Annatto aka "Poor Man's Saffron"

>> Saturday 21 November 2009

Bunches of beautiful ripe, red Annatto can be found on the tree just outside the classroom where I teach. I’ve tried to get my colleagues and students to try using it in their cooking but I’ve had no luck so far. Perhaps I can convince you? Read more about this spice that's popular in this week's column and why it is referred to as "poor man's saffron".

This is what the fruit looks like:

It is used in its fresh (left, top & bottom) and dry form (right, top & bottom). See the colour it yields? Please see my friend Felix's post on how to make the concentrate for home use.

The concentrate drizzled over rice while cooking and tossed at the end gives a beautiful two-colour rice.

A recipe to make the Achiote oil can be found in this week's column.

Sunny-side up eggs cooked with Achiote oil makes a for a striking presentation.

Achiote on Foodista

This past week I have been doing one of the things I love - baking bread and sharing it with my friends. One of my favourite bread-baking sites is the one owned and run by my friend Chuck over at The Knead for Bread. You've heard me mention his site before... his recipes are fool-proof and always turn out perfectly.

I first made his Coconut Bread which is a pull-bread (my favourite kind), no need for knives and this bread needs no butter or jam. All it requires are fingers that do double duty - pulling and transporting to the mouth!

See the topping? The crumble. I swear, you'll find yourself picking at it all the time and as in my case, you'll have adults unashamedly eyeing each other's piece of bread to see who got the bigger piece with the topping. I am not kidding you. Do give this a try.

A few days later, I made the Pesto Bread. Just like Chuck, I had some pesto in the fridge left back from a batch I had made recently. This savoury bread can be enjoyed as is but if you are looking for a sweet and salt combo that will dance on your tongue, slather some jam on it, take a bite, chew slowly, and let your tastebuds go wild with pleasure. Here is the recipe.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all those celebrating the holiday!

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