Corn Fritters Baby!

What would you say if I told you I made the tastiest freaking corn fritters ever in the history of man? Well, fine then, you didn’t taste them, so what would you know. But trust me, I had to force myself to stop eating these things! Like seriously, right now as I type I am thinking about the six left covered on the dining table. I am wondering if anyone intends to eat them, if they will be missed, did the children have enough….. Oh dear, someone help me! Help me eat these things by making some.

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If you have a can of sweet corn, some flour, an egg and some spice, then you are what we call “ready”.

Ingredients

1 14 oz can sweet style corn

1 egg

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground spice/cinnamon

1 cup flour ( try to use alternatives to white flour or go 50-50)

  • Makes about 2 dozen fritters so you can halve the recipe if you want. Even though I don’t know who would want to after trying these.

Method

Pour corn into bowl, add egg and combine. Sprinkle sugar and spices onto corn and egg mixture and stir until incorporated. Slowly add flour and mix gently until well blended. The mixture should be wet but not thin or runny. LIKE THIS.

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Those air bubbles let you know they will be light and fluffy.

Lightly coat pan with some oil and drop batter by the tablespoonful. You may need to re-coat at some point, and I find an actual measuring spoon perfect for this kind of wet batter.

Turn once fritters turn golden…..and Voila! (cuz my son said so)WP_20170718_021 - CopyI don’t know about you, but when I see those crisp golden parts I get so excited. A nice crisp bite on the outside, but such a soft and delicate fritter…ohmmmm

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Spongy soft with bits of corn!!!

WP_20170718_028 - CopySO you all have to make these and get some crazy good fritters in your life. Please don’t have them everyday though. I know you may be tempted to, but moderation is the key with fritters. Even though I use very little oil in the frying, fritters are known to absorb crazy oil so these are a treat best savored sporadically. I know people who bake their fritters and that’s always an option. I simply don’t have these too often, I let my palette miss them a bit which makes them even more special the next time around.WP_20170718_025 - Copy

Mustard

Not the condiment, the plant. And not the new frangle dangle red variety, I mean the good old time mustard with the little yellow flowers(dating myself here). You know, the kind that smells really spicy and pungent but the moment you add it to a pot of rice it becomes the sweetest greens you have ever eaten in rice. It seemed that back then everyone and their mother grew it but in hindsight and with more knowledge, once it seeds, you are set for life.

Well I was lucky enough to get a plant from a friend of a friend’s a few yrs back and being perennial, they died but always came back after heavy rains…..until the day they didn’t come back! I scoured all over Barbados looking for this “bush” which I must tell you, I absolutely used to hate as a child. What was wrong with me? Then one day the gardening pal Karen called and I swear this is all I heard; Do It Best, heirloom seeds, SALE!

I headed up there right quick, never expecting to find these among the racks for… 2 dollars!!!  (Dr Evil voice and pinkey at the mouth).

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Do you SEE that price?

YASSSS. I was back in the mustard business, and it has been thriving. Move over Grey Poupon!

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Do you see the size of that leaf? OMG
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Heirloom seeds ROCK!

Of course I am already reaping and I really don’t need a whole lot to make a meal.

 

For some perspective………….

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You do know how long aloes are right?

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My poor son’s hand pales in comparison..WOW

I just love this variety of greens. It is a whole lot softer and milder than that tough wrinkled mess of red mustard (can you tell I am not a fan?), it is a heavy producer, it’s a crop that can produce year after year once it seeds in the garden and wait, my mom used to use it as medicine as well. Didn’t we have our heads and bodies wrapped in this stuff for pains? because right now I can almost hear my mother’s voice in my head saying, “go and pick some mustard leaves let me wrap it for you.” Yes it is, I found this super informative article https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/mustard.html. 

Let me know if you have had this type of mustard before, and if you share similar memories of medicinal mustard. Seems we have gotten rid of so may of our old indigenous plants for newer varieties that are not as nice, natural or beneficial. Let me know your thoughts.

 

 

 

The Tastiest Tacos…who needs meat?!

What do you get when you put together black bean stew, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado (YUMM), sour cream, cheese and tacos?

 

HEAVEN, that’s what!

