Cold weather makes you feel like comfort food… and today I felt like a good chicken curry! But I wanted something quick and different… search search search… and I found this Trinidadian chicken curry on the Pioneer Woman’s website. It’s a very simple recipe, no need for exotic spice mixtures or uncommon ingredients, but it sounded nice and somehow different. So it was decided, tonight dinner is Trinidadian chicken curry 🙂
Trinidadian chicken curry is basically a dish from Trinidad and Tobago. Strange isn’t it? You hear curry and you think India, no? Well, I thought the same and was wrong: curry is also very popular in the Caribbean.
According to my research, curry was introduced to Trinidad and Tobago around 1845 by the Indian immigrants during the post-slavery labor shortage. At this time, the dish was very similar to the chicken curry of India – mostly sauce with a few pieces of chicken – but milder as the chilly in the Carabbean was less spicy than the Indian one. Because poultry was abundant in Trinidad, the dish began consisting of mainly chicken, flavoured with curry spices. The Caribbean-Indian cooks also tended to use curry powders instead of pastes. Trinidadian curry also makes its appearance in dishes such as curry goat and various soups. Trinidad and Tobago is not alone in this story, Indian curry was introduced the same way to most of the Caribbean Islands
We learn new things everyday! I knew the curry powder was also used in the Caribbean cuisine but not in such a similar way as in India. As you can see, this is a very simple recipe which makes it perfect for a quick week night dinner. Sometimes, curry recipes involve different combinations of spices, but this one is simply curry powder and turmeric. And you know what? Less is more sometimes. We really loved the simple but delicious flavour of this curry. I served it with carrot rice and flat bread but you can add potatoes to the sauce. enjoy!
So it’s already February – time flies when you’re having fun 🙂 – and the holidays are long gone. Now I bet we are all looking forward to those beautiful Spring days, with lots of sunshine, not too hot, just the ideal weather for the start of the BBQ season. And because I’m not very good at waiting, I already started to practice with these oven baked BBQ pork ribs. Ok, not the same as outside on the BBQ but it’s a very good start, believe me.
We are very big fans of BBQ and ribs. If I ask the boyfriend what would he like for dinner, there’s a few answers, and one of them is “Ribs” 🙂 I’ve been trying several recipes for BBQ ribs and even other ways of cooking it. They always come out good but I was waiting to find that perfect and easy recipe. My boyfriend orders ribs a lot when we go out for a meal and they are always “fall of the bone”, juicy but at the same time still crispy. But when I try at home it never comes out like that. I tried parboiling, pressure cooker, slow roasting, oven grill, I don’t know…. But there was always something missing. Maybe I was just being picky but I wanted restaurant ribs at home!!! So after a lot of research and recipe trials, I found this recipe on Recipe Tin Eats… it seamed so easy that I decided to give it a go. What’s the worse it can happen? And oh my God!!!! I found my perfect rib recipe! The cooking method is similar to others I tried, even the homemade BBQ sauce is similar. So I don’t really know what happened this time, but the ribs came out fall of the bone, juicy and with a delicious taste of BBQ sauce… just the way we like it! It’s not a quick recipe but it’s worth the wait… Guess who has a happy boyfriend? 🙂
We had 3 different nationalities sitting around our Xmas table this year. And I wanted all three countries represented also in the food. I have showed you Portuguese dishes, Maltese dishes and now I’m adding another dish from the other country: Italian lasagna… made by my boyfriend! Yes, you know he cooks, so he wanted to give his contribute to the festive meals. And my family always wants a touch of Italian food when he goes to visit 🙂
As we may all know, lasagna originated in Italy, more precisely in Naples, all the way back in the Middle Ages, and straight away became a traditional dish. Traditional lasagna is made by interleaving layers of pasta with layers of sauce, made with ragu (meat and tomato sauce), bechamel sauce, Parmigiano-Reggiano and chopped hard boiled eggs. In other regions and outside of Italy it is common to find many variations of lasagna. Several other ingredients are used such as ricotta, mozzarella, tomato sauce, various meats, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms and flavored with wine, garlic, onion and oregano. The common factor in all these recipes is the pasta sheets and that it’s oven baked.
