato in 2 - 3 to make the thinner. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, pour the corn flour, the self-rising flour, a pinch of salt and oregano. Mix all the dry elements together then, add the boiling water, flavoured oil and knead the dough using a spatula until you obtain the consistency of a cookie dough.

Now lay flat all the corn leaves on a flat surface. On each leave, place 1 coriander leave, then top with the equivalent of 2 tablespoons of corn dough. Flatten the dough on the corn leave and place on it 2-3 pieces of sundried tomato. Now bring together all the edges of the corn leave as if make a rolled cigarette. Fold the edge together and finish folding by over flapping both ends of the corn leaves.
You can either hold the parcels together with a tooth pick or simply put the parcel aside face down.

Repeat until all the parcel are done.

If you’ve got a steamer, use it to cook the tamales. If not, Place all the tamale parcel in an oven proof dish and place the dish in a big enough pan with a lid. Without a steamer, it is best to cook the tamales in a Bain Marie.
The idea here is that you will pour some water in the pan, making sure that none of it enters the heat proof dish. The water in the pan should be at about half the height of the dish within the pan. As water boils, it will produce enough heat to cook the tamales. For the size of the tamales made in the recipe, you should allow 20 minutes for them to be cooked through.

To check that the tamales are ready, they should be harder and if pricked with the tip of the knife, just like the test for a cake, the knife should come out dry. The secret is to keep the steam to the max in the pan. Make sure to top up the water as it dries out.

Tamales are great replacement for rice or potatoes. Feel free to dip fry the left overs to give them a crispier outer layer…
They are to be eaten without the corn leaves obviously.

Note: Using corn leaves add to the taste of the Tamales. In the absence of corn leaves, use banana leaves (found in the local ethnic or Chinese supermarkets) or simply kitchen foil.


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Deep fried lime dough balls

Laid on lime syrup, dusted with icing and tropical juice

Flour & lime mix

For about 20 units. Serves 6

·         150g Self-rising flour
·         1 pinch of salt
·         100ml water
·         Zest of 1 whole lime

Lime syrup to serve with.

Mix everything in the bowl. Sieve the flour in a large bowl, add the salt and the lime. Mix well, then, add the water and work the dough to obtain a lump free stretchy dough.

Cover the dough and leave it to rest for 10 minutes.

Meantime, heat about 300ml of vegetable oil. If you’ve got a chip pan, use it. What we are looking for, is to have enough oil so the dough ball will rise to the surface within seconds after being dropped in the oil. The oil should be really hot.

To test that the oil is hot. Drop in a very small piece of dough. If it stay on the bottom of the pan. Leave it to heat well and do another test.

Once the oil is hot. Cut the dough in small pieces and put them into the oil… 5-10 pieces at a time depending on the size of your pan. Fry for 3-5 minutes until the balls are brown all over. PS: You won’t be able to use a knife to cut the dough… you will have to be creative with a spoon or your fingers… It is a very sticky dough.

Using a skimmer (that big cooking spoon with holes like a colander) remove the now browned dough from the oil and put them on tissue/absorbing paper. Repeat until all done.
Serve just rolled in granulated sugar.

I served mine with a lime syrup and a homemade mango & red grapes nectar. Both recipes will are in separate posts on this blog. The recipe will be in the next post. But you can also pipe jam or liquid chocolate in the individual dough ball…

This recipe was created as part of a Mexican menu made for Enjoy!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Fried plantain & Ginger butter beans starter

Starter for 4 people.
Fried plantain & Ginger butter beans serve with flash fried cherry tomato, avocado and a green salad.

·         250g butter beans  

·         1 garlic clove
·         3 cherry tomatoes
·         30g red onion
·         1 ready to eat avocado
·         Lettuce
·         Handful of fresh coriander
·         10g fresh ginger
·         Dry thyme
·         Salt & Pepper
·         Chilli flakes (optional)
·         Olive oil
·         Plantain
·         1 lime


Start by draining and rinsing the beans. Set aside. Dice the garlic, onion and 1 cherry tomato. Peel and grate the ginger, then cut in 4 each the other 2 of the cherry tomatoes (you should have 8 tomato wedges altogether).

