Springtime Smoothie with Aloe Vera

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It’s finally Spring and it’s really warming up here in Mandeville and I am so grateful! To ring in Spring and to prepare for summer, I’ve made the ultimate Springtime smoothie with aloe vera.

If you’re Jamaican, I bet you’re pretty skeptical right now. Aloe vera? In a drink? How can that be good? I know all those questions are going through your mind. But it is possible! All you gotta do is remove that awful bitter flavour. Before I explain how to do that (and it’s quite simple), let’s talk a bit about aloe vera.

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So aloe “vera” is a succulent plant that is just one type of aloe (aloe being a species of over 500 plants) and it is widely known in Jamaica for it’s medicinal properties and its very bitter taste. People here on the island use the plant to treat cuts, burns, constipation and a few other ailments and you know what, it works better than any modern medicine I’ve ever tried. We also use it in our hair as a conditioner and on our skin since it helps keep those pesky wrinkles at bay. I personally love how super shiny and smooth it makes both my skin and hair feel! Oh and besides all that, its a great addition to any succulent collection (here’s mine).

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But you must be wondering how aloe vera in a drink can help you… well its great for your digestive system, kinda like how yogurt is and its full of vitamins and nutrients. The best thing about working with aloe vera is that once you remove that bitterness, you’re left with a blank slate that you can customize based on the season and whatever is available.

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So first, let’s talk about de-bittering; you wanna cut a leaf from your aloe vera plant and let it drain for a full day and all the yellow slime will drain out. Then you wanna fillet it, to do this, run your knife along both sides of the leaf, being careful not to cut through the bottom leaf. Then pull back the top leaf; it will peel back easily and with the knife or a spoon cut/scoop the jell off the bottom leaf. Wash the jell and you can cut it into pieces or not but it must go into a ziplock bag and freeze for a day, that’s what really takes the bitterness away, don’t ask me how.

On smoothie making day, all you do is add to a blender, your fruits, I used papaya for it’s refreshing yet sweet flavour, a frozen banana ’cause you can’t have a smoothie without those,  a ton of mint because that just taste like spring to me, like waking up from winter and the frozen aloe vera jell of course, a pinch of turmeric powder, that’s optional some honey and some ice cold coconut water and wizz away. Pour into glasses and enjoy!

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Check out the recipe below for measurements and stay tuned for more spring time foods!

Springtime Smoothie with Aloe Vera

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This refreshing smoothie taste like a field of daisies and bees buzzing around wild flowers and afternoon showers all in one.

INGREDIENTS

Aloe vera jell from two leaves, frozen

1/2 papaya, sliced

1 frozen banana, sliced

2 sprigs of mint, leaves only (reserve a sprig for garnish)

1 pinch of turmeric

1 tablespoon honey (or agave syrup)

1 1/2-2 cups coconut water, cold

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
  2. Pour into glasses with straws and garnish with a sprig of mint.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

Vegetable and Spirulina Soup

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I don’t know about any one else, but I’m over these colder, rainy Mandeville days and I’m ready for a warm Spring season to take over. That being said, I’m enjoying winter’s veggies in warm, soul comforting soups.

I got inspired on one rainy afternoon while sitting and thinking about my amazing grandfather who passed away in 2016; he would make the most bestest vegetable soup! So I thought I’d remake it my way and add some spirulina I got from my local vegan restaurant, Fancy Fruit here in Mandeville.

As I do with all my recipes, I rely on whatever I see when I walk into my garden and when I open my fridge door and I simply make do with what I have. I had callaloo and pak choi as greens and was hoping for some broccoli to roast and add as well but I’m going to have to get some for next time and trust me, there will be a next time; this soup was sooo good! I also had some potatoes which I added to give the soup some hardiness. Grandpa did his soup with pak choi and callaloo too but he never added potatoes (or spirulina) but as I said, this is my version.

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To make it warm and a bit spicy I added bird chillis, cumin seeds and coriander powder. My seasonings were quite simple, just your regular onion, sweet (bell) pepper, dried parsley leaves and garlic; I sauteed those in my fave organic, cold pressed coconut oil which we keep in this jar we had pickles in.

