Monday, November 30, 2009

Guest Post: Ghanaian Red-Red and Kelewele

It is with great pleasure to introduce Tracey from Tasty Trix, she has an awesome blog, and can really cook in fact her recipes are often featured on food buzzes top 9, this dish looks fantastic one I will definitely try.

Its my mission to keep finding cool blogs and feature them on Chow and Chatter, so feel free to guest post anytime, its so much fun and such a delight to see recipes from around the world, to inspire us all to cook new foods!

Red-Red and Kelewele, a Traditional Ghanaian Beans and Starch Combo

When Rebecca asked me if I’d like to do a guest post for Chow and Chatter I was quite flattered, very excited – and, truth be told, a bit nervous. What would I write about? I didn’t want to let her down with a boring post! So I asked her if she had anything particular in mind, or if there was any specific sort of dish she’d like me to do, and she said: “Oh, anything.”

Anything! Well, that really got my mind racing. But after running through a zillion recipes and ideas – and rejecting each and every one! – I realized that all I really needed to do was present the kind of food I truly love. After all, one of the things that’s so great about Chow and Chatter is the obvious passion with which Rebecca approaches life, food, family, and friends. There’s also a wonderful diversity of cuisines and voices represented on her blog, and once I realized all this, my choice was easy: I’d write about red-red and kelewele, a traditional Ghanaian duo and one of my very favorite meals in the entire world.

Red-red is a spicy stew of black-eyed peas; kelewele is an even spicier dish of crispy fried sweet plantains. I am not West African, and I’ve never (yet) had the opportunity to visit Ghana, but for some reason, the food speaks to me. When I eat it, I feel nourished in my body and soul; the flavors take me to a euphoric place.

Beans with a starch is a staple of so many cultures, and there’s strong evidence to suggest that it all began in Africa. When you really start looking into it, in fact, the food of West Africa has had such a far-reaching influence on so many cuisines, that’s it’s a but surprising it isn’t more widely enjoyed in other parts of the world. I feel so lucky that I’ve had the chance to sample some authentic West African dishes at restaurants in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and at Benachin in New Orleans!

But it doesn’t matter if you don’t have any Ghanaian restaurants near you – you can easily make red-red and kelewele at home! The genius of this food lies in the fact that so few ingredients come together in such a vibrant and utterly unique way. I really hope you’ll try it!


(As much as I love this dish, I should tell you that I’ve made just a few tiny adjustments; primarily in reducing the traditional amount of red palm oil from nearly a cup (!!!) to just a couple of tablespoons. The flavor is so strong that you’ll still get the idea, but your heart gets to still keep pumping and not completely clog up. You’re welcome!)

  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 tbsp red palm oil (this is essential to get the real flavor of this dish)
  • 2-3 tbsp peanut (groundnut) oil
  • 5-6 hand-crushed canned plum tomatoes, plus a few dashes of juice
  • 1 veggie bouillon cube, unsalted
  • 2-3 hot chilies such as habanero, seeds removed (unless you can take the extreme heat of the seeds), and pounded to a paste
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Simmer the black-eyed peas in a large stockpot in just enough water to cover them until tender, 45 min-hour. Drain. (Keep checking the water levels to make sure the pot doesn’t dry out.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a deep skillet, fry the onions in the palm and peanut oils until the onions begin to brown. Add the chilies and a dash of salt and stir another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and veggie bouillon cube, and simmer about 10 more minutes. Mash the mixture up into a sauce-like consistency and add the drained beans.
  4. Simmer another 10-15 minutes.
  5. While that’s simmering, you can make your kelewele.


  • 2-3 ripe plantains
  • ½ tsp powdered hot pepper
  • ½ -1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp palm oil
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil


  1. Slice the plantains into one-inch thick discs. Mix all of the spices and water together in a bowl, stir in the plantains and stir until they’re covered with the mixture.
  2. Fry the plantain slices in the oil until crispy and brown; about 5 minutes on each side.

This meal is perfect with a cold glass of ginger beer!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Salmon, Mushroom and Spinach En Croute

As part of the Foodbuzz taste maker program we get to experiment in the kitchen with food products, recently we were given a coupon for pepperidge farm puff pastry. I was a bit scared as I have never cooked with it before.

