Our Blog Moments

Delicious Recipes and Useful Food Info

Mix & Blend Catering

Pumpkin Selection

Power of Pumpkin

29th Oct 2019

Think of the word pumpkin and images of jack-o-lanterns or American Pumpkin pie covered in whipped cream for Thanksgiving will probably pop into your mind. Pumpkin is traditionally considered a holiday food for our US cousins but is a staple food in our kitchen pantries and freezers during the winter months here in the UK. 

However, did you know that pumpkin now heralded as one of the Super Foods? 


According to Dr Steven Pratt, author of Super Foods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, Well, pumpkin is one of the most nutritionally valuable foods known to man. Moreover, its inexpensive and these days are available year-round from any supermarket. It is incredibly easy to incorporate into recipes, high in fiber, low in calories, and packs an abundance of disease fighting nutrients.


What exactly makes pumpkin so super? The powerful antioxidants known as carotenoids give this food its super status. Carotenoids have the ability to ward off the risk of various types of cancer and heart disease, along with, cataracts and macular degeneration. Dr Pratt mentions many other diseases fighting super foods in his book as well, but I’m more interested in the power of pumpkin and it’s wonderous qualities which help the mind, body and soul. 


How can we incorporate this wonderful power food into our diets throughout the year? Take advantage of a few delicious recipes below, which taste great.

Pumpkin Pancakes

2-1/2 cups flour

1 cup of buttermilk

1 tsp. salt

2-1/4 tsp. soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup of cooked pumpkin

Measure flour into bowl and add dry ingredients. Stir in buttermilk and add pumpkin. Mix Well. Cook on hot griddle or skillet until golden brown. 


Pumpkin Spiced Muffins

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin

1/4 cup milk

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 180˚C. In a large bowl cream butter with brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, then add pumpkin and milk.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, spices, salt and baking soda. Add to the creamed mixture and mix.

Pour the mixture into your individual muffin moulds and Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

You’re know when its ready, because the smell is AMAZING….Enjoy!

Mix & Blend Catering

Red Lentil and Chickpea Chilli

Appreciating A Good Cook – Plus Recipe For Vegan

Red Lentil and Kidney Bean Chilli with Brown Rice

15th Jan 2020

Who can resist the mouth-watering pictures in a cookbook? Who doesn’t have childhood memories of the fragrances that wafted from the kitchen on holidays, and even on regular, ordinary days? Spices, bread baking, cookies fresh out of the oven – all these, trigger a deep longing in most of us. As eating holds a guaranteed spot in everybody’s daily schedule, so do those who prepare it. They have become the uncrowned gods and goddesses of our lives.


Real cooking consists of more than opening a can with a dull picture of green beans on the front or popping a TV dinner from a wax-covered box into the microwave. The true goal of cooking is to nourish the marvellous body that we live in, to allow it to grow and express vitality and strength, to keep them healthy and able to overcome environmental germs and bacteria. Summarized in one word, the main purpose of cooking is health!


When does a fruit or vegetable (or any baked item) furnish us with the most nutrition? The experts feel that food grown in one’s own environment will usually contain the most nutrition. Freshly harvested food provides the maximum nutritional value. We all know after a fruit or vegetable has been sitting for several days, or transported around the world, the value of the vitamins and minerals diminishes.


The best means of ‘cooking’ fruits and vegetables for their health value is to eat them raw in salads or as snacks. As soon as heat is applied, a good quantity of the nutrition is destroyed. A good cook can prepare a beautiful plate with the natural colours of freshly picked fruits and vegetables.


Genetically engineered food has infiltrated the growing of almost all crops. This procedure didn’t exist until the last decade, and it remains highly controversial as the long-range effect on humans has never been tested.


Briefly described, this procedure consists of infecting a healthy seed or grain with various bacteria or insects to lengthen its shelf life, to make it look ‘pretty’ for the consumer long after the nutritional value has dissolved. This not only has a negative effect on one’s health but leaves the cook with a less than delicious product to serve.


