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postheadericon Trinidadian chicken curry

Trinidadian chicken curry

 

Cold weather makes you feel like comfort food… and today I felt like a good chicken curry! But I wanted something quick and different… search search search… and I found this Trinidadian chicken curry on the Pioneer Woman’s website. It’s a very simple recipe, no need for exotic spice mixtures or uncommon ingredients, but it sounded nice and somehow different. So it was decided, tonight dinner is Trinidadian chicken curry 🙂

Trinidadian chicken curry is basically a dish from Trinidad and Tobago. Strange isn’t it? You hear curry and you think India, no? Well, I thought the same and was wrong: curry is also very popular in the Caribbean.

According to my research, curry was introduced to Trinidad and Tobago around 1845 by the Indian immigrants during the post-slavery labor shortage. At this time, the dish was very similar to the chicken curry of India – mostly sauce with a few pieces of chicken – but milder as the chilly in the Carabbean was less spicy than the Indian one. Because poultry was abundant in Trinidad, the dish began consisting of mainly chicken, flavoured with curry spices. The Caribbean-Indian cooks also tended to use curry powders instead of pastes. Trinidadian curry also makes its appearance in dishes such as curry goat and various soups. Trinidad and Tobago is not alone in this story, Indian curry was introduced the same way to most of the Caribbean Islands

We learn new things everyday! I knew the curry powder was also used in the Caribbean cuisine but not in such a similar way as in India. As you can see, this is a very simple recipe which makes it perfect for a quick week night dinner. Sometimes, curry recipes involve different combinations of spices, but this one is simply curry powder and turmeric. And you know what? Less is more sometimes. We really loved the simple but delicious flavour of this curry. I served it with carrot rice and flat bread but you can add potatoes to the sauce. enjoy!

Trinidadian chicken curry

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 2/3 people

Ingredients

4 chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 whole medium onion, halved
1 whole tomato, quartered
8 cloves garlic
8 springs of coriander
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp turmeric
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Red jalapeno pepper, sliced

Instructions

Place the chicken in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and add the mustard
In a food processor, chop half the onion, tomato, coriander, garlic, jalapeno pepper and black pepper.
Add the mixture to the bowl with the chicken. Stir the whole mixture together so that the chicken is totally coated in the seasoning ingredients.
Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours.
After the chicken has marinated, make the curry slurry: add the curry powder and turmeric to a bowl, pour in 3/4 cup water and stir until dissolved.
In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat.
Pour in the curry slurry and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Curry slurry will deepen in colour. If the mixture becomes too dry during cooking, add a little water.
when the curry slurry has become a thick paste, chop the other half of the onion and add it in.
Allow the onion to soften, then add in the chicken. Stir to coat the chicken, then cook, half covered, for five minutes.
Turn the chicken, then add in 1 to 2 cups of water. Shake the pan and allow the chicken to cook until done, stirring every five minutes. Cook for about 20 to 25 mins.
At the end, be sure to taste and adjust salt and pepper. Serve with rice, spoon the sauce over the top and sprinkle with fresh chopped coriander.

From Pioneer Woman's website

 

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postheadericon Oven baked BBQ pork ribs

Oven baked BBQ pork ribs

So it’s already February – time flies when you’re having fun 🙂 – and the holidays are long gone. Now I bet we are all looking forward to those beautiful Spring days, with lots of sunshine, not too hot, just the ideal weather for the start of the BBQ season. And because I’m not very good at waiting, I already started to practice with these oven baked BBQ pork ribs. Ok, not the same as outside on the BBQ but it’s a very good start, believe me.

We are very big fans of BBQ and ribs. If I ask the boyfriend what would he like for dinner, there’s a few answers, and one of them is “Ribs” 🙂 I’ve been trying several recipes for BBQ ribs and even other ways of cooking it. They always come out good but I was waiting to find that perfect and easy recipe. My boyfriend orders ribs a lot when we go out for a meal and they are always “fall of the bone”, juicy but at the same time still crispy. But when I try at home it never comes out like that. I tried parboiling, pressure cooker, slow roasting, oven grill, I don’t know…. But there was always something missing. Maybe I was just being picky but I wanted restaurant ribs at home!!! So after a lot of research and recipe trials, I found this recipe on Recipe Tin Eats… it seamed so easy that I decided to give it a go. What’s the worse it can happen? And oh my God!!!! I found my perfect rib recipe! The cooking method is similar to others I tried, even the homemade BBQ sauce is similar. So I don’t really know what happened this time, but the ribs came out fall of the bone, juicy and with a delicious taste of BBQ sauce… just the way we like it! It’s not a quick recipe but it’s worth the wait… Guess who has a happy boyfriend? 🙂