I just couldn't resist trying my hand at Salmon En Croute, using some lovely wild Alaskan salmon. I decided to make a filling with mushrooms and spinach with fresh dill and mustard, it was fun to make and delicious and I was so proud of myself.

So next time you are really wanting to make something new go on give it a try you'll have a blast!

Salmon, Mushroom and Spinach En Croute


  • · 2 Salmon Steaks
  • · one shallot
  • · 3 cloves of garlic
  • · 1 cup of spinach
  • · salt and pepper
  • · one tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • · 1/2 can mushroom soup
  • · 1 cup of mushrooms
  • · one pack of pepperidge farm frozen puff pasty
  • · one egg beaten for glaze
  • · ½ cup fresh dill


1. get the puff pastry out of the freezer and defrost it

2. saute the garlic, shallot, and mushrooms in olive oil with salt and pepper for 5 min

3. add spinach and let it reduce down 3 min

4. add mustard, and mushroom soup

5. in a separate pan pan sear the salmon with olive oil salt and pepper 4 min

6. fold out the pastry and put the salmon in the middle with a spoon of the sauce on top, then fold the pastry around it, cut of excess pastry and seal with egg.

7. brush with egg to give a nice glaze

8. bake in the oven at 400 degree's for 25-30 minutes

saute the shallot, garlic, mushrooms and spinach and add the soup, to make the filling

Roll out the pepperidge farm puff pastry after it has thawed and stuff with the filling

coat with egg and bake at 400 degree's for 30 minutes

Just out of the oven, they were huge definitely enough for 4 people!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ham and Cheese Galettes and Awards

Galette also known as buckwheat crepes, are famous in the Western Region of France namely Brittany, they make a great easy to prepare snack, and often times were taken into the fields by the farmers. The list of fillings are endless, from ham and cheese, salmon, chicken, you can get very creative with them. Buckwheat is dark in appearance it is a rich source of protein, fiber and magnesium. It is also very filling. With the addition of the cheese and ham, you are getting protein and calcium.

We enjoyed these in a little place in Nantes and ate one too many ☺, has it was hailing outside!, I got some flour to make them at home, but I guess regular buckwheat flour will work just fine,


  • 1 cup of buckwheat flour
  • one egg
  • ½ a cup of milk
  • 2 slices of ham
  • one slice of cheese


  1. mix the flour egg and milk together with a hand blender or a whisk
  2. heat a pan add a little olive oil, and cook like a pancake then add the ham and cheese
  3. let it start to melt and fold the crepe around it.

French Flour, we actually bought another bag before flying and I got this, Jams, and coffee!

mix it up!
Cook only on one side and then add your fillings

These are yummy, and really filling makes a great breakfast, lunch or snack, good anytime!

Finally the lovely Chaya of Sweet and Savory says it all gave me an award I wish to give her a friends award
also Bella of LaBellaVita gave me this one:

You have to list the reason's why you love blogging:
  • Its fun
  • I love sharing recipes, both old and new
  • sharing my ups and downs in the kitchen and gaining support and inspiration from you
  • I also love giving nuggets of health advice from the latest research I come across in a very easy to understand way.
  • sharing life and travel with you all, its wonderful to make foodie friends around the globe!
I will to pass it along to everyone, feel free to post on why you love blogging, I appreciate everyone of chow and chatters readers, your following and comments make my days bright and sunny!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Spicy Bottle Gourd

This is a simple South Indian vegetable dish using bottle gourd, or surai-kuduvai in Tamil. The Bottle gourd is one of the oldest cultivated gourds it has even been found in caves in Mexico dating back some 7000 years! It is also often used to make the hollow part of a sitar. They contain mostly water, some vitamin C and fiber.

I was contacted by My Spice Sage a wonderful online spice shop to try some of their spices, and of course I said yes, I use lots of herbs and spices from around the globe. I asked for some Indian curry powders, I must admit I was a little skeptical that they couldn't measure up to my mother in laws from India. But they were really good, I decided to use the Maharajah curry mix as the name makes you think of fabulous kingdoms from long ago and cuisines fit for kings.

