Akara

Attempt number two to make these fried bean cakes was definitely more successful! Tasty and just the right density. It went very well with our meal.

This time I added more water to the mixture and made sure the oil was not as hot as before.

 

I cannot wait to make another batch! This time I might well start from scratch and remove the eyes myself.

Chilli con carne

Many years ago I bought a recipe book from Hotel Chocolate for my then boyfriend and now husband. It was my first Christmas/birthday present for him (his birthday and Christmas are 4 days apart so they are all one present really!) it has been sitting on his bookshelf in our flat for the past 4 years, gathering some dust. To be fair to him, two years ago, he did make one chocolate mousse recipe. However, since then, nada! So I flipped through the book on Saturday and found a few recipes of interest. One which caught my attention was chilli con carne with chocolate. This was a new one for me as I don’t think I have ever mixed savoury and sweet in this way. I do vaguely recall seeing something like this in a documentary on Mexican food.

The final product was an interesting gustatory experience!

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I think I liked it, once I got used to the taste.

Ingredients

2 tbsp oil

2 onions

450g lean mince beef

1tsp dried oregano

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 small green chilli

1 tbsp molasses sugar

400g can tomatoes

400g canned kidney beans

55g dark chocolate

salt

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan.

2. Add the chopped onions and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or so until soft.

3. Increase the heat, add the minced beff and cook, stirring for a few minutes until evenly browned. Reduce the heat and add the oregano and cinnamon.

4. Cut open the chilli and crape out the seeds under running water, then chop finely.

5. Add to the pan with the molasses sugar, tomatoes and kidney beans. Stir in the chocolate and season well with salt.

6. Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour, striking from time to time to prevent sticky and adding a little water if necessary.

7. Serve garnished with coriander or parsley, if liked and aboomapied by boiled rice or crusty bread and a green salad.

Caribbean Black Eyed Peas Stew

Monday night  and I was home early – ish
There was a bowl of black eye beans that needed processing!


Black eye beans were another dietary stable when we were growing up. I remmeber when I learnt to cook them they seemed to take forever to boil. My father used to make a delicious ‘jellof beans’, which was a rich tomato and potato affair, sometimes with meat or rice. Comforting for a cold winter evening. I think I was trying to recreate that feeeling by cooking up a black eye bean stew. I found a reciepe online and modified it to fit the  ingredients in my cupboard.

And the result was of course delicious…

I bought some bottles of supermalt which went perfectly with the meal and fried up some plantain.


Ingredients
1 1/2 cups black eyed peas. Soak the dry peas in water overnight or for eight hours, and then cook in a pressure cooker or in a pot, with enough water to cover, for an hour or until the peas are really tender but not falling apart.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
2 small carrots, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 bell pepper (any color is fine), diced
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper (use habanero as a substitute– use less because it’s spicier)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp dry thyme
1 tsp ground black mustard seeds
Salt to taste
1 cup coriander leaves (cilantro), minced

Instructions
Heat the oil and add the onions and garlic. Saute until brown spots appear on the onions.
Add the powdered spices– the ginger, allspice, cardamom and mustard and stir to mix well.
Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers and potatoes and stir to mix.
Add the black eyed peas, scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, coriander leaves, and enough water to make a stew. Stir well to mix.
Bring the stew to a boil, cover, lower heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until all the flavors have melded together.
Stir in the cilantro, add salt to taste.
Serve hot with some rice or bread.