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Monday, 28 November 2011

"I ♥ UAE" Say it with food! - Themed Cardamom Sugar Cookie Cutouts

United Arab Emirates National Day is just a few days away. 
I remember when I was catering, this part of the year was extremely busy. At this point I would have been working on National Day Edible Arrangements, gifts, edible party favours and themed foods... Food is a fabulous medium for expression!

For ages, people have used food to express emotions, from motherly care and love to house warming and welcoming new neighbours, we are able to say it with food! An elegant basket of freshly baked muffins would send a message of warmth and welcome, a plate of freshly baked cookies and a glass of milk is a grandma's way to express love to her grandchildren, and a strawberry dipped in luscious dark chocolate or whipped cream is a lover's way to express love... how beautiful is food? I remember reading Gibran Khalil Gibran and some words find their way to your heart speaking straight to your soul. I remember reading him say: Half of what we say is meaningless, it is the other half we don't say that is meaningful. It is our gestures, and actions that speak louder than our words ever could. The beauty of food is that it allows us to communicate without saying much. In its most basic form, food transmits our emotions. When in a hurry and doing a half hearted job, our food comes out rushed and not well balanced. When patient and joyful, food comes out hearty and just right, showing those who eat that we took the time to care and provide, that they are welcome.

UAE National Day Basket I made for Dubai School of Government, The concept was
a stage celebrating all things UAE
One way of using food for expression is decoration. Food embellishment and decoration had swept the floor of communications. Food had provided a medium for artistic expression and people took on. We decorate cookies, cakes, chocolates... and we do that for greetings, branding, celebrations... In cute edible little parcels of flavour we say things like: "I love you Mum" "Welcome home" "Good Job"... and tie it all with a nice ribbon encasing hours of detailed work and love. Without saying much that basket reflects our joy, pride and love. Food can do that. Gifts from the kitchen are really a wonderful gift to give, after all it is the thought that counts and just look how much thought went into making these small decorated foods. From concept to completion they are nothing short of thought, effort, deliciousness, and expression. If it takes me 6 hours to bake and decorate the cookies for you, that means for 6 hours you were on my mind. How much more thought can go into a gift?

Through the course of the catering years, I have baked and decorated countless, cookies, cupcakes, chocolates, and pops. This year, and because I am no longer catering, I thought to show you how you can do it yourselves. In previous posts, I have explained How to Make Fondant and Sugar Paste at Home, and How to cover a cake with Fondant. The posts also included  some decoration tips. I have also Demonstrated - at Jashanmal's Cook & Coffee by Kenwood - covering a cake with Fondant and decorate it for Christmas. So by now, you can carry out decorating a cake.

For this post, we are taking on the cookies. Since it is National Day, I am going with one of UAE's favourite flavours Cardamom. So we will start by making the Cardamom Sugar Cookie Cutouts...

You Need
Makes 12 large cookies or 24 small cookies
200g Butter
200g Caster Sugar
400g All purpose Flour
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
1 tsp Rose water (optional)

In a small bowl, sift together the flour and cardamom powder. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. Add egg and rose water, beat on medium speed until well incorporated.

Add the flour and Cardamom mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low just until combined. Raise the speed and beat for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until all are very well incorporated. Transfer the cookie dough to a plastic bag or wrap with cling film, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling out.

The cutouts
After cooling for 30 minutes in the fridge, take the dough out and cut it into 4 portions. Work 1 portion at a time, keeping the remaining 3 in the fridge.

TIP It is essential that the dough does not get over worked or heated, especially for cutouts, as the butter will shorten and the dough will over spread in the oven. That will ruin the shape. For properly shaped cookies that snap, keep the dough refrigerated, and after cutting the shapes, place the whole tray back in the fridge, for at least 15 minutes, to cool before baking.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with baking paper. Set aside.

Place the one quarter of cookie dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll to about 1/5 inch thick. Using the desired shape cookie cutters or (templates and a super sharp knife), cut out the shapes. carefully release the dough from the baking sheet, and transfer to the lined baking tray.

When the tray is full, place in the fridge for 15 minutes. After cooling, place the sheet on the middle rack in the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes for large ones, and 15-18 minutes for smaller ones. The cookies should be golden brown on the bottom and edges.

Carefully, transfer the cookies onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Do not attempt to decorate cookies before they are completely cooled.

