Monday, January 4, 2016

Bite me: Flavour Forecast 2016

Fashion trends aren't the only things to watch out for this month. Every year the top guys at Mc Cormick prepare a list of flavours that have the potential to take the food world by storm. This year they have narrowed it down to 6 flavours that are guaranteed to dominate this year's palettes. And I have to say, if you live in the Caribbean, you already have a head start. Check it out below! 

Pomegranate and Lime 

Heat + Tang: Imagine spicy explosions with swirls of tangy goodness. Think Ginger and Tamarind sauce, Chilli Pepper and Lime vinaigrette or Scotch Bonnet and Pineapple stir fry. This combination is always a winner.
When prepping dipping sauce for spicy Hot Pot, you gotta have 
sesame seed oil, chives, garlic, vinegar and seasoning salt.

Suan La Noodles is a really popular dish in Chongqing, China.
 It's sweet potatoes noodles flavoured with...vinegar and chilli
Tropical Asian: We can do tropical. It's in our blood. But can we do Asian? You've been doing it all along, thanks to our Indian ancestry. Mango Chutney immediately comes to mind. I could taste it now; sweet chunks of mango seasoned with jeera, masala, garlic and the like. 

Steamed pineapple rice with mango and goji berries

Blends with benefits: My foodie friend, you already have a couple go-to herbs and spices. All I ask is that you sprinkle it on E-VER-Y-THANG. Try Moringa and Chocolate. Seamoss, Pumpkin and Spice smoothie is one for the books. Dare to be healthy and adventurous at once! You can't go wrong.

Green tea frosting and chocolate cake is so good...

so good that we had to show you twice. This time green tea ice cream
vanilla cake and chocolate sauce.
Yogurt bowl with banana, coconut, 100% chocolate and flax seeds/

Alternative “pulse” proteins: I'm talking tamarind seeds, chick peas, daal. These super legumes are rich in protein and low in cholesterol and sodium. Pair with spices to up the nutrition for a balanced meal.

Peas soup with some good ole dumplings

Ancestral flavours: For us original Pirates of the Caribbean, nothing says roots like Cassareep (fermented cassava sauce), Big Thyme and Coconut milk. Don't you miss the days when we cooked everything in coconut milk. It's all about getting back to simple and filling meals when the only thing you could afford to cook with was love.

Traditional fried rolls

Conkie prepared with corn meal, pumpkin,
coconut milk and raisins

Culinary-infused sips: Pickled, roasted, and brûléed are the ones to look out for. Now tell me, what don't we roast? Breadfruit, bread-nut, corn, wild meat. We got that charred taste down to a science. So in this case, what do you know, we are ahead of the game.

In China, pickled meat or vegetables are a must with every meal

Breadfruit sliced and cored and ready to roast
As you set up new diet plans and tick off your 'Things to taste before I die' list, make sure to try some of these tips. 
Tasty, nutritious and fun...That's how my 2016 will be!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Clarke's Court Christmas Bake Off

Nothing says Christmas in the Caribbean like baking. We know that right? A moist, black cake of decadent fruit is like Christmas currency. It's really not a question of if, but a question of how many cakes can one collect for the season. Personally, I'm on cake number five. Then Clarke's Court comes around to make me totally rethink the concept of Christmas baking with the Clarke's Court and Blue Band Christmas Bake Off.
Clarke's Court New Premium product 'Black Gold'

Tucked away in a lush corner valley, south side of the country is Clarke's Court Rum Factory, a World Class awarded distillery. The only other Caribbean island to hold this prestigious position is St. Lucia. So consider this sacred territory.

There's a flavour for everyone here, even the picky-est, 'stush-est' palettes. So if you enjoy a fine combination of aromatics or you just want a tasty glass of rum to shock your system, Clarkey's got you covered. This is not your under the counter, behind the stove joint. They have received Gold medals for #37 blend, Grenada Mojito, Rhthym Coconut Rum and Superior Light and Silver medals for Old Grog and Camerhogne Liqueur. As Kansime would say 'Quality Product'.

Stock up on your Sorrel mix for the holiday
The bakers really couldn't ask for better ingredients. One taste of the sorrel rum and I wished I was doing the baking. But hey, I was going still going to do the tasting. #winning

If the faces below are familiar, you probably recognize them from Grenada Cake Wars with two new buddies: Marsha Peters and Mavis Paul, who just happens to be Kellon's mom. Our emccee warned that any child who beats his mother will be cursed...
But it seems like this was a chance Kellon was willing to take.

Now to the challenge:
1.Combine a special Clarke's Court Rum with a secret ingredient for a bombastically flavoured cake.
2. Decorate said cake inspired by the festivities of the season and Clarke's Court itself.
3. No traditional fruit cakes allowed

Here's how it went down

 Ashphil Robinson

Ashphil presented a four tiered cake led by Rudolph and his stomping crew. The first bite was that sorrel+rum taste we all know. As my teeth sank further in, soft, gooey golden-apple stew hit me for a wonderful blend of flavour.

I also loved the separate details of each layer from brick-house chimney to winter wonderland and her vibrant used of colour. It was a beautiful complement to the cake.

Kellon Maximay

It was obvious that this baker knew rum. Clarke's Court was fully represented not only in the perfectly stained, aged and labelled barrel but also in the well-defined flavour throughout the cake.

Kellon came heavy on the alcohol and zestyness to create a truly lemon lime cake with fresh trails of lemon-grass fragrance. I hope Moms was watching her back because the competition was heating up.

Mavis Paul

Speaking of mom, Mavis is a name used to mean all things sweet and she certainly lived up to it. With Rhythm Coconut Rum and Carambola fruit, you had to come right or don't come at all. Mavis showed her skills by somehow blending the two flavours into one mouth-watering taste. You know the kind of cake that you blink and suddenly, there's no more cake, because you ate it that fast. Yup. 

She nestled it under a wintery snowglobe filled with snowman lollies and coconut shavings and of course, a bottle of Rhythm Coconut Rum.

Shelly Ramdeo

Santa must  have taken one look at our cocoa trees and rum and said "Christmas, who?" In fact, I won't be surprised if he's still parked up at Shelly's place eating all her cake.

After all, if some one offered you a cake with a surprise inside of pineapple and mandarin compote in liqueur and spices, topped with liqueur and chocolate frosting, would you leave? Would you even remember you had gifts to deliver all around the world? I wouldn't. That's for sure.

Marsha Peters

With Spicy Rum and Fresh Sorrel, Marsha was our Christmas Ambassador. This was Grenadian Christmas in a cake. Look at that exquisite bottle!  

The highlight of this cake was the fresh bits of sorrel. You know we are so used to drinking the sorrel, that I never considered baking with it. Marsha used it perfectly in this cake.

Sheena Gellineau

In case you didn't know, Sheena kills fondant every time. Like every single time.

For this competition she does it not once, twice but three times: three separate cakes and two flavours. Coconut and Passion Fruit was perfumed in a creamy sponge cake to the judges' delight. Come to think of it, is there anything that coconut doesn't pair nicely with?

This competition would not be complete without a lil Black Gold cake miracle.

Look at the picture below. You can tell the difference but can you really tell the difference.

This is the work of none other than Mrs. Pierre out of St. Paul's. 
She's obviously the fairy godmother of Cake-land.

Now for the results

Third Place: Mavis Paul

Second Place: Kellon Maximay

First Place: Shelly Ramdeo

This event has taught me a couple things.

1. Rum drinking doesn't always end in drain blocking.
2. Christmas cake doesn't have to be black cake.
But most importantly,
3. Any cake that's soaked in rum is a winner.

Have a Merry Christmas yall and a cakelicious New Year!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Waste not, Want not: Sorrel/Roselle

Christmas is around the corner so your sorrel should already be blushing in the front yard. My question is this. Are you only going to make Sorrel Drink? Or do you want a chance to get the most out of your plants this season? Then I need you to stop everything else you are doing and read below.


Strangers know her  as Sorrel or Roselle but to her family she is Hibiscus sabdiriffa. Not to be mistaken for these beautiful Hibiscus flowers of the same family.

The seeds actually contain the greatest source of  phenols and antioxidant activity. Can you imagine that it ALWAYS thrown away *bows head*. Additionally it's full of protein, and not just any protein but the kind that is found in milk. Am I convincing you to collect sorrel seeds yet. This low density lipoprotein is a great addition to the diet.

It is known for its antiseptic, diuretic and sedative qualities as well as lowering blood pressure and improving digestion. That's what the bush men say. And if it's true, why aren't we making more use of this plant?


The most important thing to consider is sunlight. Sorrel needs 13 h of sunlight during its first 4-5 months. Remember when the old folks used plant sorrel on Whit Monday with corn and peas. Ahhh, I see the light bulb going off in your head. Don't you love when tradition and science decide to get down and dirty?

In addition, well-drained soil, 5-10 inches of rain in the first three to four months, and these babies can be nursed into a healthy, bountiful harvest.


So fresh 'n so clean: Sorrel is best when it's fresh. The beautiful colouring, high level of nutrients are reasons to use this as soon as it is picked.

Work on your tan: Sun drying is great for preserving sorrel calyces but even better is air drying. That way, anti oxidants are not reduced in great amount from the heat of the sun. Don't be stingy with the amount you start with, because you will only recover about 10% of it. Bag it or press into ball and enjoy the next year around.

Chill out: Of course, if you have the space, freezing is another wonderful option and allows you to keep the rich red colour in whatever you choose to make.



