Quinoa Cakes With Apple Sauce

Apr 19, 2012 by

I was super excited when I came across this recipe. I love Quinoa. It is by far my most favourite grain. It can be cooked in a variety of ways, and provides many nutritional benefits to my joy and comfort :-) I like to make “special pancakes” for my kids. This certainly is a very special pancake. I also wanted to make Apple Sauce to go with it. I got the Quinoa Cakes recipe from Martha Stewart. I swear, her recipes never fail me! Even when I make slight substitutions, whatever I make always comes out great.

I was attracted to this recipe because I wanted to have some kid-friendly quinoa recipes ready to go. I need them to be easy, tasty and enjoyable by my kids. I believe this did the trick. My apple sauce addition paired well with them and tasted awesome! The texture came out so smooth – the quinoa was hardly noticeable. Amazing.


Quinoa Cakes with Apple Sauce



Quinoa Pancakes With Apple Sauce
Recipe Type: Breakfast or Brunch
Author: Lyn
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
Serves: 4-6
A healthy pancake made with superfood Quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, unbleached
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup + more for serving
  • Cooking spray
  • Apple Sauce:
  • 2 Apples, peeled, cores removed, diced (I used Royal Gala)
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Juice
  1. Start the apple sauce first – place apple, sugar, cinnamon and apple juice in a small saucepan. Cover and cook on low heat 30-45 minutes or until you have reached a desired consistency. Stir occasionally every 15 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix quinoa, flour, baking powder and salt
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, egg white, butter, milk and syrup until smooth
  4. Add wet ingredients into dry
  5. Lightly coat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and bring to medium heat
  6. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonful into skillet
  7. Cook until bubbles appear on top for about 2 minutes
  8. Flip and cook until golden brown for another 2 minutes
  9. Repeat in batches until batter is finished
  10. Serve with apple sauce or fruits and maple syrup

This recipe yields about 18 2-inch pancakes
Quinoa Cake Recipe from http://www.marthastewart.com/329047/quinoa-cakes
The apple sauce took the longest to cook – about 40 minutes to reduce


See the difference between cooked and uncooked Quinoa? It fluffs up quite a bit. A little goes a long way. I usually cook one cup of quinoa at a time and it lasts me a few days – depending on what I end up doing with it.


Uncooked & Cooked Quinoa


Here’s the batter – ready to be spooned into the skillet. Making them this small meant a few batches, but it was well worth it. I’ll try making them a little bigger next time.


Quinoa Cake Batter


I don’t know about you, but I always mess up the first batch. The second set is usually a lot better. They taste the same, but aren’t as pretty.


Quinoa Cakes in skillet


They are so tiny and cook quickly, so you can’t leave them unattended. The most I could do was stir the apple sauce and then get back to the cakes.


Quinoa Cakes in skillet


Confession: I popped a few of these into my mouth before I added the syrup and apple sauce. Sorry. They smelled really good.


Naked Quinoa Cakes


And then there was a feast.


Quinoa Cakes with Apple Sauce and Maple Syrup


We had leftovers.


Take good care, friends!




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Ackee & Saltfish

Apr 10, 2012 by

Ackee, oh Ackee. Ackee is Jamaica’s national fruit. Ackee paired with Saltfish (Salted Codfish) is Jamaica’s National Dish. This is a dish that is near and dear to my heart, as my Mother always prepared it for my family on the weekend. She makes it so very well. I remember having to “flake” the saltfish (not often, a few times perhaps) to remove the bones and to reduce them into smaller pieces the night before for easy preparation in the morning. I hated having to pick out the bones, but boy did I enjoy eating it! I was in the mood for traditional Jamaican fare so I gathered my ingredients to make Ackee and Saltfish served with fried Bammy and fried Plantains.