  • one bottle gourd, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 curry leaves
  • one spoon of the Maharajah spice mix
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 2 small green chili's
  • canola oil

  1. heat the oil and pop the mustard seeds, add curry leaves, chili's and garlic and onions saute for 2 minutes
  2. then add turmeric, bottle gourd and cook slowly with curry powder for 30 minutes until soft.
I ate this with egglant dal and rice. Overall it had a great flavor and I am looking forward to using the garam masala, and tandoori mix next.

chop the ingredients
saute it slowly


and this is a fabulous article of Britain's love for curries from the BBC

Have a great weekend everyone


Guest Post: Cocido de Cordero-Spanish Lamb Stew


I am so excited to have Diana give us a guest post I have been following her blog for a good while now and love it, she's a talented cook, with a focus on Spanish Cuisine, a great Mum and a great Gardner and Guardian of the environment. She is also a great friend, so I will now hand you over to the lovely Diana of A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa


Buenos Dias! My name is Diana from A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa. I am so excited to be here at Chow and Chatter and want to thank Rebecca for allowing me to share a bit about who I am and a recipe on her wonderful blog. I have been following Chow and Chatter for some time and enjoy reading so many great posts filled with cultural recipes and always focused on nutrition and eating well!

When Rebecca first asked me to guest post, I knew I wanted to share something special and unique to my Spanish heritage. I also wanted to share with you my passion for our local food movement and buying the best in hormone, antibiotic free meat from family farmers. Putting these two thoughts together, I decided to come up with a delicious Spanish stew using lamb shanks from my local family farmer, Cory's Country Lamb.

This recipe uses many different flavours such as green and red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, red wine, and Spanish paprika. All cooked in different stages and simmered low and slow with the lamb shanks to create a warming Mediterranean stew that will leave you yearning to visit Spain!

As Rebecca knows, I am an urban homesteader. I grow my own vegetables and preserve as much as I can before the snow arrives and the winter is upon us. I freeze most of my homegrown tomatoes and preserve my peppers in a variety of ways, including freezing them whole and freezing them after I've roasted them. I love doing this as I have fresh, local, homegrown tomatoes and peppers to use during the winter resulting in some of the flavours of summer!


For this recipe I also used turnips and their greens! Turnip greens are filled with nutrients from vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate, copper, calcium, and dietary fiber. Many people don't realize the nutrition within the greens and ask their family farmer to discard them, eeek!! Turnip greens are beautiful in stews and soups. I have found that different types of turnips produce different flavors in their greens. Some are more bitter than others. I have been enjoying these fall turnips with the purple tops which produce beautiful greens that are much milder in taste similar to spinach or swiss chard.

I also enjoy eating these turnips as they are great eaten raw in salads. They have a bitter crunch similar to a radish. When cooked down, they lose that bitterness and take on the warming characteristics of a cooked root vegetable.

Now on to the recipe!

Cocido de Cordero
Serves 4


  1. 2 lamb shanks
  2. 1 1/4 cups Northern White Beans
  3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  4. 1 large white onion
  5. 4 garlic cloves, pressed or diced
  6. 4 - 5 large tomatoes, deskinned and sliced
  7. 1 red pepper, diced
  8. 1 green pepper, diced
  9. 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  10. 1/2 cup dry red wine, (Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot)
  11. 2 bay leaves
  12. 1 1/2 tsp thyme
  13. 3-4 turnips, diced
  14. 1 cup washed and cut, turnip greens
  15. Kosher/Sea Salt
  16. Pepper
  17. Spanish Smoked Paprika (Pimenton)
  18. Roasted Red Peppers to garnish, preferably homemade
  1. Soak 1 1/4 cups white beans overnight. Preferably, 24 hours.
  2. The first thing we are going to do is make a sofrito. In a large dutch oven, heat up 3 tbls of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, red and green peppers. Saute until the onion is transparent and the peppers tender. Add the diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by about 1/2.
  3. Empty the sauce into a bowl.
  4. Season the lamb shanks with salt, pepper, and Spanish Paprika.
  5. In the dutch oven, add a good drizzle of olive oil and brown the lamb shanks on all sides. For about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Once the lamb shanks are browned, remove and set aside. Add the sauce back into the dutch oven and over medium heat stir into the remaining brown yummy pieces remaining from the lamb shanks.
  7. Add the chicken stock, red wine, bay leaves, thyme, 1 1/2 tsp of Spanish paprika, turnips, and beans. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add the lamb shanks, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 - 3 hours or until the beans are tender and the meat from the lamb shanks are falling off the bone!
  9. 10 minutes before they are finished, add the turnip greens.
  10. Serve and garnish with roasted red peppers
Buen Provecho!!
    I hope you enjoy this recipe and learning a bit about me and my blog. Thanks again Rebecca, for having me! Besitos!!

    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Great Thanksgiving Poem

    I saw this on George's blog the other day and couldn't resist posting it, its wonderful and here are a few more great quotes, Love to you all Rebecca

    May your stuffing be tasty
    May your turkey plump,
    May your potatoes and gravy
    Have nary a lump.
    May your yams be delicious
    And your pies take the prize,
    And may your Thanksgiving dinner
    Stay off your thighs!
    ~Author Unknown

    "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." -Meister Eckhart

    "Praise God even when you don't understand what He is doing." -Henry Jacobsen

    "Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action." - W.J. Cameron

    "If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily." -Gerald Good

    Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans and Happy Thanksgiving

    What are you thankful for? oh I don't even know where to begin, I thank God for my family, friends and good health. Also I am thankful for making so many lovely food blogging buddies and wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving.
    I have an adopted American family and we are going to their home tomorrow, I said I would bring something I saw these sweet potatoes on the Bitten Blog (New York Times) and knew this was the one, flavorful and not too sweet. The sweet potato is a rich source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6 and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Manganese. You will also get protein from the black beans.

    • 6 sweet potatoes
    • 1/4 red onion
    • 6 cloves of garlic
    • a little Italian seasoning
    • handful of fresh cilantro
    • olive oil
    • can of blackbeans
    1. Roast the sweet potato with onion, garlic and herbs until soft
    2. then mix in black beans
    3. puree a few cloves of garlic, herbs and cilantro in olive oil and mix.

    Ready to go into the oven
    Making the sauce
    Its done, ready to take with us tomorrow!

    Here's a fun piece I wrote for Blackwing Quality Meats on the First Thanksgiving meal:

    The first thanksgiving was in 1621 it was celebrated by the Pilgrims with the local Massasout Indian tribe to celebrate surviving many hardships and a successful harvest. The harvest was made possible by the Indians who helped teach the new settlers how to grow corn and local food items. The first meal consisted of fowl, deer donated by the Indians, cornmeal, fish such as cod and Bass, and possible turkey. Although historians feel that it is more likely that turkey became the center piece of the meal later on.

    Other food that may have been eaten include lobster, rabbit, chicken, beans, squash, chestnuts, onion, leek, cabbage, carrot, eggs and goat cheese. Pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce was not on the menu as there was a dwindled supply of sugar and no oven to make the crust. Potatoes were also not on the menu as they were not culitvated at the time. The pilgrams didn't use forks just spoons and knives and a cloth to pick up hot items of food and they didn't eat a meal in courses, all the food was put on the table at once and it could be eaten as desired.

    The meats were roasted and sauces made with ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon , dried fruit and pepper.

    Foods That May Have Been on the Menu

    Seafood: Cod, Eel, Clams, Lobster
    Wild Fowl: Wild Turkey, Goose, Duck, Crane, Swan, Partridge, Eagles
    Meat: Venison, Seal
    Grain: Wheat Flour, Indian Corn
    Vegetables: Pumpkin, Peas, Beans, Onions, Lettuce, Radishes, Carrots
    Fruit: Plums, Grapes
    Nuts: Walnuts, Chestnuts, Acorns
    Herbs and Seasonings: Olive Oil, Liverwort, Leeks, Dried Currants, Parsnips

