Friday, November 23, 2012

Delicious Chick Peas

Chick peas also known as garbanzo beans is part of the legume family and is well known and popular in most countries around the world.  It is high in fiber, protein, quite filling and know to reduce cravings for sweets after consumption.

 I was first introduced to this food as "Channa".  Channa, is a South American dish that is simple to make, and delicious  The peas are soaked over-night to swell and soften, before being placed into the pressure cooker to complete the tenderizing process.

It's common in countries like South America, and the Caribbean to buy all types of legumes dry.  First, because it's cheaper and you get more on the dollar, than buying it in a can.  The good thing is - it has turned out to be healthier for you too - bonus.

Today, chick peas isn't only found in popular dishes like Hummus, Falafel and Punjabi Chole dishes introduced by different cultures like Greek, Middle East, and India - it can be found in hundreds of recipes of all cultures.

Recently, I had a craving for chick pea, but not my traditional "channa" recipe - I will share that in another post; this dish was inspired by what was in my kitchen.  I've named it "Chicken chick pea stew" 
Dish prepped for Baking

Dish after Baking
 If you'd like a copy of this recipe, drop me a line.  Thanks for reading and...

to your health

Friday, November 16, 2012

4 Easy steps to Baking amazing Bread

I've made mentioned of my mom's favorite bread recipe in a earlier post.  Today I'm going step by step with pics to give you not only the visual, but to show you how super easy it is, and you don't need a bread machine to do it.

Fresh Yummy Whole Wheat/whit Bread
Salt, brown sugar, whole wheat and white flour, warm water,  yeast and  margarine
In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together, add margarine and mix in thoroughly by hand, add enough water to make a soft dough
Cover and place in a warm place (on top of the stove with light on works)  for 90-120 min

Dough fully risen and ready to be formed into loaves

Loaves placed into oiled pans; cover and let rise for 30 min then bake for 45-55 min

You gotta try this recipe, you can find it on a earlier post - try it and please share your experience with me.

To your health and enjoyment!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Glam up your Protein

Seasoning your meat in the Caribbean and South America is a normal every day occurrence, with specific steps in place, it's given care and attention. A bathing is the first takes step in the process prior to the seasoning stage. 

 I recall the steps my parents took when preparing the meat for cooking; be it chicken or fish. The meat would be washed, yes washed with fresh squeezed lemons, or lime and if those weren't readily available, white vinegar would be used along with a dash of salt.  The meat would then be covered and left to sit for about one hour.

During that time the prep for the rub is put together; either wet or dry; depending on the type of dish being cooked.

After that time expired, the meat would be rinsed to remove the juice and salt, and then patted dry with a paper towel. The wet or dry seasoning (and I am not talking about salt and pepper here) is then massaged by hand into the meat and it's covered again for another 2 hours, and in some cases overnight before being cooked. 

In the typical  North American Caucasian, European and Chinese  homes, meat is not prepared in that fashion. The meat is washed with water; salt and black pepper added and maybe a dash of other dried herbs, then cooked according to the recipes' instruction.

Having tried both ways of preparing meats; hands down I prefer the method of allowing the meat to marinate in the seasoning for a period of time prior to cooking.  This process tends to make the meat more flavourful, and if you don't think this is the case; do your own experiment and then let me know.

So, let's talk a bit about Seasoning; dry, fresh or wet?  It all depends on your preference, what's handy and how much time you have to get the herbs ready.

Dry Herbs:
You can buy them at the grocery store in bulk or pre-packed, and mix a few together and store in a air tight jar for your chicken, then do a similar one for your fish etc.
The down side to using those herbs - you don't know the actual shelf life and how long they've been packaged, thus you don't know the strength of what you're getting.

Fresh Herbs:
It's the way to go in my opinion, but depending on what you're looking for, it could be tough to find as fresh herbs are seasonal, and if you do find them it could be costly. However, you can't beat the flavour of using fresh herbs against dry.

Wet Herbs:
Yeah, there is such a thing as wet herbs; well now there is-LOL!  It's what I grew up seeing my parents do, and continues to.  It's simple, easy, a time saver and way better than using dry herbs.
Buy loads of a variety of fresh herbs - basil, cilantro, green onions, spanish celery, hot scotch bonnet peppers (maybe not for some), thyme etc, 
Wash  thoroughly, add them to a blender, drizzle a bit of water, olive oil and salt and blend to a paste like consistency. Store in glass jars and keep in the fridge for 3-6 months.

