Spicing up the cooking

Recipes, Cooking tips and maybe some 'Home Made' secrets !
lancashire lass
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Spicing up the cooking

Post by lancashire lass »

Further to the Chilli and Ginger spiced squash post (and the Short Supply post on buying herbs and spices), I thought it best to open a new thread. My latest version of adding a chilli and fresh ginger concoction wasn't based using pumpkin / squash (hence new thread) but does go well in other recipes (with the usual improvisations where I don't have all the ingredients or decide to randomly add something) This one was based on pork mince but I think you can use whatever meat / vegetable combination where appropriate (I'd imagine would go well with chicken or a vegetarian option). So here goes:
Pork mince - cooked in a little oil with pepper seasoning. Removed and used the same oil / juices to cook the rest of the ingredients.
Onion, diced
Red pepper, chopped
Then added:
Red chilli (supermarket bought) finally diced
Piece of fresh ginger (about an inch lump) - thinly sliced then minced into a slurry (it minces downs quite easily)
Garlic crushed
Then added:
Dried chilli flakes (not a lot - I wasn't going for "hot" but added flavour)
Carrot - thinly sliced (to cook quicker)
Cabbage (savoy) - not a lot, thinly sliced then chopped
Apple - diced into small pieces
Mushrooms - not many (I buy frozen sliced mushrooms so I always have some available)
Butternut - not much (a few diced pieces from frozen)
Then added the cooked pork mince, stirred and added just enough (kettle boiled) water to cover and then placed some dried noodles in the middle (these are disc shaped like a rice cake and then falls apart into long noodles during cooking) and brought up to the boil before covering with a lid and letting it simmer for about 15 minutes until all the veg are cooked and the noodles have taken up the water.
When I tasted the "broth", I was a little disappointed that there was hardly any flavouring except for the fresh ginger which is not surprising - I used the same amount of fresh ginger as before for the Chilli and Ginger squash, but instead of grating (not successfully the last time and ended up with only a quarter of the original lump), this time the whole lot went in. But next came the magic ingredients:
Soy sauce (not a lot - I didn't want it tasting too salty)
Hoisin sauce (my recent purchase while looking out for some herbs & spices)
After tasting the broth again, I added more Hoisin sauce and that's when the whole dish came together. Wow, you could still taste the ginger and feel the heat in your mouth and throat as you swallowed, but it went so well with the Hoisin and soy sauce and all the other ingredients. I don't think the mushrooms and butternut did much for flavour (or it was subtle) but I did come across them in one of the online recipes. As for the Hoisin sauce - I confess I'd never used it before but will certainly go in my shopping basket again when I need more. Surprisingly sweeter than expected (not spicey) and not at all what I had expected.
I'm not overly fond of cabbage (definitely not as a side vegetable) but small amounts do seem to add flavour to a dish. I just happen to have a savoy cabbage but you could use whatever type. The apple was an afterthought - pork and apple go well as does cabbage and apple. As for the carrot (also goes well with apple), I seem to have a fridge full of carrots and it looks pretty in the broth. The portion of noodles wasn't enough to soak up all the cooking water so ended up with a broth dish which I'm glad as it was the broth that really made it a tasty meal. All that was missing was some chopsticks but using a fork like you would for spaghetti was fine.
I had spoken to a colleague at work (from India) about what type of grater he and his family used to grate ginger in their dishes and at first he looked puzzled. He said they used mortar and pestle (a big heavy stone one and also crushed spices in as well) And that set him off and the conversation in the office turned to all the different spices he and his family grow on their farm - some they dry but most are cooked fresh. Apparently they don't grow the plant for turmeric (Curcuma longa, of the ginger family Zingiberaceae) as it grows wild nearby and they just forage the rhizomes whenever they need it. He is due to return to India soon and on his return has promised to bring back a load of spices for everyone to try out, insisting they will taste much better than the spices you buy at the shops.
lancashire lass
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Spice and Herb combinations

Post by lancashire lass »

