Jamaican Hot Chocolate

Jan 22, 2013 by

Brrrrrrr…

Seriously. I am currently in a deep freeze. I know that at this moment in time, in certain parts of Canada, they are experiencing temperatures somewhere around -45C…give or take a few degrees. This post isn’t meant to complain. Really, it’s not. How can I complain when we are only somewhere around -12C? Oh, and that’s the “high”. The low is a frightening -23C. Extreme cold alerts always have me wondering how I can remain indoors until it is at least -5C. I’m “okay” around -5C. Since life has a wonderful way of happening daily, staying indoors isn’t practical. So when it’s really really cold, its time for some tropical flavour to warm me up and bring a smile to my face.

This is a quick post since I’m missing my blanket that is strategically placed in front of the fireplace. It’s probably missing me too. So we will have to be reunited shortly.

 

Hot Chocolate-3

Jamaican Hot Chocolate

 

Jamaican Hot Chocolate

2 oz Jamaican Chocolate (1 chocolate ball), shredded or coarsely chopped

2 Cups Water

1 Cinnamon Leaf

1/8 Tsp Ground Nutmeg

1/2 Tsp Vanilla

1/4 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk

1/2 Cup Milk (optional)

Instructions

In a medium pot, add water, cinnamon leaf and chocolate and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes

Add salt, nutmeg, vanilla, milk and condensed milk. Stir to combine.

Strain and sweeten with a little sugar if needed.

Serve and enjoy hot!

This recipe yields about 3 mugs of “Coco Tea” 

 

Typically, you grate the chocolate but as you see here, I started but my patience got the better of me. I chose to coarsely chop the chocolate instead. The goal is to break it down so that it cooks faster.

 

Hot Chocolate-2

Jamaican Chocolate coarsely chopped

 

This Jamaican beverage is known as Hot Chocolate Tea or simply Coco Tea. It tastes nothing like Swiss Miss or Nestle or whatever else you find at the grocery store. It is quite rustic, and rich. It’s also quite coarse as it does not completely dissolve, so straining is an absolutely necessary step (in my opinion) in order to fully enjoy this beverage without having to clear your throat every few sips.

 

Hot Chocolate-1

Jamaican Chocolate, Nutmeg and Cinnamon Leaf

 

Coco Tea is typically a breakfast beverage (especially around Christmas). I remember the BEST Coco Tea I’ve ever had, was at a hotel restaurant in Portland, Jamaica (a beautiful, rustic and fairly untouched part of the island located on the south coast). They refused to tell me their secret ingredient. I suppose that means I will be returning to the hotel to savour their wonderful chocolate bliss. It’s wonderful to have on a Sunday morning with a nice big traditional breakfast. But for me? It keeps me warm and comforted on cold winter nights. I’m glad I have a small stash to last me a little while.

~Lyn

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Asian Pear and Date Muffins for #MuffinMonday

Jan 14, 2013 by

Welcome to my first #MuffinMonday post for 2013. Today’s muffin is like none that I’ve ever made before. It’s actually quite interesting. The ingredients are absolutely fantastic and healthy. Our recipe today is adapted from The Free Range Cook by Annabel Langbein and Ooh-Look Food & Craft.

Allow me to say it before you do. These aren’t the cutest muffins. I think I put too many pieces of pear on the batter. But I’ll tell you this…where these muffin lack in looks, they more than make up for it in taste! Looking back, I can think of a few other ways I could have done them. But they came out great!  These muffins are nothing short interesting and leave you wanting for another bite. The dates give them such a deep flavour and the texture – so very moist.

I didn’t do a lot of changes to the recipe really. I was very interested in the technique. I replaced regular flour with Spelt flour and used Asian pear instead of a regular pear. Asian Pear is high in fiber, rich in vitamin C, and helps lower blood cholesterol. Dates are excellent sources of fiber and protein.

You will notice that in future posts, that I will be making less muffins. I found that making 12-18 muffins was too much for my little family. I think it would benefit us more if I cut back on the quantity. I also decided to use my kitchen scale more often. There are so many recipes that I end up dismissing because I would have to do conversions. Change is good.