 

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After a quick saute over medium heat, I added the potatoes and got those a bit brown too before adding the greens and some garlic chili sauce, more salt and pepper and some water. Then it’s time to simmer the soup. I simmered with the lid on for about 10 minutes over medium/low heat; I really just waited for the potatoes to get tender.

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In the mean time I went hunting for goodies from my garden; I found peppermint to freshen up the soup, pumpkin blossoms because I had some beautiful ones in the garden that I knew would be so nice and delicate in the soup, I also found some orange blossoms which are slightly zesty and floral (mmmmm), so nice with the spices in the soup. I used these as garnish.

So when my potatoes got tender and the soup broth tasted just right with all the seasonings and flavours, I added everything to a blender and blended until smooth with some yummy almond milk.

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Then I added the spirulina, which by the way is packed with super vitamins like vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6 plus more which are all great for immune health, energy, nerve and brain function, organ health etc. and nutrients like iron, magnesium, potassium… just oh my gosh, it’s so packed with a lot of goodies. It’s especially good for vegans who need extra protein ’cause it delivers on the protein!

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With this soup though, I added the salt sparingly since the spirulina which is literally from the sea has this beautiful, natural saltiness to it so I did my final seasoning after I added the spirulina.  I highly recommend you do the same. So after I added the spirulina, I blended the soup again and returned it to the pot over low heat, just to keep it warm.

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I tasted for final seasoning and then I served the soup in bowls and added all my garden goodies on top along with roasted almonds for texture, orange zest for extra zestiness and homemade, chunky tomato sauce, because fresh tomatoes go really well with the soup smile face. I know my Gramps would love it!

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I hope you guys make this yummy soup too to help soothe these last few winter days; you won’t regret it!

Vegetable and Spirulina Soup

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

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This soup is super soothing, super green and super healthy; perfect for cold, rainy evenings. Enjoy by candle light!

INGREDIENTS

coconut oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 bird chilis, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 teaspoon dried parsley leaves

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

3 small potatoes, diced

4 stalks Callaloo, chopped

6-7 pak choi leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce

4 cups water (or as needed)

1 cup almond milk (or as needed)

1 teaspoon spirulina powder

roasted almonds, as garnish

chopped pumpkin blossoms, as garnish

peppermint, as garnish

orange blossoms, as garnish

orange zest, as garnish

olive oil, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add the oil to a soup pot over medium heat. Add the first onions, garlic, chilis, bell pepper, dried  parsley leaves, cumin seeds and coriander to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes and fry for another 10 minutes. Add the greens and garlic chili sauce and saute a bit longer before adding the water.
  3. Simmer on a medium/low heat for about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are fully cooked.
  4. Once the potatoes are tender, check the flavour profile. At this point the soup should be earthy, spicy and full of depth. Add a little salt.
  5. Transfer everything to a blender and blend on medium speed until smooth.
  6. Add the almond milk, blend again and lastly the spirulina. Blend just to incorporate.
  7. Transfer back to the pot over low heat, just to keep it warm. Test the flavour to ensure the salt level is good.
  8. Serve in bowls and add the garnishes on top.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

Homemade Granola

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Let’s face it, granola is yummy, it’s ‘snackable’ and its perfect as a breakfast cereal but it’s so overpriced. If you’re a fan of granola like me, then you know how much these things cost in the supermarket; but why buy it when you can make it?

I’ve been making my own granola for a while now and it is a very simple and easy process; the great thing is that you can make it now and jar some up for the rest of the week! This granola will keep 14 days or so, although mine has never lasted that long LOL. I also LOVE that granola can be customized and each time I make it, I try different flavours together and always end up with a delicious result.

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Today I’m gonna share with you my recipe for this week’s granola. I pretty much added a bunch of dried fruits, seeds and nuts that I had around my kitchen (awesome way to finish up that last bit if pumpkin seeds that’s been sitting there after I already popped open my new bag).

The backbone of this recipe is of course the oats, I mean, by now everyone should know about my love affair with oats; they are my favourite ‘fibrelicious’ breakfast pick-me-up meal and I’ll have them in pretty much any form smile face. Old fashioned, rolled oats are the only ones I use and if you can get them organic, that would be great!

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For this recipe, I got them mixed with honey, maple syrup, cinnamon and almond butter; you could eat it just like that and on many occasions, I have! But for the purpose of this recipe, try to hold back the urge for flaky oats coated in goodness. When I’ve got it nice and mixed, I kinda scrunch the oats up into, well, bunches I suppose and bake them low and slow for about 15-20 minutes. You could even toast them in a mini toaster over which is actually what I do most of the time.

