Caribbean Three Bean Salad

Caribbean Three Bean Salad

Caribbean Three bean salad

This week I’ve been cooking up all things Caribbean as it’s Caribbean Food Week and I’ve discovered the perfect easy side dish in this easy Caribbean Three Bean Salad.

The beauty of a bean salad is that is more substantial than many salads and so can fill you up as well as still being very healthy.   As well as the beans, this salad is packed full of fresh coriander and peppers and the garlicy lime and olive oil dressing is perfect for it.

I added a chopped chilli  but kept it on the side as Master Spice loves bean salads but isn’t so keen on raw chillies!   Well, to be honest, he wasn’t keen on the onions and coriander either but don’t let that put you off.   He’s only 1.

I served this Caribbean three bean salad as a side dish but I could easily have eaten the whole dishful as a mainmeal.   I served it alongside some slow roasted pork that had been marinated and coated in Grace Foods Jerk bbq sauce.   It was simple but made a really tasty meal.

Caribbean Three Bean saladThe recipe for this Caribbean three bean salad is an adaptation of the recipe which was on the tin of mixed beans I used (Dunn’s River Peas & Beans).  It contains a mixture of red kidney beans,  blackeye beans and gungo peas but you could use any tin of mixed beans if you don’t have/can’t find this brand. You could even make it with just one type of bean, it wouldn’t be exactly the same but it would still taste as good.

If you’d like to see what else I’ve been making for Caribbean Food Week then have a look at this Chicken and Callaloo curry.  Some of the Caribbean recipes I’ve made in the past include Escovitch Trout and Ackee Stir Fry.   I have a tin of ackee at home at the moment and am hoping to make ackee and saltfish soon.   I won’t manage it this week but hopefully it won’t be too long in the pipeline.   Whatever happens, I will definitely be making this Caribbean three bean salad again!

Caribbean Three Bean Salad

Yield: Serves 2-4 as a side dish

Caribbean Three Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 400g tin Dunn's River Peas and Beans, rinsed and drained (any can of mixed beans could be substituted
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • Large handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • For the dressing
  • Juice of a lime
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 chilli pepper, finely sliced

Instructions

  1. Prepare all the salad vegetables and put them in a bowl with the beans.
  2. Mix up the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the beans.
  3. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.
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I am linking this to Cook Blog Share run by Hijacked by Twins and hosted this week by Sneaky Veg and also to Foodie Friday at Fairy Burger.

Foodie Fridays

CookBlogShare
Golden oreo raspberry cookie pops

Golden Oreo Raspberry Cookie Pops

Golden oreo raspberry cookie pops

 I have received products from Oreo for this post. It is an entry to the Foodies100 Wonderfilled recipe challenge sponsored by Oreo, which marks the launch of two exciting new flavours: Peanut Butter and Golden. The delicious new flavours are available in all major supermarkets at an RRP of £1.08. To find out more, visit www.facebook.com/oreo

Of course I was delighted to try out the 2 new Oreo flavours, even though I haven’t often eaten Oreos until now. I can never resist  a good cookie!  Both the new flavours are a twist on the traditional Oreo biscuit.  The Limited Edition Peanut Butter Oreos still have the chocolate Oreo biscuit but are sandwiched with a creamy peanut butter filling.  The Golden Oreos still have the traditional vanilla filling but it’s sandwiched between two vanilla biscuits.

The Oreos are delicious to just eat by themselves but I needed to come up with a recipe to make them even more enticing.   As my husband is not a fan of peanut butter I decided that I would just enjoy those ones by myself, straight from the packet.   I then decided on a raspberry flavour combination for the Golden Oreos.

Raspberry and vanillla go so well together and even before the Oreos had arrived I knew I wanted to have a go at some cookie pops.   I’ve made cake pops before and loved them  and cookie pops are just a variation on them.

As Oreos are wonderfilled I felt my cookie pops needed to be wonderfilled too.  I’ve recently fallen in love with raspberry curd and so each of these cookie pops is filled with a little dollop of sharp but sweet raspberry curd.   The raspberry curd is surrounded by a creamy oreo  and cream cheese mixture, which is coated in a layer of sweet white chocolate and covered with little freeze-dried raspberry pieces.   I defy you not to want one of these!   Or two.

