Thai Pumpkin and Ginger Soup

I love Saturdays and I love soup–this is no surprise to anyone. Oddly enough when I was a child, I never wanted to hear that we were having soup for supper or lunch–I just never thought that a soup could satisfy my hunger.  I was proven wrong every single time however; and I always wanted a second serving.

I’m no longer a child and now I LOVE the idea of either going by someone for a soup lunch or even better, making a big pot myself!

Pumpkin and squash are my favorite types of soup to make. This recipe is an enjoyable one. It’s also extremely easy to make and you can alter the recipe to your liking.

As you can tell by the title this is a Thai soup so lemongrass, coconut milk and coriander are essential. If you don’t have lemongrass, it’s not the end of the world. The coriander (cilantro/shadow beni) and coconut milk would suffice. I added just a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg and what a difference it made.

I top it with either shaved or grated parmesan and fresh cilantro. You can also dollop some sour cream on top if you wish. Grab some country bread or a baguette and enjoy! Happy Saturday!

Santé

RecipeThaiPumpkinSoup

  • 1 kg pumpkin
  • 2 shallots or small onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • A few sprigs of chives and cilantro/shadow beni if in Trinidad 🙂
  • 1 lemongrass stalk finely chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 litre organic vegetable stock
  • 125 ml coconut milk , plus extra to serve
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 lime
  • nutmeg (optional)

Mise en place:

Chop up the pumpkin, shallots, grate the garlic and then peel and finely grate the ginger. Pick and finely chop the herbs.

Method:
In a deep pot, sauté the shallots in some olive oil. Add the pumpkin, ginger, and lemongrass and sauté until soft.

Add the stock, coconut milk and chili powder. Season, then bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes. Grate fresh nutmeg for additional flavor (optional)

Blitz half of the soup in a food processor and leave the rest for texture. Serve with the fresh herbs, lime juice and a splash of coconut milk. Top with shaved or grated parmesean cheese (optional)–even better top with parmesean crisps.

*Photo courtesy of defnotmartha (My camera is kinda rubbish so give me a few months here)*

PumpkinSoup.jpg

 

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Recipe & Wine of the Week: Three Cheese (Edam, Cheddar and Parmesan) Baked Potato Casserole

CasseroleDish

What can I say? I’m a very cheesy kinda dude–always have been, always will be. This is a very simple cheesy hearty dish for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Easy Cheesy Baked Potato Casserole

  • 8 medium potatoes, cooked and cubed
  • 1 pack sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup edam cheese grated
  • A handful Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups 16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup (8 ounces) creme fresh or sour cream
  • Handful of fresh chives
  •  salt
  •  pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine potatoes and bacon. In another large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; add to potato mixture and gently toss to coat.
  2. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.

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Wine of the week: Sutter Home White Zinfandel

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Since the casserole is creamy and cheesy, I recommend a Zinfandel; Shutter Home White Zinfandel is just the right pairing; It has a delicate fruity and berry fragrance and leads to a melon and strawberry flavour followed by a crisp finish–perfect to cut the richness of this dish.

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Santé

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How I Ended Up Into the Woods – Ohhh Canada!

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It’s been nearly six years since I left Toronto, Canada and migrated to Trinidad (no regrets). It’s been a bitter-sweet adventure with several ups and downs…I even tried to leave once but I returned shortly thereafter (flashback to my infamous surprise”going away party”at Dr!nk).

Though fully immersed and settled in Trinidad, I still carry my Canadian heritage with pride and when Canada day arrives, I do my best to celebrate it low-key here in sweet T&T. This year, I broke my tradition of solitude; I was fortunate to have been invited (for the first time) to the official Canada Day Celebration hosted by our High Commissioner, Gérard Latulippe. The theme this year? “Into the Woods”. According to Mr. Latulippe, nearly half of Canada’s entire land surface are covered by trees and it’s little wonder that forests and their resources touch virtually every aspect of Canadian life.

“Into the Woods” took place in the heart of Fairways Maraval in a beautifully laid out poolside and garden villa.

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Guests were greeted with smiles, sliders and ciders upon arrival and a really cool ‘wilderness guide’ (a programme booklet/souvenir).

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They created an authentic look, feel and sound emulating all things Canadian.

