Green Mango Jam

green mango jam

Happy New Year Friends! It is overwhelming to think of all that has happened in the previous year and also a bitter-sweet feeling realizing 2015 is gone for good. I hope you have made the most out of it and if you haven’t, 2016 is a fresh new slate to write your story. I hope you write a memorable one.  Speaking of writing, I have not been writing here for the past one week because the holidays demanded much of my attention. How was Christmas? I spent mine making an epic brunch with recipes from here. Then staying up was the order of the day so as to catch the New Year. It still hasn’t hit home that it’s a brand new year. It never does for most of us! I am so grateful and honoured to still have you read these words here on this corner of the internet. I am so excited for what the New Year will bring. What are your resolutions for the year? I also have some exciting things in store for this blog right here. Stay tuned! And to start off the year on the bright side; I have been observing the mango seasons. Trees put on fruit in November and December and May and June. Which was exciting because it gave me time to experiment with the green mangoes before they ripened! Part of my resolutions is to have decent breakfast meals. This means waking up early and honestly I am not a morning person. But hey it doesn’t hurt to try. No? Because I want to have decent breakfast, I have been experimenting with home-made jam. Have you ever tried making your own jam? It is so gratifying, you should try it. Since mangoes have been all over, this green mango jam was born. With a great combo of tanginess and sweetness to it, it would be great to spread on every slice of bread, scones, cookies, etc.. I have been fighting the urge to not slather it on almost everything. But in all honesty, when you get your hands on some green mangoes, make a batch of this jam (you can even double it up) and have your mornings catered for. You are welcome!

 

What you will need:

2 C. Green Mangoes, peeled

½ C. Sugar

½ C. Water

¼ Tsp. Vanilla extract

 

 

Method

Once the green mangoes are peeled, grate the mangoes till you get two cups. In a clean pan, Add the grated mangoes (make sure you add the mango juices too), the sugar water and vanilla extract. Boil the mixture. Once the mixture has boiled, reduce the fire and let it simmer till the water has completely reduced. Stir occasionally.  A thick  mixture will remain once the water has evaporated. Let the jam cool. Once completely cool, store in an air tight  jar/container and keep refrigerated.

Have a wonderful week and a prosperous new year!

🙂

Sophie

 

Smoky Eggplant Parmesan Meatballs in Homemade Pasta sauce

Here is exciting news! I have two recipes for you today. The amazing Parmesan meatballs and the best ever home-made pasta (Macaroni) sauce! These meatballs in this sauce are so good that describing their awesomeness may need a post of its own.

But first, a short story.  About two years ago, my mother decided to mass (…OK not mass. Around 50 plants) plant eggplants. We nurtured them till the plants started putting on beautiful fruits (are eggplants fruits?). The first harvest produced a good yield and we exhausted every possible way we’ve ever prepared eggplants. The second harvest brought an even bigger yield but by that time we were fed up with eggplants so we started giving them away and selling the rest.  About a year later, I learned how to make this Filipino eggplant omelette from a friend. It was so good I wished I had known about the recipe earlier when we had eggplants in abundance!

This eggplant omelette inspired these Parmesan meatballs. Roasting the eggplants gives them a smoky meaty flavor. Adding a generous amount of Parmesan adds a meaty flavor while enhancing the flavor of the meatballs. With my friends over at Paramount Dairies, I bring you these irresistible smoky eggplant Parmesan meatballs in rich homemade tomato sauce.  This dish makes the ultimate accompaniment to pasta (Macaroni), is vegetarian friendly and, not to mention, an absolute comfort food.  Let’s get cooking.

What you will need:

Pasta (Macaroni) Sauce

20 tomatoes

3 medium onions, finely chopped

4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon coriander

½ Tsp cinnamon

1 C Tomato sauce/ketchup

4 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan

1/8 C. Sugar

2 Tbsp. Cooking oil

1 Tsp. Mild Chilli oil (optional)

Salt

Meatballs

5 Eggplants

2 Large green papers

1 Medium carrot

1 C. Grated Parmesan

1 Large Irish potato

2 Packs dehydrated soya meat (about two cups)

¼C. Baking Flour

2 Large eggs

1 Tsp. Garlic powder/2 Tsp. Finely chopped garlic

½ Tsp. Black pepper

1 Large onion

Salt

Oil for frying

 

Observations

  1. Chilli oil is optional. The amount you add depends on how much you can endure.
  2. The tomatoes are juicy and will cook in their own juices. Adding water is not required but if you prefer a lighter sauce, add about a cup of water.
  3. I used tomato sauce made in Uganda because it has a ketchup feel and consistency.
  4. Adding sugar reduces the sourness of the tomatoes and adds a subtle sweet flavor that compliments the savory meatballs.
  5. The eggplants may burst. This is normal. They are releasing the heat. To prevent the bursting though, slash them with(like how you would a whole fish to be cooked)a knife before roasting.
  6. This recipe makes 45+ meatballs.