Decorating Ideas

  • Use the same cookie cutters to cut rolled out Fondant, then stick on the cookie. One very simple way to stick fondant on a cookie is to brush a very small amount of Piping Gel or Jam on the cookie, and that will act as glue. Create definition by tracing over the edges and creating details with Royal Icing (or ready made piping icing found in supermarkets in tubes).
  • Use Royal icing to create borders around the edges and over the desired detail areas, then fill with thinned royal icing (a drizzling consistency icing). This technique is very much like that of glass art, where you draw with a tube and then fill in with colour.
  • Dust with cocoa Powder or Icing Sugar. If using a stencil sheet you can create shapes by dusting over it, and then when you remove the sheet, you will have the desired shapes in sugar.
  • Create 3D shapes out of fondant or Gumpaste and stick them to the cookie.
  • Create flowers or roses in the colours of the flag out of fondant and stick atop the cookies.
  • Make flags and stick them on top of the cookies...etc
Here are some pictures of cookies for UAE National Day. Hope they inspire you and encourage you to make some yourself. Just in time to bake, decorate, set and wrap to be ready for the 2nd of December :))

Um Khamas Cookies, I just love this character from Freej

Cookies showing the traditional Emirati Henna
Desert Oasis Cookies made for National Day

Abayas & Kandooras Brownie pops

  If you would like to learn more about cookies, cookie decorations to include a variety of flavours, cookie types, icings, decorating techniques...etc Join my course: Cookies - Baking, Decorating & Cookie Bouquets, where you get to learn all this in details.

What is your National Day tradition? Do you prepare specific food for this occasion? I would love to learn all abouot your traditions, so please do share with me and leave me a comment before you go... :)

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Mini Eclairs With Custard Filling

Mini Eclairs! What a fabulous treat?
Light as a feather, like chewing on little pillows made of clouds, while the Creme Anglaise oozes into your mouth in tiny dollops to sweetly cool and refresh your palate, followed by hints of chocolate to round up the whole experience... it must be a dream! But no, it is Eclair!

Starting with pate a Choux; a delicate kind of pastry that is made to perfection with patience and love, with the gradual and continuous stirring of eggs to incorporate into a roux, then shaped and baked to a perfect golden puff... Moving on to making the custard that will fill those puffs, as if they need more delicateness, yet to draw upon and intensify the dreaminess of this experience. The melt in your mouth softness of custard just takes you further into the realm of heavenly food. Topped with a generous pouring of Chocolate Ganache, to add a little creaminess in case you have missed it, and hints of the exotic for an otherwise fair experience. In a blind moment, my senses are softly awakened with nothing short of a floating amongst angels! This is perfection! And it comes in bite size!

I have been invited by my friend Sally, to join her Custard Mingle - as part of Meeta's Monthly Mingle - where I would share a recipe that uses custard. I have also been advising a couple of my friends on making Eclairs, so I thought a blog post about this marvelous treat is in order. So here you go, a step-by-step tutorial about Mini Eclairs filled with Creme Anglaise (Custard Sauce). I love this recipe and get rave reviews every time I make it. I am hoping that you will try it and see for yourself, it is Fabulous!

Many are intimidated by Choux Pastry! Don't be. Choux pastry is very easy to make, provided you do follow  the instructions. Provided that you are patient, as you will be doing quite a bit of stirring, and provided that you do Gradually add the eggs, the pastry will turn out perfect every time. If you get impatient and decide to just go for all the eggs at once (especially when making large batches of pastry), your pastry won't work, or if it does will turn out tough which ruins the whole experience. Choux pastry is delicate and airy, it should never be the texture of a cake or bread! That is only established by the gradual addition of eggs and the continuous stirring (not beating or whipping).

In the same effect; making the Creme Anglaise is also quite consuming in the sense of continuous stirring. But all the effort is worthwhile in the end, as the creamy softness of the custard, matches the delicateness of the choux, making the whole experience heavenly. When making this, I usually put myself in a zone, where the clock slows down, and am just so into the mechanical motion of it all. I am telling you it is therapeutic, kind of like meditation! It is my time with myself, when I can't seem to otherwise spare a moment in a crazy busy life style.

Pate a Choux - Choux Pastry
You Need
Makes 12

5 tbsp butter, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup water
3/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a cookie sheet with baking paper and set aside.

Make a roux: In a medium saucepan, place the water, vanilla and the butter, over medium heat. Gently heat until the butter melts. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and add all the flour at once, beating well until the mixture pull away from the sides of the pan and looks like dough.

