Tag: farmers market

SUPERFOOD SERIES: Sorrel

Posted by on 8th December 2017

Sorrel hand  SUPERFOOD SERIES: Sorrel

Sorrel is a fascinating and festive perennial herb growing in Cricket Square’s edible gardens as we head towards Christmas.

It’s used all around the world and is cultivated for a wide variety of uses, although primarily as food with its sharp, tangy taste reminiscent of wild strawberries or kiwi thanks to the oxalic acid component found in the leaves.

The health benefits of sorrel include its ability to boost eyesight, reduce certain skin infections, strengthen the immune system, improve digestion, build strong bones, increase circulation, increase energy levels, lower blood pressure, increase appetite, protect against diabetes, strengthen heart health and improve the kidney health.

The high content of dietary fibre that can be found in most varieties of sorrel allows food to move through the digestive system, improving your gastrointestinal health and reducing conditions like constipation, diarrhea, bloating and cramping, as well as gastrointestinal issues. Dietary fibre can also help to reduce total cholesterol in the body, thereby protecting heart health.

Sorrel is rich in potassium, which is an essential mineral for human health. Potassium is a vasodilator, as well as is instrumental in maintaining fluid balance throughout the body. This means that potassium reduces the stress on the cardiovascular system by relaxing the blood vessels and arteries. Lowered blood pressure reduces the chances of dangerous blood clotting and excessive strain on the heart that can lead to coronary heart disease and other complications.

Although the studies looking into the antioxidant components of sorrel are still ongoing, there is a good evidence that it contains polyphenolic compounds, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, all of which function as antioxidants in the human body. The wealth of antioxidants that sorrel contains means that it is very effective at seeking out free radicals in the body and neutralising them.

Vitamin A, another of the essential vitamins found in sorrel, can improve eyesight and reduce macular degeneration and cataracts. Beta-carotene, which is a derivative of vitamin A, acts as an antioxidant, and combined with the other important antioxidant compounds in the body, it can greatly boost eye health and prevent age-related degradation.

Significant iron levels in sorrel mean that it boosts the red blood cell production and prevents anemia (iron deficiency). Increased circulation boosts oxygen levels throughout the body in the vital organs, boosts hair growth, increases energy levels, and speeds up the healing process (in conjunction with the protein content of sorrel).

Sorrel’s vitamin C content is impressive and can stimulate the immune system and increase the white blood cell count in the body, which is the first line of defense against pathogens and other foreign invaders in the body.

Our Sorrel Martini is available at The Brasserie, so now you have every reason to enjoy this festive drink.

Sorrel  SUPERFOOD SERIES: Sorrel

SUPERFOOD SERIES: Conch

Posted by on 7th November 2017

conch  SUPERFOOD SERIES: Conch

Look at that beloved Caribbean mollusk, the queen conch (pronounced “konk”).

The large marine snail—technically a gastropod mollusk—represents a huge part of Cayman culture. Their gorgeous pink spiral shells are widely found on our beaches. The fleshy, chewy meat is sliced and diced into fritters, salads, chowder, burgers, pasta, and handheld patties; it’s battered and deep-fried; it’s even scored (“scorched”) and eaten raw.

Conch ceviche (pictured below) is now featuring on The Brasserie menu, coinciding with the start of Cayman’s conch season on 1 November 2017.

For 65 million years, conchs have dwelled in the warm, mostly shallow waters of our planet. Their habitat of choice is just one factor contributing to their currently dwindling numbers—pollution has led to the degradation of their preferred seagrass beds, and shallow waters, where juveniles in particular cluster, are all too easy for humans to infiltrate. One estimate suggests that out of 400,000 offspring, fewer than one conch will survive into adulthood. This alarming statistic, coupled with other environmental and human pressures, signals a worrying time for the queen conch.

The Cayman Islands’ Department of Environment conducts an annual conch survey to monitor the success of marine parks and replenishment zones in stabilising existing populations. In addition, they continue to recommend a reduction in legal catch limits to supplement their efforts and help protect the queen conch for future generations. As mentioned above, conch season is closed 1 May through 31 October, with a catch limit of five per person or ten per boat per day, whichever is less.

Conch has a high nutritional value, making it one of our local superfoods. Conch is a good source of protein, but it also supplies a wealth of key vitamins and minerals including iron, vitamin B12, selenium folate and vitamin E, as well as being low in fat and carbohydrates.

The calcinated conch shell of Turbinella pyrum consists of calcium, iron and magnesium. It is well known in Ayurvedic medicine for its antacid and digestive properties.