Ackee and Saltfish with Bammy and Plantain


Ackee & Saltfish
Recipe Type: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Author: Lyn of The Lovely Pantry
Prep time: 40 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 6
Jamaica’s National Dish, Suitable for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner. It can be served with Fried Dumplings, Boiled Dumplings, Fried Bammy, Boiled Banana, Fried Plantains, Boiled Yam, Roast Yam or White Rice
  • 2 Dozen Ackees (or 2 Tins of Ackee)
  • 1/2lb Salted Codfish
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 Medium Tomato, chopped
  • 1 Red Sweet Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Green Sweet Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Onion chopped, or thinly sliced
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A few Pimento seeds (optional)
  • 1 Tsp All Purpose Seasoning (optional)
  • A pack of Bammy (8 small round Bammies)
  • 1 Ripe Plantain
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • Oil for frying the plantain
  1. Soak the saltfish overnight in a covered pot. In the morning, pour off the water. Add fresh water and bring to a boil. Taste the fish to ensure that most of the salt has been boiled off. If it is very salty, pour off the water, add fresh water and boil again. This should be enough. The saltfish should not be bland. Pour off water and allow to cool. Using your fingers, break the fish into small pieces while removing any present bones. Be careful, the bones can be very small. You should end up with a heaping cup full of flaked saltfish.
  2. If using canned ackees, drain liquid from the ackees and add to a pot of boiling water for about 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. If using fresh ackees, boil in salted water for about 15 minutes, or until ackees can be pierced with no resistance with a fork. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside
  4. In a large skillet or dutch oven, warm the oil over medium heat
  5. Add onion, tomatoes and sweet peppers. Sauté until softened about 5 minutes
  6. Add saltfish and stir to combine
  7. Add ackee to the pot
  8. Add salt and pepper
  9. Give a gentle stir so that you don’t break up the ackee
  10. Cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes
  11. Gently stir to fully combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  12. For the bammies:Dissolve sugar in a cup of milk. Pour into a shallow dish. Place bammies into the milk and leave for about 5 minutes. Flip onto the other side. The bammy will absorb the milk.
  13. In a medium-hot skillet with oil, fry the soaked bammy in oil and butter until golden brown, about 8 minutes on each side
  14. Place on a paper towel to soak up oil from the bammy. Set aside
  15. Thinly slice the plantain on the diagonal. Fry each piece in hot oil until brown on both sides. Place on paper towel to absorb oil
  16. Serve and enjoy

Be careful not to overcook the ackee as it will get extremely soft and turn into mush
If you do not have saltfish available, crispy bacon is a great substitute. Just fry and break into bits.
A whole Scotch Bonnet pepper is an optional ingredient and would be added along with the ackee and allowed to simmer. Remove before serving, taking care not to pierce the pepper



Charlene, a friend and a Jamaican photographer, has allowed me to use her photograph of Ackee in the pods so I can share with you all. This is not something that you can see in North America. I grew up with an Ackee tree on my family property so I saw this often. Here in Canada (and in the United States), you buy Ackee from the tin. I’ve had it an it is not at all bad. It’s a great way to still have Ackee.

To see more of Charlene’s beautiful photography, please click on the photograph.
Fresh - Ackee


Soak the saltfish overnight, or at least for a few hours. I soaked mine overnight then started the boiling process in the morning to reduce the salt. The fish should still have a certain amount of salty taste to it, otherwise it won’t taste great and then you’ll have to add salt back to the dish. In this photograph, I have about a pound of saltfish but I only used half. I reserved the other half for another special recipe.


Boiled Saltfish (Salt Cod)


Lovely fresh ingredients (I didn’t end up using the scallion)


Sweet Peppers, Onion, Tomato, Scallion



The main ingredients:



Bammy is a thick version of a flatbread made from cassava. Bammies can be soaked in either milk or coconut milk. Then it can be baked or fried until browned and cooked through. It has a very light and delicate taste and can be enjoyed with a variety of meals. It’s great for soaking up gravy!


Bammies soaked in milk


Such an amazing aroma.


Vegetables in the pot


Ackee and Saltfish are cooked though, and ready to be served


Ackee and Saltfish


Ackee and Saltfish is likely to be served with fried dumplings. My Mom is an expert at making fried dumplings. I have yet to try my hand at that so Bammies are where it’s at until I  try the dumplings. This is generally a breakfast dish, but I have had it for dinner too, as I did here.


Ackee, Saltfish, Bammy, Plantains



I hope you enjoyed today’s post. I really like making traditional Jamaican dishes and sharing with everyone. I don’t generally prepare traditional meals but I’m willing to try every now and again.

