Tuesday 29 June 2010

Goat curry with rice and peas

For a while, my friend Ben had been on at me to make him a Caribbean goat curry with rice and peas. A day finally arrived when we were both free and Ben had sourced a kilogram of goat... so here's how it went!

I roughly followed a recipe that I found on the internet. We ground some spices that were available in the cupboard (cumin, black peppercorns, mixed spice and fresh thyme from the garden). We fried these spices with garlic, red chillis, some fresh tomatoes, onions and a little tomato purée.

I then added the goat and some boiling water and let it simmer for about an hour. While the goat simmered, I boiled some rice and kidney beans (when Jamaican's say 'rice and peas' they mean 'rice and beans') in coconut milk to make the rice and peas.

A final touch of a little sprinkle of thyme on top, and it was done! This is the first curry I have made from scratch (without a curry paste) and I was very pleased with the outcome. Time seemed to turn the photo above, of raw meat and chopped veg and spices, into an actual curry! The heat of the spice was just right, for me, anyway. The meat was a little tough, but essentially, it needed to be cooked for hours, if not days, to be tender and fall off the bone.

I hope you enjoyed it Ben, you carnivore!

A Caribbean takeaway

A leaflet came through the letterbox the other day, which advertised a new Caribbean takeaway service in Woking. My brother Owen and I decided to try it out one evening as it looked interesting and prices seemed fairly reasonable!

We ordered the jerk chicken and mutton curry with rice and peas, two lots of fried plantain, one lot of festival, one lot of friend dumpling, the potato pudding and the Jamaican rum fruitcake.

When we arrived back at my brother's place and unwrapped the Caribbean goods, we were disappointed to see no fried dumping, and only one portion of fried plantain, yet we were charged for them. 'Festival' turned out to be deep fried bread dough (the swirly-looking-thing on the left in the photo below).

I first tried fried plantain in Las Iguanas with the Xinxim dish. The fried plantain was bronzed and crispy on the outside and soft in the middle - gorgeous! This plantain was quite slimy and greasy, not what I would call appetising! Perhaps the delay between cooking and eating the plantain caused a little of the potential crispiness to disappear, but I think it was mainly failure in the cooking...

The mutton curry had good flavours but was very dry. The jerk chicken was also very dry, and with the dry rice and festival, the whole meal was lacking a lot of moisture and sauciness which was very much needed as the whole meal was extremely dry, and I usually love to mop up remaining curry sauce with some bread or rice!

We heated the desserts and ate them with some ice cream. They were both fairly stodgy and tasted quite similar.

'One Love' was interesting to try, but I wouldn't recommend it, and probably wouldn't choose to order from here again.

Monday 21 June 2010

Speculoos and Kahlua tiramisu

As I said I would, in my previous post, I have began experimenting with my large number of Speculoos biscuits.

My first experiment consists of Speculoos tiramisus. I have Kahlua in the cupboard, and I thought this would be perfect for this recipe.

I have consumed a fair amount of my Speculoos biscuits dipped in strong hot coffee. The caramelised spicey biscuit soaked in coffee provides a delicious wet crunch and powerful flavour, so I knew these would go well in a tiramisu.

The spiciness of the biscuits gave the tiramisu a twist to it's usual flavours. The moussey part was very light in order to smoothen the pungency of the espresso, and take the edge off of the sweetness of the biscuits and Kahlua.

I think I may make a bigger batch of these again soon as they proved to be a... grrrrreat success!


Tuesday 15 June 2010

Lots and lots and LOTS of biscuits

300 to be exact, although far less now! My very kind and generous friend Ant(honey) surprised me with yet another gift, the evening I returned home to Woking, after completion of my second year of university.

This gift was not the Speculoos spread Anthony had previously given me, but the biscuits Speculoos spread is made from!

I must now conjure some Speculoos-biscuit-containing recipes. Firstly, I'm thinking of making a cheesecake with a Speculoos biscuit base. Perhaps these would go down well in a tiramisu? Sit tight and the future shall reveal!

Friday 11 June 2010

Mocha chilli cupcakes

Chilli and chocolate has become an increasingly popular flavour combination. The main reason I enjoy chilli is because it's heat takes mouth sensations to that extra level. Texture and flavour are the most important aspects of a food to be considered on an organoleptic level, so if you have incredible flavours and textures, why not excel the mouth party where possible?!

Chilli and chocolate have been presented in both sweet and savoury dishes. There is your simple chilli chocolate, chilli and orange chocolate, chilli and chocolate mexican sauces and many more. Recipe books of today include many chocolate-containing dishes accompanied by meat, poultry, chicken and vegetables.

But chocolate, chilli and coffee? At first I thought the flavour combination may be a little too much, should I just stick to chilli and chocolate? Or maybe just stick to mocha? I did a little research and found minimal recipes containing the three proposed ingredients. I did, however, find a treat produced by Whittards which contained all three flavours - chilli chocolate coated coffee beans.

This was a relief as I thought perhaps the prospective trio had been attempted and proved unsuccessful. These coffee beans are awesome, and pack quite a punch with the chilli. So I decided to go ahead and make mocha chilli cupcakes...

The cupcakes themselves had more of a mocha taste with a sublte trace of chilli that emerged a few seconds after your first bite. The chilli chocolate coated coffee bean provided the stronger kick.

Sunday 6 June 2010

Salvo's - Take II

I managed to squeeze in another date with Salvo's before I left Leeds for five seasons. I wouldn't normally write a review for every visit I made to a restaurant, however, my second experience at Salvo's was quite different to my first, so I thought this post was necessary.

Surprisingly, my many food experiences do not include gnocchi. Where better to try gnocchi other than the best local Italian voted by Gordan himself? As I couldn't make up my mind on my starter, I went halves with the skewered fresh king prawns grilled with chilli and lemon, and the gnocchi.

The gnocchi was doughy but not by too much. The dumplings were so bouncy that you could almost play a little bouncy ball game with them and your tongue in your mouth. The gnocchi was served in a mozzerella, cherry tomato and basil sauce which was gently complemented the personality of the lively little potato balls.

I ordered the braised lamb shoulder with wine and rosemary, served with a grilled lamb chop and dauphinoise potatoes for my main dish.

The lamb was just beautiful. It had an incredibly soft texture that fell apart the second you touched it with your fork. It melted in the mouth. The meat was rich and succulent. The initial burst of flavour across my tastebuds reminded me of just how much I love lamb.

I would have, personally, preferred the sauce to be a little thicker and there to be more of it. The flavours in the sauce were very mild, so I think I would have also enjoyed a stronger flavoured sauce. Minimal vegetables accompanied the dish, which I was disappointed about as I do love my veg. However, there were many options for vegetable side orders. I was tempted to order the zucchini, aubergine and mint but actually completely forgot when I placed my order.

The panna cotta completely overwhelmed me on my previous visit to Salvo's, so I decided to go for the whole thing as my dessert on this visit. To be quite honest, it was a little disappointing.

The smooth silky texture was there but this time it was much too sweet for my liking. I accompanied my panna cotta with an americano (in attempt to warm up as it was getting rather nippy at this point of the evening!) and a sweet and aromatic Frangelico.

Perhaps because my expectations were so high of Salvo's because my previous visit was so enduring and I had left on such a massive high. The drizzly weather and our soggy feet most likely dampened our spirits a little too - and being sat outside excluded us from the firey Italian atmosphere which I very much enjoyed on my first visit.

Don't get me wrong - this visit has not put me off of Salvo's, not at all. I am pretty gutted that I wont be able to dine here until atleast September 2011, when I return from California. Hey, I'm sure there's plenty of lovely restaurants over there to keep me entertained...!