Category Archives: appetizer

caponata2

Caponata

 

I discovered this recipe in River cottage-veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I modified the recipe slightly, making it simpler to make and added a little more heat and vinegar by adding hot pickled banana peppers. This appetizer spread is best made a day or 2 in advance to allow the flavors to mellow . Store in covered containers in the fridge and it can last for weeks. It’s best served  at room temperature and is delicious on dried crostini’s for a dinner party. This makes approx. 2 cups.

Caponata
 
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Author:
Recipe type: appetizer
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 TBLS olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 6 chopped tomatoes or 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 stalks of celery finely diced
  • 2 TBLS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBLS honey
  • 1 TBLS dark chocolate powder
  • 2 TBLS capers
  • 2 oz. pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 large TBLS diced pickled banana peppers
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop eggplant into rough 1 inch cubes and add to medium size hot pot with olive oil
  2. Fry the eggplant for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally until golden and tender
  3. Add onion, celery and garlic and continue to stir for another 5 minutes
  4. Add tomatoes , olives,capers, coco,balsamic,honey,olives and honey
  5. Cover with a lid and continue to cook and stir occasionally at least 30 minutes. You want to ensure all the eggplant is well cooked along with the rest of the veggies.
  6. Remove pot from the stove and use a stick blender to chop and blend a few times
  7. You don't want to over mix this as you still want texture.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste and add chopped banana peppers and leave to cool.
  9. Once cool, place in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to serve
  10. Serve with diced parsley.

 

watersoup

Watermelon Gazpacho

Ever wonder what to do the rest of the gigantic watermelon you bought that doesn’t fit in the fridge and you can’t seem to consume fast enough ? The trend has been watermelon gazpacho and what a delight. It is such a nice flavor and perfect for the summer heat when served chilled. This recipe is modified from several I found online and really works well with a grilled main course.

Watermelon Gazpacho
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large tomato rough chopped
  • 1 tsp dried chilis depending on preference
  • 4 cups rough chopped seeded watermelon or whatever fits in your blender
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 TBLS minced onion
  • ½ cucumber seeded and rough chopped
  • 2 TBLS minced fresh or dried dill
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into blender. Pulse until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and as many chilis as you like depending on the heat you like. Pour into bowls and serve with crumbled feta and minced cucumber and watermelon to garnish. It's even better served chilled.

 

nutbread

Gluten free nut bread

I came across this recipe in the Bob’s Redmill cookbook and was interested in the texture and high nut protein of this bread. What’s great about it is it’s easy to make without bothering with yeast and resembles black russian rye in density. If you don’t have all the nuts on hand, you can just use sunflower and pumpkin seeds. The chia, eggs, flax and psyllium are what hold this together so nicely .This is a great after school snack with a little cheese and will fill your kids up quick. If you want to go another step, you could also slice this up thinly and double bake it to make crackers. This is a delicious winner.

Gluten free nut bread
 
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Author:
Recipe type: gluten free bread
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 TBLS psyllium husk
  • 4 TBLS chia seeds
  • ½ cup ground flax
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 TBLS buckwheat or brown rice flour
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 TBLS olive oil or coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Whisk together eggs and oil
  3. Add all other ingredients and stir until well mixed.
  4. Let stand for 10 minutes for seeds to absorb moisture
  5. Push parchment paper into 9 x 5 inch pan
  6. Scoop in mixture and press down flat with a spatula
  7. Bake for 30 minutes
  8. Remove parchment and bread from pan and bake another 30 minutes on rack
  9. Let cool completely before slicing

 

 

 

 

plantainchips

Plantain chips with spicy yogurt dip

If your looking for an easy snack super high and potassium and you like a taste of the Carribean, these tasty chips are for you. I like to buy my plantains green as they’re much lower in sugar and easier to cut and prepare. The spicy yogurt dip is the perfect compliment to this starchy snack. You won’t be able to eat just one!

Plantain chips with yogurt dip
 
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Author:
Recipe type: snack
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 green plantains
  • ¼ melted coconut oil
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp carribean hot sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in the middle
  2. Cut off top and end of each plantain and score the fruit skin just touching the flesh.
  3. Gently pull away the peel so your plantain is clean and ready to go
  4. Slice the plantains approx. ¼ thick on a diagonal
  5. Melt ¼ coconut oil and toss the fruit until well coated
  6. Add ¼ tsp salt
  7. Lay parchment or silpat on cookie sheet and lay down chips without touching
  8. Cook approx. 20 mintues per side until browned and a little crispy.
  9. Dip:
  10. Mix yogurt, caribbean hot sauce with a little honey

 

chickensatay

Chicken satays

My son has been yelling for chicken satay’s lately ever since we went to a Malaysian restaurant in our neighbourhood. To get away from too much sodium and the possibility of gluten in the soy sauce, I finally made my own. Although my son says they’re not as good as the restaurant ( I suspect it’s the salt content), he still ate them ravenously off the stick including the cucumber salad that accompanied it.  Although there are a multitude of recipes off the internet, I looked for the easiest that best emulated the flavours I was looking for. These are flavourful and tender and once marinated, very fast to make.

