Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fish without Chips. Caribbean Fry-Dry Sprats

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Hi, my name is Wizzy and …uhmm…I uhmmm… I ahhh….I’m addicted to fry dry! Said in a rush and with a sigh of relief. There I said it!

What?!!! It’s no longer fashionable to have this once traditional Caribbean breakfast. Who says? Obviously I didn’t get the memo. When was the last time you actually tasted a mess of these crispy, fried, sprats, hot off the frying pan with a squeeze of lime, or some tarter sauce? Come on now, don’t be coy. Don't play like you don’t know what I’m talking about.


They are ugly you say. Sure, after frying these, they look somewhat prehistoric, like they jumped out of the Cretaceous period and landed on your plate. I don’t actually look at them as I eat them. That would be ….well…bizarre. They kinda creep me out. But go on, admit it – you like them too don’t you? It’s okay, we are all friends here. You can say it. FRY DRY KICKS CEREAL’S BUTT FOR BREAKFAST ANY DAY. I can sense your disbelief. Heck, forget breakfast, around here we fry these up any old time of the day as a snack.

Fry Dry

Let me show you. Here. It’s like eating fish and chips (fries) but without the fries. The fish are themselves the fries. The bones are left in which adds to the crack, crackle, crunch factor. Cripsy fish fries, best served hot - dipping sauce entirely optional. Wouldn’t this be fabulous with a splash of malt vinegar and a sprinkle of sea salt? Perhaps I could tempt you with a ketchup-soy-pepper sauce combo?

Oh go on – you don’t like them anyway so what if I break the rules. While I’m at it, I might as well offer full disclosure. The traditional way is to dredge them in flour but I prefer them naked. Sacrilege. Maybe. I find they stay crunchier that way.

I hear you. This is a little too outlandish looking to be palatable. Look, I made an effort to plate it up all pretty and gourmet-like just to tempt you. On second thought it might be better that you don’t know what you are missing, so I won’t have to share. Forget I said anything. You are entirely correct in your first assumption. These are ugly so they must taste horrid. I will happily eat them for you.

Fry Dry Recipe
2 lbs sprats (innards removed)
1/2 lime to wash the fish
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 leaves of shadon beni or cilantro
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
3 chive stalks finely chopped
3 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup vegetable oil  

Put fish in a bowl and wash by squeezing the juice of 1/2 a lime or lemon and rinse with water. Drain and pat dry with paper towel and set aside. 

Add choppped seasonings ( shadon beni, garlic, thymes, chives and salt) to fish. Set aside to marinate for 2 hours. You can prep your fish the night before and leave it to marinate overnight.

Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Fry fish in batches. Try not to crowd the pan with too many. Allow to cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side and then flip to cook evenly. Drain on paper towels. Serve with your favourite dipping sauce as an appetizer or for lunch with rice and dhal.

...another sort of sprat...

Monday, April 26, 2010

And the Winner is...


Congratulations throuthehaze I will be contacting you by email. You have three days to respond or I will be obliged to choose another winner. A great big thank you to everyone who participated. I know it's impossible but I felt like everyone should win something. I can't tell you how long my cursor hovered over that generate button. It's silly but I was actually nervous on your behalf. I am extremely grateful to Home bars of  CSNstores for being the sponser of this event. I also want to thank them for including in some small way the Caribbean as part of this contest. I believe it may be the first time that they have ever included participants from outside of the US and Canada.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Giveaway for the Caribbean, Canada and U.S.

This Event is Closed
Recently I was contacted by a representative of the by now famous CSN stores. I’m sure you have seen them on a gazillion other blogs. This company sponsors giveaways on many different kinds of blogs, not only food blogs. They can do this because they have over 200 stores with everything you might desire to furnish your dream home, from home bars and counter stools to cookware, appliances, and barbecue smokers. After browsing through their stores my husband insisted that I mention that last item:-)

Here are just a few of my favourite things from Cookware.Com, All Modern.Com and Toys and Games

  1. A cheerful set of pinch bowls
  2. A Radio Flyer trike for my son.
  3. A mod lamp to make any space groovy
  4. These Caribbean blue casserole dishes
  5. This lovely milk pitcher
  6. A sunburst mirror to brighten any day
  7. A beautiful throw pillow
  8. More sunshine in these lovely baking dishes.

But hey if a charcoal grill or smoker is more your speed then they have that too at Barbecue Grills and

I am super excited to announce that if you live in the CARIBBEAN (and have a skybox) YOU CAN PARTICIPATE IN THIS GIVEAWAY. Yay!

