Hot Cross Buns

>> Saturday, 31 March 2007

In my column this week, I share my challenges of coming up with a recipe for cross buns and even daring to offer my mom (who is a good baker) something that came out of the oven not looking like the cross buns we both knew at all.

Read the column and come share any similar stories you may have. Also, if you'd like my new recipe, the result of which is exhibited above, email me.


Caribbean Meal

>> Thursday, 29 March 2007

This dish of peas and rice, stewed chicken, fried ripe plantains, steamed okras and simple salad of lettuce, tomato and cucumber is my entry to Jugalbandi's Postcard series. The recipes are on the postcard as well. Enjoy.



>> Saturday, 24 March 2007

A regular reader of my column, Zally, who lives in the USA, asked me a few weeks ago how to make stuffed karaila - kalounjie, and that gave brith to the idea for this week's subject. This vegetable is called many things - bitter squash, bitter melon, bitter gourd. In Guyana we call it karaila and in Trinidad and Tobago it is called, caraili.

Read the column to learn about my love-hate relationship, with this vegetable, as a child and how much I love it now. Email me for the recipe.

Karaila, bitter gourd, bitter melon, bitter squash, caraili

Sauteed baby shrimp that I used to stuff the karaila. You can vary the stuffing, some people use minced meat, chicken or vegetables.

Karaila stuffed with shrimp

Stuffed karaila tied with kitchen string to keep in the stuffing during the cooking process. Tooth-picks can also be used.

Saute karaila, turning and browning all around.

This is the finished dish after it has simmered in a flavourful, spicy sauce. Use coconut milk or water, which ever you prefer.
I ate my kalounjie with rice but you can eat it with roti as well,


Jugalbandi Inspiration

>> Tuesday, 20 March 2007

So there I was checking out my friend Bee's site,, and what do I see standing upright, perfectly dressed in a spice mix? French Fries! And they're healthly too because they're oven baked. Thanks to Bee and Jai I knew what I was going to have for dinner - oven fries. Instead of a spice mix, I used freshly chopped rosemary. Thanks again! Click here for Bee's recipe.


Working and Cooking

>> Monday, 19 March 2007

My day started of with a meeting that went beyond midday and it was followed by the grading of assignments at home. In the midst of working, thoughts of food swirled in my head. What should I make today? Having no preference or particular desire, I went into the kitchen, checking the fridge, the freezer and the cupboards.

  • There was spinach in the crisper - spinach and garlic, that sounds good.
  • Look, here is an eggplant - wooooo, what about a choka?
  • From the freezer, I took out the last parcel of baby shrimp. Bunjal.
  • I thought to myself, 3 dishes - that's uneven, I need to make something else to square it off. And there, right in front of me was a bowl tomatoes. What about another choka?
  • One final decision, which was a no-brainer: roti, sada roti.
I had a lot to do, so I quickly got to work. In less than 2 hours, I had my meal and time to take a picture too!


These are a few...

>> Saturday, 17 March 2007

While we are transplanted in the places we now call home...
While we long for the tastes and smell of the homes we've left behind...
While we bring with us our food traditions...
We cannot help but learn to love some food things of our new home. That's the subject of my column this week. What are your favourites in your new home?

This is a saltbread. It is used the same way as bun, sliced with goodies inserted. It makes a hearty snack because it can also be eaten by itself just spread with butter or jam. It's a rustic bread.
The thing you see on top of it is a piece of coconut palm, placed on top of the dough just before going in to the oven; it causes the dough to burst, adding an even more rustic look. The baker said it also imparts a flavour, that I am not so sure about. I just love it.

When a salt bread is sliced and something is inserted, it becomes a cutter. In this case, I have cheese in mine so it is a cheese cutter.
As a child, I loved eating tennis roll (similar roll in Guyana) with cheese and drinking cream soda flavoured drink with a splash of milk and ice. Ummmm so good. Especially after a long day at school.