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Two of these bad boys for dinner recently were the truth, you hear me, the truth! Earthy beans rich with garlic, paprika, cumin and chili with light fresh veg, creamy sweet pear (that’s what we Bajans call avocado), sharp cheese and tangy sour cream with chives….YUM, yum, yum! When a meal is this mouth watering, who needs meat? As far as my taste buds are concerned I am eating meat, a filling, juicy flavourful source of protein.

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I am also very excited about it being avocado season people. Nature’s sweet butter if you ask me and a perfect compliment for such bean dishes. What can I say, I am loving these easy breezy natural summer meals.

I’m Sprouting

Well, not me literally, this 5’3 frame of mine can only shrink from here on. LOL. I’ m actually sprouting mung beans. Yeah!WP_20170716_002I first became interested in sprouting beans a few years ago, but every source I turned to for advice seemed to have rather complicated methods. Well maybe just too complicated for me cuz I don’t do complicated, at all! Even though my palette longed for sprouts in my stir fries like the good ole NY days when I could go up to Chinatown and walk away with a grocery bag of the stuff for $1, I was not prepared to commit.

That was, until recently when I decided on my summer bean extravaganza, because sprouts are a great way to include beans in the diet. Also fast forward tens years and people are all over the Internet sprouting in such simple ways. So, for over a year now I have had a jar of mung beans sitting in the cupboard which had been a gift from my neighbour, and these as you may know are the original sprouting beans of Asia (India included, yes).WP_20170722_006Believe it or not, all I did was clean n rinse the beans, covered them with water overnight then put them in a colander and rinsed them a few times a day. From day one, I had sprouts! It was unbelievable.

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What is this I see first thing in the morning?

So I just rinsed, spread them out in the colander, covered them and left them alone. The more you rinse, the faster they sprout so ever so often while in the kitchen doing some other task, I would give them a rinse.

Day two and even more amazing sprouting. WP_20170722_003By day three, I had enough to fill a sugar bowl.WP_20170727_002Let me tell you, these were absolutely amazing stir-fried with mustard greens, veg and chicken. The son would is not a fan of alfalfa couldn’t get enough of them.WP_20170723_001 (2)Sprouting makes beans easier to digest, they are super tasty and flexible, and most importantly, are so very good for you as well.

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Another day I added them to a veg noodle stir-fry and will definitely be incorporating them into my weekly menu plans.IMG-20170727-WA0017.jpgSprouts are wonderful in sautees, salads, sandwiches, stir-fries, spreads, soups, shakes, wait, all things S….Smile. Check out the variety of ways in this super informative article http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/2011/08/24/15-creative-ways-to-use-sprouts/

Also note that you can sprout just about any type of beans or peas. Next on my list are lentils. I don’t fancy them a whole lot, having only enjoyed them in soup, but they are cheap and being small they will sprout easily. Will let you know how that goes, but, are there any sprouters out there? If so drop me a line and let me know your best beans for sprouting, recipes, tips, you know, the low down on your experiences. Bye!

 

Unplanned Meals

I don’t know if it’s just me, but some of my most tasty dishes are ones that are totally unplanned and last minute. I can plan all day, prep ingredients then when the time comes to actually prepare the meal, I opt to make something completely different. Oh well, at least it all works out for the better best.

Case in point. Last week I bought some mincebeef, it being summer with easy meals and all. The plan all along was to have the daughter make some quick and easy pasta with a marinara meat sauce one day, but since when does this Libra mess stick to a plan? When I eventually made my way to the kitchen, I reached into the cupboard for the pasta, uhmm what pasta? I didn’t buy any and since it’s not something I cook often, I surely didn’t have any stocked! Sigh. But wait, what’s that I spot? Oh look, cans of kidney beans, and this is what I envisoned immediately!WP_20170719_018I felt the sudden urgent need to eat chili con carne. I must admit I used to HEART Wendy’s chili in NY in my meatier days, and my best bet here in Bim has been Bert’s Bar, but it’s all a phase with me.

Anyhooos, once I decided on the chili, I HAD to mix up some quick cornbread, which always gets me singing, “it’s cornbread,…” (remember the movie Cornbread, Earl & Me?)

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Yeah, that’s a very young Mr Fishburne..lol

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And what do you know, I also had some tacos in the fridge from who knows when, so I broke those up, drizzled some olive oil and popped them in the still hot oven for all of one minute. I need some crunch in my mouth, sorry.