Did you know that blowing conch shells is said to exercise the thyroid glands and vocal cords, thus acting as a natural solution to speech issues, including stammering problems? It’s also believed that blowing conch shells can be great exercise for the facial muscles and reduce wrinkles. And if you want to achieve that flawless glow, massage your face with water from a conch shell!

Click here for our mouthwatering farm-to-table Brasserie menus that include Chef Artemio’s delicious conch ceviche, only available until 30 April and the duration of Cayman’s conch season.

DSC 1697  SUPERFOOD SERIES: Conch

The Art of Coffee

Posted by on 2nd November 2017

“You have to invest and be committed to quality.”

In January 2009, the Brasserie Market opened its doors and became the second espresso outlet on Grand Cayman, and the only location on island, to host an extensive barista training program led by freelance coffee consultant, Erin Hulbert.

Erin is from the coffee homeland of Seattle.

“I am a purest. I love the transparency – from the bean, through processing, to the cup – coffee is a ritual for me. It’s a time to gather with friends and family. It’s part of our culture.”

She wrote the coffee menu, trained staff, talked to press, hosted a “public cupping” (just like a wine tasting but with coffee) and introduced Barrington Roasting Coffee to The Brasserie and the Cayman Islands.

This was the start of The Brasserie Barista Program.

After six hours a day of steaming milk, mastering espresso fundamentals, diligently learning cleaning routines, coffee origins, and preparation methods, my team of baristas were well on their way of becoming the only residents on Cayman to fully understand and execute perfect espresso as an art. As the doors officially opened on January 11, I watched these new coffee enthusiasts’ eyes light up with each sip of perfectly mastered microfoam, reminding me how much I love my job. – An extract from ‘Bringing Coffee to Grand Cayman by Training Four Baristas in Two Weeks’ by Erin Hulbert, Serious Eats.

Since then, Erin says she has trained over 30 through the Program. She visits the island twice every year and trains four people every trip over a 10-day period. “What I cover with them in 10 days, would normally take six months.”

“I am continually challenging The Brasserie baristas to learn new skills on every visit, from taste, milk texture and temperature to the final quest, latte art,” says Erin.

“When teaching the techniques of milk texturising, the end product swirling in the pitcher should resemble a fresh can of white paint; thick, glossy and bubble-free. That’s my perfect cappuccino memory.

“I’m teaching baristas not just what to do but why they do what they do. We need to understand the complexities of making coffee so should we need to fix something, we are familiar. Just like learning a language – you don’t just start learning the vocabulary, but also what you need to create sentences, like grammar.

“You don’t want to stand in the way of the espresso. You should be able to taste the coffee, not the barista. The barista is just there to facilitate the coffee process.”

A stand out for The Brasserie is its emphasis on cleanliness.

“The coffee machines are cleaned every hour on the hour. Oils from the beans adhere to the surfaces and those oils will go rancid if left, making the coffee taste old and earthy no matter the quality of beans. Cleanliness is the most efficient and effective method for maintaining equipment.”

New participants to The Brasserie Barista Program train with Erin for 30 hours – this is the preliminary training period. After “passing the Bar Exam”, which is a written and practical exam at the end of the 10-day training, the trainees each continue to be mentored for one week every month over a three-month period before they pass the Program and are certified to make coffee for The Brasserie customers.

“I expect a lot from my trainees. Not everyone passes The Brasserie Barista Program. I’m here to move the company forward, set it up for success and maintain a high standard of quality,” says Erin.

“When I return six months later, everyone who takes part in the last Program must pass the written and practical exam again.

“In the practical exam, trainees make every drink on the coffee menu and the written exam is based on the manual that I wrote for The Brasserie. For example: What is the ideal temperature for extracting espresso? Why do we serve ristretto?

“At the end of this course all of those employees that pass can confidently go anywhere and understand how espresso works. This can be a blessing and a curse. It opens your eyes up to things that you may not have understood or seen before.”

Erin’s top tip for barista excellence is to stay present.

“Every time you pour a drink, it’s a training moment.”

What about her favourite type of coffee?

“I always opt for an Americano. You can get a real indication of what the coffee is like. I call this American artisan – we have taken ideas from Italy, modelled their flavor profile and then made it our own.

