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VIDEO: Chef Theo's Palate Pleasers

Thursday, January 21, 2021

What to serve family this weekend? Thursday Food put Chef Theo Smith on the spot and like a true pro he served up four fairly straightforward tasty options. No excuse, therefore, to claim boredom or a lack of inspiration.

Jerk Sausage Penne in Coconut Cream Sauce

If you are like me, after all the cooking for the holidays, I tend to stock up on quite a few smoked meats, items that tend to have a longer shelf life and are quick and easy to prepare. Plus coconut cream sauce is my go-to pasta sauce, especially when I'm looking to cut down on my dairy intake after the holidays filled with all sorts of dairy products.

Yield: 4-6 servings


2-3 whole jerk sausages, sliced

1 lb penne pasta (400 g package)

2-3 sachets coconut milk powder (50 g packets)

1 whole sweet pepper, julienned (medium)

½ whole onion, minced (medium)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or dried basil)

Vegetable oil (as needed)

Red pepper flakes (as needed)

Salt & black pepper (as needed)


Bring pot of water to a boil, add salt, then add penne pasta.

In skillet over medium-high heat, add vegetable oil, then once hot, sauté minced onion and garlic.

Add slices of jerk sausages and sweet pepper to the skillet & sauté until sweet peppers have been caramelised.

Removed pasta from boiling water once it is firm to the touch (al dente), then allow to drain.

In a mixing bowl, prepare coconut milk as instructed on the package, then add to skillet and reduce to medium heat, allowing the mixture to simmer.

Add drained pasta to the skillet, stir to ensure ever pasta is covered in the coconut cream sauce, then allow to simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Add chopped fresh basil (or dried), then add pepper flakes, salt & black pepper to taste.

Remove from heat & serve hot.


Unsweetened Coconut Cream can be used instead of Coconut Milk Powder.

Feel free to use parmesan cheese if needed to top on the pasta.

For a stronger jerk flavour, add a tsp of jerk seasoning when sauteing the onion & garlic.

Tropical Tossed Salad with Sorrel Vinaigrette

As we step into the new year, it can feel daunting to just jump into an entirely healthier eating lifestyle. This is why I always suggest taking on a healthier meal plan in stages, so add something healthier. With that, I find persons who aren't normally fans of salads, including kids, tend to like salads that have a fruity element to them.

Yield: 4-6 servings


For tropical tossed salad:

¾ lb lettuce, shredded

1 whole sweet pepper, julienned

1 whole cucumber, sliced

1 whole carrot, grated or julienned

1 whole gala apple, sliced

2 oz raisins

1 tbsp lime juice

For Sorrel Vinaigrette:

½ cup sorrel juice

½ tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Salt & black pepper (as needed)


Mix together sorrel juice, cornstarch and sugar, then bring to a boil in a small sauce pot.

Once the sorrel mixture has thickened, remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a bowl, toss together freshly sliced apples with lime juice, then remove apples from liquid.

Toss together shredded lettuce, drained apples, sweet pepper, cucumber, carrots and raisins, then set aside in the refrigerator.

Once the sorrel mixture has cooled, gradually whisk in oil, then add salt and pepper to taste and store in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve the salad, ensure to toss the mixture again, and whisk or shake the vinaigrette before serving.

Japanese Fried Chicken w/ Scotch Bonnet Mayo

As they say, you can't go wrong with fried chicken! But of course, you want to jazz things up a little, especially after cooking up a storm over the holidays. With that, I'm suggesting a variation of the traditional Japanese Fried Chicken, this version is a little more budget-friendly and using everyday ingredients you would find at home.

Yield: 4-6 servings


For Japanese fried chicken:

1 whole chicken, in parts

Cornstarch (as needed)

½ cup soy sauce

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 tbsp ginger, minced

1-2 stalk escallion, minced

1 whole onion, minced

1 tbsp thyme, leaves

Black pepper (as needed)

Vegetable oil (as needed)

For Scotch bonnet mayo:

1-2 whole Scotch bonnet pepper, minced

1-2 tbsp sugar

1-2 oz vinegar

4-6 oz mayonnaise

Salt (as needed)


Mix together soy sauce, minced garlic and ginger, escallion, onion, thyme leaves & black pepper, then pour over chicken pieces.

Mix together the marinade with the chicken to ensure all chicken pieces are fully covered in the mixture, then allow to marinated at least for 1 hour (preferably 2-3 hours).

In a large skillet or deep fryer, bring the vegetable oil to medium-high heat.

Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, shake off the excess, and coat the chicken pieces in cornstarch, then place in hot oil to fry.

Fry until golden brown and fully cooked, then allow to drain off excess oil.

For the Scotch bonnet mayo, mix together the vinegar and sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Add the vinegar and sugar mixture to the mayonnaise, along with half of the minced scotch bonnet, then mix thoroughly and taste.

If you desire more Scotch bonnet, then add the additional minced Scotch bonnet and salt to taste and store in the refrigerator.

Serve the Japanese Fried Chicken hot, along with the Scotch Bonnet Mayo chilled.


Flour can be used instead of cornstarch; however, cornstarch gives it a light and crispier crust.

Fresh thyme leaves can be used as an alternative for the Scotch bonnet mayo, to make thyme mayo.

Avoid using salt to season the chicken since the soy sauce has a high sodium content.

This recipe works only with fresh garlic and ginger, powdered won't have the same flavour, nor be as effective in the marinade.

If chicken is cut in larger pieces, fry until golden brown then place on baking tray to fully cook in oven.

Mashed Potatoes

As I was considering what best to suggest with our Japanese Fried Chicken, I thought, we didn't want any competing flavours, so why not go with the classic of mashed potatoes.

Yield: 4-6 servings


1-1½ lb Irish potato

4 oz milk

2-3 oz butter

Salt (as needed)


Wash, peel and cut potatoes into even cubes.

Add cubed potatoes to salted boiling water.

Once potatoes are cooked, remove from stove, drain off liquid thoroughly, then add to a mixing bowl.

Using a potato masher or mixer, mash potatoes thoroughly.

Add butter and milk to potato and continue to mash mixture until smooth.

Taste and add salt as needed.

Serve hot and enjoy.