We eat every day, but for some of us, preparing and tasting the same food every week, month and year can be tedious. No matter how much we love a particular dish, or food, there are times when we crave for something different; as the saying goes, variety is the spice of life.
At Christmas, there is always a return to the traditional. This is because Christmas meals are usually not the ones we would have cooked all year round so prepping, making and eating can feel fresh and new. But this Christmas, we’ve thrown it all out the window and asked four young chefs, at various stages of their careers, to prepare one of their favorite dishes. Their dishes were certainly not traditional and each had an interesting twist as well.
Hollie De Souza-Kendall’s Herbal Pie with Callaloo
At age 30, Hollie De Souza-Kendall has been cooking for many years. He started at 18, helping an aunt who had a canteen. While she got the deficit for cooking, accounting was her career goal and this remained so until she was encouraged by her father-in-law, who must have tasted meals she prepared on several occasions, to do what he does best. She hasn’t looked back since. The mother of two opened her own canteen in a private school and more recently launched H&M Catering Services on East Street. Aside from cooking, Hollie is just about family. The name of her business represents her and her husband, Matthew Kendall, as well as their two children: Hollie-Ann and Matthew Jnr.
Vegetarian Pie with Callaloo
2 lbs of Irish or sweet potatoes
3 callaloo bundles (Stems removed, washed and cut)
1 packet of vegetarian mince
Carrots (diced) (optional)
Eschalots (Green Onions)
Hot peppers (optional)
Egg for baste (vegetarian cheese can be used instead)
Salt to taste
BBQ sauce or red sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Peel, wash and boil potatoes in salty water. Crush potatoes and set them aside.
- In a pan, sauté chopped green onions, celery and onions. Add carrots (if using) chopped sweet peppers and hot peppers (if using), then veggie mince, and a dash of barbecue sauce or red sauce and stir.
- Add callaloo and leave to wilt. Add salt to taste, if necessary, and remove from heat.
- In a Pyrex dish or probably other dishes, layer the crushed potatoes. Spread the fried callaloo mixture evenly over the potato layer and top with the remaining crushed potatoes.
- Whisk egg and paste the top or sprinkle with grated vegetarian cheese.
- Bake until cheese is melted or the desired brownness is on top.
Sarafina Edghill Stuffed Bell Peppers
Twenty-year-old Sarafina Edghill is known as ‘Chef Edghill’ or the ‘Queen Cake Queen’. Sarafina, who fell in love with cooking during her ‘Food and Nutrition’ days in high school, says cupcakes are her specialty.
Although she has her own catering business and can be quite busy she knows that learning culinary theory is also important. After going through several years at Carnegie School of Home Economics, she is now in the final stages of reading for a Diploma in Catering and Hospitality. When completed she hopes to develop her studies in the region or further afield.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
5 large bell peppers (different colors)
1 1b boneless chicken breast (dice)
½ cup cooked brown rice
1 medium red or white onion (finely chopped)
1 medium garlic clove (finely chopped)
1-2 fresh hot peppers (minced and discarded seeds) or Cayenne powder
2 tbsp fresh coriander
½ teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tbsp red wine
Grated cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Halve the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membrane. Cut both bell pepper halves (without legs). Set aside.
- In a large skillet, sauté onion, garlic and hot pepper. Add boneless chicken and cook through it.
- Add chopped bell peppers, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, coriander and salt to taste. When cooked meat and bell pepper are tender, remove and mix with rice in a large bowl.
- Fill the bell pepper halves with the mixture and place face up in a lightly greased baking dish.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the wine and chili powder. Pour the wine sauce mixture evenly over the stuffed peppers.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Top with grated cheddar.
Shelly Ramsden Teriyaki Prawns Pineapple Boats
At 27, Shelina Ramsden is reading for the Diploma of Catering and Hospitality at Carnegie School of Home Economics. She said cooking is what her mother taught her before she died. A passion for her has developed since she was 12 years old. Her dream is to start her own business, but she says she will be moving to the United States in the near future and knows she will have to go to culinary school there, before realizing her dream.
Teriyaki Prawns Pineapple Boats
Ingredients for rice
1 ½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
½ tsp chili flakes
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 cup brown rice (rinsed)
Ingredients for prawns
4 cloves garlic (minced)
4 teaspoon teriyaki sauce
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 Prawns 1b peeled and disheveled (tails may be left on)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds
½ cup sweet pepper (diced) (optional)
Instructions for rice
- Cut a pineapple in half long. Scrape and stick the middle of each half, leaving ½ to ¾ inch of flesh along the edges.
- Finely chop the reserved pineapple. Combine the chopped pineapple with any released juice and place about 1 cup of it in a small saucepan.
- Add the water, salt, chili flakes, butter and sugar to the pan, and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Add rinsed brown rice. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. Once done, fluff it with a fork.
Instructions for prawns
- While the rice is cooking, combine the garlic, teriyaki sauce and ginger in a small bowl. Add the sauce to the prawn and let it sit.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Using a slotted spoon, drain the prawns from the teriyaki sauce and keep the sauce. Add the prawns to the hot pan and simmer on each side for about a minute.
- Add the reserved sauce to the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened. The sauce should coat the prawns evenly. Sprinkle sesame seeds, and diced sweet pepper.
To serve, spoon pineapple rice into half of each empty pineapple pie. Fill the remaining halves with the teriyaki prawns.
Jared Sutherland’s Fish in Tomato Sauce
Jared Sutherland is just 18 and has been cooking since the age of 15. He is also in Carnegie. He recalled that his introduction to cooking began when he followed the instructions given to prepare a dish on a TV cooking show and was pleased with how it came out, prepared by his own hands. He hasn’t looked back since.
Fish in Tomato Sauce
1 lbs trout (in fillets)
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic (minced)
1 tbsp lime juice
3 cups tomato sauce
3 lbs tomatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
¾ cup onions (finely chopped)
1 garlic clove (halved)
10 leaves fresh basil (minced)
1 Bay leaf
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Clean fish and season with salt, black pepper, minced garlic and lime juice.
- Put fish fillets in a Pyrex dish and set aside.
- Prepare tomato sauce:
- Dice tomatoes.
- Heat the olive oil in a low wide saucepan over medium heat and cook onion until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook a minute or two until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, basil and bay leaf, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- Remove from heat and pass through a sieve to catch tomato seeds and skins, bay leaf and garlic halves, which you discard. The product should be 3 cups. The longer it cooks, the less it will produce.
- Pour the sauce over fish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with lime slices and fresh tomato.