Saturday, 30 July 2016

Jim's Jerk Pork Belly

My American friend, Jim, just loves anything that's spicy. Mention Habanero to him, and he's in heaven. If ever there was a King of the Pepperheads, it would be him. He loves "Jerk" anything, and this is his recipe for Jerk Pork Belly using two Jamaican favorites,
Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning and Pickapeppa Sauce. It's a simple recipe, but packed with a lot of flavor.
2 pounds skinless pork belly strips
1/2 of a 10oz jar of Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning
2 tablespoons Pickapeppa Sauce
1. Make some cuts in the pork belly strips as shown in the photo
2. Mix both seasonings together and rub all over the strips. Marinate overnight or 2 days in the fridge in a plastic bag
3. Place the marinated pork belly strips on a rack in a baking pan that has been lined with foil (makes the cleanup easier).
4. Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, then drop the temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 2 hours so that the fat is rendered down and drips into the baking pan. Remove the strips and slice when cool.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Roasted Butternut Squash and Plantain Teabread

This is a heavy, dense, moist, dark, and not too sweet teabread. It’s great for those of us who have to watch their carbohydrate and sugar intake. I have used a combination of plantain and butternut squash along with a variety of tropical spices. It goes really well with a lot of sweet cream butter spread on it, or slices of sharp Cheddar cheese. I recommend having this bread with a cup of Darjeeling or Earl Gray Tea.It tastes even better the next day!

1/3 cup shortening (I used equal amount of coconut oil and shortening)
½ cup dark brown sugar (I like to use Colombian Panela)
2 eggs
1/2 cup strong black tea (1 teabag to the 1/2 cup water)
½ cup bread flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup Scottish oatmeal
2 tablespoons Flax Meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
7 ozs ripe plantain
7 ozs roasted pumpkin or butternut squash
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger root (optional)
¼ teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
1/3 cup dried cranberries or Goji berries, finely chopped
1.       Grease and flour a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, and line the bottom with a square of parchment paper
2.       Measure out all the dry ingredients, spices, baking soda and powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Mix together well.
3.       Bring the water to a boil and steep the teabag in it. Add to the brown sugar, lemon zest and juice, and finely chopped cranberries.
4.       Cut the plantain as shown in the photo.
Do not peel. Coat the surface with a little vegetable oil and place on a baking sheet. Do the same with the Butternut squash (see photo). Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. It does not matter if the surface of the plantain is blackened a bit. This is just caramelization of the sugar in the plantain and adds to the flavor.
5.       Remove from oven and allow to cool. Peel both the butternut squash and plantain, cut into small pieces and put in a small blender/chopper. Mix with some of the tea/cranberry mixture and blend to a puree.

Add this back to the remaining tea/cranberry mixture.
6.       Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
7.       With a whisk attachment on your stand mixer, beat the shortening and eggs together at high speed for 3 minutes. Add the cooled tea/cranberry/plantain/pumpkin mixture and beat at medium speed for 1-2 minutes.
8.       Change the whisk to a paddle attachment on your mixer. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
Pour the batter (the batter will be stiff. Remember it’s a bread, not a cake) into the loaf pan, and using a spatula, spread evenly in the pan. Bake in oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle come out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out of the pan. Cut into slices when completely cooled