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As you walk past the guest sign in table, there were several booths, each with a wide array of Canadian wine from sparkling to pinot noir, rose and of course ICE WINE!

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I was very impressed by the cheese table which featured a variety of Canadian cheese (ordered through All The Best Fine Foods Ltd. in Toronto).

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The cheese table included the following:

Blue Benedictin (from Quebec) – A five year old cheddar made near the Bay of Fund. It’s mild, crumbly and goes really well with a steak sandwich.

Ciel de Charlevoix Blue (Quebec) – Another blue cheese but this one is semi-soft and made from whole cow’s milk. It’s a milder blue cheese with a semi-sharp but pleasant flavour.

Gouda Aged Mountainoak (Ontario) – A dessert cheese with a creamy texture with small bubble eyes.

Bothwell Horseradish Cheddar (Manitoba) – The name speaks for itself. This is a pungent yet smooth white cheddar with a balance of horseradish to give us a kick.

Fere Jacque Swiss (Quebec) – There’s even a song about these famous Benedictine monks from the Abbey in Lac Saint Benoit. This cheese has a mild hazelnut flavour and I’ll say quite mind-blowing.

Pallot de Chevre (Quebec) – A pasteurised goat cheese with a soft white rind. It’s sweet yet tart and nice n’ gooey with a bit of flakes and spice thrown in.

The list goes on but with all this cheese, I decided to wash it down with a glass of Tirus Brut sparkling wine to clear my palette and well…cut the cheese–in a non-stinky manner…okay that was cheesy! Sorry not sorry!

Tirus

**Image courtesy of Hillebrand Estate Winery**

Trius Brut is a sparkling wine with crispy citrus and apple notes. This wine is from the Hillebrand Estate Winery based in the Niagara Peninsula (home of Ontario’s finest wine regions).

After the wine and cheese moment of bliss, the official opening of the event kicked off with a steel pan rendition of the Canadian national anthem, followed by the national anthem of Trinidad and Tobago. This was followed with speeches from the High Commissioner and host, Gerard Latulippe and Ms. Frances Seignoret, Permanent Secretary (Ag.), Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Unfortunately I was unable to see the official Canada Day cake being cut (too busy being mesmerised by the assortment of Canadian goodies all at once).

Okay let’s get straight to the menu. You’re gonna have to use your imagination for this as I was too busy eating to take foodie pics (sorry not sorry).

  • Elk and Venison meatballs with spicy maple mustard and onions
  • Smoked salmon cream cheese caper logs
  • Canadian Kobe beef sliders (I must have had about half a dozen of these bad boys–Yum)!

Okay..pause…They also had POUTINE! My ultimate favourite comfort food in the entire universe. If I had to pick my ‘last meal’, poutine would most definitely be on my list (mind you, over consuming poutine may reduce the length of time for approaching this ‘last meal’). Poutine is a French Canadian delicacy made with french fries, curd cheese and a homemade gravy smothered over the cheese and fries. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Poutine

One more thing…you gotta wash this down with a good Canadian beer to my surprise the event had a variety of Canadian beer (get this…stocked inside a canoe with ice)! Talk about a true Canadian celebration!

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**This pic btw was closer to the end of the evening–sorry I drank most of the Molson Canadian**

Now to add to the menu, locally made sausages from our very own Stefan Grosberg of Delmano Foods were served. This time the sausages were made with all Canadian meats! Three types of sausages (Elk, Venison and Bison) along with a dijon mustard sauce. This was a show-stopper (at least for me it was).

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For dessert, they served a variety of Canadian classics:

  • Nanaimo bars (it consists of a wafer crumb-based layer topped by a layer of custard flavoured butter icing which is covered with melted chocolate
  • Butter tarts
  • Waffles with whipped cream, strawberries and Canadian Maple syrup

…and of course the cake(s) and our specially branded cookies!

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I decided to take a bit of a break and hit the ice wine bar again.

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To top this event off, there was a roasting station where you can roast marshmallows under the moonlight! It doesn’t get much better than that!

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**I didn’t burn the marshmallow, I toasted it! Don’t judge me** 

This experience was one-of-a-kind for me. It really brought back some fond memories as a kid going camping, hanging out with my friends, enjoying a campfire with close friends and taking in some of life’s simplest pleasures–something that we tend to take for granted as adults.