 

Method

Sauce

Wash the tomatoes and then peel them. Cut into quarters then set aside. Put a saucepan on medium heat and add the oil. Let it get hot then add the garlic. Wait for the garlic to slightly turn brown then add the onions. Stir well. After two minutes, add the quartered tomatoes. And stir them well. Add chili oil. Cover the pan and let the tomatoes cook. After about 5 minutes, remove the lid and stir the tomatoes. Add the coriander and salt. Stir then cover again and let the tomatoes simmer in their juices. After about two minutes, when the tomatoes are starting to soften, use the flat back of a wooden spoon or the bottom side of a plastic cup (feel free to improvise. Anything that can mash the tomatoes will work.) to mash them while stirring occasionally. When all the tomatoes are mashed and a thick-like soup consistency is formed, add the ketchup/tomato sauce, cinnamon and sugar. Stir well and place the lid back on. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the grated Parmesan and stir well. Remove from fire.

Meatballs

Wash well all the vegetables to be used. On a charcoal/gas stove with high fire, roast the eggplants till charred. While the eggplants are roasting, finely chop the green pepper, the onion and the garlic. Grate the carrot and potato. Keep an eye on the roasting eggplants. Using a brown paper bag (or any bag, improvise), crush the dehydrated soya meat till they are like breadcrumbs. Once all the eggplants are fully charred, let them cool down. After, remove all the charred skin and cut off the stalks. The flesh inside will be fully cooked.

 

In a bowl, combine the grated potato, roasted eggplants, ground dehydrated soya meat, onion, salt, garlic powder and black pepper, carrot, green pepper and eggs. Mix well. Next add grated Parmesan and flour and mix well. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes (or more for the flavors to fully incorporate). This will allow the dehydrated soya meat to absorb excess liquid.

 

After five minutes (or more), start forming the meatballs. Put a sauce pan on medium heat and add oil enough for the meatballs to be halfway submerged. Let the oil get ready. Add the meatballs in the hot oil and let them fry till they turn golden brown. Once all the meatballs are fried, add half of them in the pasta (Macaroni) sauce sprinkle some more cheese and put back the pan with the sauce on fire. Let them simmer for 5 minutes (till the cheese melts.). Remove from fire. Cook the pasta (Macaroni) according to directions on the pack. Serve pasta (Macaroni) with the sauce and meatballs and sprinkle some more cheese on top! I told you this is exciting. You can easily double this recipe and serve guests an epic meal!

 

🙂

Sophie

You can find Paramount Parmesan Cheese in major supermarkets in Kampala

Sweet Potato Sandwich Cookies

Are you all feeling the chilly weather? Finally the rain has taken over  and now days are filled with  either downpours or soft drizzle. It’s that time where you wonder whether it is still morning, because of the gloominess, until you look at the clock.  I am sure most of us wish we just stayed snuggled up almost all day( I do!).  It’s that  time that teas find their way in our daily meals.

So the other day, I had sweet potatoes left over from making katogo (recipe coming soon). The weather was cold and wet and I wished the house was filled with warm sweet scents and aromas. So we got cooking…err baking. These cookies have a sweet potato base in the middle and it is really really (really) good.  So while you are dreaming of having something warm to lighten up the gloominess, I suggest you get your sweet potatoes out, flour and all things nice and make these cookies. You will not regret.

What you will need:

Cookie dough

2 ½  C. Baking flour

½ Tsp. Baking powder

1 C. Butter/Margarine, melted

¾ C. Sugar

1 Egg

¼ C. Milk/Water

Sweet potato filling

1 C. Sweet potato, boiled and mashed

Juice of ½  Lemon

1 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tbsp. Cinnamon

Pinch of salt

 

Method

Filling

In a bowl, Mix the mashed sweet potato with the lemon juice  till well combined. A paste-like consistency will form. Add the sugar, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Set aside.

Cookie dough

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together starting with the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar).

Next, add the wet ingredients (butter, egg and vanilla extract and milk). Keep mixing till the mixture is coarse but well blended and has formed firm dough.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough till thin (make sure it can still be lifted though).  On top of the rolled cookie dough, add the sweet potato filling and spread it out evenly half way on the dough. Flip the other half of the dough on top of the spread out filling and press firmly. Now, using a cookie cutter or glass, cut out the cookies.

If you are using an oven toaster, bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes or until they start turning golden brown and release a warm aroma. If you are using a regular oven, use the usual cookie baking regulations. If you don’t have any oven, you can pan bake them using this method. It works! Let the cookies cool down as they harden.

Makes 20+. Now that they are ready to eat, serve them with a warm cup of hot tea.

 

🙂

Sophie

 

PS: Forgive my lack of rolling a perfect shape. I am working on that!