Carrot and Zucchini Flatbread

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Who doesn’t love a good flatbread?

A couple weeks ago I had the urge to make a flatbread with fresh bammy. If you aren’t from Jamaica, you might not know what bammy is, so here goes my description; bammy is finely grated cassava (a root vegetable, like yam), that’s been beaten, dried and formed into thin bread, then baked. It’s Jamaica’s flatbread and it’s sooo good!

My grandparents used to make bammies back in the day when they had the strength to, cause let’s face it, it takes a lot of energy to grate and beat the hell out of the cassava. They had a pestle and mortar, which was actually a hollowed out tree trunk that they would beat the cassava in. The old grate they used to grate the cassava on still stands tall today and we use it to grate coconuts and the like.

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Nowadays we get our bammies from family friends in St. Elizabeth who bake them fresh. I like to crisp my bammy up in a dry hot pan when I get it and that’s exactly what I did with the bammies for this recipe.

Like many of my recipes, I made this one with the items I had on hand and in my garden. I made a carrot puree that went on top of the bammy by simple pureeing cooked carrots with some salt, pepper, almond milk and a pinch of turmeric. The puree was smooth and delicate and surprisingly tasty! I added roasted beets and roasted zucchini on top of that and crunchy pumpkin seeds.

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The best topping of all is the fried pumpkin blossom. I picked some blossoms from my pumpkin patch, stuffed them with organic cream cheese, breaded them in breadcrumbs and fried them lightly in olive oil… OMG it’s so so good. If i had enough of these, I’d fry them up and snack on them all day long! If you take one thing away from this flatbread recipe, let it be this.

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I finished the flatbread off with a drizzle of olive oil, sliced it up and shared it with my mom and Gordon. It’s the perfect lunch time snack that is fast replacing my favourite overnight oats.

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Carrot and Zucchini Flatbread

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

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This is a great flatbread that’s perfect for a lunch snack and it’s super tasty!

INGREDIENTS

2 fresh bammies

1 1/2 carrots

1/2 cup almond milk

a pinch of turmeric

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 zucchini

1 roasted beet

4 pumpkin blossoms

2 tablespoons organic cream cheese

1 pinch dried herbs

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

olive oil

pumpkin seeds

limes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a hot pan, crisp up the bammies to create a crust on both sides. Set aside.
  3. Slice carrot and boil until tender.
  4. Slice zucchini, season with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast in the oven until cooked.
  5. Place beet in foil paper, season with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast in oven as well.
  6. When the carrots are soft, puree them in a blender with the almond milk, salt, pepper and turmeric. Puree until smooth and velvety.
  7. Preheat a pan with some olive oil over medium heat.
  8. To the cream cheese, add any dried herbs you have on hand and mix it together.
  9. Stuff the pumpkin blossoms with the cream cheese mixture and roll them in the breadcrumbs.
  10. Fry the stuffed blossoms in the heated oil until crispy and golden brown. When done, transfer the blossoms to a paper towel to drain.
  11. Once the zucchini and beets are tender, remove them from the oven. Slice the beets in desired shape.
  12. To the bammy, add some carrot puree. Top with the vegetables and the fried blossoms.
  13. Add the pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with lime.
  14. Slice the flatbread and enjoy.

 

Thai-Style Pasta Curry

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Sundays are the day when I love to go all out in the kitchen, I have so much time to experiment, mix and match and whip up one of those everything but the kitchen sink recipes; last Sunday wasn’t one of those Sundays. I was so wiped out from adventuring the day before that all I could manage to do was make something simple and comforting.

Enter my Thai-Style Pasta Curry. I crafted this recipe out of my love for pasta and Thai-style curry (by the way, that curry gets mixed with pretty much everything in my kitchen so pasta is just one of many accompaniments to this curry). This recipe is super easy to follow and will make a great weeknight meal! So without further adieu, let’s get into it.

Lemongrass. Oh lemongrass. One of my favourite ingredients, especially in Thai foods. In Jamaica you can actually find lemongrass growing wild in one large patch; we often use it here to make teas but I love cooking with it! Gordon has a huge patch growing at his house and he has been my supplier whenever I’m in need of lemongrass.

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But honestly, all the ingredients in this curry work beautifully together and are pretty much on an equal level; I also added turmeric, onion, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, ginger, bird peppers (tiny chilis that pack a serious punch) and coconut milk that makes everything harmonize on your palate.

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I used my favourite kitchen tool, my pestle and mortar to smash all my ingredients together (besides my coconut milk and lemongrass) to make a paste. Once I had it all smooth and pastey, I added fresh, cut tomatoes and smashed the paste some more.

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Then I took it all over to a heated pan with coconut oil. This goes pretty quickly from here! I sauteed the paste over medium heat until the liquid in the paste reduces.

