Now, here is a family favourite that never gets old! It is meant to be eaten as a side dish with your meat and hard food, but in this house it is just as often eaten as a main course with a nice salad on the side.
It does take a bit of time to prepare and cook the Mac’n’Cheese Pie, but 45 minutes of the total time is the baking of the dish in the oven. And to be fair, everything can be prepared in advance so that all you need is to bake it off when it’s time to eat. Alternatively, you can pre-bake it and just heat it up before serving. Best of all – you can even make a big batch and put a few portions in the freezer for quick lunches or a day when there’s just no time to cook.
Please note, this recipe is listed as vegetarian, but it does have dairy products and eggs in it. If this is a no go for you, skip the eggs and substitute the dairy with dairy free alternatives.
This recipe makes 8 portions of Mac’n’Cheese.
- 1 litre (10dl) dried short cut macaroni
- 6 tbsp butter, plus a little extra for greasing
- 6 tbsp white flour
- 1 litre (10dl) milk
- 2 dl cream
- 1 tbsp mild mustard
- (1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
- 5+7dl cheese, grated
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 dl scallions (or onion), finely chopped
- 1 dl peas (optional)
- 1 dl chopped plum tomatoes (canned or fresh)
- 2 dl sliced yellow and/or red peppers
- 2 dl sweet corn
- seasoning of your choice
- (fresh parsley, chopped (to garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Boil the macaroni for 8 minutes in lightly salted water (it should be al dente but not crunchy inside) Rinse under cold water and drain.
- Melt 4 tbsp butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Add the cream and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring vigorously. Then gradually add the milk and keep whisking until the sauce boils and thickens.
- Stir in mustard, (cinnamon), salt and pepper to taste, and half the cheese, then remove from the heat. Keep stirring until the cheese has melted, then add the beaten eggs and fold them into the mixture until you have a smooth, well mixed thick sauce. Pour the sauce over the macaroni and fold together.
- Melt 2 tbsp butter in the frying pan and cook the vegetables on low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes. If you are using peas, add them after the rest of the veg have been cooked, then season the mixed veg to taste with salt, pepper and your favourite seasoning.
- Pour half of the mac’n’cheese into a greased ovenproof dish. Spread the veggie mix evenly over the base layer, and top with second layer of the remaining mac’n’cheese.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese all over the top layer and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbling.
- Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley before serving (optional)
Serve as a side dish with your Sunday roast, or as a vegetarian main course with a seasonal salad.
For those of you who don’t speak much patois, maybe I should first of all explain that batty is the patois word for your backside. The name of the dish comes from the fact that the chicken gets a beer can stuffed up its batty and is thus steamed and roasted at the same time.
This is an absolutely gorgeous dish that you just have to try! As the chicken gets steamed and roasted at the same time, the meat comes out juicy and succulent in a way you hardly knew chicken could be. It’s also great because you can play around with the ingredients and choose your favourites or make it slightly different every time you cook it.
Best of all – it takes very little time to make!
- a whole chicken
- seasoning of your choice
- a can of guinness (or any other beer really)
- a few cloves of garlic
- salt & pepper
- chillies or pepper sauce
- olive oil
- Prepare and season the chicken the way you like it best. Don’t forget to rub seasoning under the skin. Leave the chicken to season for as long as you like – we would normally let it soak in a mix of grated onion, herbs and chillies or scotch bonnet pepper for up to three days. Or more if John gets his way.
- When it’s time to cook, start by preheating your oven to 240°C/475°F/gas 9 or getting the BBQ started
- Open the top of the beer can with a can opener and pour just over 1/3 of the beer into a glass. This you can either drink whilst cooking or pour into the rice or hard food or whatever you are cooking for a side.
- Put salt, pepper, chillies, garlic cloves, escallion and herbs (or whatever mixture of flavours you would prefer) into the can
- Gently lower the chicken over the can, so that it sits firmly on the beer can
- Pour the remaining seasoning from the bowl the chicken was in into a cup and add some olive oil
- Brush some oily seasoning over the chicken
- Put chicken in the oven and turn the heat down to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and cook the chicken for about an hour and a half. Brush some more oily seasoning mixture over it ever half hour. If you’re using the BBQ put it on top of a small oven tray to keep it from toppling over, put the lid down and follow the same procedure as for the oven.
When the chicken is done, cut it into nice pieces and serve with savoury rice, rice & peas, roast potatoes, hard food or whatever tickles your taste buds. I can promise that you’re in for a treat!
Everybody in this house agrees that stews are fabulous food, but we have very different ideas of what makes a stew. I love beans and lentils, the kids want potatoes, carrots and stuff, and John is not convinced that either “peas” or root veggies are the bees knees. The kids don’t want meat on the bone, whereas John and I prefer it that way. I’m telling you, Scandiribbean fusion food can be a very tricky cuisine to master to everyone’s liking.
Yesterday, I made a version of stew chicken that combined Swedish style with West Indian taste. The good thing about this one is that everybody gets something they like. As usual, I cooked for a battalion and without any real measurements, but here’s a rough guide:
- 4 onions
- 4-6 cloves of garlic
- 4 carrots
- 4 baking potatoes, or 8 “normal” ones
- 1 swede (the vegetable!)