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This was the most memorable Canada Day ever experienced (outside of Canada). For a moment, I actually felt as though I were home..back in Canada, and then I heard a lovely Trinidadian accent next to me asking “wey all di beers gone?”

July 1st reminded me of how much I’m blessed to have the experiences and memories both past and present of life in paradise (in Canada and in Trinidad). The two cultures I’m a part of and most proud of (the multicultural, rustic and genuine friendliness of Canada, and the vibrant, free-flowing, fun-loving and unceasingly rich culture of Trinidad).

Life really is what you make of it. During my tenure here, I’ve grown to appreciate simplicity (something I hope we never outgrow as adults).

Wherever you are, try to take some time and head out into the woods!

Santé!

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Live at the Tommy Hilfiger Spring Collection Launch

ShyguyAtTommy

It’s been way too long since I’ve been here and I apologise sincerely! I’ve been way too busy working on blogs, websites and social media for other people than myself–classic case of the barber with a bad haircut.

Well I’ve had enough! Time to share what’s been going on over the last few months!

May 7th 2015 was a special event in celebration of Tommy Hilfiger’s new ‘Spring 2015’ collection at the Tommy Hilfiger store in WestMall Trinidad and Tobago. I had the pleasure of providing some tunes for this cocktail event and I recorded my set live.

Tommy is all about the All American CLASSIC–I decided to add my twist to it (musically).

This is just the last bit of my 3 hour set–funk and 80’s classics as well as some new timeless tracks. Featuring: D’Angelo, Mark Ronson, Stevie Wonder, Meshelle Ndegecello, Donna Summer and so much more.

You may wanna break out and dance to this one!
Enjoy.
-Shyguy

Oh and as for the barber with the bad haircut—Check out my hairdo on this one btw :p

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R.I.P Frankie Knuckles

GodfatherofHouseFrankie

On March 31st, 2014, the world lost another legend.

The “Godfather of House Music”, Frankie Knuckles (Born Francis Nicholls) was pivotal in the development of the house music genre and movement as a DJ, producer and re-mixer. In 2004, The city of Chicago named a stretch of street after Knuckles for this role.

With several artists under his re-mixing belt such as Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Dianna Ross and many more, Frankie’s work won him a Grammy award in 1997 and in 2005, Frankie Knuckles was inducted in the Dance Music Hall of Fame.

On March 31st, 2014, Frankie Knuckles passed away from complications due to Type 2 Diabetes. This is a tremendous loss for more than just the underground dance music scene.  His legacy will truly live on for generations.

Here is my tribute mix.

Enjoy!

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Laying Down the Beets: Roasted Beet Pesto

beet-pesto

*Photo courtesy of Julia Mueller from The Roasted Root www.theroastedroot.net

Music, food, wine….the good stuff!

For those who know me well enough…I’m all about the beats, eats and treats.

Aside from my music mixes I do enjoy posting some unique recipes. This particular one I cannot take credit for as it is not my usual interpretation of a recipe that I would have discovered during my search for good food ideas.

I came across and bookmarked a really cool blog called The Roasted Root and had to share it with you. Aside from the incredible photography, and simple recipes, this blog promotes healthy eating and getting back to your roots! Now that’s something I can totally dig! While scrolling through dozens of recipes that I am bookmarking and intend on trying and sharing in the near future, this particular recipe caught my attention because of its uniqueness.

Today I’m dropping some serious beets…*pun intended this time. Beets or as some people would call beet root, is such an amazing and…down to earth veggie (here I go again). Who would have thought that you can make a pesto out of this…check it out!

Serve on some toasted baguettes or french bread for a nice crostini, toss in a pasta of your choice, or just enjoy it with some crackers. I certainly enjoyed mine with some Crix and topped it with some shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano!

Thanks to Julia Mueller and her blog for this eye opening treat!