Oven baked BBQ pork ribs

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 2/3 people

Ingredients

Rub:
2 tsp paprika powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
Black pepper
Ribs:
1,5kg - 2kg pork ribs (full racks)
330ml cider
Homemade BBQ sauce:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup tomato ketchup
3/4 cup cider (or chicken broth or apple juice)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, cut into large chunks
2 tsp honey
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco
Salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

Combine the rub ingredients and rub onto the ribs (both sides).
Set aside to marinate for at least 20 min up to 24 hrs.
Preheat oven - 170C
Place large pieces of foil in a baking tray and spray it with oil. Place the rib rack on the foil and fold up the edges to form a "boat" shape.
Drop the cider into the foil parcels. Close the parcels very well so the liquid and the steam remain inside.
Place the tray in the oven and bake for 1hr30 to 2hrs.
Meanwhile prepare the !BBQ sauce:
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 45min or until the sauce has thickened.
Adjust to taste: sweetness with brown sugar/honey and sour with balsamic vinegar.
Strain the sauce and it's ready to use.
When the time is up, remove the ribs from the foil and place on the baking tray. Brush both sides with the prepared BBQ sauce.
Bake for 15-20min. Remove from the oven, brush with more sauce and serve.
If you prefer the ribs crispier, brush it only slightly with the sauce and place it under the grill. Then serve with the sauce on the side.

 

postheadericon Italian lasagna made in Portugal

Italian lasagna

We had 3 different nationalities sitting around our Xmas table this year. And I wanted all three countries represented also in the food. I have showed you Portuguese dishes, Maltese dishes and now I’m adding another dish from the other country: Italian lasagna… made by my boyfriend! Yes, you know he cooks, so he wanted to give his contribute to the festive meals. And my family always wants a touch of Italian food when he goes to visit 🙂

As we may all know, lasagna originated in Italy, more precisely in Naples, all the way back in the Middle Ages, and straight away became a traditional dish. Traditional lasagna is made by interleaving layers of pasta with layers of sauce, made with ragu (meat and tomato sauce), bechamel sauce, Parmigiano-Reggiano and chopped hard boiled eggs.  In other regions and outside of Italy it is common to find many variations of lasagna. Several other ingredients are used such as ricotta, mozzarella, tomato sauce, various meats, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms and flavored with wine, garlic, onion and oregano. The common factor in all these recipes is the pasta sheets and that it’s oven baked.

Traditionally, in the South of Italy, the pasta dough was made with semolina while in the North they used flour and eggs. Nowadays, lasagna sheets are made of Semolina due to commercials regulations. The growth of the farming economy in places like Bologna, allowed the use of more dairy and meat products in the Italian cuisine. Consequently, lasagna in Emilia-Romagna is made with meat and tomato ragu which became one of the most common variations of the dish.

We tried to follow the most traditional recipe. But sometimes, my boyfriend also uses mozzarella in the layers or he adds other ingredients in the ragu such as mushrooms. But I think that a dish should always have different variations according to the person cooking or to the people eating the food. In any case, this Italian lasagna made in Portugal by a Maltese boy was a great success!!!

 

Italian lasagna

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 8 people

Ingredients

1kg Bolognese sauce
1 small piece of celery
1 small carrot
1 small white onion
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig of rosemary
400g of minced beef meat
100g of minced pork
100ml of red wine
1kg of tomato puree/passata
Salt & pepper, to taste
A pinch of sugar
800g Bechamel sauce:
50g of butter
50g of flour
500ml of whole milk
50g of grated Parmesan cheese
Nutmeg and salt, to taste
Lasagna:
500g Lasagna sheets (dried and uncooked)
Butter, for the pan
100 g of grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Preheat the oven: 200C
Bolognese sauce:
Chop the celery, carrot and onion very finely.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the vegetables. Fry it, at very low heat, for about 10 min, stirring occasionally.
Halfway through cooking, add a pinch of salt. Leave the pot covered throughout this phase.
Meanwhile wash the rosemary, select the leaves and chop finely.
When the vegetables have browned, raise the heat and add the meat, a little at a time, stirring.
Add the chopped rosemary and cook the meat until it dries all its cooking water and begins to stick to the bottom. Continue to mix continuously to prevent burning.
Add the red wine and continue cooking over high heat until it is completely evaporated and the meat browns.
This phase is very important because you create the aromatic compounds that make a good the sauce. It is also very important to let the alcohol evaporate as it would give the sauce an unpleasant taste.
When the alcohol has evaporated, add the tomato puree, a few pinches of salt, a generous grinding of pepper and mix.
Cover and bring again to a low simmer.
You should now now transfer the pot on a smaller fire than his size and lower the flame little by little until it cooks slowly, just simmering.
If you have the time, the sauce should cook for 3 hours, with the lid on, but we left it for around 1 hour. Turn occasionally with a wooden spoon.
After this time, taste it and season with salt. At this stage, add a pinch of sugar to help neutralize the acidity of the tomato. The sauce is now ready to be used.
Bechamel sauce:
Place the butter in a saucepan, preferably nonstick, and bring to medium heat.
When the butter has melted and starts to foam it means that water in it is evaporating.
Let it bubble for about 1 minute and when the bubbles begin to disappear, incorporate the flour gradually, removing the pan from the heat for a few moments if the mixture begins to brown too much. Keep stirring with a whisk to avoid lumps.
Pour the milk at room temperature, little by little, always stirring with a whisk.
Raise the heat to medium and stir until boiling. Then add the Parmesan cheese and grated nutmeg. Season with salt.
Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture acquires the desired consistency.
Lasagna:
With 500g of dried lasagna sheets we made 5 layers in a 35x25cm baking dish, enough for 8 people.
The preparation of lasagna starts with the sauce which we prepared a day before so we would have it ready at the time of assembling the lasagna.
On the day, we just warmed up the sauce over low heat.
Butter the baking dish and spread tomato sauce all over the bottom. Then start to assemble the lasagna.
Put a layer of pasta, a layer of bechamel sauce, a layer of meat/tomato sauce and a handful of grated Parmesan.
Repeat this process until you have made 5 layers (or you have used all of the ingredients), ending with the Parmesan.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 200 ° C for 30 min.
Remove the foil, and continue cooking for another 10 min.
If necessary, if you want a nice browned surface, turn on the grill and cook for another 5 min.
Once out of the oven, let stand the lasagna at least 10 min before serving.

postheadericon Vanilla panna cotta with Summer berries coulis

vanilla panna cotta with summer berries coulis

You must be wondering: “What about desserts?” Yes, for sure there were desserts on my Christmas table. And one of them was this vanilla panna cotta with Summer berries coulis. Sounds nice, no? Well, it also tastes nice, very nice indeed 🙂

My plan was to have a menu based on the 3 countries represented around the table: Portugal, Italy and Malta. Which included, of course, the desserts. On Christmas Eve, my aunt was in charge of dessert, and the plan was to make rice pudding Portuguese style 🙂 But for some reason she gave up on that and decided to make a caramel custard pudim flan which is also very popular on our tables back home (I’ll show you the recipe, don’t worry!). For Christmas Day lunch it was my turn and I decided to go Italian and make vanilla panna cotta with Summer berries coulis. What about Malta, you may ask? We also had a “cake table” and there we had “Bolo Rei” from Portugal (a round cake with a hole and raisins, dried fruits and crystallized fruits), Italy was represented by a Panettone and I made my own Maltese Puddina 🙂 Apologies if it’s not very traditional, but this was the only sweet I found in Malta that is totally different from what we have back home. I will show you my recipe later so you can tell me how good (or bad) I did!