Cooking with natural foods that are organically grown (that means with no harmful pesticides or chemical fertilizers) gives today’s health conscious cooks the best chance to delight in the time spent shopping and in the kitchen. Whipping up a carrot cake that will enchant both family and friends (best make two cakes while you’re at it), or preparing a quick but nutritious breakfast so the body will gleefully handle the challenges of the day without needing to be drugged by coffee or caffeine, make heading for the kitchen the favourite part of the day! Truly the cook is the god of the household!

                                                                 Recipe Time

                                                   Feeds 4 and Ready in 40mins

Ingredients:

2 x Red onion

1 tbsp Virgin olive oil

1 x Red pepper

1 x Green pepper

1 tbsp of ground cumin

2 tsp of Mild chilli powder (if you like heat like me use 1 tsp of hot chilli flakes)

1 tsp of Smoked paprika

½ tsp of Cinnamon

400g Can of chopped tomatoes

4 tbsp of Cider vinegar

2 tbsp of Light brown sugar

125g of Dried red split lentils

2 x 40g Can of red kidney beans

1 x Pack of brown rice

1 x Small piece of fresh ginger

1 x Small bunch of fresh coriander

The Techie Part:

1st – Chop your red onions and add them to the pot with the olive oil. Simmer for 5mins until soft.

2nd – Chop your red and green peppers and add them to the onions, along with all your spices (I know your kitchen is smelling amazing lol)

3rd – Give the mix a little stir and simmer for another 5mins.

4th – Throw in your tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar and dried lentils. Add a can and a half of water to your pot (use the tomato can).

5th – The whole mix a good stir and bring the whole mix to a nice simmer. Add the pot lid and cook for 15mins.

6th – Wash and cook your brown rice or you can try having your Chilli with a lovely crusty Sourdough or Olive bread….Hmmmmm

7th – Now drain and rinse your kidney beans and add them to your delicious chilli. Give it another stir and cook for another 5mins.

8th – Roughly chop some fresh washed Coriander and sprinkle over the chilli before serving.

See you did it…. You’ve made a delicious pot of Chilli, which you can freeze what you haven’t eaten for another day. 5 Stars to you. Yes, I know it was so quick and simple.

I would love to see your finished Chilli, so why don’t you send me a picture of your chilli to [email protected] or to our Facebook or Instagram page.

                                                                          Enjoy

Mix & Blend Catering

Ackee

What Is Ackee - Great Vegan Meal Option

12th Feb 2020

Introduction

The delicious Ackee fruit is my favourite Jamaican dish once added to Saltfish. I’m happy to eat it with fried dumplings, hard food, rice and peas (not green peas) or on own with hardough bread. So much so it was my number craving food during pregnancy, which my mum, nan and gran would have ready and have packed up in individual portions so I could freeze.

Also, because Ackee is a fruit and used in our savoury dishes, Ackee is a great vegan alternative, which has been used in the Rastafarian community for generations has a staple food and used in Ital cooking.


What is Ackee?

Ackee is a fruit which originated in Ghana West Africa and was brought to Jamaica during slavery and has become Jamaica’s national dish (Ackee & Saltfish).

Ackee grows on a tree which has been associated with the Evergreen trees, because of its all year-round green leaves (foliage). Ackee can be harvested twice a year during January – March and June – August, because Jamaica has the beautiful sun that Ackee needs to grow.


What does it look like?

The Ackee tree can grow up to anything from 20 – 30ft high and has a thick bloom of leaves and branches, which blossoms with these bright red Ackee fruit. When the Ackee fruit opens, it shows a yellow flesh with three to four large jet-black seeds.

Now it is important to know you must not eat the seed, the red outer layer, the lining of the red outer layer or the membrane. The only part you need is the yellow flesh inside the red outer layer. Plus, you must never eat an unripen Ackee fruit, have patience and wait (remember all good things come to those who wait lol).

When me and my cousins were little, we would say that Ackee looks like scrambled eggs. I would best describe the taste has soft, creamy and I would even stretch to a buttery taste. I would also say Ackee is bland, hence why it can accompany any vegetable, fish, poultry or meat dish, but we only use it has part of savoury dishes.

