Oh, my beloved blog, how I have missed you! And all of you, my blogging friends. It’s been a while.
It seems that my life is destined to go down a different path than the one I was on. Not a path chosen by me, and quite a challenging one at that. In the last few months since my last post, my world has been turned upside down. Literally. And when I look back at the topic of my last post, it was about LOVE. It was about hearts. And funnily enough, what led to my total disconnect with the blogging world, with life itself, was my heart. My heart shattering into a million little pieces. My heart, which for just a brief moment, stopped beating.
My daughters, those two precious beings. How did I create such fierce little creatures? Two amazing young girls with so much love, so much empathy. And so brave! If there was ever question to my parenting skills, they are proof that I have done well.
After a harsh and brutal winter, spring. Thank goodness it’s finally here! With its arrival comes a new beginning, new life. Rebirth. Soon, the sun will begin to warm our bodies and souls, and we will live again. I will return to my kitchen and create. I will nurture our souls with food. Fresh foods. Light and healthy foods. Foods which will make us happy again.
Someone told me the other day that whatever my dad did when I was a broken little girl, after my mom died, has made me the strong person that I am today. Resilient. Capable of overcoming and flourishing. That comment brought to mind what an exemplary father he was. My dad. So on March 19th, Father’s Day in Italy, also known as La Festa di San Giuseppe, the girls and I made Zeppole di San Giuseppe to honour him. In honour of him and all the exemplary fathers out there. I had made these yummy zeppole di San Giuseppe last year for this very occasion, and having gone the healthy route last year by baking the dough in the oven and filling them with a custard cream, this year I opted to fry these little babies, just the way my dad loved them. Fried zeppole, a Neopolitan specialty. I made a delicious ricotta cheese filling to stuff them with. Perfect for soothing our souls!
And now, about The Jerk. What can I say? Not much really, except that if you’ve never had Jamaican Jerk before, you really should give it a try. Perfect for marinating meat or fish, a jerk is a heat-punched rub or wet marinade made up of many ingredients, with the two key ingredients being the allspice berry and scotch bonnet peppers. You can use jalepeños if scotch bonnets are hard to come by. After perusing a variety of recipes, I noticed that thyme can also be a key ingredient to a Jamaican Jerk. An important element to cooking a jerk is the type of wood it’s grilled over. In Jamaica, it’s usually grilled over pimento wood, the tree which gives us the allspice berry, or sweet wood, the jamaican name for the laurel tree, from which we get our bay leaves. As it’s highly unlikely that I would find either of these woods here in Montreal, I soaked some fresh bay leaves in water and spread them over the grill, with the chicken spread over the bay leaves. You can absolutely cook a jerk in the oven, but seeing as spring is here I thought it the perfect occasion to fire up the barbecue and grill it. A jerk on the barbie. Perfect!
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
2 scotch bonnet or jalepeño peppers, or 1 if less heat is desired, seeded & chopped
4 green onions, chopped
4 tablespoons of ground allspice
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 piece of ginger, about 2 teaspoons, chopped
4 or 5 bay leaves, crumbled
Fresh thyme leaves, 2 or 3 teaspoons
2 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil
1 whole chicken, cut-up, or your favourite chicken pieces, about 2 pounds
Add all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until a smooth paste is formed. You may need to add a few more drops of oil. Rub the marinade over the chicken pieces, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Soak an entire package of fresh bay leaves in some water at least 1 hour prior to grilling. When ready to barbecue, spread the leaves over the grill and lay the chicken over the top. Grill the meat until done and voila! You’ve got a fiery hot Jamaican Jerk!
Patsy Van said:
I’m glad “Ohlidia” is back…I missed your wonderful blog.
Stay strong and carry on!
Patsy Van Louie
Thanks Patsy… I’ll try!
You’re back! Yay! And with such a flavorful, spicy recipe. Love it!
Thanks Darya. Glad to be back.
Eva Robin said:
Hi Lidia!! I love your blog!!!
Eva… you and your words of wisdom, thank you so much! I’m glad you’re following.
Conor Bofin said:
Great to have you back Lidia. Good that your heart is mending. Lovely post indeed. Love that chicken…
Not sure about the mending part, but I’m willing to put on a brave face and give it a try, get back into things. I have to, no?
Conor Bofin said:
It’s the only way. Onwards and upwards. Time heals most things. Friends help in the process.
Thanks Conor! I must say, I do have an amazing support group.
Mama's Gotta Bake said:
Good to see you back, and what a lovely, sweet way to honor your dad.
Thank you Sheryl. Looking forward to getting back into my kitchen.
Wonderful recipes, as always Lidia. Glad you’re back.
Thanks Marina. I’m glad too.
Its always great to read your blog, and your recipes always look delicious.
Glad for OhLidia.
Glad you still enjoy Gianna!
SO NICE to see you back, Lidia !
Oh B! I might just need to call on your help to get me back into my kitchen!
Welcome back, Lidia! Such a lovely [and delicious] post to mark your return. 🙂
You’re very welcome, Lidia!
Oh Lidia, i did miss you, I’ve seen you lurking around the passed few weeks and I’ve been hoping you would come back to us. Nurture yourself and your beautiful daughters, be easy on yourself, strength comes from determination xo
Oh Sandra… I’m trying! I truly am! It might be a while. I have missed you too. xoxo
A moving post, but you do not let us in on what happened. The mention of your daughters is, briefly, worrying … Well: I suppose you’ll tell us if you want to.
Other than my heart breaking and the involvement of a jerk, know that my daughters and I will be just fine. 🙂
Woe, alas … But yes, you will be.
love in the kitchen said:
I read this twice Lidia. There’s so much here that you’re saying by not saying anything at all. I just want to tell you that I relate. And like you – I have two beautiful daughters who continue to amaze me. Lovely that you honoured your father. And lovely to have you back. xo
Thank goodness for my daughters! I don’t know how I would carry on without them. Funny, you came to mind a few times when contemplating whether or not to return to my blog. I seemed to recall that you too were on your own with your daughters. Glad you understood me! xoxo
Oh Lidia, it’s a feast for the eyes and everything looks exquisite 🙂
And a feast for our tummy as well!
My Kitchen Witch said:
So glad you’re back and what wonderful food (as always). Love the idea of a bay leaf bed on the barbie!
I thought that idea was pretty clever! 🙂
Gather and Graze said:
Lovely to have you back Lidia… as you can see, so many of us have missed you a great deal! From what I understand you’ve had so much to contend with over the years that I hate to think that you’re having to cope with any more hardships. Sending you special thoughts from across the seas and with the hope that all will be fine in your life very soon.
Oh Margot, thank you! I have to believe that this added hardship has got to be for a reason, a silver lining at the end of the tunnel, no? I welcome your special thoughts with open arms… xox
Cheesy Biscuit said:
Wonderful to have you back posting! And lovely writing. And of course recipes. I would normally be more drawn to the chicken, but those full fat sweet things look amazing, a great tribute. Hope you continue to be nourished by the warmer days.
Warmer days would definitely help if they were to make their way over here. And those sweet fat things are a great cure for the blues!
Gina iacampo said:
It’s about time! Lol.. Sweet Lidia, glad your back! You are the sweetest person I have had the pleasure of knowing all these years! Your recipes are delightful, keep’em coming my dear friend! Be strong, we loveeeeee you!
I’ll try Gina! Keep giving me those pep talks… Love you! xox
Welcome back. You were missed.
Thank you sweetie! xox
Oh Lidia! welcome back! I’ve checked your page several time since that S.Valentine post, here you are! Beautiful post, sweet words and great recipes…. my preference is for the zeppole, of course!
Of course, an Italian would definitely pick those zeppole! Grazie Margherita!
Tonina Di Paola said:
Fantastic!!! Missed your wonderful, delicious recipes. A jerk on the BBQ……….perfect!!!! I will try NOT to burn IT!! so glad your’re back. XOX
Thank you my dear friend! You might have to keep pushing me to do this though…
Tonina Di Paola said:
Wonderful !! I’ve missed your amazing, delicious recipes.
Jerk on the BBQ……perfect, I will try NOT to burn IT. I’m glad you are back. XOX
I miss my amazing friend! xoxo
Antonietta Barone said:
Great recipes, especially the zeppole! Wish I had more time to make them more often.
