Tag Archives: thyme

Caribbean Squash & Plantain Curry with Roti Bread

22 Oct

Walking the dog today we saw all the squash & pumpkins growing, a sure sign its Autumn, and we still have a huge amount of our own Scotch Bonnet chillis in the freezer so I decided to make a Caribbean dish (Scotch Bonnets are used in the Caribbean) which uses these ingredients. Luckily my local Mercadona sells plantain which is really surprising so I was all set..

Squash Growing

Our Scotch Bonnet Chilli Plant

First make the Roti dough. For some reason I don’t like to eat rice with curries so I have tried lots of different bread recipes from Indian Puris to Middle Eastern flatbreads. This was the first time I had tried to make rotis and they turned out surprisingly well (no dramas). They are my favourite bread so far, really delicious with this curry and easy to make..

Roti Bread Recipe

Makes 8 Rotis Vegetarian

  • 5oo gr plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 165 gr butter diced
  • about 160 ml water
  • veg oil for frying

Sieve together the flour, baking powder & salt in to a large bowl. Add the diced butter and rub it into the flour mixture with you fingertips until it looks like fine breadcrumbs (you can do this in a food processor on slow). Slowly add the water bit by bit and mix together with you hands to form a ball of dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 2 or 3 minutes then put it in a bowl covered with a clean tea towel and leave it for about 30 minutes.

Roti Dough

Meanwhile make the curry don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients if you don’t have everything it’s still going to be gorgeous. The flavour combinations that make it uniquely Caribbean are the fresh thyme, oregano, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice (if you have it I don’t).

Caribbean Squash & Plantain Curry Recipe

Serves 4 Vegetarian

  •  3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg squash or pumpkin peeled, deseeded & chopped into 2 cm cubes
  • 1 plantain peeled & sliced into diagonal 1cm coins
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 red pepper deseeded & chopped into rough squares
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli chopped (You can use any fresh chilli)
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste or fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp curry paste (whatever you have)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • the zest of 1/2 lime
  • 300 ml veg stock (you may want to use more)
  • 1/2 tin coconut milk about 2oo ml ( You can use more if you like)
  • lime juice to taste 1/2 to 1 whole lime
  • a handful of fresh coriander chopped plus extra for garnish
  • salt & black pepper

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan add the onion and saute for 2 minutes over a medium heat until softened then add the garlic, ginger & chilli. Add the sliced plantain and fry for a minute. Add the curry paste, tomato paste and the rest of the herbs & spices, apart from the lime juice & fresh coriander, stirring constantly. Then add the squash, red pepper & fresh tomato and pour over the stock & coconut milk, Turn up the heat & bring to the boil seasoning generously with salt & black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover with a lid and simmer for about 30 minutes until the pumpkin is soft, stirring occasionally. 

While the curry is cooking, go back to you roti dough, knead it again & cut it into quarters, then into eighths and roll them into balls. Flour the work surface and the rolling pin and start rolling out your rotis as thinly as possible (really thin). They don’t have to be a perfect circle that’s part of the charm. Make a pile of rotis flouring well in between each one so they don’t stick together.

Brush a large frying pan with oil, heat it up until hot and cook the rotis for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side. They should bubble up & brown slightly. Brush the pan with oil in between each one. Cover the cooked rotis with a tea towel while you cook the rest.

 Stand back & admire your rotis don’t they look lovely…

By now your curry should be ready, the squash cooked and the plantain kind of melted into the sauce. Add the lime juice & fresh coriander and taste for seasoning. You may need more salt or you might want to add more veg stock if you like it more liquidy. Serve the curry garnished with fresh coriander, lime wedges and the warm, folded rotis on the side. Who cares if it’s raining outside…..

Roasted Sweet Potato & Halloumi Bake

17 Oct

This is a Nigella recipe that I tried out for dinner last night. I was looking for something to do with sweet potato that isn’t really sweet, a lot of recipes seem to go down that cinnamon route which I find too sickly unless it’s a dessert of course! This is definitely worth trying as a midweek dinner as it’s really easy, you just put everything in on baking dish and leave it. I have changed the original slightly by adding tomatoes make it more juicy and added a bit of dried chilli, fresh thyme & rosemary for flavour..