 

Asian Pear and Date Muffins

Asian Pear and Date Muffins

 

Asian Pear & Date Muffins for #MuffinMonday

Recipe Type: Muffin
Author: Lyn, adapted from The Free Range Cook by Annabel Langbein
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 45 mins
A delicious and unique muffin made with Dates, Asian Pear and Spelt Flour
Ingredients
  • 88g (About 5 pitted dates)
  • 250lm/1 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 30g Butter, cold and diced
  • 125g Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 88g Spelt Flour
  • 1 1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tsp Ginger
  • 1 Asian Pear, peeled and diced into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp Turbinado Sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Line a muffin pan with 9 paper liners
  3. In a large pot (this will essentially be your mixing bowl), place dates, baking soda and water. Boil for about 10 minutes until the liquid will foam a bit and the dates will break down. Stir until a thick liquid is formed.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat source and add the butter. Stir until fully dissolved.
  5. Add the vanilla, sugar and egg. Whisk to incorporate.
  6. Fold in the flour
  7. This will yield about 2 1/4 Cups of batter
  8. Pour the batter into each muffin cup and then add a few pieces of pear in the centre. Sprinkle with Turbinado sugar
  9. Bake for 2 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  10. These muffins are best served warm
Notes
This recipe yields 9 muffins
3.2.1199

 

I love the fact that I only used one pot. There’s no sifting of dry ingredients in a separate bowl for this recipe, friends! Very easy and healthy. Feel free to cut back on the sugar if needed. I found that it was a bit on the sweet side but it didn’t bother me. Next time I will reduce the sugar.

 

Asian Pear & Date Muffin Prep

Date batter, batter in muffin liners, Asian pear on top of the batter

 

A very delicious treat! These muffins were enjoyed by my family and I’m so glad that this was our #MuffinMonday selection today!

 

Asian Pear and Date Muffins

Asian Pear and Date Muffins

 

Have an amazing week!

~Lyn

 

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week. 

 Muffin Monday: http://bakerstreet.tv/muffin-monday/

 Muffin 101: http://bakerstreet.tv/muffin-monday/muffin-101/

 

 

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Top 12 Recipes of 2012 – What a great year!

Dec 31, 2012 by

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, spent with family and friends. I took the week off to do my last-minute running around, making sorrel, baking cakes, doing some light housework, spent a day out of town… the family was quite busy. I even surprised myself when I realized that I had not physically been on the computer for 3 whole days. This type of scenario does not happen often. But it was all for a good cause, seeing as it was the most wonderful time of the year.

Well, it’s the end of 2012 and as I reflect, I know very well that I have much to be thankful for. I’m satisfied with my accomplishments in blogging and I’m ready for what 2013 has to offer. Bring it on! There’s so much more to be done! I feel like making some changes at The Lovely Pantry. I’m still tossing some ideas around in my head so I’m not 100% sure what I’ll be doing. Growth is a wonderful thing.

I don’t do resolutions anymore. If I really want to accomplish something, I will just do it. It’s just a matter of timing and priority. There are a few recipes that I plan to conquer in the new year. I’m creating a list of things I want to learn, both in and outside of the kitchen. As a life long learner, I don’t feel comfortable if I’m not growing in some way or the other. Looking at my posts throughout 2012, I see lots of growth. I see improvement in my photography and in the types of recipes that I’ve challenged myself with.

 

Lets take a look at what had people’s attention. Here are the top 12 posts for 2012 at The Lovely Pantry!

 

 

Top Recipes 2012 - The Lovely Pantry

Top Recipes 2012 – The Lovely Pantry

 

 

The top 3 posts:

Cristina Ferrare’s Fall Off The Bone Chicken Thighs

This is my most popular post to date!

Fall Off The Bone Chicken Thighs, Recipe by Cristina Ferrare

Fall Off The Bone Chicken Thighs, Recipe by Cristina Ferrare

 

Hoisin Salmon with Quinoa & Zucchini

Everyone seemed to enjoy my very easy freestyle salmon. It went nuts on Pinterest!

Hoisin Salmon with Quinoa & Zucchini

Hoisin Salmon with Quinoa & Zucchini

 

Whole Wheat French Toast

I guess it must be true when folks say “simple is best”. This post has always been popular, ever since it was published in February 2012.

