Good food appreciation
Have you ever sunk your teeth into a perfectly ripe paw paw and wondered at the perfumed smell and exotic sweet flavour, or enjoyed a silk fig and wondered at the hint of pineapple flavour and the smoothness of its texture?
Or, when was the last time you sunk your teeth into a ripe mango and had the juices run down your arms helplessly because it (the mango) was just too delicious to put down?
The last time someone prepared a meal for you did you truly appreciate it for its taste? Or did you consume it mindlessly to assuage your hunger?
Many tend to eat on the run, some eat just for the sake of it and as a result taste and flavour are not prerequisites for a good meal anymore. These people become such disappointments for cooks especially, because when a meal is lovingly prepared appreciation is welcomed and is an inspiration for the cook.
Savouring and tasting your food is a sensory experience, revelling in the flavours of fresh herbs and spices and varying textures lead to the total satisfaction of a meal.
Learning to identify different tastes within your foods can be a feather in your cap, especially when dining out, you can choose your meals based on their ingredients and the tastes that you favour, resulting in total gratification.
Last but not least, giving praise where praise is due gives the cook such a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction! We tip to show or appreciation for the server and the chef at restaurants, at home we simply say it in words, there is no charge for that!
Here are some local delights for you to try this weekend and Happy Republic Day to you!
Bene-crusted shrimp balls
Bene seeds are very popular, we make bene squares and bene balls, popular candies. They are quite similar to sesame seeds, so you can easily make the substitution.
1 lb shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 tbs cornstarch
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs minced chives
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 one-inch piece of ginger
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp sesame oil
½ cup water chestnuts
½ cup flour
½ cup sesame seeds
½ tsp white pepper
coconut oil for deep frying
In a food processor combine all shrimp, cornstarch, soy sauce, chives, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, and sesame oil.
Process to a smooth texture, add chestnuts and process only until chopped.
Taste mixture and adjust seasonings.
Form the shrimp into one-inch balls, dredge in flour, then egg then bene seeds deep fry until golden.
Makes about 15 to 20
Serve with plum sauce.
Tip: Deep frying these appetisers works better for all around browning of thee shrimp balls.
Split roasted chicken with guava rum glaze
1 4½ lb chicken, split into two, washed and cleaned
2 tbs red wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic minced
2 tbs fresh oregano, chopped or minced
2 tbs minced chives
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs olive oil
Combine all the marinade ingredients and rub onto the chicken, taking care to get the marinade under the skin as well. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Place the chicken on a baking rack and place in oven, cook for about 40 minutes until browned on both sides.
Baste chicken with guava glaze, turn and baste other side.
Do not leave too long in the oven with the glaze it will burn easily.
Guava rum glaze
1 cup guava paste
2 tbs ketchup
4 tbs white vinegar
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs molasses
¾ tsp cumin
¼ tsp each allspice and nutmeg
2 tsp grated onion
2 tsp minced garlic
4 tbs rum
salt to taste
2 tbs vegetable oil
In a small saucepan, heat vegetable oil, add onion and garlic, stir to combine, add the rest of the ingredients, cook slowly until well combined and smooth.
Cook until bubbly.
Remove from heat and baste chicken.
Makes about 1 cup.
Refrigerate unused glaze, it would keep for up to 2 weeks
You can use this on grilled mahi mahi or kingfish fillets or grilled steak as well.
Grilled pineapple with brown sugar and rum
There’s something to be said about grilling fresh pineapple, the fruit becomes succulent and juicy absorbing all the flavours they are infused with. Serve with ice cream or on its own for a perfect fat free dessert!
1 large pineapple
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup dark rum
1 tsp bitters
Preheat grill or broiler.
Peel pineapple, remove eyes then cut into half lengthways.
Now cut these lengths into eight lengths.
Remove centre core.
Line a shallow baking pan or dish with foil.
Place pineapple into this, sprinkle with sugar, bitters and rum.
Grill or broil until pineapple turns brownish and sugar starts to bubble and caramelise.
Serve warm as is or with ice cream.
Serves 6 to 8
"Good food appreciation"