So many countries with hotter climes than us make fantastic non alcoholic drinks like ginger beer or mango lassi. My favourite though is the Mexican classic horchata. Made with almond and rice milk and spiced with cinnamon and vanilla, this is better than a cold shower or an ice lolly. I first had it at Casa Morita but it seems to have disappeared from the menu, so here’s a homemade version! (This differs from the Spanish version made from chufa or tiger nut in the same way South and Central American Spanish varies from that spoken in Europe.)
Sometimes only a trifle will do. Few other dishes say celebration the same way that a dish of trifle with all the family does. Its layers of cream, custard and fruit please everyone so there’s no better way to get people to try something new by introducing different ingredients to a classic dessert.
I recently bought a hand of gorgeous finger bananas in Brixton Village and couldn’t get over how sweet and moreish they were. Being smaller than usual, they ripened quicker making them perfect for roasting to bring out their flavour. Basting them in a coating of guava jelly made them naturally caramelised.
Layered up with spiced bun soaked in rum, dulche de leche cream and custard, the whole thing is the perfect Brixton trifle. Serve it at a Sunday lunch or a barbecue this summer. You won’t miss the jelly at all…
When the weather warms up, salad becomes your new best friend. Quick and easy, it can be a great way to try out new things or reinvent old favourites. A recent trip to the Nour Cash and Carry saw me impulse purchase a coconut and a packet of bammy. This traditional Jamaican delicacy is made from ground cassava. It was the staple carbohydrate before the Second World War when wheat based breads became cheaper and easier to bake commercially. Wheat and gluten free, it is soaked before being fried or toasted and I just knew it would make great croutons for the salad.
The idea of gluten free eating has become better known in the last few years, bringing great joy to those who are coeliac or gluten intolerant. Brixton is lucky to have the fabulous WAG Bakery, but many people complain that gluten free eating, although good for their health, can feel lacking in excitement and treats. For those people, here is the jibarito or fried plantain sandwich which can be described as many things, but health food isn’t really one of them…
I love spinach. Gorgeous green leafiness, it seems to suit every single style of cooking you can challenge it with and adds iron rich taste to everything. But even Popeye would baulk at the price of it these days. Pillowy packets of it disappear into nothing when cooked and takes you aback everytime. When I first lived in London on a student budget I ate mountains of the frozen version and it still seems to taste of the cheap white wine I washed it down with making me struggle with this budget option.
So imagine my joy when I came across a huge can of that altogether most robust cousin of spinach, callaloo, in the Nour Cash and Carry for just 99p recently. The stronger stems and bigger leaves suit canning well and it retains its texture and flavour much better than spinach does. I thought it would suit slow cooking well and decided to update the Indian classic saag aloo with callaloo for an easy one pot meal.