Whole Wheat French Toast

Whole Wheat French Toast

 

The remaining posts are in no particular order.

 

Polenta, Parmesan, Mozzarella and Tomato

Polenta, Mozzarella, Tomato

Polenta, Mozzarella, Tomato

 

Roasted Pumpkin & Coconut Soup

Roasted Pumpkin & Coconut Soup

Roasted Pumpkin & Coconut Soup

 

Bavarian Apple Torte

Bavarian Apple Torte

Bavarian Apple Torte

 

Jamaican Cornmeal Pudding

Cornmeal Pudding with Rum, Raisins and French Vanilla Ice Cream

Cornmeal Pudding with Rum, Raisins and French Vanilla Ice Cream

 

Black Bean Soup With Hot Roast Pepper Sauce

Black Bean Soup with Hot Roast Pepper Cream

Black Bean Soup with Hot Roast Pepper Cream

 

Grilled Polenta Cakes

Grilled Polenta Cakes

Grilled Polenta Cakes

 

Jamaican Sorrel

Jamaican Sorrel

Jamaican Sorrel

 

 Banana Coconut Coffee Cake with Macadamia Nut Streusel

Banana Coconut Coffee Cake With Macadamia Nut Streusel

Banana Coconut Coffee Cake With Macadamia Nut Streusel

 

Jamaican Christmas Pudding

Jamaican Christmas Pudding with Hot Wine Sauce

Jamaican Christmas Pudding with Hot Wine Sauce

 

I want to say a very special thanks to the #SundaySupper family. It feels good to be a part of such an incredible group of people who share a common cause – to get families together to enjoy a home cooked meal on a Sunday. It could be on any day of the week, as long as it is possible. Sharing ideas for meals for your family is what I enjoy doing, and I spend a lot of time sharing on Twitter and Pinterest. Congratulations Isabel, for your amazing success! I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for #SundaySupper!

 I really love my little blog. I’m quite fond of the wonderful people and communities I’ve joined along this journey.

I want to thank each and every one of you who read/comment on my posts.It means so much to me.

To the friends that have made recipe suggestions and offered advice with regards to technique/instructions, I thank you!

For those that have suggested The Lovely Pantry to friends/family who are looking for meal ideas, have an interest in Jamaican cuisine, or who are just wanting to know how to use a certain ingredient… I appreciate you!

Consider joining me on Facebook and Twitter to keep up whats new on TLP, or just stop by to say hello.

 Have a blessed and wonderful New Year!

Happy 2013

~Lyn

 

 

 

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Honey Cornbread Gruyère Muffins for #MuffinMonday

Oct 15, 2012 by

Good Monday morning to you all! Ready for another #MuffinMonday? I hope so – because today’s recipe is nothing short of tasty simplicity!

Our recipe is by Down Home With The Neelys from Food Network. I’m always looking at ways to bake with cornmeal. Yes, I’m quite fond of it. I was more than happy when I saw the ingredients. I was wondering what I could do to make this one different. I was tempted to leave it just as it is, actually. I’ll probably follow the original recipe at some point. But I decided to use up some Gruyère cheese that I had to see how well it would incorporate into the recipe. As fate would have it….it turned out FABULOUS! I liked the sweet and salty combination.I think next time, I’ll take hubby’s advice and cut the cheese into cubes instead of shredding. Perhaps it will be interesting to bite into chunks of melted cheese. We’ll see!!! Something tells me he enjoys #MuffinMonday just as much as I do.

For now, I just want to let you all know, that this muffin is perfect with a cup of coffee….especially on a Monday morning after a super busy weekend.

 

Honey Cornbread Gruyère Muffins

 

Honey Cornbread Gruyère Muffins

Recipe Type: Muffins
Author: Lyn, adapted from Down Home With The Neelys
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Cornmeal Muffins sweetened with honey, extra flavour with Gruyère cheese
Ingredients
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Cup Shredded Gruyère cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Into a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine milk, eggs, butter, and honey
  4. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed
  5. Place muffin paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin.
  6. Evenly divide mixture into the muffin cups
  7. Bake for 15 minutes until golden.