Have a super week!






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Escoveitched Halibut

Apr 8, 2012 by

In continuing with the theme of Easter, I wanted to try a fish recipe that reminds me of  home but at the same time utilizing a fish that is familiar to most in the region where I live. Halibut is a really fresh, firm white fish that is rich in lean protein, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, B Vitamins and  Magnesium. Having said all that, I’m going to fry it! I don’t fry very often so I don’t feel bad at all. Moderation is key. In Jamaica, fried fish is one of my most favourite things to eat. This particular recipe includes a fried fish, covered with a vegetable/vinegar topping that rests over the fish for a few hours before the fish is served. I used Scotch Bonnet Pepper for the first time. I guess I’m getting really brave because I don’t tolerate “heat” very well!

I’m so glad I had my Mom to consult with on this recipe. I got the basic idea of the ingredients and then I put my little twist on it. Nothing major – it’s still Escoveitch :-) A friend of mine shared a very good tip with me about frying the fish- ensure the oil is very hot, and use very little flour on the fish. My fish was perfectly fried.

Escoveitched Halibut



Escoveitch or Escabeche is derived from Mediterranean origins and refers to fish (or some other white meat) being marinated in an acidic sauce or liquid prior to serving. In Jamaica, the vegetables are cooked down in a vinegar and water mixture and then poured over the fish, and allowed to marinate overnight or for a few hours. I could not wait for it to marinate so I ate my serving fresh from the pot and put the rest in the fridge for a more concentrated flavour.


Escoveitched Halibut
Recipe Type: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Author: Lyn
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
Serves: 4
A Jamaican dish that can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner
  • 4 Halibut Fillets
  • 1/4 Cup Flour seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying the fish {about 1/4-inch deep}
  • 1 Lime to wash the fish
  • 4 Tbsp White Vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp Water
  • 4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Carrot, julienned
  • 1 Sweet Green Pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 Zucchini, julienned
  • 1 Small Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Scotch bonnet pepper, thinly sliced
  • 6-8 Pimento Berries
  1. Wash the fish with water and juice from the lime
  2. Pat dry with a paper towel. Dust with seasoned flour. Fry and set aside
  3. In a warm skillet, add oil
  4. Add Onion, Carrot, Sweet Pepper, Scotch Bonnet Pepper, Pimento.
  5. Stir to soften vegetables
  6. Add vinegar, salt and sugar
  7. Add zucchini and a little water
  8. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are softened
  9. Pour over fried fish
  10. Allow to marinade for a few hours
  11. Serve at room temperature

Alternative way to cook Escoveitch: Bring a cup of water and a cup of vinegar to a boil. Add vegetables, pepper, salt, sugar and pimento and cook until softened. Pour over fried fish and allow to marinade overnight or a few hours
The Scotch Bonnet pepper can be cut up or placed in whole then removed before pouring other the fish


This was the hardest part of the entire recipe. Slicing up all these veggies!!!


Vegetables for the Escoveitch


Washing fish in lime or lemon is very important. So I’ve been told. It helps to reduce the fishy smell, but I prefer fish that have a mild smell so I don’t usually wash with lime. I did for Escoveitch.


Lime and Halibut


Remember! Not too much flour…


Halibut in Seasoned Flour


I’m terrified of frying. Hot oil is no joke!


Halibut in oil



One side finished, no injuries so far :-)


Halibut Golden Brown


Seriously, I could really get into frying stuff.


Fried Halibut


The colours were so vibrant and the smell was fantastic! You must believe!


Sweet Peppers, Carrot, Onion, Zucchini, Pimento, Scotch Bonnet Pepper


This dish is good for breakfast or dinner. It can be served with Fried Dumplings, Fried Breadfruit, or Fried Bammy!


Fried Halibut with Escoveitch Sauce


If you do make this dish, don’t be afraid to put more vinegar and water. This is my personal version that suits my palate and I get more of the vegetable flavour.  To get the real kick ~ use more vinegar and the whole scotch bonnet pepper. Leave it overnight.


I have a few more recipes like this to share then I have to make a date with my treadmill.