- 4 turnips
- tomato puree
- 12 tomatoes (or 2 tins of tomatoes)
- 1 scotch bonnet (or other chillies or pepper sauce)
- fresh ginger
- bay leaves
- lemon juice
- soy sauce
- maggi sauce
- 1 pint of guinness
- 1,5 litre chicken stock
- salt & black pepper to taste
- olive oil
- molasses or brown sugar
- raw chicken on the bone cut in small pieces
- meat of a cooked boiler hen (optional)
- Season the raw chicken in a mix of soy sauce, maggi seasoning, lemon juice and salt/pepper/chilli for a day (shorter if you must)
- Chop the oinions and the garlic
- Peel the ginger and cut in a couple of big bits (so it’s easy to spot them and take them out later)
- Peel and chop all veggies into large cubes
- Heat up olive oil and molasses or brown sugar and stir until the sugar has melted.
- Add the chicken and stir vigorously until it has a nice brown colour
- In a Dutch put or slow cooker or big stew pot, heat up olive oil and add onions, garlic and scotch bonnet (or pepper sauce). Go gentle on the chilli – this dish is not meant to be hot it should just have a gentle warmth to it.
- When the onion is soft, add all the vegetables, the ginger, chicken stock, guinness, tomatoes and tomato puree and bring to the boil.
- Turn the heat down until you have a nice simmer, and add the chicken bits.
- Allow to simmer for about 40 minutes (if it looks to “watery” take the lid off and allow it to reduce for another 20 while you cook the rice)
- To please people who are scared of meat on the bone, you can now either add precooked meat to the stew, or fish some of the stew (without the bone chicken bits) out to another pot together with the boneless chicken.
- Check the taste and add salt/pepper/chilli/lemon juice/chicken stock/tomato puree/guinness or whatever you feel you’d like some more of. Ideally, the taste should be slightly different each time you make a stew. Chopped cilantro and /0r a few sprigs of thyme is nice.
Serve with rice, rice & peas, some fresh bread, with a salad or eat just as it is. Any way that works for you is good! =)
You can put the stew in the freezer and save it for a rainy day, or one of those when you don’t feel like cooking but still want a nice home cooked meal.
This is one of my compromise cuisine creations – an orange sauce with a hint of rum and dark chocolate. Tastes lovely with poultry but is also quite interesting together with “meatier” fish. As usual, I don’t really measure the ingredients, so you’ll have to tweak it a little and taste your way to your perfect blend.
- 2 cups of orange juice
- juice and finely grated zest from 1 orange
- juice and finely grated zest from 1 lemon
- dark chocolate (I love Green & Blacks Maya Gold) about 1/2 a bar
- spiced rum
- double cream
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp arrowroot
- Bring the orange juice and squeezed lemon juice to boil and let it simmer until half the fluid remains
- Add dark chocolate, rum and the orange and lemon peel and leave to rest for about half an hour
- Bring to boil again and add a dollop of cream, salt and pepper to taste
- Mix 1tbsp arrowroot with the juice from the orange and add to the sauce
- Stir for a minute and allow the sauce to thicken
Serve the sauce on the side or pour it over the chicken. Looks lovely with a few thin slices of orange and some finely chopped orange zest for decoration.
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In Sweden we have a dish called Sailor’s Beef. It’s basically cheap pieces of meat cooked in light beer with onions and potatoes. Here’s my Scandiribbean version of the same dish – very tasty if I may say so myself… =)
- 2kg oxtail
- 4 onions
- 500g haricot beans
- 1l Guinness
- 2-4 Scotch bonnet peppers (or a healthy measure of pepper sauce)
- 1tbsp salt
- 4 Maggi cubes
Place all of the above ingredients into a casserole dish and bake for 6-8 hours in an oven pre-heated to 140C/gas mark 1. Alternatively, cook it in a slow cooker.
For the hard food:
- 8 slices of yam, peeled
- 8 slices cassava, peeled
- 2 slice plantain, peeled
- 8 handfuls okra
- 2 maggi cubes
Boil the yam, plantain and cassava for 20-25 minutes. Top and tail the okra and steam them for 5 minutes and serve together with the casserole.
In the West Indies it seems any hot drink can pass for tea. Coffee tea, cocoa tea… John even calls mulled wine “wine tea” which I find hilarious! =)
Anyway, here’s a lush cocoa tea that has corn starch in it making it thicker than normal chocolate, but if you don’t like it thick you can leave it out.
- 1/2 cup grated local cocoa stick (or 1/4 cup cocoa powder)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup cream or milk
- Sugar to sweeten
- Bay leaf
- (1 Tablespoon cornstarch)
- Put water to boil with cinnamon and bay leaf. Boil for about 15 mins.
- Grate cocoa stick and add to the boiling water; boil for another 10 mins.
- Add cream (or milk).
- Sweeten to taste.
- (Mix the cornstarch with water and add slowly to the boiling mixture, stirring all the time.)
- Add vanilla.
- Strain and serve.
- Add whipped cream and flaked chocolate to make it extra yummy.
I must admit that peanut soup is not something I would have come up with in my lifetime, but this recipe is delicious with a freshly baked bread.
Cummon, you know you just have to try it… =)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 grated onion
- 1 chopped celery stick
- 1 crushed clove of garlic
- chopped leaves of 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 1cup crunchy peanut butter
- 2 cups milk
- Salt and hot pepper sauce to taste
- 1 tbsp cilantro/coriander, chopped to garnish
- Melt butter in a large saucepan.
- Add onion, celery, garlic and thyme.
- Cook for 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly.
- Keep stirring while adding stock slowly.
- Increase the heat and add peanut butter.
- Reduce heat, add milk, salt and hot pepper and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro/coriander.