In my search for spicing up meals, I came across this site called Fitness Together with a blog about different spice and herb combinations.
CHILI POWDER + COCOA POWDER + CUMIN + CINNAMON
If you make chilli, you likely know a little bit of chilli powder and cumin together delivers depth of flavour and just enough heat. But, introducing cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa powder to the mix adds richness and unexpected warmth.
The mix :
1 tablespoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Use it for : chilli, vegetable stew
ROSEMARY + SEA SALT + SMOKED PAPRIKA + PEPPER
While a simple sprinkle of olive oil, salt and pepper is a standard go-to for roasting chicken or vegetables, try this combo if you want to shake things up or impress guests. Spicy paprika adds warmth which is nicely balanced by the floral notes from rosemary.
The mix :
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Use it for : roast chicken, roasted potatoes and roasted winter pumpkins/squashes
ALLSPICE + BLACK PEPPER + GINGER + TURMERIC
Turmeric, which is rich in antioxidants, makes a great addition to spice blends. This blend pairs well with savoury dishes but it’s also excellent with sweet ones, since the flavour is unexpected without being overwhelming.
The mix :
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
Use it for : oatmeal, overnight oats, apple pie,
PARSLEY + THYME + OREGANO + CELERY SALT + GARLIC POWDER + HOT PAPRIKA
This combination makes comfort food classics like chicken soup taste extra comforting. Try it in your favourite warming soups as the weather gets colder.
The mix :
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
Use it for : any soup such as chicken, lentil or veggie
CUMIN + CARDAMON + CORIANDER + MUSTARD POWDER + CINNAMON
If you love curry, this mix is similar to what you’ll find in a jar of curry powder but with a few tweaks. Most notably, using cinnamon instead of cayenne adds warmth without spicy heat. Try it the next time you make curry or use it as a rub for large cuts of meat
The mix :
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Use it for : coconut milk- or cream-based curry, pork shoulder, beef dishes
CARAWAY + FENNEL + OREGANO + ROSEMARY
If you love savoury baking — breads, biscuits, pretzels, etc. — try stirring a tablespoon of this mix into your next batch. Caraway is what gives rye bread its flavour, so it’s no stranger to dough. Fennel, oregano and rosemary go the extra mile in making otherwise bland starch taste incredible.
The mix :
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Use it for : fresh bread, biscuits, pretzels or sprinkled over eggs on toast
I haven't tried the combinations myself but they sound familiar and I might give some a go.
I know my mother used to make an unusually tasty sausage roll mix by adding some allspice to the sausagemeat (not a lot otherwise it could be overpowering). Not sure if it would go with a vegetarian filling.
lancashire lass
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Stir fry basic recipe

Post by lancashire lass »

I've never actually successfully done a proper stir fry myself - I do have a wok (a Teflon coated one which replaced a cheaper metal one that went rusty) but I think my problem is that I like my vegetables to be cooked (not warmed up raw) Anyway, after a bit of research, apparently there is a "basic" recipe (with some deviations and substitutions along the way)
Tips :
Prepare all the vegetables before cooking.
If adding chicken or meat, cook this first and then put on one side - that way you'll know it is cooked.
When ready, the wok or frying pan should be hot before adding oil.
Choose an oil with a high smoke points (that is, the oil will need to reach very high temperatures before it starts to smoke) These can be:
Canola oil: 400 F/204 C
Coconut oil (refined): 450F/232 C
Corn oil: 450 F/232 C
Grapeseed oil: 420 F/215 C
Olive oil (light/refined): 465 F/240 C
Peanut oil: 450 F/232 C
Rice bran oil: 490 F/254 C
Safflower oil: 440–510 F/227–265 C
Soybean oil: 450 F/232 C
Sunflower oil: 440 F/226 C
Vegetable oil: 400–450 F/ 204–232 C
(unsuitable oils include sesame seed oil and extra virgin olive oil - sesame seed oil should only be used for flavouring)
Stir fry is all about stirring on a high heat - if you don't stir, then all the moisture comes out and makes a stew.
This recipe seems to be the basis of a stir fry
To a little bit of oil in the wok or frying pan:
Add crushed garlic and fresh minced ginger first.
Add diced onion.
Then add other veg - hard ones like carrot take longer to cook should go in first. Leafy greens, sprouts and peas go last.
Then add soya sauce (for salt) followed by Hoisin or Sweet Chilli (for sweetness)
Then add the cooked prawns, chicken or salmon
Serve on a bed of noodles or rice
Vegetables in whatever combination (not a complete list):
Green beans
Baby corn
Sugar snap
Red pepper
Carrot thin sliced
Cabbage
Courgette / W. squash / Butternut
Mushrooms
Spices (mix and match - cumin for a more middle eastern flavour. Not a complete list):
Paprika
Cumin
Coriander
Fruit juice / zest
Ground ginger
Chilli flakes
lancashire lass
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Caribbean jerk

