Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Egg and sausage Pie

Egg pie is nice for brunch or lunch. Easy to make if you have pre-made crust.
It's very quick too.

Egg Pie with smoked sausage, gruyere cheese and lardons.

1 pie crust
5 or 6 eggs
2 or 3 smoked brat sausage
1 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 cup of lardon
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk or cream

In a bowl, break the eggs and beat with a whisk. Add some liquid and beat. Add grated cheese, salt and pepper.
Put the crust in a pie pan and arrange sliced sausage on bottom.
Pour the egg mixture over the sausage.
sprinkle the lardons over lightly.
Put in hot oven, 400.
Bake until the egg mixture rises and browns a bit and the lardons look crispy.
Eat hot or eat cold.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Pork Tenderloin on sugarcane skewers

Found some nice small tenderloin and decided to try them sliced and marinated on skewers and
Here's the recipe...
Pork Tenderloin sliced long and thin
Lime whole chopped
Tamarind sauce or pulp no seeds
Garlic cloves
White wine enough to make blending easy
S and p
Sugarcane split into skewers
I also soaked some in rum
Blend in blender all but pork and sugarcane. Marinate pork strips for a while or in fridge half day.
For spicy just add hot pepper to mix.
Heat up the grill.
Roll the marinated pork strips on cane skewers.
It doesn't take too long.
Excellent and it could be used as a starter or main.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Veggie Chips

As I was passing through SXM, St. Maarten airport I stopped at a new cafe type restaurant, Paris
Bistro or something like that. They had good sandwiches and with them you got a free bag of chips, not potato chips, veggie chips. They were excellent! I don't care for veg but I liked these a lot.
Naturally have to make my own using local ground provision and some of the things they used in the veggie chip bag.
Dasheen or taro makes a great tasty chip.
Cassava even better, a little sweet, not too much, very tasty
Yams taste good going in but has a funny after taste, not for everybody
I have not tried Tania yet will update later.
Then I turned to more traditional veg.
Carrots are fantastic and you really wouldn't think so
Beets also delightful
String beans, you must cut them up or they take forever to deep fry
Eggplant was a failure, gets all mushy, tastes good but not a chip

So far this is all I have done but it is very easy to do...
tall pot with oil, don't fill it too much couple of inches
heat oil to 350f
slice up veg using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler works great
Don't overload the pot or they don't crisp up
The string beans take the longest and you just have to do a test to see how long.
Around two minutes for the thin sliced veg.
shake them out on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt
Let them cool then put them on an oven tray and let them dry out a bit more in a warm oven.
You can re-crisp them that way too.
Really Really great alternative to potato chips but I like them too.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Kitchen Travel Essentials

We travel a bit for business. When I say travel I mean we go to an island and stay for maybe a year or
more. Since I have done this a couple of times I realize there are things you should bring along to save the trouble of finding them or not getting them at all.
Most islands in the Caribbean have substandard kitchen supplies and now since most of them are being supplied by Chinese products, they also have bad bedroom stuff, curtains, towels, you name it if you are buying from a local shop the towels are half polyester blend and so are the sheets. Just plain awful to use or sleep on. If you are renting a furnished apartment you normally get the leftovers from the last tenant or the cheap curtains and furniture that do the job but don't make for pleasant living. So now if possible I bring it from home, ship it on a boat and remove all the items from the house or apartment I can and store them away until we leave. Saves their stuff for the next lucky tenant and lets me have something that makes me feel like I want to live there.
I like to cook and it is important to have the basic tools you need to do what you want. Not everything, sometimes buying something on island is the best way to go, you might even find an unusual item you can't get at home like a lovely large tawa or those big propane gas burners that are far better than any small gas stove in an apartment.
But for me, there are items I have collected over the years that I like to bring along.

Three really good knives
Big kitchen knife
Bread knife
Paring knife

Pots and Pans
Large stock pot with lid
Med. size pot with lid
Small pot
lasagna pan
cookie sheets

Hand Tools
Kitchen spoon
Kitchen spoon with holes
Kitchen fork
Can opener
Wine opener
Measuring cup
Pepper Grinder
Bench scraper
Vegetable peeler (good one)
Decent potholders
Cotton towels, I really like old cotton T shirts cut in half

Electric Items
Hand Blender serves as a regular blender too.
Convection Oven is much better than the gas range in an apartment.
Toaster, their toasters never work.
Coffee maker cause we like espresso.
Usually the place has a microwave

I have also found that using the dining utensils in rented places is just plain awful. So, I bring just enough of the good stuff we have so we don't have to eat with forks that rust the second time you wash them.
If I can pack items in big plastic bowls with lids I bring them along for baking.
Wine glasses are nice since they are generally poor quality in shops and the kind with tiny mouth rims that are hard to drink from, why do they make those anyway?
We buy suitcases, lots of them and I use them to pack the easily transportable items often on the plane. If it is a large item I can ship it on a boat but it takes longer and depending on the size of the job you might want to exclude the large ticket items like an oven and just get one on island.
On this last job I had a welder create for me a pizza oven made from an old water tank. We call him Bender.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