Now you have fresh herbs with a bit of salt and olive oil to preserve it, and you're spared the extra work of chopping fresh herbs every time you want to season your meats. It is a great way to get as fresh as you can to using fresh herbs still full of flavour and a time saver.

Experiment to find which herbs work best on different meats, and make separate jars of the mixture and label them; chicken rub, fish rub, pork rub etc. 

Al-right, to your health and enjoyment. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Kitchen Time is Play Time

Kids of all ages get stoked to visit Disney Land; I experience that same kind of exhilarated rush when I enter my kitchen. I am over the moon passionate about cooking as I am about writing and sharing on this wonderful art that continues to grow and expand in so many different ways. 

Today,  I want to touch on the subject of "Did you know" and periodically you'll find posts dedicated to "Did you know"; you can call it an expansion of "Tips" on a more in depth scale.

So, let's get to today's 

Did you Know:

 Experimenting in the kitchen can be very educational and creative, rewarding and lucrative empowering and fun.

Educational and Creative- the Kitchen, where you feel like and are the Queen or King of your domain, you can educate yourself.  You have the opportunity to strengthen your craft, and besides the hundreds of cooking shows on TV you have enough resources at your fingertips to sharpen your skill.
From mixing different liquids to create your own sauces, and dry spices and herbs to create your own signature rub. To substituting one ingredient for another, you keep what works and vibrates a resounding yes to your palate, and write off the ones that makes the muscles in your face twitch.

Rewarding and Lucrative - there's something to be said when you create or take an old recipe and make it your own. When you take ingredients on a whim and turn it into a crowd pleaser. When you run out of store bought BBQ sauce, and you make your own, or pancake, waffle and crepe syrup, and you decide - I am going to whip something together, and it becomes so amazingly delicious it has the potential to become a product sold in grocery stores. 

Empowering and Fun - it is in those moments that you realized that you are a chef; no you didn't attend culinary school though that has it's advantage, but you have a gift, you derive great joy from working with ingredients to make dishes for your family and friends to enjoy. There's a sense of excitement that comes when you watch what's in your mind unfolds and becomes something beautiful on a plate that awakens the sense of sight, smell and taste.
And, on an off day when the idea doesn't fully come together, you don't walk away in defeat; rather it's another important lesson learned for the next time. A little more, a little less, a pinch of this, a splash of that, let it simmer longer, you'll get it right.

Stir the pot of your mind  and make a dry rub or sauce from the ingredients available in your  kitchen, and use it in your next meal. You will be inspired, and another creative side to your your love for cooking will emerge.

To your enjoyment and health!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Healthy, Tasty and Inexpensive Meals the Whole Family will Love

It's hard to believe that we're a few days away from the start of the fall season, the weather outside looks and feels like we're just somewhere between July and August.  I love the extended warm days, compensation for a crappy June, but this blog isn't about weather, though the food I'm about to share is perfect for the upcoming fall and winter months.

Stews; I am talking about the ones your mama and grandma used to make. Thick, hearty, stick to your bones kinda stews.  A bowl jammed packed with enough sauce to sop up with a warm piece of fresh bread, colourful vegetables, your favourite protein, and enough fresh herbs to make your mouth water. Now, that is starting to stir a craving within for another bowl of hearty stew.

This stew was actually created on a warm summer day.  I wanted something hearty to eat for dinner, and didn't have beef, but wait, I had some fresh hot Italian sausages, a can of white beans, bok choy, tomatoes, onions, garlic and fresh basil.

There was no need to add any additional stock to this stew; as the flavour from the browning of the sausages with onions and garlic was enough to create a beautifully flavoured sauce. A dash of cayenne, with soft warm whole wheat french bread and a glass of red made this meal complete.

To obtain  flavourful stews without the need to add additional stock; make sure you take the time to brown your meat on medium heat with onions which helps to pull all the flavours together, and caramelize the meat. Add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan when the meat is brown to get all the stuff stuck to the bottom of the pan off before adding your vegetables.

