Ital

Jamaican/Rastafari word for VITAL, ORGANIC, NATURAL, WHOLESOME… real roots


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Vegan White sauce

We eat some form of pasta about once a week and a few weeks ago I was craving a white sauce instead of the typical tomato red that we would do. This is not a real Béchamel sauce because it isn’t made with a roux which is made by adding flour to butter to make a paste. I made it by just adding flour to warm milk.

Here’s how I made this one:

vegan-bechemel-white-sauce1 cup Oat Milk (I made it perfectly with rice milk that I mixed out thicker than usual from the powder)
2 tbs salt
3-5 tbs flour
1 tsp white or black pepper

Heat milk on a low heat. When it is warm, but before boiling start sifting flour into pot in small portions and whisk as you go along.  It should thicken as you gradually work in the flour. Add salt and pepper and whisk in well.

I sauteed some garlic and chives in a little olive oil before adding the milk for some more tastiness.
Simple as that 🙂 

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Beans growing in our garden

I’m so excited, we now have beans growing in our garden.

I planted a few ‘red speckled beans’ in the garden not really expecting much from them, so imagine my delight and gratitude when earlier this week I realized that there were pods growing right along with the plant even though I hadn’t paid it much attention.

The ‘red speckled bean’ is a type of kidney bean and family to what we call ‘red peas’ in Jamaica even though the legume is a bean and NOT a pea. This is the bean we use to cook our Sunday rice  and peas here since we haven’t come across the familiar ‘red peas’ in Johannesburg.  These ‘speckled red peas’ taste similar to ‘red peas.’

red-speckled-bean


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Vegetarian Chickpeas masala

I haven’t cooked chick peas (also called garbanzo beans) in a long time and I am wrong for that!This masala hit the spot for our Sunday dinner.

Here’s what I used to season the pot:

ital-mama-spice-chickpeas

Missing is luscious coconut milk. I added Rice Milk Power instead… I dont care, judge me.

Preparation
-Chickpeas need to be soaked overnight or pressure cooked for a long time. Make sure you soak, boil and prepare them before hand as this recipe is quick and easy once your ingredients are ready.

-Save some of broth boiled with the chickpeas to incorporate into your dish.

-I also cut my potato, carrots, and string beans into small bits and gently steamed them in a strainer over hot water beforehand.

Cook it up
-Heat some oil to fry onions, garlic, scallion etc until they start to go translucent. I added a 1/2 inch stump of ginger crushed under a clean glass here too.

-In Jamaica cooking there is a technique called “burning the curry” where curry powder is added into the hot oil before anything else. I like to add my curry (in this case tumeric and masala powders) after my onion, garlic, chives etc.

-Stir continuously so it doesn’t catch but so that everything is well coated.

-Add your steamed veggies and keep stiring. I like mine get a bit of a crisp here.

– Now your ready for your pre boiled chickpeas and enough broth to make a nice sauce. Start with a small amount and work your way up if you’re not sure how much broth. Add salt, thyme, coriander and other herbs and spices here.

-Cover and let it bubble on a low heat for 10-20 mins.

-Add tomato in the last five minutes, giving the dish a burst of freshness.

Voila
chickpeas-meal

I know i know i know, this is a hefty meal, Real Jamaican Style 🙂


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Homemade garlic butter

Garlic_Press_and_GarlicHere’s a nifty little recipe, too easy to ignore. Simply crush a clove of garlic (or however much you want) or dice it really small. Add to some butter with a bit of salt and mixed herbs to taste. I like to add a pinch of cayenne pepper too. Mix well. Depending on how strong you want your garlic butter, one clove should be enough to blend with up to 4 oz of butter or less.

It even works great in cooking. Go all out and try infusing your oils with garlic too.

Next time forgo the store bought garlic bread and whip up this butter. Smother it all over a french roll or other bread then pop it in a hot oven. I promise it will be better than anything you buy at the store.


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Reggae Sundays: Weep Not- Khalilah Rose

Khalilah Rose

Khalilah Rose

Khalilah Rose goes in on food control and food pollution in mainstream food sold to us today and warns people to take control of their health.

“Be conscious of what you put inna yuh mouth, stop and read the label/ cancer is lurking about, so watch what yuh puttin on yuh dinner table.”


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Bean Fritters for all Palettes

These little fritters make a great snack on the run or you can incorporate them into a full  meal. They are made just as you would make Jamaica saltfish or banana fritters but with peas! You can use essentially any bean, nut or pea that can be boiled soft. I like to make fritters and burgers with mashed beans because they are a easy and tasty way to switch up the regular bean/peas stews.

spicy lentils

You can also season them in many different ways- try this recipe with jerk, Chinese or curry seasoning. You can make it sweet with a touch of sweet soy sauce, honey/sugar or sweet and sour sauce. Try them with ketchup, bar-b-q sauce or chutney. By all means, complement the little treats, especially if you are serving them as finger food.

Here’s how I made these:

Ingredients
Red Lentils (any legume or vegetable you like)
Onion/Garlic/Scallion, finely chopped
Salt
Black/White/Cayenne Pepper
Other Vegetables you like, finely chopped (i used the seeds & inner rind of sweet pepper, stuff we often throw away!)
Other Spices/Herbs you like
Flour
Oil for frying

Method: Boil lentils until soft. Drain (save a bit of the water for later). Return to pot or mixing bowl and use the back of a fork (or potato masher) to mash peas and mix in the finely chopped onions and garlic. Add salt, pepper and other spices/finely chopped veges and mash them in well. Now add flour and water little by little  until you have a batter that will stick together when fried. Heat some oil in a frying pan then use a tablespoon to carefully drop the batter into the pan in individual portions. Fry on one side until golden then flip over and fry the other size in the same way.

Tasty Tips
For crispy fritters, use the back of a fork of flatten your fritters in the frying pan when you flip them over.

If you’re not sure how much flour to add, start with adding a few tablespoons at a time. When you think you have enough, fry just one to see if it is as you like, then make any adjustments if needs be before frying the rest of the batter

If you want lumpy fritters get a batter consistency as thick as oatmeal, dont mash out the lentils and veges as much. Make a smooth batter by finely mashing everything out.


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How Bees Work

Eucalyptus derived honey

Eucalyptus derived honey

I overheard the producer of this honey telling another customer about the different types of honey she had based on the different trees the bees went to and I asked her to explain more for me.

When bees harvest nectar from flowers the honey they produce has the taste/essence of that flower. She had honey from Eucalyptus (gum) flowers and Macadamia nut flowers. I bought the Eucalyptus one, it doesn’t taste eucalyptus but it does taste different to the other.

She also mentioned that another customer of hers said the macadamia flower honey tastes like maple syrup.