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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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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Orange and Almond Muffins

Apr 23, 2012 by

Muffins are so simple, and tasty to make. I mean, who doesn’t love a good muffin, right? I pulled out my little muffin recipe book called “100 Muffins from 1 Easy Recipe” and found another nice recipe. The last muffins I made from this book were the Easter Muffins and they were great. These were just as light and just as simple. They could easily be a quick breakfast on the go, or a snack. What I love is that there’s not too much sugar but it has a lovely citrus flavour. Really nice! The kids loved them, but they started to slow down once they hit the middle. I guess there’s no sugar in the middle! They also asked where the frosting was….

 

Orange and Almond Muffins

 

 

Orange and Almond Muffins
Recipe Type: Muffin
Author: Lyn
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
A light, citrus infused muffin
Ingredients
  • 2 Oranges
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour, Unbleached
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/8 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Superfine Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Ground Almonds
  • 2 Eggs
  • 6 Tbsp Sunflower Oil (or melted cooled butter)
  • 1/2 Tsp Almond Extract
  • 3 Tbsp Turbinado Sugar (Raw Sugar)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan, or use 12 paper liners
  3. Finely grate the rind from both oranges and extract the juice into a measuring cup
  4. To the measuring cup with juice, add milk to make a full up and add rind
  5. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt
  6. Stir in sugar and ground almonds
  7. In a large bowl, lightly whisk eggs, then beat in the orange/milk mixture, oil and almond extract
  8. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture
  9. Stir until just combined. Take care not to over mix
  10. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan
  11. Sprinkle Turbinado Sugar over the top of the muffins
  12. Bake for 20 minutes until well risen, golden brown and firm to the touch
  13. Allow muffins to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before serving
Notes

Slightly adapted from “100 Muffins From 1 Easy Recipe”, Page 60

 

Even before it is baked, it smells really good!

 

Zesty Batter

 

I like the coarse grittiness of the Turbinado Sugar. It gives a nice crunch at the end.

 

Muffin liners filled with batter and topped with Turbinado Sugar

 

The house smells great right about now!

 

Orange & Almond Muffins fresh out the oven!

 

I used Navel Oranges for this recipe. I find them to be sweet and very juicy.

 

Orange & Almond Muffin

 

Such a great little muffin. Bake, grab, go!

 

Orange & Almond Muffins

 

Happy Monday my dear friends! Have an awesome week!

~Lyn

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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
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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
Notes

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.

Brilliant.

Take good care, friends!

~Lyn

 

 

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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
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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
Notes

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!

~Lyn

 

 

 

 

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