29 April 2015

Try a taste of Peru

Photo: © childsdesign
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Cooking sauces are not usually in the AFT Kitchen unless of course we are testing out our members’ products. We prefer to make meals from scratch but fully appreciate that some people may not have the time or inclination to do so. Sometimes certain ingredients can be difficult to get hold of, so a ready made product can be very useful and when it is as straightforward as this one, a not full of nasties kind of sauce, you know you’ve made a good choice.

Capsicana has created a range of Latin American inspired Cook Sauces (we introduced them a short while ago) which are set to inject a dash of sunshine into British kitchens. If you like some zip and zing in your food we reckon these sauces will have you dancing a salsa in no time.

At present there are four Cook Sauces in the range and the first to be tested was the Chilli & Lemon Peruvian Cook Sauce which uses genuine Peruvian grown Aji Amarillo chillies for authenticity.
The Amarillo chilli is native to South America and centres heavily in Peruvian cuisine, finding its way into everything from soups to sauces.
A bright yellow-orange, thick fleshed chilli it has a medium to hot heat level and has a unique rich and fruity flavour.

Capsicana’s recipe is based on the famous Peruvian Aji Verde Sauce and as the name suggests, the sauce is a fresh green colour with a speckling of herbs.
The chilli heat is not too hot so would appeal to those not used to foods with a heavy kick – the spiciness is more of a tingle.
The addition of lemon lifts the sauce with a tang of freshness making it light and coriander gives a green fragrance. All flavours are perfectly balanced and allow the Amarillo chillies to weave their special fruity tones through the dish.
The sauce also contains a little cream too which mixes throughout the ingredients, coating them well.

The easy-to-use sauce comes in a pouch and it is possible to create a dish using it within 20 minutes – the quick recipe (using chicken) on the back of the pack gets you on track to producing a faultless meal.
Although don’t think this is the one to stick to – there are so many different ingredients it will work with and different ways of using it. As is our usual style, we deviated a little from the instructions.

We cooked ours with the suggested onions and capsicum pepper and served with sautéed salad potatoes with peanuts and a little pink pickled onion relish on the side.

This is how we cooked it:

Ingredients


Method
Tip the Chilli & Lemon Peruvian Cook Sauce into a bowl, add the turkey strip, stir to mix. Cover with cling film and place in the refrigerator for an hour to marinate.

Heat the oil in frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the pepper and onion and cook for a minute, stirring occasionally.

Add the turkey strips and all of the cook sauce and cook gently, stirring occasionally for about 6 – 8 minutes until cooked all the way through.

Serve immediately.

We are pleased to award Capsicana our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Chilli & Lemon Peruvian Cook Sauce.


To find out more about Capsicana visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here. You'll find links to their website where you can buy the sauces online.

28 April 2015

A new look and new products for Capsicana


Capsicana has always placed an emphasis on bringing the flavours of authentic Latin American chillies to everyone and has now created a new range of cook sauces and chilli condiment sauces.

It has been a busy time for Capsicana developing the new range. As well as new recipes, new branding was required to launch the products at the IFE trade event last March.
Capsicana’s founder, Ben Jackson, turned to us at The Artisan Food Trail to help him create a new company logo, packaging and website.
As well as The Artisan Food Trail, we also own and run childsdesign, so we were delighted when Ben wanted us to assist him with the creative and design process needed for his re-brand.

The four new Cook Sauces bring the latin flavours of Mexico, Peru and Brazil into British kitchens are quick and simple to use and vary from mild to hot. In just 20 minutes a tasty meal for two can be whipped up using the recipe on the back of the pack.
We have been testing them out in the AFT Kitchen and so far have been very pleased with the results – we’ll be posting our verdicts on this blog over the coming weeks.

Capsicana still produce their fantastic range of chilli condiments, all with a new look, ranging from the fiery hot habanero to more medium heat varieties and the rich and smokey chipotle.

To find out more about Capsicana visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here.

9 April 2015

Chicken & Spinach Curry

Photo: © childsdesign
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This is a mildly spiced Indian curry – don't be fooled by the amount of chilli powder used here as it is the Kashmiri variety. Kashmiri chilli is a lot milder than regular chilli powder with a gentle warmth and sweet earthy notes.
If you don't have any you could use paprika instead with a dash of
cayenne pepper.
We have a good spice supplier on The Artisan Food Trail; Spice Kitchen that sells online so there shouldn't be any trouble in
obtaining it.

As we said, this curry is not hot but rather more aromatic with a degree of warmth coming from the garam masala (we used the Spice Kitchen blend). The generous amount of spinach used creates a silky texture with rich flavour.
Serve simply either with basmati rice or chapattis or naan breads.

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 800g chicken, skinless breast or thigh cut into large chunks
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5cm piece cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green chilli, pierced lengthwise with a knife
  • 5cm piece ginger, grated
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 300g spinach leaves, washed
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon juice
  • handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • a little cream to drizzle (optional)

Method
In a bowl large enough to accommodate the meat, combine the yogurt, Kashmiri chilli powder and ground turmeric. Add the chicken and stir until evenly coated in the yogurt and spice mixture.
Put in the refrigerator to marinate for up to 3 hours.