Panna cotta wasn’t part of any Italian cookbooks until the 60s. However, it is said to be a traditional dessert from Piedmont , in northern Italy. Some say, it was actually invented by an Hungarian woman in Piedmont back in the 1900s. There’s a few mentions around the years about dishes made of cream cooked with gelatin and molded but no one is sure if it was actually panna cotta or other ingredients were also used making it into another dessert. What we know is that it’s delicious no matter what variations you make of it…

My family really enjoyed it so I hope you like it too 🙂

Vanilla panna cotta with summer berries coulis

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 portions

Ingredients

For the panna cotta:
2 1/2 tsp unflavoured powdered gelatin
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the summer berries coulis:
500g of mixed berries (blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries ) - I used frozen but you can use fresh ones when in season
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Instructions

Panna cotta:
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the milk. Let it stand until the gelatin is softened (about 5 min).
In a large saucepan, combine heavy cream and sugar. Add the vanilla extract.
Bring the cream just to a simmer (do not let it boil), whisking occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Remove from the heat. Add the gelatin mixture and whisk to completely dissolve the gelatin.
Strain the hot cream mixture into a large glass measuring cup with a pouring spout.
Pour into glasses or small pots. Refrigerate for at least 3 hrs or overnight.
For the coulis:
In a small saucepan, add the berries cut into small pieces. In my case, I just used the berries from frozen.
Add the sugar and a small amount of water.
Mix together and let it come to a boil over low heat. Stir constantly to help release the juice of the berries and dissolve the sugar.
Let it simmer until you have a thick coulis (30-45 min)
Set aside and let it cool
For serving:
Remove the panna cotta from the fridge and place a small amount of coulis on top of each glass.
And enjoy!

Don't skip the straining step as it removes any bits of in-dissolved gelatin and insures a nice smooth dessert. Also, don't let the cream mixture cool before straining. If you decide to unmold, carefully dip briefly the bottom of each glass in a baking pan of hot water. Run a thin knife around the each of each glass to loosen it. Invert the glass onto the serving plate and carefully lift the glass. Top it with the coulis. The coulis will keep in the fridge for a few days.

postheadericon Codfish, potatoes and onion bake – Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa

codfish, potatoes, and onion bake

Now this Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa – codfish, potatoes, and onion bake – it’s a classic at out tables for Christmas Eve dinner. So of course, this was one of the main courses that I prepared for my family.

I mentioned before that we are huge fans of codfish in Portugal and that we use always the salted version. It’s part of our tradition and it’s our national dish. When it comes to recipes, we have 1001 ways to cook codfish 🙂 it’s true! It’s a very versatile fish and we have lots of imagination! And if you wonder what we do to the salted cod to prepare it for cooking, check out Salted Codfish and how to remove the salt and rehydrate it.

Unfortunately, due to health problems, my mum didn’t prepare her usual treats for Christmas this year. In fact, I gave her strict instructions not to do anything. Me and my boyfriend would take care of all the meals. So off we went: cook for a crowd of 8 adults and 2 children. It would have been an easy task if everything went as planned. But things started with the wrong foot straight from the word go. We had quite an adventurous trip on the way there that involved plain delays, being sent to different airports and not being able to fly all the way to out last destination. So instead of arriving home at around 18hrs and being able to go food shopping, we arrived at 2am! Which means we add to go to the supermarket first thing on the 24th and try to get all the ingredients for all the meals. We were so tired from all the travel but we wanted to make everyone’s Xmas special! By lunch time we were back with everything we needed and cooking started. There were lots to do but the enthusiasm was even more. And with the help of my mum (yes, I couldn’t get her out of the kitchen!) and my aunt, me and my boyfriend managed to produce food for 2 very important meals 🙂

Codfish, potatoes and onion bake – Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa

Prep Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Yield: 8 people

Ingredients

1kg salted cod (already desalted)
1kg potatoes
3 onions
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaf
4 boiled eggs
2dl olive oil
Black olives, to taste
Chopped parsley, to taste
Salt & pepper, to taste
Hot milk, as needed

Instructions

Preheat oven - 180C
In a large pan, cook the pieces of cod in water for 20 min.
Drain and flake it. Put it in a deep bowl, cover with very hot milk and allow to stand for about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, cut the onions and the garlic into slices. In a large pan, heat some olive oil and lightly brown the onions and garlic.
Cook the potatoes with the skin on. Let it cool, remove the skin and cut into slices.
Add the potatoes to the onions and garlic. Mix everything carefully.
Drain the cod from the milk and add to the potatoes.
Stir everything slightly and season with salt and pepper. Let it cook for another 2 mins.
Pour the mixture into a baking dish. Cut the eggs into slices and spread over the top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for about 10-15 mins.
Remove from the oven, spread the olives on top and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

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