Are you giving up anything for Lent? I wonder how many people fast these days. It seems like things have changed so much over the years and no one even knows when Lent begins until it ends on Ash Wednesday – or in the case of the Caribbean, right before carnival- whichever comes first. It is customary for Christians to fast for 40 days and 40 nights, giving up the things they hold dearest as penance, reflecting on their spiritual lives and the ultimate sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus. This is the time for the purging of the body, mind and spirit of all things, a total detox. The period leads to Ash Wednesday, when the sacrificial death of Christ is recognized and Good Friday, when He rose from the dead. Back home in Jamaica, we eat a lot of fish during Lent as many give up meat and poultry for the period. Here’s is one of my mother’s favourite fish dishes as promised in our last post with her Jamaican Style Coconut Quinoa. This makes great use of the heads of larger fish, but if you are not so keen on the heads, by all means use the steak cuts from the same large fish. Though you will be missing all the gelatinous goodness that oozes out of the bony heads. This dish is also loved by Rastafarians who are vegetarians all year round but some of whom will have fish. Continue reading
My mother is no joke. She is a force to reckon with any day. But if you really want to lose a showdown, pick a fight with her in the kitchen. She will show you how bread is buttered and then some. Guaranteed.
When she came to visit us in the UAE, she bravely took her palate to places it had not gone before, but as soon as she came back inside our home, her taste reverted to our Jamaican island flavours. It was her longest trip away from home and she missed it. I do not recall how I got her to cook the quinoa.
“Keen- who?!” She scrunched up her face with that expressive Jamaican fiestiness. “Is what that?”
“It’s like rice, but healthier. It’s an old seed from Central America. It’s high in protein and its supposed to be really good for you. But it has a funny aftertaste,” I pleaded. Continue reading
It’s been some time since we published our hugely popular post Marrying a Chef? What you need to know before you say ” I do.” It was the cheeky insider perspective of the private lives of chefs and it came from the point of view of the chef in the relationship. Most of you actually got that it was humourous in a dry sense. Even just a tad. But alas, there was the errant 2 per cent who really thought my dear husband was nothing short of an arse and pitied me for such bad treatment. Whoa.
I have had some ladies ask me in desperation just how to cope with life as the wife so I will respond in real terms woman to woman. Much of what I have to say can be applied to other workers in the hospitality and F&B industries, though chefs are a bit on the extreme end. I always have some of the best Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee beans in my cupboard, so join me for a cup as I finally share my perspective as the wife…
Since it is a Jamaican food story, I will share it the way Jamaicans lime (socialise) – with tales. Follow me down memory lane. Last year, when we were expecting Prento, something really funny happened. I, The Steward, keeper of all our blogging treasures, lost my appetite. Vamoose. Kalas. Non-Existent. It seems the one piece of fabric that kept our recipe-blogging together jumped on bewitched broomstick and simply flew away.
But, alas, I had to eat. I was growing new life inside me and that was a 24 hour job for which my body needed fuel. Yet still, the awareness of such fact could not make me excited to face the day with a plate in front of me. Not even my dear husband, the amazing chef could muster up the salivating excitement I am known for in anticipation of a fine meal. And boy did he try. Maybe it was that among other reasons why he encouraged me to board a plane to Jamaica at 5 months pregnant to surprise my ailing grandmother. He knew that being home, with our families, friends and bonafide irie Jamaican culture would do me some good. Plus he’s run out of ways to find the limited foods from home that I craved. Continue reading
It’s been ages since we posted a recipe! We have been so busy taking care of bubs with the absence of grandma who wielded her magic wand daily to ensure that everything ran smoothly. In the months since she returned to Jamaica, it’s been rather crazy around here. But he is happy and healthy and nursing for all of the Americas, even if we have struggled with sleep deprivation and being a little overwhelmed at times. He has been worth every minute.
Since we have decided to exclusively breastfeed for the first 6-8 months, it is useful for nursing mothers to consume galactogogues (herbs and other substances that promote lactation) to keep supplies up for the growing needs of a baby. We have also been cooking lots of soups and porridge in our kitchen. Every grandmother will tell a breastfeeding mother to have lots of both. Using a bone broth stock base amplifies the nutrition in soups even more. Here is a step by step recipe for one of our favourites, Bulalo Soup or Filipino Bone Marrow Broth, which is surprisingly simple and superbly tasty. We thank Ms. Georgia who happens to be a spectacular cook, for showing us the ropes. Continue reading