Cilantro, or Coriander

Cilantro, or coriander as we call it here in Europe, is a herb or a spice depending on what part of the plant we’re talking about.

Sometimes referred to as Mexican or Chinese parsley, the Cilantro is native to south west Asia and west to north Africa. It is a soft, hairless plant growing to 50 cm [that’s 20 inches in case you don’t get the metric system] tall. The leaves vary in shape, and are normally broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the flowering stems. The flowers sit in small clusters (which I just have learned are called umbels) and they are white or very pale pink, asymmetrical and with petals that point away from the centre of the umbel being longer than those pointing to the middle of the umbel. (Good to know! lol) The fruit is a globular dry schizocarp (another new word for me!) and 3-5 mm diameter.

We use cilantro leaves as a herb in salads, seasonings, stews and cold sauces. The fruit is dried and used in sweets, curries, breads, cakes and liqueurs; the flowers can be used as edible garnish and even the roots can be eaten stir fried or julienned or chucked in stews.

Cilantro is also believed to have some medicinal properties:

  • It is considered an aid to the digestive system. It is an appetite stimulant and aids in the secretion of gastric juices.
  • A poultice of Coriander seed can be applied externally to relieve painful joints and rheumatism.
  • The essential oils of the Cilantro leaves contain antibacterial properties and can be used as a fungicide.
  • The seeds are considered to have cholesterol-lowering properties.
  • It has pain-relieving properties and is useful for headaches, muscle pain, stiffness and arthritis.
  • It is useful as a tea, because of its helpful effects on the digestive tract, and is good for increasing appetite, and relieving nausea, diarrhea, flatulence and indigestion.
  • It is reputed to enhance circulation and relieve fluid retention.
Baking · Comfort Food · Desserts & Puddings · Sweets

Chocolate Fudge Cake


This is an absolutely gorgeous chocolate fudge cake for one of those days when you just neeeeeed a choccie overload… =) Chocolate sponge sandwiched with chocolate and topped with even more chocolate! Yum scrumm for all us chocoholics out there…


  • 100g spreadable butter
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 tbsp red vinegar
  • 100g plain chocolate, melted
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Icing: 225g plain chocolate, 100g butter and 142ml carton double cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Grease a round deep cake tin and line with baking paper
  3. Mix milk and vinegar
  4. Place all other cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  5. Pour in the milk mixture and whisk until smooth
  6. Spread into the baking tin and bake for an hour until firm in the centre
  7. Cool for 10mins, then turn out on a rack to cool completely
  8. Meanwhile, make the icing by melting the chocolate and butter together in the microwave for 3 minutes on medium heat, stirring after 90s. Stir until smooth then beat in the cream. Cool slightly.
  9. Halve the cake through the middle and spread half of the icing on the bottom half and sandwich together.
  10. Spread the rest of the icing over the top and sides of the cake
  11. If you want to, you can sift a little icing sugar over the cake and decorate with strawberries or something.
Atkins/Low Carb · Baking · Bread · Swedish

Sour Dough Bread or Swedish Surdegsbröd


Sour dough bread is a very healthy, and very tasty, bread that is quite common in Sweden. It is very easy to make, but it does take its time to make. Once its baked you have a tasty bread that stays fresh for up to a week. At least. Save a piece of the sour dough in an air tight box or jar and you’ll have the base ready for next time.

Sour dough:

  • 4 tbsp rye flour
  • 2dl finger warm water
  • Mix flour and water and leave to rest in an air tight jar or box for at least 48 hrs. Do not put it in the fridge – it has to be warm!
  • After 2 days, add another 2 tbsp of rye flour and leave to rest for another 24 hrs.


  1. DAY 1 – In the evening, take your sour dough and mix it with 3dl finger warm water and 200g rye flour. Leave to rest over night.
  2. DAY 2 – In the morning, take away 1dl of sour dough, put in an air tight jar och box and put in the fride for next time. Add 3dl finger warm water and 200g rye flour to your dough and leave to rest for 5-10 hrs.
  3. DAY 2 – In the evening, add 5dl finger warm water, 1 tbsp salt, 2dl flour and 500g rye flour. Leave to rest for an hour.
  4. Cut the dough in four and mould into loaves.
  5. Put the loaves in greased or papered baking trays and sprinkle them with a little flour.
  6. Leave to rest for about 40 mins until you can see little holes emerging in the dough.
  7. Set the oven to 250 degrees C.
  8. Put the loaves in the oven and reduce the temperature to 200 degrees.
  9. After 40 minutes, reduce the temperature to 180 degrees and leave the breads in for another 10-20 minutes.
  10. Take the loaves out and let them cool.

You can freeze the bread, but it stays fresh for a long time, so unless you’re a small household or nor very hard on the bread you can keep it wrapped in a plastic bag for at least a week.

