General

sweet, sweet blogging life…

…where have you been?

Oh how I have missed you!

It has been far too long. I’ve been occupying myself with lots of crafts these last few days (weeks really).  My baby’s birthday is coming up and I’ve been designing and making (slaving really) over invitations, decor, food ideas…just about everything. Phew…it’s hard work when you want to do it all yourself, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It gives me a lot of satisfaction doing these things so I’m always happy to do them.

I’ve also been thinking about lots of new ideas for food-both savory and sweet.  I haven’t done any ‘sweet’ posts since I started thehiddencook back in January so I’m thinking one is just about due.

I am very honored to mention as well, that some folks have written asking me about new posts! I’m so happy that my posts seem to be reaching people and that people appreciate the effort that goes into each and every post 🙂 So, thanks for keeping me on track and for checking in on me!

thc-manowar

 


sick & voiceless

Hi all!

It’s been far too long. 
Over the past week I’ve been a bit under the weather.  I’m sick & voiceless.  Losing my voice is better than having to put others through the croaky voice that I had a couple days ago- but it’s also really annoying since I can’t vocalize to my little baby 😦

Anyway, I’ve been busy thinking about, well, really, obsessing about what stuff I’m going to do next on the blog and I’m very excited.  Have a few ideas of recipes I’d like to try out and share so be sure to check back in.

I just need to clear this yucky feeling and get myself back up and running and then all will be well 🙂

Wishing you all a wonderful week a head!

Made this baked salmon this week- it was delicious!  I used portugal juice to steam the mustard encrusted salmon and complemented it with sauteed spinach and mushrooms. The brightly coloured garlic roasted sweet peppers and capers were both fabulous additions to this simple meal.

thc salmon portugal

 


back home and happy

THCmonkey

Hello everyone!

I feel like it’s been quite sometime since I’ve been able to post here on thehiddencook and boy did I miss it!

I had a wonderful vacation with my family and returned to a great reception- birthday celebrations and all!  One of my siblings shares a birthday in the same month as me and decided to return home from school to surprise us all!  It was wonderful and continues to be exciting.  I anticipate that since ALMOST everyone is at home now- still missing another sibling and family- we will be venturing into some other areas of Trinidad.  I am really looking forward to seeing some old, familiar places but some new ones too.

I also got my new camera!  This was probably the most exciting part of the trip abroad for me.  I’ve been eyeing new gear for quite some time now, but promised myself 8 years ago that I’d learn my first camera thoroughly before trying out a new one.  So said, so done.  Now that I’ve put my trusty old friend to ‘nap’ I have invested in a new friend whom I am sure will serve me well!  I am learning new things every single day about photography and hope that one day I’d be able to take beautiful photos and touch on mastering some of the tricks and techniques I so desire to.

Anyway, with that little intro into what’s been going on on my end, I’m just going to use this post to put up some of the photos I’ve taken so far.  I hope you all enjoy them!

I encourage comments and constructive criticism so that I could better learn my downfalls and improve upon my techniques.

A review on David’s Tea follows…

THCbattimamzelle THC orchid

 


saltedcaramelmacarons

Happy Sunday everyone!

Just returned from a lovely, heavenly family vacation! I don’t think we’ve all been on a ‘full family’ vacation in years and I can certainly say, I was very happy to be a part of it! The babies- 3 now in the family- all had a sunny time 🙂

Today I’m writing about the elusive french macaron- this will be a 2 part post since I shall include the recipe in the second part to this post. Macarons are different from macaroons in case anyone was wondering -macarons (pr. mac-a-raw (sorta kinda) are little delicate french biscuits made of egg whites and almond flour. The ingredients are basic, but the technique is anything but!

Traditionally these little drops from heaven were called ‘puffs’ and were made and sold unfilled. That was of course, until the creator of Laduree (Paris) decided to fill them making them all the more delicious!

I am obsessed with macarons! I confess and wholeheartedly, un-embarrassingly admit it! Their light, slightly crisp nature with an understated grittiness thanks to almond meal, make them perfect little treats. Their fillings can range from the complex gastronomic creations of mad scientists to the delicate simplicity of a baking neophyte, yet their ability to satisfy one’s desire for a not-so-sweet dessert is almost unparalleled.

I have attempted these about 5 times now and I have to say that I have only ever failed once (phew, thank God!). I tried them for the first time around 2 1/2years ago, while I was pregnant with our baby and although the taste matched those that I had sampled, they fell flat (due to over mixing presumably). Today I have made quite a few successful batches and I am pleased with the recipe and technique I have developed.

Although this post does not include a recipe, here are some pointers on how to create great macaron shells.

http://www.bellayoscura.com/music.html
whippedwhites

  • use slightly less almond meal : powdered sugar. I use 1 1/4 cups almond meal to 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • aged egg whites are NOT necessary. I am testing this theory once again just to be sure, but so far it hasn’t made a difference. I will update this once I test it one more time, just to be sure.
  • egg whites have to be at room temperature, cold egg whites just don’t whip up the same
  • resting the piped macarons before baking them DOES make a difference. I have found that even 15 minutes rest time is enough to make beautiful macarons
  • never bake macarons on 2 different oven shelves at the same time. it just doesn’t work. these delicate biscuits deserve their alone time in the oven. keep it simple
  • you MUST bang the trays on the table before baking. it just isn’t as light if you don’t
  • never let any oils/egg yolks come into contact with your egg whites-this marks the end of your perfectly whipped whites!
  • leave your macarons for atleast 1 day to mature before serving them. You will be shocked how much better they taste!

stay tuned for part 2…


lambnavarin-served_1.Happy Monday everyone!

Hope the weekend went well for everyone!

Just to let you all know, I’ve been working really, really hard in the kitchen. Been doing lots of macarons, experimenting with different fillings and working on some nut-free options. I will definitely be posting part II to my elusive french macaron in the very near future so please keep coming back to see those updates.

For now, let me talk about lamb navarin. This is a meal that I consider ‘comfort food’; it may not be a Caribbean dish, but it’s raw rustic taste and flavor really makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
I first made this dish, word for word from Julia Child’s mastering the art of french cooking, about 9 months ago and have dreamed of making it again ever since- it’s that good. ingredients-navarinlambshoulder-lambnavarin.Lamb is one of my favourite meats, but it’s one that I rarely cook. Whenever I purchase a new cookbook one of the first things I look for is lamb. I’m always looking for lamb recipes, new ways to showcase the sweet, distinct taste of this tender delicious meat. I have to admit, every single lamb recipe that I’ve tried, I’ve loved! I don’t take credit for it, I think it’s just easy to work with such a naturally great tasting meat!

The Process…

flour coated lamb_1. http://www.bellayoscura.com/bella_y_oscura–juan_colomer_e.html
vegetables-lambnavarin-This recipe is adapted from Julia Child’s original lamb navarin- a few tweaks here and there, in an effort to simplify the original version. I opted to use lamb shoulder (centre cut (since it’s the easiest to come by, I get mine from Pricesmart)) and I leave the bone in. The first time I made this I had removed all bones and used them to make lamb stock (which I froze and used this time around). I have to say, I prefer the bones in this meal; it makes it all the more rustic and sort of forces you to savor the whole meal. I didn’t have petit pois this time, so I just omitted them, but they do add a nice little addition. Usually I serve lamb navarin with plain white rice, but this time I opted for a delicious wild rice blend cooked in some left over lamb stock…it was sublime!

lambnavarinfiMake this meal ahead of time and you can reheat it in the oven- the taste only improves as the days go by- the meat and vegetables absorbing the flavors more and more as time passes. I cook with cream sherry and feel that this addition really adds that ‘umph’ to the whole meal. This is one meal that can definitely bring the whole family to the table!

Enjoy and savour!

lambtastylambnavarindetail

[yumprint-recipe id=’11’]lambnavarinclosedetail lambnavarints


hi all!

been meaning to get on here and do some more food posts, but this is what’s been going on…

first off, I’ve been crazily obsessing about french macarons! Arrrgh they drive me mad (in a good way). I’ve been making these little treats EVERY SINGLE DAY! that’s right. seriously. I make them, mature them, give them out, taste them, share them…whatever. but, I also dream about them! That’s how far this thing has gone. I think of flavors, of textures, of colours, of how to make them better, how to store them…everything!
so this is why I haven’t been on here for sometime. I get just enough time to make them (preparing to make macrons is the real hard part) and I never seem to get time to photograph them. But never fear, photos are coming…a recipe as well. I can’t very well post a recipe without having beautiful photos to prove it!

http://www.bellayoscura.com/index.html

The other thing is that our roof leaked and totally destroyed my computer…yes, the one with all my photos for thehiddencook! Can you believe it? Came home to find the computer totally fried (I like fried food but this is pushing it)! anyway, so right now I have none of my data- my husband will hopefully be able to correct that soon- so I’m just using a makeshift set up here for now.
Once all of that gets sorted I’ll definitely be on here more often:)

Anyway, today is saturday and we’re having an impromptu lime at our house. we’re making all sorts of goodies from scratch so i will definitely be posting photos of those yummy treats:)

saturday cooking, kitchen blasting and the odd wining going down in our house, so stay tuned……


hi all,

I’ve once again ‘fallen off the face of the earth’ or at least the blogging world. It’s really sucky, because as much as I’d love to be blogging whole day and night, I just can’t.

well, as I mentioned in my previous post, our computer was irreparably destroyed and we’ve been waiting now for almost a month without hearing from the company or being reimbursed. This company has to be one the biggest roofing companies in Trinidad and yet somehow they don’t see the need to inform us of what’s happening and when we’ll be receiving our new computer! I’m really frustrated now and on the brink of exposing all the photos and names to the public so that they can know which company to avoid, should their roofs need fixing.

http://www.bellayoscura.com/bella_y_oscura–rick_deliz.html

To make matters worse, exactly one week after the whole ‘my computer got soaked and destroyed in a huge watery puddle of mess’ deal, one of the roofers accidentally slipped and feel while doing the job and busted…yes, busted, through the ceiling in our room! Can you imagine? Thank GOD we weren’t home at the time because everything fell onto our baby’s bed! Had the baby been sleeping there, strip molding with nails exposed would have definitely caused some serious harm. God is great!

Anyway, we have been very very understanding of everything that has happened since July 25th and we’re just about fed up now. We are very tempted to post all of the photos up on the company’s page and to send photos to the media, just so that we can get the issue resolved. It’s been extremely inconvenient not having my computer. As soon as it’s resolved I imagine I would be doing a lot more posts; until then, keep cooking and leave me comments, I always love to hear from everyone:)

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