Cool slightly, about 3 minutes, and gradually stir in the eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition until well incorporated. You want to keep on stirring until the egg is no longer separate and visible before the addition of the next egg. The addition of the egg will form a smooth mixture that is somewhat shiny.

Once you have incorporated all the eggs, and the mixture is well incorporated, smooth and shiny, it is then ready to be shaped and baked.

Sprinkle the lined sheet with a little water (just a sprinkle not a shower). Place the Choux pastry in a large piping bag, and pipe out 2 inch lines on the lined baking sheet, spaced about 1 inch apart. Repeat till all quantity is finished. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden and sound hollow when gently tapped.

Carefully make a slit down one side of the baked Eclair for filling, then place on wire rack until completely cooled. Do not attempt filling Eclairs before being completely cooled.

Creme Anglaise - Custard Sauce
You Need
Makes about 2 cups

5 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split open, seeds scraped
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)

In a heavy saucepan, stir together the egg yolks, sugar, milk and vanilla seeds. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon. You should be able to draw a clear line - in the centre of the custard coating on the spoon - without the custard reattaching.

In order to stop the residual cooking, you have to quickly place the saucepan in a large bowl containing ice and water, stirring continuously for 2 minutes.

Pour 1 cup of the custard into a piping bag, and pipe into the opened slit of the cooled eclairs to fill. Set aside.

TIP Pour the remaining custard into a glass container, cover the top of the custard with cling film in order to prevent skin formation. Refrigerate. Serve this custard on top of fresh fruits, as a side to tarts, or with buttered toast.

Make Chocolate Ganache, Dip the tops of the filled eclairs with the Chocolate Ganache, and place on serving platter. Chill till ready to serve, if you can resist...

If you like this post and would like to go into more details of making choux pastry with varieties of it, as well as varieties of fillings, join Dima's Course Afternoon Tea.

Do you like Eclairs? Have you ever made Choux Pastry? Do you think that you will go for making your own from now on? Let me know, leave a cooment...

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Creole Octopus Curry in Coconut Milk - A Seychelles Signature Dish

Villa Di Aldo

I have recently been to Seychelles, and I had stayed at Villa Di Aldo in Takamaka - Mahe, where I met Karl, the villa's cook who is an extraordinary cook by all means. One of the many concoctions Karl had cooked for us is this succulent Octopus Curry, one of Seychelles signature dishes. Once you try this curry, you will definitely be making it often. It is also a very easy to follow recipe that you will want to bookmark and come back to.

Follow this link to read the full account on my Culinary Trip to Seychelles. On the same link you will also find a review on the Villa, as well as recommendations on where to eat, what to eat while in Seychelles as well as other activities that you can do when there.  

This curry is Creamy and reduced, the curry flavour was so well balanced against the creole rice, and the octopus was cooked to perfection. This is a luscious curry that will make you ask for more! The best thing about it, is that there was nothing in it that was not fresh. It was straight from the garden, and the octopus straight from the fisherman a block away from the Villa! 

Karl has generously agreed to give me the recipe to share with you, and here it is with love from Takamaka- Mahe...

Karl's Creole Octopus Curry in Fresh Coconut Milk

Octopus Curry in Fresh Coconut Milk

Fresh Cinnamon Leaves
from Villa's Garden
You Need
1 large Octopus, cleaned and ink sack removed
1 cup Fresh Coconut Milk or 1 can coconut milk
1 spring fresh curry leaves
2 large fresh cinnamon Leaves
Fresh Thyme
1 tbsp Mild Creole Curry Powder
2 tsp Saffron Powder
2 tsp Chili powder
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 inch fresh ginger
Salt & Black pepper to taste

Clean the Octopus and hound with a rolling pin to tenderise. Roughly chop into chunks or rounds in the desired size.
Boil the octopus, in salted water, to further tenderise (about 10 minutes).
Drain, discard the water.

In a large saucepan, drizzle some coconut oil and add the cooked Octopus meat. Place over medium heat and toss to coat with the oil.

Sprinkle the the spices over the octopus, add the leaves and herbs and toss to coat. 

Add the coconut milk (adjust quantity if necessary) and bring to a gentle boil. 

Meanwhile Crush the peeled ginger and garlic together. Once the currry had boiled add the ginger and garlic to the saucepan. Check and adjust seasoning if necessary. Reduce heat and simmer till reduced and done.

