Manje Manje

Hi!!! Please see my new blog @ . I’ve been adding a lot of new recipes, and cooking up a storm. This new blog has a better format and much better pictures. Don’t forget to subscribe to get all the new recipes and updates!



I’ve been busy…

I’ve been so busy cooking up a storm for this blog and preparing to start recording videos to post here. I had no idea video editing is so involved and time consuming (my hats of to people who constantly post videos). I will start uploading videos by the end of this week once I get a hang of this new camera and have time to finish editing them. Please bear with in the meantime. Enjoy the pictures below!!!

Here’s a slide show of the food that I’ve cooked so far.

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Puff Puffs…Yumm!!!

I decided to make these for my husband today so I thought I’d share. These are so easy to make and yet oh so yummy. The great thing about these is, you can spice this recipe by adding chucks of fruit or pureed fruit into the batter. Below is my simple version.

Here’s what you’ll need.

3 cups of unbleached floor
3 cups of water
1.5 cups of sugar
2 tsp of baking powder or fast rising yeast
1 Tbsp of ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp of vanilla extract
2 quarts of vegetable oil
1 tsp of salt

1. Mix all dry dry ingredients together well
2. Pour water into dry mix and mix well, until the batter is very smooth. The batter should have a pancake consistency.
3. Heat oil well in a deep pot until it is hot. (I usually do a test run. Pour a small amount of batter into the heated oil, it should float up within 5 seconds. If not your oil is not hot enough.)
3. Using a medium spoon, poor batter into oil while gently twisting the spoon into a counter-clockwise motion.
4. Cook until puff puffs are golden brown.
5. Sprinkle some powdered sugar over puff puffs and serve.

Spaghetti Haitian (Kreyol) style

Spaghetti with sauce, as it’s mainly done in the states isn’t very big in Haiti. Instead spaghetti is often served “dry”. It’s usually cooked with some sort of meat and sometimes fish (smoke herring is most popular). Below is my recipe for spaghetti with shrimp Kreyol style. This is a very easy and quick dish to make which comes in handy when I’m pressed for time. From start to finish it takes about 30 minutes (including the time it takes to boil the spaghetti).

The ingredients you will need.
1. Spaghetti
2. Olive Oil
3. Adobo
4. Thyme
5. Red pepper flakes
6. Salt and pepper
7. Oregano
8. Tomato Paste
9. 1 tomato
10. 2 garlic cloves
11. 1 teaspoon of allspice
12. 1 medium shallot
13. 1lb of raw shrimp

Preparations before cooking
*squeeze the lime onto the raw shrimp, add salt an pepper to taste and set aside.
*thinly slice one clove of garlic
*thinly slice shallots
*Cut tomato into quarters and remove seeds

1. Fill a large pot with water. Add salt and adobo (to taste), 1Tbs of olive oil, 1 garlic clove. Bring water to a boil. Once the water has started to boil, add spaghetti.

2. Cook spaghetti until it is “al dente”. Make sure not to overcook your spaghetti since you will return it to cook again. Drain the spaghetti and set it aside for later (make sure to remove the cooked garlic clove).

3. In a large skillet, add some olive (about 2 Tbs), once the oil is heated add the tomato which you should have de-seeded and cut in quarters. Cook the tomato until it can easily break apart. Make sure the heat is not too high or the tomato will burn quickly.

4. Add shrimp (and broth) and allow to cook until they are pink (make sure not to overcook the shrimp)

5. While the shrimp is cooking, add two Tbs of tomato paste, chopped garlic, and thyme. Allow this to cook for about 3 minutes (make sure not to allow the tomato paste to burn or it will turn black).

6. Season mixture with, adobo (to taste) oregano (1 tsp), pepper flakes, 1 tsp of allspice, and 8 cloves.

7. Mix well and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes.

8. Add shallots (I always add onion last sinse they tend to cook quickly. I don’t like overcooked onions).

9. Add spaghetti (which was drained of all liquids earlier) and mix in with all of the ingredients. The spaghetti should be well coated with the tomato paste. Make sure to taste the spaghetti to ensure that the spices have also coated it well. If you find it bland, gradually add small amounts of adobo to your taste. Note**If you find that mixing the spaghetti is difficult, gradually add some more olive oil until it becomes easier (an extra Tbs at most should do).

