Being chosen as a Foodbuzz 24×24 Gulf Ambassador for Foodbuzz was really great. As it states on their website: Foodbuzz: 24 meals in 24 hours. Showcasing posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, the monthly Foodbuzz 24 highlights unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period. “From San Francisco to Sydney, Feast on it!”
I did not know what to expect when I submitted my proposal and as this is the first challenge I have attempted I was so proud of myself to be chosen. Not only was I going to make three courses I had never tried before, I was going to be contributing to a greater good. This month, 24×24 is in aid of the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
My first challenge was deciding who to invite. We can only seat 4 people comfortably at our table and so could only invite one couple. Also, the 25th (today) is my birthday and I wanted the evening to be special. We also had to invite people who would eat the meal I was preparing, and who would understand the need for me to take photographs of each course!
The theme for the dinner was not a masqued ball. The reason for this is that even though I would love to have a masqued mall to celebrate the uniqueness of the Southern States surrounding the Gulf of Mexico, my husband is not partial to wearing a Tuxedo.
My menu to celebrate what I loved about Mobile, New Orleans and Mardi Gras was as follows:
Starter: prawn and spicy sausage Jambalaya.
Main course: Cajun marinated pork fillet served with sweet potatoes
Dessert: red velvet cupcakes
Before I started preparing my meal I looked in my Recipe Encyclopedia to read up about Cajun Classics and started by first making my own Cajun Spices, using the recipe in the book as my guide:
Mix together 1 tablespoon garlic flakes, 1 tablespoon onion flakes, 2 teaspoons white pepper, 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons dried thyme and ½ teaspoon dried oregano. Store the mixture in a jar and use as needed.
Once I had done that I made my own version of Cajun vegetables by dicing 1 large onion, 1 red pepper and 2 celery stalks. Traditionally one would use green peppers, but I do not eat green peppers and so chose the red pepper as the substitute.
As these were all meals I had not attempted before I made use of all the tools available to me. I used wikipedia to understand what a Jambalaya is.
Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts, with meats and vegetables, and is completed by adding stock and rice. It is also a close cousin to the saffron colored paella found in Spanish culture. Well, this helped me as I make an awesome Paella. There are two primary methods of making jambalaya. The first and most common is Creole jambalaya (also called “red jambalaya”). First, meat is added, usually chicken and sausage such as andouille or smoked sausage. Next vegetables and tomatoes are added to cook, followed by seafood. Rice and stock are added in equal proportions at the very end. The mixture is brought to a boil and left to simmer for 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the recipe, with infrequent stirring. Towards the end of the cooking process, stirring usually ceases. I decided to only do prawns and spicy sausage as I did not want a heavy starter. We have a lovely source of prawns from a friend of ours who fishes them off the Mozambique coast.
I then looked up what ingredients to use for my pork and the list was quite long. Bay leaf, oregano, bell peppers, black pepper, cayenne pepper, celery, garlic, onion, flat leaf parsley, sassafras leaves, sugarcane and thyme. Bell pepper, onion, and celery used together are known as the “holy trinity” of Cajun cuisine. You can buy blended spices but as wikipedia says these do not suit every cook’s style because Cajun-style seasoning is often achieved from scratch, even by taste. Whole peppers are almost never used in authentic Cajun dishes — ground Cayenne, paprika, and pepper sauces predominate. I looked at the Cajun spices available and would not consider buying them which is why I made my own. One can use hot sauces, a seafood boil mix, persillade and marinades as well as rubs. Some meals will be served with pickled hot green peppers as a condiment.
Cajun Marinated Pork Fillet served with Sweet Potatoes and Red Beans
for the marinade
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 black pepper corns
- 2 cloves garlic, cut in half
- 1 handful flat leaf parsley
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 orange, zest and juice
- 125 mls olive oil
for the pork:
- 500 g pork fillet
- 250 g streaky bacon
for the sweet potato mash
- 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 5 mls lemon infused olive oil
- 15 g butter
for the red beans
- 15 mls olive oil
- 25 mls Cajun vegetables
- 5 mls Cajun spices
- 1 tin red beans
- black pepper to season
- water to loosen
for the gravy
- any leftover Cajun vegetables
- any leftover marinade
- 125 mls red wine
- water to loosen
for the marinade
- begin by making the marinade by mixing together all the ingredients
- marinade the pork fillets for at least 2 hours, out of the fridge
- preheat the oven to 180? Celsius
for the sweet potato mash
- steam the sweet potatoes and once they are soft, leave in the pot with a dish towel under the lid to dry them out
- once dry remove from the pot and add the olive oil and butter to the pot to melt
- push the potatoes through a ricer and mix into the olive oil and butter until a smooth mash is formed
cooks note: you can leave this on a low heat to keep warm
for the red beans
- fry the Cajun vegetables in the olive oil and add the Cajun spices
- when soft add the beans
- when heated through, add black pepper to taste
Cooks Note: if you make these in advance and want to reheat them, add some water to loosen the ingredients
for the pork fillets
- seal the pork fillets and set aside
- lay out the bacon on a piece of cling film and lengthen the bacon by using the flat edge of a knife
- chop up the garlic cloves used for marinading
