May 26, 2009
I cooked this for a big group of travellers in Panama - they were praising me in different languages for days. Its all about the marinade. Sorry no photo, but you know what roasted veg looks like – all roasty and smushy.
use a mix of any of the following veggies and decide for yourself how much is enough for how many are eating, bare in mind left over roasties are the tastiest things in the world.
pumpkin, washed and cut into chunkers – if its not too old dont bother peeling it – the skins tasty too
onion, peeled and chopped chunky
aubergines, chopped into quaters lengthways
courgette, chopped lengthways
potatoes, cut into quaters lengthways
bell peppers, quatered
sweet potatoes, chopped into chunks
whole garlic cloves
for the marinade: (to make enough for 5 – adjust accordingly)
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp chili flakes
Preheat the oven to 230 °C. Put everything in a roasting tin, mix the marinade, pour it over the veggies and shake everything around to get it well covered. It kind of depends what veggies you put in as to how long this will take, but I’d say you want to leave it alone for at least 40 minutes then take it out and give it a good shake and stir and maybe another 10 mins to really caramelise the hell out of it. Watch out for burned raisins, they dont taste so good. You could eat this with rice, or bread and butter or some pesto pasta… i dont know – whatcha want.
May 2009, Swami Camping, El Valle, Panama.
May 25, 2009
The spices here in Panama taste very strange – not strong or aromatic like they can be in England but kind of musty and old tasting. I guess they don’t travel so well. So anyway, although this soup should be really tasty, it didnt quite make it. It looked nice though… Had i had flour I and known how to I would have made chapatis to eat with this spoup.
When you buy spices always try to buy them whole, pre ground spice looses its flavour much quicker.
1 onion, sliced in rounds
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
3 handfulls of yellow split peas, soaked for a few hours if you had the foresight
1 tsp black pepper corns, crushed in a mortar
3tsp mustard seed – yellow or black
2 tsp tumeric
small thumb of ginger, chopped really fine
1 tsp sugar
oil or ghee
Put the split peas on to boil with a couple of mugs of water and a couple of good pinches of salt, the ginger and the tumeric. Split peas can take a while, if you got a pressure cooker use it, if not be prepared for them to take a couple of hours to get mushy. Once they are almost there start frying the onions in a little oil with the sugar and some salt and pepper. You want the onions to caramelise so dont move them around too much and let them brown for 10 minutes. Then heat 2 tbsp of ghee or oil in another frying pan and fry the spices and garlic until the mustard seed starts to pop. This spice fry is called a chaunk or tarka (there are many more names) and you can read more about it here. Add the onions and spice mix to the soup and serve. If you like it hot, add a couple of birsdeye chillies to your chaunk.
May 25, Casco Viejo, Panama City
May 11, 2009
What Will I Do When I Grow Up?
Start a ‘mix your own ice cream parlour’: row of ice cream makers, selection of ingredients, order your combination at the counter, wait 15 minutes for it to churn, voila – ice cream to order.
mangos, basil and condensed milk sweetened with raw cane juice
May 11, Pedasí, Panama
April 28, 2009
This was something my colombian friend Juliana requested i bake her for her birthday… a plain vanilla cake. Which i think is very boring. Surely on your birthday you want a cake with lots of CHOCOLATE and ICING and DRUGS !? Anyway, this recipe can be used as a base recipe that you can add anything you like to. Lemon peel and poppy seed, chopped apple and almonds, berries and cream cheese icing and whatever else is laying around begging to be put into a cake.
1 1/2 cup/150 gr soft butter
2 cups/200 gr unbleached sugar or 2 cups of honey/agave syrup
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups/300 gr flour
250 ml/1 cup full fat milk
1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthways and with the seeds scraped out, or 2 tsp vanilla essence
oven 180 °C
Cream the butter and sugar (or alternative) and vanilla seeds/essence until well mixed. Add one egg at a time and beat well inbetween to get lots of air into the mixture and prevent curdling. Add milk and flour and fold gently. You might want to add an extra tbsp flour if you substituted sugar for syrup. Scrape all the batter into a greased and floured tin and bake in the oven for 35 minutes – its up to you – if you stick a skewer in and it comes out with wet batter after 35 minutes you could take it out then – you would end up with slightly puddingy middle. Or if you prefer a more orthodox cakey cake, then leave it in another 5 mins or until the skewer comes out clean.