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You might wanna add a bit more oil to the pan before the next step of adding more onions and garlic. Fresh garlic and onion adds to the texture contrast of the curry and I just love biting into sweet sauteed onions!

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At this point you wanna boil your pasta. I used farfalle pasta but any short, medium cut pasta will do. You wanna cook your pasta a little under done only because you’ll be finishing it off in the curry but you have to watch for ‘cooked’ pasta that’s too raw since we won’t be cooking it in the pasta for too long; so cook the pasta until a little shy of al dente or ‘to the tooth’.

Once the onions and garlic are sauteed and slightly browned, I added the coconut milk and a pinch of salt for seasoning along with the lemon grass. On low heat I let this simmer until all the flavours come together; this can take up to 15-20 minutes. At this point I check the flavour every 5 minutes or so and season as needed.

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Once the curry is done I added the pasta and tossed it in the curry before adding a bunch of chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and lime zest.

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I finished the dish with a few coriander leaves and sat down to a quiet Sunday dinner.

The best part about this recipe is that the sauce can be made before hand and stored in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezers for 1-2 weeks. All you’d need to do is add the pasta and heat!

If you end up whipping this up, drop a comment and let me know how it turned out!

Thai-Style Pasta Curry

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

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This is an easy to follow recipe that’s great for weekdays!

INGREDIENTS

4 cups short, medium cut pasta

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 small onion

1 knob ginger

2-3 bird pepper or chilis

3 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 medium tomatoes, diced

coconut oil

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups coconut milk

salt and pepper, to taste

2-3 stalks lemongrass, smashed

1 bunch coriander leaves, plus more for garnishing

1 lime, zested

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Chop the onion and ginger and place them in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Add the spices and chilis to them and smash everything to a smooth paste.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and smash some more.
  4. In a heated pan over medium heat, add coconut oil and heat.
  5. Saute the paste in the oil for about 10 minutes or until the liquid reduces.
  6. Add a bit more oil and saute the 1/2 onion with the two cloves of garlic. Allow them to get slightly browned.
  7. Cook pasta a little under done.
  8. Pour in the coconut milk and stir the curry. Add lemongrass and salt to taste and lower heat. Cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Once the curry has reduced, add the cooked pasta and toss it in the curry, coating all the pasta continue to cook the pasta in the sauce for about 5 minutes.
  10. Turn off the heat and add freshly chopped coriander leaves and lime zest.
  11. Toss the pasta again.
  12. Serve hot with more coriander leaves. Enjoy!

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

 

Special Overnight Oats

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Oats are hands down one of my favourite snacks- my brother and I are obsessed with oats and we use it to make breakfast, snack (lunch) or even dinner items and for the past month or so I have been binging on overnight oats; I carry my oats with fruit to work as a snack pretty much every day. I love the fact that it is filling, full of fibre, yummy and easy on the stomach!

If you grew up in a Jamaican household, you will be all too familiar with Jamaican style porridge, specifically oats porridge; is it delicious? Yes, but ever since I got into overnight oats I never looked back; I must say that the flavour of overnight oats is cleaner, you really taste the oats and all the other ingredients, its not too mushy so you’re getting good texture contrast and it’s overall more appealing to me. If you never too fancied cooked oats, you could try this recipe and see how the uncooked stuff works for you.

I thought it wouldn’t be right for me not to share how I make my favourite snack of the past month and probably one of my faves for this month as well. So here it goes, my Special Overnight Oats.

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The oats are of course the star, so let’s start there. The oats I use are the organic, old fashioned whole oats; these give maximum nutrients and texture, they are the only ones to use in this recipe. Stay far away from the processed stuff. You can pick up proper oats at any health food store here in Jamaica or perhaps a specialty supermarket. If you are in a more health-friendly area of the world, you should be able to find good oats in your regular supermarket.

To soak my oats overnight, I make some spiced almond milk. I simmer my almond milk with cinnamon and nutmeg; this combo really bring it back home to the traditional flavours of porridge and well, it’s perfect for the Autumn season! You can make this milk ahead of time and store it in the fridge, then use it as you like. I usually make it as I need it since sometimes I actually go with straight, plain almond milk then grate the cinnamon and nutmeg over my oats.

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Every time I make overnight oats, I tweak it a bit, for this recipe, I decided to do dual layers of raspberry oats (in an attempt to finish the last bit of my freshly frozen raspberries) and chia seed oats. I divided my oats in two and added raspberry puree (I used frozen raspberries and blended them with some of the spiced almond milk) to one and chia seeds to the other; then I added the spiced milk and mixed them together.

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But, if you forgot to soak your oats overnight, you can warm your milk and pour the milk over the oats and let it soak while you get ready for your day, in a few minutes, it’ll  be just as soft and palatable as overnight oats. If you are dealing with cold milk or you wanna be Mr./Miss prepared then making this from the night before is the way to go. So, after I mixed everything together, this is the point where I refrigerate until morning; I do not add the fruits, only because I much prefer freshly sliced fruit with my oats, but I suppose you can layer up your oats and fruit from the night before.