Post by lancashire lass »

The other week I bought a small bottle (not expensive - hence, happy to try it out) just labelled "Stir fry oil" from the supermarket - the ingredients were sunflower oil, garlic, chilli and ginger (I'll need to double check but I'm sure it didn't mention sesame oil) I decided to use it to fry the onion, red pepper and garlic for a "Caribbean" dish using a commercial spice mix. The oil had a potent but nice ginger taste and could easily be used instead of fresh ginger. As for the Caribbean spice mix however, it was disappointingly heavy on the cinnamon but still edible.
So I decided to search recipes and here are some Jamaican Jerk spice & herb ingredient recipes found online (they all seem to be similar with subtle differences. Hot includes Scotch bonnet chilli but I haven't included it here. Most of the recipes seem to be US in origin and I think the referral to "red pepper" might be chilli rather than the sweet red bell type peppers we associate with in the UK) Use whichever preferable recipe to marinade different meat like chicken or vegetarian option tofu or add to the cooking:
Ingredients
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme (or use 1 teaspoon ground thyme)
2 teaspoons sugar (or use brown sugar)
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Ingredients
Aromatics – Powdered onion and garlic.
Spices – Cumin, nutmeg, allspice, smoked paprika, cinnamon.
Heat – Red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper.
Sugar – Just some brown sugar for a well rounded depth of flavor.
Seasoning – Salt and pepper.
Herbs – Dried parsley and thyme.
Ingredients
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients:
Garlic Powder
Cayenne Pepper
Onion Powder
Dried Thyme
Dried Parsley
Sugar
Salt
Paprika
Ground Allspice
Black Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper
Nutmeg
Cinnamon
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
nicklincs
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Re: Spicing up the cooking

Post by nicklincs »

They all sound very tasty LL,i am a fan of spicy foods.
lancashire lass
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Harissa spice

Post by lancashire lass »

