Bahamian Rum Cake

Bahamian Rum Cake


I can barely type this out due to my excitement.  I think I may have conquered one of my biggest disappointments in my baking career.  I present to you...a successful bundt cake!

Success = I didn't have to scrape any cake from bottom of the pan.  I didn't have to painstakingly align cakes pieces like I was assembling a puzzle.  And I sure didn't have to whip up a frosting to drizzle over the sort-of-mismatched cake pieces so no one would notice.  Now THIS is what's up!

Now I know that this cake is not specifically Bahamian.  Don't kill my vibe.  However, I do love to eat this when I'm at home in the Bahamas.  I probably get to do that because I request for my sister to make it every time I come home.  This time, I decided to try my own hand at this recipe because dangit it, it's about as cold as you can get up here in New Jersey and I just want an excuse to warm myself up with booze and dessert.  I can't even pretend that there are any other reasons.

A confession I have to make is that this cake starts out from a box mix.  It's very rare that I put anything starting with a box cake mix on this blog, but in this case I must make an exception because this is the way my family has always made rum cake.  We can't switch things up decades later.  Nothing says I love you quite like cake.

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Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

It's 2015 and it's going down this year.

The resolutions have been made.  By other people, not me....although I do wish to continue to be fabulous this year...

The sequins and the high heels have been worn out.  Again, not by me.  I've got the shimmer and flats game on lock though.

The champagne has been drunken.  That was me.  I did that for sure.  By the way, is "drunken" even a word?!  If so, then I have most definitely drunken all the champagne.

While I am excited for new beginnings and the promises of a new year, I am also excited to make more dishes that I eat regularly when I am at home in the Bahamas.  I realized the other day, while vegging out on my couch and for sure not in the gym with all the other folks who vowed to work out more this year, that I have now cataloged several Bahamian recipes but I haven't actually made them at home in New Jersey.  And wasn't that the whole point of documenting this process?

As you can imagine, pineapple upside-down cake is not distinctly Bahamian, but I only eat it when I go home.  So yeah, for me it's "Bahamian".  I was able to request for my sister to make this cake when I went back in December.  I have no idea where this recipe comes from because this is just the way we've made this cake for years.  Yeah, I'm talking yearsssss.... So here ya go.  I'm super excited to share this with you guys since 1) it's cake, duh!  and 2) this is something I look forward to eating each time I go home and I really think you'll enjoy it too!

Now go forth and conquer the new year and eat lots of cake!

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Bahamian Peas n' Rice

I'm attempting to get back into my old posting routine.  Work has been Rough lately (with a capital R!) but I'm trying to work my way through this.  At least I got a short holiday break when I was able to make a quick trip to Florida for the weekend.

Sunshine!  Warmth!  Beach!  Pool time!  It sort of reminded me that I've been sitting on this Bahamian recipe for a while.  Oops.  So here I am now, back in North Jersey.  I'm working with temperatures that are fluctuating between 50 and 75 degrees.  I'm desperately hoping that the temperatures stay in that range all winter long.  A girl can dream, right?

To help me relive my days in the sun, I'm finally handing over this recipe for Bahamian peas and rice.  It's a staple dish in the Bahamas, as no Sunday dinner or family gathering is complete without it.  The list of ingredients may seem slightly daunting but trust me, this is a relatively easy to make.  If you do try it out, please leave a comment and tell me how you liked it!

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Bahamian Macaroni

Nope, this title is not a typo.

You see, in the Bahamas, we make Macaroni.  If you want the blue box of macaroni and cheese, you ask for "Kraft dinner", regardless of the actual brand name you are using.  That's just how it's done, folks.  I didn't make the rules.

Our version of macaroni is quite different than the American version.  I think the biggest difference is that it's baked.  Additionally, there's a lot of evaporated milk used, which I haven't seen in any other macaroni and cheese recipes.

This side dish tends to be a staple at Bahamian meals.  But of course, when I asked my mom for the recipe, she couldn't give me actual measurements, though she makes this at least once a week.  When I visited home earlier this summer, we got together to measure the ingredients for the macaroni.  Now that everything is written down, "someone" has requested the actual recipe.  I'm not pointing fingers, but let's just say that person is closely related to me.

OK, so here's the recipe.  Enjoy all the cream, cheese, and butter that your heart can handle!  I never claimed that this was the healthiest recipe, but it is seriously tasty.

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Bahamian Chicken Souse

As I've mentioned in the past few posts, I took a little trip to the Bahamas recently.  While I was there, I took the opportunity to document a few recipes that have been requested by you guys!  Selfishly, I have also written down these recipes so that I can repeat them when I'm not at home in the motherland.