WP_20170719_019We ended up with a meal that was soooo darn delicious. I had to beg the teens not to eat the entire dish of bread and I swear they were going to eat all of the chili in one sitting so I actually had to remove the bowl from the table. #thestruggleisrealwithteensandfood

Quick, simple ingredients but packing major flavours. Look out for this recipe soon!WP_20170719_024

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How thick and delish looking is that sauce?

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We couldn’t decide which was better, the chips or the bread.

What can I tell yah, beans have bean good to me this week.

P:S: Can you believe the son and I woke to an empty bowl the next day? The daughter took ALL OF THE LEFTOVERS AND ALL BUT ON SLICE OF CORNBREAD to her athletic clinic!!!! Words fail me. I’m done.

Fruiting Away

My yard may be little, but it sure doesn’t stop me from enjoying homegrown fruit. In fact, I currently have multiple trees in fruit and have been enjoying some already.

Of course I am especially excited to see soursops ( and I mean numerous) on the tree. After much angst, newspaper, CDs and turpentine oil I have quite a few coming along nicely.WP_20170711_039

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Can you spot the two soursops in this pic?

If you pass by my house early mornings you just may catch me under the mulberry tree munching away on the fresh delights. I love that the more you prune a tree the more it produces and this tree is solid proof. After some struggling years feeding an abundance of leaves, I have taken to pruning it regularly and I am loving the results.

 

 

 

Well, you know this gooseberry vine stays fruiting now. I had some stunted fruit thanks to lots of rain but still looking good.WP_20170528_006.jpgI haven’t mentioned pomegranates in a while but I yes, I still do have a little shrub. Since it sits in the front of the house we had cut it back because passers-by seemed to be enjoying them more than we were. But now with other fruit options, I can afford to spare a few. LOL.

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I love the transition from flower to fruit!

WP_20170711_052While I am not eating from these saplings as yes, they continue to grow quite well and I actually have to transplant the sapote and carambola pretty soon like I did the fig. Roots are emerging from the bottom of the pots and look at that carambola flowering.

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Slow but steady growth

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Experiment to see if I get fruit on the main stem

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Hoping some root space and mulch prompt some more branching

Meanwhile have also been potting some goose and mulberry saplings FOR SALE!WP_20170711_048

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Test subject is a beauty and has already fruited thank you!

They are coming along just great, SO if you are interested in having one of these not so common fruit trees please let me know.

Seven types of fruit, not bad for a really tiny yard. So, just remember you don’t need a massive yard to grow some fruit. I got you!

Moist Muffins

Words cannot describe this muffin recipe I am about to share with you. Now you know I am big on the texture of my food, and this muffin is spot on perfect. I love that it also has only 1 cup of flour and produces the same 12 muffins as a standard two cup o flour recipes.

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It’s really a banana muffin recipe and while the fineky daughter says they are strong on the banana I was too busy loving the soft, moist, spongy, perfection of the muffin and my crunchy toppings! I mean seriously, I could break out in song and dance right now. I finally understand people’s love of a good baked treat!!!

The secret ingredient for all this texture greatness? APPLE SAUCE!!! Chock full of fiber and water, it is a healthy replacement for butter or oil and makes for moister and fresher baking results. SO let’s get to it.

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg beaten with 1 tsp vanilla essence

1/4 cup apple sauce

1 cup (multigrain) flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

*hemp and chia seeds for sprinkling tops

Method

Lightly oil muffin pan and insert liners and preheat oven.

Mash bananas in a bowl with a fork, add sugar, egg and apple sauce, and stir until mixed.

Combine flour, powder, soda and salt and add to wet ingredients.

Mix until well blended, but remember not to over mix.

Pour into muffin cups and bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes. It’s important to check on them at 15 minutes because the batter is a light one thanks to the sauce.

Sprinkling with generous shakes of chia and hemp seeds is optional.WP_20170711_081WP_20170711_082

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How grainilicious is that top?

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A little overdone this batch but still soo good

SOOO YUMMMYY, I almost ate the wrapper. Come on someone, edible muffin liners!