Last night's spicy meal was based on Harissa spice and chicken with some extra ingredients. If you google search harissa + chicken, you are more likely to come across "marinade" and "tray bake". However, I had bought an aubergine and my searches came up very different. And in the end, I didn't even use the aubergine{rofwl}
Harissa spice is a blend of dry red chillies, garlic and spices including cumin, coriander and caraway seeds which gives a smoky North African / Middle Eastern flavouring. This link to the BBC Good Food explains what it can be used for. You can add smoked paprika and mint if you wish.
I'd bought a ready cooked chicken and had decided to use the breast chopped into pieces. First I prepared all the vegetables (sadly, they will look rather familiar to earlier recipes):
Onion, chopped (a lot of recipes go for red onion)
Red pepper, chopped
Carrot, thinly sliced
Parsnip, diced (small pieces to cook quicker)
Celery, finely diced
Sweet potato, diced
What I forgot to add which probably would have added more flavour and that's garlic
First, I heated up the frying pan and added the Stir Fry oil (sunflower oil, sesame oil, ginger and garlic extract) and heated that up before tossing in the onion and red pepper followed by:
Harissa spice, about 1/2 tsp
chicken pieces
before throwing in the rest of the vegetables. In many ways it was becoming a stir fry but I was aiming for a one pot meal and I added:
brown rice (it happens to be in my kitchen cupboard but I suppose any long grain rice will do)
some chopped mixed nuts
After stirring the mix, I added just enough boiling water to cover the vegetables, brought it up to the boil then lid on and turned the heat down to simmer until the rice was cooked. Any water still left in the pan, I took the lid off and turned the heat up to try and reduce most of it.
I then added:
a small dinner spoonful of honey (next time I might use a bit less)
some lemon juice
some evaporated milk
drizzle of sesame oil
and stirred in while the heat was still turned up. I was aiming for some liquid but not a sauce or broth. Serve in a bowl.
The original recipes indicated using hummus but the alternate here is sweet potato actually cooked in the dish. And I used evaporated milk instead of creme fraische. I'm kicking myself for forgetting the garlic. As for appearance, it looked a bit bland (the only real colour being the red pepper, sweet potato and carrot, the rest a bit wishy washy) but flavour-wise, I really enjoyed it. The sesame seed oil added a lovely nutty taste (while the brown rice and nuts gave it texture. To be honest, I wouldn't bother with the nuts next time) and the sweetness of the honey and the addition of the dairy product took the edge off the heat of the harissa spice making it surprisingly tasty. Not sure if the lemon juice did anything - I couldn't taste it but it might have blended in with the other flavours or I hadn't added enough.
The downside was the appearance. I kind of like the idea of using the spice as a marinade and doing a tray bake instead (chicken drumstick or thighs or any meat, or just a load of roasting vegetables) which look much more inviting to eat. The aubergine recipe I saw suggested cutting it into blocks rather than slicing, marinating then use them to make kebabs before grilling. Vegetarian alternates was using tofu.
lancashire lass
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Lebanese 7 Spice

Post by lancashire lass »

Now I don't recall actually using this spice mix but I must have got it sometime pre-pandemic and then put the jar on a shelf and forgot all about it until I was looking for shelf space for my new spice collection ... and then found it:oops: I dipped my little finger in and it does seem to be okay and tasted familiar. So what is in Lebanese 7 Spice? Google searches indicate that it is one version of many versions used in Middle Eastern cooking and there could be any combination depending on the origins (country) of the person making it. There are up to 9 or 11 different ground spices in combinations of black pepper, white pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, paprika, cardamom and clove.
Surprisingly, finding "recipes" online for this spice mix is not easy - I just seem to get the recipe of the spice itself and of course, they all seem to vary slightly. However, I get the impression it can be used as part of a marinade (mix with olive oil, possibly with some honey) for things like chicken thighs which are grilled, or added to flavour foods cooking or to a sauce. And usually served with cooked bulgur wheat (I used to be able to buy this many years ago from the supermarkets but confess I haven't seen it in ages. If it came to it, you can substitute with cous cous instead)
I must put my thinking cap on and come up with a recipe. If anyone with more experience want to add something, please help yourself)t'
lancashire lass
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7 Spice Chicken recipe

Post by lancashire lass »

I'm liking the sound of this recipe I found online:
INGREDIENTS
2 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts, cut in half cross-wise to make 4 pieces
6 chicken legs
4 chicken thighs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
2 tablespoons Lebanese 7 Spice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
INSTRUCTIONS
Heat the oven to 425°F. Combine all of the chicken pieces in a bowl or gallon zip top bag.
In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, 7 spice, and salt. Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and turn them to coat. Refrigerate for one hour and up to 12 hours.
Line a sheet pan with non-stick foil. Transfer the marinated chicken pieces to the pan, leaving behind as much of the marinade as possible to prevent the pan from having too much liquid.
Roast the chicken for 45 minutes to an hour, checking the temperature of the pieces, until they reach 165°F. If your oven has a convection setting, turn that on for the last 20 minutes of roasting to encourage even more even browning. Serve the chicken immediately or make ahead, refrigerate, then reheat at 250° for 20 minutes.
I have some chicken thighs in the fridge and I'm finding the "new" air fryer is very good for cooking chicken pieces (makes the skin lovely and crispy and at a fraction of the time in the oven) so sounds like the perfect way to try out this recipe. I imagine it would be a lovely marinade for a barbeque too.
lancashire lass
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Re: 7 Spice Chicken recipe update

Post by lancashire lass »

