Tag Archives: Pineapple

Hummingbird Cake

One SliceI made this cake to celebrate my father’s 90th birthday. Sadly, he will have to enjoy this cake vicariously, from his perch in heaven, as he died in 1999. Some may find this a bit macabre, but those who knew my dad understand that enjoying life vicariously, through others, was ingrained in his being. He got great pleasure and joy from other people’s good fortune.one slice 2Hummingbird cake is a classic Southern dessert, with Jamaican roots. The glorious trifecta of banana, pineapple and pecans meld into a moist dense cake that, once filled and frosted with a cream cheese frosting, could drive a sane person just a tad crazy. I added some unsweetened coconut to the batter because, well, coconut! All you coconut haters can leave it out. You won’t hurt my feelings. I used coconut flakes, but for a less chunky texture, you could use shredded coconut.

This cake recipe is adapted from Bobbette and Belle’s recipe for Hummingbird cupcakes.  ready to bakeNo one is quite sure how this cake got it’s moniker. Some theorize that because the cake is so sweet, loaded with sugar and fruit, that it would naturally attract hummingbirds. Others posit that the cake is so delicious, it makes people hum with happiness, like a bird.cakes coolingassembling cake 1assembling cake 2To decorate the cake I used a #8 Wilton tip to pipe a string of “pearls” around the top and bottom of the cake. I tied some gold ribbon around wooden skewers to create little flags and staggered the heights in the cake.cake and milk

Click here to print recipe for Hummingbird Cake.

Two slices

Infidelity and a Pineapple Mint Mojito

drink inside

Now that my racy title got your attention, I must fess up and admit that I have not been unfaithful to my husband with another man. However, he has been away for 18 days and I will admit that in his absence I have been gorging on pineapple. But more about pineapple in a moment.

I should explain that my husband and daughter took a “Lord of the Rings” (LOTR) journey to New Zealand. Apparently the movies were filmed there. They are both a little obsessed with all things LOTR! My husband and daughter were whispering just before they left and I suspect they may be coming home with their second tattoo. They bonded last summer when they went together to get their first tattoos!

So, back to pineapple. My husband has a food sensitivity to pineapple, so being the kind and considerate wife that I am, I avoid using it in my cooking. However, I love it! So while he has been away, I have probably consumed half my body weight in pineapple. I made an amazing Cuban Avocado, Watercress and Pineapple Salad, a spicy pineapple-jalapeño salsa to eat with halibut, a big batch of tangy pineapple sherbet and lots of fresh pineapple just mixed in with my morning yogurt and favourite granola.

And then, yesterday, as I was flipping through the May issue of Bon Appetit, I came across a recipe for Pineapple Mint Mojitos. Until recently, I was not really a mojito fan. My husband used to accuse me of sucking all the joy out of his love of mojitos by telling him how much sugar was in them. But that nasty habit came to an abrupt halt last December, when we were on holiday and were served an entire pitcher of mojitos. pitcher of mojitos I had my very own Dr. Seuss moment and discovered that, “Saaaay, I do like Mojitos!”

could only imagine how much I would like a mojito with pineapple in it. Begin heating sugar and water to make a simple syrup. After the sugar is dissolved in the water, add some mint and let it infuse it’s minty goodness for several hours until it cools. Strain the mixture and add it to some pureed pineapple.

making simple syrupinfusing with mintwith the blendercocktail shakerClick here to print recipe for Pineapple Mint Mojito.

The pineapple adds a delicious tropical fragrant sweetness. It is a wonderful variation to the classic  cocktail.

outside 1


Doing the Gombey Smash

It is always such a startling revelation for me to discover that foods I previously thought I hated, I now actually really like. And, it seems to be happening with more frequency as I age. Perhaps it’s a side effect of Botox use? (Only kidding!)

It began about 15 years ago, with coffee. I thought I didn’t like coffee, but my friend Brigitte introduced me to a big bowl filled with hot steamed milk and foam, with just a tiny bit of coffee and 2 spoonfuls of sugar. What a gateway that was. Within no time at all I was drinking a huge bowl of espresso, with just a touch of steamed milk and a mere 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. A few years ago I joined the dark side and began eating, and loving, cilantro. Then I discovered the joy of Brussels sprouts. I love them raw, sliced thinly on the mandoline, with silvered almonds, Pecorino Romano cheese, lemon juice and olive oil.  Then there was the discovery of my love for walnuts and hazelnuts. Walnuts used to send shivers up and down my spine, but now, I love them. I think I was philosophically opposed to hazelnuts because Giada uses them or Nutella in every recipe she makes. Then I had them sprinkled over a salad of green beans, thinly sliced raw mushrooms, parmesan, lemon juice and olive oil. Whoa, talk about taste sensations.

All this to say, that I have just discovered another new edible love. It happened while on holiday with my 5 siblings, 1 niece and mother. We took my mom to Bermuda to celebrate her 75th birthday. I discussed the issues leading up to this journey in my last post. If you read it, or if you have parents and/or siblings, then you will completely understand what I am about to divulge to you. Somehow, as adults, when we get together with our parents and/or siblings, we revert back to childhood patterns and behaviours.  I am sure a psychologist would have a field day with the analysis of this phenomenon, but suffice it to say, old jealousies and petty annoyances rear their ugly heads. Let’s just say, that alcohol helped to soften some of these sharp edges.

On our second night in Bermuda, we met in the bar for cocktails before dinner. I love to be with my sisters for many reasons. The fact that three of them love Prosecco, like I do, makes cocktail time much more celebratory. It always feels more festive to order a whole bottle of Prosecco rather than just a glass, like I usually do. The fourth sister ordered a “Gombey Smash.”My mom ordered a glass of water. My brother ordered a gin and tonic. I think he needed to display some testosterone with all these women! My almost 11-year-old niece ordered a ginger ale.

When the drinks came, the sister with the Gombey Smash started licking her lips and making mmmmm noises. Of course I had to taste. She was right! It was fantastic. Fruity, slightly tangy and loaded with my favourite flavour, coconut. I looked at the cocktail menu to see what was in this concoction. Pineapple juice, orange juice, apricot brandy and Malibu rum. RUM?? I don’t like rum. Apparently I do like Malibu rum. A lot!

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be with my mom and all my siblings on such a happy occasion. We had never taken a holiday together and it was very special. Now, we just have to hope that the surgery we perform on my 11-year-old niece, to remove her memories of all conversations she may have overheard while on the holiday, goes well! After all, what happens in Bermuda, stays in Bermuda.

Mix up a big batch of this drink at your next family gathering and soon you will all be doing the Gombey Smash!

To print the recipe for Gombey Smash, click here.