For the enlightenment of those who may not have heard about a skybox, no-it’s not a luxury box at a stadium or arena. Quite simply, it is a courier service that allows us here in the West Indies to make purchases from US Internet stores and catalogues. The courier receives your packages at their US based warehouses and ships it directly to your door. Please be aware that after it ships to your US skybox address YOU will be responsible for all costs, and any taxes associated with having the courier deliver it for you. You don’t have a sky box? Come on I’m sure you have a tantie, an uncle, a nen nen or a friend with one.

What’s the prize? Any item of YOUR choosing from any CSN store to the value of $65. 00 US. Sister dearest that springform pan you wished you had for making your cheesecake can be purchased here. I especially like it because of the glass bottom of this one - no awkward sliding onto a serving platter. Those of you who expressed regret at not having an ice-cream maker to make my Guinness ice-cream. Take part in the giveaway and this right here could be yours if you win.

Here are the rules. For a chance to win, you need to do just 3 things.

Become a “follower” or subscribe to Breakfast Lunch Dinner Punch by clicking on the RSS or email subscription button in the top right hand corner of the blog. It is free to join this site. If you are already subscribed allow me to compliment you on your good taste in blogs lol.

Become a Fan of Breakfast Lunch Dinner Punch on Facebook. Click on the link or the fan page widget in the side bar and click on the become a fan button.

Visit CSN Stores and leave a comment on this page telling me what you would buy from them if you won $65.00 . You MUST include your email address in the following format wizzythestick(at)gmail(dot)com. Comments without an email address will automatically be disqualified. 

And that’s it! If you’d like, mention this giveaway on your blog, Fb or twitter page to help spread the word. The giveaway will be open until 6:00 PM EST, Sunday, April 25 and the winner will be announced the following day. This giveaway is open to US Canadian and the Caribbean. Caribbean entrants must have a US Skybox to qualify. The winner will be randomly selected using and announced on Monday 26th April. The winner will have 3 days to claim the prize or a new winner will be chosen. Good Luck and many thanks to CSN stores!!!

NB**I was not compensated for this post, nor did I receive any products form CSN stores.**


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Make your rice happy

Spanish Rice
Spanish Rice

Around here the rice du jour is brown. It’s tasty, yet slightly nutty flavour is good enough and it’s very healthy. But let’s be totally honest, some days you don’t want good enough. Some days you want super, over- the-top, lick your ten fingers never mind the company, or colonic benefits good.

On those days we make Spanish Rice or as I like to call it happy rice. Any meal with this as a side dish is sure to involve gargantuan portions and joyful noise. From back yard barbecues,  to beach limes, Sunday lunches and even weddings, you are looking at the rice that gets invited to all the happy occasions.

Spanish Rice

I don’t know that there is anything Spanish about this rice other than the fact that it looks like Paella. Unlike Paella which gets its intense yellow colour from expensive saffron, this popular rice dish is coloured with turmeric and is a heck of a lot easier to throw together. In fact with just a few meat and or seafood additions you can have yourself a terrific one-pot meal.

Spanish Rice Recipe
1 ½ cups cooked long grain parboiled rice
¾ tsp turmeric
2 tbsps vegetable oil
¼ cup bacon, diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 red and 1 green sweet pepper, diced
1 can whole corn
½ cup olives
¼ cup raisins
½ cup chives, chopped

Wash rice until water runs clear and is no longer cloudy. Washing your rice will ensure that your grains are not sticky. Add the rice to the pot with 3 cups of water and ¾ tsp of turmeric and salt.(to your taste) Bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes at a rolling boil then simmer over low heat until all the water is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Try not to lift the lid while cooking.

Add oil to another large pot and cook the bacon. Add carrots and cook until tender but still a bit crunchy. Add sweet peppers, corn, olives and raisins. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the cooked rice to the vegetables. Add the chives to the rice while it is still warm and mix thoroughly.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Great Balls of Meat

Some days trying to maintain a gluten-free life style for my son sucks rocks! The high cost of gluten free flours and pastas means that I can't afford for us all to eat gluten-free and cooking two sets of food is such a pain. As much as I have rearranged my meals to suit my son's needs, the biggest challenge has been communicating the seriousness of his condition to others. At social gatherings, I cringe whenever some kindly person offers him a bite of something and I have to jump in like the Food Gestapo with a million questions about the ingredients.

West Indians love to feed people. We are wonderful like that. On the beach or by a river lime, just hang about close enough to a group of people on an outdoor cook and a plate of delicious food is bound to be sent your way. Imagine then in the face of such generosity giving someone a lecture about a little known medical condition and then a third degree as you seek to find out whether every single ingredient used was gluten free.

Trying to explain gluten intolerance at birthday parties does not help you win friends and influence people. Word quickly gets around about the weirdo mom with a bag of alternative snacks. (Sheepish) yeah that’s me in the corner trying to ignore the frowns of disapproval while I deflect my screaming toddler from the minefield of gluten-filled cake, cookies, ice-cream and chips that ALL the other children are eating. It’s good enough for the other kids right, so what the heck is her problem?


It would be nice to get a day off and eat out with my family once in a while without the burden of planning meal and snack replacements all the time or being the poster girl for my son’s gluten-free diet. Sometimes I just want to relax and eat with my family! A call to one of the country's premier restaurants revealed that this might not be likely for me anytime soon.

Me: Good evening. Do you offer any gluten free meal options on your menu?
Maitre d’: Uhmm gluten free. Everything in this restaurant is gluten free.
Me (rolling my eyes skyward): Would you please confirm that with the chef for me.
Maitre d’: Yes m’am please hold while I check that for you. (A few minutes later) The chef assures me that he doesn't cook with gluten and EVERYTHING is gluten free.
Me: Do you serve pasta?
Maitre d’: Yes we do.
Me: You do know that pasta contains gluten?
Maitre d’: Does it?
Me (oh boy): Thanks for your help, good evening.

A Bowl of Pasta

I wasn't upset that the restaurant in question did not have a gluten free option on their menu. However I was very angry that they proclaimed themselves to be gluten-free when in fact they didn't seem to have a clue about what gluten-free meant. Had I gone there my child could have been seriously ill! This was the situation for my friend whose night out at a different restaurant, in another country ended her up in the ER. She has a shrimp allergy. There was no shrimp in her dish but cross contamination had occurred when the cutting board used to prepare her dish had been used earlier to prep shrimp. Chefs are not dietitians but don't you think that everyone who works in a restaurant has a responsibility to be knowledgeable of food allergies in order that they might correctly inform and keep customers safe from harmful food choices?


It is becoming increasingly  difficult for my toddler as he observes others around him eating different food from what is on his plate. Now at meal times he only wants to eat the food from his brother’s plate. This is why I think that these meatballs are so great. We can all enjoy the same thing together.By swapping out the breadcrumbs with readily available and not so expensive farine I can create meatballs that we call all enjoy. Bonus – they taste better and are even more moist than my old meatballs with breadcrumbs. I always make several batches of this in one go so that I can freeze the extras. Thaw and reheat for when you want a quick meal.Serve with your favourite sauce and gluten free pasta.

MeatBalls (Gluten Free)

3lbs of minced beef
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 cup green seasoning
1 tbs tamarind chutney
1/4 tsp anchovy paste
3/4 cup farine soaked in the same amount of water.
6 oz plain yogurt (fat free)
Salt to taste (bear in mind that the anchovy paste is already very salty)

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large mixing bowl, add the meat, the egg,  the green seasoning, the tamarind chutney, the anchovy paste, the farine and the yogurt.
With clean hands mix everything together and shape into small balls. I got about 60 balls. It only sounds  like a lot but my family is large and I always have to factor in packed lunched for work and school the following day. Spray a baking sheet with oil. Set balls on tray and bake for 15 mins. Turn meatballs and bake for 15 minutes more.While the meatballs are baking make the marinara sauce.

2 tbsp olive oil
3 or 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 large jar gluten free spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
carrot, grated or one table spoon sugar
3 or 4 tbsp green seasoning
salt to taste
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium-low heat.
  2. Add the chopped garlic and onion and cook gently until light brown in colour, taking care not to burn the garlic.
  3. As the garlic just begins to brown add the spaghetti sauce and stirl.
  4. Add the water the sugar or the carrots and salt and bring to the boil, stirring frequently.If carrots are used use and immersion blender to make a smooth sauce.
  5. Once the sauce starts to boil, add the meatballs reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with the lid and simmer gently for around 15 - 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  6. Once the desired consistency has been reached, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the freshly chopped seassoning.
  7. Serve with cooked gluten-free pasta. 
COOKING NOTES: Tomato based sauces from the United States tend to be a bit too acidic for me. Our tomato sauces and ketchup are somewhat sweeter so I add a little sweet to my marinara sauce. The idea of the carrots replacing the sugar came about during my bout with gestational diabetes during my second pregnancy. It works well sometimes I may add more carrots.

This recipe has been entered into the Gluten-Free Wednesdays Blog Carnival over at  The Gluten-Free Homemaker's Blog.


Thursday, April 1, 2010



Breads Muffins and Pancakes
Pan de Jamon (Venezuelan Christmas Bread)

Breakfast and Brunch
Whale Buljhol (no recipe)

Candy/Sweet treats


Meat and Poultry

Side Dishes 


Soups and Sandwiches