Once the cake has cooled – ice, drizzle and cream away. Or ifyou must, you can eat it plain with nothing on the side but a glass of lukewarm water followed by some self flaggelation and four hours of wall staring.
April 28, Panama City, Panama
April 24, 2009
Bake bread when you are working on something at home, it takes time and there’s no cutting corners. Bread making is meditative.
makes 2 medium loaves
Bread is easy to make so long as you are carefull with sticking to the right quantities and there is a nice warm, draft free place to let the dough rise.
6 cups wholemeal stoneground flour (or try 1/2 wholemeal - 1/2 rye)
2tbsp dry yeast
2 cups/500 ml warm water (you should just be able to put your finger into it)
3tbsp honey or molasses
2 tsp salt
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
handfull of chopped walnuts
3 tbsp of wheat germ – this really helps the bread rise and is also highly nutritious - containing b and e vitamins, folic acid and fibre
handfull of oats or sesame seeds
Mix the yeast with the water and honey or molasses thoroughly and mix it with half of the flour in a big bowl, leave this to activate for 10 minutes, covered and in a warm, draft free place. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the oats and mix with a wooden spoon until it has formed a sticky dough. It will look a little too wet, dont worry about it. Leave this to rise covered in a warm draft free bla bla… for 45 minutes or 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and kneed, adding more flour to the surface every so often, for a few minutes until it has formed a doughy ball. Divide the dough into two greased and floured bread tins, or form buns on a greased tray, sprinkle these with the oats or sesame seeds and leave to rise again for 45 minutes covered and in a warm and draft free bla bla…
Bake your bread at 190 ºC for 40 – 50 minutes, if you take out the bread and knock on the bottom of the loaf it should sound hollow. Don’t worry if you took it out too soon you can always stick it back in for a few minutes. Keep this bread in an airtight bag in the fridge – I would freeze the other loaf until you need it.
April 24, Casco Viejo, Panama City.
April 24, 2009
and if you own an earthernware tagine then of course use that, you lucky bastard…
April 24, Panama City, Panama.
April 24, 2009
Our couchsurfing host Christian made this for us – I didnt get a picture of it as it was wolfed down rapidly, dont let that deter you though, if you like garlic this is for you.
2 heads of garlic, left whole with the top sliced off
sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
few sprigs of tarragon, chopped
handfull oregano, chopped
bunch of spring onions
3tbsp sesame oil
4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pack of spaghetti or egg noodles – i had this with the squiggly chinese egg noodles and it was lovely
Put everything (except for the noodles) in a small ovenproof pot and put the pot in the oven at full power for 15 minutes, then turn it down to cook the garlic slowly. Open the oven 4 times with 10 minute gaps and with a spoon pour the oil over the garlic until it is brown and roasted. Take the garlic out and once its cool enough push down on it with a kife until the garlic cloves pop out, or peel each one seperately whatever you want. Put the garlic and oil mix into a blender and blend until smooth adding a little more olive oil or even some butter to loosen the sauce. The last time you baste the garlic, start cooking the pasta noodles in well salted, boiling water until they are al dente. When they are done drain the water and toss the noodles with a little olive oil to prevent them from turning into a solid mass. Toss the pasta in the sauce and serve with some soy sauce drizzled on. A glass of very cold white wine would be very nice with this….
April 24, barrio San Francisco, Panama City.
April 23, 2009
This was discovered by Ollie on a desert island. I think he should win an award for it. You need a real coconut, no dessicated, freezedried, tinned nonsense, sorry. The spoon in this picture was hand whittled for me by Deggers, and it smells of all the meals i have ever made with it. It makes me so happy I could almost burst.