Traditionally, in the South of Italy, the pasta dough was made with semolina while in the North they used flour and eggs. Nowadays, lasagna sheets are made of Semolina due to commercials regulations. The growth of the farming economy in places like Bologna, allowed the use of more dairy and meat products in the Italian cuisine. Consequently, lasagna in Emilia-Romagna is made with meat and tomato ragu which became one of the most common variations of the dish.
We tried to follow the most traditional recipe. But sometimes, my boyfriend also uses mozzarella in the layers or he adds other ingredients in the ragu such as mushrooms. But I think that a dish should always have different variations according to the person cooking or to the people eating the food. In any case, this Italian lasagna made in Portugal by a Maltese boy was a great success!!!
You must be wondering: “What about desserts?” Yes, for sure there were desserts on my Christmas table. And one of them was this vanilla panna cotta with Summer berries coulis. Sounds nice, no? Well, it also tastes nice, very nice indeed 🙂
My plan was to have a menu based on the 3 countries represented around the table: Portugal, Italy and Malta. Which included, of course, the desserts. On Christmas Eve, my aunt was in charge of dessert, and the plan was to make rice pudding Portuguese style 🙂 But for some reason she gave up on that and decided to make a caramel custard pudim flan which is also very popular on our tables back home (I’ll show you the recipe, don’t worry!). For Christmas Day lunch it was my turn and I decided to go Italian and make vanilla panna cotta with Summer berries coulis. What about Malta, you may ask? We also had a “cake table” and there we had “Bolo Rei” from Portugal (a round cake with a hole and raisins, dried fruits and crystallized fruits), Italy was represented by a Panettone and I made my own Maltese Puddina 🙂 Apologies if it’s not very traditional, but this was the only sweet I found in Malta that is totally different from what we have back home. I will show you my recipe later so you can tell me how good (or bad) I did!
Panna cotta wasn’t part of any Italian cookbooks until the 60s. However, it is said to be a traditional dessert from Piedmont , in northern Italy. Some say, it was actually invented by an Hungarian woman in Piedmont back in the 1900s. There’s a few mentions around the years about dishes made of cream cooked with gelatin and molded but no one is sure if it was actually panna cotta or other ingredients were also used making it into another dessert. What we know is that it’s delicious no matter what variations you make of it…
My family really enjoyed it so I hope you like it too 🙂
Now this Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa – codfish, potatoes, and onion bake – it’s a classic at out tables for Christmas Eve dinner. So of course, this was one of the main courses that I prepared for my family.
I mentioned before that we are huge fans of codfish in Portugal and that we use always the salted version. It’s part of our tradition and it’s our national dish. When it comes to recipes, we have 1001 ways to cook codfish 🙂 it’s true! It’s a very versatile fish and we have lots of imagination! And if you wonder what we do to the salted cod to prepare it for cooking, check out Salted Codfish and how to remove the salt and rehydrate it.
Unfortunately, due to health problems, my mum didn’t prepare her usual treats for Christmas this year. In fact, I gave her strict instructions not to do anything. Me and my boyfriend would take care of all the meals. So off we went: cook for a crowd of 8 adults and 2 children. It would have been an easy task if everything went as planned. But things started with the wrong foot straight from the word go. We had quite an adventurous trip on the way there that involved plain delays, being sent to different airports and not being able to fly all the way to out last destination. So instead of arriving home at around 18hrs and being able to go food shopping, we arrived at 2am! Which means we add to go to the supermarket first thing on the 24th and try to get all the ingredients for all the meals. We were so tired from all the travel but we wanted to make everyone’s Xmas special! By lunch time we were back with everything we needed and cooking started. There were lots to do but the enthusiasm was even more. And with the help of my mum (yes, I couldn’t get her out of the kitchen!) and my aunt, me and my boyfriend managed to produce food for 2 very important meals 🙂