During my time abroad, I couldn't wait until December to pull out some sorrel flowers(even though they were ready since July) and  Clarke's Court Pure White hashtag Caribbean Christmas. Or so I thought. Turns out Mali and most of French speaking Africa make this drink and call it bissap but instead of our spicy chaser version, they have a minty kick. Some persons even make it into a milkshake.

Funke's twist on Sorrel Milkshake

Another awesome way that sorrel was prepared in China was a dried pickled snack, right next to the salted prunes and dried mangoes.

Pickled sorrel

You can use it when serving meat or in cakes, like this cheese cake below from Nesi Lemak Lover.

Nesi's Sorrel Cheese Cake

For those who love cranberry sauce but don't have access to the fruit, sorrel is a good substitute of colour, flavour and nutrition (healthier, in fact). Sorrel sauce is as simple as sugar, spices, citrus and sorrel. 
Roselle 'Florida Cranberry' Sauce
Don't skip out on a jam, jelly or stew to enjoy sorrel beyond the season.

The juice can also be used together with seaweed as a tonic in a colon detox salad or jelly or some home-made wine, tonic of a different kind.


Since sorrel is annual, we always cut the tree down to harvest the sorrel calyx and then burn the rest of the plant. My experience of 'red-not-blood-stained' fingers is enough to make me throw it all away. But there at least three ways that you can use them.

  • Fresh and raw in salad.
  • Cooked like spinach as a side dish, in soups or added to chutneys and curries

Hungry Ang Mo's Sorrel leaf curry
Hungry Ang Mo also pickles the leaves with Tamarind paste for a savory-tangy tasty condiment.

  • It can also be dried and used as tea.


In their pods, they are used in the preparation of Sorrel jam so that you don't have to add extra pectin.

Another option is dried and ground into a meal which can be used as coffee or to prepare a high protein soup.

On the medicine side it can used as a tonic, diuretic or laxative.

I don't know but if I were you, I'd be heading out side to pick me some part of that sorrel tree. We can't waste any more time.. See ya!


P.K. Wong, S. Yusof, H. M. Ghazali, Y. B. Che Man, Physiochemical characteristics of roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.), Nutrition and Food Science, 32 (2002), pp. 68-73

N. Mohd-Esa, F. Shin Hern, A. Ismali, C. Lye Yee, Antioxidant activity in different parts of roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) extracts and potential exploitation of the seeds, Food Chemistry, 122.4 (2010), pp. 1055-1060

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Grenada Cake Wars Finale Report: 'Pure Grenada'

This entire weekend was epic. It was October 24th 2015 which means, as a Grenadian, it was the day before we remember the end of a good thing or the start of a better one (depending on which side of the revolution you were on). So with the theme 'Pure Grenada', it was the perfect opportunity for the decorators to remind us of how far we have come as one people.

Ann Marie's Pure Grenada fruit cupcake 
The crowd at the Grenada Youth Center was hyped and the Grenada Cake Wars finalists Ann Marie Pilgrim, Kellon Maximay, Larneth Slocombe and Sheena Gellineau had their game face on. Today was no kinda jokey matter. Behind the smiles, were people determined to win that first prize. Everyone was on edge, waiting for the buzzer to go off. The crowd drew closer as the decorators placed their hands on their backs, military style and on the signal, jumped into action.

Team Pilgrim was dipping and releasing fondant like a well-oiled Volkswagen. It was obvious that they were used to this and good at it.

Kellon and previously eliminated contestant, Shelly were manning down his station at the other end of the room. Kellon, who was facing the mishap of another broken  piece upon arrival, was going to need all the help he could get to stay in the competition.

Kellon receiving a last word of encouragement from judges Thomas Andrews, Laurel Bruno and Lexan Fletcher
When Larneth and her look-alike son rolled into the arena, I'll be honest I was worried for this team. But by the time I glimpsed the first hand of fig and the neatest basket weave I've ever seen, I knew this wasn't a 'Sanford & Son' situation and this wasn't a junk-yard. Oh no! We were about to be part of a grand exhibition of talent.

Sheena was alone at the back with what looked like Mission Impossible. There lay a map of Grenada cake with a crumb coat. A very accurate map, I must add. I turned my back for like what felt like 5 minutes, and then there is was, perfectly covered in fondant. Who does that? Sheena does, obviously.

You could see that the audience was totally amazed by the cakes as they were decorated. They were willing to stand up for hours just to see how each cake was shaping up and shaping up they were. Even hosts of the event, Shere-Ann Noel and Kareem Alexis were pitting against each other for a winning baker.

Larneth's basket weave was almost complete and the fruits were taking on a realistic shape. Side note to the international folks. We don't eat bananas unless they look like this:

If it ent have tac tay, it ent good yet
Nothing says Grenada more than cocoa, nutmeg and bananas. We cultivate them, sing about them, dance with them. I could remember the primary school days and independence day concerts right now.

