Jamaican Jerk Chicken

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At a BBC Good Food Show a while ago I picked up a few spice kits including one for Jamaican Jerk Chicken from Spicentice. Now this spice rub suggests you should use it with chicken legs or thighs, but since I had chicken breasts that needed using that’s what I used – it means the meat is a lot less juicy, but still very tasty. A lot of recipes for jerk chicken suggest you serve it with rice and peas, so I went for a version suggested by the BBC (there’s an alternative recipe for jerk chicken here should you want it too).

Ingredients

For the chicken

  • 300g chicken breast, chopped into pieces (or chicken legs and thighs)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • Spicentice Jamaican Jerk Chicken spice rub

For the rice

  • 200g basmati rice
  • 400g can coconut milk
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 x 410g cans kidney beans, drained

Method

  1. Chop the oninon and spring onions and add to a food blender, add the lime zest and juice as well as the spice rub, plus a pinch or salt and pepper. Rub the marinade into the chicken pieces and leave for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Cook the chicken pieces for 20-25 minutes in a 200oc oven, turning the pieces at least once.
  3. For the rice rinse it thorougly and then add to a pan with all the ingredients except the kidney beans. Add around 300ml of water and salt to season. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the beans to the rice, cover with a lid and turn off the heat for a further five minutes.

Note: I forgot to take a picture of this one. Next time I make it I will update the page!

 

Czech Goulash

For the first recipe of 2017 my other half picked the country, the Czech Republic, and even found a recipe I could use on the National Geographic website. Back when I was doing bits of research in the Czech Republic I ate quite a lot of goulash, and when I took some students there in 2012 I had an amazing goulash in a little bar not far from where we were staying in Prague. Not only did it taste amazing, it was served in bread, the bread acted as the bowl. I managed not to poke a hole in it with my cutlery so the contents didn’t spread all over the place. This was by far the best meal I had in the Czech Republic and if I do go back I’ll have to see if the place is still there.

dscf9260  The recipe we found was called ‘simple Czech goulash’ and looking at the ingredients list it was easy to see why. I wanted to see if there were any other common variations for the recipe, and as is typical with a lot of stew type dishes you’ll find a whole swathe of different varieties, some which add garlic, others which add peppers or a tomato, plus a range of other ingredients. For some people goulash might be more of a hungarian dish than a czech one, but since it’s a common dish there too I’m going to use it for these purposes to tick off the Czech Republic on my ‘cook dishes from around the world’ challenge. The recipe included in this blog post represents a merge of a few different recipes. I also had a spare carrot and red pepper, and this seemed like a good opportunity to use them up. This recipe serves around 2-4 people, and we served it with some bread, although you could also opt to make some dumplings too.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3-4 onions
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 500g beef
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp marjoram.

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a casserole dish and cook the onions for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the beef and garlic, and cook to brown the meat.
  3. Add the paprika and cook for a minute
  4. Add the water, followed by the spices and vegetables.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Bring to the boil and then cover and reduce the heat to simmer for about 2 hours.
  7. Add the marjoram and cook for another 10 minutes.
  8. Check the seasoning, and then serve with bread or dumplings.

And that’s it. My version of goulash, with very little effort! If you have the time you could also do this in the slow cooker.

Maple and Walnut Scones

Maple and walnut scones

Ingredients

  • 640g (22oz) plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 85g (3oz) light brown sugar
  • 345g (12oz) cold butter, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 180ml buttermilk (plus extra to brush the tops)
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 115g (4oz) walnuts, only very coarsely chopped
  • Optional: 115g (4oz) dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1-2 tsp demerera sugar to sprinkle on top of the scones
  • For the icing: around 2 tbsp maple syrup and 50g icing sugar

Method: 

1) Preheat the oven to 180oC.

2) In large bowl add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar and mix briefly.

3) Rub the butter in with your fingers until it resembles a crumb-like mixture, but don’t worry if there are still some large lumps of butter at this stage.

4) Whisk together buttermilk, egg, maple syrup and vanilla extract and then add the mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients.

5) Add walnuts (and if using them the cherries too) and mix with your hands until you have a dough that hold itself together.

6) Take half of the dought and roll into a circule around 2-3cm thick and then divide into six wedges (or you can use a round cutter if you prefer the traditional round scone). Place the scones on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

7) Brush each of the scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with demerera sugar.

8) Bake for around 25 minutes until the top of the scones appears golden brown. In order to ensure an even bake consider turning the baking trays around about half way through the time.

9) Place scones on a wire rack to cool.

10) For the icing mix the icing sugar and maple syrup – add a little water if the icing is too stiff to drizzle. Drizzle icing over scones.

This recipe has been adapted from this recipe recently viewed on the Guardian.

Fig and Walnut Bread

Fig and Walnut BreadMakes 2 loaves

Ingredients
850g strong white bread flour (you can use strong wholemeal bread flour if you prefer, or even a mix of both).
7g sachet of dry active yeast
2 tsp salt
450ml milk
100 ml water
60g butter
2 tbsp honey
150g dried figs
150g walnuts (chopped)

Method

1) Measure the flour into a large bowl and add the yeast and salt.
2) Add the milk, water, butter and honey to a pan and warm gently until the butter has melted and let it cool slightly to (if it is too hot the mixture will denature the yeast and the bread won’t rise).
3) Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and mix together.
4) Turn the mixture on to a well-floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, then place the dough into a bowl, cover with cling film and leave it to rise for about an hour (or until it has doubled in size).
5) After about 50 minutes of rising time place the figs into a small amount of boiling water (just enough to cover them) for 10 minutes.
6) Remove the figs from the water and chop into smaller pieces. Chop the walnuts too.
5) Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface again and stretch it out into a large rectangle and spread the walnuts and fig pieces across the dough (like in the picture below).

Fig and Walnut Bread6) Then knead the new additions into the dough. I tend to fold the dough over to begin with to keep most of the walnuts and figs inside the dough at the beginning or it can get very sticky. Once you start working with the dough some of them will reach the surface and burst through.
7) Cut the dough into two pieces and shape them to make two balls of dough in the shape you would like them. Make a few lines with a knife across the top. Then set the two loaves aside on well floured boards for about another hour. During this time preheat the over to 220oC.

Fig and Walnut Bread8) When the hour is up place the trays you wish to bake the bread on into the pre-heated oven for a few minutes along with a roasting tray on the very bottom of the over. Meanwhile boil the kettle.
9) Once the kettle has boiled transfer the dough to the baking trays and place in the oven (preferably on the same shelf if your oven if big enough). Before you close the oven pour some of the boiled water into the tray at the bottom of the oven, this will create some steam in the oven and help make the crisp crust on the bread.
10) Bake for 10 minutes at 220oCand then turn the oven down to 190oC for another 20-25 minutes.

Fig and Walnut Bread