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Holiday Warm Up!

December 22, 2009

I had a blast last night with my friends celebrating Winter Solstice at the Festival of Lights parade in Kensington Market. It was hella cold but with hot chocolate in hand, good music & even better vibes, it definitely got me in the holiday spirit. Wondering what Winter Solstice is all about? Check out the facts here.

Rather than dwell on the commercialism I find is so often associated with the holiday season, I prefer to remember what makes this time of year is so special: 1) the importance of being good to each other (everyday, not just during the holidays); 2) watching holiday TV specials, especially the classic cartoons (pat yourself on the back if you remember the claymation versions of Jack Frost & Santa Clause Is Comin’ To Town); and 3) spending quality time with your family & friends. And part of that quality time will include enjoying some traditional West Indian food & drinks.

This year I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone and will try to make some of those dishes myself (don’t worry mom, it’ll be okay, lol). Here are a few reasons why I feel ready:

1) I’ve Got The Time. I’ve taken some much needed time off work and think exercising my creativity in the kitchen will be therapeutic. I mean, it’s better than sitting on the couch, doing nothing with my life, watching Everest College commercials. Just saying. ūüėČ

2) I’m West Indian! Of course I’m a proud Canadian (Nova Scotian/Jamaican), but I was raised by my Jamaican mom. Also, my closest friend, that I grew up with is Trinidadian & my boyfriend is Trinidadian/Grenadian. And what kind of West Indian would I be without making at least one of our cherished and delicious traditional meals?¬† Nuff said!

2) I Cook (& Bake), Therefore I Am. I’m a great cook and used to bake a lot back in the day. I also come from a family with exemplary culinary skills (shout out to my Uncle Colin, the Executive Chef & my great-grandmother who had her own catering business). I’m very lucky to be surrounded by excellent cooks. In fact, I even know a special lady whose maiden name was “Cook”. So it only makes sense that I should be able to throw down in the kitchen. More importantly, my 2¬† favorite guys have asked for some tasty treats this holiday season, so I’m putting my apron on!

Bring on the Punch De Creme, Black Cake & Pastelles, it’s time for a holiday warm up! Wish me luck!

In the spirit of the season, I thought I’d share a few recipes. Just click on the link and try something new. I guarantee these ambrosial delights will warm up your holidays.

  • Brown Sugar Ribs w/Mashed Sweet Potatoes

P.S. Unfortunately there isn’t a link for the ribs recipe as it was prepared by our good friends Dina & Brian. Recently they spoiled us with their¬†hospitality and prepared one of the¬†most delicious meals I’ve ever tasted…highly recommended! Check out Dina’s recipe & pic:

Meat Rub You’ll Need:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp of onion powder
1/4 cup paprika
1 tbsp Cayenne
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp fresh garlic or powder garlic

Rib Sauce You’ll Need:

1  1/2 cup of tomatoes Juice
1/4 cup of Ketchup
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 tablespoons of crushed Garlic (or 3 cloves)
4 tablespoons of minced onion (or onion powder)
1 tablespoon Worchester Sauce
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon of Cayenne Powder
1 teaspoon of Salt
2 teaspoon of Paprika


1) Blend ingredients for Meat Rub & coat ribs. Refrigerate overnight.

2) Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 3 hours in shallow roasting pan.

3) Drain fat and brush often with sauce until tender & ready.

4) Serve with grilled shiitake mushrooms.

Mashed Sweet PotatoesYou’ll Need:

4 large sweet potatoes (approximately 6 cups cubed)

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup milk


1) Wash & clean sweet potatoes & cut them in 1-inch square cubes.

2) Put the sweet potatoes into a large pot. Add enough water to cover over them.

3) Bring to a boil over high heat & boil for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft. Use a spoon to skim off and discard any foam that develops.

4) Drain in a large colander, then return them to the pot.

5) Add butter or margarine & milk. Mash with a potatoes masher until creamy and smooth.

6) Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot.

What’s your favourite holiday dish?

I’d love to try it so leave a comment & tell me about it!



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¬© Nia’s Piece, 2009

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2009 11:17 am

    Happy Holidays to you to Nadine.

    I’m most looking forward to our traditional Guyanese Christmas breakfast – spicy garlic pork; rich, brothy Pepper Pot; fresh baked egg bread and anise seed bread; lots of creamy cheeses (Gouda, etc.)


    And I’ll be bringing something new to the table at my Mom’s house (for my vegetarian daughter) – a hearty veggie frittata.

    I’m hungry already.

  2. winston mauricette permalink
    December 23, 2009 11:55 am

    We enjoyed reading your blog on West Indian (caribbean food recipes), and have saved it in our favourites. It is interesting how the recipes vary from island to island, yet the common thread is there
    as each cook has a (secret ingredient) that is generally never shared.
    Thanks again.

  3. Tru permalink
    December 23, 2009 9:50 pm

    Great blog Nay! I’ll have to try out some of these recipes!

  4. December 29, 2009 9:56 am

    Thanks everyone for your comments. I hope you all had a beautiful holiday filled with a lot of love & laughter! Wishing you all the best for 2010! ~Nadine

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