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Once the bunches are all ready, crisp and crunchy, allow them to cool. Then it’s time to go through your kitchen emptying all the crumbs from the jar of nuts, seeds, the coconut flakes you had left over from the vegan coconut cake you baked, the raisins you bought for Christmas cake/pudding/fruit cake and anything else you have in your pantry that you can toss in. I like to load up but if you think less is more, feel free to add one or two… condiments? I’ll call them condiments, yes. Or you don’t have to add anything at all; you can bake the bunches and have them just like that.

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To mine though I added a myriad of dried fruits, coconut flakes, walnuts, and seeds I had on hand. BUT as you can clearly see, you can customize your granola to your taste. For breakfast purposes, I drown my granola in milk but I also enjoy filling a container with the cereal mix and snacking on them while working…perfect for keeping me full!

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Check out the full recipe below and make your own for breakfast!

Homemade Granola

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Super Easy
  • Print

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This is an amazing weekday breakfast option; make it Sunday and enjoy it every morning after.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups old fashion oats

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon maple syrup (vegans can use only

maple syrup at 3 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 tablespoon almond butter

seeds (pumpkin, sunflower etc.)

dried fruits (apricots, raisins, dates etc.)

nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashew)

dried coconut flakes

milk (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat a toaster oven to 170°F or oven to 180°F.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment/grease paper.

3. Mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl and ensure that the oats come together when squeezed in your hand.

4. Empty the bowl on to the baking sheet and ‘bunch’ the oats together randomly.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bunch and hard and crispy.

6. Allow the granola to cool.

7. Mix with the condiments (dried fruits, seeds and nuts) and add to jars with tight lids to keep for about 14 days.

8. To enjoy, add milk or snack on them while work or play!

I hope you shine today! heart

 

 

 

Black Bean Burger Salad

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Do you know those days when you really want a burger but you’re on a gluten cleanse and you gotta work around the bread to get what you want? Well, maybe you’ve never had one of those days and actually, until this week I never had one of those days before either. But to fix my newfound dilemma, I did the simplest thing and made my burger into a salad! So here’s my recipe for the most bestest Black Bean Burger Salad.

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Main ingredient, black beans. I seasoned mine with onions, sweet pepper (bell pepper), garlic and lots of thyme, oh and of course salt and pepper too. First, I added my black beans to my food processor and pulsed; I used canned black beans and pulsed just enough to get it to come together but not so much that it was all mush, I like a little texture.

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I also added soy sauce to my burger mix, you know for that extra kick! After that, all I had to do was shape my burger “meat” into patties and brown them in a pan with oil. I used olive oil over medium heat and browned them until crispy; the best part is the crispy edged with the soft inside. Soo good! To finish the patty in the pan, I sliced artisan pepper jack cheese and melted it over top.

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Then for the salad, it’s fresh lettuce, yogurt sriracha dressing, pickled carrots and beets and a sprinkle of fresh thyme. For the pickles, I love the brainy flavour so I stack it up but go light if it’s not your thing.

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I’m telling you guys, it’s the best lunch! and if you’re looking for a light dinner, this hits the spot too, no doubt.

So if you ever happen to have one of these days or you just think this sounds and looks gosh darn good then check out the recipe below so you can make your own!

Black Bean Burger Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This one’s great for gluten free or bread-free days or diets and it’s super delish.

INGREDIENTS

1 can Black beans

1/2 Onions

1/2 Bell peppers

2 cloves garlic

3 sprigs thyme, plus extra

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Pepper jack cheese (or vegan cheese)

Pickled beets, as needed

Pickled carrots, as needed

Yogurt (or sour cream)

Sriracha sauce

Fresh lettuce

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pulse the beans and the seasonings separately.
  2. Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce and mix everything together.
  3. Shape the “meat” into patties and start browning them crispy in a pan with oil over medium heat.
  4. Once you flip the burger, add a slice of cheese on top and allow it to melt while the bottom browns.
  5. In the mean time, in a bowl mix some sriracha and yogurt together (to your taste), set aside and on a plate assemble lettuce leaves and lay the burger patty on top.
  6. Add the pickles on top and add the yogurt scriracha. Sprinkle the thyme on top.
  7. Enjoy!

