Jamaican Jerk Chicken


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).


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


  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!


Hungary – Goulash

There are so many different recipes for Hungarian goulash (or Gulyás) I really found it difficult knowing which one to go with. In the end I pulled inspiration from a few (Delia Online, The Hungary DishThe Guardian, and Daring Gourmet). This probably means it is not an authentic recipe, but still takes inspiration from Hungarian influences.

Hungarian goulash recipeIngredients (Serves 4)

  • 600g braising steak, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp hungarian paprika (or other smoked sweet paprika)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 100ml red wine
  • Salt and pepper

Hungary Goulash recipeMethod

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150ºC.
  2. Heat the oil in a casserole dish then brown the cubes of beef, a few at a time, and set aside.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium and add the chopped onions and celery to the dish, and cook for 5 minutes, then add the garlic.
  4. Return the meat to the pan.
  5. Add flour, paprika and mix.
  6. Add the bay leaves and tomatoes. Add 200ml water and wine (or enough just to cover the mixture). Season well with salt and  black pepper.
  7. Once it reaches a simmering point, place the lid on the casserole dish and transfer to the oven to cook for 1.5 hours.
  8. Then add the chopped peppers and carrots, replace the lid and cook for another 45 minutes.

Hungarian goulash recipe

I served this with boiled rice, but it would also go well just with some bread.

Hungary recipe flag


Philippines: Adobo chicken

Over time, friends have got to know that I like to cook, and in particular that I like to cook things from different places. Last year a friend who is originally from the Philippines kindly brought me ‘The Filipino Cookbook‘. It’s been sitting there on the shelf for too long, and since she was coming to visit I said I would try and make something from the book. So, today’s recipe is a chicken dish which the book suggests is one of the most popular in the Philippines.


  • 1.25kg bone-in chicken breasts, thighs or drumsticks
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large onion

For the marinade:

  • 180ml white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 60ml water
  • 65ml lime juice
  • 250ml soy sauce


  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a box and mix throughly before adding the chicken and refridgerating over night.
  2. Remove chicken from the marinade.
  3. Heat a skillet or sautee pan and add the oil, and then the garlic until it is lightly browned. Add the chicken and sautee for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the marinade, peppercorns, sugar and bay lead. Cover the pan and bring to the boil, and reduce the eeat and simmer for around 45 minutes or until the meat is tender. Add the onion and simmer for another 5 minutes.

I served this with fried rice. To make the fried rice, which is best cooked in a wok if you have one add 1 tbsp of oil and sautee 3 cloves of garlic, and then add a chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add another tbsp of oil and increase the heat to high and add the rice. Stir fry for about 5 minutes but make sure you stir constantly to stop the rice sticking. Then pour over 3 eggs which have been lightly beaten and then 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper.


The adobo chicken got the seal of approval from my friend, as did the bibingka (a kind of rice coconut cake) which I served for dessert – recipe to follow soon.

Mexico: Pork Pibil

Pork pibil

In 2013 I discovered the restaurant chain Wahaca on a day wandering around London, and this for me was when I started to really explore different types of Mexican food – before then fajitas were more or less about it. I remember the first visit, as we made an effort to order a selection of things which we hadn’t had before – including a cactus taco, pork pibil among other things (photographs below).

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I’ve acquired a couple of the Thomasina Miers cookery books and over the last year or so and I’ve tried a few recipes (tinga de pollo being a favourite). To represent Mexico in my year of cooking different dishes from around the world I’ve chosen to have a go at pork pibil. This seems to be one of Wahaca’s best selling dishes, and you can find the recipe here. Part of the fun of cooking these different dishes is finding out about new ingredients – and for this one, something I’ve never cooked with before is achiote paste.

Annatto seedsAchiote paste is a mixture of crushed achiote seeds (annatto) with  salt, garlic, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, and some orange juice (there are lots of variations of this). It can be bought in paste form too. It’s used as a rub to add colour, and as a seasoning with meats like pork and chicken.



Achiote Annatto Seeds

“Bixa orellana fruit open” by Leonardo Ré-Jorge

You can find it online from various places, including a Mexican store – Mexgrocer. We were planning to travel to Bristol this weekend so I was going to drop by Otomi to pick up a few supplies, including the achiote paste, but we decided to save that for another weekend, and instead went for a wander a bit closer to home in Birmingham. In the end I made my own achiote paste after finding the seeds on a stall in Birmingham bullring market.

The recipe I used for this involved: 2 tbsp annatto  seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp black peppercorns, 5 allspice berries, 1 tsp salt, 1 pinch nutmeg, 2 garlic cloves, 125ml orange juice. To make the paste I ground the spices and then mixed them in a small food processor with the garlic and juice. The paste was then used to make the marinade for the pork, as explained in the recipe here.

Red onion slicesAfter marinading overnight this morning the pork was cooked in the oven at a low temperature as per the recipe. I also decided to make the pink pickled onion slices to garnish the pork, and the mexican green rice to serve with it. To make these you just need to finely slice an onion, pour boiling water over them, and remove from the water after ten seconds. Then in a bowl place the onions, a chopped chilli (habanero if you have it), juice of 1 lime and 1 orange, season with salt and black pepper, mix together and leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours. This makes a large amount which is more than enough for a six people.

Green rice pasteFor the mexican green rice you first need to rinse around 200g rice (I used basmati) and then cook it for around 10 minutes in 400ml of vegetable stock. Meanwhile, I blended an onion, a handful of fresh coriander leaves, and a handful of parsley leaves, a garlic clove and a green chilli (again habanero if you have it) in a small food processor to get a sort of green paste. When the rice was about ready I heated some oil in an ovenproof pan and then added the green paste to cook for around 5 minutes. Then I added the rice and any remaining liquid and mixed together. Then along with the other casserole dish I placed the pan in the oven for just under half an hour. This was enough to serve around 4 people.

The final result: rice, pork, pink pickled onions and some coriander leaves to garnish. The results went down well at lunch time.

Pork pibil recipe

For my culinary journey of 2016, Mexico now has it’s first flag.

Mexico map flag