Ackee and “Saltfish” with Orange-Ugli Fruit Juice

For me, Sundays = food.  Growing up, Sunday brunch consisted of ackee and saltfish and fried dumplings.  Now that I’m grown, I try to carry on the tradition.  When I was in law school I would often host some of my friends at my apartment for what I would call “Saltfish Sundays” and I’d cook up a storm.

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I miss those days. 😦

A few weeks back, my sister posted this on my Facebook wall (from the “Your probably not Jamaican if” Facebook page):


That’s fried dumpling stuffed with ackee and saltfish and peppers, with a side of fried plantain.  Foodgasm.

I knew I had to try to duplicate this for nostalgia’s sake.  Here’s my attempt:


Ackee and “saltfish” sliders with freshly squeezed orange-ugli fruit juice.

This is my kind of “Egg McMuffin.”  I used my juicer to juice an orange and an ugli fruit.  Instead of saltfish, you can use tempehfish inside of your dumplings.  Ackee and “saltfish” also tastes and looks lovely when plated on a bed of baby spinach.

Happy “Saltfish” Sunday peeps!

“What a Way Eeit Hugly”: Ugli Fruit

Look at what I found (and eventually bought) at the grocery store today!

Ugli fruit!

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I’ll be honest — I was going to pass up on this funny looking fruit until I looked closer at the PLU price tag which read, “Product of Jamaica.”

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It’s beyond rare that I find a “product of Jamaica” in a large chain supermarket here in Montreal (in Toronto, maybe, but Montreal, definitely not).  I know, it’s a darn shame.  I have to travel far and wide just to get ethnic products here.  But that’s another story.

They cost $2.00 each, or 2 for $4.00, as advertised (I later read that they can be priced much higher elsewhere).

I whipped out my cell phone to do a quick Google search on how to 1) pick the right fruit and 2) use it in recipes.  What did it taste like?  Would I like it?  Would it be worth spending $2.00?

I decided to buy it and do more research (and try my luck!).

Ugli fruit (or euphemistically called “uniq fruit” elsewhere) is thought to be a Jamaican hybrid of a grapefruit, orange and tangerine.  It’s described at the Jamaican tangelo and it gets its name from it’s ugly (or, as Jamaicans would say, “hugly”) appearance.  Legend has it an indigenous ugli fruit tree was found growing wild near Brown’s Town in Jamaica.  The fruit was soon cultivated on a wider scale and “ship ah farrin” (shipped abroad) to places like the United States, Europe and yes, even Canada.

For more information on this fruit, I found the following sites to be helpful:

I have yet to cut into mine, but apparently it can be used just like a grapefruit or orange and has a taste similar to a navel orange.  The fruit is so exotic that it has its own website:  The site has a page dedicated to recipes that feature the ugli fruit.  Elsewhere I read that many people juice it or turn it into ice cream.

I’m not a huge fan of juicing (because you end up throwing away the fiber), but I may make an exception here.  Otherwise I’m tempted to cut it in half, sprinkle some salt on it, and broil it like I would a grapefruit for part of my breakfast (a friend told me that sprinkling salt on a cut orange makes the orange taste so much better). Hmmm… or maybe I can grater ginger and sprinkle it on top before popping it under the broiler…the possibilities are endless.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Do any of you have any tips for eating ugli fruit?  How do you nyam yuh hugly fruit?

Jamaican Pumpkin Soup (Vegan, Gluten-free, Paleo)

Happy New Year!!!

I don’t know where you might be reading this, but the place from which I am currently writing this post is as cold as ever.  Tomorrow’s supposed to be a high of -13 C. That’s right — a “high.”

It’s cold.

Everything is iced over.

How I would love to be in Jamaica right now.  But I’m not.  I can’t, at least not for the time being.

So I bring the Caribbean to Canada with my cooking.  As far as I’m concerned, I may not be in Jamaican, but Jamaica is in my heart. 🙂

Enough of the mushiness already. 😛

Whenever it gets really cold like this, I like to batch-cook soups that I can freeze and warm up so that they can in turn warm me up in these frigid temperatures.

This one is one of my absolute favourites.  Here’s hoping it will become your go-to soup recipe.


2 stalks of green onion and/or 1 red onion, chopped in half

2 cloves garlic

1 carrot, peeled

1 sprig of fresh thyme, of 1 tsp dried thyme

1 scotch bonnet pepper*

3 cups vegetable broth

4 cups of Jamaican pumpkin, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 tsp allspice, ground

½ cup coconut milk

1 tsp lime juice (or juice of ½ a lime) (for a tangy flavor) OR 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (for a “chicken-y” flavor)

1 ½ tsp salt (or to taste)


Soup with my package of scotch bonnet peppers.

Optional Ingredients (recommended especially if you want the soup to stretch, according to my mother)*:

¾ cup “cho cho”/chayote/Christophine

1 celery stalk

1 or 2 potatoes (Irish, Russet or even sweet potato), chopped (skin-on or peeled)

1 lb (or 1 cup peeled and chopped) yam (white, yellow or “renta”/Barbados)

1 cup of “coco”/eddo, chopped


*At a later date, I’ll blog about vegetables and ground provisions often eaten in Jamaica, but for now, you should know that Jamaican pumpkin is typically also known as the Calabaza squash elsewhere.  If you can’t find Calabaza squash, feel free to substitute with butternut squash or another orange-fleshed squash.

  1. Place all ingredients (save for the coconut milk, lime juice, nutritional yeast, salt and allspice) in a big soup pot (or dutch pot). Bring to a boil for 5 minutes and simmer for 20 minutes (or until the pumpkin and carrots are tender).
  2. Remove the scotch bonnet pepper and bay leaves. (I mean, you could blend the pepper with the rest of the soup, but that would be one HOT soup).
  3. Carefully transfer the ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until smooth. I say “carefully” because this will be piping hot!  Please don’t burn yourself.  You may want to transfer and blend the soup in batches if it’s easier.  If you have one, you can use an immersion blender instead of a high speed blender and blend the ingredients in your dutch/soup pot until smooth to reduce the chance of splashes.
  4. Once blended, transfer your soup back to the soup pot. Add the lime juice or nutritional yeast.  Stir in the coconut milk and dash with allspice and salt (to taste).  You may add black pepper if you want a spicier soup.
  5. Incorporate your optional ingredients (if adding). Alternatively, you could have cooked these ingredients with the pumpkin, carrots etc, and blended them with the pumpkin in the blender.  It’s up to you.