)c+ yum yum yum! It was a success & I can highly recommend it (even for those who aren't into spicy foods)
Obviously I wasn't going to be feeding the 5000 so I adjusted the recipe accordingly (and if I was honest, I just remembered the ingredients I was going to use to make the marinade up rather than the quantity of each one)
I didn't have Extra Virgin olive oil but substituted with sunflower oil which is my preferred cooking oil anyway. When I added all the ingredients together (oil, honey, spice, lemon juice and garlic), the oil and honey didn't mix very well mainly because the honey consistency was a bit thick. I'd just got home from work and had put the heating on so I just popped the bowl on to the hot radiator while I got on with some vegetable preparations but I suppose you could use the microwave for a short burst to warm everything up.
As for the Lebanese 7 Spice, I used about 1/2 tsp but the marinade could easily take more (it wasn't a hot spice but more aromatic in flavour) And I used 3 cloves of garlic instead of the 1 in the recipe (I do like my garlic as anyone who have ever read my gardening diary would know) and about a teaspoon of lemon juice.
Now my cat Lucas loves a little chicken treat so I felt compelled to put the smallest chicken thigh into the air fryer minus the marinade while the rest went straight into the bowl to marinate. I decided to have cous cous with the chicken but first I fried a chopped onion, red pepper and some garlic. Meanwhile the first chicken thigh was cooked (didn't take very long and the air fryer had heated up) so I put the marinated pieces in to cook.
I then put the rest of the marinade into the hot frying pan with the onion and pepper (as the raw chicken had been in the marinade, I was conscious that I needed to "cook" the marinade to avoid food poisoning) before adding the cous cous to the pan followed by boiling hot water. After bringing it up to the boil, I put the lid on and turned the heat off. By the time the chicken had cooked, the cous cous was ready.
Wow, the crispy skin with the honey and spice glaze was really nice and the flavour had gone into the flesh as well plus the cous cous. I was almost tempted to retrieve the rest of the chicken thighs out of the freezer to do it all over again. However, it did get me thinking that the "tray bake" idea using more or less the same honey and oil combination would work with other spices (like Jamaican Jerk or the Thai 7 Spice / Chinese 5 Spice) Also, not restricted to chicken pieces but used with other meats like lamb chops or pork medallions (depending on the spice combination of course) I've still got that aubergine I had been planning on using with the Harissa spice and I think that would be a nice vegetarian option as a tray bake too.
PS in case you were wondering, Lucas didn't get the entire chicken thigh for himself ...
lancashire lass
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Harissa spiced honey glazed veggies

Post by lancashire lass »

As I didn't do my usual Saturday morning supermarket shopping (because I'd done a big shop last week and had plenty in), I didn't buy any foods from the chiller units for lazy reheating so had to think about what I could have for lunch. I really enjoyed the Lebanese 7 spice glaze (I might have mentioned it in my last post) and was tempted to do it all over again but decided on a vegetarian version using a different spice mix instead. Harissa seemed like a good option but I imagine any of the spice mixes I have (like the Jamaican Jerk, Thai 7 Spice, Chinese 5 Spice and quite possibly the Japanese 7 Spice except I could do with replacing the one I've got) would work just as well. And that doesn't include the other spices like ground cumin, ground coriander and so on for different combinations.
I looked in the fridge for inspiration - carrot & parsnip and in the kitchen store box was some sweet potatoes. It did occur to me afterwards that they were all winter store root vegetables which are naturally sweet anyway. I do have some swede and think that may have been okay as well. I eyed the aubergine but decided what I had was more than enough and by the time I'd chopped the veggies into thin sticks, they looked a lot like an assortment of chips (and who doesn't like a chip buttie? I didn't use potato this time but again, would be a perfect veg to add to the others)
The glaze was more or less similar to before - some sunflower oil, a dash of the stir fry oil (with the ginger flavouring) and sesame seed oil, honey, lemon juice and garlic, with a pinch of dried chilli flakes. This time I left the veggies to marinade for a good hour before popping them into the air fryer. I was a bit concerned the carrot might not cook as quickly as the rest of the ingredients but surprisingly everything worked out fine. I'd definitely say it was a)t' job. Another lip smacking yum yum meal (and with the heat of the chilli and ginger, went well with the buttered bread roll)
I'm really taking to using the air fryer more often now and perfect for the glazed "tray bake" cooking - everything was cooked within 20 minutes (which included turning the veggies over with the kitchen tongs) I seem to think that I needed to use the rack or the slotted pot inside the air fryer drawer, but the metal lining of the drawer means it heats up and cooks the food underneath at the same time while the fan forces the hot air down so there's no need to use the accessories unless you were going for a grilled (reduce fat) meal so would use the rack.
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Grilled Jamaican Jerk Aubergine