To your enjoyment and health!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Appreciate Food

My enjoyment and appreciation of food continues to expand and this summer I have discovered  there are certain foods I prepare has a greater affect on my mood, weather, and company.  As I continue to be more enlightened not just about the art of cooking good food, I have gained a new respect for cooks of all walks of life and genres. Home cook Christine from the current series of Master Chef hosted by Gordon Ramsay is a prime example.
Christine lost her sight, but has consistently created tasty dishes; the presentation, plating, colours and textures of every dish has been beyond impressive.  She has won against 16 other "home cooks" and is in the finals  to win the title against another contestant.  Her attitude, technique and sense of taste has amazed me.

I have learned that regardless of the simplicity, complexity or cost of creating the dish your heart has to be in it. The finished product has to make an impact therefore it needs heart.  Here are a few points that I have found to be helpful to me in the kitchen.

  • Heart or passion has to be there. You have to be excited about your menu, and ingredients you're going to work with.
  • Vision is another important component of creating an outstanding dish.  You have to see the complete plated meal before your hands get moving.
  • Preparation is the key to a smooth flow in the kitchen.  Being disorganize will not only slow you down but can affect the outcome of your dish the way you've envisioned it.
  • Choose Fresh working with fresh over dry herbs does make a world of difference, so whenever possible   choose fresh.

OK, that's it for today,until next week.

I hope you enjoy and to your health!

TIP of the Week:
Buy fresh herbs when in season, blend and add a bit of salt and olive oil and store in the fridge in air tight glass jars for up to 6 months.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Refreshing, Tasty and Healthy

You know when it's time to re-visit and make adjustments to your food intake when you find yourself lacking energy and sluggish despite how much exercise and sleep you get.
i found myself in that place a week ago and got my aha moment when I took a look at my diet over the past 6 months. It consisted more of processed foods than I am used to, so changes had to be made immediately.

Time to ease off the baking:) 

The plan for the next 2 weeks is to cut out all white flour and unnatural sugars; so today a new recipe was made; introducing Quinoa Salad.  Packed full of ingredients that provided a delicious refreshing taste of ingredients you won't think of putting together to make such an amazing healthy salad. A nice balance of  fiber, healthy carbohydrates, protein and fresh cilantro.

Quinoa Salad

Mix and set aside:
2 tbsp. soya sauce
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. honey or brown sugar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove crushed
The juice of 2 limes

Cook 1 cup dry quinoa in vegetable stock and cool
Wash and drain 1 14oz. can of black beans or lentils
1 large red pepper diced
1/2 red onion diced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl mix the dry together
Add the liquid to the dry and mix thoroughly.
Serve at room temperature

Makes enough to serve 6-8

To your health and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

One of Week-end's best

It's a lazy Sunday morning, the sun is doing its darnest to creep into the bedroom, but the blackout curtains are doing a good job at keeping it out. One day of the week; please you need one day to forget about schedules, timelines and time keeping.
The mind should only be spent thinking about food; brunch, a mid afternoon snack, dinner and what bottle of red goes good with what you're planning on throwing on the grill.

Yeah, it is time for some hot off the frying pan; home made pancakes. The treasured Canadian  Maple Syrup, a thin slice of butter melting and slowly gliding its way down to the bottom of the plate in a stream of not too sweet river of the best syrup this side of heaven.

We are not going to all this trouble to quickly throw together a batch of cakes from Aunt Jemima's box are we? No offence Aunt J your cakes are the best in a box, but today it's from scratch.

The basics are available in the kitchen. Flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt, a dash of nutmeg, a tbsp. of sugar, a drizzle of olive oil, a handful of grated coconut, stir your butter milk egg mixture to form a semi lumpy batter.
Sit for 5 min and get your apples chopped, bananas sliced and blueberries ready.

The griddle sizzle from being tested with a splash of water; it is ready. Drop the batter by 1/3 cup add a mixture or one of the toppings.
To splurge add a bit of cream cheese on top of the hot finished pancakes before pouring a tad of maple. Tell me you are ready, cause I am.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Walk about in SanDiego

A trip to San Diego was on my "bucket list" and a few weeks ago me and my partner made the trip. It was two fold...we are drowning in an over abundance of rain here and was desperate for some warm sunny weather and seafood;  so we headed South and it was one of my most enjoyable trips.
Besides the weather being just right, San Diego has got to be one of if not the most beautiful State in the US...just saying. The views of the ocean and beaches for miles and as wide were breath taking. The smell of the ocean, the high boisterous waves,  the hikes to La Jolla park, and Torrey Pine were all great memorable experiences. 
The locals were friendly and their food - well, let's get to it.

We just about by passed Coronado Island, but was highly encouraged by the locals to visit, and boy we are so glad we did. After a stroll around the island, we did one of our most favourite things. We set out to find the best cafe or restaurant that served seafood and happy hour. A thing about happy hour; they can be found just about everywhere in San Diego from inexpensive to high end classy joints. Happy hour is a great deal and a bonus is to find really tasty food plus happy hour; double the pleasure.
Hello "Candelas on the Bay" a mid to high end restaurant located on the board walk and pleasant décor.
We lucked out in securing a booth, ordered a margarita and Sangria (the best Maria ever had) it was time to order.  Shrimp tacos, soft shells with shrimps marinated in a rosé sauce with a kick got us up and running. The flavours were bursting in our mouths. The pulled pork nachos was creative and succulent, and the fresh green salad with walnuts and goat cheese was refreshing. Everything under $25 and we were stuffed.

Brunch, lunch or Dinner at Humphries Restaurant is a must, and if you have the time then have all three, you won't be disappointed. You can't go wrong with their scallop dinner or seafood risotto. Brunch a well balance variety and you taste the freshness in every meal.

Now my to do list is to try and recreate a few of those amazing dishes and share them with you.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fish Stew with a Twist

When the weather is cold, wet and dreary I usually crave a nice bowl of home made hearty stew. 
The kind that is rich with flavour, colours, a good balance of meat and veggies or dumplings and enough sauce to sop up with a chunk of home made bread. Nothing beats that. 
I am sure we all have a "favourite" stew recipe; either our own creation or from someone else. There's chicken stew with the meat falling off the bone, with soft tasty dumplings.  Beef stews on simmer for a few hours for melt in your mouth pieces of beef and potatoes soaked with flavour. Then there's fish stew with a twist.

Tilapia Fish Stew with Rice Noodles

I grew up eating fresh fish; fresh as in there's still signs of the fins, gill, and tail moving; now you can't get any fresher than that. We are fortunate to have a local wharf that we visit during the late spring to late summer to purchase fresh salmon, halibut, shrimp, and black cod. Fresh anything is always better and especially seafood; having it fresh just tastes so much better.

Anyhow back to this dish I made with help from my partner. A combination of South American and  Asian flair. 

Tilapia Fish Stew with Rice Noodles
What you'll need:
2 lbs of tilapia washed and cut into chunks
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium size onion coarsely chopped
About 4  leaves of Fresh Thai Basil
3-4 medium size ripe tomatoes diced
1 thumb nail size ginger finely chopped
6-8 bunches of bok choy washed, and chopped into large pieces
2 carrots thinly sliced
4 cups stock
3 squares of dry rice noodles
Pepper to taste

Putting it Together: 
Turn stove on to medium temperature
Add oil, and when heated add onions cooking for about 3 min to caramelize.
Add tomatoes and stock bring to a boil then simmer for 30 min.
Add carrots, ginger, basil and bok choy cooking for 5 min.
Add fish cooking for 3 min then add rice noodles cooking for 5 min.
Add pepper, remove from stove and serve hot.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Juice it Up

Juicing is neither Caribbean, North America, European or Asian. Juicing covers all ethnicities; after all who doesn't enjoy good juice, and no I am not talking about orange juice and vodka or any store bought juice, though Oasis is a juice on the market that is closest to the real thing,  why go there when you can do your own fresh, save dollars and quick to make.

I've been juicing for a number of years and it's vitally important to have an excellent juicer; not a good juicer but an excellent one which means not going cheap and doing your research. To help make things a bit easier for you I've done the research, tried and proven and comes highly recommend.

First there's Waring Pro an excellent juicer with minimal parts, and sturdy - lasted me 9 years.
The only down side is the apples or beets could not be juiced whole - not a big deal, and the second tiny downside I found was not enough pulp was sieve through with the juice extraction. Again, it wasn't a huge deal to me as I loved the machine and the clean up was a snap.

I would have replaced it with the same Waring pro juicer but unfortunately the Waring pro company does not ship outside of the USA, and that's too bad for Waring Pro:)

After much research we decided on Hamilton Beach 800watts big mouth juicer. Besides it being noisy, that's easily cured by placing a dish towel under the machine and issue solved.
We love this machine, no cutting up of the vegetables or fruit, and there's enough pulp within the juice to give it a nice balance, and cleaning up is easy.

Alright, those are my recommendations and for free also. The benefits of juicing are all positive with no negativity in place, trust me on this. Some of the benefits we enjoy from juicing

  • Juice with organic vegetables and fruit
  • rich with Live enzymes and vitamins
  • Fresh raw juice without preservatives
  • A good balance of fibre
  • Great for the skin, eyes, bones, hair, and organs
  • Inexpensive and can be stored for two days in a glass jar while maintaining it's freshness
  • Increased energy
  • Provides 2-4 servings of vegetables (depending on how much you drink)
  • Absolutley delicious

.So now you probably want to know what veggies I juice with, right? Thought so!

Kale, carrots, beets, apple, celery and ginger is my favourite blend. Sometimes I get creative and add other vegetables or fruit, but most of the time I stick with the ones mentioned.  Ok, to your health and drink up.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Momma's Bread Recipe a Winner

Today, I made bread the same recipe I shared with you but this time I added margarine and I loved the texture way more that the bread baked without. A machine runs better when oiled right? Well hope you got that one:)  This time I let the dough rise for 2 hours instead of one, and this batch made two large braided loaves. The texture was just right, the feel not heavy but kinda middle of the road and the taste - impeccable.

So go ahead use the recipe I shared and add 3/4 cup margarine to the mix for a lighter loaf while maintaining the great home made taste no store brought bread can stand up to.

Rising Dough

Mamma's Fresh Baked Bread
When you try this recipe I would love to hear from you; thoughts, feed back welcome.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Knead it

Just to let you know this recipe I am about to share makes a heavier solid loaf. There is no hollow sound on the tap, and when you slice into it, there is no chance you will see glimpses of what's on the other side; no matter how thin you slice it. Makes me want to sing; solid, solid as a rock, but not literally.

If you want a lighter loaf the you would have to add margarine to the mix. sorry, I did not remember to take pictures of my loaves, but with a decent imagination you can visualize the stages; from the prep process, to the kneading, to the rising, rolling out to either braid (intertwining three strands of dough) or shape into rectangle shapes, and gently places in their pans. Cover for 15 minutes to set, then it's baking time and 45 minutes later, the bread is ready, the smell that comes from the steam as you cut a thick slice and lather with butter makes your mouth water. There you go, you got the picture; now on to the recipe.
Now, this is bread making simplified.
This recipe makes 3 loaves.


You will need:
2 tbsp. or 2 packages  Instant or Active dry Yeast (whatever your preference)
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cup warm water
4 cups white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tbsp vegetable oil

Putting it together:

  1. If you are using the "active dry yeast" dissolve it in 1/2 cup warm water with sugar and let sit for 10 mins. If instant yeast is used then add it to the flour mixture directly.
  2. In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients, then drizzle oil, mix well and add warm water to form a soft dough. Add additional water to use up the flour.
  3. Knead until a firm smooth dough is formed; knead for about 8-10 mins. 
  4. Oil the bowl, place dough, flip to coat the other side, cover and let rise for 2 hours.
  5. Oil baking pans.
  6. Deflate the dough and turn unto a light floured board, form into desired shape,cover and let rise for 15 mins.and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Bake for 30-45 mins until the top is golden brown, use a skewer stick to check for to see if bread is fully baked.
  8. Remove from pans; tun unto a cooling rack.
This bread can be kept frozen for up to 2 months if properly packaged.
you can opt to use all white flour or 50/50 or 60/40 etc
Enjoy, and  your feed back, questions or suggestions are appreciated.

Friday, February 24, 2012

It's not that Complicated

I've been unable to post every week as promised, it wasn't on purpose or neglect in anyway; I have still been diligent in taking pictures of food cooked, and continue to be creative in the kitchen. 

