I had hoped to come up with something profound to say on the subject du jour: New Year, New You. I might have gone on about fresh starts, turning over new leaves (leafs?), spring cleaning your diet/life/soul/refrigerator (maybe I should do the latter, if only as a good incentive to actually do it). But, to be honest, I am assuming that most of you are sorted for that stuff. And to be doubly honest, I hold no expertise in any of that.
There are plenty of blogs, books and newspaper articles that can fulfil this yearly yearning for renewal and reinvention. But I have not contributed to them. Everyone is different: has different life experiences, expectations, limitations and needs. Most of us know what we have to do already. Sometimes just a little nudge or reminder is all we require.
Hopefully over the years I have broadened your culinary world at least a little, given some nuggets of useful science-based nutrition information, introduced a little more colour and spice to your table. More of the same will come in 2016 from food to glow, but with an added platform. This year I will be contributing opinion articles on nutrition and food to Huffington Post. On my blog I try not to be too sassy, but it will be interesting to have a new outlet where I am encouraged to question what is coming through as news and fact. If you are a longtime reader of food to glow you may sense that I am sceptical about much of what seems to be new and improved about diet and health. You would be right.
I won’t get ahead of myself for now though. If you like, follow me on Twitter for updates on my Huffington Post articles, or go over to the sidebar and like my Facebook page. Thanks for your support. Oh and if you have an idea that you think I should explore, do let me know.
Jerk Black Eye Peas Stew Recipe
Black eye peas (or beans, as they are called in the UK) are a traditional New Year’s Day meal in the southern states of the US. Eating them is supposed to bring luck and money your way. I’m not sure about that, but eating black eye peas is certainly a healthy way to start the year, and they are a mild-tasting pea that takes on so many flavours. I have a couple of black eye pea recipes, with more information about US customs at this time of year – Hoppin’ John for New Year’s Day Luck, Southern Style, and Groundnut and Black Eye Pea Stew (mega-favourite of ours).
The punchy stir-in sauce for this easy recipe can be made in a blender or food processor. Make more if you like and keep in the fridge to use it as a jerk sauce for other things you fancy spicing up. It will keep for one week – or pop it in the freezer.
For a “mixed palate” crowd, make the stew without the sauce and serve up sauce-less stew before adding the sauce to the remainder, maybe adding a splash of the sauce to the former. But this easy recipe is more about flavour than heat, and is based on my 2013 recipe, How To Make Jerk Marinade + Jerk Paneer Vegetable Kebabs with Pineapple-Mango Salsa. xx
2 scotch bonnet peppers, deseeded (use rubber gloves when handling the peppers)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
Whites from one bunch of spring onions/scallions, roughly chopped
7 dates, stoned
1 thumb of ginger (about 10g)
¾ tbsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground turmeric or 1 heaped tsp raw
½ tsp black pepper
2 rounded tbsp tomato puree
½ tbsp. dried thyme
1 good sprig fresh lemon thyme, leaves stripped (optional)
1-2 tsp (lower sodium) soy sauce, coconut aminos or tamari sauce
Juice from 1 lime, plus the zest
800ml light vegetable stock or water
1 sweet/bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tin of tomatoes
Double handful of frozen or fresh corn
2 tins of black eye peas/beans, drained
100g (rounded ½ cup) rice
100g (typical bag, ribs removed) chopped kale
Handful of parsley, chopped
1. Add all of the sauce ingredients to your blender or food processor and blitz until completely smooth. It will taste very hot, but remember you are diluting it way down as the stew.
2. Bring the water or stock to the boil and add the sauce (unless adding at the end for a mixed palate crowd), chopped pepper, tomatoes, corn, beans and rice. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the kale and parsley, re-cover and cook for a further five minutes. Taste for seasoning, adjusting as needed (such as a dash of sea salt). The stew is ready when the rice is tender. Serve with cornbread if you like, and some additional hot sauce, chopped tomatoes, parsley, olive oil and slices of lime.