An Ode to The Coconut: The Coconut TurnoverBy Arianne Pollonais DyerOh, coconut! What love and affection we Caribbean people have for you. Coconut trees adorn the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago like a carefully jewelled dress. Drives consist of the relaxing swaying of their long trunks and slivered leaves in the wind, reminding us of the paradise we call home. For generations, we have used it in its entirety, such as the hydrating water and jelly for cooking, as a hair and body moisturizer, the shells for bowls and decorative pieces, the husks to start fires and hold the heat very much like a lump of coal would, the milk for all sorts of homemade yummies and the grated flesh for numerous desserts. As you can well imagine passing up on coconut is just not an option. This particular dessert, the coconut turnover, is found in every bakery. Still, I am quite specific when it comes to select the proper turnover. I was first introduced to the turnover by my grandfather. He loved them! It is traditionally in a sweet bread dough with grated coconut filling aromatized with an assortment of essences (essences are essential to any baked goods!). You can only grow to love these. The very smell of it will trigger a feeling of nostalgia. In fact, the turnover has quite an interesting story. The treat is believed to be a fusion of pastries brought here through colonization by the Europeans, who were fond of their pastries. It is also believed to be a descendant of the ‘coconut pie,’ a dish that originates from our African slave heritage. Not only is it close to the heart of the people in Trinidad and Tobago, but it is also very much so in the hearts of many across the Caribbean. It can be found freshly baked throughout bakeries in St.Lucia, Barbados, St.Vincent, Belize (fondly known as coconut crusts), Guyana (with a red-coloured coconut filling), and surprisingly in Asia as well as in Hawaii. But what does a perfect turnover consist of? Well, it must have a pink-coloured coconut filling that is flavoured with a little almond essence, wrapped in sweet yellow bread dough, heavy in lemon essence, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Boy, is it a punch of Caribbean goodness! Enough chatter for now, and check out the recipe below. Your family and friends will not be disappointed!
Banana, Ackee and Saltfish – A Paleo & Candida Diet RemixBy Sherese NicoleI want to share one of my favourite dishes that I eat, even on this highly restrictive diet. The candida diet means I don’t eat any wheat, sugars, fruit, yeast, or dairy, so I find myself eating meals that are a cross between paleo and the candida diet. I mix it with the paleo diet because the candida diet closely resembles paleo, except there’s no fruit allowed (not even natural sugars). Paleo is commonly referred to as a “caveman” diet because it is the presumed diet of early humans which was comprised of: lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and seeds/nuts. Ackee and saltfish are, hands down are some of my favourite Jamaican meals. My paleo/candida diet remix for the very traditional ackee and saltfish is quite simple. Although I love boiled dumplings, it’s not permitted on my diet, so I decided to substitute it with fried okra instead.
Mayi Moulin & Coconut StewBy NathalieMayi moulin (or polenta) is another great staple of Haitian cuisine. This cornmeal-based dish is usually served for breakfast in Haiti, with either a side of avocado, bean sauce, or a type of protein, like codfish. Tonight, I’ve decided to pair it with a savoury coconut stew. Although I try to avoid corn-based products, I do indulge once in a while, especially with this combination: pure perfection.
Efo-Riro – Nigerian Vegetable StewBy Aramide PearceEfo-riro is a rich vegetable soup that is native to the Yorubas of Western Nigeria. I have made mine with eba, which is a stiff dough made from garri (cassava grains). The eba is soaked in hot water and then kneaded with a flat wooden spoon to form a mashed potato-like consistency. This dish transports me back home because I always have it when I am back in the holidays, and it tastes better every time. If you want to go all out and eat this the traditional way, you can use your hand to scoop the eba into little ball shapes and dip into the stew.
Goat Meat Peanut Butter SoupBy Maria BradfordGoat meat peanut butter soup is one of Sierra Leone’s signature dishes. This dish is an economical alternative to the famous Peanut butter stew. My husband, who is of European descent, refers to converts to Peanut Butter Soup as a ‘White Belt’ in Sierra Leonan cuisine. Ultimately, he started as a ‘white belt’ with Peanut Butter Soup, progressed to Potato leaf stew, Cassava leaf stew, Okra and foo foo and then on to Tola, which another famous Sierra Leone’s dishes. He now considers himself a ‘black belt’ and fully enjoys all the culinary delights Sierra Leone offers. Below you’ll find my recipe for the dish that introduced my husband to the delectable cuisine of Sweet Salone!
Plantain GranolaBy SusanGranola. Also known as a ‘step up’ from porridge.. with a crunch. It’s a worldwide breakfast fave for those who like to start the day the healthy way. I’m not ashamed to say that granola boxes used to be a staple in my weekly shop. Forget bowls, more like: Box. Hand. Mouth. In that order! But one day, I turned that box around. What do I find? Nasties like sugar syrup, hydrogenated oil, flavouring and much more. There was no question. I was left with no choice but to create & make my own. Since making my own, I’ve morphed into a homemade granola nut. What do I love about it the most? You would think like an average person. It would be the cost-effectiveness or the healthiness. Hey, these reasons are great, but what I love most about granola is the customizability. I love being creative with granola. Whether that being marrying orange with chocolate or coconut with chia or even chilli with paprika for more savoury granola. My favourite granola recipe has to be my Plantain Granola I’m sharing with you! Those of you who maybe don’t know what a plantain is, they’re a bit like bananas but slightly larger and tend to be eaten in its sweetest state when the skin is yellowy-black. I have been on a bit of a plantain kick lately. I always find such great deals on them (sometimes cheaper than bananas), so I end up buying loads and buy day 2, I get sick of boiling, broiling or baking them that one day I thought, why not create a spin-off on granola, namely plantain-ola? I know banana works well in granola buy giving it body and flavour, so why not try it’s an older cousin? This recipe is crunchy, sweet, simple and makes a great on-the-go snack. It’ll last up to a month (or a day) in a cool, dry place. I love to have it as a snack or with some coconut yogurt. You can eat it plain, add it to ice cream, pour almond milk over it, make it a cereal, or mix it up with some fruit. The possibilities are endless!
Green Seasoning: A Caribbean EssentialBy CharlaI bet you're wondering if there was a mistake with the title of this post. Doesn't this resemble pesto? Well, I have news for you, my friend. This herbaceous seasoning is known as Caribbean green seasoning. The equivalent of Italy's pesto, green seasoning is a poignant element in Caribbean cooking. The Eastern Caribbean islands such as Trinidad, Barbados tend to use this as a marinade in meat or fish dishes to enhance the flavour. In the Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands, they call it Sofrito, which is essentially the same thing. Each cook has their version of the quantity of herbs that are used, so the taste will differ ever so slightly. The ingredients range from; cilantro, culantro, parsley, celery, pimento, bell peppers, onion, scallion, garlic, thyme, Spanish thyme and scotch bonnet for a kick. I like to add red peppers to green seasoning, which creates a dark green/brown hue instead. Despite any personal adaptations, it is important to note that there is an undeniable trend of how deliciously green and nutritious the result is. One of the key ingredients is culantro (Chandon beni and Spanish thyme). Sadly living in the diaspora doesn't offer me the luxury of obtaining these two staples. Now the secret is out there, and everyone will know the quintessential foundation to exotic tasting Caribbean food. Your meat dishes will permeate thoroughly with the aromatic flavour of Caribbean green seasoning, and you will thank me for sharing this wondering taste of paradise with you. I usually chop up all of the ingredients and rinse them thoroughly in a colander to eliminate any dirt. The next step is to pulse in either a blender or food processor – I used my blender, which created a puree texture. If you want a coarse texture, then I recommend using a food processor instead. You might need to add some 1tbsp or two of olive oil to help liquidize the seasoning. Depending on the frequency of use, store in a freezer (ice cube tray) to preserve shelf life. If you intend to use it often, store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Chef Bashir’s Pan-African Fusion FeastBy Elle Asiedu

For Black History Month 2021, Chef Bashir Munye hosted an interactive cooking class for Interac Corp. employees teaching them how to make a vibrant dish inspired by North and East Africa.

A culinary adventurer with a decidedly nomadic approach to food, Chef Bashir is one of Canada's top chefs. Born in Somalia and raised in Italy, his knowledge of international flavours and techniques knows no bounds and every opportunity to interact with him when he cooks is a pleasure.

For this Interac event, Chef Bashir created a vibrant pan-African dish featuring savoury Chicken/Oyster mushroom tagine, zesty roasted okra salad, and fluffy seasoned couscous.

If you missed the event, don't worry; you can make this delicious meal right at home!

Kirbee’s Sweet Potato & Cream WaffleBy Black FoodieFor the Sweet Potato edition of the BLACK FOODIE Battle, Kirbee whipped up a Sweet Potato Waffle that tastes just as amazing as it looks. Try her winning recipe for brunch this week!
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