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

Gingery Cucumber Salad

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My fiance Gordon recently introduced me to a cucumber salad recipe that has got me hooked! It is deceptively simple since it packs such a punch but has literally 6 ingredients (including salt and pepper). I’m won’t dilly dally for much longer, so let get into it.

Cucumbers. These are of course the main ingredients in this fresh salad so what’s the first rule? That’s right, use fresh ingredients; this is so so important. Make sure your cucumbers are fresh and firm and deep green in colour. I like a crisp, yet flavourful cucumber, that just slightly bursts with juices once you bite in. This is the sorta cucumber you need for this recipe.

I got mine from my grandmother who got it from a family friend who plants cucumbers; I love getting veggies as gifts haha, they’re the best kind. I’ve also got a small patch of cucumbers growing nearby my house that’s sorta run it’s growth course so I haven’t been able to harvest from my community… thank God for family friends!

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“You have to cut the cucumbers thin, that’s the trick to this recipe”, that’s what my naturally gifted fiance let me know the first time we made this salad together; and so, I pass this on to you all, it really is quite important. You sorta end up marinating the cucumbers in the ginger, mustard and honey so having the cucumbers thin helps the flavours to get together super easy.

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So yea, you’re pretty much done at this point. Add some dried (not powdered) ginger, that’s the ginger you get when you totally forgot you had ginger and it got all shriveled, yeah, don’t throw that out, it’s actually got a nice flavour. Throw in some grainy mustard too, some honey and season with salt and pepper and you’ve got the perfect side salad for any meal.

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The best thing about this salad is the flavour; Gordon and I both agree that it tastes just like the ‘fake’ wasabi you get in Japanese restaurants but more fresh and less harsh, which we just love!

Check this recipe out if you’re looking for a super simple salad with surprising flavours, oh and also if you like wasabi. Drop me a comment if you made it, let me know how you liked it!

Gingery Cucumber Salad

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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If you’re trapped for time or you just don’t wanna be in the kitchen for hours, here’s the perfect side salad with a punch!

INGREDIENTS

2 large cucumbers

1 1/2 tablespoons grainy mustard

1/2 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon dried ginger, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Slice the cucumbers thinly. Add them to a bowl.

2. Add the other ingredients and toss everything together. Serve as a fresh, side salad.

I hope you shine today!heart

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

 

 

 

 

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
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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

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl

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One of the perks of living in cool cool Mandeville is the abundance of wild purple raspberries all around. These juicy fruits grow on the street sides in my community and produce fruit all year round! As kids, my brother, cousin and I would pick berries as we walked home after school and eat them as a sort of travelling snack.

You have to be pretty skillful to maneuver your way around a raspberry bush since this plant safeguards itself by pricking you when you try to pick the fruit. And then there are the mosquitoes who seem to live within the bushes and swarm out once you get close. But the reward is pure sweetness in the form of juicy juicy berries so it ends up being all worth it. I mean, have you ever had sun-ripened, wild, organic berries that grow towards the setting sun while getting ample sunshine from the midday sun and lots of rainfall? The result is big, yummy berries you have to taste to believe.

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I’ve had gallons of smoothies but I never had the bowl kind that I see on every ‘foodcentric’ website or Instagram page so I decided to pure my smoothie in a bowl this time instead of the more traditional glass. First rule of smoothie in a bowl is of course making it thicker; the best way to do this is to add less liquid. I used almond milk the first time I made this but coconut milk will work great and will add that sweet flavour that pairs so well with fruits! You also wanna get your smoothie ingredients super cold; I froze my berries but left my banana as is but you can freeze everything and chill your liquid too so you get the thickest, frostiest smoothie possible.

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So the recipe is super simple and easy which is basically the drift of a smoothie of any sort, bowl or glass. It’s just berries, a banana, almond milk and blend, pour into a bowl and then top with all sorts of fruits, seeds or nuts. I opted for pumpkin seeds which are protein-packed and chia seeds which are a small, tiny pebble of complete protein (so no lack of protein here), guavas because they are the fruit of my home right now and full of vitamins, coconut flakes because I just love the texture and taste they add and of course fresh berries and sliced bananas.

