Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Abercrombie Tea House

Wednesdays are the usual tea days and though I visited Hilton today for afternoon tea, I won't be writing about that visit myself. My favourite tea buddy will be writing it for me (he seems to have strong feelings about it, lol). For today, I'll write about my visit to the cutest little tea house located on the St. Joseph's Convent, Port-of-Spain, compound. The public entrance (and easier parking in the street) is located on the road behind the school: Abercromby Street, as the name obviously suggests, just North of Park Street. They carry an assortments of SMAKS Bespoke Teas as well as regular teas such as Lipton, and they serve them all day, Monday-Saturday! So, you don't always have to wait for afternoon tea, or Wednesdays/Fridays, depending on where you're going. They also serve an assortment of baked goods including scones and cheesecake, as well as pastas and sandwiches. It's more than just a tea house, it's like a little cafe!

The atmosphere at Abercrombie Tea House is quite friendly and welcoming, beautifully decorated, and the service is great. The teas and the sweets were quite delicious. Unfortunately, they had no clotted cream, but the cranberry scones were yummy on their own; I love dried cranberries! I have not yet tried their food, but it's definitely a place I would soon be returning to. Oh, and free Wifi!!!

Oh and they had the cutest tiny utensils too!

The entrance makes you feel like you're entering a secret club!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Meatless Monday: Hasselback Potatoes

I've been quite exhausted recently. I'm not sure if the stress at work is catching up to me or if it's something else, but I need to find a way to get back to myself.  Unnecessary information. The point is, I decided to make something really easy and with whatever I already had in the fridge. It was already so late when I decided to cook so easy preparation was key for me.
Potatoes seemed like an easy, fast choice, and the leftover sour cream in my fridge was calling my name. I love sour cream, it's definitely one of my favourite condiments, if you'd call it that. I can have sour cream on sandwiches, chili, tacos, potatoes, mixed in dressings... anything! I decided to make these simple loaded hasselback potatoes.

They were made with a mixture of salt and pepper, butter, cheese, garlic, oregano (would have preferred rosemary but had none) and red pepper flakes. I topped them off with some sour cream and they were great!

No clue why these were all so blurry.

Here's a recipe for hasselback potatoes. 
It's more informative than I would have written myself.
Also, it's late and I have work in the morning,
just wanted to share my meal with you, today!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmigiana

The most important thing in determining the taste of food (in my opinion) is its preparation. Just like pumpkin which is so different when transformed into something more than just pumpkin and roti, eggplant goes far beyond "baigan choka" when it is done in the right way. Roasted, grilled or fried eggplant is actually quite good on sandwiches, pizza or lasagna. While a lot of people love "baigan choka", some people scorn it. It could be the spiciness from the onions or maybe the bitterness from stovetop roasting. When grilled or oven-roasted, the eggplant adopts a savoury sweetness, if that makes sense, that you don't get from "baigan choka". Now, I mention this dish numerous times because for a very long time, it was the only eggplant preparation I was familiar with. It was what I grew up knowing eggplant to be. It's the reason I thought I hated eggplant.

What is Baigan Choka (and recipe)?

Eggplant Parmesan is an easy, delicious was to prepare eggplant. It can be eaten as is for a low-carb dinner, or served with pasta, crusty bread or salad. While eggplant added to traditional lasagna is delicious, eggplant can be used to replace lasagna skins for a satisfying gluten free take on lasagna. Moussaka is another brilliant way to serve eggplant; it is very similar to an eggplant lasagna.
Eggplant parmesan is prepared in numerous different ways. Sometimes the raw eggplant is baked into a casserole with parmesan, mozzarella and marinara. Other times the eggplant is crusted with parmesan and breadcrumbs, fried (or baked) and then assembled with cheese and tomato sauce. To me, the latter achieves great texture in the dish. The slight crunch on the outside complimets the usually very soft inside of the eggplant. However, depending on how long it sits, it would not remain crispy because of the marinara. 

Friday, 11 October 2013

Prix Fixe Lunch at Chaud

Nothing really lifts me up when I'm down like a good meal. My love for food surpasses cramps and rainy days, it seems. Lunch at Chaud today was brilliant. They have updated their lunch menu; the entire menu is now prix fixe with more than three times as many options as before. There are some other things that I'm definitely looking forward to trying. I must go again soon!

Smoked Salmon and Crab Terrine
Fennel-Orange Salad, Crispy Capers, Blood Orange Citronette

Honey-Glazed Pork Belly

Tamarind-Glazed Pork Chop
Bacon-Cassava Hash, Brussel Sprouts, Mostarda, Apple Crema

Chicken and Mushroom Orecchiette 
I actually forgot to take a picture of the dessert but it was great; beautiful as always.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Meatless Monday: Caprese Pasta (Two Ways)

Dinner tonight was inspired by our beautifully laden tomato plant. And of course, our never-ending supply of basil (which I love) played a major role.

(Most of them are ripe now, and the others are going to be soon.)

Insalata Caprese is a simple Italian salad comprising tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and dressed with olive oil (sometimes balsamic vinegar, salt and/or black pepper). While a Caprese salad is brilliant on its own, the combination of flavours are fantastic used in many different ways. Tonight, I combined Caprese with pasta (I love pasta; I've mentioned it before, I'm sure). I decided to prepare it in two ways; similar ingredients but surprisingly unique results.

Caprese Pasta Salad
  • 200g Penne Pasta
  • 1/2 C. Fresh Basil Leaves (chiffonade)
  • 2 Tbsp. Basil Pesto (with olive oil)
  • 2 Tbsp. Tapenade (with olive oil)
  • 1 Tsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 C. Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
  • 3 oz. Mozzarella (cubed)
  1. Boil pasta in salted water until al dente.
  2. Toss other ingredients together, then add pasta and coat well.
  3. Can be served warm or cold (or with a light sprinkling of parmesan).

The pasta salad is light and refreshing, and the tapenade gives it a unique flavour. For something more comforting and hearty, here's the pasta bake!

Caprese Pasta Bake
  • 200g Penne Pasta
  • 1/2 C. Fresh Basil Leaves (chiffonade)
  • 1/2 C. Marinara 
  • 3-5oz. Mozzarella (half cubed, half grated for topping)
  • 1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil (for coating dish)
  1. Boil pasta in lightly salted water until al dente.
  2. Grease 8 x 8 baking dish with olive oil.
  3. Toss other ingredients (except grated mozzarella) with pasta and add to dish. Top with the grated mozzarella.
  4. Bake at 375ºF for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the top is nicely browned. 
  5. Serve immediately!

These dishes are as delicious as they are simple. They're great especially if you're pressed for time. Mozzarella, though!