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Polenta with Parmesan and Parsley, Mozzarella and Tomato

Mar 19, 2012 by

I  haven’t made polenta in some time now. A friend of mine recently asked me if I had a recipe – which I did. But because this friend is super special to me and one of my BIGGEST supporters, not only of The Lovely Pantry, but of me as a person… I wanted to do something nice and a little different. A delicate dish that was smooth, flavourful and good for the body. I think I’ve accomplished that with this recipe and presentation.

In Jamaica, the term “Polenta” is rarely used however, I believe Jamaicans are becoming more aware of the term. Polenta is quite like a dish we call Turn Cornmeal or “Tun Cornmeal” – which is a dish of a similar consistency but includes ingredients such as coconut milk, escallion, garlic, thyme and of course, scotch bonnet pepper. Just like Polenta, Turn cornmeal can be served in a variety of ways and with different meats or sauces. Personally, I don’t like my Polenta mushy. I prefer it crispy on the outside and soft but firm on the inside.

Todays dish is meat free and fabulous. I hope to make more dishes like this. I believe this could be a snack, a breakfast or an appetizer. What do you think?


Parsley Polenta with Mozzarella & Tomato


This is basically how I make my polenta but you can certainly make variations. If you don’t have parsley, chop some spinach or kale. Add some sweet corn. Get creative! I have made polenta using water and I’ll never do that again – too bland. I will always add a broth because I find it to be more flavourful that way. I decided to dress up my polenta with mozzarella (more cheese, I know!!) and broiled tomato slices topped with a seasoned breadcrumb mixture.


Polenta with Parmesan and Parsley, Mozzarella and Tomato

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 53 minutes

Polenta, a dish so versatile it can be had in so many ways. Made with yellow cornmeal, chicken broth, parmesan cheese and parsley


  • 6 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth (or Vegetable Broth)
  • 1 3/4 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 4 Slices Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese + 1 Tbsp
  • 1/2 Cup Parsley, finely chopped + 1 Tbsp
  • 1 Tomato, firm
  • 1/4 Cup Breadcrumbs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • Olive Oil


  1. In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil
  2. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal, removing any lumps that may form
  3. Reduce heat and cook until the mixture thickens, stirring often for about 15 minutes
  4. Add parmesan, stir to combine
  5. Add butter, stir to combine
  6. Finally, add parsley and stir to combine
  7. Pour into a shallow dish about an inch deep. Use a spatula to spread into the corners. Allow to rest and firm up
  8. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp parsley, 1 Tbsp parmesan. Mix to combine.
  9. Remove the top and bottom from the tomato and cut into 4 slices
  10. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Lightly grease with cooking spray
  11. Place tomatoes on the tray and sprinkle each slice with a pinch of salt and pepper and then the breadcrumb mixture
  12. Drizzle olive oil over the breadcrumbs on each tomato slice
  13. Place in broiler for about 5-8 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Set aside when done
  14. Using cookie cutters, cut out 4 circles about 2-3 inches in diameter from the cooled polenta
  15. In a hot skillet, spray with cooking spray, brown polenta about 3-4 minutes on each side, until crispy and golden brown. Set aside.
  16. When the polenta and tomato are cool to the touch, place a slice of mozzarella on each polenta disc then top with a slice of tomato

Looks a lot like cornmeal porridge here!


Yellow Cornmeal being cooked


I love the splash colour that parsley adds.


Add the parsley to the cornmeal


Spread the polenta evenly into the baking tray as best you can. It is quite thick at this point and needs “encouragement” to get into the corners.


Spread the polenta in a rimmed baking tray


I used a cookie cutter only because I wanted to stack with other ingredients that were round. Otherwise I would have just used a sharp knife and cut square pieces.


Cookie Cutter


So here’s the thing. I don’t love tomatoes. But I’ll eat them like how I’ve prepared them here – with breadcrumbs. I know, I know. Weird. I’m trying to eat more though. So good for you.


Tomato Slices


I loved the smooth and creamy texture that the mozzarella added to this combination. You don’t need too much, since the flavour is very mild.


Parmesan Polenta, Mozzarella, Tomato with breadcrumbs


Picture perfect Polenta!