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I had my refreshing bowl for breakfast and it works like a hot cup of morning coffee; it really wakes you up and leaves you feeling refreshed and ready for the day! It’s great as an accompaniment to a hot breakfast as well so you can have your cooked breakfast and then top it off with a smoothie bowl! Just writing this now has me thinking of a tangy, citrus smoothie bowl that’ll pep me up in the mornings even more (look out for that recipe soon enough)!

So without further chatter, let’s get into the recipe.

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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A delicious and refreshing breakfast pick-me-up!

INGREDIENTS

-1 fresh, ripe banana

-2 guavas

-2 cups frozen raspberries

-1 ripe banana (may be frozen)

-1/3 cup almond milk or coconut milk

-1 handful of fresh raspberries

-2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds

-1 tablespoon grated coconut

-chia seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Slice the fresh bananas and guavas. Set aside.
  2. Add the frozen raspberries, banana and milk to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a bowl and add the sliced fruits, fresh berries, seeds and grated coconut to the top.
  4. Serve immediately.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

Brandy Poached Guavas

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When I was a kid, every Sunday my mom would whip up some sort of dessert, whether it was store-bought apple pie and ice cream or make-your-own dessert where she guided my brother and I in making our own desserts from this stack of recipe cards we had in the kitchen. Then I really got into cooking and baking and mom traded her spot in the kitchen for a spot at the dining table, with me serving her Sunday dessert. Then I went to college and the tradition all but died. But today I was feeling a bit nostalgic and decided to bring the tradition back! I made some beautiful Brandy Poached Guavas.

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Where banana trees meet guava fruits.

Right now I’m rolling in guavas! The entire week was rainy (which is great weather for a fruiting tree of any kind) and all of a sudden, our guava tree was limping with heavy, ripe guavas when I work up this morning.

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What to do with so many guavas? Eat them just so? Yes. Poach them in hard liquor? Yes! So while I snacked on some guavas, I contemplated my simple but decadent poached guavas recipe.

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First thing’s first, add some cracked cardamom pods, cloves and a cinnamon stick to a heavy bottom pot with brandy and honey. Then put those guavas in. The poaching liquid should not cover the guavas, they should come up a little pass half the guavas.

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Drop that pot onto a low flame and cover with the lid and let it poach away for about 30 minutes. The guavas will be all taut when they are done and have a slightly sticky texture. That’s when you take them out, set them aside, hike up the heat to medium (don’t let it boil too wild or it will boil over) and reduce that syrup to a level of concentrated deliciousness you’ve never experienced before!

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When it’s reduced to a thicker, syrupy consistency, add the guavas back in and lower the heat to the lowest of lows and just warm those guavas back up.

And voila! You’re done, cut the heat and grab a shape knife. Slice the guavas in half and plate them up with some vegan ice cream, I used my avocado mint ice cream, and poured that syrup over top. This is my newfound, favourite guava dessert, well until my next guava inspired dessert, haha. The spices are great in the syrup since they sorta combat the sweet and ‘warm’ it up and the mint is a fresh addition that goes great with with natural flavour of the guava.

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If you wanna try these decadent Brandy Poached Guavas, check out the recipe below!

Let me know what you think.

Brandy Poached Guavas

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This decadent dessert is simple, quick and easy and a perfect way to eat through your guavas this guava season.

INGREDIENTS

-1 cup brandy

-2 1/2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)

-6 cloves

-8 cardamom pods, cracked

-1 cinnamon stick

-3 ripe but firm guavas

-mint leaves

-avocado mint ice cream (optional)

-grated coconut and chocolate (to top the ice cream)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add the brandy, honey, spices and guavas to a small, heavy bottom sauce pan set over low heat.
  2. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the guavas become taut and a bit sticky.
  3. Remove the guavas and set aside.
  4. Reduce the syrup on medium-high, watching it carefully to prevent it from boiling over. When it reduces in amount and becomes thicker and more syrupy, lower the heat and add the guavas back in.
  5. When the guavas are reheated, turn the heat off and remove them from the pan again.
  6. Slice them in half and plate them up with some of the syrup and the avocado mint ice cream (with coconut and chocolate toppings).
  7. Pour the rest of the hot syrup over top and garnish with mint leaves.

I hope you shine today!heart