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Archives for October 2013

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Simple, Tasty Bully Beef (Corned Beef)

Last weekend, I had such a craving for bully beef and rice that I decided to make it for dinner. As I was chopping up the onions, scallions and tomato, I began thinking. Why is it called bully beef? Why is it red? How did it get to Jamaica? And why do we love it so much?

Bully beef is how we English speakers say beouf bouilli, which is French for boiled beef. It’s the brisket cut that is cooked in brine, shredded, and canned (think Spam) with a coat of gelatin or crystallized oil that melts when you cook the beef.

Bully beef was, until 2009, part of the rations that British soldiers received. I suspect the reason for its popularity in Jamaica and the Caribbean might be that the men who fought during the war brought it with them when they returned home. 

Bully beef and rice

Bully beef and rice

Bully beef is the name that was popular back in high school, when we made and sold bully beef sandwiches to raise money for our graduation. Corned beef is what almost everyone calls it now. But it’s not the same corned beef that’s a favorite of Irish and Jewish diners.

Once in a while we’d have bully beef for breakfast and sometimes, with white rice for dinner but it wasn’t a staple in our home. I can’t remember how my graduating class agreed to use it to raise money and considering how popular patties and coco bread were, I’m surprised we made money. But we didn’t have enough hands to sell those tasty little rolls that we stuffed with bully beef mashed with chopped onions, black pepper and mayonnaise.

Simple Bully Beef (Corned Beef)
Serves 4
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  1. 1 Can bully beef (look for corned beef)
  2. 1 medium onion (chopped)
  3. 1/2 small Scotch bonnet pepper (chopped, seeded)
  4. 1 small tomato (chopped)
  5. 1 sprig thyme
  6. ½ sweet pepper
  7. Dash black pepper
  8. 1 can mixed vegetables or 1 cup shredded cabbage (optional)
  1. Saute onions and Scotch bonnet until they become soft.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes, let cook.
  3. Open can of bully beef, stir it into the tomato, onion
  4. Add sweet pepper and other vegetables
  5. Season with thyme, and black pepper to taste
  6. Let cook for about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Serve with brown or white rice and your choice of vegetables.
I had another memorable bully beef meal when five of my aunts and uncles turned up in the same city at the same time. The next morning for breakfast, my uncle’s wife fried up green plantains, which she masked with a fork, and bully beef.

That breakfast took my aunts back to their youth and that all started chattering not only about breakfast, which was a hit, but also about their mother and the women in their community used to make the best cakes, the best sweets. It was the first time I was having green plantains and was delighted how well it complimented the slight saltiness of the bully beef. Weeks after I returned home, I ate nothing but plantain and bully beef.

Bully beef is like Ramen noodles – quick, tasty, filling and, at the time, inexpensive. It’s also very versatile. I ate a lot of it after I got my first apartment. I’d make bully beef with cabbage, green or ripe plantains, dumplings, green bananas, even pasta.

Much of the bully beef that is on the supermarket shelves comes from South America. About two years ago, a US Department of Agriculture recall took it off the market. 

When the ban was lifted, the price jumped from roughly $3-4 to almost $6 a can. (In Jamaica, you can buy smaller sized cans for about $2-3.) That’s when I swore off bully beef. It made better sense to buy a pound of fish or even chicken instead. Maybe that’s why last weekend the taste came back so strongly.

I found two pages dedicated to Rice and Bully Beef on Facebook. Between them, they have almost 2,000 likes. Who knew so many people liked this simple dish?


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Discover Dalaman

There’s plenty to love about Dalaman holidays. From the climate to the culture, from those glorious long, sandy beaches to its cheerful holiday resorts and well-equipped hotels, it’s certainly worth taking a bite out of this Turkish delight.

Mountain and Sea


Based on the aptly-named Turquoise Coast, Dalaman is a cracking holiday destination with a wide range of fantastic resorts on offer. If you’re after a lively stay with pubs and clubs at every turn, Marmaris could be right up your street. This energetic nightspot pulses with life and really comes alive once the sun goes down, with a long list of venues to keep you dancing ’til the early hours. The beach scene is suitably upbeat too, with plenty of local activities and watersports on offer for the more active types, and endless rows of sunbeds for those who want to kick back and take it easy.

In resorts like Fethiye and Atakoy, you’ll find a slower pace of life with a more authentic Turkish vibe. And for knock-out beaches and cracking coastal scenery, Olu Deniz is the place to be. You’ve probably seen the photos of the beach at Olu Deniz – there’s a magnificent lagoon and a dazzling sweep of pale silky sand, which makes the perfect backdrop for your holiday snaps.

Olu Deniz

Olu Deniz

If you’ve got Dalaman holidays in mind this summer or next, you’ll find a wide range of holidays on offer here. Check out some of the package breaks on offer and search for late deals or early booking discounts to enjoy additional savings on your trip. After all, the more you save now, the more you’ll have to play with once you get there!

So whether you’re after a laidback break in stunning surroundings, or a non-stop clubbing holiday to remember, Dalaman is one Turkish delight that ticks all the right boxes.

Travel Memories: Sometimes, it’s the Characters You Meet

Most times, travel is about a destination. But what about the people and other characters we meet along the way? Sometimes, it’s all about them. Sometimes, they help us make lasting travel memories.

I had several ideas and a few half-written posts that I could have used for this week’s photo Thursday but I kept going back to this photo of a Rastaman I took on the beach in Negril. Then I found other photos of people I’d taken and a theme began to take shape.