Baking · Desserts & Puddings · Fruit & Berries

Quick Cheesecake w Lime Glazed Berries


This is a heavenly dessert that is close to a cheesecake but much easier to do. You can choose what flavour (if any) you want and decorate it with whatever suits your chosen flavour.


  • 10 digestive bisquits
  • 50g butter
  • 4tbsp sugar
  • 800g cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • flavouring (try juice and zest of a lime, Bailey’s cream, finely chopped stravberries, a vanilla pod or whatever tickles your tastebuds)
  • 600ml double cream
  • decorations (choose whatever matches your flavouring – for my lime cake I caramellise blueberries and strawberries – see instructions below)


  1. Turn the digestives into crumbs in a mixer or by beating them in a bowl
  2. Caramellise the sugar in a saucepan
  3. Add butter and digestive crumbs and stir quickly
  4. Spread the mixture in the bottom of a spring form
  5. Mix cream cheese, icing sugar and your chosen flavouring into a smooth mixture
  6. Whisk the double cream fluffy and fold into the cheese mixture
  7. Spread over the bisquit base
  8. Leave in the fridge for 3-4 hours to set
  9. Decorate and serve

Lime glazed berries:

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • juice of a lime
  • berries

Caramellise the sugar in a saucepan and add the lime juice. Stir and fold in the berries quickly – don’t let them get hot! Spread over the cake and leave in fridge to set.

This cake serves 8 people

Caribbean · Sauce

Orange, Chocolate and Rum Sauce


This is one of my compromise cuisine creations – an orange sauce with a hint of rum and dark chocolate. Tastes lovely with poultry but is also quite interesting together with “meatier” fish. As usual, I don’t really measure the ingredients, so you’ll have to tweak it a little and taste your way to your perfect blend.


  • 2 cups of orange juice
  • juice and finely grated zest from 1 orange
  • juice and finely grated zest from 1 lemon
  • dark chocolate (I love Green & Blacks Maya Gold) about 1/2 a bar
  • spiced rum
  • double cream
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot


  1. Bring the  orange juice and squeezed lemon juice to boil and let it simmer until half the fluid remains
  2. Add dark chocolate, rum and the orange and lemon peel and leave to rest for about half an hour
  3. Bring to boil again and add a dollop of cream, salt and pepper to taste
  4. Mix 1tbsp arrowroot with the juice from the orange and add to the sauce
  5. Stir for a minute and allow the sauce to thicken

Serve the sauce on the side or pour it over the chicken. Looks lovely with a few thin slices of orange and some finely chopped orange zest for decoration.

Caribbean · Meat · Slow Cooking

Oxtail in Guinness with Hard Food

oxtailEdit Post ‹ Evalena’s Scandiribbean Kitchen — WordPress

In Sweden we have a dish called Sailor’s Beef. It’s basically cheap pieces of meat cooked in light beer with onions and potatoes. Here’s my Scandiribbean version of the same dish – very tasty if I may say so myself… =)


  • 2kg oxtail
  • 4 onions
  • 500g haricot beans
  • 1l Guinness
  • 2-4 Scotch bonnet peppers (or a healthy measure of pepper sauce)
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 4 Maggi cubes

Place all of the above ingredients into a casserole dish and bake for 6-8 hours in an oven pre-heated to 140C/gas mark 1. Alternatively, cook it in a slow cooker.

For the hard food:

  • 8 slices of yam, peeled
  • 8 slices cassava, peeled
  • 2 slice plantain, peeled
  • 8 handfuls okra
  • salt
  • 2 maggi cubes

Boil the yam, plantain and cassava for 20-25 minutes. Top and tail the okra and steam them for 5 minutes and serve together with the casserole.

Caribbean · Comfort Food · Drinks

St Lucian Cocoa Tea


In the West Indies it seems any hot drink can pass for tea. Coffee tea, cocoa tea… John even calls mulled wine “wine tea” which I find hilarious! =)

Anyway, here’s a lush cocoa tea that has corn starch in it making it thicker than normal chocolate, but if you don’t like it thick you can leave it out.


  • 1/2 cup grated local cocoa stick (or 1/4 cup cocoa powder)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cream or milk
  • Sugar to sweeten
  • Vanilla
  • Bay leaf
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • (1 Tablespoon cornstarch)


  1. Put water to boil with cinnamon and bay leaf. Boil for about 15 mins.
  2. Grate cocoa stick and add to the boiling water; boil for another 10 mins.
  3. Add cream (or milk).
  4. Sweeten to taste.
  5. (Mix the cornstarch with water and add slowly to the boiling mixture, stirring all the time.)
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Strain and serve.
  8. Add whipped cream and flaked chocolate to make it extra yummy.