Now enjoy your beets!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red beets, chopped and roasted (about 1 medium beet)
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts, roasted
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Wash and scrub the beet and pat it dry. Chop it into ½” cubes and place it on a sheet of foil. Wrap the chopped beet in foil, making a foil packet.
  3. Place the packet on a baking sheet.
  4. Roast in the oven for 50 minutes, or until beets are soft and juices are seeping out.
  5. Allow beets to cool completely.
  6. Add all ingredients except for the oil to a food processor or blender and pulse several times.
  7. Leaving the food processor (or blender) running, slowly add the olive oil until all ingredients are well combined. If the pesto is too thick for your blender to process, add a small amount of water until desired consistency is reached.

 

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Happy Nu Year

ShyFlyer

Introducing Nu-Grooves Vol.1–A new series showcasing the latest in soul, neo-soul, nu-funk and deep soulful house grooves hand picked and mixed by yours truly.

‘Nu-Grooves Vol.1’ features some of 2013’s finest gems including tracks from: The Foreign Exchange, Robert Glasper, Dwele, Full Crate & Mar and UK soul legend Omar.

This mix starts off slow and mellow but the tempo quickly picks up into a funky groove towards the end so you won’t be sitting back and relaxing for too long.

Enjoy and Happy ‘Nu-Year’!

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Recipe and Wine of the Week: Mango and Avocado Salsa

guacamole mango

Mango and avocado season–my favorite time of the year! I mean who doesn’t love a ripe avocado spread onto a toasted bread with freshly cracked black pepper and salt? The list can go on and on about the many ways to enjoy avocados.

Personally I love making a guacamole with my avocados because of its diversity. You can use this dish in several recipes ranging from sandwiches, omelets, crostinis, burgers, pizza toppings and of course the obvious nacho/dips.

Everyone has their own style; I keep mine simple…I prefer to add tomatoes while keeping the texture diced and not like a paste.

This particular recipe is a bit unique, seeing that mangos are still somewhat in season, I’m combining two incredible fruits to experience the best of both worlds!

The citrus from the lemon and the sweetness of the mango along with the buttery texture of the avocado, makes this a dish to die for!

Ingredients:

4 avocados
1 large mango
1 small to medium clove garlic, minced
1/4 red onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more or less, to taste) or better yet a whole fresh pimento or chili pepper
Juice of 2 limes
Fresh cilantro or shadow beni
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Peel the mango and cut the flesh off from around the core.  Dice the mango into small, bite-sized pieces and set aside

2.  Cut the avocados in half and discard the pits.  Scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl and smash with a fork.  I like to keep my guacamole on the chunkier side, but continue smashing until the avocado is the consistency you prefer.

3.  Add the diced mango, minced onion and garlic, lime juice and chopped cilantro to the avocados and mix to incorporate.  Adjust the salt and red pepper flakes to taste (add the chili or pimento peppers if you’re not using the pepper flakes).  Serve immediately, or cover by laying the plastic wrap directly on top of the guacamole and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Serve cold or room temperature with chips, baked pitas or event paste it on a crusty French or Italian loaf of any sort.

Wine of the Week:

Pairing wine with a dish like guacamole is pretty simple; Due to the richness of the avocado and the citrus from the lime in the guacamole, I highly recommend a light crisp wine like a Riesling. You could also get away with a rosé or a zinfandel.

The wine I recommend is a Künstler Dry Riesling 2011 from the Rheingau. It’s clean, crisp and dry with a hint of fresh apple up front and finishes slightly tart. It also has a bit of an herbal character sure to compliment the dish.

Kunstler Reisling

Santé!

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A Punny Thing Worth Sharing: Food + Movies

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For those who know me quite well, I’m a huge fan of puns and witty plays on wording. I’m also a food lover so when I came across a blog that digitally alters movie posters using photoshop and clever food puns, it would only seem fitting that I share this ‘chuckle-worthy’ piece of creativity.

Snack to the Future is a Tumblr blog solely dedicated toward re re-imaging movies posters for ‘foodies’ in their series called “Foovies (food + movies=foovies).

These are a just a few out of many that stood out:

Cheesy? Yes totally!

BrieWilly

Braveheartichoke

NutellaGotHerGroove

TimeToGrill

CodFather

Scream4

Now I’m wondering if they can come up with one for beverages…I’ll think over a few ideas after I watch…‘Gone with the Vin’

Santé

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R.I.P George Duke

Yesterday the world lost yet another musical legend..a genius of a keyboardist, composer, producer, singer and writer in both jazz and mainstream genres.

