Friday, December 25, 2009


tomorrow will make it one year since i promised to do a post with this title. i guess good things really come to those who wait, because this is the perfect post for it. during my mother's birthday dinner at the normandie hotel, my father and i tasted a cranberry sauce that was quite nice. he called me on christmas eve and asked "what yuh say was in that cranberry sauce again?". "i think i was tasting x and y if i had to guess." was my response. (the ingredients shall remain nameless for now to maxmize impact later on) "yessssss! aight, ah gone." he replied. little did i know he was in the middle of preparing everything already. when i arrived on christmas morning, the main stuff was already done, but guess what he was about to prepare? yup... the cranberry sauce. in other words, the source of my inspiration in the kitchen was in the kitchen preparing a sauce inspired by a sauce that inspired me to try cranberry sauce on my turkey for the first time ever. i thought it was ripe for a saucy entry.

so he started off by getting the two secret ingredients:

cinnamon powder

and bay leaf. now in these here parts, a lot of herbs and spices are picked fresh from the garden. bay leaf is no exception. can't beat that with a bat.

he put the spices in a sauce pan and added some water plus that hot fiyah.

next, he got out some jellied cranberry sauce. we have this every year, but i never put it on my turkey. the jelly just isn't my thing.

he mashed around the jelly with a wooden spoon while it took the heat.

then he added a little salt to refine the taste.

balanced out the flavours wth a little sugar. it thickened up nicely and had this sweet and spicy flavour that was reminicent of the sauce that inspired the effort. i had to try it on my turkey.

so i did. it worked. i don't like a lot of sweet stuff, but this was just right. it played a good supporting role.

the cast was strong as usual: (going clockwise from the turkey at the bottom) minced beef and potato stuffing, cauliflower in white sauce, shepard's pie, peas with coconut milk, vegetable lasagne, beef pastelle and a vegetable rice with carrot, pepper, celery, onion, chive, apple and raisins.

thanks to the sauce, the falvours changed up again this year and it was another meal worth remembering.


while browsing through the christmas snack pile at the parents', waiting for the christmas pot to bubble, i found a stash of my moms new can't-put-the-bottle-down snack.

pub mix. if you don't know, it's a tasty bunch of crunchies in a tall bottle that can throw off your appetite if you're not careful. "more-ish" as my mom describes it.

anyway, just a quick snack... well, a quick post... food post comin just now!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


if i ever needed a character reference from a friend of over 10 years, Helga Trim would be one of the people that would immediately come to mind. so when she asked me to contribute to her Wine & Spirits article in the Sunday Newsday's Good Living section, the only real delay was the time it took to open my laptop and boot it up. (which reminds me, i think i need a new laptop). anyway, her article asks "what do you drink to welcome the new year?" this was my response (with a few visuals thrown in because daz how we do it on a blog):

What I end up sipping on while the notes of Auld Lang Syne fill the air has been dictated by the context of the limes I attended over the years.

For example, one year I hopped around Tobago hotels storming their formal Old Year’s Night festivities. That year, twelve found me sipping the formal champagne, trying to blend in with the rest of the paying crowd.

Last year the stroke of twelve caught me heading to a lime by some friends that I never spent New Years with before. I joined them in an after-the-stroke-of-twelve toast when I arrived, and to facilitate it, we had shots of Patrone tequila… a drink I never had before. That also led to a new type of disaster for me, unfortunately unsuitable to mention in such a lighthearted article.

But the closest thing to a consistent New Year’s drink for me is what you’re sure to find whenever I get together with my inner circle of friends either at my place in Aranguez, by Ma in Barataria, or up on the block in Laventille by Jo. That’s Johnnie Walker Black, which we usually have in 2L bottles affectionately called “De Man Wit De Handle” because of the handle worked into the bottle design. There’s just something comforting to me about sipping a Johnnie on the rocks with some good friends on Old Year’s Night that makes the 365 days to come look a lot less challenging.

feel free to post what you drink to welcome the new year. i'd like to know. and don't forget to get yourself a newsday on sunday december 27th to see who else drinks what else while the ball drops.

leh we bubble

Sunday, December 13, 2009


while doing the mundane task of purchasing goods, i stumbled across this:

pita bread made by one of my favourite spots, lawrence of arabia... of shops of maraval. though pita bread wasn't on my scientifically calculated google map of a grocery list, i couldn't resist bringing it home.

and with a classic line like this one, how could i put this down?

like the pack says, it is soft and tasty. and it tasted good out of the pack. i was curious about that considering it wasn't in any sort of chiller-like unit. it was just out there chillin' with the kiss loafs and such. anyway, it didn't have that powdery taste you get from some of the frozen ones. and though the sizes in the bag varied from piece to piece, the pieces were of a decent size.

luckily for me, the lawrance pita was just right to deal with the after supermarket hunger. quick and easy, taste good... not too much to clean up. to me that meant slap two pieces of smoked ham on there, grate some cheese, then throw on some ketchup, chow chow and pepper.

wrapped it and placed it in this. what is this? hmm.

de george forman. real handy piece of equipment.

about 3 minutes later, i had this hot, crispy wrap. not bad at all. i want to use it with a stew something or a curry sometime and just dip it like a sada roti. until that though, this wrap will do. who say seconds?

Thursday, December 10, 2009


been hearing about "the best fried chicken in the country" for quite some time now. jap's fried chicken. you can find this spot in st helena (thanks randy). it's quite easy to find. from piarco side, you pass the new airport, pass the old airport, make a right when the road leads to the major road, then make another right at the first traffic light. look for the red, white and green japs sign on your right hand side.

the sign is similar to the custom box. i found the illustration to be quite amusing, but with a claim like " best taste around!" right next to it, it was wise for a first timer like me to save the laughs for after the tasting. the first thing of note was the number of cars. this place was obviously scoring. but i soon realized that the cars were a small tell tale sign compared to the line of people coming out of the door. i endured said line (which actually looked more intimidating than it was) and purchased the coveted product.

clean surroundings
price!! 2 piece and fries = $20. up sized fries = $3. fish and fries = $25. quite affordable
hearty portion sizes... even without up sizing
efficient system... it cut down the long lines in no time
an ok looking chinese food place next door just in case you end up feeling for a beef fried rice instead of fried chicken, but already made the trek
the branded stuff like the bag and boxes take it out of hole-in-the-wall realm and gives it that franchise look we love
the prep area is visible from the front, so you can see what's going on. no behind the scenes

not so impressive:
the parking sucks... but there's a yard for some sort of business a little further up that can be of service if you don't mind a very short walk back
there are a few tables for dining there, but with lines of people crowding the space the experience can't be that great
the funny illustration of that chef. the design was ok with the logo alone man!

but how did it taste though?
it has that home flavour as opposed to the mass produced, oily big franchise product the big boys pedal. i'm guessing it's because the oil in their deep fryers does less work, so the product is fresher. maybe. the meat was well cooked straight to the bone though. commendable. there was some seasoning, but not as much as i anticipated, proving once again that anticipation is a dangerous thing. the crust was crispy and tasty with a spicy kick, but the meat itself was just passable. not bad, not great... passable. all in all, i disagree. i don't think japs is the best fried chicken in the country. they make an ok chicken that looks as though the taste is consistent, which is a good thing. i was at least hoping for some hole-in-the-wall-secret-sauce, but that wish didn't come to pass. just the regular mass market condiments with a nice pepper sauce.

i'd buy it again providing i'm on that side, but i won't leave home to get it, unlike some other options that i'll bring to the table soon.