I was hit by a truck

Seriously, I got hit by a van today in Nevis. It was not pleasant. First you don't see it coming. Minding my own business I am crossing the street. It is a stop sign so naturally you would think the guy in the van would look both ways before entering the road. He did not. He hit me dead on but fortunately the kid in the passengers seat screamed STOP! and he did.
Let me tell you how it feels to be hit by a truck. Not great. First you are completely unaware thst it is happening....no one expected the Spanish Inquisition. I am on the ground, actually the pavement and I have been pushed a bit. My head is covered in scrapes and I am assuming  bruises. They are coming. Knees and elbows are abused. I found that I had chest pain probably due to the trauma. Glasses destroyed. But... I am alive. I look like hell but these things will pass.
Strangest thing, when I am on the pavement I am aware of what is going on and I yell out STOP. I look and see the chassis of the vehicle and am trying to figure out in those few short seconds where I can go to avoid the most damage. Weird.
The guy that hit me just called. He was so sorry that I felt bad. Here I am covered in bruises and I feel bad. So I look at it this way. I got really lucky, I could be dead. I move on, I had an incredible experience it was not pleasant but I lived. Now I can tell everyone I got hit by a truck. Who can say that?
Note: I found out later that the guy driving the truck was blind in one eye, they eye he needed to see me. He was working for someone and his job is driving the van. Nice.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Super Salad

I dont care for veggies so when I make them they have to be easy to eat and tasty. I hate salads where you have to fight big chunks of lettuce and veg.
I like using a mandoline to shred veg. as it makes nice fine shreds of a variety of things that mix well into the salad. It is a serious machine so use with care.

Really good salad super easy.
Variety of colorful lettuce
Cabbage green or red
Zuchinni is good too shredded

Chop lettuce and radicchio like you would for Cesar salad  so the pieces are bite size
Use a mandoline to shred carrots beets and cabbage
Mix all and sprinkle sald with sprouts

Add dressing
My current favorite is blue cheese
Chunk of blue cheese
Sour cream or yogurt or cream
S and p

Half and half for the cream and mayo
Vinegar to taste
Crumble half the chunk of blue cheese and add to mix
Blend with hand mixer or blender
Add more of the liguid depending on how thick you like it
Put in fridge for a bit
Pour on salad then sprinkle on remaining blue cheese crumbles
Add croutons or nuts or bacon

The smaller the grates of carrot, cabbage and beet the better they blend with the lettuce
I don't like tomato in salad. I like to be able to get a fork full of everything and not have a big chunk of something else in the mix. Besides tomato takes over the salad.
If you use oil and vinegar you can put shredded cheese on salad but with the blue cheese there is already enough
Bacon bits are nice too or prosciutto or jambon shreds fried crisp
Walnuts or pine nuts are nice in this salad

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Dasheen or cassava chips

Dasheen is like a starchy potato. It is a provision vegetable in the Caribbean. In other places they call this root taro.

You can fry them roast them bake them and mash them. You can even make them into bread.

I am making fried chips.

What do you need to get this done

Large dasheen

I used a slicer but a mandolin will work. Good fresh dasheen is tough to cut.
Peel off the tough outside skin.
Slice them thin like you would for potato chips.
Get the oil hot in a good high pot.
Don't overload the pot.
Fry in small batches.
Dry on paper sprinkle with salt
Eat with dip or plain

If you make them thicker you can use them like a cracker.

Dasheen is a root vegetable.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Half and half tortillas

If you have trouble working with corn flour try splitting the flour. Use all purpose white four and the tortillas will be easier to manage but still have that corn flavor. 

1 cup flour
1 cup corn flour
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Combine all into soft ball.
Split into 16 piece
Let rest 15 min.

Roll out each ball into thin round using flour to keep from sticking
Use a flat skillet or tawa heated med hot
Let them bubble and slightly brown on bottom then flip.
Let cool 

Little dough balls
Roll out very thin
First side done
Finished tortillas

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Chicken wing coconut curry

Chicken wings or chicken
Coriander seeds
cumin seeds
pomegranate seeds
cardamon pods
chili powder
turmeric root
mashed garlic
coconut milk
tamarind sauce
coconut oil
sugar cane
coconut cream

Put oil in skillet and all seeds roast for a few minutes don't burn
Add garlic onion turmeric and saute
add chicken wings
add coconut milk and tamarind sauce
add tomatoes and sugarcane
Cook bubbly
Sprinkle corn flour to thicken
Fed methi towards the end
Before serving add coconut cream and stir

Serve with rice and naan

Monday, 30 June 2014

Chicken wing soup with coconut dumplings

Easy soup if items are prepped.
Chicken wings
Tamarind sauce
Coconut milk
Local herbs
Sugarcane pieces


Put items in pot with water to top of chicken.  Cook till chicken is done and remove it. Strain solids keep liquid.
Put liquid in pot and add
Chopped onion

Simmer veg until soft add chicken taste for seasoning.

Skim off froth on top

Add more coconut cream

Create spinners
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup lard or butter
3/4 cup grated coconut
3/4 tea Salt
Blend butter and flour until grainy
Mix water and coconut and add enough to made a dry dough
Don't over mix
Pull off bits of dough and roll into long dumplings
Drop into soup
Cook till done
Chop fresh herbs and sprinkle on soup before serving

Grill chicken on sugarcane skewers

Grill meat on sugar cane serves a couple of needs. Skewers require a stick of course and the sugar in the cane not only give meat flavor but also tenderize.  It also makes a nice presentation. 

Skinless chicken breasts cubed
Raw sugarcane

Use enough of each item to make a marinade that will cover all chicken.

Tamarind sauce
Coconut milk or cream
Local fresh herbs
Ginger root
Blend herbs and two liquids in blender

Mix all but lime and sugarcane and let marinate in fridge
When it's time to eat heat up the grill
Create skewers from cane
Put two or three cubes of chicken on each skewer
Grill in slow oven
Remove and serve with chunks of lime.