Avocado Plantain Salad

So, I have now made the third salad from Afro Vegan. Avocado Plantain Salad. It’s different! I am not sure that I got it right…

However like all of these salads they have been a real pleasure to make and I have learnt some new cooking techniques. I’ve never sauted plantain before, let alone with red peppers. So I might try that again (I have a bowl full of plantains to use up now).

We don’t really eat cauliflower but at least now I know at least one interesting way to prepare it, if I ever find myself buying it again. However it seems unlikely, Ignacio (my husband) does not like them. In fact, so strong is his dislike, he removed them from his plate – which surprised me! I should have know though.

I ate the leftovers for my lunch this Thursday. Eaten the next day it was still nice and filled a very hungry post-clinic stomach! If I am being totally honest, for me this salad wasn’t as tasty as the other two (Plantain Imoyo Salad and Mango Salad). Maybe it was the way I constructed it, I am not sure but for me it did not have the ‘wow!’ factor. You live and you certainly learn…

Ingredients

1 red onion, finely sliced

1 lime, juiced

pinch of fine salt

200g/7oz cauliflower, cut into small florets

2 1/2 tsp vegetable oil

2 yellow plantains

1 medium red pepper, cut into 2cm/ 3/4 in dice

2 medium avocados, peeled, de-stoned and cut into chunks

large handful of fresh coriander, leaves picked and roughly chopped

Methods

  • Preheat the oven to 200 oC/400 oF (180 oC/350 oF fan). Mix the onion and lime juice in a small bowl, add the pinch of salt and set aside to pickle.
  • Tip the cauliflower onto a baking tray, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil, season and toss to combine. Roast for 20 minutes until tender, stirring halfway through, and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, top and tail the plantain, then slice in half lengthways and peel. Cut the flesh into 2 – 21/2 cm – 3/4 in pieces.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add your plantain and red pepper to the pan, and saute for 10 minutes, or until the plantains are deep caramel in colour and the peppers are tender. Season and set aside.
  • When everything’s ready, bring together the plantain, red pepper, roasted cauliflower and avocado in a large bowl. Top with coriander and pickled red onion and toss to combine.
  • Serve fresh.

Reference: Afro Vegan, Family recipes from a British-Nigerian Kitchen, Zoe Alakija, page 73

Macaroni, chorizo, peas and green pepper

Imagine…

I speak to my friend on Tuesday evening and she mentions she is making macaroni cheese for her children that evening.

On Wednesday evening while popping into Tesco for salad ingredients I find myself taking a bag of macaroni off the pasta shelf.

On Thursday lunchtime scrolling through my Twitter feed I find myself looking at a recipe for ausage, macaroni and cheese

By Thursday evening – mu macaroni, chorizo, peas and green pepper dish is born

Hmm…

Ingredients

  • 1/3 chorizo ring sliced and diced
  • butter
  • 1 small green pepper chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 4 handfuls of macaroni 
  • 1 cup frozen peas 
  • 1 small bowl of grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a saucepan and add the diced chorizo, green pepper, peas and onion . Cover and place on low heat stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or so until the onions are soft and translucent.  
  • Crumble the vegetable stock cubes into the mixture and stir until mixed.
  • Add the dry macaroni and then cover with water.
  • Cook for a long as stated for that macaroni (I cooked for 12 minutes) .
  • Drain the water from the mixture 
  • Mix in the grated cheese
  • Serve warm

Banana bread

It feels like today has been incredibly long. I’m writing this a nine o’clock on Wednesday evening and I’m exhausted. I woke up this morning from a fitful sleep at five thirty. I could not get back to sleep so I got up and started dictating some letters. After that I took a trip to the recycling unit to dispose of some large cardboard packaging (our long awaited hallway console arrived yesterday) and then came home and decided to back a banana bread. My friend had shared a Jamaican recipe with me that I thought I might try.

The bread came out a golden brown colour, very pleasant to look at, crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. Not as moist as I would have liked but certainly acceptable.

I went back to my work, took part in a child in need meeting and then headed out to the garden to complete my appraisal documentation.

Working in the sunshine

It has taken me some time to find the mental space to finalise the details of my appraisal. However I allowed myself no distractions and spent a few hours in the sunshine thinking about what where the challenges from the last year. What were the successes. What do I want to achieve in the next year.

Ninety minutes later I had put together something I was happy to send to my appraiser. I think as the weather allows, I will allow myself the odd hour away from my desk to sit outside – top up my vitamin D levels and just let nature take away some of my work-related stress.

Ingredients

113 g butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg beaten

3 large ripe bananas

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 nutmeg

pinch of salt

1/2 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup raisins

Methods

  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add egg to butter and sugar.
  3. Add crushed bananas and mix well.
  4. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  5. Add flour mixture to butter, sugar and egg mixture along with milk and vanilla.
  6. Add raisins.
  7. Pour into greased and lined loaf tin and bake at 350oF (175oC) for one hour or until done.

Reference: Enid Donaldson, The Real Taste of Jamaica.

Mango salad

This evening I felt inspired to make a second salad from the book Afro Vegan. Today I chose the Mango salad.

Easy to make, basically three stages – make the peanut topping, making the dressing, make the salad and combine.

The taste is out of this world – I could only really describe it has having a disco in my mouth. Sweet, citrusy, savoury, spice and heat of the chilli and then crunchiness of the peanuts. Really nice, and the colours where just so uplifting. Like the author of the recipe says, it really is ‘bright and fresh’. Given the state of the world these days, it’s a great culinary antidote…

Ignacio and I ate it with a Spanish omelette – so a combination of the European and the British-Nigerian very much like the modus operandi of our life together!