1) Flash fry the quartered cherry tomatoes: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil add 1 pinch of salt, thyme and the tomato. Toss fry for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl for later
Flash fried cherry tomato
2) Cook the beans in ginger: In the same frying pan, add and heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the diced onion and fry for a minute. Add the beans and grated ginger. Stir, add salt and pepper as well as 200ml water then cover to simmer for 20 minutes. This will allow the beans to soften and really absorb the flavours. All the water to evaporate, but to not let the pan dry as we need the bean to be slightly wet.

Ginger butterbeans
3) Fry the plantain: The ideal frying plantain should be uniformly yellow with both end still slightly green. When fried it will still be just sweet enough and firm. A very ripe plantain tends to be too sweet, absorbs a lot of oil and can be very sticky.

So, peel the plantain and cut it as on the picture on the right, about 1cm thick each. A whole plantain should provide about 10-12 slices.

Peeled plantain
The plantain can be fried in a chip pan with a lot of oil. If using this option, heat the oil as if for French fires, then drop the plantain pieces in and allow to fry and brown all over or 2 minutes an half.

If you do not have a chip pan, just us a frying pan, and pour in about 200ml of vegetable oil. Allow the oil to really heat up, then carefully place the pieces of plantain in one single layer. Fry each side for 1 minute or minute and a half, then turn over to do the same for the other side. If the the fire is too high, the plantain will burn. Turn down the heat if necessary and continue. If the heat is too low, the plantain will absorb too much oil. Not ideal.
Raw & fried plantain
Whichever method you choose to fry the plantain, once the plantain is fried, remove from oil, place on absorbing tissue and lightly dust with salt.

I served the plantain topped with the ginger butter beans and the flash fried cherry tomato all held with a tooth pick… with an avocado, coriander and chilli flakes salad.

4) Making the green salad: select the greenest leaves of the lettuce, wash them individually under the tap and roughly cut them. Do the same for the handful of fresh coriander.

Mix both in a salad bowl and sprinkle with chilli flakes. Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil and serve with slices of avocado and lime wedges as no vinaigrettes will be needed.

Serve as suggested below.
I have done another version yellow plantain and ginger beans before on the blog as mains… see it by clicking this link

There are indeed many ways to cook the same ingredients… Celery vas never only made for houmous.


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Mango & red grapes nectar

Ingredients for 1L drink:
·         2 mangoes - about 600g
·         300g seedless red grapes
·         1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
·         Vanilla - from a pod, about a pinch (optional)


Wash the grapes and liquidised with 200ml water. Pass through sieve to separate the juice from the unwanted excess. This juice will help to break up the heaviness of the mango nectar later.

Now peel the mango and remove the flesh from the stone. Put the mango pieces in the blender with sugar and a tiny amount of vanilla. 

Mango is a very dense fruit that won’t liquidise well unless helped with a lighter liquid. This is where the red grapes juice helps.

So, add the grapes juice to the mango and liquidise until very smooth. Taste and adjust sugar. When it is ready, place in the fridge for an hour at least before serving as suggested with a fruits skewer.

Nectars are very dense juices, but if they are too dense to your liking, juice add water to break it up.


Friday, 3 April 2015

Cherry tomatoes

I was walking minding my own business then I ended up at the fruit and veg’s market…
Saw a beautiful bowl of mixed coloured cherry tomatoes… I couldn’t resist though I had yet no idea about what I was going to do with them.

Since I had already planned my week’s food, the tomatoes could be spoilt by the time I got round to doing something with them so, I just seasoned and roasted them to make a conserve.

The roasted tomatoes will later be used as accompaniment for some stir fry dishes, salads or sandwiches.