10. Plate and serve. This can be eaten alone or with bread. Add some parmesan cheese if you like.

Bon appetit!

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So I’ve been MIA and very busy.

I have a good excuse…really. See, I was busy building a baby. It has been so long and I know I’ve neglected this blog horribly, but I’m back and so ready to get this going again. So what have I been doing you ask? Well.. I was busy building this sweet little person (aka, I was pregnant and too lazy an sick to do anything)

I’m so excited about the cooking that I plan to do and share with everyone. My plan is to record these “sessions” and post them on youtube. I want to create a channel that focuses on the foods to the black diaspora. I still building up my menu and will start updating soon.

Breakfast Haitian style (bannan a Oeuf)

This morning (well, more like around 12pm) I decided to make this for the first time since moving out of my mother’s house. Eggs and plantain are two of my favorite foods, two things that I could eat daily. I loved it when my mother made eggs for me and I vowed that I would master it one day. So this is how I make Bannan a Oeuf.

3 eggs
2 sweet plantains
I maggi cube
Smoked herring
Mortar and Pestel
Distilled vinegar
Epise (this is a special seasoning that I make)

In a medium pot place enough water to cover the plantains and bring to a boil. Once the water starts to boil add the plantains and allow to cook for 20 minutes. Since these plantains are sweet it’s important not to allow them to overcook, otherwise they will become mushy.

Once the plantains are cooked the skin will begin to separate from the plantain.

Now to cook the eggs
1. Since the smoke herring is very salty it will need to be de-salted before using. I usually do this overnight since it takes several hours for the water to absorb all of the salt from the fish.
Smoked herring de-salted overnight.
2.In a bowl crack the egg and place aside

In your mortar and Pestel smash up one piece of smoked herring.
Once this is done add it to the eggs, with the thyme, chopped onions, Half of a Jamaican hot pepper chopped finely, 1/2 of a maggi cube, 1 tsp of Haitian epise (optional), and 1/2 tsp of vinegar, then mix all of the ingredients together.

In a medium skillet add extra virgin olive oil (or whichever oil you desire) and heat until very hot.
Once the oil is adequately hot add the egg mixture and allow to cook (I don’t like my eggs too dry so I don’t cook them until they are well done)

And Voila! It was delicious.

A Gambian delight.

My husband being the adventurous soul that he is decided that we should try making this dish. He had it at a friend’s house and loved it. His constant pleading finally got to me so I finally agreed to make it for him. Initially HE was suppose to make this but I had to step in eventually.

So here we are, Gambian Plasas.

The items you will need.
1.5 lbs of beef cut into cubes
2 lbs of smoked fish
2 bags of frozen chopped spinash
Peanut butter (we used hand made Haitian peanut butter)
1 Maggi cube
1 Onion
1 Sweet pepper
Chile peppers
3/4 cup of red palm oil
West African hot pepper powder

Chop up the onion and sweet pepper and set aside
Debone the fish. Split it in half and then remove the bones.
After you’ve finished de-boning, you can either dice the fish with a knife or flake it with a fork. I did both. Once you are done with the fish, set it aside.
Now for the beef, spice the beef with the adobo and allow to marinate for about 10 minutes

Now for the cooking….
Pour 3/4 cup of red palm oil into a large skillet. Allow to heat up before adding in the meat. Brown the meat until all of the red is gone.
Once you are done browning the meat add in the onions, sweet peppers and chilies. Then, crush the maggi cube in your hand and sprinkle on the vegetables and meat. Allow to simmer for about 10 mins.

Pour in 3 1/2 cups of water. Cover and let cook for 1.5 hours
Season the spinach with the adobo (to taste). I also monitor the flavor of my food while it’s cooking
Add in the fish and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes.
While the spinach and fish are cooking, mix 1/2 cup of peanut butter with warm water until it is creamy
After the spinach and fish are done cooking, pour in the peanut butter.
Mix all of the ingredients together.
Allow to cook for another 15 minutes. We ate it with white rice. Yum!!!

