Friday, 6 July 2018

Munchy Crunchies

Just to be clear, there is nothing healthy about these. However, they are 100% delicious. They are full of fat and sugar, with a sprinkling of oats. They are loosely based on Anzac cookies and South African "Crunchies" but they taste like neither of those. The salt and brown sugar mix gives the final product the taste of salty caramel biscuits! Again, forget about your health when you are eating them!

125 grams butter
200 grams brown sugar or coconut sugar
1 Tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
40 grams oatmeal
40 grams whole oats
120 grams flour
40 grams coconut
40 grams flax meal
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vinegar
1.      Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 8inch by 8 inch or 9 inch by 9 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Let the paper overhang as seen in the photo.
2.      Measure the oatmeal, oats, flax meal, sesame seeds, flour and coconut into a bowl. Mix.
3.      Melt the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan and heat it over low heat until the butter has completely melted. Add the bicarbonate of soda and stir until mixed. Add the teaspoon of vinegar and the mixture will foam up very quickly.
4.      Add the hot ingredients to the dry mixture and stir until mixed and place in the prepared pan. It should form a nice dough ball. Place the mixture on the parchment paper and pack it down tightly with a spatula. Bake it for 15 minutes at 325 degrees F, then lower the temperature to 300 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into squares while still in the dish. Do this carefully as the mixture will be somewhat crumbly. Lower the temperature to 250 degrees and bake for another hour to dry out and become golden brown. Turn off the oven and leave until cool. Remove from the oven and lift the slab out with the parchment paper. Cut into squares as the cookies will be much harder now. Let it cool in the pan before storing in an airtight container

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Lebanese Chicken and Stringbean Stew Lubiyeh or Lubi bi Assineyh

This is the Lebanese Jamaican version of a traditional Lebanese dish, Lubiyeh or Lubi bi Asineyeh. It is much spicier than the traditional Lebanese be warned! I remember my mother spending hours to make this dish, browning the chicken, then slowly stewing it on the stove top or covered in a ceramic casserole in the oven, adding the spices that make up the Baharat, a little at a time. I have used a combination of oven roasting, and a slow cooker which takes away the need for constant monitoring! 

1 1 /2 lbs chicken thighs
1 lb string beans
10 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large yellow onion, cut into large chunks
5-6 very ripe, very red Roma tomatoes, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons Baharat (see previous recipe for this Lebanese mixture. It is also known as 7 spice mix and flavors and ingredients are very regional and family dependent. The main spices are cinnamon, paprika, cloves, allspice, and cumin. My version is a little spicy so you may want to either use commercially prepared brands or just add the main apices to taste. There are also many other recipes available for Baharat on the Internet)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
1 Habanero chili, whole
Cilantro, Mint, and lemon juice, additional crushed garlic to taste
Tomato paste to thicken sauce
1.      Cut the chicken thighs into chunks. Season with the Baharat, salt and pepper. Marinate in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight
2.      Wash, clean and cut the beans as shown. Place at the bottom of the slow cooker (6 quart)
3.      In a large baking casserole, arrange the onions, tomatoes and garlic, making sure that the garlic is sequestered in one corner of the dish. Place the chicken chunks on top of this and bake for about 30-45 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until browned.
4.      Remove from oven. Place chicken chunks on top of the beans in the slow cooker, along with the whole, now cooked garlic cloves.
Puree, using blender (hand or standing), the tomatoes and onions in the broth created, and pour the pureed mixture over the chicken and beans.

The departure from the traditional Lebanese recipe by Lebanese Jamaicans, is the addition of a Habanero chili, left whole and removed towards the end of the cooking process. Naturally, it is optional, and not for everyone.
5.      Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours. Stir once or twice during the cooking process. Thicken the sauce by adding tomato paste until you have it at a consistency you like.
6.      At the end of the cooking time, season to taste with additional salt and pepper, Baharat, additional beaten garlic, chopped cilantro, fresh mint and additional lemon juice, to taste before serving. This dish is usually eaten with rice or a thick flat bread, and a Lebanese salad. It tastes much better the next day after it has been refrigerated and the flavors allowed to mix.