 

Yes, this is exactly how I had it. The kids were waiting patiently for me to finish taking pictures. They even offered to help because I was “taking sooooo long.” They were very kind this time. Probably due to the absence of chocolate chips.

 

Honey Cornbread Gruyère Muffins

 

And there you have it! A perfectly moist and cheesy muffin to start your week! A little bit of sweet, and a little bit of savoury all bundled up in a muffin.

 

Honey Cornbread Gruyère Muffins

Happy Monday and have a spectacular week!!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week. Check out Muffin 101 here.

~Lyn

 

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Roasted Garlic Muffins with Bacon

Jun 18, 2012 by

I can’t believe its Monday already! What a busy week! I was so consumed with various tasks/deadlines, I haven’t been able to post much but I am happy that I’m able to participate in another Muffin Monday! This weeks muffin selection is what my husband calls “a really good breakfast muffin”. I’ll be honest, savoury is not my thing. My sweet tooth simply won’t allow it. But one thing I’ve learned is – savoury just needs a little bacon to make it right. Is that the truth? Or is that the TRUTH?

I was very grateful for this recipe because for starters, I’ve never used cottage cheese before. Like ever. I’ve also never roasted a head of garlic before. Brilliant! It was fun to do and smelled great (if you like garlic). The original recipe called for Parmigiano-Reggiano but I couldn’t find one small enough so I chose Asiago, which also has a great texture and flavour. I used half cup instead of the suggested quarter cup that seemed like such a tiny portion. I went half and half with all-purpose flour and spelt flour. I really like using other flours aside from whole wheat.  And for this recipe, I’m happy with the result.

 

Roasted Garlic Muffins with Bacon

 

 

Roasted Garlic Muffins with Bacon
Author: Lyn, adapted from The Ultimate Muffin Book by Mark & Bruce
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Ingredients
  • 1 medium garlic head
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil for the garlic
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 Cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 3/4 Cup small-curd cottage cheese, or cream-style cottage cheese (regular or low-fat, but not non-fat)
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Spelt flour
  • 1/2 Cup grated Asiago Cheese
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Strips crispy bacon, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut the top quarter off the garlic head so that the cloves are exposed. Discard the top quarter. Place the garlic on a small sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then fold and seal the sides of the foil to create a pouch around the garlic. Place directly on the oven rack and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the garlic smells sweet and the cloves are soft. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes without unwrapping. Maintain the oven’s temperature.
  3. To prepare the muffin tins, spray the indentations and the rims around them with nonstick spray, or line the indentations with paper muffin cups. If using silicon muffin tins, spray as directed, then place the tins on a baking sheet.
  4. Squeeze the cooled pulp from the garlic cloves into a large bowl, discarding the papery husks. Mash the garlic with a fork, then whisk in the eggs, milk, cottage cheese, and remaining 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Set aside for 10 minutes to infuse the garlic flavor into the mixture.
  5. Whisk the all-purpose flour, spelt flour, Asiago, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl until combined. Stir this dry mixture into the garlic mixture until moistened.
  6. Add the bacon and fold until incorporated
  7. Fill the prepared tins three-quarters full. Use additional greased tins or small, oven-safe, greased ramekins for any leftover batter, or reserve the batter for a second baking. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffins have lightly browned, rounded tops and a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes clean
  8. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Gently rock each muffin back and forth to release and remove it from the tin. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes more on the rack before serving.
Notes

This recipe yields about 14 muffins

If storing or freezing them, cool them completely before sealing in an airtight container or in freezer-safe plastic bags. The muffins will stay fresh for up to 24 hours at room temperature or up to 1 month in the freezer.

 

I remember when I did not like garlic at all. Look at me now!! I was so happy to try it. Roasted garlic is a wonderful base for so many recipes.

 

Garlic with oil, ready to go into the oven

 

Straight out of the oven! This was quite hot even after 15 minutes so be careful.

 

Roasted garlic, aromatic and very moist

 

After all that mashing… I was left with no more than a few tablespoons of garlic mush.