George Duke recently recorded what would be his last album called ‘Dreamweaver‘. This album was a tribute to his wife who passed away a year ago.

‘Brazilian Love Affair’ still remains one of my favourite George Duke tracks (in fact it’s quite possibly one of my favourite jazz-funk tracks of all time).

George Duke has been the soundtrack of my youth and his music will continue to inspire me.

Rest in Peace

George Duke (1946 to 2013)

GeorgeDuke

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New Mix: Grab Your Passport!

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Hey folks,

Check out my latest mix–A laid back, downtempo, lounge vibe.

Pack your bags…DJ Shyguy steps out of his shell, and takes you on an International journey through sound. Today’s destination? Just take a listen and you shall find out.

This mix begins with a tour of Asia and ends in a random smokey, dimmed lighted vodka bar lounge…Truly a chilled out vibe.

Features: Nightmares on Wax, Jaffa, Thievery Corporation, DZihan & Kamien, Alex Cortiz and many more.

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49 Minutes of Pleasure: Mixed by Shyguy

Here’s my latest mix (actually this one was recorded on October 2011)…Hope you enjoy it!

1) Joy Orbison – Hyph Mngo

2) LDFD – Outta Control

3) Cassius – I Love You So

4) The Weeknd – What You Need

5) Portishead – Numb

6) Late Night Sneaky – The Midnight Hour

7) Theophilus London – 13 Cold Pillow

8) Royksopp – Sparks

9) Telepopmusik- Anyway

10) Flying Lotus – Galaxy in Janaki

11) FaltyDL Gospel of Opal (Ft. Anneka) – Planet Mu

12) Thom Yorke – Atoms For Peace (Four Tet Remix)

13) Furry Phreaks with Terra Deva – All Over The World

14) Air – Modular

*Big up and thanks to Akil Pollard for designing the cover.

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Recipe & Wine of the Week

I know Christmas is around the corner and I could have easily posted an amazing turkey recipe or any other seasonal dish for this weeks food and wine feature; I figured though that since there are several (probably more reliable sites for these types of recipes), I decided against posting any Christmas recipes and instead, I’ve decided to post a good comfort soup for the soul…and good wine to match.

It’s hectic, people are doing their last minute shopping and stressing out in the process. Even though the season is supposed to be about joy, peace and happiness…try going through traffic towards any mall and find yourself a parking spot within a decent walking distance to the entrance…exactly!

Well if you’re reading this then kudos to you for taking the time to relax! I tried this recipe a few years ago and fell in love with it! Thanks to my buddy James for this OBG of a recipe…umm that’s ‘oldie but a goodie’ by the way.

Don’t let the length of this recipe intimidate you! It’s a synch…doesn’t taste too bad either if I may say so myself. The citrus give a surprisingly nice twist and there are various ways to serve it.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash & Acorn Soup

1 tbsp (15 ml) unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, trimmed and diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp (5 ml) ground ginger
3-4 cups (750 ml to 1 l) chicken broth
2 cups (500 ml) cubed butternut squash
1 cup (250 ml) cubed acorn squash
1/2 potato, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp (5 ml) julienned orange zest

Heat butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic; saute, stirring frequently, until onion is tender and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add ginger and saute for another minute. Add broth, squashes and potato. Bring broth to a full boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a low and simmer until squashes are tender enough to pierce easily with a fork, about 20 minutes.

Remove soup from heat and allow it to cool briefly. Puree soup with a hand-held immersion blender, or in a food processor or blender, or by
pushing it through a sieve or food mill. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Adjust consistency if necessary by adding more broth or water. Taste soup and add salt, pepper and orange zest.

Serve soup in a heated tureen or individual bowls. This soup can be served chilled.

After cooling, refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Garnish each portion with a thin slice of orange or pumpkin seeds and parsley.

Additional serving suggestion:

To give the soup a more pronounced orange taste, add 1 tbsp (15 ml) of frozen orange juice concentrate with the final flavour adjustment. A few
drops of lemon or lime juice can brighten the flavour.  When ready to serve, whip a little heavy cream to soft peaks, fold in an equal amount of
sour cream and add freshly grated gingerroot to taste. Place a dollop on each portion of the soup.