When Shelly starting going around Kellon's cake with dark chocolate syrup, I held my breath. Were they going to do what I think they were doing? She slowly traced the piping bag around the edge in a mesmerising, steady rhythm and the syrup slid down in these imperfectly perfect lines. And just like that, delicious jab-jab oil stains trailing down the road.

Black glitter adds the right amount of splatter

I must have spent about 3 minutes at Sheena's table trying to figure out what was missing. Then it hit me. Where was Petit Martinique? Don't want us to have a Antigua and Barbuda situation on our hands. You know how easily sisters fight over clothes much less for recognition.

Ann Marie and her husband didn't break momentum one bit, covering and piping cake after cake. Those six cakes were done in no time and then they pulled out this amazing spice toppers, all made of fondant.

As you can see, the contestants were firing their best shots in this competition. I couldn't tell who would walk away with the prize. Even the audience gave me conflicting opinions. Some were attracted to the neatness and clean lines of Sheena's map cake whereas others loved the innovation of Kellon's Jab Jab cake, especially the kids (they still believe there's a jab on Sesame Street). Not to mention some already came to support a particular decorator no matter what he did. I mean, Kellon's clan printed t-shirts. Can somebody sing "We are family"?

Pull out your history books with me for a while. We were first called Conception Island by Christopher Columbus and then eventually adopted the nickname, the Spice Isle, after all we do have the best variety of spices in the region. However, a few years back we were given a new handle, Pure Grenada. I think this competition  really helped, not only the bakers, but all of us to understand and accept the meaning of that catchphrase.

Sheena's Guava/Lemongrass and Coconut/Chocolate Pure Grenada cupcakes
Larneth explained that being Grenadian, a pure Grenadian, was what she saw in her mom; an industrious estate worker who would carry the produce of that day in a basket on her head. Now this is one of the most enviable skills in the world and Grenada is one of few Caribbean islands where this still takes place. I wonder if there is anyone in my generation who could carry a basket of fruit or a full bucket of water on their heads, up a hill, WITHOUT using their hands.

Now watch how she made a cake do the same thing. Amazing!

Larneth teaching the model how to balance
Speaking of heads, Kellon managed to fix up his horned helmet, which was great. It is after all the most symbolic feature of J'ouvert morning. Now all that's left was some blood, chains and why not a live snake or two. 

Not only did the participants 'mash up' the decorating section but the baking as well. Ann-Marie brought us the well-loved fruit cake. Now, I need Christmas to come like yesterday.

Larneth gave us nutmeg cake with her own home-made nutmeg jam filling. This is something I've always wanted to buy in a bakery or a cafe with a cup of tea. Home-Made, Sweet Traditions, take notes please. 

To complete his theme of the eerie darkness of the dawn festivities, Kellon came with Grenada Chocolate everything. His cake, frosting and drizzle were full of 72% and 60% chocolate bar goodness. And we can't forget the nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and ginger in the mix. I'm confused though because it's common knowledge that Jabs love their salted fish. To all the professed oil mas revellers reading this, would you be able to resist these cupcakes?

Sheena infused local flavour in everything with a Coconut Rum sponge cake and Grenada Chocolate frosting filling. Oh, did I mention there was a second cake? Wait for it... a Vanilla cake with a densely delicious Guava filling and light Lemon Grass butter-cream. She had me like...

The final cakes looked like this:


Provision Perfection


Pretty ladies in National wear

Oil down bubbling over

Jab twins eating ah food

Spicy explosion

Ann Marie

Elegant pod placement

Ah, look at Jab-Jab

Now giving it to you straight outta the judges' mouths:

People's Choice Award compliments AJ & Associates: Sheena Gellineau

Best Tasting Cake compliments Columbian Emeralds: Sheena Gellineau

Goodness, Gracious Guava filling

Fourth place: Ann Marie Pilgrim

Third place: Larneth Slocombe

Second place: Kellon Maximay

First place winner: Sheena Gellineau

Sheena walked away with the first prize trophy compliments Sports Awards and Trophy Zone, $1000 compliments Real Value Supermarket, a cake mixer compliments Courts, a phone compliments Digicel and one thing any kitchen lover would want: a Rachel Ray Hard Enamel non-stick 14 piece cookware set compliments CC6 and Food network. Not to mention she will have the privilege to study on a world renown pastry chef.

Rachel Ray cookware as seen on Food Network
Grenada Cake Wars was simply amazing. I hate that it's already over. Seeing these bakers/decorators create under pressure was a rare treat! Congratulations Sheena on your clean sweep and Food Network recognition. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of the event. Finally, thanks to Charanel Andrew, the Dream Catcher, for showing us how to reach for the sky and touch the stars.

For more details and pictures about the event you can go to the Grenada Cake Wars Facebook Page: