St Helena Recipe Article 1
My first week on St Helena has been packed full with new encounters and food has already featured highly! I am really looking forward to my short time here (6 weeks) and know there is plenty for me to learn about the foods and dishes of St Helena.
I have always worked in the food business, either as a chef in my own restaurant, managing other people’s hotels and restaurants or assessing and inspecting hotels and restaurants. So one could say I have “All-round” experience! Over the forthcoming weeks I hope to share some of this with you in the form of recipes and tips. I will be talking about food items commonly found on St Helena so please give some of the recipes a go.
The recipe below comes from the Ottolenghi restaurant in London which is also a deli. They are famous for their giant meringues which feature in their shop window as do the large bowls of salads which people line up for as soon as they open.
This recipe features two of the most popular ingredients on St Helena although in the UK as many of you know, spinach is known as Chard. This recipe is for Chard and not English spinach. It would be a great thing to partner up with some pan-fried tuna or any fish for that matter or vegetarian main course with some crusty bread.
Sauté of Chickpeas with Butternut Squash
70g Dried Chickpeas soaked for 24 hours and boiled until tender or 1 tin of chickpeas
1 Medium onion peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1tsp finely chopped chile or few pinches cayenne pepper
Juice of ½ lemon or lime
Handful of parsley or coriander finely chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
100g spinach leaves
200g butternut squash or young pumpkin cut into 2cm cubes
4 Tblsp olive oil or other oil
· Preheat the oven to 200C
· Peel and cut the squash into 2cm cubes
· Place in a bowl or jug and toss in 2 Tblsp olive oil, salt and pepper
· Tip into a baking tray and roast for 30mins or until cooked
· Whilst the squash is cooking: Fry off the onion in the remainder of the oil until soft and then add cumin, chile and sugar and cook for another five or so minutes until golden brown
· Stir in the chopped spinach and chickpeas and then add the cooked squash
· Add a little water (about 5tblspn) and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally
· Just before serving check the dish for seasoning and finally add the chopped herbs and lemon or lime juice.
Tip of the week: Bicarbonate of soda in dry pulses when you soak them.
Did you know that if you put a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in the water that you soak chickpeas, lentils and pulses in, they are much softer and easier to cook?
Just add the bicarbonate of soda to the water and soak for the usual day or so before cooking.
Food Partner of the week: Pumpkin
When planning meals sometimes there is a bit of a mental block when it comes to “what can I serve with such and such?” I thought it might be useful to draw attention to one food item each week and list its partners. As one of the most common foods on the island I have started my food partners list with Pumpkin. The list below covers many of the most common and some less common partners for pumpkin across the world.
One of the most popular starters on my restaurant menu was a ravioli of pumpkin with sage butter. Now ravioli is a bit of a pain to make so perhaps we can change this by getting our favourite pasta cooking. Cut the pumpkin into small cubes and then slowly sauté it in butter with a little bit of sage (or steam it and then sauté it). When the pasta is cooked and pumpkin is ready toss both together in a bowl to mix thoroughly. Place in a serving dish and if you like cover with grated cheese (it should be parmesan) and place under the grill to brown.
Take a look and see whether there are any new ingredients you fancy partnering with your pumpkin here:
Apples Almonds Amaretti biscuits, Bacon Bourbon Brown sugar Butter Caramel Chile Curry Gruyere Cheese Honey Leeks Mace Maple Syrup Mint Rum Sage Sherry Sour Cream Sugar Thyme Vanilla White wine vinegar Nuts Nutmeg Mushrooms Molasses Mint Cognac Coconut Cinnamon Cloves Duck Garlic Ginger Pecan nuts Olive oil Onions Walnuts Yoghurt Black pepper
Articles & Recipes
The articles first appeared in the St Helena Herald in the Autumn of 2011.