Coconut Rice and Beans

Melt in your mouth beans combined with coconut flavoured rice; spicy notes from the chillies and crispy onions is simply heartwarming.

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Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 80g easy cook long-grain rice per person
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 knob grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube (or bouillon powder)
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 tin  can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 birds eye chillies (or 1 small scotch bonnet
  • Teaspoon, olive oil
  • Half, white or brown onion, diced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of lime juice, optional

Instructions

  1. Heat the coconut milk and water in a pot over medium-high heat then add the rice. Cook for 10 minutes.
    The rice should be cooked in about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Add the grated ginger, salt, stock cube  and stir well. Add the kidney beans, chillies and bring to a simmer, turn the heat down low and cover.
  3. Once its cooked, remove from the heat and leave it covered for 5 minutes.  In a skillet, add a teaspoon of olive oil and fry the onions till golden brown. Top the onions on the rice with extra chopped chillies and a squeeze of lime juice.
  4. To serve, fluff with a fork.

This also goes well with curried lamb or sautéed prawns with garlic.

Easy-peasy Fish Pie with Bacon

As a child, I looked forward to my mum’s potato casserole. Beautifully golden potatoes with a creamy filling. It was lush. I thought I would have a go at recreating that but as a pie. I like fish but I love bacon more, so to tone down the fishy notes I opted for a bacony flavour. And yes it turned out really good, but we all know mum’s version is always best.

Easy-peasy fish pie with bacon

Ingredients

  • 25g butter
  • 6 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
  • A handful of peas (put more or less if you prefer)
  • 1 birds eye chilli (optional)
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 75ml double cream
  • 400g salmon
  • small bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 200g ready-made shortcrust pastry
  • 3tbsp parmesan, grated
  • 1 organic, free-range egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter; cook bacon till golden brown, add the peas and birds eye chillies. Stir and then add the flour; cook, stirring, until mixture bubbles and thickens. Gradually stir in stock and cream. Stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens. Add fish; stir until heated through.
  3. Spoon mixture into dish. Top with ready-made shortcrust pastry, whisk the egg and milk, brush the pastry with this mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Bake uncovered, about 25 minutes or until browned lightly.

Chicken Suya also known as Meat on sticks

Nigerian Suya is the most delicious street food – it’s what I grew up with. There is always a suya seller either setting up or in the middle of grilling, taking orders from 10 people at the same time. They never go out of stock. It’s pretty insane. When I was pregnant I desperately wanted Suya, it was all I could think about (darn cravings).  I remember thinking ‘what if they have sold out? What would I do?’ Oh the anxiety over Suya. But I was in luck, there was one nice juicy stick left. YES! Absolutely elated. (It’s no wonder my kids are foodies.)

This is my Nigerian-Indian take on chicken suya, super spicy and to tone it down I paired it with pillowy soft paratha.

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Ingredients

  • 250g Mini Chicken fillets
  • 7 Wooden skewers, soaked for 20 minutes
  • A clove of Garlic
  • 1 Lime, juice only
  • 1 Birds eye chilli
  • 4 teaspoons, Africa’s Best Suya spice (put as little or as much as you can handle)
  • 1 Tomato, sliced
  • 1 small Onion, sliced
  • Store bought frozen Paratha (optional)

Instructions

  • Thread the mini fillets onto wooden skewers onto the pre-soaked skewers.
  • Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and chilli together.
  • Give the chicken a good rub with the garlic mixture
  • Squeeze some lime juice over the chicken
  • Now it’s time for the suya seasoning
  • Pop in the fridge either overnight or for a minimum of an 1 hour to allow all the spices seep in.
  • Heat up a heavy based pan, allow it get hot and then place the chicken suya in
  • Cook on both sides,  you can either finish it on the cooker or cook for 10 minutes and then finish in a grill set at 180 degrees.
  • Slice the onion and tomato and set aside.
  • Using the same pan you cooked the chicken, place the paratha and cook till golden brown on both sides.
  • Now it’s time to plate up the chicken suya with the sliced onions and tomato. Don’t forget the paratha too.

Tip: Soaking the skewers in warm water will keep the skewers from cooking along with the food.

Note: If you are not afraid of spice, then try sprinkling some more suya spice mixture over the chicken.

Enjoy!

Grilled Peri-peri Chicken with a coriander and jalapeno sauce

For years, I have obsessed over Nando’s and managed to rope my kids into loving Nando’s  too (probably more than I do now). Saturday is usually manic, with all the different activities for the kids so I find this is a really suitable snack for my chicken loving kids. Opening their snack box to crispy chicken always put a big smile on their faces.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 pieces of chicken drumsticks
  • A knob of ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli flakes
  • Half a teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander
  • Half a teaspoon Garlic powder
  • Half a lemon (juice only)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a bowl, mix all the spices with oil and grate a knob of ginger into it.
  • Let it sit for 15 minutes to allow all the spices to infuse the oil.
  • Grab a chopping board, place chicken on top and score the chicken to allow the marinade get right in.
  • Pour the spice mixture over the chicken and it’s ready to cook. At this stage, you can either leave this to marinade for 24 hours or cook straight away.
  • Pop into a hot grill set at 180 degrees and cook till golden brown (or to your preference).

For the sauce

  • A handful of Coriander
  • A teaspoon of Mustard
  • A teaspoon of Mayonnaise
  • Half a Jalapeno pepper
  • Knob of Ginger, chopped
  • A tablespoon Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz up.

Serve with drumsticks and garnish with extra chillies (optional).

Pea & Pancetta Penne

Of all the pastas, I think I love penne just a little more than the rest. Probably because it’s a pretty straight forward and versatile pasta to use. Penne cooked with peas and pancetta is such a delight. For a little kick, I like to add birds eye chillies seeds and all. The addition of chillies takes this pasta dish up a notch.