Wine of the week: Naked Grape Sauvignon Blanc

I’m not a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc wines, but this particular wine is citrusy and will pair well with the orange hints in the soup. Just the right amount of acidity and hey…It’s Canadian!

Sante!

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Recipe & Wine of the Week

Yesterday around 5pm while I was getting ready to leave work, quite happy that we got paid and ready to treat myself to a meal at a nice restaurant in Port of Spain.  I thought to myself…wait…I could easily spend over $250 on a meal and a glass of wine, only to rummage through my fridge for something to eat hours later. Or I could make something that would last a few days while enjoying the comforts of my home (not to mention more servings of wine).

Realising that I have some mushrooms, a 3/4 bottle of pinot grigio, some pasta, and all the necessities for a good dinner, I decided to whip up one of my favourite quick and easy dishes inspired by Donna Hay with my  little twist. I wanted to save money, enjoy more wine and have leftovers for this week on a fraction of what I would have spent by going out.

1) Did I save money? Yes…Mission accomplished.

2) …More servings of wine? Check!

3) …Leftovers for a few days?…Ummm…Well that was my ideal initial plan.

This weeks ‘Recipe & Wine of the Week? Mushroom and lemon linguine with basil and thyme. Here goes:

2 tablespoons butter
1 or 2 pimento peppers, seeded and chopped
400g (14 oz) sliced mushrooms, such as field, shiitake or button
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) vegetable stock
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon rind

400g (14 oz) fettuccine or linguine
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped basil and thyme
cracked black pepper and sea salt

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter, pimento pepper and mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes or until the mushrooms are brown. Add the stock, cream and lemon juice and simmer for 5 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, place the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain. Toss the pasta with the mushroom sauce, parmesan, basil, lemon rind, pepper and salt. Drizzle with some good olive oil and voila!

Wine of the Week:

I like Pinot Grigios…it’s the perfect wine after a long day in the heat. Slightly citrusy, the Cavit Pinot Grigio is crisp, light and just dry enough to compliment the rich creamy pasta with the citrus accents.

*Please note: Let’s be real here…I’m no sommelier! This is simply an observation from someone who loves a good glass paired with a good meal. If you’re not a Pinot Grig/Grigio fan, I suggest a Chardonnay. If you want something a bit less dry go for a Riesling or Gewurztraminer but I personally think they pair better with grilled or spicy foods.

Wine rule #1: There are no rules…go with what you like!

Santé

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Recipe and wine of the week

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*Recipe and Image Courtesy of Food Network Canada

Citrus Fennel Salad With Champagne Viniagrette           

 2 Large Fennel bulbs (keep the green fronds for garnish)

Zest from 1 lemon, lime and orange

Small handful of toasted pie nuts

(If you can’t get pine nuts slivered almonds would suffice)

Champagne Viniagrette

Juice of 1 lemon and orange

1 cup Pure or Light Olive Oil (extra virgin is too strong for this dish)

2 tablespoons Honey

¼ cup Champagne vinegar

½ cup Champagne (see wine of the week)

Pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked ground pepper

Preparation:

Wisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and refrigerate.

  1. Cut the fennel stems and discard. Keep the green fronds and the bulbs. Peel, half and core the fennel bulbs.
  2. Using a mandolin slice the fennel bulbs (if you don’t have a mandolin thinly slice with a sharp knife).
  3. Add the fennel to a medium sized bowl and grate the lemon, lime and orange zests over the fennel.
  4. Add the toasted pine nuts or almonds and lightly toss.
  5. Add the champagne vinniagrette and garnish with the green fennel fronds.
  6. Pour yourself a glass of champagne and bon appetit!

 Wine of the Week: Veuve Clicquot Rosé

 This unique rose is not an easy find and it retails for approximately $80-100. After experiencing this “party on my palate” at my cousin’s wedding last year, I’d say it is worth every penny.

The experience begins with the aroma of fresh strawberries and follows up with a deep strong and fulfilling finish. This beautiful rosé dances on your tongue. It is not sharp and dry like some of the well-known expensive champagnes. Veuve Clicquot is a great sipper on its own or with light salads, white fish and light appetizers.

 Santé!!

