2 October 2017

Banana Bread ~ but not as we know it, Jim

WARNING ~ this is a very short post, don't fall off the end!


The other day I picked up this interesting little book which was printed in 1965.  It was written by Mrs Eva Pendaeli-Sarakikya and Sister Agnes Blaster.  The first lady collected recipes that “were African in character” and the secon lady collected “the other recipes” which appear to be those from English ex-pats, things such as Egg Mayonnaise Sandwich Filling or Lemon Meringue Pie.

Some of the African are strange and interesting and many of them remind me of my years in the Caribbean where often people still cook the traditional foods of Africa.

The reason I am writing this small post, however, is this very interesting recipe …

Banana Yeast!

2 ripe plantains (large type bananas)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 heaped tablespoon wheat flour
½ teacup lukewarm water

1.   Peel and thoroughly mash the bananas in a basin.
2    Add sugar and then the flour and mix well.
3.   Add the water and stir well.
4.   Pour this into a bottle with a cork.  Leave in a cool place until it starts to ferment.
5.   This amount is enough to raise 2lb of flour.

I am very tempted to try this but, sadly, I am Bananaphobic.   Maybe I’ll man-up some time and give it a go.  In the meantime, if anyone else fancies making this – please do let me know the result.

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18 September 2017

Did you ever do this with Ketchup?


You probably already know loads of ways to use this; some people put it on everything! But it's not only good on a vast range of foods it can be used also as an ingredient in many dishes.

~   Tomato based sauces, soups and stews, e.g. chilli con carne, can taste a little sharp – a spoonful or two of ketchup will fix this.

~   A surprisingly good instant pizza sauce can be made by mixing together equal parts of tomato ketchup and tomato paste. I know it sounds a bit lame but try it! Add a little hot sauce or chipotle paste if you wish.  Oh, and see here for my easy and flexible pizza base recipe.

~   Sauce Marie Rose – this is the classic Prawn Cocktail sauce and can be made simply by mixing together 120g mayonnaise and 1½ tbsp tomato ketchup. If you wish, add a squeeze of lemon juice, maybe a drip or two of hot sauce and/or Worcestershire sauce or, although not normally considered a condiment, a splash of brandy is good in this too!

~   Cocktail Sauce – this is a stronger tasting sauce for seafood.  Simply mix 250ml ketchup with a teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce, a teaspoon of horseradish sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste and season if needed. You might wish to add a little hot sauce.

~   Seafood Alfredo – add a squirt of ketchup to Alfredo Sauce plus perhaps a little brandy, stir in some cooked seafood in and toss with pasta.

Carolina Red Slaw

This is how they make coleslaw in Lexington, North Carolina …

160ml tomato ketchup
120ml cider vinegar
150g caster sugar
a dash of hot sauce - optional
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium cabbage

~   Mix together the first three ingredients.
~   Taste and add hot sauce, salt and pepper till it is utterly delicious.
~   Finely shred the cabbage and toss with the dressing.
~   Chill till needed.

See here for my basic coleslaw recipe plus good ideas to vary it.

Speaking of American chaps here are two more of their traditional recipes …

Catalina Dressing

This is quite sweet and often used to dress Taco Salad.

60ml ketchup
60ml white wine vinegar
½ small onion– very finely chopped or even grated, lightly chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
120ml vegetable oil
salt and pepper and maybe a little hot sauce to taste

~   Mix everything, except the salt, pepper and optional hot sauce, together vigorously. A blender would be a good idea if you can be bothered with the subsequent clean up.
~   Taste and season deliciously.
~   Chill till needed.

Sloppy Joes

Serves 4

This is a bit sweet too but it works, brown sugar goes well with beef.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion – finely chopped
half a green pepper (traditional) or red pepper (nicer) – finely chopped
1 garlic clove – very finely chopped
600g minced beef
½ tsp Dijon mustard
160ml tomato ketchup
3 teaspoons soft dark brown sugar
150ml hot water
salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste
(this seems to be standard in ketchup-using recipes!)
4 burger buns – split

~   Heat the oil, add the onion and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, till it starts to soften and maybe even brown slightly.
~   Add the garlic and cook a minute or so more.
~   Stir in the beef, turn up the heat, and cook, stirring a bit, till the beef has turned brown.
~   Stir in the mustard, ketchup and sugar and when well combined add the hot water.
~   Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, adding a little more water if necessary – the mixture should be thick and saucy, not dry.
~   Taste and season.
~   Serve hot in the burger buns.


BBQ Sauce

This is good brushed onto sausages, burgers, ribs, kebabs, chicken or whatever you have on your barbecue.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small red onion – finely chopped
2 garlic cloves – finely chopped
300ml tomato ketchup
50ml soy sauce
55g soft dark brown sugar
salt, pepper and, guess what?  Hot sauce!

~   In a small pan gently cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil till tender.
~   Stir in the tomato ketchup, soy sauce and sugar and stir together over medium heat till the sugar has melted and the sauce is smooth.
~   Taste and season.

According to an article in the Telegraph 


Well if that is the case I have a suggestion for them.

You may remember I recently wrote a post on 38 ways to flavour mayonnaiseWell ketchup also lends itself to the addition of other flavours, thus becoming more exotic! This time I’ve only come up with a dozen ideas but I’m sure there are lots more – any ideas?

12 Flavoured Ketchup Ideas ...

In theory, my suggestions below are for 240ml ketchup but pretty well in all cases it is a matter of personal preference; add a little, taste and, if you wish, add a little more until it is yummy!

Caramelised Onion Ketchupsee here for how to caramelise onions  and when you have made some and they are cool mix (or even better, purée) into the ketchup in the proportions of about 1 part caramelised onion to 2 parts ketchup. 

Chipotle Ketchup – stir 1 teaspoon chipotle paste into the ketchup, a squeeze of lime would be good too if you have such a thing.

Curried Ketchup – add 1 teaspoon curry paste to the ketchup and stir briskly to combine.

Roasted Garlic Ketchup– mix or purée in 2-3 roasted garlic cloves.


Black Garlic Ketchup – as above but use 2 or 3 cloves black garlic. Read more about back garlic here. 

Balsamic Ketchup – stir in a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar and a little soft dark brown sugar.

Mexican – add 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground coriander and chili powder plus the juice of a lime.

Chinese – add a tablespoon of soy sauce and a couple of teaspoons of 5-spice powder.


Caribbean Mango Ketchup – peel, dice and purée a fresh mango, mix with the ketchup and adjust flavour with lime juice and a little jerk seasoning.

Spanish-ish Pepper Ketchup – 1 roasted, peeled and finely chopped red pepper (or the equivalent from a jar), 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, ½ tsp smoked paprika and a dash of sherry vinegar.

Spicy Orange Ketchup – the zest and juice 1 orange and a little of either hot sauce or chipotle paste.

Sweet Chilli Ketchup – just stir in sweet chilli sauce till it tastes to your liking; probably about 3 or so tablespoons but up to you!


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3 September 2017

Brilliant Ways to use Mayonnaise!

Strange quote by Robin Williams

Well, I am a gentile but have many, many good reasons for eating mayonnaise!

Before we start, however, please see my previous post on 38 Different Ways to Flavour Mayonnaise (it will open in a separate tab so you can refer to it as necessary) all of which can be used in the following ways. 

~    Salad dressing – duh!

~   As a sauce or topping for fish, burgers, steaks, etc. 

~   Dips – any of the 38 delicious different mayonnaise flavours listed in my aforementioned post, make great dips! Here however, is a great hot dip recipe …

Hot Feta & Artichoke Dip

1 390g can artichoke hearts – drained
225g crumbled feta cheese
225g mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic – finely chopped

~   Preheat oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4.
~   Coarsely chop the artichoke hearts and mix together with the rest of the ingredients.
~   Turn into an appropriately attractive ovenproof dish (as you will be taking it to the table) and bake for 20-25 minutes till hot and golden brown.
~    Serve with something great to dip into it – good bread, tortilla chips of fresh veggies.

~   Make like a Belgian! – seemingly they “invented” dipping chips in mayonnaise and I think they did absolutely the right thing. Lovely combination!

~   Coleslaw

With just a bit of onion and some mayonnaise it is possible to turn cabbage into a delicious salad!  Here is my basic coleslaw recipe with ideas for ways to vary it.  I haven’t mentioned different flavoured mayonnaise in that post but go for it!

~   Potato Saladlots of potato salad ideas here. 

~   Mash into potatoes instead of butter – try horseradish mayonnaise in potatoes for beef, for instance, or how about anchovy mayonnaise in the mashed potato for fish pie?

~   Fish Cakes

There are two easy ways to make fish cakes …

1.   Mashed Potato Method – gently mix together equal-ish amounts of flaked cooked fish and potato mashed with mayonnaise of whichever flavour you fancy. Season to taste. Form into cakes and chill for 30 minutes , coat in seasoned flour and shallow fry till hot, crisp and golden.

