It’s now December 7th! Can you believe it? Just 18 more days to go before Christmas Day which happens to be my birthday.
Yep!! I am a Christmas baby!!
I say that with a big smile.
How old am I? Young enough to still be doing the things I want to do and old enough to be doing the things that makes me happy. Well, at least I try.
I really do try to do something each day to make myself and my children happy. I am eternally grateful to be here with my two wonderful children on this earth despite the trials and tribulations of daily life, I am grateful to be here with them.
One of the main reasons I created this blog was to be able to share what I know with my two children.
I grew up on the Island of Jamaica with my grandfather Melvin and my grandmother Verona on a Sugarcane Farm. The farm was always buzzing with cows, goats and chickens. My Grandparents back then were the largest sugarcane producers in the district. Farm life was tough with the earliest time to rise no later than 5 am. Despite that, it taught me so much about having a strong work ethic.
My grandmother did not have much in terms of material wealth but what she did have was an enormous amount of knowledge and insight into food and how food works. She was also a herbalist of sorts—Always mixing and blending different herbs and spices to create things for us to drink in the family. Where she learnt all this back then, I have no idea. She would often cook dandelions and eat it, long before this became socially acceptable or wildly known. Based on my research dandelion used fresh or dried is good as a mild appetite stimulant, and can be used to improve an upset stomach. What she did have though was what I refer to as a library of information on what kind of food works and what doesn’t. At 10 years old, I tried to remember as much as I could. Unfortunately, some of her teachings fell short because at such a young age I just wanted to play and have fun. Anyway, even at a young age I realized that what she was teaching me would somehow serve an important purpose in my life one day and it surely did.
The question is, “would all that she taught me be able to make me live a long and healthy life? It might, it might not but it will surely help to improve it.
That is what this blog is for, a journal of sorts to pass on the knowledge I gained from my grandmother to my two children.
Even if it doesn’t help me one hundred percent (100%) It will certainly help my children as they get older they can use this blog I created as a reference guide. Something my grandmother was unable to do many, many years ago.
One of things I have learnt approximately two years ago when my health hit a low point, my energy was a bit low, and I just felt something was not quite right. What I found out was that our dosages that we use in foods are all wrong. For years we have been told to use 1 tsp. of this, or 2 tsp. of that, I am referring to herbs and spices when cooking.
I found out our bodies are not taking in enough of the proper nutrients from these herbs and spices because we are not consuming enough of it.
For example, I found out I did not need to take any pain medication e.g. Tylenol in order to relieve a headache or stomach pain if I increase my dosage of Ginger. Yes. Our simple ginger root is extraordinarily powerful. I found out I needed at least 6 oz. of fresh ginger no less in order to relieve my body of any sort of pain. Ginger also helps to boost your energy level over time as oppose to a big surge when you use over the counter medications. Ginger works slower but the effects of the ginger last longer for several hours or even up to 2 days.
In order for our bodies to function the right way or the healthy way, we as humans need to increase our dosages of herbs and spices in our diet.
How much you ask? You will need to customize that for your own body as well as for your family especially if you have children.
What I do know is that many of us are not eating enough of the good herbs and spices we need. Yes, it is difficult to keep up to that kind of a demand each day. Especially, considering we all lead busy lives. Basically, you do the best you can with the knowledge you have. That’s all there is to it. Start small, write down what you find out and record as much as you can. Watch and see how your body reacts to new herbs and spices and take it from there.
You can serve your shrimp cakes with whatever condiments you like. I had some spicy corn salsa at home so I used what I had. A nice jelly would be nice like red pepper jelly or a spicy barbecue sauce. Your choice, use what you have or just eat it as is.
So, my kids refuse to eat fish. If I cook a fish dish it will only be for myself. However, they do love Shrimp! This recipe was created for them but not without me getting a mouthful from my son about how he did not want his shrimp turned into a paste my daughter Melissa made the same comment too. My 11 year old son Richard said, “Mom I need to see the shrimp,” Oh, he’s as candid as his mama. My kids are not afraid to tell me what they don’t like that’s for sure.
2 sprigs of shallots
1 1/2 bulbs of garlic (peeled and crushed)
1 potato (peeled and cooked until soft)
3 oz. freshly grated ginger
300 gram of Cook Shrimp
1/4 Cup of whip cream
Just a pinch of salt
2 tsp. All purpose seasoning
1 Packet of store bought Puff Pastry. (Make sure to take it out our freezer 1 hour before using) That way you can roll it out easily.
In a blender or food processor blend your cook shrimp, chopped shallots, your cooked potato until medium smooth. Then transfer to a small bowl then add your remaining ingredients:
1 egg, grated ginger, whip cream and 1/2 cup of Italian breadcrumbs, salt and all purpose seasoning. Mix using a fork or spoon until all your ingredients are full incorporated.
On a smooth flat surface using either your counter top or table, sprinkle a bit of flour on the surface just enough so your puff pastry can roll easily and doesn’t stick to the table.
Roll out puff pastry to about a 1cm or (1/2 inch thickness) Using a ruler measure and cut 4 x 4 squares. 1 packet of puff pastry should yield you at least 12 squares. Your squares won’t be too big or too small just the right size to place at least 2 tsp. of Shrimp filling in the square. Fill your squares with the filling. Now, taking one end of your pastry square lift it up and take it straight across to the meet the other end of your square. Right away it should look and start to take the shape of a small triangle.
Now, Preheat your oven to 350 degree F.
My 17 year old daughter helped to make these shrimp cakes you see in the picture above. If she could do this, you can too. Very easy and fun savoury treat or appetizers to make. Try not to fill your squares with too much filling, because what will happen is that, while they are baking too much filling will cause your pastry shells to burst and open up and your filling will start pushing through the edges. So, 2 teaspoon of filling should be just right. Finish off your now triangle looking shells by closing the edges with your finger or fork. Once you have made all your shells, then make a egg wash. 1 egg and 1 Tbs. of water stir until well blended. Why do I add water to the egg? I do this because I don’t want my pastry shells to be too dark. If you use just a beaten egg and add it to your pastry when it bakes it will comes out too dark. You just want a nice golden brown. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of your pastry shells with egg wash. Place them in your preheated oven and bake them for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Alice Choo-Shee-Nam—Living In Durham Community Blog