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In the morning I just finish up; raspberry oats on the bottom, sliced fruit of your choice on top, I used papaya, kiwi, grapes and apples this time around but one of my favourite is actually mashed bananas at the base and the oats over top.

I continue layering up with the two different oats and fruit until I’m at the top of my jar (I use a jar sometimes because it’s so easy to just screw the lid on and go). I add more fruits to the top, some chia seeds and a dollop of almond butter and a lot of honey! And that’s it, delicious and ready to go!

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This recipe, as you can see is super simple and very customizable but I love it mostly because it’s very delicious and clean tasting and it really does keep me full until dinner! I recommend this recipe to anyone who lives life on the go or might prefer uncooked oats.

Special thanks to my new found photographer, Gordon.

Please let me know how you like it!

Special Overnight Oats

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This is a quick and easy snack or breakfast item that’s great for on the go. Delicious and nutritious!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2-2 cups almond milk

1 cinnamon stick

nutmeg, grated

1/2 cup raspberries

3 cups organic, old fashioned whole oats

2 tablespoons chia seeds, plus more for top

sliced fruits

1 teaspoon almond butter

honey

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a sauce pan, simmer almond milk with cinnamon stick and nutmeg until the milk is infused. The milk will reduce a bit.
  2. Add raspberries to a blender with a bit of the almond milk and puree to a smooth consistency.
  3. Divide the oats in half and add the chia seeds to one half and the raspberry puree to the other.
  4. Add some almond milk to the chia seeds oats until the liquid covers the oats by the tiniest bit. Add milk to the raspberry oats as needed to cover the oats just a bit as well.
  5. Let sit in refrigerator overnight.
  6. In the morning, layer up the oats and fruits in a jar, I started with the raspberry oats layer first and alternated between the fruits and chia seeds oats.
  7. Add more fruit on top with almond butter and lots of honey and chia seeds.

I hope you shine today!heart

Jackfruit Tacos

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You remember my neighbour with the huge farm right? Well if you don’t or if you are a new reader of my blog, let me mention him again. My neighbour, who we buy farm fresh eggs from has a huge farm where he’s got all sorts of veggies and fruits flourishing; whenever we stop by for our eggs, we never leave with just eggs. A few months ago, we spotted a sorta small jackfruit on his tree and we decided to order it in advance. Days passed, then months and we almost forgot about the jackfruit until our farmer neighbour showed up at our gate with the humongous fruit, early Saturday morning.

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So now we had enough jackfruit to feed a nation! We gave away half and kept half for ourselves, but even that amount is a lot for myself and my mom to handle. So what do you do when you have so much jackfruit? Jackfruit Juice didn’t really peak my interest so that was a no go but then, as I chewed on some jackfruit, I realized how firm the fruit was and started to wonder how it would stand up against being cooked. It’s the age of technology so I did a quick Google search and just as suspected the yellow fruit shreads to pieces when cooked and immediately my mind went to tacos! These tacos will have any meat eater fooled, the jackfruit is meaty and chewy and is super filling!

I already had all the fixings for tacos so rounding up my ingredients took no time; I pretty much just added whatever I wanted to add to my tacos (which is how I make everything, by just adding whatever I have laying in the fridge or pantry). So I had red cabbage, which quite honestly is purple so I’m not sure why it’s called red, some black beans for added protein, a tomato, chillis, parsely because that’s what I had on hand but go for cilantro if you can, lime to brighten it up and cut through the jackfruit, corn chips for crunch and of course the corn tortillas themselves. I simply cut, sliced and diced everything to my liking and piled them on top as i assembled my tacos.

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But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. First I made the shredded ‘meat’ or ‘carnitas’.

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I added oil, dried oregano, cumin powder, paprika and salt to a pan and kinda fried those in the oil. Then I tossed in some diced onion, garlic and chillis; sauteed those a bit before I threw in the jackfruit (which by the way, I hand-plucked from its huge cavity). I browned the jackfruit a bit (this wont take long since the sugars will caramelize quickly, so keep a close eye on it!) then I added my secret ingredient. Come closer so I can whisper it to you. Closer. It’s coconut milk. I add just 1/4 cup of this to the pan and lowered the heat a bit and let it really soften up the jackfruit. You wanna season the ‘carnitas’ at this point with more salt and some black pepper, just so you get the flavour you like, I ended up adding close to 1/2 a teaspoon more salt and two pinches of black pepper. Once it was all soft, I bumped up the heat to get rid of all the liquid so I was left with just the jackfruit coated in the spiced and dried herb and seasonings.