Roasted Sweet Potato & Halloumi Bake

Serves 2 or 3 Vegetarian

  • 1 large sweet potato washed & cut into 2 or 3cm chunks
  • 1 large potato cut into 2 or 3 cm chunks
  • 1 red onion peeled &cut into eighths
  • 2 small red peppers deseeded & cut into 2 cm squares
  • about 6 cloves of garlic unpeeled
  • 2 tomatoes cut into eighths
  • 3 or 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
  • salt & black pepper
  • about 125gr halloumi sliced thinly
  1. Preheat the oven to 2oo degrees.
  2. Put all the veg in a large ovenproof baking dish, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the herbs, chilli, salt & pepper. Then toss it all together with your hands so it is evenly coated.

Ready To Bake

  • Roast in the oven for about 45 mins until the veg is tender & slightly browned.
  • Turn on the grill or turn the oven up to high then put the sliced halloumi evenly over the veg.
  • Put under the grill or in the very hot oven for 5 to 10 mins until the hallomi is has melted & browned

Serve & Enjoy!

This does make quite a lot so you will probably have some leftover, I used mine to make a sweet potato tortilla for lunch the next day.

Roasted Sweet Potato Tortilla Recipe

serves 2 vegetarian

  • leftover roasted veg 
  • 4 eggs
  • milk
  • grated parmesan
  • salt & black pepper
  • parsley & thyme chopped
  • shaved parmesan
  1. Just heat some oil in a large frying pan and add the roasted veg.
  2. Meanwhile crack the eggs into a measuring jug and top it up to 275 ml with milk, whisk together, add the grated parmesan, salt & pepper and whisk again.
  3. Pour this mixture over the veg and cook on medium low with a lid on for about 10 mins.
  4. When the eggs are nearly set sprinkle the chopped herbs over the top and put the lid back on for a minute.
  5. Serve topped with shaved parmesan

Baked Feta with Mango Salsa Recipe

6 Oct

Having been inspired by my Dad’s comment on my “70’s” Stuffed Tomatoes recipe about bringing back the cheese & pineapple on a foil hedgehog, I have called his bluff & brought it up to date! 

We have a mountain of our homegrown scotch bonnet chilli peppers in the freezer & I had been thinking about doing a Caribbean inspired dish using them & the mango I have in my fridge. I was watching a programme called Caribbean Food made Easy (I think) where they cooked fish with Caribbean spices in foil on the barbecue & served it with a mango salsa. Obviously I don’t eat fish so I had to come up with replacement for it which is when I remembered the Foil Baked Feta recipe in Vicky Bhoghal’s book Flavour which is delicious. It was all starting to come together… 

Feta Ready for the Oven

 

Baked Feta & Mango Salsa Recipe 

Serves 2 Vegetarian 

For the Feta: 

  • 200gr block Greek Feta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 clove garlic chopped
  • 1  small scotch bonnet chilli (deseeded & chopped) you can use any fresh chilli or dried 1/2 tsp
  •  a sprig of thyme leaves
  • some coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tomato chopped
  • 1/2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 red onion finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Some crusty bread  for mopping up the juices
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  2. Tear off a large piece of foil, put the feta in the middle and add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Make a little pouch by folding up the foil and bake for 10 mins

Meanwhile make the Mango Salsa: 

  • 1 mango chopped
  • the other half of the tomato
  • the other half of the garlic clove
  • 1/4 red onion chopped
  • the juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 chilli deseeded & chopped(you can’t use a scotch bonnet as the heat only comes out when they are cooked)
  •  a handful of chopped coriander
  • a handful of chopped fresh mint
  • salt & black pepper
  1. Mix everything together in a bowl, taste for seasoning, and place in  a serving dish or bowl.

Mango Salsa

 

Baked Feta & Mango Salsa

 

Enjoy this straight away and imagine yourself on a Caribbean/Greek island! 

Obviously you can keep it real with Greek flavours in the pouch, oregano, parsley, chopped olives, whatever you fancy, just make it gorgeous…

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