Rice and peas is an everyday staple in Barbados. It is considered authentic only when cooked with pigeon peas and a piece of salt meat, on the plate there I have a piece of salted pig-tail.

Sweet bread or coconut bread is good anytime, at breakfast, as an afternoon snack or an evening snack with a cup of tea. Moist, not too sweet, with the hint of cinnamon and of course, the coconut. What's not to love?

I love chicken and chips but don't indulge too often, when I do, like yesterday, I only have Chicken Barn's. Theirs is barbecued with a semi-dry rub. It is never slathered in sauce and that's one of the things I like about it. It has a great smokey, home-made kind of taste. Love, love, love it.



>> Saturday, 10 March 2007

This week it's all about fried dough. Okay, okay, for the past two weeks it has been about fried dough - pancakes , phulourie etc. Bakes, floats, muffins, dumplings call them what you will, we in the Caribbean often quibble about whose is better. The argument comes down to this: how can you call that a bake when it is fried? (lol) Read the column to find out which Caribbean country's bake is actually baked and why the name they use to describe theirs, perhaps makes more sense.

These are traditional Bajan bakes frying. They are usually flat, some people put baking powder in the dough which then causes them to rise.

Guyanese bakes: this is how I roll the dough out before frying it. It's rolled between 3 - 4 inches round.

I add the rolled dough to hot oil, it bubbles, swells and then floats. I then turn it over to brown on the other side and drain on a paper towel.

This is what it looks like inside when cooked. You can stuff it with anything, sauteed saltfish, eggs, cheese, ham, vegetables etc. Or you can simply spread some butter and let it melt into all the nooks and crannies and eat it just like that!

Email me if you need the recipe.


An Unlikely Combination

>> Tuesday, 6 March 2007

It was not deliberate when I made an Indian and an Italian dish for a meal. Actually, no thought was given to the combination at all. All I was interested in was having a starch and a protein for a meal. I made potato roti (aloo paratha, aloo roti) and Italian meatballs using the recipe of New York Times' Kim Severson. Email me if you need the recipes.

Seasoned mashed potatoes to be stuffed in roti dough. I sauteed my aromatics before adding them to the mashed potatoes and instead of garam masala, I used ground cumin (geera).

Roti dough stuffed with seasoned mashed potatoes before they are rolled and cooked.

This is what I cook my roti on, a tawah. It is also known as a flat iron-griddle.

Cooked potato roti (aloo roti)
I used regular all-purpose white flour instead of whole-wheat flour which many recipes call for.

Seasoned mixture for meatballs

Italian meatballs


Holi Hai!

>> Saturday, 3 March 2007

In preparation for my column this week, I thought I'd try my hand at making phulourie and biganee. Phulourie is a seasoned splitpea and flour batter that's deep fried. Biganee is thinly sliced eggplant that's dipped in the phulourie batter and deep fried. Both are served with what we call sour or chutney.

These are just two of the foods made by my extended family to celebrate Phagwah/Holi. Read the column for more.

Phulourie batter

Phulourie frying

Cooked phulourie

Biganee frying

Biganee and sour



All content on this blog – text and photography are copyright protected with all rights reserved. Please contact me first for permission before using any of my material.
All content on this blog – text and photography are copyright protected with all rights reserved. Please contact me first for permission before using any of my material.



>> Thursday, 1 March 2007

Last Weekend, Agrofest, an annual agricultural exhibition by the Barbados Agricultural Society was held at the Queen's Park, Bridgetown. There were lots of produce on sale and display. It was like a large open air market, lots to buy, lots to see and lots to learn. Click here for more Agrofest pictures or on the Agrofest album on the right hand side of the blog.

I could not resist taking this photograph. This is the kind of can that women carried on their heads long ago as they walked about selling mauby. When they had a customer, they would skilfully fill a cup without looking up and without spillage!

I also took some pictures of farm animals at Agrofest and here is my take on what they seem to be thinking:

"Why am I here?"

"What are you looking at?"

"Get me out of here!"

"Don't touch me!"

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