Serve with Creole or Coconut Rice, alongside Papaya Chutney and Creole Chili Relish for an excellent extra kick!

Have you ever been on a trip that ended up offering way more than what you had bargained for? Have you ever traveled on a culinary quest? Share with us, we love to hear your stories :))

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Green Papaya Chutney

Green Papaya is great in salads, curries, and creole Ratatouille... It is super delicious. One excellent recipe for using green papaya is Green Papaya Chutney! It is delicious. Green Papaya Chutney is a really good side to curries. The crunch and cool it provides against the spiciness and creaminess of a curry balances out the whole experience. In Creole Cuisine, green papaya chutney is always on the menu, and always treated as a star! The best thing though is that it can replace the need for rice, for those who are intolerant or trying to reduce the intake of carbs, without compromising on the whole curry experience! I love it and will be having lots of it, hope you like it too :)

You Need
Grated green Papaya
2 cloves garlic
1 red onion, finely sliced
Juice of 2 limes
Salt & Black pepper to taste
Olive oil
Finely sliced Red Chilies

Grate the green papaya and sprinkle with salt. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes then squeeze all the water out, discard the water.

Separate the squeezed grated papaya on a tray, then sprinkle with black pepper and the juice of 2 limes.
Meanwhile Sweat the sliced onion in a little olive oil but do not brown.

 Add the seasoned grated papaya and the sliced red chilies and toss to coat.

Cook on medium heat tossing until the papaya is slightly wilted. Serve next to creole curries.
Do give it a shot, as am sure you will love it :)

Let me know what you think of this recipe? Would you give it a go?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

How to Extract The Fresh Coconut Milk

Using Fresh produce and ingredients makes all the difference to flavour and the overall quality of your food. Yes you hear it all the time, but it cannot be underestimated, and you can't hear it enough! There is nothing like the flavour of fresh ingredients. Once ingredients are processed, canned or even frozen, they lose so much of their properties and flavour that they almost become different from the real thing! Once you try food that has been prepared using fresh ingredients you will instatnlt know what you have been missing on all along.

Finely Grated Fresh Coconut

Coconut milk is a perfect example of this fact. Coconut milk is so delightful and can be used in many food preparations both savoury and sweet. The addition of this milk instantly transforms a dish - with a distinctive coconut flavour -to one of tropical nature, maybe even take your thoughts to far away places... adding to the whole experience of having those foods.We mostly use canned coconut milk, and at times the powder version of it. But just try a curry made with fresh coconut milk! I am telling you it is 100% better. So if you liked it with the canned stuff, you are going to love it made with fresh coconut milk.

Fresh Coconut Milk is not hard to extract, in fact it is so easy that you will think: why did I ever go for the canned stuff?! Here is how it's made...

Strongly Rub the finely grated coconut flesh to release the milk
Get a fresh coconut that still has it's natural water. Don't worry if you can't find one with its natural water still there, you can always use drinking water. Drain the coconut water through a sieve into a bowl and set aside.

Peel and finely grated the flesh of the coconut and place in a large bowl. Add 2 tbsp coconut water and let it rest for about 2 hours. You will find that it has drained off some of its natural juices at the bottom of the bowl. Strongly rub the shredded coconut releasing the milk out onto the bowl.

Grab handfuls of the coconut flesh and squeeze the milk out till no milk comes out
Grab handfuls of the grated coconut and squeeze all the milk out until no more can be squeezed. Place the dried coconut in separate bowl.

Continue to squeeze till all quantity had finished. Pass the milk through a sieve to get rid of any flesh. And there you have fresh coconut milk.

The remaining dry flesh after all milk had been squeezed out

You can either spread the dried coconut flesh on a large tray and place in the sun to dry, to get your home-dried descicated coconuts, or you can use this flesh in making Coconut Chutney (will post recipe soon).
How much easier can it get?! Simple Natural Fresh Goodness..... Doesn't get any better!

Have you ever tried a fresh ingredient that changed your perspective on a specific dish? Share your experience with us, we love nothing more than hearing about your experiences :))

Monday, 14 November 2011

Vacation Brings On New Cuisine - Salade Di Milionaire

I have just got back from vacation and I cannot have been happier with the destination we ended up in! We had planned to go to Thailand for Eid vacation, but due to the flooding over there, had to change plans at the last minute. I was so excited about going to Thailand, as you may already know I love Thai cuisine, and when travelling I always make sure cuisine - or food in general - is a big part of my travels. It is what I like to call: Culinary Destinations :) We eventually ended up going to Seychelles. With the whole culinary destination in mind, I was not sure what Seychelles had to offer in that sense. I knew their cuisine is creole, but was not exactly sure which type of creole food they made. I went with an open heart ready to take in what this adventure was about to bring. So little did I know, that this spontaneous trip to a destination I thought small on food, would turn out to be the Culinary Experience I had been looking for! I found Gastronomy! Or maybe it found me! I could not have wished for more!!

I had been for a while now looking for food inspirations. I had been feeling like I need to find a new perspective; something new and good enough to inspire me - to further develop my palate and to have promise of a new brush stroke on that canvas! And boy! Did I find new cuisine, new ingredients, new flavours, new perspective and whole renewed sense of respect for ingredients! A simple, fresh and way down to earth destination brought all that about, humbling me back into the basics of cooking, the basics of food: The Fresh Ingredient! In beautiful, breath taking Seychelles the concept of Farm-to-table takes a whole other dimension. Freshness is ultimate, whatever the food you end up having! There you can rest assured that the ingredient is in premium condition, in its natural state as its meant to be. The rest is up to the cook, and how this cook can manage to give it its rightful stature. How the cook can bring out the flavours  in a way that is balanced, enhanced and never overwhelmed or underestimated! This is utmost respect for any given ingredient, without which your cooking will always remain mediocre! So I have decided to start my inspirational vacation posts from this exact point, then in coming posts will be telling you more about Seychelles and the gastronomy that I had found.

To begin with and to give you a bit of background; Seychelles is an island country in the Indian Ocean, East of Mainland Africa. Having been colonised by the French, the country is very much influenced by the French culture. They speak creole, which in their definition is broken French. If you know French you will be able to understand almost everything they say. But worry not, as they can also speak English. Creole Cuisine, is the cuisine of this beautiful island as well as its surrounding countries such as Mauritius, Zanzibar and other areas in West Africa. It is also the cuisine of the Caribean and any country that has dominant African Settlers.

Creole Cuisine is very influenced by the French cuisine, in many concoctions it employs the same techniques, and even uses many of the same flavours! They have also been much influenced by Asian Cuisine, due to the Asian migrants who brought their cuisines and flavourings along with them. I guess it would be safe to say that the cuisine is a French-Asian Fusion with an African twist in terms of exotic ingredients. Being situated just to the south of the equator, the country is rich with exotic produce. Mangos, Papayas, Bread Fruits, Pineapples, Coconuts, Tamarind... all grow naturally in Seychelles! The exotic produce together with other Proven├žal and Asian ingredients have mingled together and formed this super tasty creole cuisine.

Seychelle's Creole cooking includes a lot of fish and seafood, rightly so as its an island on an ocean rich in all sorts of fish and seafood. They also cook chicken, and least of meat. They use a lot of curry spices in their cooking, and a lot of coconut milk - freshly made at home! Will be posting about that soon :) They also use a lot of fresh ginger, garlic, fresh cinnamon leaves, and fresh curry leaves, as well as soya sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce. If that does not say Asian, then I don't know what does! In other preparations they use lots of garlic, shallots, thyme, cream and butter and if that does not scream French then you tell me what does! Then they bring something like a baked Bread Fruit to the equation and that just becomes pure creole! It is delicious!

Seychelles are also known for eating Bat Meat! Yes that is right! They have humongous bats there, that actually look a lot like Batman! I was super taken when I saw them flying in flocks to the full moon, it looked like a live Halloween decoration! Super cool. The bat looks like a fox with wings! It has no beak but rather a face and body of a fox, covered with orange hair! Attached to that body are black leather wings with little hands on top!! How weird is that?! They even call it the flying fox over there!
As it turns out, these bats are 100% vegetarian, feeding off ripe fruits on the trees. They even refuse to eat the fruits that have fallen off the trees, as they are not as good a quality! Since they only eat excellent quality fruits, and are flying around free, they happen to have the most tender and delicious meat you can ever taste! I mean talk about organic, free range meat! It is exactly the same concept. Their meat is pure and of excellent quality. It tastes like any other birds meat, except it is super tender and extremely delish! Well I tried it, I had to, I believe you have got to try and keep an open mind, if you still don't like it, then don't have it again, but you have got to try! It was worth it, and I will have it again any time! The most famous bat preparation is Bat Curry, which you will find on the menu of any restaurant over there :)