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the cardamom pods, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves and cumin seeds and fry for 20 – 30 seconds.

Add the onion and green chilli and fry 4 -5 minutes until caramelised.
Note: it is important that the onions take on a golden brown colour as this gives a particular flavour to the finished curry.

Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a further minute.

Add the chicken with all of the yogurt and spice mix  and stir fry for 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, ground coriander and garam masala.
Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce reduces down and clings to the chicken.

In a food processor, finely chop the spinach.
Add the spinach to the pan and stir in and continue to simmer for
10 – 12 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and a splash of lemon juice.

To serve, drizzle over a little cream, and scatter over some chopped
coriander leaves.

8 April 2015

Ginger & Apricot Tiffin

Photo: © childsdesign
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If you've been lucky enough to have been given lots of Easter eggs but are now getting a little tired of eating them as just chocolate, here's an idea to help consume them in a different way.

Tiffin is a sweet treat that requires no baking and is quick and easy to make.
It is often made with digestive biscuits but as we like to experiment with flavours, we used ginger nuts instead.
A generous addition of moist and chewy dried apricots add a little tang and added texture.

Ingredients
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g chocolate
  • 1tbsp runny honey
  • 225g ginger nut biscuits
  • 150g dried ready-to-eat apricots

Method
Grease a loaf tin or square dish with butter and line with baking parchment.

Place a large bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Put in the butter, chocolate and honey and allow to melt and stir briefly to combine.

Crush the biscuits coarsely. It is good to have a mixture of more finely crushed to just broken biscuit pieces.
Chop the apricots coarsely.

Add the biscuits and apricots to the now melted chocolate and butter mixture and stir really well, making sure the biscuit and apricot pieces are well coated and evenly distributed.

Pour the mixture into the tin and spread out evenly. Leave to cool then place in the fridge to set.
When set, turn out the tiffin on to a board and cut into slices.

7 April 2015

Flavours of India from Spice Kitchen

Photo: © childsdesign
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The Artisan Food Trail kitchen is always well stocked with spices because we are lovers of food with real flavour and like to make meals from scratch including curries.
We certainly appreciate good quality spices too so were please to receive a parcel from one of our newest members Spice Kitchen recently.
There is no mistaking the contents either. Even before the parcel is opened, a wonderful aroma wafts from the packaging.

Birmingham based Spice Kitchen specialises in high quality hand-blended and home-ground Indian spices.
Mother and son team, Shashi and Sanjay Aggarwal personally source and quality control every ingredient to make sure only the best is ground, blended and packaged to reach the customer at its best.

Inside our package is a handmade drawstring pouch, the fabric stitched by Shashi herself, filled with ten individually bagged spices – 10 Indian Spices.
In fact, everything you need to make a decent curry.

Click for larger image Photo: © childsdesign
Whole spices include heavenly scented green cardamom pods, sweet pungent cloves, fragrant woody cinnamon sticks, savoury earthy cumin seeds and hot mustard seeds.
There are also curry leaves which are essential for south Indian curries.

Ground spices include a gorgeous bright red Kashmiri chilli, deep golden yellow turmeric and mild yet citrus-like coriander.
Finally there’s Garam Masala, a spice blend important to Indian cuisine. This one is Spice Kitchen’s own special blend and imparts a warm and deeply aromatic flavour.

The depth of aroma and colour are a clear indication of quality and freshness but the true intensity was really revealed when we cooked with them. We will be posting the results and recipes in the near future.

Although we received the ‘loose’ spices to try, Spice Kitchen sell the traditional Indian storage tin known as a Masala Dabba to keep spices fresh and convenient to use.
It is important to look after spices carefully to retain flavour, colour and freshness.
Many people tend to keep their spices in glass jars in a rack on the kitchen wall but this is not the best way to store them as light as well as heat from the stove can have a detrimental effect and the spices will not last as long.
Spices should be kept in a cool, dark place (although not the fridge) to maintain them at their best.

We were impressed with the overall quality and we’re looking forward to using in more of our cooking.

We are pleased to award Spice Kitchen our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their 10 Indian Spices.


To find out more about Spice Kitchen visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here.

1 April 2015

New Black Truffle Mayonnaise from TruffleHunter


TruffleHunter has added a brand new product to their range – Black Truffle Mayonnaise available in 180g jars, it is the condiment with a difference.

Made with extra virgin rapeseed oil, free range egg yolks and Italian black summer truffles, this extremely versatile product delivers mild and complex black truffle flavours and aroma.

Try it thickly spread on any gourmet burger, or as a filling for a gourmet sandwich. It works incredibly well with triple cooked chips.

This Black Truffle Mayonnaise can also be used as a fabulous base for many sauces; marie rose, tartar, thousand island dressing or rémoulade.

It is available to buy online for £5.95.

To find out more about TruffleHunter visit their page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here