Post by lancashire lass »

Just searching for ideas for the aubergine and this sounds nice. Instead of grilling, I think the air fryer would work just as well. I've already got a Jamaican Jerk spice mix but the ingredients below are in case you haven't
EGGPLANT
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced (~2 Tbsp minced garlic per 4 cloves)
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
3 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup tamari or coconut aminos (or soy sauce if not GF)
2-3 Tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup (plus more to taste)
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or grape seed or avocado oil // plus more for grilling)
3 stalks green onions or scallions (thinly sliced)
1 medium serrano or habanero pepper (thinly sliced // seeds removed)
1 large eggplants (or sub 2 small per 1 large)
SAUCE optional
1/4 cup vegan BBQ sauce (I like Annie’s)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp grape seed or olive oil
1 Tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 pinch each sea salt and black pepper
1 stalk green onion (thinly sliced)
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
Instructions
In a small mixing bowl, mix together cinnamon, coriander, all spice, cayenne, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, ginger, lime juice, tamari, coconut sugar, coconut oil, green onions or scallions, and serrano / habanero pepper.
Taste and adjust flavour as needed, adding more tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, fresh herbs for earthy flavour, coconut sugar for sweetness, pepper for heat, or garlic for bite / zing.
Slice eggplant vertically (lengthwise) into 1/2-inch-thick “steaks” and generously brush both sides with the marinade.
Heat up a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and lightly oil / grease to discourage the eggplant from sticking. Once hot, add eggplant and grill on both sides until golden brown and grill marks are present – about 3-5 minutes each side.
In the meantime, prepare sauce (optional!) by adding BBQ sauce, lime juice, oil, coconut sugar / maple syrup, ginger, salt, pepper, onion, and cayenne pepper to a small and whisking to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lime for acidity, coconut sugar for sweetness, cayenne for heat, or salt for saltiness.
Serve grilled eggplant as is or over rice, over cauliflower rice, or with sauce (optional), and garnish with fresh herbs, such as parsley or green onion. Best when fresh! Leftovers won’t be as good as fresh, but they will keep in the refrigerator up to 2-3 days.
I didn't know what Coconut aminos was, so looked it up. It sounds like soy sauce (or if you have tamari sauce in the store cupboard) would be a good alternative:
Coconut aminos is a dark-coloured sauce that tastes similar to soy sauce. Instead of being made from soy, however, coconut aminos comes from the sap of the coconut plant — not coconuts. After extraction, the sap gets stored and ages. During this time, it ferments due to the natural sugars present within it.
Tamari is soy-sauce-like product that originated as a by-product of making miso. Classically, it's made with only soybeans (and no wheat), making it more similar in flavour to Chinese-style soy sauce — and a great option for those who are gluten-free
Other alternates: cooking oil/fat instead of coconut oil (although you can get hold of this from Asian supermarkets - I remember buying this when I used to make my own soap from scratch ... it was a solid in a bottle at room temperature and had to be warmed up) Also honey or syrup instead of maple syrup. And any fresh (or dried flaked) red chilli instead of specifically Habanero or Serrano. I haven't got any spring onions but think a shallot would work just as well. I have some lime juice but I suppose lemon juice could be okay. I still have fresh ginger to use but the stir fry oil would be a good alternative.
As for the barbeque sauce which I don't have, I found this online:
Most barbecue sauce is made with ketchup or tomato sauce, although the Carolina-style mustard sauce and Alabama white sauce doesn't contain any tomatoes at all. Other popular ingredients are vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, salt and pepper, spices, and sometimes Worcestershire or yellow mustard.
Surprisingly, I do have blackstrap molasses (I got a jar when I had the (live) chickens - I can't remember what it was for but I think it was part of a natural medication mix)
Mo
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Re: Spicing up the cooking