The day after we also ate this for dinner. We went to an Indian restaurant down the street and bought some paratha and Naan and made a meal out of it.

A Delicious weekend!

My mommy cooked for me!!!!!
She made one of my favorite dishes for me this weekend. I absolutely love this dish so I thought I’d share.

Goat meat and Okra
What you will need.
4lbs of fresh goat meat
2 packages of fresh okra
1 bunch of water cress
Maggi (chicken flavored)
1 Packet of Goya sazon
2 Sour oranges
2 Limes
Haitian marinade (epise) – a blended mixture of garlic, goya sazon, maggi, flat leaf parsley, green onion
Tomato paste
Olive oil

1. Remove any excess fat from the goat meat.
2. Peel the sour oranges in a circular pattern around the middle. Squeeze out the Juice from the sour oranges and store for later.
3. Clean the meat with the sour orange followed by the lime. Make sure to do this very well and vigorously as this will help to mask the natural scent of the goat. If you’ve ever cooked goat before you know what I mean
4. In a separate pot, put in 6 cups of water, salt, lime (cut into halves), and sour orange rinds then bring to a boil.
5. After you’ve finished scrubbing/cleaning the meat, rinse with warm water.
6. Once the water has boiled place the meat in the water and let sit for 5 minutes (turn off the stove)
7. Pour out the water from the pot so that you are only left the goat meat (make sure to remove the sour orange rinds and lime.
8. Season the meat with the epise. My mother had some previously frozen seasoned goat meat that she added to this.
9. Allow the meat to boil in it’s own liquid for about 1 1/2 hours. Monitor the meat so that it does not burn. Continue to add small amounts of water when most of the liquid has dried. After the meat has cooked, add 1/2 cup of olive oil and brown for about 5 minutes.
10. After you are done browning the meat, create a whole in the middle so that you can add the Okra
11. Add about two table spoons of tomato paste
12. Now, add the one bunch of watercress
13. Add about 1 cup of water then cover and allow to cook for another 45 minutes. After the Okra has cooked, remove the pot from the stove and gently mix the ingredients together by rocking the pot in a circular motion. If you use a spoon to do this you will break up all of the okra.

You should still be able to see the okras intact.
14. Add the sour orange juice from step 1 and allow to cook for another 20 minutes or until it looks like below. While it’s cooking down make sure to monitor the flavoring of the sauce. I use the Goya sazon or Adobe to spice. Be careful not to allow the okra to over cook.
My mom also made some rice and pigeon peas for us too. It was heavenly.
NOTE: when you are dishing this it’s best to use a wooden spoon. Be gentle so that you don’t smoosh the okra

A little bit of this

I’ve been so busy and a little lazy lately that I’ve sort of been putting updating to the back burner. As far as my hair is concerned I haven’t been doing anything much to it lately. A couple of weeks ago I went to see a dermatologist about my constant scalp itch. Because of my new regimen, I haven’t been washing daily like I used to. I originally planned to wash every two weeks By the end of the first week the itching became unbearable. It got to the point where my scalp would bleed from the constant scratching. My hair dresser hinted that I may have eczema of the so I decided to see a doctor about it. Ultimately, the dermatologist figured out that I’ve been suffering from Cholinergic Uticaria. The scalp symptoms and the hives that I get from exercising led him to that conclusion. He prescribed me a steroid solution to apply to my scalp when the itching gets really bad. So far things have been much better. I plan to continue my straight hair regimen. I will be doing less Dominican blowouts since I think this aggravates the problem. I also purchased some black earth products that I’ve been dying to try. I’ll be sure to write a review on those. Now for the fun stuff! For the labor day weekend my husband and I decided to take an impromptu road trip to North Carolina, more specifically Durham. I’ve always wanted to go back there since the last time I went in 2005. In total it took us about 13 hours to get there. Normally the trip should take about 8 hours but we decided to take the scenic route. It was a wonderful but tiring trip.

A view of the mountains in New Jersey.
We met the nicest man there who took this picture of us. I wore a wash and go the entire weekend. Dealing with straight hair and the NC heat would have been a disaster.
No comment lol
Scenic overlook in VA. They didn’t say it was illegal…
Us being silly in Richmond.
This picture right here is the funniest thing that I’ve ever seen. Judge for yourself…
Flower thieving is VA…
We went to an international festival in Raleigh, NC. It was alright…

Oxtail and Haitian rice and beans.

