Recently I have been craving crumpets. I miss the convenience of popping them in the toaster for breakfast, or when I want a snack, and then topping them with mature cheddar cheese before microwaving them for about 12 seconds so that the cheese just starts to bubble. Crumpets are slightly spongy on the inside and crispy on the outside; they have a distinctive taste despite the general baking ingredients. Crumpets were served as a part of traditional English High Tea, I am told, along with neat cucumber and salmon sandwiches, small iced cakes and a pot of proper tea made with real tea leaves. This explains why when growing up in Jamaica people would tease me, constantly asking if I wanted “crumpets and tea” in a fake English accent.
Yield: 12 crumpets Prep Time: 10 mins Inactive Time: 45 mins Cook Time: 6 mins each
450 grams self-rising flour
1 sachet (7 grams) easy bake yeast
300 ml water
300 ml whole milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Heat the milk and water together over the stove until it is warm (not too hot to touch).
Place all of the dry and wet ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth; approx. 1-2 mins.
Cover the bowl and let it rest until the mixture has doubled in size; approx. 45 mins.
In a large frying pan, over medium heat, add 2 tbsps of oil and also grease the egg rings before placing them in the pan.
Once the oil is hot, fill the egg rings halfway with the crumpet mixture and cook for 4 mins until the mixture bubbles.
Turn the crumpets over and cook for another 2 mins.
Once ready to eat, toast your crumpets and serve with cheese, butter or jam.
Although fusion cuisine is trendy now it isn’t a new concept. Culinary traditions from across the globe have been blending to foster innovation in the kitchen for decades. I have known about fusion cuisine before I even knew what ‘fusion cuisine’ was. I was born in England, grew up in Jamaica and therefore various flavours and techniques naturally found themselves blending as they made their way to my plate. Earlier this week, I was craving ‘beans on toast’ but I haven’t been eating any processed carbs (i.e. bread, rice, pasta) so I couldn’t make toast. Like most masterpieces, my fusion dish was born without a plan for greatness.
Traditional Beans On Toast (picture from Cooking Aweigh The Pounds)
My Dad always made his beans using his Jamaican influence. It was never simply a can of baked beans warmed up and poured on top of toast. He always added herbs, spices and mushrooms that transformed beans into something delicious. I don’t know any other way to cook beans so I stuck to my roots and made my beans this way. Instead of toast, I made a substitute using yellow yam. I am not usually a fan of boiled yellow yam that feels dense down my throat as I swallow, but slicing the yam thin and making “yam-chips” added texture and a sweet flavour to this dish that balanced the spice.
Jamaican-ized Beans on Toast
Just when I thought I had reached my maximum fusion abilities for this quick dish, a friend saw me making ackee and saltfish and said I should see what happens when I put saltfish (salted cod, also called baccala) in the beans. Hence, I am now able to share with you the ultimate fusion breakfast/brunch dish, taking a British classic to the next level with Jamaican spices topped with a velvety poached egg. In twenty minutes, you can share my experience too at any time of the day.
Ultimate fusion Beans on Toast
Fusion Beans On Toast Recipe (Serves 2)
8oz Heinz Baked Beans
onion, diced (less than 1/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup of saltfish (soaked overnight and boiled for 10 minutes)
2 mushrooms, diced
1 scotch bonnet pepper, chopped finely
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Add onions and garlic, cook for approx. 2 minutes until they are translucent and fragrant.
Add saltfish for another two minutes before adding mushrooms, thyme and pepper for another two minutes.
Add baked beans and mix thoroughly. Bring to boil and then simmer until ready to serve.
Salt and pepper to taste.
4 slices of yellow yam, peeled (about 1/4 inch thick)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Add slices of yam to boiling water for about 3 minutes, test with a fork to make sure it is cooked through.
Add yam to a frying pan with oil heated over medium heat and fry on each side – about 2 minutes on each side – until crispy.
1 tbsp white vinegar
Boil water in a saucepan then reduce heat to a simmer (bubbles should still be present)
Add vinegar to the water and stir
Add egg to the water using a ladle and cook for about 4 minutes before removing from the water and plating.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
When I make this dish I start by boiling the yam, then begin the beans followed by frying the yam chips while poaching the eggs. Your timing will be perfect and your tummy will be happy. Tell me what you think!
At Miss Universe one of the questions for our online videos was, if you were a food what would it be? I answered that I would be a banana because it is versatile, in Jamaica we eat it green and we also eat it ripe; I believe, like the banana, I have something for everyone. People probably doubted my belief in the versatility of the banana. Now whilst I was impressed with my on the spot answer, I really love the flexibility of this fruit. In addition to it being long, firm, curved and full of energy – get your mind out of the gutter! Lol – you can do something with it in all its stages.