Golden oreo raspberry cookie pops

 

Golden Oreo Raspberry Cookie Pops

Yield: 8 Cookie Pops

Golden Oreo Raspberry Cookie Pops

Raspberry filled golden oreo cookie pops

Ingredients

  • 8 tsp raspberry curd
  • 154g packet of Golden Oreos (14 oreos)
  • 50g cream cheese
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 10g freeze dried raspberry pieces

Instructions

  1. Line a baking tray with cling film and put 8 tsp of raspberry curd onto it.
  2. Press a cookie/cake pop stick into each tsp of raspberry curd.
  3. Put the tray in the freezer to set.
  4. Put the cookies in a food processor and process until all the biscuits have broken up into crumbs.
  5. Add the cream cheese and process again until a dough forms.
  6. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
  7. Flatten each piece of dough and then wrap it around the raspberry curd on the end of each cookie stick.
  8. Return the cookie pops to the freezer for a couple of hours.
  9. Melt the white chocolate slowly in a microwave. Heat for a minute to begin with then keep taking it out and stirring every 20 seconds until it is all melted.
  10. Line up the melted chocolate, a bowl with the freeze-dried raspberry pieces and a baking tray covered in baking paper.
  11. Dip the cookie pops in the melted chocolate. Use a teaspoon to spoon the chocolate over the area near the end of the stick which is hard to dip in. Let any excess chocolate drip back into the bowl before spooning the freeze-dried raspberry pieces over the white chocolate.
  12. Put the cake pops in the fridge for the chocolate to set.
  13. Store in the fridge
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Thai cucumber salad

Secret Recipe Club: Thai Cucumber Salad

Thai cucumber salad

It’s Secret Recipe Club time again!   This month I was assigned 2 Cookin’ Mamas, a blog written by mother and daughter team, Linda and Christina.  I was really spoilt for choice when trying to choose my recipe.   Their blog features a huge choice of healthy family friendly recipes, and  I loved the sound of the Grilled Salmon with Spicy Orange Sauce and the Quick and Easy Stromboli as well as many of the other dishes.

I’m loving salads at the moment though and this Thai Cucumber Salad was soon my first choice. I love Thai food as it’s so fresh and vibrant and with it being summer I really want to eat healthily and avoid spending too long in the kitchen.

Cucumber is a perfect ingredient for a Thai salad.   It’s refreshing and cooling and goes so well with the coriander and chilli pepper.   If you are looking for an interesting way to serve cucumber then this is definitely something to try.

A great thing about salads is that you can make them earlier in the day and then just keep them in the fridge until dinner time.   I served the Thai cucumber salad alongside some grilled fish, making dinner very quick to prepare.   A definite bonus!

Secret Recipe Club: Thai Cucumber Salad

Serving Size: 4

Secret Recipe Club: Thai Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 spring onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, cubed and slightly cooked
  • 1 red chilli pepper, finely sliced
  • Handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, roughly chopped
  • Dressing:
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing
  2. Mix together all the salad ingredients except the peanuts.
  3. Add the dressing to the salad
  4. Serve with the peanuts sprinkled on the top
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I am also linking this to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum.

Tasty Tuesdays

Samphire with garlic and lemon butter

Buttery Samphire with Garlic and Lemon

Samphire cooked with garlic and lemon

Yum
A few years ago I hadn’t even heard of samphire.  Then it started popping up on various food programmes.   Slowly but surely I started to want to try it.  Every time it was mentioned I told myself I needed to look out for some.  Then promptly forgot.

A few weeks ago I was just doing my online shop not intending to buy samphire at all when suddenly it appeared next to something else I was searching for.  Click.   Into the basket it went.

I hadn’t planned to buy it and certainly hadn’t planned how to cook it.   But lemons, garlic and butter are pretty standard kitchen staples.   It wasn’t long before I had managed to put together a very tasty lemon and garlic samphire side dish.   In even less time we had eaten it all up.

I surprised myself.  It had just been a rather tasty kitchen experiment.  The strong flavours of the salty samphire came together with the garlic and lemon to create a vegetable side dish that I definitely wanted to make again.   I really hadn’t expected it to be quite so tasty and so there were no pictures.   The only evidence of my delicious garlic and lemon samphire was a small dirty pile of washing up.  And possibly some slightly pungent breath.

A couple of weeks later the experiment was repeated, although slightly less experimentally this time.   I could be experimental.   I could vary it.  But I just don’t want to. Not for now anyway.

Lemon and garlic samphire Yum

Ingredients – Serves 2

100g samphire

50g butter

A little olive oil

3 cloves of garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

How to Make Buttery Samphire with Lemon and Garlic

  1. Boil the samphire for 1 minute then drain.

  2. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan or wok then add the garlic.   Cook it gently for a couple of minute to brown slightly.