Polenta, Mozzarella, Tomato



And there you have it! A tasty way to make polenta.  Left over polenta is awesome pan-fried for breakfast with some maple syrup. Its like the breakfast of champions!

To my friend, Nicky – Thank you!


Happy Monday to you all!


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Banana Berry Smoothie

Feb 23, 2012 by

I haven’t posted a smoothie to The Lovely Pantry in a while. My first (and only) smoothie post thus far was the Banana Nutmeg Smoothie. I think its safe to say that every smoothie that I make will have a banana in it. Everything else is purely optional. For  the past week, I’ve been eating soft foods and so smoothies almost became mandatory – which is great. I’ve been whipping up smoothies for me and the kids, and even allowing them to choose some of the ingredients. Great!


Banana Berry Smoothie


I generally keep smoothies pretty simple. Occasionally, I’ll add vegetables or a flavoured protein powder (if I’m making just for me).


Banana Berry Smoothie
Recipe Type: Smoothie
Author: Lyn of The Lovely Pantry
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 2
A quick fix smoothie
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1 Cup Baby Spinach
  • 1 Banana
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Berries (of more if you like)
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender
  2. Strain into serving cups (optional)


Banana, Berries, Spinach, Almond Milk


Frozen berries are always in my freezer specifically for smoothies. That way I have them on hand throughout the year and also I don’t have to add ice. I’ll use frozen bananas too if I don’t have fresh on hand. Whatever works, right?



My cousin told me that she adds spinach to her smoothies. I’ve been putting it in my smoothies ever since. You don’t even know it’s there. But I let my son put it in the blender so that he knows there is goodness his smoothie.


Spinach - the ingredient you don't realize is even there...




Into the blender they go


And here you have a healthy and refreshing breakfast drink!


Banana Berry Smoothie


Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Take good care of yourselves :-)







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Special Banana Pancakes

Feb 10, 2012 by

My children enjoy pancakes immensely. When I have time, I like to make what we call “special pancakes”. These are the pancakes that… don’t come from the freezer. Mommy gets the ingredients together, and lovingly prepares a variety of pancakes to everyone’s delight. Very special indeed! I experiment with pancake recipes to ensure that we are experiencing different tastes, and sometimes different textures too. I came across a recipe that made me so eager to try – Banana Bread Pancakes. Oh my goodness. So light and fluffy and banana filled. I did make a small change… I added Quinoa Flour. I went half and half with it. Good choice.

The itsy bitsy spider… climbed up the water spout…

Of all the bugs, they liked the spider. And so they sang while they waited for their pancakes.


The Itsy Bitsy Spider


I can’t tell you how this little pancake griddle brought such delight to my children. I told them we were having “bug pancakes”. Somehow, they found that really, REALLY funny. The sound of your children’s laughter truly is a beautiful thing. Now every time I see this griddle, I’ll remember their smiles, and how much we enjoyed these mini-pancakes.


Pancake Griddle


This recipe is adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian.


Special Banana Pancakes
Recipe Type: Breakfast, Brunch
Author: Lyn
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 8
A tasty breakfast for the family to enjoy
  • 1 Cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 Cup Quinoa Flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (1%)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • Cooking spray
  1. In a small bowl, add flours, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine
  2. In a medium bowl, add buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla
  3. Gently combine dry ingredients into the wet
  4. Crush the banana with a fork, and fold into the batter
  5. In a hot griddle, spray with cooking spray
  6. Add 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle or pan
  7. Cook until bubbles appear on the sides, about 1 minute or so untill golden brown
  8. Flip and cook for another minute
  9. Serve with maple syrup and/or fruits

I used a special pancake griddle that yielded mini-pancakes. I ended up with over 40 pancakes. If you are using a regular griddle, you will have less.




These pancakes were so delicious. I honestly did not need any syrup. The kids started to eat them without any syrup but half way through, they asked for it. I guess pancakes are supposed to have syrup on them. I look forward to making these again. Using the griddle did take more time, since the pancakes are smaller. Maybe next time I’ll use a regular griddle. Bigger pancakes :-)


Banana Pancakes


Have a great weekend everyone! Make special pancakes! ~ Lyn



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