Bananas - From Green to Ripe
Although you can boil green banana to go with your main meals, use a ripe but firm banana in your smoothies or add them to your cereal, I am going to focus on the very ripe banana. I mean those bananas so ripe the skins are all black and they’re starting to feel mushy. I can never finish all my fruit so when I see these black-skinned bananas, I smile, add them to my zip lock bag and freeze them until I’m feeling for something sweet. The great thing about the three recipes – Deluxe Banana Pancakes, Banana Bread and Banana Fritters – is that they use practically the same ingredients just in different proportions. Try one, or all, and let me know. Enjoy!
Very Ripe Bananas (frozen)
Deluxe Caramelised Banana Pancakes
Total Prep & Cook Time: 30 mins
Serves 2 (Makes 6 pancakes)
1.25 cups all-purpose flour, sifted * 1 very ripe banana (the skin will be black) * 3 tsps baking powder * 1 cup of whole milk * 1 whole egg*
¼ tsp of salt * ¼ tsp cinnamon * ¼ cup of sugar * 1 tsp of vanilla extract * Dash of nutmeg (optional)
1 ripe banana (firm), sliced * ¼ cup of sugar * 2 tbsp dark rum (optional) * 3 tbsp butter, melted
How to make it:
Crush very ripe banana with a fork.
Add all the ingredients for the pancakes and mix through thoroughly, whether with a fork or a whisk, until evenly mixed.
Lightly grease a frying pan, with olive oil or spray, and add pancake mixture to the pan with a ladle, for each pan.
Roll bananas in sugar
In a separate pan add the butter and remaining sugar
Stir until dissolved and then add the rum and bananas.
Bring to boil and then simmer.
Plate the pancakes and drizzle with caramelised bananas.
Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 50 – 55 mins
4 very ripe bananas * 1.5 cups of flour * 2 tsp vanilla * 1 tsp baking soda * 1 tsp baking powder * 2 eggs, beaten * ¾ cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted * ½ tsp salt * 1 tsp cinnamon * 1 tbsp milk * 1/8 cup almonds slivers, chopped (optional)
How to make it:
Preheat oven at 350˚
Crush very ripe bananas with a fork.
Combine with butter, eggs and vanilla and milk
Then add sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and last add flour.
Spray oil on loaf pan and add mixture.
Bake for 50-55 minutes.
TIP: Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and drizzled chocolate
Prep Time: 7 mins Cook Time: 12-18 mins
Makes 9 fritters
2 very ripe bananas * ½ cup of flour, sifted * ½ tbsp vanilla * ½ tsp baking powder * 1 egg, beaten * 1.5 tbsp sugar * 2 pinches salt
½ tsp cinnamon * ¼ cup milk * Sprinkle of nutmeg (optional)
How to make it:
Crush bananas and combine with all the ingredients except flour and baking powder.
Sift flour and baking powder into the mixture and mix evenly.
Spoon mixture into greased pan over medium heat and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp sugar)
The third day began with brunch at The Betsy Hotel. I couldn’t choose between the French Toast, Steak or BLT Popover. With help from my friend’s suggestion and the waiter I went with the BLT Popover to go with my white peach bellini. Now the bellini was no Cipriani’s Bellini but it was good. However the BLT Popover was amazing. The portion was huge and took me forever to finish, the tomato topped with basil on the side was fragrant and refreshing next to the perfectly poached egg and creamy Béchamel.
If that was not gluttonous, the three of us shared dessert – the crêpe soufflé with passion fruit sauce. I am a sucker for passion fruit but combing a crêpe and soufflé seems ingenious. It was sweet, tart and fluffy in each bite.
I probably shouldn’t have had such a big brunch before going to the SOBE WFF’s Grand Tasting but when you only have a weekend, what’s a girl to do? I had intended to see some of the demos but there were people seated for rows upon rows and then people standing around them that is was clear I wasn’t going to get to see much. We walked to each booth and saw people I knew from home before making our way inside the tasting village, which was filled with every wine and liqueur you could imagine.
I ate seafood, paella, and ribs until my belly was about to burst. The Cruzan Rum booth was definitely where the party was at, with the reggae music and calypso causing people to dance, drink rum and be merry. The five hours we were there flew by and I didn’t have to eat for the rest of the day.
All in all, initially I was disappointed with SOBE Fest but the weekend ended on a high and I was happy I went. I will have a short break from my Food Festival Tour until April.