Watch this space has I am trying to create more vegan and dessert dishes using Ackee, as it has great binding qualities.

What can Ackee be used for?

The Ackee fruit is mainly used in cooking Jamaican savoury dishes, but I have heard the Ackee tree is a robust source of wood which has many uses from making shelfs, tables, chairs and even casks. Cosmetic companies have been known to use the Ackee flower for its perfume scent.

Is Ackee good for me?

Yes! Ackee fruit can do amazing things to help your body. From boasting your Immune System with Vitamin C, help reduce your Blood Pressure and Circulation by opening your blood vessels to keep that all-important blood flowing. Ackee can also help your Digestive System because Ackee is high in fibre and reduce your Cholesterol.

Ackee is an amazing little fruit with great qualities for the body. 


Where can I buy Ackee?

If you are lucky to live in Jamaica and surrounding Caribbean Islands, then you can speak to a neighbour and get some fresh Ackee from their garden. If you are like me and not lucky enough to live in Jamaica, but live in the cold wet UK, then like me you have to settle with buying Ackee in a tin at the local shops, which sell Caribbean food.

I’m lucky to live a short distance from Brixton and can pop to a shop’s and get a tin of Ackee. Which has been already dissected and ready to add to your pot (once you have drained off the excess saltwater it comes in).

There are several different brands of tin Ackee on sell, but I also go for the Dunn River Brand. Not saying there’s anything wrong with the other brands, but when I buy tomato ketchup, I buy Heinz and not Waitrose own brand.


How can I cook Ackee?

1 x Tin Ackee (use a sieve to drain and give the ackee a little rinse under cold water)

2 x tbsp of virgin olive oil (lets keep it healthy and forget using vegetable and sunflower oil)

2 x Sprigs of Thyme (fresh not dried)

1 x Scotch Bonnet Chilli (red, green, yellow or orange)

2 x Pinch of Black Pepper (don’t you dare put white pepper in there lol)

1/2 x Red Sweet Pepper (sliced)

1/2 x Green Sweet Pepper (sliced)

2 x Tomatoes (not tinned - sliced)

1 x Large white Onion (sliced)

1 x Clove of Garlic (crushed)

Ackee is very easy to cook up. Simply….

1. Add the virgin olive oil to the Dutch pot or Duchy frying pan (if you don’t have a Dutch pot you can use an ordinary pot). Make sure the oil is at a medium heat.

2. Once the oil is hot add in the sliced onions, crushed garlic, thyme and black pepper.

3. Cut three thin sliced of the scotch bonnet and add to the pot (DO NOT USE THE WHOLE SCOTCH BONNET or you will find out why they call it scotch bonnet)

4. Add the sliced tomatoes and sweet sliced sweet peppers to the pot and give the mix a little stir.

5. Once all the peppers and onions have softened add the drained ackee to the mix and very, very gently stir the ackee to the mix (you don’t want to break up the ackee to much or it will look like scrambled egg lol)

6. Turn the heat down to low and put the lid on the pot. Leave to let the ackee warm through, for 5 mins and then its ready to be served.

7. Enjoy


What about the Saltfish part?

Now the saltfish part is also very easy to do, but there is a process to it, before you can eat it.

I can hear you saying, ‘what is Saltfish?’ Click my link below to my ‘What is it’ blog on Saltfish.

Once you have completed the Saltfish process, simply add it to the Ackee mix (very gently) and there you go, you’ve made Ackee & Saltfish.

Hmmmm Ackee & Saltfish with fresh soft Hardough Bread my favourite.

Mix & Blend Catering

Saltfish

What Is Saltfish

March 12, 2020

Under Construction

Mix & Blend Catering

Callaloo

Our Second Blog Entry

April 12th, 2020

Under Construction

Our First Blog Entry

January 15, 2020

Click this text to start editing. This blog block is a great way to share informational entries with your visitors. You can click the green +/- button to add new entries.

© Mix & Blend Catering 2014