Pea & Pancettta Penne

Ingredients

  • 450g of dried penne pasta
  • 1tbsp of olive oil 
  • 15g of butter
  • A teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • A teaspoon chopped chillies (add more if you like)
  • 200g pancetta
  •  200g frozen peas
  • 50g of parmesan cheese (grated) 
  • Pinch of Pepper  
  • A handful of toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan to serve
Preparation
  1. Cook the penne pasta according the the packet instructions, until ‘al dente’. Drain well and keep the pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan. Add the pancetta and fry until golden brown. Now add the garlic and chillies, fry for  2 minutes.
  3. Add the frozen peas, cook for a few minutes. Add the pasta and toss together. Season to taste.
  4. Garnish with the Parmesan shavings, toasted pine nuts and serve hot

 

Slow-Cooked Pork Ribs

These yummy slow cooked ribs are just what you need when you want to cook for a crowd. I like to call these, crowd pleasing ribs. When I started offering private dining services to clients, this was one of the menu items and boy did it go down well.

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Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g Pork Ribs
  • 1 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Knob of Ginger, chopped
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • Juice of half a Lemon
  • 1 Habanero Pepper or 3 Birds Eye Chillies (put as little or as much as you can handle)
  • 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1 cup Barbecue sauce, store-bought or homemade

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees C  and Season ribs with all the spices.
  2. In a pan, sear the ribs till golden brown.
  3. Combine the mustard and lemon then brush this mixture using a pastry brush onto the ribs
  4. Transfer ribs to a baking sheet and cook for 2 hours. Halfway through, cover the ribs with foil to avoid it drying out.
  5. Thirty minutes before it’s ready, brush some barbecue sauce onto the ribs.
  6. Proceed to finish cooking the ribs until the sauce caramelizes and sticks to the meat, this should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Rest the ribs for 10 minutes and serve immediately with extra barbecue sauce for dipping.

Grilled Chicken with Sriracha and red chilli flakes

Grilled Chicken

I’m not sure what gives me more of  thrill, rubbing down the bird with spices or carving into the bird and watching the juices ooze out. Simple pleasures like this make cooking rather delightful. I am all about family meals and feeding my ever so hungry kids (well in all fairness they are growing kids, right). This is a family favourite served simply with rosemary fries and a side salad. Though by the end of the meal it’s always evident which dish went down a treat. Let’s just say there is always more salad left over. But fear not, salads are great the next day for sandwiches.

Grilled Chicken

Here’s what you need

  • 4 tablespoons red chilli flakes
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Sriracha (hot chile sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium sized chicken
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Set grill to 200 degrees.
  2. Combine red chilli flakes, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar and sriracha, stirring until smooth.
  3.  Brush oil evenly over chicken. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  4.  Place chicken in the grill for 90 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165°. Remember to brush and turn chicken every 20 minutes with the sriracha mixture to keep the chicken moist.  Transfer the chicken to a platter. Drizzle chicken with reserved mixture and serve.

Stir fried Sichuan Noodles with crispy noodle topping and chillies

Stir fried Sichuan Noodles

Raise  your hand if you’ve stopped by at a nearby noodle joint. Don’t be shy! Those noodle joints are known to make noodles so yummy, it makes you wonder if it is indeed Indomie Noodles you are eating.

Growing up, this was one of my favourite meals. Why? Because it’s so quick to put together, in just under 15 minutes you can turn a pack of noodles into something  quite exciting.

Here’s my noodle recipe, it’s spicy, flavoursome and delicious.

Serves 2

2 packets Indomie Noodles (but you can any other brand)

Half, red sweet pepper, chopped

Half, yellow sweet pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

About a teaspoon of ginger, minced

Sichuan spices

1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice

1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon smooth peanut butter

Green chillies to garnish

Put the noodles in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain with a sieve and set aside. Keep the noodle water in the pan.

In a shallow pan, heat vegetable oil till very hot. You can use a piece of noodles to determine if it’s ready.

When it reaches the right temperature,  fry a little noodles. Do this carefully as the oil will be very hot.

Fry for a few seconds, it’s ready once it floats up. Use a sieve or spoon to transfer to a plate. Set aside.

On a medium heat, drizzle olive oil and fry the peppers and onions for 3 – 5 minutes.

Mince garlic and ginger into a paste using a food processor. Add this to the peppers and fry for 2 minutes. Stirring to ensure it doesn’t burn.

Add the noodles and stir fry for 3-5 minutes. Combine the peanut butter, rice vinegar and soy sauce. Pour into the noodles and cook for another 3 minutes.

Using your fingers or a mortar and pestle, crush the crispy fried noodles on top and serve with fresh green chillies.

Yummy White tartlet

Individual White tartlet

This individual white tartlet is perfect for those like myself who don’t like sharing their desserts. This is my ultimate weekend treat, buttery crumbly base and creamy filling topped with a little fruit. Yum!

For the base:

150g digestives, roughly broken

50g unsalted butter, melted

10cm tartlet tin

For the filling

1 large egg, separated

50g caster sugar

250g  cream cheese or mascarpone

Squeeze of lime or lemon to taste

1 tablespoon white rum or orange liqueur

Blackberries, blueberries or strawberries to garnish

Put the biscuits in a food processor and blitz to crumbs. Pour in the melted butter through the funnel to combine with the crumbs.

Tip into tartlet case and using your fingers, press onto the base and up the sides.

Set aside in the fridge.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, in another bowl add cream cheese, whisking till smooth, then add lime or lemon juice and rum, if using. Fold in the egg white then transfer this mixture into the prepared tartlet case.

Allow to cool in the fridge for a few hours. Garnish with your chosen fruit and tuck in.