Today, it''s about bread making and like the title says "it's not that complicated" is a truth and no, I am not talking about bread making with a bread machine. I don't know if you can relate, but kneading bread in some ways is therapeutic; fine you LOL, but that has been my experience.

Bread making for me started by observation;every Saturday morning my mom or dad would pull out the largest basin (bowl) and without measuring any ingredients, they would proceed to add flour, salt, margarine, sugar and yeast mixture into the basin, and mix together.  Then the fun part would begin; me the water pouter would have the pleasure of making a well in the centre of the flour mixture, and pour water into the hole. My parent would then begin the pulling together of wet and dry to form a massive dough; all sticky and pasty and my job was to add water or more flour as told.

The final outcome would be a well formed, smooth, elastic soft but firm dough. A clean towel would cover the dough and timer set for two hours. I would make frequent trips to the kitchen to see this big blob of dough rise rapidly, which fascinated me. 
OK, time to oil the pans - yeah, the second fun part is here. I loved watching the dough spread out on the table like the slow crawl of lava flowing from a volcano. With rapid motion from years of experience the dough would be sliced with a sharp knife into even pieces, rolled out on the table and with three 12" lengths they're braided; yes, like plaiting hair:)

By now you must know I am a lover of anything, or just about anything made with flour. Aside from kneading and eating fresh bread, the smell while it is being baked is one smell that never grows old on you. You know that bottle of perfume you save for special occasions and used sparingly? Well take it from me, the smell of bread is oh so ah, good. The finished product is simply beautiful; the tearing of warm bread with steam rising and butter spattered on quickly melts before it disappears into my mouth. 

Well, still to this day my mom continues to bake her own bread, and over the past 3 months we've decided to follow suit. Why? for health reason it's about preservatives and the other is cost.
Next post I will share the ease in baking bread from scratch; and you can give your bread machine a break.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Make It Your Way

There are a number of foods you can take and make your own and Pizza definitely sits on top of that list. When I think laid back; Friday night; week-end; warm weather and a nice cold beer. Yeah, it's pizza. Mind you I am not talking about the fast food greasy, soft, sloppy, salty and over priced pizza.
I got tired of trying different pizzas and with every bite; it was "I can do better", what a waste of hard earned money. I wanted something with flavour, taste, soft texture inside, and a thin crisp outer layer. I wanted to bite into a slice of pizza and experience a mix of dynamic flavours coming alive inside my mouth as the melted cheese makes a string of melody as my lips plays along.
Fresh herbs, Caribbean spices and as much or as little cheese you want-heck make it a lot of that gooey gooey melted goodness. 

It was a fun creative experience which turned out to be delicious; this is The Bam D Pizza Spinach, goat cheese, caramelize onions with sprinkles of cumin seeds, thin slices of spicy salami, pepperoni, colourful sweet peppers, thai basil, corn and pineapple makes this a winning combo, and a garlic crust completes this beauty.

This is home made pizza made easy, inexpensive, fresh, loaded with YOUR favourite toppings.
The Bam D Pizza
The toppings and dough can be prepared the night before; so the night you're planning to serve it; it's just load and go and within 45 minutes I had myself a. well take a look.  if you'd like the recipe drop me a line.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Roti Roti Roti

We all have a favourite food we grew up with, and regardless of where we live or how older and wiser we get:); our favourite still remains a favourite. It's like having a faithful pet dog who sticks with you no matter what; like your shadow that you just can't shake and don't want to.  If you never had a pet dog then it's like your favourite blanket or suse (pacifier).

Well, tonight I am delighted to share one of my all time favourites. with you;roti. I remember as a child walking into our kitchen, and watched as my mom mixed the dough by hand, rolled out small balls , then patiently she would roll each ball into a round thin flat shapes, rub some oil or ghee on it, slit it partially with a dull knife, make a fancy like twirl and set it aside.  This process was done to the dozen or so soft rolled balls. I would sit there waiting impatiently as my mind day dreamed of taking the warm cooked soft flaky bread into my chubby hands; tore it apart and stuffed a piece into my hungry mouth.

Roti is cooked on what is called a Tawa; picture a frying pan without handle or sides.
 Roti is made with five simple ingredients; water, flour, salt, baking powder, and oil. You mix everything together, except the oil which is used for basting, and then roll and cook.