Chicken satays
 
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Recipe type: Appetizer/dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken boneless chicken thighs
  • wooden skewers soaked in water
  • Marinade:
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon or lime juice (approx 2 lemons or limes)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 TBLS finely grated ginger
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • 1 TBLS brown sugar or honey
  • 1 TBLS low sodium gluten free soy sauce
  • Peanut sauce:
  • ¼ cup sauce from above recipe before marinating
  • 1 TBLS brown sugar or honey
  • 3 TBLS peanut butter
  • salt to taste
  • Cucumber salad:
  • 1 sliced cucumber
  • 1 TBLS juice of lemon or lime juice
  • ¼ tsp grated ginger
Instructions
  1. In a shallow dish, place 10 bamboo sticks in warm water and leave to soak 20 minutes
  2. Mix up sauce and reserve ¼ cup for the peanut sauce side
  3. Slice thighs ¾ inch strips and add to marinade
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours
  5. Using bamboo skewers, lace chicken until you have about a 3 inch length
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake chicken approx. 15 minutes.
  7. Turn on broiler and place chicken close to broiler for the last 5 or so to brown
  8. While the chicken is cooking ,add reserve marinade in pot and heat
  9. Add peanut butter and seasoning
  10. Add water if too thick and serve warm
  11. Place cucumber salad on the base or side with skewers and sauce

 

carribeanbeansoup

Caribbean black bean banana soup

Looking at my browning bananas in the corner that my son refuses to eat, I had to come up with something before they went into the compost. After freezing a few for later baking projects, I decided to use one in a black bean soup. I found this recipe online somewhere but have since modified it, increasing the seasoning and turning up the heat .

Caribbean black bean banana soup
 
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Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 cups cooked and rinsed black beans or 2 15 oz can of rinsed beans
  • I medium onion minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • one ripe banana mashed
  • 1 mango pealed and chopped into large chunks
  • 2½ tsp cumin
  • 1 TBLS grated fresh ginger
  • 1 TBLS tabasco
  • 1 tsp chilis
  • 3 cups chicken broth( or vegetable)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup minced red pepper for garnish
  • lime juice
Instructions
  1. Put a dollop of olive oil and add chopped onions, garlic and 1 diced red pepper to a hot pot
  2. Cook until transparent
  3. Stir in black beans, cumin, grated ginger, mashed banana and chilis and hot sauce
  4. Add coconut milk and broth
  5. If too thick, add a bit more chicken stock
  6. Bring to a boil and reduce heat
  7. Simmer for 45 minutes
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste
  9. I like to add a lot of black pepper to give it some heat
  10. Using a stick blender give it a few pulses to blend a bit but not totally pureed
  11. Serve with a few diced red peppers and lime juice

 

beandip

Black eyed pea curry bean spread

I created this lovely spread after attempting to make a bean curry that my son would actually eat. Unfortunately, he didn’t like the madras spice I used so I decided to blend this up for an appetizer with a few crackers. Well, it seems to be a hit with the adults do that’s not a bad return. It’s a nice change from traditional tahini hummous and has a nutty flavour with the black eyed beans. Spread it on a cracker and enjoy!

Black eyed pea curry bean spread
 
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Author:
Recipe type: appetizer
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ cup dried blacked eyed beans to soak
  • 1 medium onion
  • salt and pepper
  • yoghurt
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Madras curry powder
Instructions
  1. Soak beans overnight and cook with water for at least one hour until tender and drain
  2. Alternatively, open one 19 oz can of black eyed beans and drain liquid
  3. Dice one medium onion and add to hot frying pan with a little oil
  4. Cook onions until have cooked to clear
  5. Add beans and 1 TBLS Madras curry powder
  6. Cook until onions are soft
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Set aside to cool
  9. Blend mixture in the blender until smooth
  10. Add 1 tsp lemon juice or squeeze juice of one lemon
  11. Add 1 TBLS yoghurt
  12. Add salt to taste and a little water if too thick
  13. Add a pinch of red chilis to spice it up