- place the pork fillet on the bacon and arrange the garlic and parsley on top
- tightly seal the bacon around the fillet
- cook for 25 minutes on a roasting rack and allow to rest before carving and serving
for the gravy
- place the left over vegetables and marinade into a pan and allow to cook until the vegetables are soft
- add the red wine, any pan juices and a bit of water if necessary
- reduce until you are ready to serve the meal
For dessert I served red velvet cupcakes. My inspiration came from a recipe my friend Browniegirl posted and the original can be found here. According to wikipedia a red velvet cake is a cake with a dark red, bright red or red-brown color. It is usually prepared as a layer cake somewhere between chocolate and vanilla in flavor, topped with a creamy white icing. Common ingredients are buttermilk, butter, flour, cocoa, and red food coloring or beetroot; although beetroot is traditionally used, many prefer food coloring since it is seen as more appealing. The amount of cocoa used varies in different recipes. A typical frosting is a butter roux (also known as a cooked flour frosting). Cream cheese or buttercream frostings are also used. As Dave does not eat beetroot, my only choice was red food colouring. I used a modified version of my cup cake recipe which appears in my cook book Lavender & Lime
Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 500 mls flour
- 15 mls baking powder
- 1 pinch fine salt
- 20 mls cocoa powder
- 1 orange, finely grated zest only
- 4 eggs
- 375 mls fructose
- 5 mls red food colouring gel
- 100 g butter
- 190 mls water
- Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
- sieve together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder
- in a large bowl beat the eggs with an electric mixer
- add the fructose gradually until the mixture becomes white and creamy
- add the food colouring and mix in thoroughly
- in a small saucepan heat the butter and the water until just about to boil
- remove from the heat and fold into the egg mixture alternating with the flour mix
- pour the mixture into cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes
- turn onto a cooling rack and only ice once completely cooled
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
- 125 g best quality cream cheese
- 500 g icing sugar, sifted
- 125 g unsalted butter - softened at room temperature
- 1.25 mls vanilla purée
- ½ orange, finely grated zest only
- Lindt Intense Orange Chocolate finely grated for decorating
- using an electric mixer cream together the sugar and butter on low speed until incorporated
- increase the speed to high, and mix until almost white and fluffy, about 5 minutes (occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula)
- reduce the speed of the mixer to low
- add the vanilla & zest, raise the speed to high and mix briefly again
- add the cream cheese and beat until fluffy
- Pipe or spread onto cakes as desired
be patient as this takes some time but do not beat for too long or it will go runny
May be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days
The meal was accompanied by Cajun Jalapeno Bread made in my bread maker. I opened my birthday present early so that I could make this bread – recipe in Breville ikon BBM600 Baker’s Oven Recipe Book
Cajun Jalapeno Bread
- 310 mls water
- 15 mls oil
- 5 mls salt
- 15 mls fructose
- 750 mls bread flour
- 2.5 mls bread improver, if you do not have bread improver use vitamin C powder or omit
- 7.5 mls milk powder, if you do not have milk powder use scalded and cooled milk and reduce the water by the same amount
- 7.5 mls Cajun spices
- 6.25 mls yeast
- 60 mls Jalapeno peppers, drained, chopped and dried
- Place all ingredients in this order into your bread maker
I also put a dish of Chopped Jalapeno peppers on the table for extra oomph. Before we even sat down to eat we had my adapted version of a Sazerac. In each Martini glass, over crushed ice, pour in ¼ teaspoon absinthe and one tot Jack Daniels. Add the juice of a quarter of a lime. To end I want to say thank you to Chantelle, Ewan and Dave for making this foodbuzz evening so special.
Click on the links for conversions and notes.
40 thoughts on “Foodbuzz 24×24: Not A Masqued Ball”
My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!
We are the ones that should be thanking YOU!!! What an awesome, awesome, awesome evening!!! Thank you so much for the delicious food, wonderful wine and fabulous company!!!
(hopes this comment submits properly)
I can read your comment! The company is what made the evening so special xxx
YAY that I can comment here now 😀
Tandy, this looks amazing! What a lot of effort! I love the look of all your dishes, especially the main – the pork looks so tender! The cupcakes look divine – I have actually been wanting to try red velvet cupcakes for a while, but I will use the beetroot 🙂 Congrats again – oh and happy birthday for yesterday 🙂
thank you so much! I am going to try a carrot and beetroot cake!
I adore beetroot chocolate cake!!! With yummy ganache frosting 🙂
have you posted the recipe for this?
What a fabulous spread Tandy. WOW! You did really well. Congratulations and happy birthday again for yesterday. So glad you and your guests had such a special evening. Thanx for spreading the red velvet cupcake love :o) Hugs xx
thanks Colleen – it was a perfect evening! Have a super day xxx
What a feast!!! you did a fabulous job!! and Happy Happy Belated Birthday for Yesterday!! May all your dreams and wishes come true!!! xxx
thank you for the wishes xxx
*whispers to Sharon* You have to try that pork recipe!!!
I think that may be my entry for Korea! Still looking for an assistant though!
Happy birthday! What a fabulous spread to celebrate.
thanks Marisa – it was an awesome meal 🙂
I have had no internet the entire weekend and missed out on your birthday as well as this glorious spread. Happy birthday dear Tands and this is outstanding…..
thank you for the wishes Nina 🙂
That prawns make my mouth water.
they were very succulent!