In the Bahamas, we tend to cook based upon how the dish looks and tastes at certain moments.  Measurements are on the fly,  Many times, hands are an adequate measurement vessel.  A "sprinkle" or a "dash" is a sufficient phrase to describe how much of an item to add to a dish.  Although there were a few bumps along the way during this process, in the end, patience prevailed and I got several detailed recipes in my arsenal.

First up in this lineup, in case you neglected to read the title of this post, is Bahamian Chicken Souse.  We tend to eat this for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.  Basically, there's an excuse to eat it at all times of the day.  Our family friend, Steven Seymour, gave me this recipe and it's so good it's become a staple at several Sunday meals.  Now that I have this recipe, I'm excited to see if I can recreate this in my own kitchen!

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Bahamian Fire Engine

Over the past year or so, I've received several positive emails or comments from my relocated Bahamian people about the Bahamian recipes that I post here.  When you grow up on a small island with a culture that predominantly revolves around food, and then you end up moving elsewhere, sometimes you just crave the comfort of a home-cooked meal.  Depending on where you move and with whom, sometimes that's just not possible.  Another thing I've come to realize is that, dang, sometimes I want Bahamian food too, but I don't actually know how to make it.  That's when we turn to the internet.

So, I recently decided to profile a new series on the blog.  I'm planning on featuring Bahamian recipes once in a while so that:

1) I can actually document my family's recipes (Let's be honest.  We know most of these recipes have no written instructions anywhere!); and

2) My fellow Bahamians and I can have a reference to recreate these dishes in the future.

I've begun to request that my family provide me with some recipes that I can include on the blog and they are working overtime to put measurements to some of our favorite meals. In the meantime, I looked to the Bahamian calendar to help me create a fire engine breakfast dish.  First of all, yes, our national calendar contains recipes.  Second of all, you're probably wondering what fire engine is.  Fire engine is a very popular breakfast dish in the Bahamas.  It's composed of steamed corned beef and vegetables, then served over rice or grits.  It sounds strange but I swear it's delicious.

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Bahamian Johnnycake

I recently went home to the Bahamas and each time I've been with my family lately, I've been trying to snag another recipe to post on the blog. There are two reasons for this. The first is that I think it's pretty cool to make food from different parts of the world and learn more about other countries. The second reason is purely selfish. Since most Bahamians tend to cook without recipes, I'm pretty sure I won't be able to recreate my favorite dishes years down the road. So I guess I'm also trying to record as many recipes as possible for posterity.

The latest installment in this series is a something called a johnnycake. I looked up the word "johnnycake" online and Google came back with some cornmeal- or cornbread-type thingy. Let me assure you that this is not what we make in the Bahamas. Apparently the term johnnycake has different meanings in different countries. (Although this does make me want to try the American version of johnnycake. I gladly accept gifts of food, just so you know.)

The Bahamian version of johnnycake is a cross between a dense bread and a slightly sweet cake. It's best served warm, slathered with butter and accompanying a soup or stew. However, if you're anything like me and my family, you can have it anytime of the day.

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Sweet Potato Mallow

I realize that it may be a little late to update your plans for Thanksgiving sides. But you should consider adding sweet potato mallow to your holiday feast this year. And if that's not possible, don't give up hope just yet. Fall is still upon us, so let's gobble up those sweet potatoes while we can. And if Jack Frost's winter wonderland still sneaks up on you, screw it and just make this dish anyway.

This sweet potato mallow is a traditional side at any and every one of my family's get-togethers, be it Thanksgiving or Christmas or any meal in between. I didn't realize that it was a dish that was also made here in the states until I started researching possible recipes. Who knew this side was everywhere? I finally decided to just go with what I know and get the recipe from my sister. This is where I fell into the typical "family recipe" trap. My conversation with my sister went something like this:

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Bahamian Conch Stew

As you all may or may not know, I grew up in the Bahamas. Yes, I was born and raised there. But I haven't actually lived there for a loooonnnng time. One of the things I really miss is the food. Conch stew is something that I don't actually remember growing up with, but I do remember eating it in my teenage years. In the Bahamas, it's pretty regularly served as a breakfast or brunch item. Of course, that doesn't stop up from eating it as a snack or for dinner either.

A few weeks ago, I was on vacation with my family in St. Kitt's/Nevis and although it was a pretty steady 85 degrees the entire time, my mom made some conch stew for brunch one day. Let's face it, who's going to turn down home-cooked native food? I haven't been home since April, so it was time to get my fix...

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Bahamian Conch Fritters

Ahhh, island food. One of the greatest things about returning home for a visit is that I get to eat the amazing food that I grew up with. As my mom and I were debating our next meal, the subject of conch fritters came up.

Conch fritters are savory, fried balls of dough that contain chopped conch, some chopped veggies and spices. Yessss. Conch fritters. That settled it. Conch fritters were being made.

Some of you may not know what a conch is. Everyone's seen a conch shell, right? Well, the conch is the mollusk that lives in that shell. Check out some pics below:

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