The assembly is just like any other taco, there really is no vegan/vegetarian alternative. Grilled tortillas first, then ‘carnitas’, some cabbage, some tomatoes, parsley, black beans, chillis, more parsley, the crumbled chips and of course a squeeze of lime. DONE! I drizzled on mine some sour cream which can be vegan. You could actually use any saucy topping you wanted; if you wanted a sweet and spicy combo, you’d squirt some sriracha on top but I love the tang on sweet and tang again, haha.

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I took my tacos to work for lunch and chowed down in like 90 minutes, I mean, I was starved but them tasting so yummy yummy definitely helped them to go down fast!

So if you are vegan, vegetarian or just adventurous and wanna try these delicious and healthy tacos, check out the recipe below.

Jackfruit Tacos

  • Servings: 5 tacos
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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These delicious and easy to make vegan tacos will have any meat eater fooled. Sweet Jackfruit and Mexican seasonings come together to create a new phenomenon fit for taco night!

INGREDIENTS

oil

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 chilli peppers

3 slim garlic cloves

1 small onion

2 cups jackfruit

1/4 cup coconut milk

A hand full of corn chips, crumbled

1 cup black beans

1/2 cup red cabbage, chopped

a handful of parsley or cilantro leaves, chopped

1-2 tomatoes, diced

2-3 chilli peppers, sliced

2-3 limes, sliced

6 corn tortillas, grilled or warmed over direct fire

sour cream or your choice of vegan saucy topping

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add oil to a large pan over medium heat, toss in the spices and dried oregano. Saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the peppers, garlic and onion and fry until they are just a tad bit brown. Add the jackfruit and fry to get the fruit browned as well. This wont take long since the sugars will caramelize quickly, so keep a close eye on it!
  3. Lower the heat and add the coconut milk; allow the fruit to cook in the milk until soft.
  4. Bump up the heat to dry out the coconut milk.
  5. Take the tortillas and add some ‘carnitas’ to each one, top them with the fresh vegetables in any order you’d like. Add the crumbled chips on top and some sour cream.
  6. Finish with a squeeze of lime and serve immediately.

I hope you shine today!heart

Guava and Tomato Bruschetta

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Food on bread and I have a love affair that’s growing deeper each day!

With my extra loaf of Beetroot Bread, I decided to make a quick snack to bring along with me to work today and for some reason I couldn’t get the idea of guava and tomato on bread out of my mind so I made a Guava and Tomato Bruschetta that totally hit the spot and then some!

So my guava tree is still giving us guavas on repeat and I just hate wasting the fruit. I’m always staring at the tree from my kitchen window, trying to think up some sort of recipe that’ll save those poor guavas from the decay that awaits them if they fall to the ground- a loss for me but a huge gain for the little worms that seem to love guavas just as much as I do. I usually pick my guavas as soon as they turn a bit yellow, I never wait for them to become super ripened; that’s when the worms take up residence in the fruit and it becomes all but inedible.

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Today in particular, I thought of a total of two delicious recipes, this bruschetta and a yummy dessert which I’ll be posting at a later date, so look out for it!

For this recipe I kept some aspects fairly Italian only because I knew that the flavour profiles would sing sweetly together. I made the classic, but in no way overrated balsamic reduction with honey and I drizzled it over the plump, sweet diced tomato and the fresh, grilled guavas. In all honesty guys, I could have had my grilled guavas with the balsamic reduction on its own; I’d treat the guava like bread and the reduction like melted cheese and have a twist on fondue. I mean, they were that good together!

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But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself; the first thing I did was to slice my bread into about 1 inch thick slices and toast them in some homemade garlic oil.

To make the oil, I added one thinly sliced garlic clove to some olive oil in a pan. I let that heat slowly on low flame until the garlic slices became browned. Simple.

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On top of the bread, besides the fruits, I added a blue cheese yogurt. I made this by just mixing some crumbled blue cheese with some yogurt. I just love the taste of guavas and tomatoes and blue cheese; especially the guava and blue cheese together, it’s a match made in food heaven! I smeared this all over the top of my toasted bread.

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For my fruits, I diced my tomato and sliced my guava, then grilled it on super high heat just to soften it a bit and bring out the natural sugars. You wanna do this because the guava you choose for this recipe has to be between green and ripened- so not green but not very ripe either. You want it pretty firm with a green tinge.

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After I grilled my guava slices I diced them the same size as the tomatoes and tossed both with salt and pepper. Then I quickly made my balsamic reduction which takes little time on high heat.

I added the fruits to the blue cheese yogurt topped bread and drizzled over the balsamic reduction then garnished with thyme leaves. The thyme leaves create this beautiful symphony with the balsamic reduction and the fruits and even the blue cheese which it sorta subdues, so if you aren’t too big on blue cheese, that thyme could be a real help!

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I packed these up and brought them for a pre-lunch snack and managed to share with my mom even though every taste bud inside me was begging me to be a little selfish and have it all!

These bruschetta are savoury with slightly sweet elements which only work to highlight and control strong flavours like the blue cheese. These are definitely worth a try and of course it’s vegetarian and healthy! Oh! and don’t forget that fresh ingredients are important, especially for a fresh preparation like this.

So check out the recipe for this deliciousness down below!

Gauva and Tomato Bruschetta

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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A bruschetta is a great snack option that’s vegetarian and healthy but so so good! try it for lunch or as an appetizer.

INGREDIENTS

3, 1 inch slices of beetroot bread or another hardy and healthy bread

garlic oil

1/4 cup yogurt

1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 medium tomato, firm but ripe

1 large guava, firm and sightly green

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

fresh thyme leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a pan, add some garlic oil and toast the bread slices on one side and brush the other side with some of the oil. Flip the slices over and toast the oil brushed side; the slices should be crunchy but not over done (hard).
  2. Combine the yogurt and blue cheese, season with salt and pepper (just a pinch each) and set aside in the fridge.
  3. Dice the tomato and add to a small bowl.
  4. Slice the guava and grill in a grill pan over high heat. Grill the guavas for half a minute on each side or until the slices soften up just a tad.
  5. Dice the sliced guavas and allow to cool to room temperature or slightly warm.
  6. Add the guavas to the bowl that has the diced tomato; season with salt and pepper and toss, set aside.
  7. On high heat, reduce the balsamic vinegar with the honey in a heavy bottom sauce pan. The mixture will get thick but still pour-able. Take it off the heat at that point.
  8. Smear the blue cheese yogurt on top of the toasted bread slices.
  9. Add the diced fruits and drizzle with the balsamic reduction, then top with the fresh thyme leaves.
  10. Add salt and pepper on top, if desired.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

Flatbread Trio

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You remember my Rosemary Flatbread from yesterday’s post right? Well it’s back again! I Used my left over flatbread (which stores well in the refrigerator by the way) to make not one, not two but three different and equally delicious flatbreads.

These recipes are so easy that they all contain 4 ingredients or less, not including the flatbread. Use fresh ingredients and you’ll have the best version of these possible!

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Part of my bounty

First up is this sweet and savoury Blue Cheese, Guava and Pear Flatbread. It is a decadent, healthy flatbread with one of my favourite autumn fruits, guava. I have been watching my guava tree from its blossoming in Spring to finally its sweet sweet fruit I’m enjoying now. A lot of the fruits on the tree are still young but a few are ripening up and I’ve been eating them as they come.

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This time when I noticed one was finally that perfect yellow hue, I decided to grill it up and add it on top of my flatbread. And boy am I glad I did! If you can’t get guavas, sub with ripe, fresh peaches.

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The blue cheese keeps it super savoury and add a nice ‘funk’, which I love but if you are partial to blue cheese, you can sweeten up the flatbread a bit more by subbing the blue cheese for mascarpone or keep it savoury with fresh mozzarella. The pear is the perfect crunch and a nice mellow flavour that still isn’t overpowered by the blue cheese and the guava is just a beautiful, fragrant, sweet fruit that pairs well with the blue cheese as well. I personally love the texture of this flatbreat and a drizzle of honey finishes it all off! I ended up adding mint leaves as well because I wanted that fresh , minty flavour but it’s completely optional.

The second flatbread is the simplest out of all three and is perfect for those sweet tooth healthy eaters. It’s just almond butter and sliced bananas. That’s it. Simple but so so good. This one’s great for kids to eat and help make. It can be an after school snack or a little treat after dinner. I added grated dark chocolate to mine and couldn’t wait to snap my photos so I could dig it! The bananas I used are of course totally organic and hand picked from my garden! I’ve got a few greener ones on the tree that I’m waiting on patiently.

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The last but certainly not the least of the flatbreads is this Grilled Mushrooms in Soy Sauce Flatbread. It is a Vegan’s ‘meat’ flatbread that any meat eater would swear is real meat! I used shiitake mushrooms which I had to go all the way to Kingston to get and it was so worth it. I grilled them up with a pinch of salt and pepper before pouring over the soy sauce. This is a flavour bomb flatbread that I must say it was my favourite. Tips to get this tasting amazeballs:

Use good quality butter or oil to grill with

Grill on high heat for only a few minutes (3-5 minutes)

Use really good quality soy sauce and add it once you turn the heat off

Use fresh shiitake mushrooms, emphasis on the fresh and shiitake.

Garnish with escallion (green onions)

If you do all this, you’ll have the same foodgasm I did!

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I toasted all my flatbreads in a toaster oven to get them nice and warm but you can skip this if you want them at room temperature.

So there you have it! A trio of flatbreads that are sure to have your tastebuds screaming for more. If you think you’ll have one or two slices, you’re wrong, in fact you might want to make an entire flat bread for each person in your household just so everything is kept fair! Haha.