Fresh Coconut Palm Heart
The most inspiring bit though came as a little surprise! It is the fresh heart of a coconut palm - Palmito! I seriously like Palmitos. I mean what is a Salade Panache without Palmitos? But I had never had the pleasure of meeting the fresh Palmito! Yup, like many, I had been eating the processed, canned, soured palm hearts! Of course I knew that they are not the real deal, the fresh ingredient; so you can imagine my happiness when I came across a real heart of palm!! I was overjoyed. So I had to convince the guy to sell it to me, which he was very hesitant to do for some reason! Eventually my stubornness won and I got it! Took it back to the villa and asked Karl (le chef Extraodinaire!) to show me how it is prepared. He then explained to me that -in Seychelles - it was illegal to cut palm trees in order to obtain the heart! That is why the guy looked weird when I figured it was a heart of palm, and that is also why he did not want to sell it to me! I had no idea!! As it turned out, in order to get the heart (in the picture above) the whole palm tree had to be cut, and then its dead! It will not grow back! Therefore it became forbidden by law to cut down palm trees for their hearts! Unless it is bought from specific plantations, that are made specifically for this. These plantations are very few, and therefore the good quality palmitos are rare and very expensive! It is the leftovers of the heart, the least of quality that are jarred and shipped to our supermarkets! For that in Seychelles creole cuisine, they have a palmito salad that is named "Salade Di Millionnaire" because it uses only the premium part of the heart of palm, which is so hard to find, and very expensive to buy!! I was intrigued! So I had to learn how that is done!

Salade Di Millionaire

So here is the recipe part of my post:
Salade Di Milionaire

Before I tell you how it is made, I will have to first explain how the palmito is prepared in order to get the premium part of it, which is used in this salad. It goes without say here that it is not the same with canned palmitos, and that this salad is mainly one because of the fresh premium heart of palm!

Step by step tutorial of preparing fresh hearts of palm
The numbers below are in reference to the photos above
(please excuse the blurriness of the pics, Karl was moving so fast, I could hardly capture what he was doing!)

  1. You need a whole fresh heart of coconut palm - Palmito
  2. With hard strokes (mind your hands) cut a cross shape at the centre of the heart, as shown in pic 2
  3. Open up the cross, revealing the layer underneath
  4. Remove the cover
  5. Repeat this process twice
  6. You are then left with the centre of the heart of palm
  7. Using a knife, peel off a couple of layers from the head of the palmito
  8. This is the premium part of the heart, which is used in this salad. The rest is what they consider rubbish, and what is then used for canning!
  9. using a vegetable peeler, slice off the premium part of the palm heart (into thin slices)
  10. Place the slices in salted water, or they will change colour
  11. Once you have taken your salad need, slice off the rest and use as nibbles with drinks. Tastes Divine, very fresh, moist and with a coconutty texture that is less chewy! Can't even explain it you have got to try it to know!
Those remaining pieces of the heart and the ones that have been peeled off
are usually soaked in brine to tenderise and then canned and sold as supermarket quality Palmotis

Salade Di Milionaire
You Need

1 bowl full of premium palmito shavings, soaked in salty water
1 medium onion, super finely sliced
Juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp Olive oil
Black pepper

Place the finely sliced onions together with the palmito shavings in the salted water and let them soak for 15 minutes. Place in a colander and drain off the water, then squeeze them to remove any excess water (squeeze them dry) but do not wash. Place in serving bowl.

In a cup mix together the lime juice, black pepper and olive oil until well incorporated and pour the mixture over the the palmito and onions, mix to coat.

There you have it Salade Di Milionaire, where the heart of palm is the star, the rest of the ingredients are just to accent the flavour and bring out to the surface. Not overwhelmed, not underestimated, rather in its rightful place, right at the top.
This salad is a delicacy, and is super delicious! Do not pass on the opportunity to try it anytime that you can.


As hard as it was not to blog, the vacation was much needed. But with many adventures and stories I have lots of exciting stuff to share with you. Hope you have enjoyed this sneak a peak into my fabulous Vacation, I will be posting more with more exotic and delicious recipes for you to try.  So keep coming back and I assure you, you will love what's to come :))

Seychells Sunsets are breathtaking!

Have you ever tried Fresh Coconut Palm Hearts or Bat Meat? What did you think? If not would you try them? Don't shy away, leave a comment 
Love Dima