Ackee with butterbeans, vegetables and dill

Ackee again! To be honest I was going to do a fried rice type of thing and stir the ackee through at the end, but as it turned out I had run out of rice… the horror!
So instead I used butterbeans and ooh it came out well, there’s something about the richness of the ackee with the creaminess of the butterbeans and the crunchy vegetables that’s ever so satisfying.
You could vary the veg, but if you can, do use the dill, the flavour is gorgeous with the ackee and beans.
As well as being delicious, it’s a super quick dish, and is good hot or cold!


Ackee with butterbeans, vegetables and dill

makes 2 nice big servings

1 540 g tin of ackee (340 g drained weight)
1 400 g tin of butterbeans (240 g drained weight)
1 large carrot, finely diced
100 g sugarsnaps, sliced in half
1 large courgette, diced
1 tsp oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar (or apple cider, or balsamic)
2 tbsp tamari
a pinch of pepper, black or white
3 tbsp fresh chopped dill

It’s dead easy this one! Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan, and stir fry the courgette and carrot for about 3 minutes until starting to soften. Add the sugarsnaps and butterbeans along with the vinegar, tamari and pepper and stir fry for a further 3 minutes.
Fold in the ackee, and continue to cook, mixing often until the ackee is heated through. Another 3 minutes should do it!
Stir the dill through at the end.

By E.


Ackee with lemony spiced vegetable and bean stew

I started off thinking along the lines of jerk seasoning today, the sun is out and allspice and citrus seemed very appealing!
But rather than making a very hot spice paste as jerk would be, I’ve gone for some of the same flavours, but with herbal and lemon notes to make a fragrant and fresh stew to go with creamy ackee.
I blogged an ackee recipe a while ago, and although I have cooked with it since then it’s always been a similar dish, with rice and assorted flavourings.
This makes a lovely change, and is a delicious, bright, springtime meal.


Ackee with lemony spiced vegetable and bean stew

makes 4 servings

for the spice paste
2 tsp coriander seed
6 to 10 allspice berries, depending on size
zest of 1 large lemon
juice of 1/2 large lemon
3 cm piece of fresh ginger, chopped
1 tbsp dried ramsons (wild garlic), or 2 cloves fresh garlic
1 small leek, the dark green tops minced and add the whites finely sliced to the stew (I ended up with 3 tbsp of the tops)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
a small bunch of fresh parsley (about 15 g), stalks chopped and leaves saved for the stew
a small bunch of fresh coriander (about 15 g), stalks chopped and leaves saved for the stew
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp dark brown muscovado sugar
2 tbsp oil
for the stew
400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
200 g mushrooms, chopped
50 g frozen spinach
100 g green lentils, rinsed
300 ml water
400 g tin of black eye beans, drained (240 g drained)
1 540 g tin of ackee, drained (340 g drained)

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees c.
First make the paste. You can use a mini processor to whizz everything together (as long as it’s strong enough to cope with the allspice berries), but I like to use a pestle and mortar.
Start with the coriander seed and allspice and get it partially crushed. Next add the lemon zest, ginger, leek tops, thyme, ramsons, parsley stalks, coriander stalks, salt and vinegar. Smush together into a paste. Then the nutmeg and sugar goes in, and bash it a bit more. By this point there should be no large lumps of allspice berry or coriander seed. Stir in the lemon juice.
Now the stew. Heat the oil on a low heat in a large ovenproof casserole dish with a lid. Add the paste, and cook for 1 minute, stirring all the time. Add the leek whites, celery, carrot and mushrooms, along with the tin of tomatoes and 300 ml water. Bring to a simmer on the hob, cover and place in the oven for 30 minutes. After this time add the lentils and spinach and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes.
Then add the beans, parsley and ackee and give the stew a last 10 minutes, that’s 1 hr 10 minutes in total.
Stir coriander through at the end.

By E.


Ackee and pickled samphire with herby lentils and rice

When I was a kid growing up in Preston there was an amazing Caribbean cafe close to where my dad worked, and it was there that I was first introduced to the delights of rice and peas, and ackee, and dumplings, oh the dumplings… there was a stall selling them at the northern vegan fair in Blackpool last year so I had to buy one and it was as good as I remembered! The cafe closed (and became a polish one where I discovered perogi and zebra cake, but that’s a whole other post…) and for ages I only really ate that type of food once a year at the Preston Caribbean carnival.

But becoming vegan and the amount of recipes around which use ackee so creatively reminded me what I was missing! The last time I cooked with it I made a veganised saltfish and ackee recipe, which uses nori for the saltfish flavour which I thought was a stroke of genius!

This time however, I wanted to continue with the sea vegetable theme, and try it with samphire instead.

The ackee itself has a mild, very slightly bitter flavour and a wonderful silky texture. And it looks just like scrambled eggs, hence the classic vegan way of eating it, as a breakfast scramble!

I’ve paired the ackee and samphire with a delicious, savoury mixture of rice, lentils, leeks and tomatoes with plenty of fresh herbs stirred through at the end. It’s incredibly moreish, and a great treat as unfortunately ackee can be rather expensive… I got mine on offer from tesco a little while ago, but it was still £3 a tin!

ackee and pickled samphire with herby lentils and rice

ackee and pickled samphire with herby lentils and rice

makes 2 servings

for the herby lentils and rice

100 g brown basmati rice, rinsed

75 g red lentils, rinsed

1 large leek, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

250 ml vegetable stock, hot

1/2 tbsp oil

1 tbsp coriander, chopped

1 tbsp mint, chopped

1 tbsp dill, chopped

salt and pepper

for the pickled samphire

50 g samphire

1/4 tsp celery seed

1/4 tsp ground fennel seed

2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

and the ackee…

1 540 g tin of ackee, drained (340 g when drained)

To make the herby lentils and rice, heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium low heat and cook the leeks partially covered, stirring often for 10 minutes, until softened. Add the rice, lentils and garlic and cook for a further 3 or so minutes stirring all the time, until the rice begins to look translucent. Add the stock and tomatoes, give it all mix and turn the heat to low. Cover the pan and leave to cook for 40 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the pan covered for 5 minutes. Stir through the herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

For the pickled samphire, simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside for 20 minutes.

To serve, stir the drained ackee gently through the rice mixture, and top with the pickled samphire.

By E.