Pan Seared Pork Chops

>> Thursday, 31 August 2017

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Chops and steaks are quick-cooking cuts of meat; they are ideal for the stovetop or grill. These thin-cut pieces of meat are great for impromptu entertaining or weeknight meals.

Seasoning is easy - use a marinade or your favourite dry rub, but honestly, salt and freshly ground black pepper is more than enough to bring out the flavour of the meat. Because chops and steaks are single cut pieces of meat, if you buy more than you need, simply season, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then a zip bag, label and toss into the freezer. When you're ready to cook, defrost, bring meat to room temperature and cook. It's that easy.

Here's the recipe for these Pan Seared Pork Chops.

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Sweet & Spicy - Bengali Mango Chutney

>> Thursday, 24 August 2017

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As much as I love ripe mangoes, I prefer them uncooked. Ice cream, sorbets, fresh tarts, juices, punches, yes, but not in quick breads, scones, cakes, jam etc. Now green mangoes are different, love them in curries, fresh, and cooked chutneys, like Guyanese sour and achar. A few years ago I came across a photograph of Bengali-style mango chutney and since then I have been hooked. Every mango season, I make this a few times to snack on. The combination of sweet, salt and spiciness from the (pepper) heat and spices always has me licking my fingers and the bowl.

In my version of the recipe I use 2 types of mangoes - turning and half ripe. Both types are explained in the recipe.

This type of chutney is not a condiment to be eaten on the side with your food. It is a stand-alone dish served as one of the courses towards the end of a multi-course traditional Bengali meal. This style of chutney is served in the syrup course just before dessert, acting as a palate cleanser. Though the chutney can be made with other fresh fruits such as tamarind and tomatoes, mangoes are a popular choice.

Try the recipe and let me know what you think. Be sure to read the cooking notes. Make a large batch for all the spicy mango lovers around you. Leftovers keep well for weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

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Okra/Ochroe Fried Rice

>> Thursday, 17 August 2017

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I don't know about you but I always find that the best tasting homemade Fried Rice is the one that you make when you are desperately hungry. It's the Fried Rice you make with whatever assortment of leftovers you have on hand. We are big rice eaters in the Caribbean so there is always the main ingredient - plain cooked rice leftover in the refrigerator - perfect to toss together for Fried Rice.

Apart from being ravenous after a day of errands and wanting something quick and easy to cook, the other inspiration for this dish came from Bamboo Fire Cafe in Delray Beach, Florida run by Guyanese husband and wife team - Beverly and Donald Jacobs. I visited with friends 3 years ago and apart from the Black Pudding, Souse, Garlic Shrimp, and smokey Eggplant Choka with Garlic bread, among other goodies, Beverly served us a platter of Okra Fried Rice. It was very tasty. As I said, my recipe draws inspiration from the original dish; I made it my way - Click here for the recipe.

This dish is excellent as a side dish but also wholesome as a vegetarian dish. For protein, I added some tenderly cooked eggs which I chopped up and tossed in in the final stages of cooking the dish.

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If you are squeamish about okra being in the Fried Rice and possible slime, don't be. Follow the directions in the recipe - slice the okra thinly and fry for a few minutes in very hot oil. The key is not to quickly turn the okra once it is in the pan, let it fry and crisp up before tossing. Work in batches if you are using a small frying pan.

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The full recipe can be found here.

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