Sunday, November 21, 2010

give us this day a tasty bread

i never had a sweet tooth, but once in a while something would trip the sugar rush switch to the on position. this time, miss estephanie did the trick with her wholesome version of the sweet bread we know.

i got her orange-cranberry-walnut bread, but she has a variety of options like coconut-raisin, banana-walnut, carrot-walnut and more, all made with thoughtful ingredients and 50% less sugar than regular sweet bread. check out her label above.

the bread is solid. firm but moist. it has the kind of sweetness i enjoy, which is the natural sweet from the fruits. plus the bran, wheat and oats balance the flavours off nicely. so it's just sweet enough. i'll say yuh should call the number on the label and get yuh hands on a loaf or two.

i found out about this bread via my friend nicole, who happens to be miss estephanie's daughter. it's been a topic on facebook for the week thanks to another friend, richard, who made it his business to showcase the various slices he purchased and all the things he topped them with. so i promised that when i got my loaf, i would offer a creation.

so i cut up my slice.

did that so i could manipulate it into this little glass. looked like a good way to control the portion size.

next, i put a layer of this land o' lakes light whipped cream. it's not that sweet, but made with real milk and cream so it's tasty.

then i added some chilled chunky mixed fruit for the flavour and the texture.

topped it off with another layer of the bread and that was it. a nice sensible dessert. thanks for the link up nicole. thanks for the inspiration richard. thanks for the bread miss estephanie...

leh we bubble

Sunday, November 7, 2010

smoked oysters & mussels

i like smoked oysters and smoked mussels. kinda reminds me of smoked herring which i love. so i like to keep some handy for times such as these... late-o-clock sunday breakfast.

this is really a quick fix, but i was a bit snap happy, so i made the quick process a little longer by taking pics. here we have some onion, some hot pepper, chive and shadon beni.

the mussels and oysters roughly chopped.

the oysters & mussels come in cotton seed oil which i drain out as much as possible. but i spray some pam in a pan to sautee the seasoning.

fire fuh dat.

they also have salt in them already, but i like them just a little bit saltier. to achieve that, i add a just a pinch more salt and a lil peppercorn medley.

in goes the seafood.

these are already smoked, so they aren't in here to cook for long. actually, i just stir them around a bit over a super low fire to get the seasoning all over.

next, some cream cheese. not much. just enough to create a little texture and contribute to the taste. for this i prefer either the garden flavour or this chive and onion.

the next step is to drop it all into a bowl and mix it to a chunky paste.

it's nice on a piece of crispy wasa bread, but who could say no to the vital supply?

a wholewheat or multigrain crix is just right. top that with some fresh chopped celery and that for me is a good start to a mellow sunday.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

catch of de day... lobster

i probably ate it about twice... saw it cooked a couple of times on food network etc... but i never cooked a lobster up until now. aye! no biggy. i just thought of it as a really big expensive crab... kinda. when i bought it, they cleaned it and cut it up into 3 parts. the head was split in two and they left the tail whole. so i made a lobster broth with one side of the head as recommended by a Chinese breddrin of mine. salty with some lemon grass and lots of onion. the leg meat came out easily and was substantially more worthwhile than crab legs. i have the other side of the head that i would like to buss a curry with as recommended by the lobster man, ducky. i also took ducky's recommendation to bake the tail, but of course i had to try a ting...

it started fairly simple with some salt,

a pot of boiling water

and a lobster tail.

and by lobster tail i mean a big lobster tail.

i popped it in the water and cracked the lid a bit so the water wouldn't bubble over. now i heard it doesn't need much bubblin. 12 to 15 minutes according to the size of the lobster.

this was a big sister, so i was aiming towards the higher end of that equation. all the dark markings on the shell started turning red. yes, i know i said i was going to bake it. i also said i was going to try a ting... TA-DAAA!! that was the ting. well at least that was the beginning of the ting. i let it boil for about 7 minutes.