  3. Add the samphire and heat through.   Stir in the lemon juice at the end.

I am linking this to Cook Blog Share run by Hijacked by Twins and hosted this week by Snap Happy Bakes and also to Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by Loretta@Safari of the Mind and Jess@Cooking Is My Sport.  Finally I am linking to Saucy Saturdays hosted by La Petit Chef.

CookBlogShare

 

 

 

 

 

Coleslaw with char siu sauce - chinese bbq Sauce

Lee Kum Kee Char Siu Coleslaw

Coleslaw with char siu sauce

I have to admit I’m ambivalent about coleslaw.   Offer me a spoonful of ready-made bought coleslaw swimming in a gloopy white dressing and I’ll almost certainly refuse.  On the other hand, if it’s homemade and the vegetables are lightly coated in mayonnaise but still clearly visible and identifiable, then it’ll be a different story altogether.

Coleslaw is a perfect side dish for a barbecue and so when I was asked if I would like to take part in the Lee Kum Kee Summer Carnival and create a perfect dish for a barbecue using some of their sauces I was happy to take part.    I was sent samples of Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chilli Oil, Premium Oyster Sauce and Oriental Sesame Dressing as well as Char Siu Sauce.

Lee Kum Kee sauces

For me, when I think of barbecues the first thing I always think of is burgers and I was quite tempted to just go down that old familiar route.   After all,  the Char Siu Sauce mixed with beef mince made a tasty juicy burger.   Fortunately I decided to play around with the sauces a little more.

My lovely husband is always telling me that barbecue sauce goes well with coleslaw.   Although he isn’t talking about Chinese barbecue sauce, I thought why not try a traditional coleslaw but with Asian bbq flavours instead?  I added just enough of the Char sui Chinese bbq sauce to the coleslaw to give it that lovely Chinese bbq flavour and even added some to a burger too!   A double dose of Char Siu flavour.

Char siu coleslaw

Even though I don’t eat a lot of creamy dressings on salads I loved the flavours and from now on, it may not only be my husband who reaches for the bbq sauce whenever we have coleslaw.

If you’d like to take part in the Lee Kum Kee Summer carnival and barbecue your way to Asia then head over to LKKCarnival.com and play a short matching game to win.   There are prizes every week including cooking classes, supermarket vouchers and cookbooks plus one lucky winner really will bbq their way to Asia by winning return tickets for 2 to Hong Kong.

Homemade burger with char siu coleslaw

Ingredients – Serves 4 as a side dish

120g grated carrot

100g finely sliced white cabbage

80g finely sliced red cabbage

1 red onion, finely sliced

80g mayonnaise

2tsp char sui sauce

How to Make Char Siu Coleslaw

  1. Mix all the vegetables together with the mayonnaise.

  2. Add the char sui sauce. Add 1.5 tsp then taste and add an extra half teaspoon if required.

Coleslaw with char siu Chinese bbq sauce

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.

Tasty TuesdaysRecipe of the wEek

Disclosure: I was sent the sauces for free to try but the opinions and recipe are my own.

 

Gooseberry Cobbler

Recipe Redux: Gooseberry Cobbler

Gooseberry Cobbler

I grew up on a farm and each year in summer my dad would pick lots of the gooseberries that grew in the hedgerows.   My mum would then turn these sour little fruits into delicious pies, crumbles and sponge puddings.

After I moved away from home I didn’t eat gooseberries for a long time but last year I picked some at our local pick your own farm, Garsons.  It was lovely to taste the flavours of my childhood again, but the gooseberry season doesn’t last long and since then I’ve had to wait all year to pick gooseberries again.  But now I have and it’s been worth the wait.

Gooseberry season has also very conveniently coincided with this month’s Recipe Redux.  The theme for July is Fresh from the Garden and we have been challenged to create a recipe using seasonal fruits or vegetables.

Gooseberries

I considered making a light gooseberry yoghurt fool but the warm desserts of my childhood were what I was really wanting to eat.   Hot desserts can be quite heavy but I’ve managed to create this relatively light gooseberry cobbler that still feels like comfort food.

The gooseberries at the bottom of the cobbler are still sharp but just sweet enough to enjoy.   The topping of the cobbler is moist and scone-like.   It’s not the prettiest dessert but it’s easy to make, even while looking after 2 demanding young children and managing to entertain them at the same time.

