Creativity and craft is something that comes naturally in my life. My maternal side of the family is composed of mainly women; all of which are talented in many ways. We have artists and jewelers, bakers and chefs and I wouldn’t change it for a thing.
Because of my family, I also have seemed to inherit this skill. Mine is art but I do dabble in baking.
This year, my baking skills have been put to the test for Christmas. My mom, whom I am still convinced is a event dictator, has put me in charge of all the cookies and cakes that will be given as gifts, tokens and charity for the month of December.
Every day after work, I spend my time elbow deep in flour and sugar, whipping up cream and frosting and burning my fingers on the oven. I think it’s worth the outcome though.
So far I have completed my batch of Chocolate Crinkles (recipe below.)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar or cane sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable (or canola) oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- (optional: 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips)
- 1 cup powdered sugar, for coating the cookies
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the oil and granulated sugar. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating on medium-low speed until combined. Add in vanilla, beating on medium-low speed until combined. Then gradually fold in the flour mixture, and beat on medium-low speed until combined.
Form the dough into a large ball, and place it on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap the plastic around it so that it is sealed tightly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 24 hours) until the dough is chilled completely through.
When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop the sugar into a small bowl.
Remove and unwrap the dough. Then roll the dough into 1-inch balls, dip each ball in the powdered sugar until it is completely covered on all sides, and then place the dough balls at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack, and let them cool until they reach room temperature.
Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 5 days. These cookies (either in dough form, or baked) can also freeze for up to 3 months in a sealed container.
It took me a while to perfect this recipe but I think I have the hang of it. Next on my baking list is Sugar Cookies and Russian Tea Cakes.
Wish me luck!
If you don’t feel like getting dirty and would rather have a pre-made cake, then check out Chatterbox and their Christmas Cakes.
The staples of any Seychellois dinner can be from grilled fish and spinach, to spicy curries and lentils.
Grilled fish may not be unique to the Seychelles Islands but its flavoring and preparation just might be. Here on the islands, tourists can find grilled fish in almost every restaurant or evening bazar. They can see it being prepared in banana leaves on an open fire or on a small grill. To top off this delicious meal is a mixture of tomatoes and onions and even the occasional bilimbi.
If you don’t like your fish grilled then you can have it stewed with some “bouyon bred”; a spinach dish that is definitely a fan favorite in creole homes.
Curry is the way to go when you want to spice things up; my personal favorite is a hot beef curry. Armed with some local spices and a strong masala, you can make this tasty meal. On special occasions you can find bat curry (kari sousouri) heating up in the pot. It may sound unappealing but it is definitely a cultural meal to most locals. Curry can be made with a variety of different meat ranging from fish to lamb to pork, chicken or octopus. When it comes to this dinner, anything is possible as long as you have the right ingredients.
One of my favorite dishes growing up, when I barely reached my mother’s hip, was Rougay Sosis. A simple yet savory dish made with local sausage and tomatoes served over rice. The perfect addition to any meal, though, has to be a chutney (satini) or a salad. Each dish has a specific accompaniment that goes better with it. For example the Rougay Sosis could be paired up with a pumpkin chutney whereas a beef curry goes well with a cucumber salad. But this could be different for everyone!
Lentils are a must have for most meals. They go perfect with almost everything thing. Add some local sausage or pork cracklings for an extra flavor. Pour it on top of some safran rice and fill up your stomach with pure yummy-ness.
But for the true Seychellois food experience, one must always try the chili. There are different versions of the “piman” from blended with onions to chopped in oil, but the result is almost the same. The spiciness brings out the flavor of the entire dish and makes it even more heavenly. But don’t take it from me! Try it out at a variety of restaurants, hotels and bars that our beautiful islands have to offer!