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 me...it'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