Loved the sound of these flatbreads? Get the recipe here!

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Cauliflower “Cheese” Sauce

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So it’s dinner time and you’re just not in the mood for an eternity in the kitchen. I know exactly how you feel and on those days I wanna whip up something real fast but still keep it clean and healthy. Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potatoes always save the day!

First off, let me note that Jamaican or Caribbean sweet potatoes are a different variety from the North American ones. The major differences are the texture and colour. Our Jamaican variety is firm when baked and even boiled and the colour ranges from an off whitish hue to ones with dark purplish stands running through. Some are sweeter than others but all are yummy so feel free to use whichever sweet potato you like!

The best part about this recipe is the freedom you have to stuff it with whatever veges you’re into. The adventurous home cook or foodie will have fun stuffing this with different vege combos and there’s just no way you can go wrong with the flavour of sweet potatoes and some good veges.

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I stuffed these with carrots, beets, tomato, apple, zucchini, kale and sweet peppers (bell peppers). My sweet peppers aren’t perfect but they were picked fresh from my grandmother’s and they’ve got little spots of imperfection where small worms were snacking. Sometimes you have to share if you want organic (haha).

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I topped all that with a cauliflower “cheese” that I made by simple roasting some cauliflower florets and blending them till smooth with a bit of nut milk. Mmm mmm, so good!

All my veges got a quick saute in a pan, just to soften them up but not so much that they weren’t still a bit crisp (my mom loves veges with crunch). I started with onion, carrots and apple to ‘season’ the pan, as I call it. Then I added the rest of veges in batches.

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By the way, I also added some leftover quinoa I had in the refrigerator so you can add it or not… As I said before, this stuff isn’t affordable to most Jamaicans so no pressure.

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It all looked like a tasty salad after I was done and I had to keep myself from chowing down on it by itself.

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I baked my potatoes from earlier on so once I cooked my veges and got my ‘cheese’ sauce ready, I fired up the oven to get it nicely preheat, cut the potatoes in half and scooped out some of the middle. I always keep the middles for potato croquettes or a quick mashed sweet potato. I stuff the potatoes with the veges and add the ‘cheese’ on top; you can add a little ‘cheese’…

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Or a lot.

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It all gets sprinkled with breadcrumbs which is optional and into the broiler section of the oven it goes to get brown and crisp on top. If you have leftover baked sweet potatoes from the day before, you’re gonna want to pop them in the oven for a bit after you scoop out the middle.

This recipe is all about clean and simple flavours. It’s low low in fat and high high in vitamins and nutrients; little oil and tons of veges. And man oh man is it tasty!

Try it out tonight! Click here to get the recipe.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

Garlicy Chickpea Falafel Wraps

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If you’re into light dinners like my mom and I, then this recipe is for you.

Falafel is one of my favourite Middle Eastern foods and I have it with quinoa, with hummus, on its own or in a sandwich or wrap. Today’s dinner was a healthy, garlicy, yummy Falafel Wrap! I made extra falafels that my mom and I can munch on tomorrow since we’ll be on the road all day; they store great in the refrigerator or freezer and are an easy finger food. This wrap is a ‘one hander’ (can be eaten with one hand) so if you’re on the go or travelling like we are, go ahead and make this up and you’ll have yourself a healthy meal for the road.

I must admit that I usually never bake the falafels in this recipe, I much prefer the serious crunch I get from frying them. You gotta experience this crunch too! Oh and if you love garlic like my brother and I do, you have to try this recipe tonight! I added 6 medium cloves of garlic so this is basically a chickpea garlic falafel, but if you don’t like garlic like we do, you can cut it down to as low as 1 clove of garlic… It’ll still be yum.

I keep this recipe pretty traditional with Middle Eastern spices but I throw in some Jamaican touches as well; sometimes I add escallion (green onions), thyme, rosemary or some other Jamaican herb or seasoning. This time around I used partially dried thyme, that I had drying at home but only because I couldn’t find my dried rosemary. The thyme allowed the garlic to shine but the rosemary will stand up to it and the two will have a dance party in your mouth. If you’ve got dried rosemary you should use it but don’t get me wrong, the thyme works great as well… so does the escallion.

So the spices are the usual falafel suspects, you’ve got cumin, dried oregano (which is actually a herb but what the heck), paprika and cayenne pepper.

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I added just enough cayenne pepper to give the falafels a slight heat because my mom is not a fan of spicy. you can add as much as you like and I reckon it’ll be good with the garlic. The assembly goes pretty quickly, I just put all the spices/herbs and seasonings (onion and garlic), an egg, some bread crumbs, salt and the chickpeas to a blender or a food processor and pulsed to get a wet, but not too wet mixture that comes together and stays together in a ball but still has chunks of onion, chickpeas and so on.

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I shaped them into flat rounds and got them frying in a pan.

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You wanna flip them only when you see them turning brown around the edges, if you turn them too quickly, you won’t get that crunch. The crunch is very important.

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After they are fried. Lay them on a cooling rack, not on paper towels because again, you wont get that crunch; they’ll just steam on the bottom if you use paper towels… and the crunch is very important.

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For condiments, I went pretty simple with a quick and easy homemade tzatziki sauce, chili sauce, lettuce leaves, small tomatoes which were some of the sweetest I’ve ever had! There’s just something about tomatoes that are grown with little human interaction and are left to grow among the weeds.

And I garnished with some cilantro.

Oh and check out this guy I found hanging off a tomato plant; I used cucumbers in the tzatziki sauce and found them especially flavourful and juicy! Fresh ingredients is always the way to go!

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I added the chili sauce to my wrap because I like it spicy but also put some on the side in case my mom was feeling a bit adventurous. You can do the same for yourself or your friends and family who may not be keen on spicy. The tzatziki sauce can go on the side as well if you’ve got vegans around or it can be substituted with a dairy free option like avocado mayo or vegan mayo.

For the flat bread, I used store brought but I usually make my own whole wheat pita breads which are so much better! Buy or make gluten free, gluten full, tortillas, rotis or whatever kind of flat bread you desire, they’ll all work with this recipe.

Wanna make this for dinner or lunch? Click here for the recipe.

Drop me a comment! I’d love to know what you think of this one.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

 

Spiced Kale Chips

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Move over callaloo, Jamaica’s got a new vegetable star and his name is Kale.

Kale is becoming increasingly popular here on the island and it seems as if every farmer and at home gardener has kale in their soil. It’s all over the supermarkets and farmers’ markets and every Dick, Tom and Harry are cooking with kale, drinking kale smoothies and having kale salads. And despite the hype and the skepticism, any trend or movement that has people chowing down on greens, is great in my book!

That being said, today I chowed down on some homemade kale chips and they were crunchy, yummy and not at all ‘green tasting’ or fibrous.

Of course I didn’t do plain ole kale chips, I added my four favourite spices plus salt. I added coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns and cayenne powder.

 

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I love adding this dynamite foursome to almost anything, it is probably my go to seasoning mixture! I guess it’s my version of five spice powder, except with four spices instead of five. By the way, you can use ground spices instead but I prefer the intense flavour of freshly ground spices so I smash them in a pestle and mortar.

I actually enjoy having these on movie night instead of popcorn and they take literally 7 minutes to crisp up in the oven, that’s way less time than homemade popcorn! I’d imagine they would be great for parties as well; you could put them out in place of potato chips or some other snack.

Sadly, I am yet to grow some kale of my own but it is something I am looking forward to doing and I’ve already picked out the perfect spot in my garden. I picked up the kale I used at the supermarket and made sure it was the local, fresh stuff.

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Kale Bouquet

You wanna make sure you wash the kale pieces and dry them completely before you bake it. Wet kale is soggy kale and not at all chip-like. Oh, and don’t freak out about the amount of kale you’re using, they shrink down a bit and it won’t look like the mountain it is during prep time.

And here’s a quick tip, when you add the spices and oil to your kale, sorta massage the spices into the kale. Yeah, it’s a little strange massaging kale but your taste buds will thank you for it and don’t worry about being too rough, kale doesn’t bruise easily.

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After that massage, it’s onto the parchment lined baking sheet. I laid out the kale pieces in a single layer and left a little space between each, just to help the hot air move around and get them super crispy.

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A nice moderate temperature is the key to that crisp, too hot and you’ll burn them to ash but too low and they won’t crisp evenly or quickly enough. I bake at 350°F and even at this temperature, you have to watch them keenly, these little guys crisp up fast!

When you pull them out of the oven, pick them up as soon as they are cool enough to touch. Pile them high and enjoy.

You can go a little further and serve them with a yogurt lime sauce which is what I did. It’s just a wonderful combo of cooling yogurt, vibrant lime and charred spices. Mmm! So good!

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If you wanna enjoy some kale chips too, check out the recipe below.

Spiced Kale Chips

  • Servings: 3 cups (4 servings)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Kale chips are easy to make and so tasty. Put them out at your next party or family gathering!

Makes about 4 servings or 3 cups

INGREDIENTS

11/4 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon cumin seed or 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander seeds or 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns or 1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

5 cups of fresh kale, torn into bite-sized pieces, washed and dried well

1/2 cup yogurt (optional)

1 lime, juiced (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Add the whole spices to a spice grinder and grind to a powder, leaving some bigger pieces and mix with the salt and cayenne pepper or add all spices and salt to a pestle and mortar and smash to a powder, leaving some bigger pieces. If using powdered spices, mix them together.
  3. Add the spices and oil to the kale in a bowl. Massage the spices into the kale for 2 minutes.
  4. On a parchment lined sheet pan, lay out the kale pieces in one even layer, leaving a little space between each.
  5. Bake for 7 minutes, paying close attention to the chips as they bake.
  6. Mix the yogurt and lime juice together (optional).
  7. Remove the chips when they are crispy and a bit dark around the edges.
  8. Cool them enough to touch and carefully remove them from the sheet. Pile them high and serve with the yogurt lime, if desired. Enjoy!

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

Oats Granola Bars

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I’m not a big ‘snacker’ but sometimes I’m hungry enough to grab a snack between the lunch and dinner period and that’s when I pull out a granola bar.

I started out, like many of us, snacking on those store bought granola bars which are chuck full of refined sugars and preservatives and a host of other ingredients that don’t sound like food and definitely have you tongue-tied when you attempt to pronounce them. But once I learnt how to make granola bars myself and control what kind of sweetener I use and what I put in ’em, it was bye bye store bought bars.

So today I’m going to share with you, how you can make your very own bars; it takes literally 20 minutes to assemble and you only gotta wait about another 30 minutes till you’re enjoying a nutritious snack full of fibre from the oats and protein from the nuts and seeds. If you don’t care to wait that long, no worries, these can be made in batches ahead so whenever you’re ready for one, just grab and go.

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I used exactly 5 ingredients for the base which is really all you need to make this bar and I added 3 more ingredients to the top just for a little added crunch and flavour. So the base included:

  1. Raisins, which I pulsed to a sticky consistency till it could form a ball.
  2. Toasted oats which I toasted till nice and golden brown (toasting the oats adds such a great flavour and actually smells so yum).
  3. Honey+almond butter+course sea salt, all heated together. Its sweet and just a bit salty. Vegans can substitute honey with maple syrup or agave syrup.

The toppings:

  1. Lightly toasted sliced almonds+lightly toasted pumpkin seeds+dried cranberries, a sweet and crunchy combo.

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I harvested my own pumpkin seeds from a pumpkin we got from our family in St. Elizabeth. I scooped the guts out, separated all the seeds and toasted them till they were soft enough for me to pull apart and reveal the little green seeds within. If you’ve got young, curious kids in your kitchen, let them be in charge of this, minus the toasting part; they will have a blast!

Our pumpkin vines are gearing up to give us some beauties this season; they’ve got little blossoms appearing all over. Can hardly wait to harvest seeds from my very own pumpkins!

Next I toasted everything that could be toasted and heated the honey, almond butter and salt (don’t let it boil or bubble), then pulsed the raisins in a small food processor (but you could even process them by hand in a pestle and mortar).

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Then I combined all 5 ingredients, including the toasted oats to form a sticky, oatsy, raisiny, dough? What I mean is, it all came together as one, like dough does.

I pressed it into a parchment paper lined pan using a cup and topped it with the pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds and dried cranberries. Covered it with another layer of parchment then popped it in the freezer for 15 minutes. I sliced them up, then into the freezer again for another 15 to set them in place.

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Oats Granola Bars are crunchy, sweet but not too sweet and a bit salty, which is my favourite part. If you want these chewy, just decrease the amount of oats (see recipe).

I’m enjoying making my own bars and this is definitely one of my favourite recipes. They are a super delicious, healthy snack that can be stored in air-tight containers for a good 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator and much longer in the freezer but I doubt they’ll be around for more than a few days.

I hope you love this one as much as I do.

Scroll down to get the recipe!

Oats Granola Bars

  • Servings: 10 bars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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These are fantastic on the go snacks that satisfy that little hunger you have between lunch and dinner. Healthy and nutritious.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup raisins (I re-hydrated mine in water for 15 minutes)

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/4 cup honey or maple or agave syrup

1/4 cup almond butter

1 teaspoon course sea salt

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon sliced almonds

1 tablespoon dried cranberries

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pulse raisins until they are mushy and come together in a ball. Add a bit of water if needed.
  2. Toast oats and nuts. Set aside.
  3. Warm honey, almond butter and salt in a small sauce pan, stirring until thin and warm.
  4. Add the raisins, oats and honey mixture (while still warm) to a bowl and stir with a spoon till it all comes together.
  5. Line a freezer safe square pan with parchment paper and place the mixture into it. Press it out a bit with the back of a spoon to even it out and add the pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds and dried cranberries on top.
  6. Place another piece of parchment paper over the mixture and use the bottom of a cup to flatten and even it out. Do not press too much, just until the mixture covers the base of the pan evenly.
  7. Cover properly with a layer of plastic wrap over the parchment paper and pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove and cut into 10 bars. Put it back in the freezer for 15 more minutes.
  9. It is ready when the bars are firm.
  10. Store in air tight containers in the refrigerator or freezer.
  11. Enjoy!

I hope you shine today!heart