    What Was Not on the Menu

    Surprisingly, the following foods, all considered staples of the modern Thanksgiving meal, didn't appear on the pilgrims's first feast table:

    Ham: There is no evidence that the colonists had butchered a pig by this time, though they had brought pigs with them from England.
    Sweet Potatoes/Potatoes: These were not common.
    Corn on the Cob: Corn was kept dried out at this time of year.
    Cranberry Sauce: The colonists had cranberries but no sugar at this time.
    Pumpkin Pie: It's not a recipe that exists at this point, though the pilgrims had recipes for stewed pumpkin.
    Chicken/Eggs: We know that the colonists brought hens with them from England, but it's unknown how many they had left at this point or whether the hens were still laying.
    Milk: No cows had been aboard the Mayflower, though it's possible that the colonists used goat milk to make cheese.

    Source: Kathleen Curtin, Food Historian at Plimoth Plantation.

    What ever you eat this Thanksgiving have a lovely day with family and friends Love from Rebecca of Chow and Chatter!



    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    Birthday Meal at Nobles Grill and Awards

    We ate supper tonight at Nobles Grill Winston Salem, it is a famous high end restaurant in town, with a beautiful interior and great ambience and good service. Here's what we all ordered.

    Tomato Basil Bisque this was very nice, but a tad too creamy for me
    Duck, our friend seems to enjoy this and the presentation is very good.
    My friends crab cakes, one thing I will say Nobles does very good crab cakes, my friend said they were pretty good and she is from Maryland!

    I ordered Poulet Rouge, it was a little organic chicken, cooked on a wood fire, over mashed potatoes with some brussel sprouts.
    Overall the chicken was very tasty, but after just returning from France the dish didn't taste French due to the creamed potatoes being too rich, and overpowering the star of the meal the Poulet Rouge

    Coconut cake, this was pretty good, I had it with a cappuccino but again very little foam and a latte at most

    Overall Nobles is a great place to eat, but pricey and I must confess after being in France we are spoiled by great food, this doesn't come close, and it leaves me feeling quite heavy. Where as in France I felt satisfied and light.

    I was twittering with the restaurant and the owner responded to me!, his food blogs are wonderful and he really is someone to look up to in the culinary world.

    Hi & thank you. I'm the owner of Noble's Restaurants & an active blogger & -Jim Noble

    Finally here is our precious daughter the best gift you can ever have

    I also want to thank Esme of Chocolate and Croissants for the lovely blog award, I wish to give her a friends award in return

    Anncoo kindly gave me a Mama blogger award this is very special to me, I want to pass this to Diana of A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa as I adore the way she involves her boys in the kitchen.


    Australian Crunchie and My Birthday!

    Its my 30th birthday today, so I made a goodie from my childhood Australian Crunchie- (no idea how it got its name!) yesterday to treat myself. This was mine and my brothers favorite thing to make when we were kids. Its really easy to make and comes from the BE-RO cookbook an iconic British baking book by a flour company.

    It started to be published in the 1920's when self raising flour was introduced. The traveling salesmen would give it out at demonstrations!, and it is still going strong with over 38 million copies sold!

    • 5 oz self raising flour
    • 8 oz butter or margarine
    • 5 oz sugar
    • 3 oz shredded coconut
    • 3 oz crushed cornflakes or any cereal, Jasmine didn't like the crushing part, but maybe when she is bigger and me and my brother loved smashing it up!
    • one tablespoon of cocoa
    • melted chocolate
    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
    2. melt the butter/margarine over a low heat
    3. stir in the sugar, coconut and cereal, I used wheetabix and oats, cocoa and flour, mix well
    4. turn into the tin and level with a knive and bake for 30 minutes
    5. when almost cold cut into squares
    6. then cover with chocolate, I used a cappuccino flavor!

    The famous book
    Mixing the ingredients over the heat
    Jasmine taste tasting before going in the oven!

    Hope you enjoy it as much as we do, and its great to do with kids.

    I think we will all go out for dinner tonight then of to New York City next week with my Brother from London and friends to celebrate. Will also catch up with some more blogging buddies!

    Love to you all, take a piece and celebrate my birthday with me


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