Jerk-Marinated Tilapia with Plantains and Tangy Fish Broth

Last week I made Jamaican jerk sauce. As I explained in the blog post about that recipe, the traditional, and best, way to cook with Jamaican jerk is to barbecue – and by barbecue I mean slow cooking, indirect heat, and plenty of smoke. However it is winter, and I have neither a grill nor a garden. On a particularly nasty day last week, when it was cold and gray and an icy rain was falling, more than anything I wanted to eat food that would make think of warm weather (this is a recurring theme for me). Jerk sauce has such a lovely mix of flavours that it functions well as a marinade even if it’s not being used on the grill, and I was itching to give my sauce a test run, barbecue or no barbecue. So I decided I’d use it with fish. Continue reading

Advertisements

Jamaican Jerk Sauce

To those of you who read my blog with any regularity and/or know me personally, and who know of my ADDICTION to spicy food (I don’t think that’s too strong a word), it should come as no surprise that I have been obsessed with making, and perfecting, my own Jamaican jerk sauce. I should state a disclaimer: I have never been to Jamaica. But I’ve loved jerk seasoning ever since I first encountered a seriously fiery jerk paste while I was working in a spice shop at age 21. I’ve conducted exhaustive “research” on Jamaican jerk sauce; i.e., I eat jerk whenever I can and I try lots of different jerk sauces. London’s got a huge West Indian population, and during the Notting Hill Carnival, my favourite place to be is Golborne Road, where the food stalls are crammed the tightest, the air is so smoky from oil drum barbecues it makes your eyes sting, and you can get a plate of jerk chicken and rice and peas and plantains for £5. Continue reading

Pasta with Calamari, Tomato and Caper Sauce

Blogging has turned me into a culinary diurnal vampire. “Huh?” you say. Let me explain: as a food blogger, you realize pretty darned quickly that without natural light your food photos look like … well … crap. This is the case even with a nice SLR camera. It all gets flat and yellow. You know what I’m talking about. It’s when the food looks kind of dessicated and (let’s face it) unappetizing.

I have a single window in my kitchen that faces vaguely north. So, being fairly obsessive-compulsive, I now find myself cooking dinner at 11 a.m. Then I take half a dozen photos of whatever I’ve cooked and I put it away. Or I eat it for lunch. In August I had no idea how grim things could get. Now, by three Continue reading

Malaysian Squid Curry

I went to the Portobello Market today intending to buy a rabbit and some octopus. I was dreaming, vaguely, of Spanish food. I got there too late for the rabbit (damn jetlag!) and lovely Gary of Gary’s Fresh Fish said that octopus is too expensive right now for him to sell it at the prices he likes. But staring at me balefully from Gary’s bins were some giant – I mean massive – cephalopods. Continue reading

Spicy Black Bean, Coconut and Lime Soup

“Another soup?” I hear you gripe. “Didn’t Susan just make a soup?” To which I say, (a) yes, but (b) this soup is delicious! Also, (c) (cue plaintive voice) I’m jetlagged again, and (d) this month’s sweet heat challenge is SPICY SOUP! Continue reading

Plantains in Spicy Ginger-Tomato Sauce

For the past three days, I have been in a quandary hated by food bloggers the world over. It’s called, “Goddammit, No Good Pictures.” I made this delicious plantain dish on Friday as part of my austerity regimen* and since then have been wrestling with the fact that thanks to the hideous fluorescent lighting in my kitchen, every photo I took was utter shite. After three consecutive nights of relishing the leftovers, however Continue reading

Sweety’s Plantains in Spicy Coconut Sauce

There are certain foods I don’t want to stop eating, no matter how full I am. Plantains are one of those foods.

Plantains are the übermensch of the banana family. Although they can’t be eaten raw (who wants an ingredient that gives everything up on the first date anyway?) plantains are delectable when cooked. Rich, savoury, sweet, and complex, plantains stand up to strong seasonings Continue reading

Jess’s Spicy-Sweet Roasted Tomato Sauce

In my opinion, most great cooking begins organically. (I do mean that literally as well as figuratively.) Yesterday, whilst walking down Wilton Road from Sainsbury’s back to Jess’s flat in the sparkling autumnal sunshine (it is August, people!), Jess suddenly gestured to her right towards a Turkish restaurant and said, “That place makes the most amazing tomato sauce.” And thus was born the idea to make a sweet tomato sauce to accompany our Caribbean meal. Continue reading

Cuban Black Beans

Okay kids, these beans are spicy! And they taste like they have meat in them even though they don’t! What’s the trick? Actually, I haven’t figured that out yet, although I think it has something to do with the dash of vinegar that goes in at the end. Anyway, they are freaking delicious, and if you put some Ibrahim Ferrer on the old iTunes and dim the lights (or squint) you can almost imagine you are in Havana. Buen provecho! Continue reading