1 coconut, 1/2 grated, 1/2 chopped into chunks
4 cardamom pods,cracked
2 star anise
1 1/2 cup of white rice
virgin coconut oil for frying, ok really any oil will do
Soak the coconut in 3 cups of water. Fry spices in a big splash of oil for 1 minute in a medium sized, heavy based non- stick pot. Add the rice for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring to coat the grains in oil. Add the coconut and water and a good pinch of salt and turn the heat down really low, leaving the rice to steam with the lid on until done – 10-12 minutes. No looking or stirring (this will mess up the natural structure that allows the rice to steam cook). At the end turn the heat up a bit and cook it for 5 minutes longer keeping your nose close to the pot to detect any burning. This forms an amazing crust on the bottom which, if you are very lucky, will allow you to turn the whole thing out like a pudding onto a plate… In persian cooking this crust is called tah-dig and is the most prized part of any rice dish.
December 20 – 23, Water Cay, Utila, Honduras
April 23, 2009
Ceviche is a mix of raw fish and vegetables that is marinated in lime or lemon juice. The acid in the juice ‘cooks’ the fish and results in a texture thats easier to deal with then sashimi style raw fish. You need to find really fresh fish to make this – ie nothing you will find in a supermarket – go to a fishmongers or market and see whats fresh. You can put any seafood in a ceviche – octopus, prawn, mussles, mackerel, coley, eel. Be conscious of over fished species – do your research and buy what is abundant at that time of year in your area/country.
This is a recipe for mexican ceviche from my friend Joy Tostada who gifted me a beautiful japanese fish knife when we parted ways back in Palenque, South Mexico. To many more amazing meals Joyeeeee!………………………………….
1 pound of fish fillets/seafood
1 onion, chopped quite fine
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 head garlic, chopped
enough lime juice to almost cover the mix
1 hot chilli, small bunch chopped coriander
Chop the fish fillets into the same size chunks as the vegg making sure to get rid of any bits of skin or tough brown flesh – you want little cubes. Mix everything together with a good pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. Let it marinate in the fridge for 2 or 3 hours. Serve alone or with crusty bread to mop up the juice. For Panamanian style ceviche (as in the picture), omit the tomato, garlic and coriander.
You could also serve this like carpaccio – slice the fish as thinly as you can accross the grain – lay it out on a plate, squeeze over the lime juice and some olive oil, salt and pepper – this you can eat pretty much straight away as the lime juice cooks the thin slices much quicker.
April 23, Panama City, Panama
April 23, 2009
When i was younger i used to get tonsilitis 3 times a year and the antibiotic i eventually had to take came in two delicious flavors: cherry or banana. The smell and flavour of fresh bananas reminds me too much of that revolting viscous medicine. Banana cake, however, i can deal with. In fact banana cake is the best thing ever plus one times a million amen. So even if you dont like nanas, give this a try. You will need:
175 gr sugar or 1 1/2 cups honey or agave syrup
175 gr plain or wholemeal flour (wholemeal will make the cake alot heavier but also healthier)
2 tsp baking powder
175 gr melted butter (if its salted leave out the tsp salt) or a virgin veg oil like sunflower oil
handfull of walnuts broken up a bit and a few whole ones for on top
handfull of raisins, couple shots of rum, bourbon or brandy
4 bananas, mashed up
175 gr grated carrot
First put the raisins in a little pan and just cover with some brandy, rum or bourbon. Bring to the boil and turn the heat off leaving the raisins to soak up the liquor for an hour or even overnight if you have the foresight. Set the oven to 170oC. Grease and flour a loaf tin (you can use a round tin too, but this cake benefits from baking in a deep tin rather than being spread over a larger surface area – it keeps it really moist). Mix the eggs one at a time into the sugar and oil/butter giving it a good beating to incorporate lots of air and prevent it from curdling. Then add the flour and when this has been softly folded in add the rest of the ingredients still folding the mixture gently. Tip this into the cake tin and sprinkle with some sugar and arrange the walnuts on top. Takes roughly 1 hr – sometimes it needs 1.15 hr, no peeking for the first 45 minutes!! Skewer should come out cleanish. The smell will bring people from far and wide.
February 20, Apartment 13, Casco Viejo, Panama City.