“There are things about different coffee varieties that I love. American coffees share the familiar traits of your morning cup. They are known for their balance and even temperament. The African bean sparkles and adds adventure and excitement to our daily lives. Some Ethiopian beans smell and taste like fresh blueberry pie, while some Kenyan beans can taste so juicy that they make me feel like I’m drinking a Capri sun. Asian coffees are known for having the most curves. They are full bodied with a syrupy mouth feel. These coffees are richer, thicker and exotic with dark chocolate, bold nuttiness and subtle earthy tones.”

And then there’s always the hot topic, for baristas and coffee drinkers alike, of how to steam milk properly.

“I can sit across the room from a barista and tell exactly what texture will appear just by the sound of the aerating milk. Make sure you have cold milk and an even colder pitcher. This low starting temperature allows a longer steaming window, which provides optimal texture.”

Let’s not share all Erin’s secrets though. You’ll need to come to the Market and Restaurant and taste our coffee for yourself!

SUPERFOOD SERIES: Kale

Posted by on 9th October 2017

dan gold 291225  SUPERFOOD SERIES: Kale

Kale is being called “the new beef”, “the queen of greens” and “a nutritional powerhouse.”

This rough and tough green beats out all the rest in terms of nutrition, providing more antioxidants than most other fruits and veggies! It’s also a fantastic source of fibre, calcium, and iron. Prepare it virtually any way, from boiled or steamed to roasted (try it as a chip – recipe below) or stewed.

One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fibre and 0 grams of fat. Fibre aids with digestion, great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy. Kale is also bursting with nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium.

Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more.

Eating a diet high in vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and blood clotting. Increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants and it is these antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, that help protect against various cancers.

One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.

Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels making it great for cardiovascular support.

Kale is also high in vitamin A, which is great for your vision, your skin, as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers. It’s high vitamin C content means that kale is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration.

Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Calcium is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility.

The above is just a snippet into why kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Incorporate kale into your diet and replace potato chips with these moreish kale variety. Once you start you won’t be able to stop!

BRASSERIE KALE CHIPS

Ingredients

1 bunch of kale
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

Method

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
  3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

joanna kosinska 87687  SUPERFOOD SERIES: Kale

SUPERFOOD SERIES: Chickpeas

Posted by on 3rd October 2017

Chickpeas are one of the oldest consumed varieties of legumes on the planet. Did you know that ground chickpeas have been used as a coffee substitute since the 18th Century and are still commonly used as a caffeine-free alternative today?

This superfood contains a huge number of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including folate, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. They are also high in protein so are a fantastic alternative to meat for vegetarians.

If you’re experiencing hair loss and are tired of taking different supplements, try incorporating chickpeas into your diet. Chickpeas contain plenty of A, B and E vitamins, along with omega fatty acids. All of them can effectively promote hair growth. These nutrients can keep your scalp healthy and enhance blood circulation to your scalp.

The rich manganese content found in chickpeas helps strengthen bones by providing your spine with an increasing amount of minerals for optimal growth and development. Manganese also enhances skin health and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. As a matter of fact, manganese is used to manufacture a majority of beauty products.

Eating chickpeas on a daily basis can improve your eyesight. There’s no question that we all spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer screen, which can cause adverse effects on your eyes. Chickpeas are full of vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin for your mucous membrane, your skin, and your eyes.

Chickpeas are known by many different names all over the world. Other names include garbanzo beans, bengal grams, egyptian peas, ceci beans and kabuki chana. Approximately 90 million tonnes of chickpeas are produced each year. India is the world’s number one leader in chickpea production, with Australia coming in second place.

Chickpeas are a great source of both soluble and dietary fibre, important for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Soluble fibre may assist with reducing the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream and helps maintain blood sugar levels, which may help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and also aid in managing diabetes. The dietary fibre in chickpeas and their low glycemic index (GI) may also assist with weight loss by making you feel fuller for longer and helping you to resist the urge to grab your favourite bag of chips or chocolate chip cookies after dinner.

These clever little plants actually restore depleted soils and are powerful nitrogen fixing legumes. Their deep root system plays an important role in stabilising soils and preventing erosion, they may use little or no fertiliser while enhancing the fertility of the soil, and, they are a dry land agricultural crop, using no agricultural water. To add to their incredible talents, the chickpea plant even has a natural insecticide in its leaves, which keeps the bugs away. Incredible stuff!

‘CHATEAU CHOOK’ EGG AND CHICKPEA SALAD

Ingredients

garden beetroot, roasted in chunks
2 free range eggs, boiled
feta cheese
chickpeas
red capsicum
lettuce leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Combine all ingredients together except for the egg quarters and chickpeas, to be used as garnish on top of the salad.