next, i minced up some onions, thyme, celery, parsley and pimiento.

split the tail in two

and took out the meat.

these are the shells that remained, safely put aside for later.

i shredded up the meat just a little. still wanted it to be chunky, but small chunks as opposed to the big clumps of meat that came out the shell. then i mixed it with the diced seasoning. nice and colourful.

time for the shells to come back out and become the vessels for the seasoned mixture. i ground some of that peppercorn medley over the top of them and put them in a baking tray. well, here's where things start getting a bit crazy for most.

yes that is cheese. it was in my head and i decided to try it. i saw cheese on lobster online and on tv before. plus i thought it would rhyme with the peppers and the onions. so after topping it with shredded mozzarella and sprinkling some italian seasoning over the cheese, i put the pieces in the oven to bake for the remainder of the 15 minutes. so that's the 15 minutes total + click start + programs + accessories + calculator - the 7 minutes that we already boiled it for equals... until we find it looks about ready.

while i waited, i decided to run some veggies through some cooking spray

seasoned them up just a bit with some cracked black peppercorns, a little lemon pepper and some aminos.

about 8 minutes after (yes he can count.) i switched the fire to the top to brown the cheese a bit so that the tails could fit the mental picture i had.

if it wasn't the real thing, it was smelling like the real thing.

and it looked pretty good too.

i put it on a plate with a couple spoons of veggies, just in time for diners, drive ins and dives on food network. not a bad show to look at when you have something nice to eat right in front of you. the cheese worked. i actually enjoyed the bites that had cheese a lot. next time, i'll try it with the conventional garlic sauce or some sorta herb butter dip, but this time, it was all about the fun. but ducky will be seeing me very soon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

so that's why they call it blue food!!

they say you live and you learn. i lived that recently when i learned two things:
1. they call dasheen blue food because it looks kinda blueish when it's cooked.
2. the tobago blue food festival is not a fantastic new thing, it's been going on for about 10 years now.

imagine the shame when we pulled up in bloody bay for the tobago blue food festival with questions like "why is it called blue food?" and "are you looking forward to a second event?" what a laugh! luckily we don't script these reviews, so the questions were quickly abandoned, never to be mentioned again.

added to that, i learned that the blue food festival is essentially a competition that celebrates dasheen innovation. basically, you have a good few tents of cooks with all the delights you would expect to encounter at a blue food fiesta, as well as some things that we couldn't have come up with in our wildest dreams. what did we see? thought you would never asked...

more than anything else, provision like rain.

i mean a lot of provision.

and you know where there is provision, there too shall be dumpling. these were dasheen dumplings though. regular flour and corn meal dumplings were there, but they were so... well... regular.

anyway, as stated before, all the usuals were there. stewed yard fowl...

some of the richest looking curry crab i've seen...

stew lamb that came under heavy attack...

stew pork... plus there was coconut fish and tattoo and lappe and all sorts of wild meat. a lot of which was close to sold out by the time we got there.

but de real tief head was the innovation. dasheen kurma? wow! but that was just the beginning.

dasheen black cake, dasheen sponge cake, dasheen cheese cake, dasheen farine, dasheen flour, dasheen rum punch, dasheen ponche de creme, dasheen cookies... look, dasheen all kinda ting!

all that food, all that innovation, there was no reason for us not to hit the like button. the event was very well organized and participated by various cooks, which resulted in very satisfied patrons. the attendance was also great. i was shocked to see a lot of people from trinidad as well despite what i'll say was poor advertising of the event. i mentioned that the taste t&t events would have done well to have some on-topic cooking demonstrations. blue food did just that. various people went on stage and spoke about how they created their innovations. in other words, it wasn't all just song and dance. despite the hellish sun that seemed like it was sitting on my shoulder, the event was a very enjoyable one. i'll be sure to be there again next year, this time with a game plan for that sun (a cap) and that food (an empty belly).

check out some of the other stuff we saw here.