Post by Mo »

You are really going to town with these spices.
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lancashire lass
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Jamaican style aubergine & pork mince

Post by lancashire lass »

Mo wrote: 04 Dec 2022, 17:08 You are really going to town with these spices.
Well, not quite if you look at the timeline from starting this thread (and before that with the Spiced pumpkin/squash soup) - maybe one spicy dish per week (bear in mind the other posts in this thread are "research" - either what the spice mix contains or suitable recipes) I think also my interest may have something to do with when I was ill and at one point was unable to do any cooking and lived off ready made meals (and even that was limited to pizzas (the cheapest from the supermarket freezer unit), beef lasagne, fish pie and cottage pie) The recent surge of interest has been from using the air fryer more and being able to spend more time in the kitchen.
Well, I can update my latest concoction. I didn't quite follow the recipe above because I was trying to think what I could have with the aubergine. The first thing I did was prepare the following marinade:
Half & half stir fry oil and sunflower oil
Honey
Jamaican Jerk seasoning
Shallot, thinly sliced
Garlic
Fresh ginger
Lime juice
Soy sauce
Then I sliced and diced the aubergine into about 1 cm cubes before putting into the bowl with the marinade ... the bowl was not big enough to hold all the aubergine so making sure all of it was in contact with the marinade was difficult. I ended up putting everything into a loaf tin. After about an hour, I dipped my finger into the marinade and the only way to describe the taste was like eating a raw courgette. There was no sweetness of the honey, heat of the ginger or taste of the spice flavour whatsoever. So I added more Jamaican Jerk spice and honey, but again it tasted bland. I decided to go for individual spices and added a little allspice, cinnamon and a dash of Tabasco sauce.
Meanwhile I prepared and sliced an onion and a red pepper, and peeled/chopped some winter squash ready for the cooking. First, I cooked the pork mince and put it on one side. Next, I put the aubergine and the remaining marinade (most of it actually coated the aubergine) into the frying pan, then put the lid on and turned the heat down.
It didn't take long for the aubergine to soften - I removed it from the pan and added the onion & pepper. The onion cooked much more quickly than the pepper so I decided to add all of the other ingredients (pork mince, aubergine and winter squash) into the pan, turned the heat up and stirred before adding a little water following by a can of coconut milk and a handful of short grain rice. After bringing it all up to the boil, I put the lid on and turned the heat down to simmer.
It didn't take long for the rice and vegetables to cook and most of the liquid in the pan was becoming thick and creamy and at risk of burning the pan bottom if left too long.
So what did I think of this new recipe? The sauce / rice / pork mince had a hint of cinnamon (but you could also taste a hint of lime and the other spices) but also a distinctive heat of the chilli / Tabasco sauce / ginger which was quite pleasant and not at all overpowering. As for the aubergine, well all the marinade flavours had been absorbed into the vegetable and were amazingly tasty and spicy despite cooking in the coconut. As a dish overall, it was like eating a savoury rice pudding with the winter squash and coconut milk helping to counteract the heat of the chilli and ginger - on a scale of mild to hot, I would say it was definitely on the mild side and tame (a bit like comparing a Korma curry to Vindaloo) and rather tasty. I would definitely make it again and learn from the experience that all the flavours of the marinade were still there but had been taken up into the aubergine.
Mo
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Joined: 30 Apr 2007, 09:39
Location: Cheshire (nr Chester)