BeanFest

This summer, I have resolved to eat as many types of beans possible and in as many ways imaginable. And you know what, I don’t know how I’ll feel about it week after next but right now, three days into official vacay, I’M LOVING IT. And what’s not to love, I have stocked up on beans and recipes and my taste buds are as excited as if I am on the Oprah Winfrey Xmas edition!!! So to kick off this feast, let’s talk about these OMGgood chickpea patties/burgers.

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I usually buy packed peas n beans but it’s good to veer off the regular path ever so often, so I recently stocked up on some canned ones because they were on sale and fitted in perfectly with my summer no frills cooking plan. When I make veggie burgers it’s usually a production involving soaking n cooking various types of beans, chopping a medley of veggies,  boiling barley, etc etc etc, but I wanted to keep it simple, so for canned beans dish number one we have this super super easy recipe. You know I don’t measure a thing but I’ll try to guess-timate what I did for you.

Ingredients

1 can of chickpeas

quarter large onion chopped ( I like mine chunky)

two segments of med bell pepper

1 small carrot coarsely grated

1 egg

2 tbsp multigrain flour

seasoning to taste — I used dashes of S&P, garlic, cumin powder, cilantro, paprika and curry

Method

Drain and rinse peas. Mash them in a large bowl with a fork until you achieve a chunky texture. Add onion, pepper, carrot and combine. Mix in egg and seasonings then add flour until a good consistency is reached. Dust lightly and lay on a plastic wrap lined plate. I let mine set for about ten minutes in the freezer before pan searing.

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My mixture with the flour added. You don’t want a cardboard burger, keep it on the moist side!

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Lightly dusted and ready to chill for ten minutes

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Post frying. Don’t need to overdo that either just until golden brown

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I heart a chunky veggie burger!

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Dressed and ready for the son’s lunch

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Another quickie to add to your repertoire folks. Let me know your thoughts.

 

 

Fresh Start

SO, a few weeks have passed, it’s officially summer and my garden has undergone some changes already.

The tubs have been topped up with soil mix and manure and have been replanted.

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Zucchini and waiting for more Chinese greens to germinate, potted marigolds

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Thyme got too much water! Four o’clock plant and more hatching pots

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Looking forward to his tubs of beets and garlic chives

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Chives, carrots, kale, marigold

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2 types of kale and budding radishes

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Season peppers

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Oregano looking so healthy with hot pepper

I reaped a few pods of black eye peas before they were ruined by too much rain so I tossed those into the leaf pile/tub, but some plants made it. Like the heirloom tomatoes, basil and a scraggly cucumber which I will uproot soon if no fruit develop further.WP_20170711_032 - CopyAnd this…..WP_20170711_035………huge awe mustard! Seriously these leaves are about as long as my forearm.

The spinach has been cut back so many times and look at it go.WP_20170711_030See all those eaten leaves on the tobacco? That’s exactly why I grow it. To keep those caterpillars away from my greens. Loving how this lush shade corner is coming along.

And check this out….my side garden is back.WP_20170711_002WP_20170711_004WP_20170711_003

And a garden is more than the plants. Mine is my favourite spot to sip my tea on weekends and where I go to breathe a bit deeper on any given day.WP_20170702_018

Happy summer gardening from me to you.

 

 

 

My Box Runneth Over

Summer is my favourite time of year and no, not because I am a teacher and get a much deserved two month break (you haters,,LOL), but because so much local fruits are in season including some of my favourites.

Mangoes have started the ball rolling and have been abundant in these parts now for weeks! It’s only June and we are already in mango heaven. I mean, I am talking a serious glut. Needless to say, we have been feasting on all varieties of them but we stay loving the mangolongs, pahwees, Tommy Atkins (the huge ones) and another variety my parents grew that I am not sure of the name.

What I am sure of though is that I have been receiving and reaping so many of these orange sugar bombs that I sourced a box exclusively for storing them, just like my parents did!

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All sizes, shapes and colours

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Them pahwees just prutty, prutty!

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A few passion fruits as well. Can you imagine the scent coming from this box!!!!

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That’s all. Hate to have to leave you salivating at the screen but what can I tell you, when this island life gets sweet, it’s real sweet. Sweet for days, weeks and months. Hope there is something sweet, fresh and abundant in your life.

PS: Karen this article was written before I saw your post….oopppss!!!

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