·         1kg tomatoes
·         100g white onion quartered
·         50g garlic cut
·         1 teaspoon black pepper
·         1 tea spoon oregano
·         1 scallion
·         3 Maggi cubes crushed
·         100ml olive oil

 Mix all in the oven tray and place in the oven at 200C for 1hour 30 minutes…

Don’t forget to check from time to time to avoid it burning. No need to add water as the tomatoes will produce the necessary liquid during the roasting.

Bon appetit!

Once it is done, leave to cool down, then, spoon into a jar and use as needed. This will keep in the fridge for 3 weeks. Enjoy!

Roasted and ready for the jar

Friday, 27 March 2015

Griddled tofu and Samphire stir fry

Quick Lunch for 2
The ingredients

·         200g pressed tofu
·         ½ yellow, red, & green sweet peppers
·         1 small onion
·         half a red  scotch bonnet (chilli)
·         2 garlic cloves
·         4 sundried tomatoes slices in oil
·         Salt & black pepper
·         90g samphire
·         100g aubergine
·         4 tablespoons of oil from the sundried tomato jar
·         1 Maggi cube crushed

The marinade
The marinade for the tofu: 3 tablespoons of flavoured oil, 1 tablespoon water, pressed garlic, very finely cut sundried tomatoes (slightly mashed), very finely cut scotch bonnet. Mix well, add the crushed stock cube, salt & black pepper. Set aside.

Cut the tofu in 2 to reduce the thickness, then cut again from corner to corner. You should obtain 8 pieces. Dip the pieces in the marinade and set aside for about 10 minutes.

Cut the aubergine in the same size (1cm thick) as the tofu, quarter the half peppers and onion, lie them on a plate and throw on it the rest of marinade. Leave to the side.

Now remove the samphire from the package and rinse.

You will need a griddle pan and a frying pan.
Heat the griddle pan and line up the slices of tofu and aubergine on it. Fry each side until brown and cooked through for 1 minute and half. The aubergine might need 30s more on each side than the tofu.
All lined up in the griddle pan

In a very hot frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the flavoured oil. Throw in the multi-coloured peppers, and onions with salt and pepper. Stir fry for 3 minutes. By this time the contents of the pan should be slightly soft and brown, but crunchy. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Now add the samphire and continuously stir from side to side and top to bottom to bring the heat to the surface.

The samphire softens very quickly. So, 1 minute or one minute and half should suffice while the peppers and onions should remain crunchy.
the rest in the frying pan

 Plate up and serve as suggested.

This is a very light lunch with a little kick to it. With the peppers still crunchy, their sweetness still comes through. Nothing else is needed but, if you must, potato wedges will do.

Bon appetit!

Tuck in! Griddled tofu and Samphire stir fry


Friday, 20 March 2015

Beetroots & coriander soup

Serves 3


·         4 small precooked beetroots
·         1 big red sweet pepper
·         A big hand full of fresh coriander
·         1 small red onion
·         1 tea spoon wholegrain mustard
·         Salt
·         Mustard oil


Peel the outer layer of the beetroots, rinse and roughly chop. Do the same for the onion, cut the sweet pepper and the coriander. Rinse all and place in a deep pan with 1L water or stock. I did mine just with water and salt to keep it simple.

Add 2 tablespoons of mustard oil and 1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard. Cover and place on the hob to simmer for 20 minutes. This will allow the vegetables to soften. If your pot is too small and spitting out. Leave it ajar…

To gauge that the soup is ready, taste the hardest to cook vegetable in the pot. Here it would have been the beet if they were not precooked. So, I tasted the onion quarters and sweet pepper.

Adjust the seasoning, take the pot away from the hob and using a hand blender. Liquidise the soup to your liking. Serve

I like my soup with bits in it and others prefer theirs smooth.

Serve with croutons or… potato wedges on a skewer.

Enjoy. x