Posts Tagged ‘pineapple’

Despite sleeping for over 10 hours, I woke up Saturday morning with a stuffed-up head and a mild fever.  Looks like Halifax’s wet winter has finally gotten the best of me.  I decided the thing to do – between naps in bed and watching the West Wing – was to make a large pot of comforting soup.

I turned to Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowickz’ Rebar – a collection of delicious, inventive recipes out of Victoria, BC – for inspiration.  I was immediately drawn to their African yam soup.  The recipe looked simple, nutrient-filled, and packed with flavour – just what a girl needed when feeling under the weather.  (I note as an addendum that Monday evening, feeling reenergized sleeping off this cold, leftovers from this soup were superb.)

I leave you with Rebar’s description, which describes this soup beautifully:

“Silky smooth richness in this soup comes courtesy of peanut butter – there’s just enough of it blended in to make this soup luxuriant, rather than cloying.  Pineapple, lime and tomatoes add sweetness and tang, while the spices are lively and warming.  This soup can handle a generous dose of spice and heat, so arm yourself with a good hot sauce for last minute seasoning.”


African yam & peanut soup with ginger and pineapple

Serves 8



8 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) minced ginger

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon hot paprika

1 red bell pepper, diced

4 medium yams (sweet potato), peeled and roughly chopped

1 x 14 fl oz (398 mL) can water-packed pineapple, juice reserved

3 ripe tomatoes, chopped

5 tablespoons natural smooth peanut butter

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

juice and zest of 2 limes, or more to taste

favourite hot sauce, to taste (I used sambal oelek here and loved it!)



Heat stock and keep it warm on the back burner while you assemble the soup.  In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and a pinch of salt; saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Next, add garlic, ginger and spices and saute until soft and golden.

Stir in red pepper, yams, and salt and continue cooking until they start to stick to the bottom of the pot.  Add vegetable stock to cover, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.  Cover partially and simmer until the yams are tender.

Add pineapple with juice, tomatoes, peanut butter and remaining stock and simmer 30 minutes.  Puree the soup until smooth, either directly in the pot with a hand blender or in batches with a food processor.

Return soup to the pot and simmer for a final 10 minutes.  Season to taste with more salt, pineapple juice, and/or hot sauce.  Just before serving, add chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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My grandmother’s carrot cake is to die for.  Moist and beautifully textured with nuts and coconut, it is unsurprising that our family often requests this cake for birthdays.  I only discovered a few weeks ago that her secret is to follow Silverpalate‘s carrot cake recipe.  Written by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, their recipes are classic, perfect for special occasions.

About 18 months ago, I made a bet with my friend Leslie.  We agreed that the loser would have to bake the other their favourite cake.  I promptly lost the bet, and ever since we have jokingly agreed that I better remit sooner rather than later.  Last night, I finally had the chance to pay out my debt, so I decided to cook the most sumptuous carrot cake I had tasted, this Silverpalate recipe.

This cake spares no frills (and is sadly not for a calorie-watching individual), decently filled with walnuts, coconut, and pineapple.  Surprisingly there is less carrots than coconut!  The cream-cheese frosting is smooth and tangy, a beautiful complement to the spiced carrot cake.  Leslie decided that this cake was more than worth the cake – although she is now threatening that due to the 18 month delay in remittance, I owe her a second carrot cake from the interest!


Carrot Cake

(10 to 12 slices)




3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cup canola oil

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

1 1/3 cups puréed cooked carrots

3/4 cups drained crushed pineapple



8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

6 tablespoons sweet butter, at room temperature

3 cups icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9-inch layer cake pans lined with wax paper.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl.  Add oil, eggs and vanilla.  Beat well.  Fold in walnuts, cocount, carrots and pineapple.

Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until edges have pulled away from sides and cake tester comes out clean.  Cool on a cake rack for 3 hours.

Meanwhile, cream together cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl.  Slowly sift in icing sugar and continue beaing until fully incorporated and frosting is smooth.  Stir in vanilla.

Fill cake and frost sides with cream-cheese frosting.  Dust top with icing sugar.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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I can’t believe I missed it. The perfect day to launch my own very first completely invented recipe.

It was national pineapple up-side down cake day on April 20. What was I thinking? Honestly. I am eternally grateful to a pair of savvy radio commentators for reminding me before it was all too late.

I have been so excited to post this recipe for a long time. It has a very special story behind it.

Now over two months ago I headed to Belize with 12 other students from the University of Toronto to study Indigenous perspectives on food security and health. Perhaps surprisingly, we all got along well, and were totally mind-boggled by the amount we learned. In 10 days, I can easily say I learned a lot more than I did in my entire undergraduate experience, especially in terms of what I still remember. There’s something about learning by experience that cannot be beat. The experience was amazing, to say the least.

On the third day of our trip, we stayed in Hopkins, a most charming Garifuna Village on the Caribbean coast. We happened to be staying in a beach house (totally unexpectedly) which had a stove. I knew it was one of the student’s birthday that day, so I decided to bake a cake with ingredients I could find in the stores near-by, and to invent a recipe based on them since I had none to work with. I borrowed a cake pan from a chef at a restaurant down the street. Honestly, it was a really neat experience.

Being in Belize, there was pineapple, like no other I have ever tasted. What I have tried in Canada probably amounts to an abomination. I found eggs, sugar, and flour near-by.

To top it off, I used delicious dark rum to flambé the cake just before serving, instead of candles. It was quite the treat. Thank you to 2 of my friends for the photos!


-1 very fragrant pineapple, peeled and cored
-1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I’d recommend substituting this with butter if possible for even more flavour)
-3 Tbsp brown sugar
-1 Tbsp dark rum

-4 eggs, separated
-1 cup milk
-2 Tbsp rum
-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
-3/4 cups sugar
-1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-4 tsp baking powder


Preheat oven to 375F. In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Gently caramelize the sliced pineapple for 15-20 minutes with the brown sugar.  Add the rum after about 10 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the egg yolks with the milk, rum, vegetable oil, and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and nutmeg thoroughly. Beat the egg whites to medium-firm peaks (chill the whites, the bowl and whisk if possible – and if you have 1 tsp vinegar that also helps to add after they begin to stiffen).

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Mix thoroughly.  Then fold in 1/4 of the stiff egg whites gently.  Then incorporate the remaining egg whites carefully, gently, and quickly.

Pour the caramelized pineapple into a greased rectangular oven dish, and then the batter over top. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Use a butter knife to cut the edges away from the pan, and invert onto a plate or platter, so that the pineapple is on top.  Then I heated up 3 Tbsp rum in a pan over medium heat for 1 1/2 minutes, and lit it carefully on fire and poured it over the cake for the flambé.

This cake could be accompanied by whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, but is completely delicious on its own. I hope you enjoy it!


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