Recipe and wine of the week

sage_cheddar_chicken01

*Image Courtesy of Nugget Market

Marinated Chicken Breasts stuffed with Sage and Mozzarella

4 slices of mozzarella cheese
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
A handful of fresh sage leaves
4 tsp butter room temp.
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp. of cayenne pepper
A bottle of Chardonnay (see wine-of-the-week)
1 onion

Marinade:
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
2 lemons (Juice of 1 lemon, rind of 2 lemons)
1 tsp. sea salt-freshly cracked black pepper (preferred) if not, ground black pepper will suffice

1) Butterfly the chicken breasts (you can also buy the breasts fillet-saves time): With a sharp knife, butterfly the breast in half horizontally from the thickest part of each breast to within a 1/2 inch of the other side. Open the breast like a book and place on it between sheets of plastic wrap. Pound the breast lightly with a cleaver or knife to even out the thickness

2) Marinade the chicken breast: In a medium zip lock bag add the chicken, salt/pepper, olive oil, crushed garlic,lemon juice and grated lemon rind. Make sure the air is sealed to get the marinade juices mixed in the chicken. Keep refrigerated for at least an hour.

3) Prepare the sage butter: With a fork, mix together the butter, cayenne pepper, 1-2 sage leaves (chopped up), and garlic in a small bowl. Mix well and form a log onto a waxed paper or saran wrap. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

4) Take the chicken out of the bag and discard the marinade. place the chicken on a plate and pat dry with a paper towel. Lay 1 slice of mozzarella cheese and 2 sage leaves on one side of the open flattened chicken breast and close (you may want to insert a few toothpicks to seal the breast, but it’s not really necessary. Sprinkle sea salt, black pepper and grated lemon rind on both sides of the chicken breast.

5) pre-heat the oven to 350 deg. and heat a pan or skillet on medium-high, add 2 tbsps. of olive oil to the pan. Place the chicken (presentation side down) and sear for 5 min. Remove from heat and carefully remove the chicken and place on a lined baking pan in the oven to complete the cooking process. (5-10 mins.) Be sure not to over cook the chicken. Check for doneness of the chicken by cutting the centre of the breast (no pink=good). Take the chicken out of the oven and cover with foil. Heat the frying pan and de-glaze with a generous splash of Chardonnay a handful of chopped onions and add a knob of the sage butter. Stir and remove from heat.

*This dish is good with chive garlic mashed potatoes or pasta. Place a knob of sage butter on the chicken breast and with the extra butter, toss it into cooked pasta or add to potatoes. Garnish with fresh chopped sage and Voila!

Wine of the Week: 20 Bees Chardonnay. This Chardonnay is unoaked and has a gentle hint of honey and apricot on the palette, it finishes with a burst of citrus. Uncomplicated smooth and not too dry.

Recipe of the Week: Split Peas and Rice With Okra & Coconut Milk

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Split peas and rice is an easy delicious dish served best with saltfish and a good cocktail. I enjoy the layers of flavors and the versatility of this dish. I added okra and coconut milk to the mix for a more intense and flavorful experience for your taste-buds.

Saturday lunch doesn’t get any better than this! Here’s how to create this experience:

Ingredients

2 cups uncooked rice, washed
½ lb. dry split peas, cooked
2 tbsp. oil
½ cup ochro, sliced
1 cup coconut milk
2 sprig green onions, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 pimento peppers
½ cup tomatoes, chopped
Shadow Beny (Cilantro) finely chopped
1-2 springs of thyme
2 tsp. tomato paste
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 hot pepper (optional)
water
Mise en place
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Chop up and gather all of your ingredients–this takes up most of the time but it makes the process a lot easier and quicker.
In a heavy pot, on a medium heat, saute onions and garlic in the oil until translucent (add the okra and cook until tender).
Next add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes and then add the split peas, some water and the seasonings (celery, pimentos and some of the green onions).

Give the ingredients a stir and let cook for a few minutes. Add the rice, tomato paste, coconut milk and the remainder of the ingredients. (Don’t forget to add the spring(s) of thyme. Cover and let simmer for a good 15 minutes on a reduced heat.

 

Uncover and stir so the rice doesn’t stick, add some more water and season accordingly. Add a few knobs of butter, cover pot and remove from heat once the rice is cooked. Fluff with a fork and serve with saltfish or any meat(s) you desire.