 

Mashed roasted garlic

 

These muffins were lovely, especially served with bacon on the side! I haven’t had bacon in so long, I just had to alternate bites. Muffin, bacon. Muffin, bacon… I’m so naughty!

 

Roasted Garlic Muffin with Bacon AND Bacon on the side!

 

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

I hope you enjoyed todays post! Have a marvellous and naughty week, friends!

~Lyn

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Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

May 4, 2012 by

I’ve been wanting to make granola bars in what seems like forever! But I finally found a recipe that I liked and wanted to try. I really have to look at the ingredients in order for me to decide if I’m going to make it. I’m not crazy about nuts (I prefer them on their own) and it’s not uncommon to see many granola recipes with a variety of nuts included. I wanted something that the kids would enjoy and not find things to pick out or require too much effort on their part. When I came across this awesome recipe from a lovely little blog called Lauren’s Latest, I knew I had found “it”. Lauren’s recipe was adapted from Rachel Ray, and I adapted her version with what I had available.

I decided to make these after I lost my natural light, but I knew there would be nothing left after they were ready, so I went ahead and took photographs anyway. I’ve made these granola bars twice and only a few make it to daylight.

Chocolate Chip Granola Bar - No bake

 

Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Bars, No-Bake
Recipe Type: Treat, Snack
Author: Lyn
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 8
An easy granola bar recipe that can be made within minutes!
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Cinnamon Creamed Honey (Or plain honey)
  • 1 Tbsp Agave Nectar
  • 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Cups Quick Oats
  • 1 Cup Puffed Rice Cereal (like Rice Krispies)
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips (or milk chocolate)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, add cereal and oats. Stir to combine and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter, honey, agave, and sugar over medium heat just to a boil. Stir to combine. Reduce heat and remove after about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add vanilla and stir
  4. Pour into cereal and oats, mix well to incorporate
  5. Transfer into a rimmed tray (12X8 inch and about an inch deep)
  6. Press firmly in order for the oats to cover the entire surface evenly
  7. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and gently, press down
  8. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the fridge (or an hour at room temperature)
  9. When firm, cut into bars.
Notes

Press firmly into the tray to prevent the bars from falling apart. Try to achieve about 3/4 inch thickness. I put mine in the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving.

 

Rice Krispies and Quick Oats. These two ingredients were united for the first time in my house. I never had to buy Rice Krispies prior to this recipe. I even allowed my son to listen to them “snap, crackle and pop” like the commercials I used to see as a child. Embrace the Rice Krispie experience!

 

Rice Krispies and Quick Oats

 

I chose to use the Cinnamon Creamed Honey that I bought from the Farmer’s Market over the plain honey. The jar was unopened. How could  that be!!!??? When I tasted it at the market, it was splendid! I envisioned myself having it on toast with a cup of tea! I suppose I also wanted to add a very special flavour to the granola bars too. It worked out very well!

 

Cinnamon Creamed Honey, Butter, Agave Nectar, Brown Sugar

 

I didn’t allow it to remain at a boil, I just wanted to make sure everything was combined well before I removed it from the heat.

 

Mixture just to a boil, and combined

 

Muscle up for this part. The liquid firms up rather quickly and you have to make sure that everything is thoroughly combined.

 

Combining the honey mixture with the oats and cereal

 

Press firmly to ensure the mixture is packed tightly.  This helps to keep the bars from crumbling. I waited for it to cool for about 10 minutes (you should probably wait a little bit longer – an hour or so)

 

Press down *firmly* to flatten

 

I flipped everything onto a parchment lined cutting board. I sprinkled the chocolate chips then pressed them down. Whats funny is – they started to melt :-) I then used a pizza wheel (genius) and a knife to separate into bars. The kids were by my feet almost the entire time just waiting to get their hands on a piece. They had some crumbled bits, but got the real deal after it came out of the fridge for about 20 minutes or so. You know, to a child that’s like “forever”.

 

Granola Bars in the making!

 

My kids loved these little bars! Okay, so did I. We all had them with a glass of milk. A sweet treat to bring the family together.

 

My first granola bar!

 

Picky eater APPROVED!

 

Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Bar

 

 

Happy Friday!!!

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