Venezuelan Coconut & Lime Sauce

This is a Venezuelan Coconut & Lime Sauce chicken dish I made recently.

I am a bit of a fan of the Santa Maria Latin American Kitchen range of sauces and spices. Though I like to make my own sauces, sometimes for speed and ease I use ready made sauces such as the Venezuelan Coconut & Lime Sauce. They are also useful when you don’t want to buy all the ingredients to make a sauce like this one, or only want to make a smaller portion as part of a wider range of dishes. I sometimes use the sauces for inspiration for cooking my own sauces.

The Venezuelan Coconut & Lime Sauce is a tasty sauce and is one of my favourites from the range.

Venezuelan Coconut & Lime Sauce

A creamy sauce made with coconut cream, lime juice & chillies. Venezuelan Coconut & Lime Sauce has its roots in the Zulian region, in the north of Venezuela by the Caribbean Sea, where coconut palms grow. This fresh, tangy, coconut cooking sauce brings you a real taste of the tropics.

I generally cook some chicken with onions and pepper before adding the sauce and heating it through., I added some chopped coriander and served the dish with rice.

Cod and Curry

We went to Wagamama for lunch. We had been shopping at the Mall in Bristol and were all feeling a little hungry.

The Wagamama at the Mall at Cribbs Causeway is in a weird open location at one end next to Marks and Spencers on a mezzanine overlooking the entrance. There are the regular benches and long tables, but there are also booths as well. We were given a nice friendly welcome and sat down at our table.

I was wondering what to have and decided to go for something different.

I quite liked the sound of the cod dish, which was cod mokutan soba, black charcoal soba noodles in a soy sauce with two fillets of miso-glazed cod, stir-fried bok choi, mangetout, red peppers and spring onions. drizzled with a sweet miso dressing and garnished with fresh ginger and coriander.

Unfortunately my fish was overcooked on the point of being burnt, so I had to send it back. When it came back it looked a lot better.

I really liked the black charcoal soba noodles, and the miso-glazed cod had a lot of flavour.

It was the kind of dish I enjoyed, but probably wouldn’t have it again on another visit.

My other half went for a curry.

Chicken nikko curry, a fragrant coconut, lemongrass and turmeric soup with chicken, roasted butternut squash, turmeric cauliflower, tenderstem broccoli, mangetout, bok choi and beansprouts. garnished with chilli, coriander, fresh ginger, lime and chilli oil. served with a side of rice with sesame seeds.

I think she made the better choice.

Service was warm and friendly and overall we enjoyed the lunch.

UCISA Conference Dinner

I have found conference dinners can be a bit hit and miss. Sometimes you get something really special, other times you get something that, well you ask yourself why did I bother!

I remember one conference dinner in Sheffield Town Hall which was really quite awful. It comprised an over-cooked chicken breast wrapped in a rasher of bacon, served with soggy tasteless vegetables.

Whereas the ALT-C 2008 Conference dinner at Leeds at the Edgbaston Cricket Club was out of this world. This was cooked by students from the local college. The main course comprised lamb cooked three ways and we had homemade chocolates.

The venue can also be a critical aspect of the conference dinner. Hotel conference dining rooms may be convenient, but often lack character or personality. mLearn 2008 had two conference dinners, one was at the Ironbridge Museum amongst the tools and engines of the Industrial Revolution. The second was at RAF Cosford under the wings of a Comet jet airliner. The food was pretty good at those dinners too.

The UCISA Spotlight on Digital Capabilities Conference dinner was a pretty good one. The venue was the Birmingham Museum & Gallery which was very atmospheric, well apart from the freaky statue, don’t blink!

Freaky statue at the Birmingham Museum & Gallery

We had a chance to explore the museum and see some of the exhibits. The tables were set in part of the museum and was well lit. It was really nice to sit amongst the exhibits in the Industrial Gallery, housing the Decorative Arts collection. The Industrial Gallery is a brilliant example of Victorian architecture, boasting steel work, a glass ceiling and colourful tiled floor.

UCISA Conference Dinner at the Birmingham Museum & Gallery

The food was really nice and beautifully cooked and consisted of three courses, coffee and chocolates. The starter consisted of an olive salad with parma ham, a tomato pie and a risotto rissole.

n olive salad with parma ham, a tomato pie and a risotto rissole

The rissole was full of flavour and the crumb coating had a nice crunch. The olive salad was tasty and I really enjoyed the tomato pie.

The main course was chargrilled chicken stuffed with safe, served with potato dauphinoise, shoestring vegetables and gravy!

chargrilled chicken stuffed with safe, served with potato dauphinoise, shoestring vegetables

This was nice, not outstanding, the chicken was tender, but I felt it was a little overcooked, or more likely had been standing around for a little too long. The shoestring vegetables was tasty and clever.

The pudding, which I forgot to capture, was a lime desert. This was fresh and sharp and helped clear the palate.

Overall it was a tasty conference dinner, in a beautiful environment and with excellent company.

Whole Chicken Barbecued

Whole Chicken Barbecue

Cooking a whole chicken on a barbecue is not a simple process, you can have undercooked on the inside and burnt and charred on the outside. I used this process to cook a whole chicken.

The first thing I did was prepare the chicken by spatchcocking and then marinated with lemon juice, lime juice, garlic, parsley and some olive oil.

Though you can cook a spatchcocked chicken directly on the barbecue, it can be quite challenging to ensure that the chicken is properly cooked, through, without burning or overcooking the outside. Part of the issue is that it is difficult to control the temperature of the barbecue unlike a normal grill. The key process is to recreate some aspects of a “normal” oven as opposed to the usual way of using a barbecue as a grill.

After the coals have reached cooking temperature, move them to the sides of the barbecue, so that when the spatchcocked chicken is placed on the grill, it is not over direct heat.

The chicken I placed it “inside” down with the skin side on top. The chicken was then covered, I used a wok lid, but this is where a kettle barbecue comes into its own.

The end result was a properly cooked chicken, which was moist and succulent and full of flavour.

Citrus Chicken

This is a recipe that I cooked tonight, which is a variation on my lemon chicken recipe.

For this recipe I took some organic chicken thighs and legs and made some cuts in them with a sharp knife, so that they would both asorb more of the marinade and cook quicker. I had seven portions of chicken.

I placed in a bowl the zest and juice of two lemons and one lime. Though I did take a few slices of the lemon and lime before I extracted the juice to use as a garnish.

I added some fresh herbs, parsley and basil, as well as ground black pepper and a good splash of olive oil.

I then placed the chicken in the bowl and mixed well.

I left the chicken for about ten minutes.

The chicken was then placed on a grill pan and put under the grill – I used the top of a very hot oven in order to achieve the same effect.

Turn and baste as and when needed.


I served mine with new potatoes, coleslaw, a green salad and fresh bread.