Now pour yourself a gin and tonic and enjoy!

Santé!

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Nestle Professional Food Expo

Media Invite - Nestlé Professional Expo 2015

Earlier this month I had the honor of being invited to a Food Expo hosted by Nestle. Unfortunately due to circumstances far beyond my control (no seriously–way beyond my control), I could not attend. I really wanted to use this event as an opportunity to catch up on my blog and get back into my food writing.

Solution? I decide to feature my cousin’s write up on this really cool event (sadly missed and only captured through Facebook pics with one clear working eye–long story).

David Wears is a photographer, food, beverage and lifestyle writer, social media guru, as well as a fellow food enthusiast (…really trying not to use the overused term ‘foodie’). His Facebook page ‘Cusine on the Corner’ has already gained popularity over the last few months.

Before I share this write up, I really would like to extend my gratitude to Kim C.S Kirton for inviting me and hope to attend more events in the future!

Here goes:

We have all grown up enjoying the variety of products from Nestle Trinidad Ltd. Now Nestlé Professional sets it sights at reaching out to T&T’s food artisans, fine dining chefs, owners and practitioners in the food and beverage industry, aiming at satisfying their needs with its expansive portfolio of food preparation solutions.
Last Monday, NP hosted its first Food Expo in Trinidad, at the Trinidad & Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute(TTHTI), Charguaramas. Under the supervision of Nestle’s Young Culinary Talent(YOCUTA) chefs, made up of Culinary Management students of the TTHTI, inclusive of Shantelle Pierre, Avionne Wilson, Karym Charles, Kyle Jemmoth, and Tevin Gonzales, all under Consumer Marketing Manager at Nestle Professional, Chef Rian Dickson, himself a TTHTI graduate, they introduced NP’s new range of food prep solutions, using some of it’s headline products, including Nestlé Carnation Milk, Sweetened Condensed Milk and its Maggi seasonings. These were displayed in the food and beverage demonstrations.

The company also announced it’s new MINOR Ready to Use SAUCES. Introduced in General TSO, Teriyaki and Bourbon flavors, they were showcased in live cooking demonstrations and taste-testing, prepared by the YOCUTA chefs, who demonstrated their culinary prowess. Some of the sauces were used in the Vegetarian, Steak and Crab California Sushi, which was inspired by Maggie All Purpose Seasoning and MINORS General TSO sauce, The Coconut Kale Pan Seared Shrimp, another inspiration prepared with the inclusion of Maggi Fish Seasoning and Maggi Coconut Milk was undoubtedly my favorite, I loved the plating and it created a very tasty mouthful, when i sort of piled it on top of each other. The light dumpling absorbing the sauces below and the kale on top, the well seasoned Pan Seared shrimp popping with it’s own flavor. Also receiving thumbs-up for me, was the Lentil Cakes(actually Lentil balls), with its light dip on the side. Couldn’t imagine how they kept it together, as it was so moist and very flavorful as well. This stood out. I was slightly disappointed tough in the Bourbon Buffalo Cups, with Teriyaki Chicken inside and a Orchard Sorrel Reduction, topped with Blue Cheese. Though picture perfect, the cheese overwhelmed the plate with its pungency…I’d serve a milder blue cheese like Cambozola or maybe feta(goat).

Of course, Nestlé also showed off it’s coffee and fruit juices beverages, introducing guests to its variety of tastes. From the Caribbean fruit sorbet, inspired by Orchard Party Mix and Juices, to the Nestlé Svelty Smoothies and an interesting Passion Splash, a union of Nestlé full cream and Carnation milk.

Thanks to Nestlé, Kim C.S. Kirton, TTHTI’s Jala Bernard and staff, together with MC for the evening, TrinicooksJoel Villafana for the invitation.

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**All images courtesy of David Wears for David Wears Photography**

Caribbean Fruit Sorbet

Caribbean Fruit Sorbet

Coconut Kale Shrimp

Coconut Kale Pan Seared Shrimp, inspired by Maggi Fish Seasoning and Maggi Coconut Milk

Potato Cups Lentil Balls

L-Potato Cups R-Lentil Balls

 

 

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