Yesterday was the Autumnal Equinox, it's official, it's FALL! It feels like it,too. Today is cool, rainy and blustery, the sort of weather when you want something a little spicy to warm the cockles, whatever those might be. Chili and baked potatoes are the usual choice but I feel like something different. I think something CAJUN is required!
Cajun food is very popular in the States but it's not well known in the UK. Chef Paul and his ready-made Cajun seasonings haven't made it to this side of the pond, well, not to Devon at least. That's not a problem, we can make our own Cajun Spice Mix. All we need are a few basic store cupboard spices and a nice jar to store them in. Any jar will do as long as it has a tight fitting lid.
Here's what you need to make a spice mix that will have you cooking like a Cajun:
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano or mixed herbs
1 teaspoon salt
Place all the spices into your jar, tightly secure the lid and shake to combine. That's it!
I like to use this seasoning mix to make blackened fish, spice up potato wedges and seasoned rice dishes. One of my favourite ways to use Cajun spice is to make Cajun pasta. It's so simple, not a recipe but just a sort of technique, simply adjust the amount of pasta per person and adjust the spiciness to suit your taste.
I made pasta for two so I will give you the measurements I used. You can increase the amounts of pasta, oil, garlic and Cajun Seasoning to accommodate any number of diners.
Cook some pasta according to the instructions on the packet. I used fine spaghetti. Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.
Finely chop a clove of fresh garlic per serving. I made pasta for two, so two cloves of finely chopped garlic.
In the pasta pan ( yes, I use the pasta pan... it cuts down on the washing up) place 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1 Tablespoon of butter. Add the chopped garlic and cook over a low flame until the garlic is slightly softened and has seasoned the oil. WARNING! Do not let the garlic get brown or it will taste bitter.
Pour the pasta back into the pan and stir, coating the pasta with the garlic infused oil.
Add a heaping teaspoon of Cajun seasoning mix. Stir gently until the pasta is hot and coated in the seasoned oil. Taste the pasta and adjust the seasoning.
Add a bit of chopped parsley or chives if you want to add some colour to the dish. Serve with Cajun spiced fish or chicken or just on it's own! YUM!
Simple, satisfying and quick to prepare, this is the sort of food I love to eat in the autumn. I know this isn't REAL Cajun cooking but I can feel my cockles warming up already! If you want to learn more about Chef Paul and how to cook CAJUN visit his website by clicking on the link below: