Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sisters taught me: P.U.S.D. cake

The clock strikes at 1 a.m. and it happens again. Cravings for something delish from home awaken in my pit of a stomach; obviously she refuses to change time zones. The pineapple on top of my fridge is finally ripe and begging me to use it. The first thing that comes to mind is the wonderful pineapple upside down cake I ate every Saturday at the St. Joseph of Cluny residence. I pause to thank the Sisters of this house for the unconditional love, support and teaching throughout my adolescent and adult life and this cake that is forever seared in the memory of my food sac stomach.

P.U.S.D cake is traditionally made with a base/cover of caramelized tinned pineapple, maraschino cherries and shredded coconut but as you know at Watermelon and Cheese we have to adapt a lot...but hey, we never lose the here goes.

Pineapple -Where Have You Been- Upside Down Cake

Make 2 8 inch cakes

1 medium sized pineapple, sliced
3/4 cup demerara brown sugar
3/4 cup butter

Top: Adapted from the 'Real taste of Jamaica' 1-2-3-4 plain cake recipe
3 cups sifted flour
2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (made by boiling the skin. if using actual pineapple juice, decrease white sugar by 1/2 cup)
Silvers of lemon peel

1. Cream butter and sugar together using a electric mixer (Mommy please forgive my laziness) for 2 minutes or until fluffy.  In a small bowl, beat eggs with lemon peel. In a total of four additions, mix eggs with butter and sugar mixture. Result should be creamy. Remember to remove the lemon peel.

2. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Add dry mix and pineapple juice to the butter and sugar mix in additions of 4 and 3 respectively, beginning and ending with the dry mix.

3. To make the caramel, first melt butter in pan. Using low heat, add brown sugar and constantly stir for no more than 4 minutes. In warmer climates, this can be done before making the batter. Place caramel at the bottom of the baking dish and cover decoratively with pineapple slices. If you happen to use diced pineapples, the taste is not affected, however it may appear a bit mushy as you will see below.

4. Add batter to the pan and pop into the oven for about 40 mins or till an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

5. If you are patient enough, allow to cool for 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Slice and distribute. Note to self and others: Never walk out of the room before saving yourself a slice because a slice is all you will get.
Top: Cake using diced pineapples
Bottom: The slice I almost never had

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Bite me Christmas: Guinness Stout Punch

No coincidence the supermarket had this in stock for Christmas

As a kid, I recall being bombarded with multiple TV ads of  "Guinness, it's good for you", "I got the power" remixes and a superhero named Micheal Power who could escape fires and land unscathed from high buildings. An after-work Friday lime was not complete without a Guinness (T.G.I.F = True Guinness Is Forever). With the addition of milk, angostura bitters, a dash of spices and sometimes an egg, it evolves into a punch for contenders of the World Strongest Man competition or at least makes you feel like one.

If Barbie drank Guinness....

For the ultimate hookup recipe check Chris at and bring in your Christmas Eve feeling unstoppable.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bite me Christmas: Malta

I absolutely love and miss malta, especially the Vita Malt brand. Although it is available all the time, my parents always kept a case around at Christmas, so I tend to associate it with this season. Malta is made by brewing barley and hops and is later sweetened and carbonated. It's non-alcoholic so its smooth, creamy taste can be enjoyed by all.

Vita Malt, in particular, is said to provide energy and a great amount of nutrients (Vita stands for vitamin).
According to the website a 330ml bottle contains 50g carbohydrates, 42g of which are sugars, 2g Protein and 30mg Sodium.Yes, you saw right, no fat! Celebrate! Celebrate! Please continue to drink in moderation. I've got my eyes on you. On another website, it was stated that a malta beverage usually contains various amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Iron, Phosphorus, Manganese, Selenium, Copper and Sodium. No wonder those Vita Malt sponsored teams were so hard to beat.

Taste varies from brand to brand and also within the brand. After all every customer in every region must be satisfied. Denmark's, the original producer, is lighter and less frothy than the Caribbean produced. What can I say? We always go all out. But I'll tell you, the more I think about that dark-brown mountain, the more I need to be home for Christmas. Not much could compare to sipping an icy Vita Malt and ole talk. So no more talking. Let's look at some photos.

Update with pictures from home coming soon....

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

真的吗?:Winter Coming Day 冬至

What I actually meant to say was Winter Solstice Day which occurs the 22nd of December every year. Roughly translated, it can be called Winter Coming Day although honestly, it really felt like winter 'done came' through these parts. Any advice for this island girl on how to keep warm?

The longest night of the year is usually spent with family and friends eating a dinner of dumplings and mutton, both of which are considered heating foods. One mao ( a Chinese ten cent) is placed in one of the dumplings, so everyone bites carefully until it is found. The winner is granted good luck for the rest of the season and the dumplings are eaten at leisurely pace one more.

Lovely bowl of steamed dumplings

Sauces and soups are the key to a great dinner

Mutton and vegetables cooking in a well seasoned soup

Recently, I found my own form of 'luck' in these sequential one yuan (a Chinese dollar). So happy that they were not hundreds so I am perfectly content with saving them.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bite me Christmas: Spicy Cocoa Tea

呵呵呵圣诞节快乐!! Merry Christmas to all my readers!! Well in advance hehehe.....This Christmas season's countdown features Grenadian cuisine that warm the heart, mind and most importantly the body.

This wonderfully flavored chocolate is the proof of my country's resilience in the face of Hurricane Ivan's destruction in 2004.

It's earthy, fruity and all over rich. It can be eaten raw but I love to make cocoa tea with it. Not to mention that it much easier to use than the traditional method :P

This tea is brought to life by organically grown spices and raw brown sugar. Condensed milk is a must have or else my ancestors will cry a rainstorm from the heavens.

Spicy Cocoa Tea

4 cups water
1 1/2 cups plain milk
3 tbsp condensed milk
1 tbsp demerara brown sugar
1 ounce (4 blocks) of  'The Grenada Chocolate Company' 100% Cocoa
A rich assortment of fresh ginger slices, cinnamon pieces, dried citron leaves, and dried bay leaves
Pinch of salt

1. Bring spices and water to a boil. Continue boiling for 5 mins while your nose enters olfactory bliss.

2. Lower heat and stir in plain milk, condensed milk and sugar. Boil on high heat for about 3 mins.

3. Add cocoa block by block, gently stirring and melting.  Boil another 5 minutes, allowing flavors to combine.

4. Lastly, add a pinch of salt to give your tea some depth.

5. Curl up your favourite cup, book or someone and sip slowly.

6. Makes about 4 servings. Extra can be frozen in paper cups for about a week for easy reheating.