2.   Breadcrumb Method – mix leftover cooked fish with a tablespoon of tasty mayonnaise per 100g fish. Season as appropriate and gently work in, by hand, fresh breadcrumbs till the mixture is capable of holding together. Chill and cook as above.

~   Spread mayonnaise in sandwiches instead of butter, speaking of which …

~   Grilled Cheese Sarnies – these are even better with the addition of mayonnaise, grilled cheese sandwich information here.

~   Cheese on Toast – mayonnaise is also good mixed with grated cheese plus whatever you like, spread on toast and grilled till golden.  I usually add finely chopped red onion and a little sweet chilli sauce but use your imagination. Warning, however- this quite rich. See here for this plus other Cheese on Toast Ideas.

~   Crisply Coated Fish – when coating fish fillets for baking or frying, instead of the old flour, egg, crumbs method try coating the fish in mayonnaise and then coating with breadcrumbs or panko. See here for more info on baking fish.
~   Corn on the Cob

Mayonnaise is a great alternative to butter or take it further and make …

~   Elote – Mexican Grilled Corn

Basically, this is grilled corn cobs spread with mayonnaise (straightforward mayo is normal but Chipotle Mayonnaise is wonderful!) and sprinkled with Cojita – if you haven’t got any Cojita substitute with Feta or Parmesan.

~   Rustic Cherry Tomato Tart

Before I get into the details I’d just like to say that this is a great way to make a tart if you don’t have the necessary tart case or similar.

320g sheet ready-rolled puff pastry – thawed, if frozen
100g mayonnaise – basil mayonnaise would be brilliant here
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
300g cherry tomatoes

salt and pepper
1 egg – beaten with a pinch of salt

~   Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/180ºC fan/gas 6.
~   Lay the pastry on a baking tray.
~   Stir together the mayonnaise and grated Parmesan and spread on the pastry leaving a border of about 1cm.
~   Halve the tomatoes and arrange prettily on the mayonnaise.
~   Glaze the exposed rim of pastry with beaten egg (handy hint- try not to let any drizzle down the edge of the pastry or it won’t rise so well. Incidentally, click here if you would like 40+ more handy hints for free!)
~   Sprinkle, the whole tart including the edges, with crunchy sea salt and bake for about 25-30 minutes till risen and golden.
~   Serve warm or cold.

Grilling with Mayonnaise

Here is a useful article on how to use mayo instead of oil when grilling – I wish I’d know this when I cooked at a 6 foot wide char-grill every evening at work! 

There are lots of articles around on using mayonnaise as an ingredient in sweet baked dishes; chocolate cake, scones, cookies etc. I’ve never tried this – have you? Let me know in the comments!

In Other News …

I am so glad we live in Cornwall – these are some of the places we have been to in the past few days, all within about 30 minutes’ drive from our home!  Lucky, lucky us!

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29 August 2017

38 Delicious Ways to make Flavoured Mayonnaise(s?)!

As you may remember, weeks ago (I’ve been busy!) I said I was going to do a series of blogs on great things to keep in the storecupboard and, further, that the first one would be about mayonnaise.  Well I lied!  The first two are going to be about mayonnaise!

Good idea! Pin this
to refer to later.

I started writing this post by saying how easy it is to make all sorts of deliciously flavoured mayonaisses (what is the plural of mayonnaise?) rather than buying in all the different ones but I had so many ideas it is a post in itself. My next one will be on delicious ways to use them.

There are so many temptingly flavoured mayos on the market, but all of them are easy to replicate at home.  Such variety was certainly not available where I used to work as a chef (small island in the Caribbean) so I made all sorts of different mayonnaise sauces myself. I see no need to change this now I just cook domestically in the UK.

If you have a jar of bought in mayonnaise (light is fine, that's what I always use) or even homemade mayonnaise you can make all of these.

~  38 Mayonnaise Flavours to Create at Home ~

All the quantities below are for 120g mayonnaise but don’t take them as gospel!

You may well like to add a little salt, or you may not, lemon juice will brighten most flavours so add a squeeze if you’ve got it, garlic is good in lots of things, so is black pepper ~ experiment!

It is important to remember, when using fresh ingredients, that even when combined with mayonnaise they can still go off so the following suggestions do have a limited shelf life, just make what you need.


Fresh Herb Mayonnaise

You need about 15g-20g of fresh herbs per 120g mayonnaise, either finely chop the herbs and stir in or purée the whole herb leaves with the mayonnaise. Use soft leaf herbs, I don’t think rosemary, for instance, will work for this. Try …

~   Dill or Fennel Mayonnaise - for fish, add some lemon juice too.

~   Lemon & Parsley Mayonnaise – add chopped parsley to the lemon butter below!

~   Basil Mayonnaise – purée whole basil leaves with the mayonnaise, taste and season – this is lovely, I used to serve it with seafood mixed grill.
~   Watercress Mayonnaise – purée a small handful of watercress together with mayonnaise and a little lemon juice. This is perfect with poached salmon and good with all sorts of other things too.

~   Etc. – so many herbs, you have a go!

Or make a …

~   Mixed Herb Mayonnaise – a good combination would be ½ tablespoon each of chopped parsley, tarragon, chives, basil and a clove of garlic or do a Provençal Mayonnaise with

I’d just like to say a bit of chopped parsley, or other suitable herb, may enhance and definitely will make almost any of the following look prettier.

Fresh Fruit or Vegetable Mayonnaise

~   Scallion Mayonnaise – a very simple but impressive dressing is made by puréeing half a bunch of coarsely chopped spring onions (scallions) with the mayonnaise. This makes a delicious potato salad

~   Roasted Butternut Squash Mayonnaise! - what a delicious surprise this was! You really should try it.


~   Garlic Mayonnaise – aka Aioli. Add up to 1 (or maybe more - this is very much a matter of taste) very well crushed clove of garlic to the mayonnaise, a squeeze of lemon is good too. Sometimes I add a wincy pinch of turmeric to this so that it looks more homemade and authentically Mediterranean and I call it Aioli!


~   Ginger Mayonnaise – stir in 2 teaspoons of finely grated fresh ginger plus 2 teaspoons of the citrus juice of your choice.

~   Mango Mayonnaise – stir in 1-2 tbsp puréed fresh mango and add a squeeze or lime juice and/or a few drips of hot sauce.

~   Orange/Lemon/Lime Mayonnaise – stir in 3 teaspoon of juice a spoonful at a time, the mayonnaise will thicken slightly. Taste and season and maybe add some finely grated zest. (Handy Hint – if you are going to use the zest grate it off the fruit before juicing, it is much easier that way.) Orange mayonnaise goes well with seafood and duck to name just two. Lemon mayonnaise is good with fish, of course, and lots more. Try adding black pepper to make, guess what? Lemon pepper mayonnaise! Lime is lovely with seafood and spicy things.

~   Caramelised Onion Mayonnaise – see here for how to caramelise onions (it’s my favourite way to cook onions, caramelised or not) and then, when they are utterly cold, stir or purée 1½ tablespoons of them into the mayonnaise.

Cooked Fruits or Vegetables


~   Apple Mayonnaise – stir in 1-2 tbsp apple sauce (recipe here). Season to taste and serve with ham/pork/bacon/sausage type dishes and it makes a great dressing for coleslaw.

~   Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise – mash 6 roasted garlic cloves l and stir into the mayonnaise. 

I must make a confession here; I love roasted garlic mayonnaise and usually get it from M & S!!! This is because my real man doesn’t like the smell of garlic, even when its roasting, so I kindly don’t fill our tiny home with its aroma.

~   Roasted Pepper Mayonnaise – finely chop 2 tablespoons of roasted red pepper (home cooked or bought in a jar) and mix into the mayonnaise.  Maybe add a little chopped parsley for prettiness.

From your storecupboard

These will have a longer shelf life than the fresh additions above.


~   Mustard Mayonnaise – add 1½ tablespoons of Dijon mustard OR wholegrain mustard or a mixture of both.

~   Honey Mustard Mayonnaise – replace half a tablespoon of mustard in the above ‘recipe’ with runny honey.

~   Horseradish Mayonnaise – stir in ½ - 1 tbsp horseradish sauce plus a little lemon juice and season to taste. Due to an enzyme in the horseradish this tends to thicken considerably over time so don’t make it too much in advance.

~   Sweet Chilli Mayonnaise – stir 3 teaspoons of sweet chilli sauce and 2 teaspoons of lime juice into the mayo.

~   Green Chilli Mayonnaise – I make this using Patak’s wonderful Green Chilli Pickle  (I am sure there are others too). It is VERY potent so start cautiously and abstemiously with, say, a scant ¼ teaspoon of the pickle stir it in, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice and taste.  Add little more if you wish. This is great with chicken and fish, especially fish and chips as a kind of feisty tartare sauce substitute and it makes a lovely dressing for chicken salad.

~   Mango Chutney Mayonnaise – take 1-2 tbsp mango chutney and finely chop the lumps. Stir into the mayonnaise perhaps with a little citrus juice, This is good with duck, spicy dishes and seafood.

~   Chipotle Mayonnaise – stir in a little or a lot of chipotle paste, start with about ½ a teaspoon and work your way up.


~   Wasabi Mayonnaise – mix ½ tablespoon of wasabi powder to a paste with 1 teaspoon of water, stir it in and see what you think of it.  Bit of lemon juice maybe? Touch more wasabi? Lovely with tuna.

~   Caper Mayonnaise – add a tablespoon of finely chopped capers, a squeeze of lemon juice and maybe some finely grated zest if you have some.  Perfect for salmon or, even better, smoked salmon. Or make your own ...

~   Tartare Sauce

120g mayonnaise
½ tbsp finely chopped capers
½ tbsp finely chopped gherkins
juice of ¼ lemon

~   Mix all together. That’s it.

~   Pesto Mayonnaise – add 1 tablespoon pesto to the mayonnaise.

~   Tapenade Mayonnaise – (quite a few tapenades in Tesco to choose from!) stir 1½ tbsp of tapenade plus some chopped parsley and black pepper into the mayonnaise.

~   Green Peppercorn Mayonnaise – drain and finely chop 2 tbsp green peppercorns, stir into the mayonnaise and serve with steak, to name just one idea.


~   Anchovy Mayonnaise - very finely chop 4 or 5 tinned anchovies and stir into the mayonnaise. Add some lemon juice but NO salt unless you are a maniac.  Take this further and make …

~   Caesar Dressing for Cheats

1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 oz shredded Parmesan
2-3 anchovies
juice of half a lemon
dash of Worcestershire sauce
good grind of black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp mayonnaise

~   In a food processor or liquidiser blend together all the ingredients down to the olive oil.
~   When smooth add the mayonnaise and give it a quick whizz.
~   Taste and season but I doubt it will need anything – almost definitely NOT salt.

~   Sesame Mayonnaise – add 1 tsp (or a little more) sesame oil and season to taste with a little salt or soy sauce. Some good additions to this would be sesame seeds, toasted sesame seeds (even better) and/or finely chopped spring onions or a teaspoon of finely grated fresh ginger.  Speaking of which …

~   BBQ Mayonnaise – this is 2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce stirred in together with a good grind of black pepper.

~   Marie Rose Sauce for Prawn Cocktail etc.

120g mayonnaise
1½ tbsp tomato ketchup
a little hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce

~   Mix all together – a splash of brandy or vodka is good in this too!

Spiced Mayonnaise

~   Black Pepper Mayonnaise – obviously the way to make this is to grind in as much black (or mixed)pepper as you like. Add a little lemon juice if you fancy it.

~   Curry Mayonnaise – stir in 3 teaspoons of curry powder and 2 teaspoons of lemon or lime juice. Add a little chopped fresh coriander if you have some.

~   Red or Green Curry Mayonnaise – add 2 tsp of whichever curry paste you are using plus a squeeze of lime juice and, as with above, a little coriander if you have it.

~   Saffron Mayonnaise – heat a small frying pan and add 4 or 5 saffron threads. Toss around for a few seconds till the saffron is a little darker. Remove from the pan and cool. Crush the saffron in a pestle and mortar to a powder, add a clove of garlic and crush to smooth. Stir into the mayonnaise, taste and season with salt and lemon juice. 

~   Smoky Paprika Mayonnaise – ½ tsp smoked paprika and a squeeze of lime. 

 A Few More Mayonnaise Ideas


~   Bacon Mayonnaise aka Baconnaise– see how to make bacon salt here (it is so delicious and useful you might as well make some) and prepare the bacon as instructed.  Instead of crushing it with the salt, crush it all alone and stir into the mayonnaise.
~   Blue Cheese Mayonnaise – mix in about 60g of crumbled blue cheese. Black pepper is great in this. Good with beef, salads containing pears and lots more.

~   Black Garlic Mayonnaise I LOVE black garlic so, naturally, I make this a lot! Mash 2 black garlic cloves to a paste and stir into the mayonnaise. Maybe add some black pepper. This goes great with steak, blue cheese and licked off the spoon, to name just a few ways to enjoy it.

38 is quite a few suggestions but if you think of any more please let me know!

My next post will be on lot of ways to use mayonnaise, flavoured or otherwise.

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