Re: Jamaican style aubergine & pork mince

Post by Mo »

lancashire lass wrote: 05 Dec 2022, 06:26
Mo wrote: 04 Dec 2022, 17:08 You are really going to town with these spices.
Well, not quite if you look at the timeline from starting this thread
Yes, but compared to the other non-existent posts on here now-a-days it seems a lot.
Dance caller. http://mo-dance-caller.blogspot.co.uk/p/what-i-do.html
Sunny Clucker enjoyed Folk music and song in mid-Cheshire
lancashire lass
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Posts: 6156
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Cajun spice - Butternut soup, Gumbo & Jambalaya recipes

Post by lancashire lass »

Cajun spice is made with black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. For different flavours, some Cajun spice mixes include salt, mustard powder, chilli peppers, or cumin.
I'm liking the sound of this Cajun spiced winter squash / butternut soup :
Ingredients
1 large butternut squash (roughly 800g prepped weight), peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm chunks
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp Cajun Seasoning
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely crushed
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 low-salt vegetable stock cube*, made up to 1ltr
1 lime, juiced
To serve
4 tbsp coconut yogurt
1 tsp Schwartz Cajun Seasoning
3 tbsp finely chopped coriander
Method
Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C.
Toss together the squash, 1 tbsp vegetable oil and Cajun Seasoning on a large baking tray and roast for 35-40 mins, tossing occasionally, until caramelised and tender.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over a low-medium heat, add the onion, garlic, celery and chilli, cover with a lid and fry for 20 mins, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.
Add the roasted squash to the pan along with the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins. Remove from the heat and blend with a stick blender until smooth. Add the lime juice and season to taste. Add a splash more water, if you like.
Divide the soup between 4 bowls and swirl 1 tbsp of coconut yogurt through each one. Top with a sprinkle of Cajun Seasoning and coriander to serve.
Tip: This soup will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and also freezes well.
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I have heard of Gumbo but did not know what it was. Wikipedia:
Gumbo consists primarily of a strongly-flavoured stock, meat or shellfish (or sometimes both), a thickener, and the Creole "holy trinity" ― celery, bell peppers, and onions. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used, whether okra or filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves).
This recipe for Cajun Chicken Gumbo sounds interesting:
Ingredients
4 tbsp olive oil
5 skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunky pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, sliced
3 bay leaves
5 tbsp plain flour
4 tsp Cajun spice mix (or 1 each paprika, ground cumin, ground chilli and dried basil)
600ml chicken stock (made with 2 stock cubes)
2 green peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
300g thickly sliced ham, trimmed of any fat and diced
3 spring onions, sliced
Method
STEP 1
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wide casserole or big frying pan and fry the chicken for a few mins to brown. Tip out onto a plate. Add the onion to the pan with 1 tbsp more oil and fry for 5 mins until almost softened. Add the celery and fry for another 2 mins, then tip out to join the chicken. Add the remaining oil, bay leaves and flour to the pan and cook into a paste. Carry on cooking, stirring constantly (with a splash of water if you need), until golden brown, then stir in the spices for 2 mins.
STEP 2
Gradually stir in the stock until smooth and saucy. Return the chicken and veg to the pan, along with the peppers, cover and simmer gently for 15 mins. Stir in the ham, cover and simmer gently for 10 mins more. Check for seasoning, then serve, sprinkled with the spring onions mixed with the chopped parsley.
2 tbsp very roughly chopped parsley
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I've also heard of Jambalaya and wondered what it was. Wikipedia :
Jambalaya is an American Creole and Cajun rice dish of French, African, and Spanish influence, consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice.
I think I may give this recipe for Chicken & chorizo jambalaya a try one day soon (I think I may actually have all the ingredients at hand this time round!)
Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
75g chorizo, sliced
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
250g long grain rice
400g can plum tomato
350ml chicken stock
Method
STEP 1
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan with a lid and brown 2 chopped chicken breasts for 5-8 mins until golden.
STEP 2
Remove and set aside. Tip in the 1 diced onion and cook for 3-4 mins until soft.
STEP 3
Add 1 thinly sliced red pepper, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 75g sliced chorizo and 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning, and cook for 5 mins more.
STEP 4
Stir the chicken back in with 250g long grain rice, add the 400g can of tomatoes and 350ml chicken stock. Cover and simmer for 20-25 mins until the rice is tender.
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