Though the ingredients are simple and common, it is a complex food to make, but once you get the hang of it; it's a beautiful thing.

Roti can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner, but goes exceptionally well with curry chicken, beef, fish or goat. The most popular is curry chicken, and if you have any left overs, peanut butter and jam, or scrambled fried eggs in the morning is also a winning combo.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let's talk Cumin

Herbs and spices are what pulls out the flavour from dishes cooked in a back yard cook-out or in the kitchen of the Queen of England. I remember the first time I saw someone in Canada prepare a chicken for cooking without adding any seasoning to it. It was so foreign to's like getting all dressed up to attend a gala event and leave without having a bath. 
You have to dress the dish to get the best from it. Not  going over board, but just enough to compliment it. 

So today I'd like to talk about one of my favourite spice; Cumin; not to turn you off, but sometimes it smells like bad Bo:), but when added to the right food it shines.

Growing up my dad would parch this spice in a frying pan, then use a wooden matha to grind it into powder, which would then be used in curries, dhal and dhal puri.

It is the dried seed of the herb called Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. A small plant harvested by hand and can grow up to about 2 ft. tall. It is family to parsley and dill and can be mistaken for the caraway seed, except for a slight difference in colour and its strong smell.

Cumin can be found all over the world from the Mediterranean, India, Asia, the Caribbean, to the jungles of South America the hub of busy Toronto, the busy Big Apple and to beautiful BC; cumin is popular all over.  
Used mostly in ethnic and spicy foods, cumin sits as one of the most popular spice in the world a spice for its distinctive and strong aroma. It is added as an ingredient in chilli powder, garam masala, and curry powder.
It can be found in cheeses, breads, soups, stews sprinkled on cauliflower, and mostly popular in curries cooked in the Caribbean and South America.

So the next time you plan on making any of the above dishes, be creative and add some cumin, it just might become one of your favourite must have spice in your pantry.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Make it delicious

I wasn't introduced to muffins until my entry into North America, and when the intro was made I was instantly hooked.  I know my instant admiration of this yummy breakfast or snack was manifested because there are so many variations of this food. You have the ability to make them as healthy or as dessert like or unhealthy as you like.  You can add just about anything to them; you know-nuts and bolts, bits and pieces, anything but the kitchen sink, and with a little creativity you can arrive at your own muffin wonder:)

Last week I got a craving for blue berry muffins, the moist, warm out of the oven with full steam ahead like a choo choo train. This time around I changed things up a bit and added the brown sugar and margarine directly to the dry ingredients; the eggs with milk were folded in at the end I think doing this delivered a sponge like texture of beautiful muffins that bounced back like the springs on a diving board to create...well, take a look. 

 Moist Blue Berry Muffins

Preheat Oven to 350
Baking time: 20-25 mins
Makes 12 muffins

Mix the following ingredients:
¾ cup brown sugar
2 cups baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
Add – ¾ cup margarine to the dry mixture and blend by hand or spoon into a crumbly texture. Add1 ½ cups frozen blueberries

Beat together and add to the dry mixture:
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
 1 ½ cups milk
Fold liquid into dry until fully combined. (do not stir)
Greased muffin tins and pour enough mixture to fill the muffin cups.
Bake, and serve warm.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

An all time sweet treat

Today as a result of the weather being crappy as in aka , cold, wet and windy I figure it's the best time to talk about desserts in this post.  Now, there are certain desserts that goes well with certain weather, or mood and then there are some that fits right in at any time of the day, or season.

I'm talking about oatmeal chocolate coconut cookies. Let me regress for a minute or two to chat about oatmeal - my partner asks; if there were a few food items you are allowed to take on a desert island; what would they be? Well oatmeal is on that limited list. I love oatmeal, besides its healthy benefits it is a diverse food that can be used in every meal of the day; yeah that's right; breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner and dessert.

Enough semi chocolate chips makes this oatmeal coconut chocolate cookie a sweet delight. I've tried and revamped a number of recipes like this, but to date this is by far...yup, giving her five stars all the way.

Moist, with a dash of cinnamon, vanilla essence, and grated coconut adds a Caribbean twist to a regular favourite. 
Moist Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate  Cookies