Sometimes it's the Characters that Make Travel Memories

Negril Rastaman

It was his hair that caught my friend’s attention – she’d never seen locks as long as his. I was surprised how white his hair was since he didn’t seem to be that old. He stopped when I asked what he was selling and gave us an entire lesson on herbs and spices. I ended up buying turmeric, which now I can’t live without.

Sometimes, it's the Characters that Make Travel Memories

Accompong Man

I didn’t have time to speak with this man in Accompong. As soon as he saw my camera, he stopped, posed then walked away. If he’d stayed, I’d have to find a way to open the conversation without asking about the oversized glasses or the flashlight on his head.

Sometimes, it's the Characters that Make Travel Memories

Seaford Town Filipinas

Jamaica has been a magnet for people from all over the world but I’d never met anyone from the Philippines here before. On this excursion, I met not one but two Filipino women. One’s married to a Jamaican and has lived on the island for about 15 years. Her friend had arrived a few months before so she was showing her around. I was surprised to learn that there’s a “large” Filipino expat community in Jamaica.

Their stories about adjusting to life in Jamaica and their observances of us kept us laughing almost the ride back. Each time they saw something interesting, they’d asked the driver to stop so they could take photos. This stop was probably our fourth or fifth. When we got back into the bus, the driver said it’d have to be the last as he’d be late returning to our drop off point.

Sometimes, it's the Characters that Make Travel Memories

Dunn’s River Donkey

All but two of the photos I took of this flower-bedecked donkey and his owner came out blurry because I couldn’t stop laughing. I’ve seen donkeys similarly dressed up but this one just had us cracking up. When I stopped laughing, my friend would draw my attention to something else and we’d both be laughing all over again. We took photos with the donkey wearing these goofy straw hat the owner gave us but those were out of focus. Even the day after, we’d look at each other and burst out laughing about the donkey.

Donkeys are everywhere in the countryside. Farmers use them take them to their farms and produce to the market. In the old days, the donkey operated the machine that squeezed the juice from sugarcane. The donkey in these photos from Appleton demonstrates how it was done then waits to be fed and petted.

Sometimes, it's the Characters that Make Travel Memories

Chef for a minute at Little Ochie

Sometimes traveling alone as a woman has its perks. Like the day this guy decided to make me chef for a minute at Little Ochie. I’m still not sure why he did it. My guess is he saw me chatting with the owner. Whatever his reason, I learned one thing from that minute — I couldn’t be a cook in a large kitchen as I cannot take the heat!

Linking to Travel Photo Thursday and Travel Photo Mondays. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.

Gizzada (Coconut Pastry)

I was out shopping with a friend a few weeks ago, when she stopped at a Jamaican restaurant in her neighborhood (more about that later) to pick up patties. A little take-away place, it had the standard Jamaican fare on the menu – rice and peas, curried chicken, brown stewed fish, etc.

I wasn’t very hungry but the pastries caught my attention, well one in particular: the gizzada, an open tart with a grated, spiced and sweetened coconut filling.


Pinch me round or gizzada

Also known as “pinch-me-round,” for the characteristic wavy look of the edges of the shell, the gizzada came to Jamaica from Portugal, where there’s a similar pastry, called guisada.

Portuguese Jews began arriving in Jamaica in 1530. They were fleeing religious persecution under the Inquisition, which ordered them to convert to Christianity. Jamaica became a refuge for Jews from Spain and Portugual, and by the mid to late 1880s, there were more than 2,000 Jews on the island. The gizzada is one of their contributions to Jamaican cuisine.

Gizzadas are pretty popular with Jamaicans. I remember eating them as a child, and there were always available at the cafeteria at school. They are also popular with Jamaicans abroad so I wasn’t surprised to see them at the restaurant.

I love gizzadas because of the combination of the textures and flavors – crunchy (shell) and soft (filling), the pungent taste of nutmeg and the spiciness vanilla, the sweetness of the filling against the plain tasting shell. Some recipes also use ginger.

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  1. 1 cup baking flour
  2. 1/4 tsp salt
  3. 1 1/4 oz. butter or margarine
  4. 1/4 cup ice water
  1. 1 small coconut, grated
  2. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  4. 1/2 vanilla
  5. 1/2 tbsp water
  6. 1/2 tbsp butter
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Mix together flour and salt then cut in butter and shortening.
  2. Add ice water to form dough.
  3. Use fingers to blend mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Shape into a ball before wrapping in waxed paper and refrigerate for half an hour.
  5. Divide crust into 4 balls.
  6. Use a rolling pin to flatten balls into 3" circles of 1/4" thickness.
  7. Pinch edges to form a ridge to hold in coconut and sugar mixture.
  8. Put on greased cookie sheets and partly bake crust.
  1. Combine all ingredients except butter and cook over a low flame for about 20 minutes.
  2. Add butter then fill shells with coconut mixture and bake for a further 15-20 minutes.
  3. Makes 4 gizzadas.

How to Join the FoodieTuesday Linkup

Join the FoodieTuesday linkup by –

  • Posting a foodie photo on your blog
  • Adding the link to your foodie post in the link tool at the bottom of this post
  • Leaving a comment
  • Tweeting this post using the hashtag #FoodieTuesday

Hope to see you at FoodieTuesday!

Nov 10, 2013 – Linking up with Monika Fuchs’ foodie carnival at Travel World Online.

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