Grazie cugina! Make them… your mamma would be happy! xox
Glad to see you back Lidia, I am truly sorry that you have gone through a difficult time and when I saw the Jerk recipe I felt this was more than a recipe for spicy chicken. I raised my daughter on my own, you will be fine, you are strong and resilient and your beautiful girls will be a source of strength and inspiration.
Such sweet words Suzanne, thank you! As my best friend keeps telling me, with time this too shall pass. Hope Izzy and Nando are well. xox
A jerk and something sweet seems to say it all. Hang in there, we are all so happy you are back…you have been missed.
I’m hanging Karen, I’m hanging! 🙂
Yay, you’re back! You really were missed. If I can help, please let me know. Give your little ones a huge cuddle!
Oh, you’re so sweet! I’m being told that only time will heal… xox
Ngan R. said:
OhLidia, you left as I just discovered your blog and I am so glad to see you back, on your own terms and at your own pace. I hope to get to know you more through your words and recipes. The words in this post in particular are powerful and tell a story beyond. I hope all is well and that you take care. Sounds like you have a very sweet family, and delicious offerings to boot. The zeppole and chicken both look fantastic. My best, ngan
Oh Ngan, thank you! I’m quite glad you discovered me as it allowed me to discover you. You’re very sweet! xox
Welcome back, Lidia! Love this post, title and all. It gave me a good laugh. Nicely done! 🙂 I hope this means we’ll be seeing more of you.
I missed out on zeppole this year. I just plain forgot to get out and get some. I’ll do better next year. I’m going to follow your recipe! As for that jerk, I’ve only had it once before and it was too spicy for me. That was quite some time ago and I think I’ve got a more flame-proof palate by now. Maybe it’s time I try it again. Making my own, I can at least control the heat somewhat and your recipe does look like a good one, that’s for sure. Have a wonderful week, Lidia.
I knew you’d get a good laugh John. 🙂
More of me? I hope so. I just need to find that inspiration…
The zeppole, you can make anytime John. As for the jerk, you can definitely adjust the heat to your liking. Give it a try, you won’t regret it.
My Dear Lidia! Welcome back..missed you loads xxx
Glad to be back my sweet Dimple! xox
Mary Frances said:
That chicken looks divine! It’s such a coincidence, I just mailed out my Spring boxes for my subscription service, MARY’s secret ingredients, and one of the items was actually a Pineapple Habanero Jerk Brine Bath from Sweetwater Spice Company! Jerk chicken for all!
That jerk brine sounds divine!
Oh my God…the chicken sounds delishhhhhhhhhhhhhh..make me some next time I am over….good job
Peri's Spice Ladle said:
What a beautiful ode to your wonderful dad…And this jerk chicken recipe is amazing, love the combination of nutmeg and cinnamon with black pepper:)
Yes, that is a wonderful flavour combination. Thanks Peri!
Oh…many hugs to you! I am certain you are the most wonderful Mother to your lovely children. Happy Mother’s day to you!
Thanks so much Laila! I appreciate your kind words.
Rosa de los Vientos said:
Hello dear Lidia. I’m popping in rather late. Just to discover that you have had a hard time. I’m not completely sure what’s going on, but, I have a feeling, reading in between the lines 😉 It seems like you didn’t want to bother us with the details and, in stead, we got such nice recipes again, but I’m very sorry to hear you have (had) such a hard time! Your girls are truly special as you are. Just carry on focusing on the nice things you have inside and around you. Happy to read your blog again, I have been rather disconnected as well and hope to catch up soon. I will keep an eye on your blog (the posts again didn’t appear in my reader). Keep strong, we all need you. 🙂 A big hug.
Gracias Rosa! Your kind words of comfort come to me at a time when I really need them. Not wanting to dump any of the sordid details on all of you, I think you got the jist of my story. It will take some time, but I do hope that all shall be o.k. again one day. xox
Tea with Erika said:
Welcome back sweetie! I missed you so much that I kept checking every week and then, when I got a bit disconnected, you were back. You’re a great mum and you’ve got everything you need to carry on: your two beautiful daughters! Love you :*
You’re very sweet Erika. I keep reminding myself everyday day that they truly are my reason to carry on.
Sorry about the broken heart….I hope it will mend soon. The jerk chicken looks delicious!
Oh, looks like it will be a while… But thank you!