Gooseberries can vary a lot in sweetness so be careful when adding the sugar.   You’ll need a little sugar but you don’t want the gooseberries to loose their lovely sharp edge. Of course, if you can’t get hold of gooseberries then you can make a delicious cobbler with any other stewed fruit.   Rhubarb is one of my favourites but apples and plums are great too.

gooseberry cobbler 2

Ingredients – serves 9

500g gooseberries

50g sugar

Topping

150g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp sugar

50g butter, cubed

80ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)

1 egg

How to Make Gooseberry Cobbler

  1. Wash the gooseberries and snip off the ends.   I just used my nails but you could use a small pair of scissors.

  2. Put the gooseberries in a saucepan with a dash of water and a little sugar.    Be careful not to add too much as you can always add a little more after stewing them for a short time.  Bring the pan to the boil and let it cook for a couple of minutes.  Taste the gooseberries and add a little more sugar if necessary.

  3. Transfer the gooseberries to a greased ovenproof dish.

  4. Put the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl.  Rub the butter in with your fingers.

  5. In another smaller bowl or jug, beat the egg and add the milk.   Then pour this mixture into the bowl with the flour. Stir until it is just combined and then drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the top of the gooseberries.

  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C.   Let it cool slightly and then serve warm.

gooseberry cobbler

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crispy green bean fries

Green Bean Fries

Green bean fries - deep fried green beans in a spicy batter

Vegetables are supposed to be healthy right?  Green beans are definitely healthy.   So how about green bean fries?   Well, it may not be the healthiest way to eat green beans, possibly even one of the least healthy, but I promise you it is one the tastiest ways to eat your greens.

These green bean fries are actually my Secret Recipe Club pick for July.  My assignment was to pick a recipe to make from the Pintertest Kitchen.  The Pintertest Kitchen is a blog written by Allison, her sister Jessica and mother Sharon.  The idea is that they test out recipes found online, mainly through Pinterest and then let us know if they really are worth making. This recipe was one of Allison’s and actually resulted from a mistake when following another recipe.   The result was so good that that’s the way it’s stayed.  Well, almost.

I had to make a few changes as I couldn’t find any cornmeal so decided to use chickpea flour instead.  After all, it goes well in onion bhajis.   Of course, I could have chosen another recipe but there was something about green bean fries that meant I just had to make them.

The cayenne pepper in the batter makes the fries really delicious and although they didn’t turn out to be quite as crispy as I wanted (maybe I put too many in the pan at once or the oil wasn’t quite hot enough), they were really tasty and my husband and I both ate twice as many green beans as we normally would – there were none leftover!

So, if you’re looking for another blog to read and like the sound of these green beans as well as some of the other tempting recipes such as pizza pinwheels and crisp and creamy fillo chicken  packets then do take a look at the Pintertest Kitchen.

crispy green bean fries

Ingredients – serves 2 (but could stretch to 3)

Oil for deep frying

220g green beans

100ml buttermilk

70g chickpea (gram) flour

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

How to Make Green Bean Fries

  1. Heat the oil as it needs to be really hot before you start cooking.

  2. Mix together the buttermilk, chickpea flour and cayenne pepper to make a paste.  Drop a little into the oil to check the oil is hot enough.  It should rise to the top and sizzle.

  3. Dip the green beans into the batter and then drop them in the hot oil.  Cook them in batches.

  4. Take the beans out once they have browned.  Put them on kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil before eating them while they are still hot.

chimichurri peas

Chimichurri Peas

Chimichurri Peas

We were having steak for dinner and I made a quick chimichurri sauce to serve with the steaks.   I wasn’t intending to blog about it.    After all, I’ve made a chimichurri sauce before, although quite a different one using coriander.

This time it was a more traditional chimichurri sauce using parsley and oregano.    As usual I made a little too much and surprisingly it didn’t all get eaten up, despite how good it was, even just eaten by itself off the spoon.

The next day I had some peas leftover as well and I stirred the chimichurri sauce into the peas.   It went together perfectly.   The sharpness of the vinegar with the freshness of the parsley really complements the sweetness of the peas.

Of course, you could serve the sauce with steak as I did the first night we had it.    You could also bulk it out and make it into a main meal salad by adding some halloumi and maybe some salad leaves too.   Some crusty bread to mop up all the sauce would also go well.   I have to admit,  I didn’t have any bread and was forced to lick the plate.