Obakeng’s (my husband) favorite food is oxtail with rice and beans. This man would eat it every day if I allowed it. So, this past weekend I decide to make some for him since he’s been begging for it for the past three weeks. The dish came out so well that I had to share it.

What you will need.
*2 lbs of Oxtail
*1 lime
*1 Sour Orange
*1/2 cup of Vinegar
*1 large carrot
*1 Onion
*Curly leaf parsley
*2 Cups of rice
*2 Cups of dry beans
*2 Garlic cloves
*Adobo, garlic powder, all spice, Dragon breath seasoning, Oxtail seasoning, salt
*Creamed coconut

How I prepared the meat
The night before I defrosted the oxtail. I poured some vinegar and squeezed some lime juice on it while it was defrosting.
*The following day, I scrubbed down the oxtail with 2 halves of sour orange (this step isn’t necessary but as a Haitian I must)
*Make sure to squeeze the excess sour orange juice before using to scrub down the meat.
Lime is on the left, sour orange is on the right
*Rinse the meat well after the scrubbing.
*Pour browning on the meat (this is used to give the meat its dark color)
*Spice the meat. I used a mixture of oxtail seasoning, garlic powder, adobo, and all spice.
*Allow the meat to marinate for at least 2 hours.
After the meat is done marinating, it must be browned before cooking it (this time I used a pressure cooker, I’ve done it in a slow cooker too).
*Brown the meat in a skillet (I like to use olive oil for the browning). You can also brown the meat in the pressure cooker. Make sure to not allow any of the liquids to get in while you are browning the meat.
Obakeng browning the meat
*After you’ve browned all the meat place it in the pressure cooker.
* Now pour in your veggies and herbs (I used butter beans, carrots, onion, thyme)
Vegetables I chopped up prior to browning the meat
All of the ingredients in the pressure cooker
*Pour in 4 cups of water.
*Add one teaspoon of Dragon Breath piman lakay (this is a Haitian spicy marinade)
*After all of your ingredients are in, close the pressure cooker based on its intructions. Make sure to follow the directions of your pressure cooker on how to cook food in it. We cooked our oxtail for 1.5 hours. It was falling off the bone, YUM!!!

Now for the rice and beans.
*Boil the red beans until they give in to slight pressure.
I boiled the beans for about 1 hour on high. I made sure to keep adding water in the pot so that it did not burn. I also I wanted to maintain at least 4 cups of water in the pot since I would be using this water later to cook the rice in. I added a clove of garlic and some salt to the water. Don’t use too much salt since you will adding some seasoning to the rice water
*After the beans are done cooking, separate the beans from the liquids (DO NOT throw out the water)
*In a separate pot pour in some oil (I use enough olive oil to cover the entire bottom of the pot in a thin coating), and your chopped up garlic (make sure to not let the garlic burn).
*Pour in the beans (without the water). I also like to add some dried baby shrimp (aka tri tri in Kreyol).
*Add in some adobo (season to taste) and your parsley and thyme.
*Stir then allow the mixture to cook for about 5 mins.
*Add in the left over liquids from the beans (about 4 cups). Allow to boil and then add in about a 1 inch wide piece of cream of cocoa. The white stuff is the creme of cocoa. Make sure to test the taste of the water just in case it may need some more seasoning (again spice to your taste)
*Once the creme of cocoa has melted completely pour in the rice.
I used Basmati rice.
I rinse the rice twice before adding it to the mixture.
*Boil on medium-high until 90% of the water has been absorbed.
OK, so this part may not appeal to some but this is how I’ve always seen rice prepared, therefore how I’ve always prepared it. This technique works very well so don’t knock it until you try it.
*Once the water has dried (there is no obvious boiling), cover the rice with a platic bag (this is called toufe) and put the heat on low. This will in effect steam the rice thus allowing it to cook more. I like my rice grains to be separate (non sticky) and this technique achieves very well.
*Allow the rice to cook for another 45 minutes. The rice will look like this when it’s finished.

Now together!

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