Ingredients 

Cooked peas

30g parsley

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp dried oregano

How to Make Chimichurri Peas 

1.Put all the ingredients except the peas into a food processor.   Blend until you get a sauce.   Add a little extra oil or vinegar to get the right consistency.

2.Mix the chimichurri sauce into the peas.   Add as much or as little as you like.

I am linking this to Eat Your Greens hosted by Allotment 2 Kitchen, Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum and #RecipeoftheWeek at A Mummy Too.

Eat Your GreensTasty TuesdaysRecipe of the wEek

 

Buttermilk, banana and blueberry soup or smoothie

Banana and Blueberry Soup

Banana and Blueberry Soup or smoothie with buttermilk

This banana and blueberry soup must be one of the quickest recipes I’ve ever made.   Quick in 2 senses: As long as the banana has been frozen in advance, it only takes a minute to prepare.  I also had no plans to make this at the beginning of the day.   I had ripe bananas and buttermilk that needed to be used up so I was thinking of making a banana bread.

However, even an easy banana bread takes a little effort so when I came across the ‘Summer’ theme for this month’s Super Soup hosted by Jo’s Kitchen I was immediately inspired by her rhubarb and strawberry soup and decided to have a go at my own fruit soup.

In went the ripe bananas and the buttermilk and as I also had a lot of blueberries at home, I decided they would go well too.   And they did.

But I couldn’t help wonder why call it a soup and not a smoothie?   Well, I tried to search for the answer wondering if a fruit soup needed the fruit, or at least some of it, to be cooked in some way first but it actually seems that the difference is as simple as how it is served.   Basically, a smoothie comes in a glass and a soup is served in a bowl.    There may also be a few pieces of unblended fruit in a soup that would be difficult to drink.

Well, after looking into the differences I decided that Master Spice could drink some as a smoothie and so I put some in a Nom Nom Kids Reusable Food Pouch and it was clearly a hit.   I may be forced to make more soups/smoothies over the next few weeks!

Banana and blueberry soup or smoothie

Ingredients – Serves 2-4

2 bananas

100g blueberries

200ml buttermilk

How to Make Banana and Blueberry Soup

  1. Slice the banana and freeze for a couple of hours.
  2. Put the banana, blueberries and buttermilk in a blender and blend to make a thick liquid.
  3. Serve in bowls with a few extra blueberries to garnish.   If you’re not serving it immediately, keep it chilled in the fridge.

Super Soup

 

 

 

 

 

cauliflower leaf stir fry (2)

Cauliflower Leaf and Chicken Stir Fry

cauliflower leaf and chicken stir fry

Are you guilty of buying a cauliflower and then throwing away half of it when you take off the outside leaves?  Have you even thought to eat the cauliflower leaves?

Well, until now I’d just thrown them away without thinking.   I don’t even know why I suddenly wondered about whether they would be tasty too. But for some reason I did and that’s how I ended up with this quick and easy meal.

Cabbage is quite a common stir fry ingredient and the cauliflower leaves are very similar when cooked in this way.   Cooking mellows the strong flavour a little and adding a strong sauce complements it well.    It may look like I haven’t added much black bean sauce but the brand I used is very strong and salty and after adding too much when I last used it, I am using it frugally now.   You may well need to add more if using a different brand.

If you’re wondering about other ways to eat cauliflower leaves, they have quite a strong cabbagy flavour and I liked them in a salad too.  However, my husband wasn’t keen and claimed I had cauliflower breath afterwards so although they are tasty, you may not want to eat them on a date night.

Ingredients – Serves 2

200g chicken, sliced into strips

Small piece of ginger, diced

1 tsp black bean sauce (I used a very strong sauce but you may need a little more depending on the brand you use)

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

About 4 large cauliflower leaves, sliced into thin strips

1 bok choi

5 mushrooms, sliced

How to Make Cauliflower Leaf and Chicken Stir Fry

  1. Put a little oil in a wok and when it is hot, add the chicken.   Stir fry until it is almost cooked and then add the ginger, vinegar and black bean sauce.

  2. Stir well and then add the vegetables plus a dash of water if the pan is too dry.    Cook for another couple of minutes until everything is cooked through.  Serve with rice.

I am linking this to Extra Veg, hosted by Fuss Free Flavours and on alternate months by Utterly Scrummy.  I am also linking to Credit Crunch Munch, hosted this month by Jen’s Food and run by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All.

Extra Veg

Credit Crunch Munch